Your connection with the sky

Exploring Aviation

A private pilot and US Civil Air Patrol major explores the envelope of aviation, one corner at a time. About Steve Tupper

Expanding the Envelope: What GA Pilots Can Learn from USAF Proficiency Flying

January 5th, 2011

I know what it takes to stay current and proficient in the aircraft that I fly.  And I work hard at it.  I fly two similar kinds of aircraft for the Civil Air Patrol.  I fly them frequently, both looking out the window and with a view-limiting device to hone and maintain my instrument skills.  And I fly tail-dragging aerobatic aircraft upside down.  It’s a lot of work, but it’s worth it. But I wondered what it was like maintaining currency when your flying has a little bit more riding on it than mine usually does. Read More >>

Watching Your New Best Friends Having the Time of Their Lives

December 29th, 2010

It’s hard to believe, but there was a time just before I got my instrument rating when I wondered whether there would be enough challenges and opportunities in general aviation to keep it interesting.  Yeah, I was pretty naïve to think that.

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The time since then has been pretty interesting, to say the least, and you’ve seen some of that in my entries on this blog. Read More >>

Naked Airplanes: Inspections Keep GA Aircraft in Top Form

March 5th, 2010

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Earlier this week, I snuck out of work early and met Don Weaver at Oakland County International Airport (KPTK) and took off for Ray Community Airport (57D), about 11 minutes away by Cirrus SR-22.

Don is the chief pilot for OptAir and, most importantly for me, is one of the aerobatic instructor pilots for the Acro Camp movie that I’m currently casting.  Don wanted to show me the Pitts S-2B that he’s lining up for the third and fourth days of the Acro Camp movie shoot. Read More >>

Reaching Outside the Airport Fence

January 7th, 2010

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This is to tell the man in the red plane that he has a fan.

I've been watching you from the ground. Well, from my farm pastures and yard actually. More often than you know. I am in awe of your skill and the performance you give is wonderful and joyous.

Who are you? Are you a man or a woman? A professional stunt pilot or a pleasure flyer of that pretty red plane? Do you perform for others besides me, or is what I'm seeing just an expression of your own preferences? Read More >>

Music and Aviation

December 10th, 2009


My piece of Let’s Go Flying is about exploring the envelope of aviation.  And this is a little reminder that that envelope isn’t strictly limited to stall speeds and G tolerance.  Sometimes it’s about demonstrating that other instrument rating.

And, by instrument, I mean musical instrument.

I just returned from the convention of the International Council of Air Shows (ICAS) in las Vegas.  Hundreds of men and women who spend the summer flying upside down for the crowds gather in December each year to talk about safety, marketing, organization, and where they’ll fly next summer. Read More >>

Getting Involved with Your Local Airport

October 27th, 2009

Oakland County International Airport (KPTK; "Pontiac")

As an aviation and aerospace podcaster, this is always a unique time of the year for me.  By now, airshow season in the northern United States is over and I usually have a huge pile of content from the season that I can sit back and really think about. 

It’s not that I don’t fly or go after great experiences in the winter (in fact, the Super D gets great hang-time on the hammerheads during the colder weather!), but the pace slows up a little.  Year-end stuff at work is going to keep me out of the sky to some extent and I’m not actively working on any particular rating again until spring.  Many of my fellow aviators and aviation enthusiasts are also scaling back a little, too. Read More >>

Flying the Remos GX – And Why It’s the Conversation that Matters

September 22nd, 2009

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Aviation is always and ever about having new experiences.  And, ideally, sharing those experiences with others.  At Oshkosh, I had the opportunity to fly the Remos GX, a light sport aircraft (“LSA”) manufactured by Remos Aircraft.  And I did it with a group of good friends that ran the gamut of skillsets, missions, and capabilities. Read More >>

Hearts, minds . . . and lunch

August 14th, 2009

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We’re all familiar with the broad efforts by AOPA, EAA, and others to promote general aviation to non-pilot constituencies.  Films like One-Six Right and the upcoming A Pilot’s Story tug at heartstrings.  And merely flying slowly over a neighborhood some severe clear Saturday morning could capture the imaginations of dozens of neighborhood kids. Read More >>

Flying Cole

August 4th, 2009

_MG_1178I’ve been a little quiet here on the blog, but with good excuse. I spent the last couple of keeps either getting ready for AirVenture Oshkosh or being there with tens of thousands of my best friends. But now I can take a little time to reflect on some of the experiences there.

I had the chance to fly a couple of aircraft at the show, the first of which was the Cessna Citation Mustang, Cessna’s single-pilot-certified, 340-knot, six-place very light jet (“VLJ”), and cover the experience for Airspeed.

It was a great demo. Jo Hunter, David Allen, and Rod Rakic shot all kinds of video and stills to supplement the cockpit audio I was recording up front. I’ll have audio and video episodes up soon and I’m excited about getting to the editing workstation. Read More >>

Ignorance is . . . well, ignorance

July 15th, 2009


CBS Story Screen Grab

CBS Story Screen Grab

CBS Evening News ran a report by Sharyl Attkisson on Monday titled Tiny Airports Get Big Cut of Stimulus Cash.  You can check it out at

A half-researched and poorly-understood effort by an editorial team that doesn’t understand the subject matter that it’s covering.  And doesn't seem to care.  And, most disturbingly, it appears not to matter to these folks that the public is likely to take the reporting at face value despite the inaccuracies and innuendo.  This is, after all, CBS News.  I heard once that Walter Cronkite spent some time there.  I could be wrong. Read More >>