Neil H, December 7th, 2012
All pilots and prospective pilots remember the excitement of the first time they got to take the control of an airplane in flight. I recall my "Discovery Flight" when, passing through 1000 feet, the instructor sitting next to me said, "why don't you hold the stick and make a turn to the right." What a student does in this situation says so much about the pilot they will become, even if the whole moment happens subtly. I grabbed the stick with a tight grip, gave it a quick snap to the right, and put the plane in an instant 30 degree bank. Of course, as a novice, the Instructor gave me a, "Whoa there, no need for so much pressure on the control, try doing it gentle like this" as he demonstrated a boring slight bank angle. However, gentle was his style of flying. And not mine. When I am the pilot, I fly the way I want to fly, safely. I want to keep my blood pumping and make every moment exciting, as I'll have plenty of time to relax on the ground. Read More >>
Arty Trost, August 27th, 2012
In late June I had a fabulous flight to the very edge of southeastern Oregon, nearly to the Nevada border. A good friend was throwing a fly-in at his remote high-desert ranch. He has a dirt landing strip and enough space for a dozen or more planes. This would be the first long-distance flight in my re-built Talon. Bob Coombs agreed to make the flight with me in his Titan.
Flying east up the Columbia River Gorge was more of a stomach clencher than usual; I was listening very, very hard to the rhythm of the engine. The 65 horses seemed to be cantering easily together, never breaking stride. Still, it was a relief to come out of the Gorge into eastern Oregon and it’s multitude of landing spots. The easy two hour flight had us landing in Bend (Oregon) to refuel.
From Bend to Burns was payback for the ease of the first leg. It was almost three in the afternoon, and the sun was hot. Thermals bubbled up and flung the Talon every which way. I never felt in danger, but I had to pay serious attention to staying as straight and level as possible. When we landed in Burns (Oregon) both of us were worn out. Even though we had only another 90 minutes of flying to go, we decided to flake out in the air conditioned FBO for a few hours. By the time we were back in the air it was early evening and the air had calmed down. Read More >>
Arty Trost, June 25th, 2012
The alarm went off at 4:30 a.m., and I woke full of optimism, only to hear the rain drip, drip, dripping. Darn! A friend had spent the night and we were hoping to be wheels off at 6:00 a.m., heading to the very tip of southeastern Oregon for a fly-in. Of course, it’s been raining for days, only partially clearing in the last afternoon and early evenings. Yet I had been so hopeful!
My fat-ultralight-type LSA Talon Typhoon has been almost completely rebuilt since last summer’s fiasco. It didn’t have major damage, but the master mechanic and his “elves” as he calls them had taken delight in re-creating the plane. All new wiring, new instrument panel, moving the regulator, the radiator overflow bottle, the battery. And on and on and on. They had such fun doing it, and I was delighted. My old Rotax 582 was toast, so I bit the bullet and bought a new one.
The test flight went flawlessly – except for oil leakage from the exhaust manifold. So that was repaired and then I did another test flight. It’s trimmed out so perfectly that I did two patterns around the Independence (Oregon) airport using only rudder – never touching the stick. Since then I’ve put about 20 hours on the plane, and am ready for a long flight. Read More >>
Arty Trost, May 30th, 2012
FINALLY – the complete, total “rest of the story!” When I last blogged, in April, I wrote how I had an engine failure and landed in a wheat field outside of Custer, MT – upside down. Amazingly, I wasn’t hurt at all – not a single scratch or bruise. And the Talon had minimal damage, but enough to prevent me from flying home. So with the help of my two flying partners, Wayne in a Rans S-14 and Bob in a Titan Tornado, I rented a truck, took the Talon apart and loaded it up, and drove home. Bob and Wayne continued their flight back to Oregon, taking almost as long as I did because of weather. Read More >>
Neil H, April 24th, 2012
Simple answer, no. Flight training is a powerful experience that age cannot intercept. The only setback is the FAA, the DMV of the sky, who sets regulations in place to protect pilots and passengers alike. But there is always a way to get in the front seat and go follow ones dream of learning to fly.
I’ll start by addressing the younger crowd. Get this, to begin flight training, there is no minimum age! To solo a single engine aircraft requires one to be 16 years old minimum.Then, at 17, one becomes an adult in the FAA’s eyes and is able to take a checkride and receive a pilot license. When we think of the younger generation, we tend to generalize this group to be fit and healthy. If this holds true, it will be no problem getting a third class medical certificate from an FAA registered doctor. It’s even said that those who are young learn faster and gain fluent muscle memory with a shorter amount of practice. If you can’t wait until you’re 16 to mark your first pilot in command solo flight, you can solo a glider at just 14! Doing anything alone at these young ages is a feat that deserves recognition, especially something many are so passionate about like flying an aircraft. If you’re old enough to comprehend this, you’re ready to learn how to land a plane. But, if one or ones parents disagree, home flight simulation on a computer is a lot of fun and believe it or not, it aids in learning the physics of flight. Read More >>
Arty Trost, April 9th, 2012
I haven’t blogged in quite a while – and got several notes from readers who said “Don’t leave us hanging! What’s the end of the story?” My strong apologies and an explanation. My sister has lung cancer and it metastasized to her brain. I flew overseas to be with her and was gone for almost two months. I didn’t have any energy for blogging. She’s been discharged to hospice care and so we’re in a limbo, waiting. Thankfully, she’s in no pain. It was very hard leaving, knowing that I’ll probably never see her alive again.
What type of segue sentence can move from that last paragraph to picking up the story of my flight home from Oshkosh? Nothing that I can think of, so I’ll just dive in.
At the end of my last blog entry, I wrote how I’d had a forced landing in a field in Custer, WY. I was more annoyed than frightened when the engine quit. I’ve done dead sticks before, and in this case I was over wonderful landing spots: lots of wheat fields. I set up for a glide to a particularly large field, and brought her down nice and slow and straight, aligned with the pattern of the plowing. (You can tell that by looking at the edges of the fields.) I felt pretty good as my wheels started to touch the tops of the wheat – and was absolutely astounded when I suddenly found myself upside down, hanging from my harness, my face tickled by wheat! Read More >>
Arty Trost, January 31st, 2012
After a week at Oshkosh, we were ready to head home. The first day out, we had a steady headwind of about 6-10 mph and averaged 60-65 mph over the ground. (At least that's what Wayne and I did - Bob as usual zipped along much more quickly.) My Talon was so perfectly trimmed out that when I was trying to remove one sectional from the rubber bands around my right thigh (the way I keep my sectional in sight in my open cockpit aircraft) to get to the underlying sectional and both sectionals suddenly sprung free - I grabbed for them, totally taking both hands off throttle and stick. Caught them - and suddenly realized that the plane was just flying along straight and level with absolutely no rudder or stick inputs. Yeah! Read More >>
Arty Trost, January 20th, 2012
What can I say about Oshkosh- the largest airshow in the world? (Although the sponsoring organization, the Experimental Aircraft Association, calls it AirVenture, everyone calls it Oshkosh.)
First, there were planes, planes and more planes. People come to see the planes, and there were thousands of planes. I heard that over 10,000 planes fly in and during the week it is the busiest airport in the world! Hundreds of RVs (the planes, not the camping vehicles,) hundreds of Cessnas, hundreds of everything, it seemed. Read More >>
Arty Trost, December 13th, 2011
Landing at EAA AirVenture on Monday, July 26 was SUCH a thrill! The largest air show in the world!
The turf runway slowed me down nicely and as I taxied up to the “gate” to the ultralight area, a volunteer sped up on a small scooter. Unfortunately, I had no way to alert the helpful volunteers that my brakes had failed 4 days previously and I hadn’t been able to fix them. He came a little too close to my wing, probably assuming that I’d brake, and I promptly took off his left mirror! Lots of apologies all around, and then I had lots of folks helping me push the Talon to a parking spot near Bob and Wayne. (There’s a strict “no engines on” rule in the tie-down area.). Read More >>
Arty Trost, November 29th, 2011
Leaving Wyoming was such a relief! We were tired of fighting the wind, high density altitude, (12,500’ DA over Cheyenne) and taxiing 10 minutes for take-off on 10,000’ runways. Although the hills of South Dakota were gnarly, there was a feeling that we’d left the worst behind. Read More >>