Monday Musings: Unable


Four years ago…

Miami Center, can we get direct Ft. Pierce,” I asked eying the ominous looking dark clouds at our 12 o’clock.
“Unable for the next 10 minutes. Maintain heading,” responded Miami Center.

We had departed Bimini, our final halt in the Bahamas before heading back to the States. It was cloudy and IMC along the Florida Coast and we had filed an IFR flight plan for the return.  Bimini is a mere 10nm miles from the Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ ) and with luck, we had circled as we climbed to altitude and after multiple attempts, finally established radio contact with Miami Center. This was not only crucial since we were in-bound, crossing the ADIZ, but also because weather along our route was mostly IMC.

We proceeded as directed, continuing to watch the rapidly approaching weather system, straight ahead. When is the best time to tell the controller I am unable to follow his directive, I pondered. The system ahead looked turbulent and moisture laden. It is not fun heading into this mess in a Cessna 172. But I was also curious to see how it felt, how I would handle it, and understand my limits. Fortunately, just as we started penetrating the mess, Miami Center, cleared us direct to Ft. Pierce, so we could avoid the system.

Unable might seem like a taboo word, something you should never use or one you feel affronted to use since it admits a weakness of some sort or some such frivolous reason, but believe it or not it is the most effective word in your pilot lingo that might just save the day.

Continue to read here.

Gone Flying?


Four years ago…

Gone Flying Part 2: Joy of Tailwheel Flying

I’ll run my hand gently over the wing of a small airplane and say to him, “This plane can teach you more things and give you more gifts than I ever could.  It won’t get you a better job, a faster car, or a bigger house.  But if you treat it with respect and keep your eyes open, it may remind you of some things you used to know — that life is in the moment, joy matters more than money, the world is a beautiful place, and that dreams really, truly are possible.”  And then, because airplanes speak a language beyond words, I’ll take him up in the evening summer sky and let the airplane show him what I mean.

–Lane Wallace, ‘Eyes of A Child’ – Flying Magazine

goneflying

Potomac Airfield is nestled amid a sprawling residential neighborhood. When you first come upon it, it feels surreal. The neighborhood ceases to exists in your mind. All that remains is a simple and idyllic airfield. Your mind may leap back to recapture that era of bygone days when barnstorming was the norm… flying was simple and easy, without rules or a care in the world.

Continue to read here.

How it all began


Re-post from 2002. Looking forward to Airventure 2018!

50 years of Airventure

Finally this year, I had the opportunity to attend Airventure 2002. It was well worth the effort to travel to Oshkosh, Wisconsin. We arrived in Oshkosh on Friday afternoon. The place was brimming with people and with luck we found a decent site to pitch tent and settle in.  Camp Scholler is not only a fun place to camp but is also very close to the action, within walking distance to the airport and the airshow. There are shuttle buses that operate on a regular basis between the campground, the entrance to the airshow, seaplane base and the EAA Museum.

This year marked the 50th anniversary of Airventure. It is estimated that more than 750,000 attended this year; an estimated 10,000 aircraft were flown with a total of 2503 showplanes.  This year’s air show performances included among others:

  • Spectacular performance by the Liberty Parachute team, well orchestrated descent to the singing of the Star Spangled Banner
  • Splendid performance by Julie Clark accompanied to a fireworks display
  • Ethereal performance by Manfred Radius in his sailplane beautifully synchronized to music that soothes the soul
  • Is this for real?  Is that really a woman on my wing? Bob and Pat Wagner in their wing walking act.
  • The most incredible airpower of all – a demonstration of the Harrier II, a Vertical Take-off and Landing aircraft (VTOL)  that can hover
  • Performances by Patty Wagstaff though not as spectacular as anxiously awaited owing to weather. But hey she did go up and do some of her tricks!
  • Masterful performances by Sean Tucker in his Oracle Challenger II.
  • Mike Mancuso finding new heights to flying. If it can be done, he can do it dare-devil act.
  • The War birds of America had a daily extended show. The most spectacular was the recreation of “Wall of fire”
  • Daily racing by the Aeroshell team in their T-6’s

22_19A

14_12 19_16A
Airventure Oshkosh is a must see event. It is the place once a year that aviation enthusiasts converge. With shows, workshops, booths, aircraft displays, dare-devil aerobatics and best of all the people who make it all happen. With most people it is a tradition. People come year after year to share the joy of flying.

There are other places to see and visit if you are in the Madison area. One such place is Taliesin built by renowned architect Frank Lloyd Wright.
26_24 23_21 15_13
If you have never been to Oshkosh, Wisconsin, visit  http://www.airventure.org and start planning for your trip in 2003 now. From what I hear all the best places are all gone early. But you will always find a campsite at Camp Scholler.

Yes!


Words on Wednesdays

Finally, semester is over! I took my last class, passed the QE, and can finally say I am ABD 🙂Unlike last year, when I planned and flew to Hudson River & Montauk Point in April 2017

Or the previous year, when I planned and went down to Australia & New Zealand in April 2016,

Or the previous year, when I planned a trip to the National Museum of the USAF in April 2015,Or the previous year, when I planned and flew to Sun & Fun in April 2014,
I am free to once again start planning … OSH!

I am also planning a repeat of Douthat State Park and a whole lot of flying once I get current again.

And of course more down under.

Stay tuned as Flynthings picks up where it left off last fall and takes to the skies again.

The possibilities are immense!

Some Interesting Statistics


As 2016 winds down, here are some fun stats. I do maintain a cooking blog, although my flying blog is my primary blog.

I have been blogging since 2001 in other sites such as yahoo, geocities and blogspot. I moved my blog to WordPress sometime in 2010 with 30 prior posts.

flynthings_stats2016

It wasn’t until some time in late 2012, that WordPress started to track visitor statistics. It wasn’t also unitl 2012-2013 that I increased the frequency of posts. So it is reasonable that as the frequency of posts increased, the number of views increased, steeply initially, more gradually this past year.

The top 5 countries from which the visitors viewed the posts, with the majority of them (~82% from USA):

USA
India
Canada
UK
France

Here are the top 5 posts/pages  that were visited in 2016:

Flying to the Bahamas in the C172The Bahamas
The Bahamas
Point-to-point Navigation
Indian Woman Pilots
$500 Vegeburger

2014 Year in Review


Can’t believe it is already end of December,  2014 sped by too quickly.

If 2013 was incredible, 2014 was even better.

I love to sneak in a flight on New Year’s Day when I can, which was rather easy to do back in California, but not always possible out east.

2014 is the exception during the last five years. Weather was gorgeous and Just like that I hopped on a plane and flew. January was also the time to prepare for the upcoming Bahamas flight and I got both, IFR and night current.

cat2February was all about the Bahamas. None had any misgivings about leaving behind the arctic chill and spending a few days in a Tropical Paradise! This year 9 airplanes and 22 people made it there, not without some misadventures with IMC conditions and bingo daylight operations. Only VFR operations are allowed at almost all the Bahamas airports. This year, I landed at 8 airports on 8 different islands.

exumas2March means Spring and Springing forward to longer days and warmer weather.  The weather last winter was confused and lost. First it was cold and then it was warm unable to decide what it wanted to be. Four days before the official arrival of Spring, it snowed. The arctic chill continued through most of March, delaying the Cherry Blossoms.

But bloom they did eventually!

cb4April is the time to put winter behind. Days are finally lengthening, Green is everywhere as the Earth rejuvenates and springs to life. This year, I made it to my first Sun ‘n Fun event. Almost lost control of the aircraft, flying low and very slow behind an even slower tailwheel. Fortunately all ended well. I also got the opportunity to visit DCA Tower. While I have attended several Class D airport towers, this was my first Class B airport tower visit. We even got to witness two honor flights from the catwalk!

dca2I was preoccupied with Loss of Control (LOC) in flight, i.e. since Sun and Fun, and coincidentally in May NTSB hosted a day of several seminars on the topic. Incidentally NTSB, FAA, AOPA, SAFE, and Aviation Safety have chosen LOC as the primary focus area for GA Safety. Currently LOC remains the chief reason for most GA accidents. May was also the month, we revisited the birthplace of Aviation: Kitty Hawk.

ffa12In June I decided to rejuvenate my love for tail wheel flying and started flying the Citabria at Potomac Airfield. The  Citabria is a fun aircraft to fly and Potomac Airfield, a neat little field tucked inside a residential neighborhood and inside the FRZ.  Flying tailwheel again and learning aerobatics is something I have thought about since I obtained my PPL.

goneflying1End of July and early August is always about Airventure and Oshkosh. It was fun to fly-in again spend more time at Oshkosh this year. This years fun ride was a  helicopter ride out of  Pioneer airport.

Womenventure2014It was in August, that several of us decided to get serious about the Virginia Ambassador Program with an aim to fly and land at most VA airports.September continued with more fun flying the Citabria, doing aerobatics and some really Grass landings!

homecoming1October, the weather messed us up again. I didn’t fly at all. We almost thought we would make it to Niagara, but failed, yet again. I volunteered for my first AOPA event. While we didn’t get a chance to fly, we drove and picked up four more stamps: 2 airports and 2 museums.

IMG_0643November was terrific! I flew both the tailwheel and with the group for more VA stamps. And finally took the plunge to start writing my first novel. I challenged myself to 50,000 words during NaNoWriMo and didn’t quite succeed, but still had a blast and hope to continue writing at my own pace till I finish, sometime in 2015.

panorama2We  have been having ups and downs with weather. December continued the roller coaster ride.  I made the trek to KSC for another rocket launch. I finally got my tailwheel sign-off, more stamps and finalized new goals for 2015 (not all flying)  and beyond!

Have a very Happy New Year and all the Best Wishes for 2015!

This and That


Winter is not yet here, but my flying attempts have been floundering lately. I planned, re-planned and hoped to succeed in organizing a Niagara Flyout this year, but failed yet again. Good thing we had a backup plan in place. We got to drive to several museums and core airports to collect stamps instead  in October.  Our plan to do more stamp collecting failed, yet again, in late October. Forecast called for high winds, and we decided to cancel. Although, several attended Chili Night at the airport for some hanger flying and firming up of plans for the upcoming Bahama Flyout.

d1

The Citabria, has been down for maintenance most of October, so I didn’t get to fly it much. It is finally online again, and I hope to get in some flying, before winter closes in. Travel, winds, weather and more, fingers crossed on this one!

goneflying1November and in fact the winter months seem to be a perfect time to strengthen my writing skills and work on my novel. There is much research work needed and much  work in  sharpening my writing skills, to achieve a reasonable work of fiction worth publishing. This is exciting, since I have thought about this often, but never taken action.

HeroesI didn’t fly in October although,  it is the one month, I typically plan some exotic flying destination.  My life revolves around Aviation. I literally think flying 16 hours of the day. Not all about my flying 🙂

I’ve been busy, and that is always excellent news.

We have another stamp collecting flight planned in November weather permitting. The days have gotten shorter and the weather unpredictable. Lately the weather (or forecast weather) has been off a lot, making it difficult to plan, and ultimately to execute our plans.

Have a good one!

NaNoWriMo


I’ve loved history, literature and philosophy since I was thirteen.

I was thirteen, when my English teacher praised the short story, I submitted, as part of my home work. That moment inspired me to consider writing. I was already fascinated to learn about histories of the world and the great leaders it produced. I’ve always been better with organizing my thoughts  with cohesion and  writing them down, as opposed, to verbally expressing them. Since then, on and off, I have dabbled with writing, but never with any seriousness.

The year I got my private pilot license, was the next trigger that propelled me towards writing – to record my flying adventures and write about my experiences. That was the year, that I officially started Fly ‘ n  Things.  That was the year, I started out as the Newsletter editor for the SLO99s.

Since then, I have contributed several articles in Newsletters, SLO99s Slipstream; Santa Clara Chapter 99s  Windsock; Southwest Section Newsletter Southwesterly; 99s Magazine; Aviatrix AerogramNo Map No Guide No Limits;  and even a brief stint as a free lance blogger for the very short-lived Forbes Wheels Up Blog.

National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) kicks off on November 1st. This year, I’ve decided to get serious, and to take my writing to the next level. I am committing myself to write 50,000 words towards my first novel(s) during NaNoWriMo. I have at least three very different books in mind. This is a terrific way, towards achieving one of my buckletlist items:  write a novel.

If not anything else it should be a lot of fun!

Six more to the list :-)


Virginia Aviation Ambassador Program

Although I heard about the VA Aviation Ambassador Program 2-3 years ago and got started on it, I haven’t been diligent about carrying my book and collecting the stamps.

A few months ago, a few of got talking about it and discussed the idea of planning some group trips together so we could enjoy the joy of flying, collect stamps, hanger fly and grab a $100 ham(veg) burger as well. We were serious about this and even set a goal of finishing the task by summer 2016.

jfw_fogmess_chart

Although it hasn’t always worked out as planned (See Fly the Five), we have continued to pursue the stamp collection either individually or as a group. It is a lot of fun and I am all for putting my mark on an airport by landing there.

Although the weekend looked promising, the day started out Low IFR with mist and overcast skies at 200ft. But as noon arrived, the fog burned away and it was one of those rare, clear, blue sky days in the Mid-Atlantic. The high pressure area meant haze, still it was an excellent end of summer day for a flight.

Although we had hoped to grab some lunch at Williamsburg, before scouring some neighboring airports for stamps, due to the late departure, Linda and I re-planned and sort out 5 new airports where we still hadn’t collected stamps.

Gordonsville (GVE) — Oh-Oh, small, narrow runway! We greased it first attempt 🙂 If you are there weekends, there is BBQ and hot dogs, courtesy of locals who just enjoy pottering about their airplanes, hanger flying and chatting up the visitors! Stamps are in the Mailbox, if you don’t see anyone.

Louisa County Airport (LKU)— We just missed the airshow, but we were lucky the airport was back open. Nice FBO. Did I say hot dogs? With airshow and locals enjoying aviation, there were hot dogs for buying.

Lake Anna (7W4) — Another small runway, but I am proud to say we made it a short landing! No soul to chat, but stamps in the mail box. Lake Anna is a fun place to hang out if you have friends with boats (See Fast Boats, Slow Planes). There is a fun restaurant on the lake but you need a ride either in a car or a boat!

Shannon (EZF)– Nice airport, with new owner and a soon to be there snack bar, in the next few weeks. Just outside the SFRA, check it out in a month or so…

Stafford (RMN)– Nice big runway, new terminal building and a new flight school all waiting to increase the aviation activity there. Stafford is also just outside the SFRA.

Manassas (HEF)– Nice airport, FBO, flight schools. No cafe on the field, but a short drive away, there are some restaurants. There is Hertz rent-a-car on the field. Towered and inside SFRA.