In 1939, FDR proclaimed and congress codified August 19th National Aviation Day. It marks the anniversary of Orville Wrights birthday and each year allows the sitting President to proclaim August 19th, National Aviation Day.
Events are organized by airports, aviation organizations and associations across the US. It’s the day to spread your wings and go fly. Or visit a museum, watch an aviation themed movie, take an intro lesson or just go fly, hang out at an airport plane spotting, read an aviation themed book, or build a plane. It’s a day to celebrate.
It has been one thousand two hundred and forteen days since my last flight at the controls, not counting that Low and Slow Flight over Cape Canaveral back in January 2020. Back in 2011, I thought 4 months was too long. This is the first time, I missed a BFR (back in 2020), since I started flying. Happy to be back in the air for my flight review. Will take a few flights to feel normal again. But excited to be back at the controls after the long hiatus.
Happy National Aviation Day!
Thinking about the Palms to Pines Airrace…
A trip down memory lane
It was a cold winter day- sunny, but cold. The preflight briefer warned that it was going to be clear, but cold, with headwinds all the way up the Sacramento Valley. Lower is better he reiterated. Decision time was nearing. Go or no go? It has been so long since I had flown alone, I racked my brain to remember when last I had flown solo. Since getting my instrument rating, I have always had another pilot along, so I could fly an approach and stay instrument current. This flight though had to be done solo.
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Flying the Hudson River Corridor Exclusion
“First will be xxxx aircraft, then John in xxxx will follow on and next will be…” continued Bob from our flight school, who had planned the whole flyout to the last minute detail.
I wondered how in the world we were going to keep the order straight leave alone spot the aircraft in front of us. Countless times ATC gives traffic warnings routinely. Only on a rare occasion am I ever able to spot the traffic. Often, I rely on ATC to tell me that I was clear of the traffic or to provide me deviations to avoid the traffic.
Maybe it will all work out, I thought.
Being on a C172 and in no hurry to exit the Hudson river corridor, I and my passengers opted to fly second last.
Continue to read here.
This past weekend marked 10 years since I moved my blog to WordPress back in October 2010. Here is a fun flight from 2010 to commemorate the joy of flying from November 2010. Enjoy!
Island Hopping in the Keys
I had been mentally planning this trip for almost a year. Since last December to be precise. So when the opportunity arose to visit Florida I went prepared: logbook, medical and pilot’s license in hand. The checkout at the local flight school was a breeze. An hour in the air and I was licensed (again) to fly in Florida.
It was a little closer to 10 o’clock the next day, when my friends and I set off. I had reviewed the route with my instructor the previous day. My instructor had indicated the previous day that the coastline clearance to transit Fort Lauderdale International Airport (KFLL) was usually at 500 ft. As expected, we departed straight out on runway eight out of Fort Lauderdale Executive (KFXE) and headed straight for the coast. I leveled off below a 1000ft. Once at the coast and cleared to transit the KFLL Class Charlie airspace we headed southwest at 500 ft.
The Class Bravo airspace of Miami airspace adjoins the Class Charlie airspace of Fort Lauderdale. With scattered clouds hovering above 2000 ft, flying around 1000 feet fortunately kept us out of the Class Bravo airspace and provided enough clearance from the clouds. We traced the coastline all the way to Homestead Air Force Base then followed highway 1 past North Key Largo, Key Largo, Isla Morada, Indian Key, Duck Key and Marathon Key. Tracing the highway all the way to Key West was the safest route for a single engine airplane.
Continue to read here.
My first glimpse was from the observation lounge of the Pacific super liner as it winded around the curve past the California Men’s Colony into the city of San Luis Obispo. Nestled in the valley approximately midway between San Francisco and Los Angeles, away from the maddening crowd yet within easy distance, San Luis Obispo or SLO as the locals fondly call it, is a small campus town of 40000 plus inhabitants mostly students, and staff of the nearby CalPoly (California Polytechnic State University) and retirees.
Founded in 1772, it is one of California’s oldest colonies. Famous for its Mission San Luis and Thursday night Farmer’s Market. Where Jamba Juice, was first established as the Juice Club and aviation legend Burt Rutan went to college. Home of the eccentric Madonna Inn established by Alex Madonna, I Madonnari Italian street painting festival (usually hosted in September) and Bubble Gum Alley.
To me it is and will always be Home Sweet Home!
San Luis Obispo airport (SBP) offers convenient access to residents and visitors to/from the central coast to Los Angeles, San Francisco and Phoenix. It is also a full service general aviation airport with several FBO on the field. If flying in from northern or southern California the coastal route is the most scenic. Flying south from the Monterrey coast affords spectacular views of the Big Sur coast, Hearst Castle and Moro Rock. Approaching from the south along the Santa Barbara coastline be aware of the restricted areas surrounding the Vandenberg Air Force Base and the flight restrictions over the Diablo Canyon nuclear power plant.
The Spirit of San Luis on the field provides excellent cuisine options for that $100 hamburger. General aviation pilots can park right outside the restaurant near the base of the control tower. Outside as well as inside seating provides marvelous views of arriving and departing aircraft. If you like me fancy rating landings, take an outside seat! For the more adventurous, ride into town for an array of dining choices in downtown SLO.
Drive 40 miles north along the pacific coast freeway to tour the famous Hearst Castle in San Simeon, designed by architect Julia Morgan for the newspaper magnate William Randolph Hearst. Morro Bay, just 10 miles north of SLO provides spectacular views of the setting sun. Take a tour of the Morro Bay Aquarium and dine at one of the many seafood places. Or drive south to Avila Bay or Pismo Beach for an afternoon on the beach. The multitude of activities listed in my previous blog on Oceano Airport, are all possible from SLO.
“We’re going to stall the and not recover” said my instructor Kurt.
“Okay” said I. Is this for real? I wondered but didn’t say.
“Instead we are going to stop it from tipping over by applying opposite rudder, are you ready?”
I must confess, I was never comfortable with learning stalls, is one ever? But I was willing to try. We were up in the air in a Citabria for my first tail wheel lesson over the gorgeous California coastline, a few miles southwest of SBP. Down below, I could see scores of people enjoying another beautiful day in the central coast: sun bathing, surfing, wind surfing, boating, ATV riding, horseback riding, running or simply sitting back with their favorite book.
Soon with throttle eased back, and nose pitched high we were poised for a stall. No stall warning in this aircraft… hope I can recognize when it stalls! Before long, I could feel the mushiness and impending stall. Stalls in a Citabria compared to a Cessna 172 are feather-like, gentle, and almost non-existent. “Right rudder” shouted my instructor. And we were off dancing with the rudder pedals. First right, then left, preventing the aircraft from tipping over.
This was way too much fun! I could really start to like this stuff.
After I got my PPL, there were many a time when I would show up at the airport for a quick flight early in the morning before heading out to work or in the evening for a sunset flight. Living in a small campus town, close to the airport made this sort of thing easy.
Just an hour or so, flying along the coast, first heading west, then turning north, swinging around the Morro Rock, peering at the waves, the beach goers, the surfers and the rising or setting sun, following the coast up north towards the Hearst Castle.
Looping around Hearst Castle. Swinging by Piedras Blancas, before heading back south. Through San Simeon Bay, back over Morro Beach, and continuing south to Avila Beach, Pismo Beach and Oceano before heading back home.
What a fantastic flight, just like that!
“A Mediterranean resort off the coast of Southern California”
Now that my Instrument training was finally over, I was ready for new adventures. The past few months had been hectic and nerve racking. Instrument training is very demanding and I am glad that, it is finally behind me. Browsing through “Fun places to fly in California” I thought I may as well start with the first airport listed there, which happened to be Avalon. I have wanted to fly to Avalon for sometime now. I had been under the misapprehension that I needed some kind of checkout prior to attempting to fly there. As it turned out, the flying club I rented from had no such restriction.
So it happened, that my friend Michelle and I set out from SBP airport one fine September morning. Low clouds and fog had laced the morning skies over SBP rendering the airspace IFR but this was not a cause of concern for me. The weather south was already clear all the way to Catalina island. By the time we set out at 10 am though, the fog had already lifted denying me an opportunity to depart in actual IFR. The skies were clear, which meant another perfect day for flying. The plan was to shoot my first GPS approach at Avalon in the 2004 C-172 I was flying, which contained MFD, autopilot and all the latest shebang. It was only the second time I was flying the aircraft and I had never flown a GPS approach before, but Michelle was there to help me through.
Continue to read here.
Note: A version of this appeared on Forbes Wheels Up here.
“Memories of my very first flight!”
When Les asked me if I wanted to go flying that weekend, of course I jumped at the chance. Having never been in the air in a small plane, I was excited and exhilarated at the prospect of being airborne.
After all, wasn’t this my dream?
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