Save Tangier, Please!

Re-post from last year.



Okay, by now I have been to Tangier multiple times.

I even got the coveted VA Ambassador Stamp last October. As it happens although our original plan was to fly to Ocracoke Island and First Flight airport, we had to change our plans due to my school schedule.

Instead, we ended up flying to Tangier again on an  impromptu flight with the flight out group (FOG)  on Sunday. Five aircraft with 14 people ended up at Tangier for lunch at Lorraine’s this holiday weekend. There was much camaraderie, hanger flying, and excellent flying, since the weather was perfect, and  the airspace clear.

Tangier on the other hand is still doing none the better since obviously, whatever anyone says and does, it will disappear one day.  We might be okay calling it fake news, ignore climate change and science, and live in a world of alternate facts.

But nature in the end always wins.

Just this past week, Shelly Island appeared.

This is what we saw when we were in Tangier back in October 2016.

Ultimately, we all pay for our mistakes.

Hopefully, we realize our mistakes, and do something about it, before it is too late!



The Twilight of Tangier
Belief’s won’t save Tangier
Trump tells Tangier Mayor not to worry about sea-level rise
Save Tangier Island
Trump’s call fuels fund raiser

Note: All photos courtesy of Gert.

New Year’s Resolutions

I always like to have a plan for the New Year.

Health, weight loss and fitness are always on the agenda. But, I also like to plan some fun and cool stuff, like flying, traveling and more. As I pointed out, last year was a bummer, since I did so little fun flying, even though I did some flight training towards my CPL and even retook the FAA Commercial Knowledge test. I hoped to complete my CPL, but that was not to be. I didn’t quite finish my first novel either.

Come 2016, I know I am going to be swamped with school work. This time, I hope to do as much fun flying as I can afford, continue to write my novel, and maybe even attempt to complete my CPL.

As for the rest?


What are your New Year’s resolutions?

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.


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!

Commemorating My Very First Flight

The very first entry in my log book reads: Intro Flight.

Sixteen years and one month ago from today, I flew my very first flight: Aug 19, 1998. I flew a total of 0.7 hrs in a Cessna 152.

But much before this, I flew in a glider a few years ago. Although I have yearned and thought about flying since I was a teenager, I didn’t imagine or realize it was possible! I flew in a glider with a friend much before I finally decided, I could afford to learn to fly.

It was not until 2 years later that  I could seriously afford the cost of flying.

Since then there was no looking back!

Here’s to a lot more years of flying!

First Love

If you had an aircraft you love to fly, which one is it?

DCF 1.0

Several years ago, I started to think about an aircraft I would love to buy. There was a time, I aggressively researched aircraft. For the kind of flying I do, VFR in VMC with occasional IFR in IMC, a 4-seat single engine is amply sufficient. The Cessna 172 or Piper Warrior or Archer are excellent trainers. In addition, the Arrow is perfect for a complex rating. I have flown in them often. But did I want to buy one of them?

Those days, the Cirruses and the Diamonds were fairly new. The C172 G1000 was just released. So used aircraft of this kind were rarely available, if not expensive.

Understanding the differences between performance, range, endurance and fun factor, my choice of aircraft was  the American Grumman Tiger. I searched, researched,  and even came close to buying one. If only, my mechanic had not found so many defects with it!

I still hope to own an aircraft one day soon… considering how much my flying has increased the last 2-3 years, I think ownership or fractional ownership is warranted. Flight schools are great for renting. One does not need to worry about maintenance or repair. But considering the too strict rules for currency and paper trail, minimum rental hours requirement, the prolonged planning requirement to procure an aircraft for a day, I have often thought  in recent times of ownership–fractional or otherwise. Who would want to pay for a minimum 3.5 hours irrespective of the actual time flown on a weekend, just to keep an aircraft for more than 5 hours!

Where is the fun of the $100 hamburger, if you need to rush back so as not to pay extra time, even if you did not fly it?  Where is the fun, if you need to plan a month ahead to keep the aircraft for a day? And for all you know, you might be weathered in? I love to do some just fun flying, that might or might not happen based on the availability of rental aircraft.

So I ask, if you could, what aircraft would you like to own?

Surprisingly enough, I was thinking of the American Grumman Tiger again. It’s different. It’s fun. It’s less common. Having test flown it, I realized I still would love to own one. It is interesting to see, there is a G1000 version of the Grumman Tiger.

Or maybe a Stearman…

So I ask again, if you could own, what aircraft would you like to own?

New Year’s Day Flight… Just like that!

Waking up this morning, I saw that it was going to be a gorgeous New Year’s Day: sunny and in the 50’s. How could I let it pass?

photo 3

I always feel a sense of inner peace, whenever I fly solo. But considering the cost of flying, I rarely do it anymore. I am glad, I made the exception today and made the trek out to the airport for a short, scenic flight over the Virginia skies.. Just like that!

photo 2The air was calm, and the airways almost silent. I took off in my favorite aircraft and headed west. It was sunny and clear. Being winter, there were dashes of green here and there, amidst the bare trees. The Shenandoah hills off to the west, looked bare with not a speck of white: for we haven’t had any visible accumulation this year so far.

photo 1It was a glorious winter’s day to be up in the air with no aim, no destination in mind, but just the sheer joy of flying!

photo 4

Looks like 2014 is off to a good start….

Inspired by Best Presidential Biographies I even got started on my very first Presidential biography  – Ron Chernow’s Washington: A Life. Don’t forget to have some Hoppin’ Johns for good luck in the New Year.

Have a Very Happy New Year!

Reunion Flight with M^2

Seems like Old Times

“Cutlas 02B, cleared R29, straight out”

We were off, with familiar sights ahead of us: pristine blue skies, three stacks, Morro Rock and the wide blue ocean.

Straight out, as we departed runway 29 and headed straight for the ocean, following highway 1. Off somewhere to the left, was my home, when I last lived in these parts. It was clear and calm, with unlimited visibility. The sky blended into the ocean and the Cuesta Ridge, Irish Hills, Islay Hills, and Bishop Peak, were all clearly visible. The lack of rains and drought, had rendered the hills brown. Yet, the clear blue skies and turquoise blue Pacific Ocean, provided uninterrupted and unending vistas.


We headed out to the ever familiar Morro Rock, before turning towards North, hugging the coastline. The three stacks clearly visible as was the Morro Rock. We traced the coastline following the Cabrillo Highway past Estero Bay and further north to San Simeon. Circling Hearst Castle is something every pilot did in the Central Coast. Talk about circling about a point!


We headed out further north to Point Pedras, circling the lighthouse, before turning south, keeping the coastline to our left and heading back, looking for seals.  For old times sake, I had opted to shoot the ILS R11 approach in VFR conditions. We headed straight for CREPE intersection, while I attempted to re-familiarize myself with flying an instrument approach procedure without an on board GPS, using ILS and VOR only.


Once I got the handle of things, the approach itself was fairly straight-forward. Leveling off a little before HASBY intersection  at 1,200 ft, I circled and set up for downwind 29 with short approach. Landing on R29 brought back fond memories of the innumerable landings I had made here…


I learnt to fly in SLO. The last time I flew with my primary flight instructor Michelle G was back in 2002. The last time I flew with my friend Michelle TG was back in 2005 and the absolute last time I flew here was back in April 2009 when I got my BFR and helped paint the Compass Rose!


m2Good to be back in the air with M^2 in familiar territory.

imageGood to be home!

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Some photographs by Michelle Torres Grant