Archive

The Whole Enchilada

This is a complete reverse chronological archive of all posts at the House of Rapp going back to May of 1997. The entries from 1994-1997 have, mercifully, been lost.

You might also be interested in a list of the most popular posts. Or, if you’re looking for something specific, try the search box at the bottom of the page.


  • April 3, 2014 - No matter how dog-eared and scuffed it may get, an aviator's logbook is invariably one of his or her most prized possessions, the decimal-based journal of a life lived in the clouds. Yet in this venerated document, there's one quirky column which lacks appreciation and respect even among pilots; every logbook on the market has a space for this data, yet virtually no one uses it beyond primary training. It's a shame, because it records one of the purest forms of flying.


  • March 30, 2014 - General aviation desperately needs stability. Instead, we are faced with a governmental Lernaean Hydra, an organism essentially at war with itself. One part of this mythic creature offers us reduced regulation and cost, while the other threatens to smash whole segments of the GA ecosystem into oblivion. This is NOT government of, by, or for the people.


  • March 27, 2014 - AOPA and EAA suggested a slight expansion of the sport pilot medical exemption. Congress got a hold of that idea and took it to the next level, and is considering eliminating formal medical certification for most private pilots. Is this too good to be true? How did we get here? And what does it mean for GA's future?


  • March 23, 2014 - Angle-of-bank limitations have been suggested by flight instructors, alphabet groups, pundits, and most recently by Richard Collins of all people. I've touched on this subject before (see Aviation Myth #14), but for some reason the idea keeps rearing it's ugly head that arbitrary bank limits make flying safer. They don't. What they WILL do is make a stall/spin more likely. Here's why.


  • March 20, 2014 - Saint Augustine once declared that the world is a book, and those who do not travel read only one page. While I'm fairly familiar with the tome, one glaring omission in my scholarship had been the the chapter on Scandinavia. Thankfully, the wonderful world of on-demand jet charter provided a northerly flight opportunity last month, so I packed my bag and headed for LAX. The assignment? Airline to Stockholm, hang out for a couple of days, and then fly a Gulfstream to New York.


  • March 4, 2014 - When it comes to cataloging the intriguing travelers one has encountered over the years, few people can rival the improbably tall tales spun by pilots. Obviously it's important to maintain confidentiality in this business, but by removing all identifying information and changing some details, a few entertaining stories can be related. Here are a few of my favorite passenger interactions.


  • February 25, 2014 - The news outlets have been buzzing about a recent spate of wrong-airport landings. Since those have been well-covered by the media, let me tell you about a very memorable wrong-airport landing I personally witnessed at a most unlikely location.


  • February 19, 2014 - I manage to lose sunglasses in the most creative ways possible. I can give you several examples... but there's one story which really takes the proverbial cake.


  • February 12, 2014 - You'll hear all sorts of advice on emergent situations. Some say never rush into anything, others will tell you immediate, decisive action is invaluable. It would be lovely if there was a single "best strategy" for every situation, but like many things in the world of aviation, there are times when one of those responses can save your bacon... and just as many when it might get you killed. The real key is knowing which is which.


  • February 5, 2014 - Flying is a considerably safer today than it was when the NTSB was first established. But the Board's safety recommendations have picked most of the low-hanging fruit over the past ninety years, and the things they suggest nowadays are sometimes divorced from reality because they don't consider the cost their proposed enhancements place on an overburdened industry. Perhaps it's time to change that.


  • February 1, 2014 - Over the past two decades I've traveled all over the country. All over the world, in fact, and my list of favored locations is long indeed. It's hard to beat sitting on the beach next to the Sunset Bar & Grill in St. Maarten. I could spend a month in London taking in shows at the Globe, ENO or the West End. And who could say a cross word about any of the Hawaiian islands? But if I had to choose just one place to call my all-time favorite, it wouldn't even be a contest: it starts and ends with Santa Catalina, one of eight isles in the Channel Islands archipelago which sit just off the Southern California coast.


  • January 26, 2014 - The mid-century era was a wonderful time for design, architecture, and even aviation. Unfortunately, it was also the top of a slippery slope in pilot proficiency which just happens to have coincided with a proliferation of nosewheel designs... and a maddening late 50's advertising campaign by Cessna based on the concept that flying = driving. Every time I see this ad, all I can think is "no, No, NO!" I don't care how many flying cars or roadable airplanes they build, flying will never be anything like driving.


  • January 20, 2014 - When I was a kid in the 1980s, Beech represented some of the most exciting and cutting-edge stuff in the world of flying. For example, the much anticipated -- and highly unsuccessful -- Starship. We came across one recently in the mountains of Colorado, and to my eyes it still looks as sweet as the day I first saw a picture of one on the pages of Flying magazine.


  • January 8, 2014 - Perhaps it's a byproduct of our Type-A personalities, but pilots seem to spend much of their time looking for the Next Big Thing: the larger aircraft, next rating, better job, pay increase, or upgrade. There's nothing wrong with ambition, of course... but if we're not careful, a literal lifetime of flying can pass us by and we'll have been so busy climbing the ladder that we never stopped to enjoy the moment while we were in it. If you are one of the fortunate few who have the power to defy gravity, do yourself a favor in the year to come and stop to smell the roses every now and then.


  • January 6, 2014 - I'm often asked what flying professionally is like. It's not an easy question to answer. A day in the life of a Alaskan fish spotter bears no resemblance whatsoever to that of a cruise pilot on an Airbus A380. The guy in the Gulfstream at Mach .80 isn't in the same league as the one flying the blimp at 40 miles per hour. Each job requires different skills and talents, so it's vital to honestly assess your strengths and weaknesses in order to find the career that best fits you.


  • January 2, 2014 - My wife and I just returned from a fun and relaxing flight along the Southern California coastline in a vintage 1947 Stinson Voyager. It was a perfect start to what will hopefully be a safe and prosperous new year. It also got me thinking about what would make this trip around the sun a positive one for the world of aviation. In the Chinese zodiac, this is the year of the horse. Conservation groups have designated it the year of the salamander. CNN claims it will be the year of the blame game. For aviators, I firmly believe 2014 should be the Year of the Tailwheel.


  • December 17, 2013 - The most common landing procedure used by IFR airplanes is the visual approach. It's fast, efficient, and simple. So why did the crew of Asiana 214 have such a hard time with it on a good clear day? Because quality IFR flying starts with a solid VFR background -- and VFR flying is something ab initio pilots see very little of.


  • December 9, 2013 - A massive Boeing Dreamlifter recently landed at the wrong airport in Wichita. As a pilot, by definition I live in a glass house and will therefore refrain from throwing stones. But the incident does provide a good opportunity to review the perils of what’s known as “expectation bias”, because this phenomenon can bite hard -- if you let it.


  • December 5, 2013 - The Christmas season is upon us, and while it's doubtful I deserve much more than a lump of coal, that hasn't stopped me from salivating over a piece of aviation art from a Torrance-based company called Motoart.


  • December 3, 2013 - The stick-and-rudder skill deficiencies in today's pilots didn't start today. It began years ago when they were learning how to fly. Fixing it will require a journey into the past. It's time to get back to basics, and you won't cover all the bases unless spin training is a central part of the mix.


  • November 19, 2013 - Brazil has long been on my mental "bucket list" of places to visit. Not only is it one of the world's largest countries both geographically and by population -- fifth on both counts -- but it's also the center of attention right now because they are hosting 2014 World Cup and the 2016 Summer Olympics. Then there's the Amazon rainforest; one in ten known species in the world lives in the Amazon, by far the largest collection anywhere. Anyway, recently a two-week trip came up that allowed me to cross this one off my list in the best way possible: on the company dime.


  • November 15, 2013 - Dutch pilot Jaap Rademaker recently landed his Foxbat A-22 on the deck of a new kind of cargo ship which features a completely flat top deck. The resulting video has been making the rounds on the internet, and was recently picked up by AOPA. From the comments posted therein, the prevailing opinion seems to be that Rademaker's landing was an ill-conceived stunt by a low-time pilot with poor judgement. I say it ain't necessarily so.


  • November 13, 2013 - Sunrise Aviation recently announced an annual aerobatic scholarship in memory of Reinaldo Beyer, an outstanding aerobatic pilot, judge, and physician. I think this might be of interest given that my previous post on aviation scholarships has proven to be one of the most popular on the site. I went through a Sunrise aerobatic program after I received my private pilot certificate in 1998, and of all the flying I've logged in the ensuing fifteen years, nothing has done more to increase my skill level, safety, and confidence in the air.


  • November 6, 2013 - In a world full of world records, endurance -- or "time aloft" -- has always fascinated me. Within that realm, there's one particularly compelling story that even many pilots don't know about. The technology used for this record-setting flight was off-the-shelf, unremarkable. The pilots were just ordinary guys. And the aircraft? A plain-vanilla trainer. Yet they set the bar so high that their feat may never be equaled. More than a half century later, nobody's even come close.


  • November 4, 2013 - Several months ago I mused about the how ever-advancing computer technology has led to a marked improvement in simulators for the light GA market. Reader Keith Smith later alerted me to a corresponding service he had developed called PilotEdge. His company's mission is to add a level of realism to the general aviation FTD that not even the multi-million dollar Level D boxes have thus far been able to offer. I was intrigued. What could possible transform an inexpensive Flight Training Device that way? In a word: radios.


  • October 28, 2013 - After forty-seven years of service, the very first Gulfstream jet was recently retired. This aircraft has a unique and fascinating history with the old Grumman Iron Works and her longtime owner. She's been donated to a museum, and I can't help but wonder: when people walk by this historic airplane, will they appreciate what they're looking at?


  • October 11, 2013 - Headsets are the Rodney Dangerfield of aviation. They get no respect -- at least, not until an otherwise pleasant flight is ruined by a throbbing headache brought on by the weight and clamping force exerted by a cheap, beat-up, or poor-fitting unit. I’m fortunate to fly a wide variety of aircraft on a regular basis—it’s one of the things that keeps aviation fresh and exciting—but unfortunately, it also means a big pile of equipment, especially where headsets are concerned. Wouldn't it be great if there was just one headset that worked perfectly in every airplane?


  • October 8, 2013 - Do you ever get the feeling that you were born in the wrong era? I do. It's ironic because I have a natural affinity for computerized devices and other high-tech elements. Nevertheless, they don't hold a candle to the mechanical brilliance and timeless design ethos of vintage aircraft like this 1928 Travel Air biplane.


  • September 28, 2013 - With a student dropout rate of 80%, something's clearly not right in the flight training sector. Cost and CFIs are the usual suspects, but in my opinion there's a third-rail here: the student and their attitude toward training. Those who are more proactive in managing their aviation education seem to be more successful, and here's why.


  • September 16, 2013 - A highly experienced airline captain and ERAU aviation professor has opined that automation management skills should be receiving more focus than basic stick-and-rudder aptitude. Wanna guess what I think of that idea?


  • September 12, 2013 - Flying, when it's done right, has some undeniably artistic aspects. This video reminds me of that airborne "zen" many of us pursue when we're aloft.


  • September 8, 2013 - Whether you're climbing Mt. Denali or just doing a bit of fishing, a trip to Alaska always means "adventure". On this trip, we got a bit more of it than we expected.


  • September 6, 2013 - Physical ability is less important that good judgment when it comes to flying... but there's no denying the impressive skill of groups like Team Aerodynamix. Take a look at this video and I think you'll be hard pressed to disagree.


  • September 1, 2013 - If I had one wish for general aviation, it would be that GA grows and prospers. The big debate is over how to do that! From where I sit it's pretty simple: make it cheaper.


  • August 27, 2013 - Kids still hang out at the airport fence... but that fence is now digital, and goes by names like "Facebook" or "Twitter. Social media is here to stay, and AOPA has jumped in with a new collaborative blog entitled "Opinion Leaders".


  • August 19, 2013 - Father may always know best, but air traffic controllers don't. Yet 14 CFR 91.123 requires compliance with all ATC instructions. So when you're asked to do something kooky, what do you do?


  • August 14, 2013 - Collision avoidance is a deadly serious topic. The FAA considers "see and avoid" an adequate level of safety for most of us. I disagree, and here's why.


  • August 8, 2013 - If you've been aviating long enough, you've probably got a respectable collection of crazy-but-true flying experiences. Here are a few of mine.


  • July 24, 2013 - The FAA may begin allowing non-required crew to fly on Phase One test fights. I think this might be a bad idea... and I'm strongly in favor of allowing it. A contradiction, you say? Not at all...


  • July 11, 2013 - A student of mine does triple duy as pilot, videographer, and narrator on his first aerobatic solo flight.


  • July 9, 2013 - I can't help waxing poetic about one of my favorite weather phenomena, especially after seeing this beautifully crafted time-lapse homage to the famous San Francisco fog.


  • July 4, 2013 - By any measure, general aviation has been on the decline for years in the United States. But I'm convinced the future will be bright -- as long as the industry maintains an entrepreneurial spirit and the ability to accept risk.


  • June 25, 2013 - Learning to fly is a worthy challenge for any individual. When one is married to a CFI, the question arises: should an instructor teach his or her spouse to fly, or is that just asking for trouble?


  • June 20, 2013 - Okay, so you want to pursue flight training but the funds just aren't there. Wouldn't it be great if someone appeared out of thin air with the money you need to achieve your goal? It's not as far-fetched as you might think...


  • June 6, 2013 - My most memorable flight? There are many to choose from, but one of the most indelible was soloing a Pitts biplane for the first time in the unexpectedly high winds of the desert southwest. Here's how it happened.


  • May 31, 2013 - He's off again! This time it's a west bound trip as we circle the Pacific Ocean in first-class, Gulfstream style with stops in Alaska, Japan, and Hawaii.


  • May 30, 2013 - Summer is here, and what better way to start than spending a long weekend exploring the Yosemite Valley! It's not flying, but the view is almost as good.


  • May 22, 2013 - They call Paris the 'City of Light', but the most memorable part of this visit was spent underground in the dark.


  • May 16, 2013 - The FAA is adding new circling radii for some (but not all) approaches. Sounds good on paper, but I can foresee some unintended consequences that might not be too pleasant.


  • May 9, 2013 - Hard to believe I've been in the flying game for 15 years now. Let's take a look back and see how it all started.


  • May 6, 2013 - You can fly in formation... but can you *write* in formation? I join five fellow bloggers as we decide to find out.


  • May 3, 2013 - The Santa Monica city council has set a new low with their recent shellacking of the airport. It's time to stop playing nice and start communicating with them in a language they can clearly understand.


  • April 2, 2013 - To me, flying is The Good Life, even when you're not in the air. Here's a video that says it better than I ever could.


  • April 1, 2013 - Flying is less about physical aircraft control than it is about good judgment. Unfortunately, many of the situations we face as aviators are not cut-and-dried. We'll all get along a lot better if we can remember that.


  • March 29, 2013 - Most of the big technological advances in flying have been in the instrument panel. But now they're starting to make serious strides in the area of flight simulation, and GA stands to reap a huge benefit.


  • March 27, 2013 - Speed-to-fly is a concept traditionally limited to the glider pilots. But the physics apply to all aircraft, and with the advent of computer technology in the cockpit, it's possible to augment the traditional "best glide" speed and truly maximize our engine-out performance.


  • March 21, 2013 - Physical failure of a prop blade or hub in flight is far more likely to kill you than an engine failure. So why do many pilots ignore the relatively infrequent maintenance needed by their constant-speed propeller?


  • March 6, 2013 - The FAA's proposed tower closure list hits Southern California airports particularly hard. Let's look at some numbers and see if this makes sense.


  • February 26, 2013 - I'm often asked if an Instrument Proficiency Check can double as a flight review. Unfortunately, it can't. Here's why.


  • February 22, 2013 - Flying's always an adventure -- especially when it's a coast-to-coast trip in a light aircraft!


  • February 7, 2013 - The Monty Python-esque TSA strike again! In this episode, they confiscate my security badge, lose it, and then fine me for not having it available for renewal.


  • January 29, 2013 - As pilots, it's worth remembering that virtually all aircraft contain computerized devices, even if they're just portable ones. They're everywhere, and they record things that can come back to haunt us later.


  • January 25, 2013 - AOPA just published an article and video about some tailwheel flying I did with Managing Editor Alyssa Miller to complete her tailwheel endorsement.


  • January 17, 2013 - There's not much left of the old aerospace manufacturing sector in Southern California. But while we are unlikely to return to the frenetic activity of the post-war era, there are a few interesting developments taking place around the Southland.


  • January 14, 2013 - A guy intentionally fires multiple shotgun blasts at a landing biplane and gets a year of probation for it. I can't help but wonder what the penalty would be if it was a car instead of an aircraft. Could it be that we have a double standard here?


  • January 13, 2013 - A friend and I get the royal treatment at Sunstone Winery, the boutique vineyard with the tiny little shack on the hill.


  • January 2, 2013 - You got drunk and puked on New Year's Eve. I went to Hawaii. Let's call it even.


  • December 7, 2012 - St. Maarten was so much fun that after returning to Los Angeles, I flew right back to the Caribbean for a week's vacation on the island of St. Thomas.


  • November 25, 2012 - It's a tough job, but someone's gotta do it! A photographic tour of my trip to St. Maarten.


  • November 21, 2012 - The Gulfstream G650 accident report has been published by the NTSB. While they strongly point the finger at Gulfstream, after reading the full accident docket, the takeaway for me is that given the kind of testing required by the FAA, it's a wonder accidents don't happen more often.


  • October 29, 2012 - The search for the perfect pair of sunglasses continues! I get a sneak peek at the new Flying Eyes aviation sunglasses.


  • October 26, 2012 - I recently spent three days as an exhibitor at the AOPA Summit convention in Palm Springs, and the perspective was a bit different from the other side of the booth.


  • September 21, 2012 - Call me crazy, but it's kind of weird that people are far more interested in the shuttle now that it's retired than they ever were when it was actually flying into space.


  • September 21, 2012 - If anyone should understand the importance of "the rich" to the aviation sector, you'd think it would be someone who's involved in business aviation. Sadly, it seems those with money are a target for just about everyone these days.


  • August 30, 2012 - Visual Descent Points were designed to increase flight safety, but despite being "visual" when using them, there may be some nasty things out there that you can't see.


  • July 31, 2012 - SoCal airports are seeing huge declines in activity. Is there any hope for the future of general aviation? Perhaps, but it might have to come from a place you might not expect: your neighbor's garage.


  • July 19, 2012 - It takes quite a few steps to get a Gulfstream in the air on a typical day. But once those tasks are done the real fun can begin, as this video illustrates.


  • July 17, 2012 - Some aircraft sell quickly, others seem to languish for years on the market. Here's why.


  • July 10, 2012 - NetJets recently placed an order for more than 400 new aircraft, but Gulfstream was left out of the party. A closer look at how bulk orders work in the industry leads me to believe they might not be losing too much sleep over it in Savannah.


  • July 9, 2012 - Hello Kitty, goodbye dignity. It may be fun for Sanrio fans, but I'll be avoiding the new fleet of EVA Air jets like the plague, thank you very much.


  • July 6, 2012 - The FAA is introducing a new IFR instruction which will -- in theory -- make the system more efficient. But for it to work, pilots have to clearly understand the phraseology, meaning, and proper read-backs.


  • July 4, 2012 - Are airline standards a laudable goal for general aviation? Is there such a thing as "too safe?" The NTSB wouldn't think so. But then, they're not necessarily concerned with the time, money, or effort required to comply with their own recommendations.


  • June 21, 2012 - Tires are probably the least sexy part of an aircraft: a ball of hot, stinky, greasy rubber. it's also the airframe component which absorbs the most punishment, so they deserve a little attention every now and then.


  • April 10, 2012 - The captain of JetBlue flight 191 may be getting all the headlines, but it seems to me that the real story -- not to mention the positive outcome -- centers around the first officer.


  • March 23, 2012 - When any President travels, it causes major heartburn for aviation businesses in his path. But when the government literally takes over an FBO, is it asking too much for Uncle Sam to pay even a fraction of the normal fees any one of us would be charged at that same facility? Apparently so.


  • March 22, 2012 - It's not exactly a news flash to say that flight training is expensive. But there are ways to economize without cutting corners on the quality of your training. Here are ten ways to get the most bang for your aviation buck and avoid joining the 80% of students who never complete their training.


  • March 8, 2012 - Greater participation by women is one of the keys to growing the aviation sector. But does that mean men need to step aside? Here are two opinions on the matter.


  • March 5, 2012 - The three-part series on aviation myths concludes with: stall/spins, flying difficulty, bank angle in the pattern, and are aerobatics dangerous?


  • February 14, 2012 - Part two of the aviation myths series continues as I examine misconceptions about maintenance, shock-cooling, 40-hour minimums, stalls, and tailwheels.


  • February 13, 2012 - My three-part series on aviation myths starts with: logging IMC, flying without charts, perfect eyesight, TBO, and owner-produced parts.


  • February 2, 2012 - The latest volume of Greg Miller's "Big Rocks Long Props" series is due out soon. If the preview is any indication, the cinematography should be the best yet.


  • February 1, 2012 - This video of a Beech Queen Air crash in the Philippines is a reminder to every multi-engine pilot that Vmc is called "red line" for a reason and should not be trifled with.


  • January 26, 2012 - I spent the better part of an afternoon playing with a new social networking profile site called About.me. It's as simple and elegant as an Apple product -- high praise indeed.


  • January 7, 2012 - A look back at the the big events that took place for me in aviation during 2011, along with a few photos.


  • January 6, 2012 - What if one of the most fun airplanes you could ever own was also one of the least expensive? Well get out your checkbook boys -- it's not fantasy, it's the Pitts S-1 biplane.


  • December 17, 2011 - Five hundred thousand miles might not be much of a feat in an airplane, but when that number shows up on the odometer in your car, it's pretty special -- especially when all the major components on your vehicle are original!


  • December 16, 2011 - Operating the landing gear is pretty simple. There are only two choices: up or down. Why, then, do so many folks seem to have it in the wrong place when coming back to earth? I have a theory about that...


  • December 9, 2011 - A look at the CVR and FDR data from the Air France flight 447 accident shows that the airplane was stalled and held in that stall all the way to the ground. Were the pilots unaware, or had their training simply taught them that the venerable A330 could not be stalled?


  • December 8, 2011 - The NHTSA reports that the highways are safer than ever, so it seems like an opportune time to see how the relative fatal accident rate between cars and general aviation aircraft compare.


  • November 30, 2011 - Forget the rent being too damn high. What really twerks me is when the checklist is too damn long! It's enough to make at least one professional pilot question whether we should use them at all.


  • November 27, 2011 - A select few among us still have the opportunity to hop a miserable flight in the aluminum tube and take delivery of a brand new airplane just as it rolls off the final assembly line. I made just such a trip recently, and that "new airplane" smell really is intoxicating.


  • November 26, 2011 - Hold short, short approach, short runway. The word "short" can mean many things. The FAA has recognized this and made a much-needed change to the way they tell pilots about runway construction at an airport.


  • November 23, 2011 - Experience shows that the emergency you get isn't always the one you've trained for. It's worth thinking about no matter what you fly.


  • November 18, 2011 - Pilots are human and everyone understand we make mistakes. But I encountered one recently who seems content to use the same poor airmanship that almost killed him before and expect a different result. Isn't that the definition of "insanity"?


  • November 12, 2011 - Some guys insist on flying IFR everywhere, regardless of destination or weather. I've always preferred VFR flying when it helps expedite things. That's never failed to pay off... until today, when I found myself locked out of my favorite Las Vegas airport.


  • November 10, 2011 - It's odd when politicians don't seem to understand how government works. The latest example involves the L.A. County Board of Supervisors and their vote urging the FAA to do exactly what it already does every day. Perhaps the politicos should pay more attention to their own job and leave airspace management to the pros.


  • November 9, 2011 - Business aviation has been the scapegoat long enough. The facts are more than sufficient to turn the tables on politicians and talking heads who challenge the use of corporate jets to maintain a competitive edge.


  • October 21, 2011 - "No-frills" seems to be the rule more than the exception these days for most of the flying public, but nobody takes it to the extreme quite like the Irish airline Ryanair. Instead of just charging to use the lavatory, they're now doing away with them altogether!


  • October 17, 2011 - I return to Alaska for the first time in more than 25 years and spend a day north of the arctic circle exploring the small town of Nome.


  • September 23, 2011 - It's vital for pilots to be aware of what's happening on the radio, out the window, on the instrument panel, and elsewhere. We call this "situational awareness". But when something unexpected happens, how often do we really see it?


  • September 22, 2011 - Fewer and fewer non-professional pilots can afford to stay in the cockpit anymore, but there are quite a few ways to reduce the cost of flying if you're creative about it. Here are a few ideas to get you started.


  • September 20, 2011 - In the aftermath of that deadly crash in Reno, people -- even some in the aviation industry -- are starting to wonder if the National Championship Air Races shouldn't be relegated to the dust bin of history. I make the case for continuing the event.


  • September 16, 2011 - It's a good thing everyone who flies is filthy rich, because the imposition of landing fees for small non-commercial aircraft continues, this time at Hilton Head Island Airport in South Carolina.


  • September 12, 2011 - The 10th anniversary of the 9/11 attack had most folks on edge when it comes to flying, but for me it gained a happy twist when a friend soloed for the first time.


  • September 9, 2011 - Further analysis of comments coming in from the blogosphere about the pros and cons of cockpit automation. My take? In the end, it's all about the beginning.


  • September 1, 2011 - Is flying safe? Every passenger wonders, and for good reason. I take a candid look at risk management in the world of general aviation and discuss a few ways to turn the odds in your favor.


  • September 1, 2011 - Automation can be a tremendous asset to flight safety. It can also rob us of the basic flying skill we need to monitor that whiz-bang stuff and fly without it.


  • July 28, 2011 - The year was 1981. Life was good, and I was about to join an elite group which would put me on top of the heap. The codename of this wondrous event? ZX80.


  • July 27, 2011 - Computers are supposed to make our lives easier. We've got amazing electronics in our aircraft and in the palm of our hand; what we need now is a way to connect the two. A new product from Aspen Avionics is about to start that revolution.


  • July 21, 2011 - For many people, the Space Shuttle was NASA. And now that ship is headed to the museum. So what are the prospects for America's space program beyond the Orbiter?


  • July 14, 2011 - As with many things, the view is better from an airplane on the 4th of July. Kristi and I were out of town, but a friend provided an aerial view of a southern California fireworks show.


  • July 9, 2011 - Analysis of a confusing proposal from the FAA to add Class D airspace to Los Angeles International Airport.


  • June 30, 2011 - Eighty two years after Jimmy Doolittle invents instrument flying, French pilots finally get access to a viable instrument rating of their own. A brief comparative look at the state of aviation in the Eurozone.


  • June 28, 2011 - Right on the heels of my Simuflite experience comes an AOPA Pilot cover story from guy going after his Phenom 300 type rating at the same location.


  • June 25, 2011 - My credit card got hacked two weeks ago, and my web site gets hacked this week. Ugh. On the plus side, it inspired me to redesign the site so it doesn't look quite so 2010.


  • June 22, 2011 - Twenty two days after arriving in Dallas, the Big Day is here! Did I squeak through... or go down in a blaze of glory? I give the answer, and some final thoughts about the Gulfstream IV PIC initial type rating course.


  • June 20, 2011 - The final push -- day two of the dress rehearsal. We work on abormals and single engine approaches, and I discover something worse than failing: causing my sim partner to fail.


  • June 19, 2011 - As we get closer to the end of the program, the teaching stops and the testing begins today with the first half of a dress rehearsal for the checkride.


  • June 18, 2011 - The heat is on in the sim -- it's "hot weather" day, and we've got just the right instructor to help keep us cool.


  • June 18, 2011 - After the fiasco yesterday, things improve dramatically despite the rapid pace of approaches and malfunctions. We experience cold weather flying, and I made a key discovery from observing how my sim partner operates.


  • June 15, 2011 - They say the simulator can humble even the best of pilots. Now I know what they're talking about. The schedule called for 'abnormal procedures' today, but sadly, the most abnormal thing about the whole day ended up being my flying.


  • June 14, 2011 - Day 13 is a repeat of the previous sim session, albeit with a new instructor and an observer. Day 14 was a day off, and an opportunity to get adjusted to a new, later schedule.


  • June 12, 2011 - Twelve days down, nine to go. We run through basic airwork, stall series, instrument approaches, missed approach procedures, and holds in the simulator.


  • June 11, 2011 - Day 11 and it's back into the simulator, where we get our first look at a few malfunctions. Also, a tour of the Simuflite building's west wing, where, as they say, "the magic happens".


  • June 10, 2011 - Day 10 brings some final review, a mock oral exam, and the end of ground school -- finally! From here out it's all simulators and tests.


  • June 9, 2011 - Day 9 of G-IV ground school, focused on on abnormal procedures, troubleshooting, and emergency checklists.


  • June 8, 2011 - It's day 8, and we're conquering the time pressure of learning the checklists and functional tests on the Gulfstream IV. Also, CRM improvements and a video clip of a crew making their first takeoff in the G-IV sim.


  • June 7, 2011 - Day 7 brings performance calculations, weight & balance, and another shot at the simulator. Is that a light at the end of the tunnel? Or a train bearing down on me?


  • June 7, 2011 - With the advent of computerized flight planning tools, should student pilots still have to plan flights manually? I make the case for holding off on technology for a while.


  • June 6, 2011 - God may have rested on the seventh day, but thankfully we got a break on day six! Also, I answer a reader question about my impressions of Dallas.


  • June 5, 2011 - Day five brings about the end of the first third of training for the G-IV type rating. Finally starting to feel like I understand the systems. But boy am I ready for a day off!


  • June 4, 2011 - Day 4 of type training can be summed up with two words: 'checklist' and 'long'


  • June 3, 2011 - Day three of the Gulfstream type rating, with major emphasis on aircraft systems. Pneumatics, electrics, fuel, hydraulics, etc.


  • June 2, 2011 - Day two at Simuflite: avionics training, basic procedures, and a chance to work the avionics for "real" in a sim. Oh, and I got hacked!


  • June 1, 2011 - Day one of type rating training on the Gulfstream IV business jet. Paperwork, orientation, and first impressions.


  • February 1, 2011 - You know you've thought about it. Is rolling that non-aerobatic airplane such a hot idea? The answer won't surprise you, but the reasons might.


  • January 31, 2011 - Odd electrical gremlins lead to partial panel flight in an SR-22


  • November 15, 2010 - A U.S. Senator admits he doesn't check NOTAMs and claims that most pilots who fly a lot don't check them either. Uh, excuse me??


  • June 29, 2010 - I make the case for shortening ATIS broadcasts in the name of safety.


  • June 23, 2010 - A look at the details of a proposed Class C airspace for Long Beach.


  • February 9, 2010 - Kulula Airlines puts the fun back into flying with a unique and humorous paint scheme.


  • November 20, 2009 - Computers are a boon to the cockpit. Fast, informative, and efficient. But they're susceptible to human error. Here's one humorous example of


  • November 19, 2009 - My King Air goes head-to-head with a 40 lb. hawk. Who will win??


  • November 16, 2009 - I explain the lack of updates on the site, along with current news from the aviation sector and my personal life.


  • September 9, 2009 - More aviation-themed engagement photos published, along with a multimedia slide show.


  • September 3, 2009 - Photos and details of our aviation-themed engagement photo session.


  • March 18, 2009 - A photographic tour of a day of flying at the California Medfly eradication program -- one of my many day jobs.


  • January 23, 2009 - Fascinating damage photos taken during the salvage of US Airways Flight 1549 illustrate just how tough aircraft are built.


  • January 22, 2009 - An account (with photos) of a sunset flight down the coast in a 1943 Piper J-3 Cub.


  • January 19, 2009 - A look at two factors which may have affected the positive outcome of a dual engine failure in a US Airways Airbus A320


  • January 14, 2009 - The new year brings a new look to the House of Rapp, plus a revamped photo gallery and a renewed dedication to actually posting every now and then!


  • January 9, 2009 - Flight restrictions have truly reached a level which can only be described as insanity; now they're issuing TFRs for weddings!


  • September 25, 2008 - "Pitch vs. power"? How about "both"! Better yet, let's focus on something really important, yet often neglected: trim.


  • September 24, 2008 - Gyroscopic precession is not well-understood by most aviators... unless they're aerobatic pilots, that is.


  • August 11, 2008 - I have six employers, so keeping my schedule straight is a real challenge. Here's how I do it.


  • July 12, 2008 - Stay out of MOAs? I don't think so. MOAs are joint-use airspace, and we need to use them, too.


  • July 1, 2008 - As much as I love the Extra 300, I hate that damn Becker com radio. Perhaps it's time to do something drastic...


  • May 12, 2008 - I teach glass panel. I'm a fan of glass panel. But we need to stay proficient on the steam gauges, too! Here's why.


  • March 12, 2008 - Time to prep for the new aerobatic competition season! Here's my practice strategy, and my problem areas so far.


  • March 7, 2008 - A post -- and photos -- prompted by my new car, which happens to be the exact same color as my Pitts S-2B!


  • January 29, 2008 - Many people harbor disparaging attitudes toward instructing, but I feel it's high time CFIs get the recognition & respect they deserve.


  • January 24, 2008 - Recent flights prompt some thoughts about the weather. The rain has been welcome on the ground, but in the air, it's making life challenging for pilots.


  • January 2, 2008 - Yes! Finally, a new car! The buying experience was painful, but the end result was worth it.


  • December 31, 2007 - To me, a career flying for the airlines looks a lot like the ninth circle of hell. Only worse.


  • December 11, 2007 - My fortune: "Confucious say, you are much admired for your adventurous ways". Thanks, Mr. C....


  • December 10, 2007 - Have you had spin training? If not, find a good aerobatic instructor and get the lead out. You won't regret it.


  • December 9, 2007 - The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has an excellent (and free) online course on RNAV approaches. I learned a lot!


  • November 15, 2007 - That smug, Apple-esque feeling of superiority you get from owning an iPhone could backfire...


  • November 9, 2007 - Analysis of a Hawker 800XP accident which occurred when the flight crew exceeded the aircraft's published limitations.


  • November 8, 2007 - One of my guilty pleasures lately has been reading a few "housing bubble blogs", web sites dedicated to tracking the carnage in the real estate market.


  • November 5, 2007 - Photos of some very impressive fire fighting done with the world's largest operational flying boat, the Martin Mars.


  • November 4, 2007 - I have to hand it to Red Bull, they really know how to put on a slick show. And now the Red Bull Air Race is broadcast on TV!


  • November 3, 2007 - The general aviation fleet is put at risk by the loss of a major parts supplier. The reason? Product liability concerns.


  • October 24, 2007 - A reader's email inspires me to expound on ways to keep aviation affordable and interesting for GA pilots.


  • October 23, 2007 - General aviation takes the blame again, this time from John Wayne Airport management. I refute their accusations with hard, cold facts.


  • September 22, 2007 - A persistent low pressure system wreaks havoc with my flying schedule.


  • September 17, 2007 - A recent IFR flight highlights the controller chaos at Socal Approach, and proves once again the old adage "trust, but verify".


  • September 16, 2007 - The era of the biplane is over? Maybe not. Look at this turbine-powered beast, which sports a higher thrust-to-weight ratio than an F-16.


  • September 2, 2007 - I found a fantastic YouTube video of Sean Tucker's airshow routine, set to the music of guitar legend Steve Morse.


  • September 1, 2007 - My trusty Mitsubishi Eclipse reaches 200,000 miles. But she won't last forever, so I'm looking ahead to The Next Thing.


  • August 28, 2007 - Ah, adventure! Another coast-to-coast ferry flight, this time in a refurbished Grumman Tiger.


  • August 14, 2007 - A look at options for repairing the space shuttle while in orbit.


  • July 26, 2007 - Debating the appropriate type designator code for a Diamond DA-40. Yes, these are the things pilots talk about for hours on end.


  • July 26, 2007 - Is it legal to fly without charts? With very few exceptions, the surprising answer for VFR or IFR is actually "yes".


  • July 25, 2007 - This brilliant video ecapsulatse my life as a CFI. At 8 a.m. I'm Dean Martin. By 8 p.m., I'm Foster Brooks.


  • April 23, 2007 - Since a picture is worth a thousand words... and I haven't been writing much lately, here are some photos. :)


  • April 10, 2007 - A few thoughts on Opera Pacific's production of Elixir of Love, which we've set in the 1950's in a west Texas diner.


  • March 20, 2007 - A friend of mine -- a professional photographer -- snapped these photos of the Airbus A380's first arrival in the U.S.


  • March 20, 2007 - My alma mater's basketball team makes it to the NAIA championship game. Go eagles!!


  • March 19, 2007 - A bit of a "sticky wicket", as the Brits would say: what to do with the body of a person who dies during a flight. Just strap him down in first class.


  • March 15, 2007 - A green-screen, command-line interface theme for Wordpress? OK, that is officially the coolest thing since aerobatics.


  • March 14, 2007 - Who's to blame for the Brazilian Legacy/Gol midair collision? It might not be the pilots at all.


  • March 12, 2007 - Is the GA fatal accident rate getting worse? I take issue with that assertion using facts, not hype and hysteria.


  • March 8, 2007 - An audio excerpt from a New York ground controller who's having a bad day.


  • March 8, 2007 - The aerobatic community's largest untapped resource is sitting under our noses: the 5000+ experimental RVs and their pilots.


  • February 18, 2007 - I get a good laugh at Southwest's expense, but karma's a bitch.


  • February 2, 2007 - Aviation memorabilia: I find some World War II-era instrument approach plates, and a reader sends in a CS prop manual.


  • January 21, 2007 - They warned me that the Colonel made a mean bird, but I didn't expect to be thrown off KFC's corporate aircraft.


  • January 18, 2007 - How much oil is really necessary for that engine? It runs the gamut, and knowing the answer is somewhat of a black art.


  • January 9, 2007 - Saying goodbye to Bill Kershner, a legend in aerobatic and flight training circles for half a century.


  • January 4, 2007 - There is a God! That god-awful TV series, "The O.C.", has finally been canceled.


  • December 28, 2006 - A friend of a friend (don’t all good hangar flying stories start out that way?) reminiced about flying rotorcraft in Vietnam.  While there’s certainly adventure and excitement in becoming an impromptu test pilot, don’t forget that there were more than a few such attempts at stretching the envelope which didn’t turn out so favorably. ...read more


  • December 4, 2006 - A while back, I made a casual suggestion John at Aviation Mentor.  He often writes about instrument flying in “glass panel” aircraft, something that is near and dear to my heart since this is one of my specialties at work. I’d been noticing that more and more instrument approach procedures...read more


  • October 15, 2006 - I perused the recent archives here at the House of Rapp and was surprised at how often I write about aircraft accidents.  It may seem morbid.  But ever since I started working as a CFI, I am conscious of the fact that with my own personal approval, pilots go hurling...read more


  • September 5, 2006 - You know, sometimes the news is just too crazy to be made up.  As I was flying across Southern California today, I couldn’t help but think of the new workplace rules the FAA has imposed on air traffic controllers: What rankles controllers most, on a personal level, at least, is...read more


  • September 5, 2006 - I hate to say “I told you so”, but I did.  Again and again.  And again.  And… well, you get the idea. 2006 may well go down as the year Pluto was suddenly just another big rock, Brad and Angelina had a baby and the real estate market slid from great...read more


  • August 31, 2006 - Steve Fossett strikes again: The 62-year-old Chicago investment mogul said he and Norwegian co-pilot Einar Enevoldson, 74, rode powerful rising air currents above the remote Patagonia region on Tuesday, reaching a record 50,699 feet. If Fossett isn’t careful, he’s going to end up like Alexander the Great, standing on the...read more


  • August 28, 2006 - Sam got me thinking about good places for a pilot to grab a bite around Southern California. I was going to add a comment to his entry, but it soon exceeded the length of his original post, proving once again that Socal cannot be beat for flying destinations (or weather,...read more


  • July 29, 2006 - I returned from Mexico a couple of days ago.  It was unfortunate that I wasn’t able to fly down to San Carlos.  When you’ve got a pilot certificate, making a 15 hour drive leaves you wondering why you went through all that training, even though you’re well aware that there are...read more


  • July 18, 2006 - The title of this Chinua Achebe novel came to mind this afternoon as I considered the status of the local airspace system. I’m listening to SoCal Approach while I pack, and things are a little hectic up there due to a ground stop on all flight into Los Angeles:  NOTAM:  Due to...read more


  • July 18, 2006 - I’m off to Mexico with the Club Zeta crew for a much needed vacation. But I will leave you with this not-safe-for-work video clip.  Let it never be said that Pitts pilots aren’t proud of their equipment.  “Nice helmet”.  Yeah, that’s the ticket.


  • July 17, 2006 - “If we raise the roof, then phat beats will come.”  At least, that’s what Jon says. And perhaps that’s what the FAA had in mind when they shut down the Seal Beach VOR last week to rebuild the roof. I keep thinking that this must be some serious repair job.  I imagine...read more


  • July 17, 2006 - OK, the 80′s style Jazzercise headbands don’t exactly fit the Top Gun image of a hot shot aerobatic pilot.  This video is impressive nonetheless. Maybe there’s something to be said for having the prop turning the wrong way.


  • July 17, 2006 - Imagine you’re flying in the clouds.  You can’t see anything out the window.  You’re flying toward the airport on an instrument approach, only a few hundred feet above the ground while traveling at 120 mph, guidance courtesy of a multi-billion dollar miracle we call “GPS”. You know that GPS is...read more


  • July 10, 2006 - “Time to spare, go by air.” That’s the old saying. For those of you who aviate on airliners, you may feel this aphorism is directed your way. The delays, breakdowns, and other vagueries of the industry can leave you feeling like it would be faster to just walk to your...read more


  • July 9, 2006 - From one house to another… a quick shout-out to my college roommate, Rich, on the relaunch of his sports commentary site, House of Sports Blab.  I don’t know about the name, but the content is first rate. We spent the afternoon putting some fine touches on the WordPress template design,...read more


  • July 6, 2006 - Conventional wisdom – and statistics — tell us that a mechanical engine failure in a properly maintained aircraft is quite rare. Engine stoppage is usually caused by the dummy in the pilot seat.  Fuel exhaustion is by far the leading cause.  Engine and fuel system mismanagement are also possibilities.  There’s no shortage of creativity in this department. ...read more


  • July 5, 2006 - The longer I work as an instructor, the more amazing I am that we’re able to do anything productive at John Wayne.  I want to say the airport is kind of busy, but that’s akin to saying the Pope is kind of Catholic.  Understatement of the year. Yet we somehow manage to...read more


  • July 3, 2006 - The hits just keep on coming for Airbus. As if lost sales and slipping delivery dates weren’t enough to worry about, the EADS subsidiary lost two top executives today:  the CEO of the company, and the guy who ran the Airbus division. Humbert said the delays to the A380 had...read more


  • July 2, 2006 - My last missive may have come off as a bit dismissive about air traffic controllers.  So in a contrapuntal vein, I offer the story of Phil Aune, the nation’s (and probably the world’s) oldest air traffic controller. VAN NUYS – The nation’s oldest air traffic controller made his final approach...read more


  • June 29, 2006 - There’s something very satisfying about instrument flying. I’m not sure if it’s the precision, the difficulty, the pilot/controller teamwork, or the sheer magic of being able to whisk through three dimensional space for hours on end without seeing anything outside the aircraft, navigating and maintaining ones situational awareness all the...read more


  • June 24, 2006 - Sport Aerobatics is the monthly magazine for the International Aerobatic Club. It’s a pretty good read.  Of all the magazines I get — and there are quite a few of them – I like this one the most.  It’s the smallest, but the content is right up my alley.  “Let’s talk about...read more


  • June 24, 2006 - It seems that Los Angeles County Sheriff Lee Baca thinks he’s above the law.  Normally he’d be right. But Baca’s department demonstrated a custom designed unmanned surveillance drone to the media last week.  The problem?  They ignored written counsel from the Federal Aviation Administration, which had told the Sheriff’s Department...read more


  • June 21, 2006 - Fellow IAC36 competitor James Pratt borrowed a digital video camera and made this video of his practice session in the Super Decathlon today. This is the aircraft I flew last season before moving into the S-2B. Speaking of which, the video is interesting because there’s a lot of talk about...read more


  • June 20, 2006 - Alternative titles:  ”A Place Called Vertigo”, or perhaps ”How to Dismantle an Atomic Pitts” An F-14 has nothing on this baby.  Speaking of which, isn’t it ironic that the Tomcat has been retired while the Pitts Special – a 1940′s design! — is entering it’s sixth decade of production? There’s just no end to the...read more


  • June 8, 2006 - Lesley and I just got back from a great trip to the central California coast. It wasn’t a flying trip — I did a Norcal trip via plane the week before last.  But more on that later. Those of you who know me know I don’t like driving long distances...read more


  • June 2, 2006 - The 2006 aerobatic season is underway.  In fact, fully one-third of the California contests are already in the books.  I finished in second place at the Borrego MiniFest and a distant sixth at Apple Valley.  I haven’t written anything about it as yet, mainly because I’ve been too busy flying...read more


  • May 30, 2006 - I spent the weekend up in Susanville with some friends.  We departed out of Oxnard Airport on Friday and apparently made the front page of the newspaper as we did so: That’s our Skylane in the background.  According to the newspaper article, the Warrior in the foreground had experienced an...read more


  • May 24, 2006 - Another nail in the coffin of Southern California’s once rich aviation community.  A friend writes about the end of the line — literally — at Long Beach:  I witnessed the final death blow this morning as the last MD-717 lifted off and departed for delivery to the customer, TransAir. Unless a...read more


  • May 21, 2006 - Forget that sport pilot stuff.  If I ever lose my medical, I’m building one of these: Even Bubb Rubb wouldn’t be able to handle this thing.  According to the builder: This is a street-legal jet car.  The car has two engines: the production gasoline engine in the front driving the front wheels and...read more


  • May 20, 2006 - With four million people living in Orange County, there are undoubtedly quite a few folks who make the drive from Santa Ana to Carlsbad on a daily basis. I’m not sure how long it takes.  Traffic being what it is, anywhere between 90 minutes and two hours seems like a reasonable estimate. Figure three to...read more


  • May 19, 2006 - Dan writes about fuel economy experiments in his RV-7. It’s interesting that he managed to get 35.4 statute miles per gallon out of his airplane.  With a slight headwind, no less. I’ve never seen more than about 20 mpg out of a Cirrus, even with a tailwind.  That’s on par...read more


  • May 2, 2006 - I recently returned from Duluth, MN, where I had the pleasure of picking up a brand new Cirrus SR22 from the factory.  The experience left me feeling that we’re becoming a bit too complacent about the miracle of glass avionics.  During the obligatory tour of the Cirrus plant, I was surprised to learn that...read more


  • May 1, 2006 - Think it’s expensive to fill up your car?  According to AirNav, aviation fuel is now running as high as $6.79 a gallon. Yes, you read that right.  We’re pushing seven dollars per gallon. Anyone want to take a guess about how high it will go?  Eight dollars?  Ten?  Assuming a fuel...read more


  • March 30, 2006 - Damn Foreigner is back, and it’s good to see him among the living (posting?). His most recent entry was on a topic that is near and dear to his heart: immigration.  He’s a smart guy and makes some salient points. However, I was left wondering what solution he might offer to fix this thorny...read more


  • March 30, 2006 - Dan sent me a couple of companion pieces to yesterday’s entry.  Both are cockpit-based videos of a tailwheel airplane landing on a gravel bar. In the first clip, our intrepid pilot uses the “waterski” arrival, touching down with the main wheels on the surface of the river and sliding right...read more


  • March 29, 2006 - A fellow CFI sent me a real gem.  I’d have to say this is the ultimate short field landing.  It’s so short that half of it takes place on the water. This wouldn’t be such a big deal except for the fact that the aircraft in question is not a sea...read more


  • March 29, 2006 - FDC 6/4280 ZLA CA.. FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS 25 W PALM SPRINGS, CA. EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATELY UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE. PURSUANT TO 14 CFR SECTION 91.137(A)(2) TEMPORARY FLIGHT RESTRICTIONS ARE IN EFFECT WITHIN A 3 NAUTICAL MILE RADIUS OF 340223N/1165315W OR THE PALM SPRINGS /PSP/ VORTAC 281.0 DEGREE RADIAL AT 25.0 NAUTICAL MILES AT...read more


  • March 26, 2006 - I keep a stack of quarters in a small tray built into the center console of my car. I’ve been doing this for years.  After all, you never know when you’ll have to fork out some change at a parking meter. I always keep the tray full, because if you...read more


  • March 22, 2006 - Perhaps whoever designed this sign lost sight of the, uh, “larger picture” — if you catch my meaning.  It doesn’t help that the pilot is sporting what appears to be a bicentennial porno mustache, circa 1976. I’ve been trying to think of a good caption for this photo.  Suggestions?


  • March 21, 2006 - Just two days after Christmas in 2000, an American Eagle commuter flight developed pitch trim problems immediately after takeoff from Chicago’s O’Hare International Airport.  The pilots had the controls full forward, yet the aircraft was climbing at ”3000 to 6000″ feet per minute.  All pitch trim controls were inoperative. Take it from someone who’s...read more


  • March 20, 2006 - High resolution sectional charts for the entire U.S. are available at Kyler Laird’s aviationtoolbox.org.  How cool is that? These charts are not up-to-date, but they’re great for illustration, teaching, and web-based excerpts.  Also, be aware that the downloads are pretty large.  The south side of the Los Angeles sectional chart...read more


  • March 20, 2006 - When I start teaching aerobatics to a pilot, one of the first things we discuss is when and where aerobatics are allowed.  Or, more accurately, where they are prohibited.  As anyone who’s familiar with government regulation will attest, the Code of Federal Regulations doesn’t tell you what you can do.  It only...read more


  • March 14, 2006 - This is very sad.  It seems that Angel Flight West has suffered the loss of one of its pilots while enroute to pick up a patient for transport to the UCLA Medical Center. SANTA MONICA, California (AP) — A former TV game show host and his wife were killed Monday...read more


  • March 9, 2006 - Grrrrrr.  I really hate spammers. It’s not bad enough that they send me about 2,000 pieces of junk mail each and every day.  No, they have to usurp my own web site for their nefarious purposes, too.  From my ISP: We have received a rather large number of complaints of spam being...read more


  • March 6, 2006 - I used to think that “smell” represented the least valuable sense when piloting an aircraft.  On February 8th, however, it turned out to be just the opposite, because the crew of this UPS DC-8 did smell something about 23 minutes prior to their scheduled landing in Philadelphia: smoke.  The crew immediately...read more


  • March 5, 2006 - A CPA member found a video I saw years ago and haven’t been able to find since.  It’s a great clip from a BBC television program about Robert “Bob” Hoover, one of the world’s all time greatest pilots. Click on the photo at the right to view the video.  It...read more


  • March 5, 2006 - I’ve been car shopping lately.  My ’93 Eclipse is pushing 200,000 miles and though I love the vehicle, people have been suggesting that it may not last forever. My search was hastened by a breakdown last month.  The idle control motor failed during a battery change.  The guy at Sears who replaced...read more


  • March 5, 2006 - Last Friday, former Rep. Randy “Duke” Cunningham was sentenced to eight years and four months in federal prison for what has been described as the worst case of corruption in the history of Congress. I had a theatre professor in college who once said that when you make a choice on stage, don’t be timid – commit to...read more


  • February 19, 2006 - AVweb reports a setback in Airbus’ attempt to get the mammoth A380 certified:  Airbus is downplaying test results in which an A380 wing undergoing static testing failed slightly before the required design limit. The wings are supposed to take 1.5 times the design load limit but this one failed at...read more


  • February 15, 2006 - So would I. CafePress has a few gems.  But this one is my favorite.


  • February 15, 2006 - It’s not just a movie anymore. Vaginal rejuvenation costs thousands of dollars and is done with a laser. It includes a variety of procedures, such as women getting their labia made smaller because it is uncomfortable for them to engage in physical activity or have intercourse, women getting their vaginal...read more


  • February 14, 2006 - I’ve had a couple of eyebrow raising moments in the cockpit over the past year.  What keeps me coming back for more — besides the fact that I just love to fly — is the notion that a fair number of aviators have been through far worse, often bizzare mechanical breakdowns like the one-in-a-billion United 232 hydraulic...read more


  • February 13, 2006 - I love flying and scuba diving, so it would seem only natural that I’d like this. It’s a cool idea, yet somehow still very sad.  Of course, much like Homer crying as he eats the last buffalo, I’ll still dive the wreck. I don’t know how airliners are supposed to die.  It sucks to...read more


  • February 13, 2006 - NEW YORK (FORTUNE) – If you want to know where real estate prices are headed in California’s Orange County, the man to talk to is Gary Watts. The Mission Viejo broker has 35 years of experience and doubles as a spokesman for the O.C.’s Association of Realtors. But it’s his...read more


  • February 12, 2006 - I just got home a few minutes ago, exhausted after spending two long days in an intensive class studying the finer points of judging competitive aerobatics. My employer sponsored this seminar, better know as a “judges school”, where those of us who are involved in the sport can satisfy one...read more


  • February 11, 2006 - Congratulations to the Virgin GlobalFlyer team!  Aside from a couple of blown tires, they got the ship home in one piece. After surviving a major fuel loss, some turbulence that nearly ripped his plane apart, and blowing out two tires on the landing, American adventurer Steve Fossett Saturday broke the world’s...read more


  • February 11, 2006 - Glenn over at RantAir links to an interesting article on noise abatement problems at Denver International Airport. There’s not much I can add.  The article speaks for itself.


  • February 7, 2006 - I launched on a night cross country flight this evening with a pilot who’s approaching his checkride date.  He’s got over 100 hours logged, largely because he’s doing his primary training in an SR22. The big question mark for me before departure was how the wildfires in the Santa Ana canyon...read more


  • February 6, 2006 - Snow is a funny thing.  It reinforces the essential truth that airplanes are both incredibly strong and terribly fragile. Snow looks pretty, but when enough collects on the top of an aircraft’s wing while it’s parked on the ramp, the sheer weight of that snow can be enough to damage it. ...read more


  • February 6, 2006 - It’s the most wonderful time of the year!   Or…. perhaps not if you live in the Anaheim Hills area.  ANAHEIM – A wildfire pushed by Santa Ana winds quickly spread over 800 acres of the Cleveland National Forest a few miles east of Orange County suburbs on Monday. No homes were immediately...read more


  • February 2, 2006 - To quote Frank Costanza, “I’m back, baby!”. United Airlines exited bankruptcy protection today.  I suppose that should be cause for celebration, as many (most?) people doubted the legacy carrier would even make it this far. Don’t get me wrong, I’m hoping for the best.  United is a historic airline —...read more


  • February 1, 2006 - Iraq is now creeping away from murderous authoritarianism to face the more normal messes of a creaky Third World nation: corruption, poverty, health problems, miserable public services. And that is vastly preferable to what came before.  American Enterprise editor-in-chief Karl Zinsmeister just got back from Iraq, and he looks at...read more


  • January 31, 2006 - Every pilot must, by law, complete a Flight Review (or equivalent) every 24 calendar months.  The law specifies that this review must comprise at least one hour of flight and one hour of ground instruction, and it must include a review of the operating procedures of Title 14, Part 91 of the...read more


  • January 31, 2006 - Wikipedia is an online encyclopedia written and maintained by the millions of people who use it.  Anyone can edit Wikipedia, and its contents are free and open. Open communities of this type have a sordid history on the internet.  Without rigorous moderation, these things devolve into a repositories for conspiracy theorists, morons,...read more


  • January 30, 2006 - The House of Rapp must show up at the top of some frequent Google search used by prospective Skylane owners, because I field a lot of inquiries about the airplane.  In fact, I received one such query today. As a C-182 driver and previous owner I was wondering if you...read more


  • January 24, 2006 - I just put up some captioned photos from my birthday party.  I was gonna write a big thing about it, but photos are far more interesting aren’t they? I will say that when you have birthdays like this one, it almost makes getting older something to look forward to!  A...read more


  • January 23, 2006 - The latest AVweb contains a very disturbing article which, while aviation-related, has implications reaching far beyond our quirky corner of the world.  Indeed, this thing comprises a serious erosion of basic constitutional rights that should concern every American whether they fly or not. …the California Department of Health Services, Radiologic Health Branch, came to the...read more


  • January 19, 2006 - Ah, the poor old Irvine World News.  This is the Rodney Dangerfield of newsprint, a hometown paper which is printed once a week. It gets little respect, probably because they give it away for free.  ”You get what you pay for” and all that.  Plus, it really does confine itself to the world of Irvine.  That...read more


  • January 15, 2006 - A post over at Cockpit Conversation got me thinking about the 787 Dreamliner, a new all-composite airliner from Boeing. That post referenced a British newspaper article whose title was a bit sensationalistic.  “Passenger aircraft rivals clash over safety of fuselage built from plastic”.  Airplanes are not built out of plastic, they’re made of carbon...read more


  • January 14, 2006 - When William Congreve wrote that “hell hath no fury like a woman scorned”, the woman he had in mind was probably Mother Nature. Despite the fact that nearly a quarter of a million people are in the air at any given minute of the day, the rarified heights we pilots traverse are Her...read more


  • January 13, 2006 - Did you know there’s a name for those who fear Friday the 13th? Paraskevidekatriaphobics. Try saying that three times fast. Some sources say it may be the most widespread superstition in the United States. Some people won’t go to work on Friday the 13th; some won’t eat in restaurants; many wouldn’t think...read more


  • January 10, 2006 - I couldn’t make this stuff up if I tried. I was on my way to work a few days ago – cruising down Alton Boulevard at about 45 mph – when a small geriatric Asian woman suddenly jumped out in front of my car.  Her left hand went up, palm out, making the universal...read more


  • January 1, 2006 - The new year is starting off right at work.  My boss just had a front page article published about him in the Orange County Register.  The Register is the largest newspaper in Orange County, with a daily circulation of about one million copies. Unfortunately, the Register requires online users to...read more


  • January 1, 2006 - Here’s another gem I found on the Cessna Pilots Association forum.  I’ve seen the darndest things discussed, uploaded, admitted to, and debated over there.  The CPA forums are a favorite haunt of mine because everyone who posts is a paid member of the association, which tends to keep out the rabble...read more


  • December 18, 2005 - It’s been about four months since the FAA finalized the long-awaited changes to the Los Angeles class bravo airspace. Though the new airspace configuration has been ready for publication, nothing has changed on the charts as yet. That’s about to change. With the December 22nd editions of the VFR Terminal...read more


  • December 13, 2005 - Photos of the Southwest Airlines overrun incident at Midway Airport, along with an interesting story about political restrictions on Chicago airspace that came about as a result.


  • December 1, 2005 - I flew into Montgomery Field in San Diego yesterday with a student pilot who’s preparing for his checkride. We shutdown the SR22 and decided to debrief the flight over lunch at Casa Machado. On our way out, I was perusing the wall-to-wall photos in the lobby and noticed a black...read more


  • December 1, 2005 - The results from the 2005 California aerobatic season are in. I finished 3rd in the California points series, and probably also finished 3rd in the southwest regional points series. Not bad. Looking toward next season, however, I realize that a) it’s time to move up to a higher category, and...read more


  • November 26, 2005 - An Associated Press story entitled “LAX ranks at top for dangerous runways” caught my eye today, not because of the headline, but because of the smaller sub-title below it which stated, “Two nearby Southern California airports share distinction”. Surprise, surprise. Which airport tops the list? John Wayne. Southern California has...read more


  • October 29, 2005 - Why is it that so many pilots seem to neglect to remove the control lock before takeoff? I just don’t get it. This is the one thing that’s 100% guaranteed to kill you in an aircraft. Take, for example, this DeHavilland DH4 Caribou. In 1992, this aircraft was being used...read more


  • October 20, 2005 - If there’s one thing aviation will never run out of, it’s ‘old sayings’ (it will also never run out of abbreviations, but that’s another story). “The best way to make a small fortune in aviation is to start out with a large one”. Or how about “Takeoffs are optional; landings...read more


  • October 17, 2005 - If you’re an aviator, aviation enthusiast, or are connected in any way with the aerospace community, then this should be of interest to you. The Federal government is proposing a permanent ban on general aviation flying in the Washington, D.C. area. The crippling Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ) would cover...read more


  • October 10, 2005 - Well, it had to happen. Sooner or later, everyone who flies loses a friend to an accident. I’ve been lucky — since 1998 there hasn’t been a single person I can think of who’s been killed in an aircraft — but that changed recently when an odd mechanical failure claimed...read more


  • October 8, 2005 - Were the pilots of Jet Blue 292 heroes? The media seems to think so. I, on the other hand, make the case that they were not heroes, just aviators doing the exact thing they'd been trained year after year to do.


  • October 8, 2005 - (Note: this is, to an extent, a continuation of my previous post on GPS dependency) Recently, a fellow pilot opined that all aviators should have a GPS receiver in the cockpit. He related the story of a low visibility day where several pilots had a hard time spotting the airport,...read more


  • September 8, 2005 - The crew members of a Cypriot airliner that crashed Aug. 14 near Athens became confused by a series of alarms as the plane climbed, failing to recognize that the cabin was not pressurizing until they grew mentally disoriented because of lack of oxygen and passed out, according to several people...read more


  • August 31, 2005 - C-130 goes mano-a-mano against an Eagle. The result? See the photos for yourself.


  • August 30, 2005 - Sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one that sees the “big picture” the way I do. Recently, a fellow pilot in Arizona took the time to write about the escalating fuel prices and what this rise in energy costs is doing to the economy Groceries are already going up...read more


  • August 29, 2005 - Some of the most relaxing moments of the San Carlos dive trip were had during surface intervals on the boat. A ‘surface interval’ is a period of time spent on the surface in between dives. This time allows the body to naturally rid itself of excess nitrogen accumulated while breathing...read more


  • August 26, 2005 - I’m not one of those ‘all technology sucks’ guys who look down my nose at a well equipped instrument panel. I fly the Cirrus SR20/22 and G1000-equipped DiamondStars all the time and really enjoy teaching glass panel stuff. Indeed, I’ll be the first to admit that GPS is the best...read more


  • August 24, 2005 - This is my newest ride! What do you think? Sunrise needs another Extra instructor and I draw the lucky straw. I started getting familiar with this baby today. The cockpit checkout was interesting; it’s far more sparse than other Extras I’ve flown. This aircraft is one of the older 300...read more


  • August 23, 2005 - A few years ago, most of my donations were to Angel Flight, a very worthy aviation-based charity which provides medical transportation to those in need. I also did a lot of flying for AF. Lately, though, most of my charitable dollars have gone to organizations fighting cancer. It wasn’t a...read more


  • August 23, 2005 - I’ve added some new aviation-related blogs to my links page. It’s about time, too. I periodically search for sites like these, but find them few and far between on the internet. Thankfully, I found a way to leech off the research of others! I simply looked up the Bloglines lists...read more


  • August 22, 2005 - One of my first inspirations for getting into aviation was a Russian named Victor Belenko. In 1976, he defected to the U.S. from Russia in his MiG-25 Foxbat. At the time, the Foxbat was the most feared and super secret airplane in the world. It flew faster and higher than...read more


  • August 22, 2005 - Several aviation blogs have touched on the subject of bird strikes recently, and it reminded me of a wildlife encounter I had almost exactly a year ago. The day started pleasantly enough. I met up with Dan over Chino and we formed up as a flight of two enroute to...read more


  • August 6, 2005 - I’m back from Mexico and can report that no animals were harmed in the making of this dive trip. No non-human animals, at least. Er… well, we did catch quite a few trigger fish during the surface intervals, but I don’t count those because they make for such tasty ceviche....read more


  • July 27, 2005 - It’s that time of year again. The annual dive trip to Mexico! Most of the guys are driving down to San Carlos this time. Personally, I think it’s crazy to spend 16 hours driving across the featureless desert when America West offers daily (though spotty) service to nearby Guaymas. And...read more


  • July 26, 2005 - Anyone who knows me is aware that I love just about anything aviation-related. If there’s a film, book, documentary, magazine, or web site that promotes or involves flying, I’m all for it. It takes a lot for me to turn my nose up at anything with an airplane in it....read more


  • July 25, 2005 - I’m not even sure what to say about this, except it seems clear now why the Rams moved out of Los Angeles. It wasn’t the crumbling Colesium, the antics of owner Georgia Frontiere, or a lack of support from the community. It was the Ghost of Needlepoints Past: I kid...read more


  • July 23, 2005 - The July 25th edition of Fortune magazine features a pretty good analysis of the emerging challenges America faces from the likes of India and China. And, frankly, from our own affluence. The article is particularly noteworthy because globalization is making it harder to seperate the wheat from the chaff when...read more


  • July 20, 2005 - The topic of radio etiquette has come up quite frequently of late, and it got me poking through the Airman Information Manual. Officially, when a controller calls out another aircraft to you, he/she is expecting one of two and only two replies. Either “traffic in sight” or “negative contact”. It...read more


  • July 19, 2005 - So I’ve returned from that Big Adventure in the J3 Cub I’m constantly blabbering about these days. The trip was fantastic. My original intent was to provide a fairly in depth look at why those who love these little yellow airplanes call this sort of trip “real flying”. Unfortuantely, I’m...read more


  • July 17, 2005 - Apparently it’s a slow news day at CNN, which is quoting a USA Today article about the “surge in crashes” which is “scarring” the air ambulance industry. As usual, it’s clear the pieces were written by people with little if any aviation experience. They’re unbalanced and sensationalized. It’s an undeniable...read more


  • July 13, 2005 - Talking heads in the financial sector seem quite fond of crowing about how well the economy is doing. One metric they never fail to point to is the Consumer Price Index, a primary indicator of inflation. It invariably shows that we’ve got the perfect amount: approximately 3% per year. Does...read more


  • July 11, 2005 - In the never ending battle against comment spam, I’ve implemented a change in the way comments are verified. First, the comment form now requires users to answer a simple question when posting a comment: “This site is called the House of _____”. A human user will hopefully be smart enough...read more


  • July 8, 2005 - I’m flying Sunrise’s J3 up to a Cub fly-in at Lompoc this morning. The official purpose is to try and drum up some business for the aircraft. The unofficial purpose: fun! I’ve been flying the plane quite a bit over the past couple of months and have to say it’s...read more


  • July 7, 2005 - They say that those who are ignorant of history are doomed to repeat it. All I could think of when listening to the news this morning was that whoever’s behind this has quite obviously never cracked open a textbook. Think about it. The IRA had no success in forcing England’s...read more


  • July 5, 2005 - Lesley and I enjoyed a great 4th of July yesterday. Our schedules rarely mesh these days — she works Monday through Friday and I’m on from Wednesday through Sunday — so it was a welcome treat to have a whole day together. We started with a picnic at Irvine Regional...read more


  • July 2, 2005 - Just added about 100 new photos to the gallery: L.A. Gold Cup aerobatic contest – photos courtesy of Katherine DeBaun. It was a great learning experience. For example, I learned never EVER to book a hotel room facing the highway. I also learned never to trust Gray’s judgement when it...read more


  • June 29, 2005 - The demented senior citizens who live next to me have a license plate frame on their car which, with six simple words, conveys everything that’s wrong with the world today. It says: “BACK OFF! Our granddaughter’s a lawyer.” With all due respect to attorneys I admire, I’ve spent the last...read more


  • June 22, 2005 - No, not that kind of change. I’m talking about coins. Loose change, the kind you find in your pocket. You know, the stuff that ends up under the sofa cushions? That mass of flat metal objects that clunks around in your pants as you walk down the street? The very...read more


  • June 20, 2005 - Alcohol impairs judgement. Since when?? Lesley and I found this and several other humorous trash cans at the Dana Point Harbor today. (Did I just use the phrase “humorous trash cans”? That’s a first.)


  • June 17, 2005 - There’s a rueful old saying which reminds us that while you can pick your friends, you can’t pick your family. Although that’s generally true, a wedding tends to puts the kibosh on that logic. In modern society, at least, you certainly can pick your spouse. And that’s exactly what my...read more


  • June 16, 2005 - So I’m waiting to board my United Airlines flight to Seattle. A few days ago I was congratulating myself on resisting the temptation to fly up in my own airplane, opting instead to take advantage of frequent flyer miles to obtain a free ticket. Now that I’m here, however, the...read more


  • June 15, 2005 - So I recently got back from my third aerobatic contest, the Northern California Aerobatic Challenge at Paso Robles. I finished in second place, a nice surprise considering some serious obstacles were encountered along the way. After the Apple Valley contest (where I finished in sixth place), the plane developed a...read more


  • June 14, 2005 - Harmonia Baroque Players is a professional early music ensemble based here in Orange County. While I’ve been running their web site on a volunteer basis for a number of years, the look & feel has always made me cringe, especially because their quality of their music (listen) is not represented...read more


  • June 13, 2005 - I’d be the last person to defend Michael Jackson (or his music). But he went free because those who testified against him had serious credibility problems that the prosecutor couldn’t overcome. Jackson has plenty of credibility issues of his own, which is more than enough to convict him at the...read more


  • May 11, 2005 - It’s hard to believe that nearly a month has passed since I flew my first aerobatic competition. But alas, that’s what the calendar tells me. In fact, I’m getting ready to leave for another one — this time at Apple Valley — on Thursday morning. I’m stepping up to the...read more


  • April 8, 2005 - Break out the champaign. It’s party time! The Transportation Security Administration, once the flagship agency in the nation’s $20 billion effort to protect air travelers, is now slated for dismantling. Boy, I didn’t see this one coming. Hopefully, the reports of the TSA’s demise will not prove premature. I’d always...read more


  • March 31, 2005 - Despite the stories, photos, and video clips of aircraft crashes and high performance airshow acts I frequently post here at the House of Rapp, I’ve always maintained that aviating is a generally safe activity. Airshow flying and military aviation — two things I often highlight — are rare exceptions. They...read more


  • March 29, 2005 - Some jet jockey owes me a beer. I was in the pattern with a student last week working on 180 degree power off accuracy approaches in preparation for his commercial checkride. It had started to rain fairly heavily a few minutes earlier, so it didn’t seem unusual to see a...read more


  • March 28, 2005 - ‘Haute Voltige’ is a French phrase that roughly translates as ‘High Performance Aerobatics’. I’d never heard of this organization before today, but apparently Haute Voltige was founded by a retired French military pilot who wanted to develop “a niche for sports, technique, art and culture in the world of aviation”....read more


  • March 24, 2005 - Mike Goulian was recently featured on NBC’s Today Show. They profile non-traditional careers in a series called “Moonlighting”. For this episode, Goulian took Today correspondent Ann Curry up for a demo in an Extra 300L and had her flying a primary level sequence after only one flight. The media so...read more


  • March 22, 2005 - Vice President Cheney dropped in on us at John Wayne Airport yesterday. Air Force Two, a Boeing C-32A, arrived shortly after 1:00 p.m., and with it came an armada of police, Secret Service, and spooks that closed down the airport for the balance of the afternoon. It’s a shame, because...read more


  • February 23, 2005 - Continuing on the airport closure theme, the Low Pressure System That Will Not Die has brought so much rain to Southern California that it’s shut down a couple of major general aviation airports, possibly for quite some time. To wit: Corona Airport is once again under water. They just got...read more


  • February 21, 2005 - Over the past few years, I’ve had discussions with various people — many of them pilots — on the subject of airport closures. I see these closures as the biggest threat to general aviation. Even worse, they’re a sign of an ever more homogenized society in which anyone who has...read more


  • February 17, 2005 - The Experimental Aircraft Association reported today on the mounting damage totals at Corona Airport. Tenants and businesses at the Corona (California) Municipal Airport are now four weeks post-flood and while the floodwaters have receded, the west end of the field is still without electrical power, reports EAA member Patrick Brunner....read more


  • February 16, 2005 - As if the first round of rains weren’t enough, another storm is on the way to Southern California. Normally this wouldn’t be bad news, as Socal seems to be in a perpetual state of drought. But the water from the first series of storm systems has not had a chance...read more


  • February 1, 2005 - I’ve added some new photos of the Corona Airport flood. These are great aerial shots that really show the extent of the damage. I don’t know who took these pictures. I’ve just been saving copies of anything and everything to my hard drive in an attempt to preserve a record...read more


  • January 31, 2005 - Oh yeah, I have a web site. Sort of forgot about that for the past few weeks. It’s understandable. I’ve either been out at the airport trying to keep my students from wreaking havoc on the runway, or in rehearsals for Samson et Delilah at Opera Pacific. Typically I’m flying...read more


  • January 14, 2005 - You take them both and there you have… 1. Retreating water! That’s good: 2. Prado Dam could be on the verge of bursting. That’s bad: NATIONAL WEATHER SERVICE SAN DIEGO CA 725 AM PST FRI JAN 14 2005 …DAM BREAK FLOOD WATCH FOR PRADO DAM BREAK IN EFFECT UNTIL 630...read more


  • January 13, 2005 - Happy birthday to me!


  • January 13, 2005 - I arrived home this evening to some disturbing news from the Corona Airport. Oh, the water level has started to receed — and that’s great. But apparently there’s been some sort of a disagreement between a few pilots (who wanted to evacuate their airplanes) and the guy who runs the...read more


  • January 12, 2005 - Well, things at Corona have gone from bad to worse. Despite the dry sunshine, the water level at the airport continues to rise. This is primarily because of the warm temperatures, which are melting snow in the mountains and driving the runoff down toward Prado Dam. Or as it might...read more


  • January 11, 2005 - Yesterday everything was fine. A little rain, but nothing looked abnormal out there. Today? Well, today the Corona Airport looks a little different. I spent the whole day helping people pack up everything in their hangars and carry it to “dry” ground. There were hundreds of people out there working...read more


  • January 10, 2005 - I just finished my first week as a full-time flight instructor at Sunrise Aviation. Suffice it to say that with record levels of rainfall and a storm system that has parked itself over Southern California for the past week, I haven’t been doing much flying. That’s ok, though. It’s given...read more


  • December 30, 2004 - When I was training for my flight instructor certificate at ATP Las Vegas, there was some talk about the changes they would be dealing with after the first of the year. Basically, the local Flight Standards District Office had notified ATP that as of January 1st, they were reserving the...read more


  • December 28, 2004 - Few things make me truly angry, but this one comes close. In the wake of the rising death toll from the Asian tsunami (currently 60,000 80,000 dead and still counting), United Nations emergency relief coordinator Jan Egeland has implied that the United States is cheap because our initial federal aid...read more


  • December 23, 2004 - Hey, if a random professor can invent a holiday (Kwanzaa), why not Jerry Stiller? Many real people are holding parties celebrating Festivus, a holiday most believe was invented on an episode of “Seinfeld” first broadcast the week before Christmas in 1997. “More and more people are familiar with what Festivus...read more


  • December 21, 2004 - I received an email today from an aeronautical engineering instructor which reminded me that I promised a while back to post a very interesting helicopter video clip. So here it is. I found the clip on Fergworld, which also has a translation for the German narration you’ll hear on the...read more


  • December 19, 2004 - Put a fork in me. I’m done! Today’s checkride went very well. I was up at 5:30 and at the airport by 7:00 a.m. By 10 a.m. I had the new temporary airman certificate in my pocket and had said my goodbyes to the ATP staff as I headed out...read more


  • December 18, 2004 - A&E aired an fascinating documentary about Howard Hughes today. Well, it was half documentary. The other half seemed to be a combination preview and advertisement for the latest Martin Scorcese film, The Aviator. The program interspersed clips of the real Hughes with commentary from the cast and excerpts from the...read more


  • December 18, 2004 - The end is in sight! Tomorrow is the final checkride. In fact, 24 hours from now I should be back in Orange County. You know, these two weeks have flown by (no pun intended). And yet in many ways I feel as thought I’ve been in Las Vegas for months....read more


  • December 17, 2004 - Not much to report on day twelve. Only made one flight today, and it went fine. I was having a bit of trouble remembering the commercial maneuvers since I haven’t done them since… well, since I got my commercial certificate circa 9/11/01, but the cobwebs are slowly clearing. You know,...read more


  • December 16, 2004 - I’m sitting in the ATP office and the place is empty. Just a week ago, the scheduling board was so full you almost couldn’t see any white space on it. Now there’s just a few flights left. Some of those flights are mine, and that’s why I’m still here. All...read more


  • December 15, 2004 - Wouldn’t you know it? Just when I was getting used to the 5:00 a.m. flights, they’re over. I took my multi-engine instrument instructor checkride this morning. And passed, thank you very much. In fact, everyone in my class has passed every test so far. Three of us took MEII checkrides...read more


  • December 14, 2004 - The system must be broken, because they let me slip through the cracks: I am the world’s newest FAA certified flight instructor! (Be afraid. Be very, very afraid.) The checkride was a textbook flight. Once we got in the air, that is. The DE thought he heard something odd coming...read more


  • December 13, 2004 - The first checkride is officially upon me. The oral portion of the practical test for my initial flight instructor certificate was this afternoon, and it wasn’t that bad. It only lasted perhaps two or three hours. The flight portion is tomorrow. I’ve heard stories of CFI orals taking eight or...read more


  • December 12, 2004 - I thought this was pretty cool. Read the whole thing. (via Speed of Thought) Speaking of radio messages, I was on a training flight near Indian Springs the other day and kept hearing what sounded like an instructor talking to a student over the practice area frequency. My first thought...read more


  • December 12, 2004 - Despite my longstanding reputation as a night owl, I’m actually getting used to being up at 3:00 a.m. Maybe it’s just the Vegas effect, but when you’re flying at that hour, it doesn’t really matter if it’s early or late. In reality, it’s both. You’d think that walking through the...read more


  • December 12, 2004 - Looks like Ocean’s Twelve is going to be a success. Hey, it could happen. LOS ANGELES, California (Reuters) — “Ocean’s Twelve,” the heist caper that George Clooney, Brad Pitt and their A-list pals shot in their spare time while living it up in Europe, stole the No. 1 slot at...read more


  • December 11, 2004 - Okay, getting up at 1:30 a.m. wasn’t as bad as I thought. Flying in the middle of the night has it’s advantages, especially in the desert. I’ve never seen the air so smooth. It makes the flying easier and more enjoyable, but of course it also leaves a pilot with...read more


  • December 10, 2004 - I’m starting to form an opinion on ATP’s instructor program. I’ll reserve final judgement until I’ve completed the course, but my thoughts thus far are that your average pilot is probably not going to be well equipped or well served by this kind of thing. Allow me to explain. My...read more


  • December 9, 2004 - The ground school portion of the program ended today. I’m tempted to think that this will free up a lot of time between flights to do things like study and maybe even sleep a bit. Somehow it probably won’t work out that way. The folks who are in the preceding...read more


  • December 8, 2004 - I haven’t used dial-up since the mid 1990s, and now I remember why. I’m 99% sure this is a problem with the ISP (Netscape Internet), because I have no problems connecting, it just says my password is incorrect. Which is, in itself, incorrect. I even had Netscape’s tech support confirm...read more


  • December 7, 2004 - I received an email from a fellow musician that bodes ill for the future of the performing arts. It’s bad enough that the arts have essentially been eliminated in our schools. Must professional theatres go the same way? If major arts facilities don’t understand this issue…. well, I just wonder...read more


  • December 7, 2004 - Title 14 CFR Part 61 requires a Certificated Flight Instructor candidate to demonstrate ‘instructional proficiency’ in spinning an aircraft. That means I not only have to be able to put the plane into a spin and recover it, but also instruct as I do so. My spin sign-off flight was...read more


  • December 6, 2004 - Greetings from Las Vegas! After talking about doing this CFI thing for so long, it’s almost odd to actually be here. The most remarkable thing about the “Total CFI” program seems to be the way the system works here. Days are long enough that one connects to another. For example,...read more


  • December 2, 2004 - I had a feeling this was coming. Bringing viewers compelling, real-world stories of heroism, military strategy, technological breakthroughs and turning points in history, Discovery Communications, Inc. will transition its Discovery Wings Channel to the Military Channel on Monday, Jan. 10, 2005. Despite the fact that D-Wings had an annoying habit...read more


  • December 1, 2004 - The month of December starts off on a good note: One checkride down, three to go. I wish I’d have remembered to bring a camera to capture the moment. But alas, a camera was just about the last thing on my mind today. The commercial glider checkride went very smoothly....read more


  • November 22, 2004 - For the past week, I’ve been having an interesting discussion over at Damn Foreigner on the subject of military recruitment. Manish wrote an article suggesting that since there are so many supporters of the war, it shouldn’t be hard to find new recruits for the Army unless those who support...read more


  • November 19, 2004 - Leave it to Seinfeld to break new ground by inducting a sitcom joke into the Smithsonian. The outlandishly unfashionable shirt worn by Jerry Seinfeld on his hit TV show went on display Friday at the Smithsonian, alongside Kermit the Frog, Archie Bunker’s chair and Dorothy’s magic slippers from “The Wizard...read more


  • November 18, 2004 - I’m not anti-Microsoft, but the folks at Apple and Sun must be smiling about this: Forget trying to flood Bill Gates’ e-mail inbox with junk. The Microsoft Corp. chairman receives 4 million e-mails a day, but practically an entire department at the company he founded is dedicated to ensuring that...read more


  • November 18, 2004 - MSNBC is reporting that Sen. John Kerry’s presidential campaign had $45 million left going into the final days before the election, plus another $7 million in a legal and accounting complaince fund, much of which was never spent. If Kerry really thought he had a chance to win — and...read more


  • November 16, 2004 - Senator Harry Reid has been selected as the next minority leader in the U.S. Senate, succeeding South Dakota’s Tom Daschle after his reelection loss to John Thune. It was a smart choice. I met Sen. Reid on a couple of occasions when I lived in Las Vegas, and he nominated...read more


  • November 15, 2004 - It’s been a few months since I switched from Movable Type to WordPress as a CMS solution. Overall, I’ve been happy with WordPress. However, there was one large bug I was never able to squash: it didn’t want to play well with Gallery. For some reason, I was never able...read more


  • November 14, 2004 - I updated the colophon page to read a little more like a personal narrative and a bit less like a legal brief. The only things it was missing were the double spacing and line numbers. Hopefully it’s now more entertaining, easier to read, lower in calories, and will cause the...read more


  • November 12, 2004 - CNN is reporting that one of Orange County’s richest ghetto fab hoodlums, Dennis Rodman, is going back to work. Dennis Rodman signed a contract with the Orange County (Calif.) Crush of the ABA. Insiders predict he’ll get in a scrap with onetime Chino bad boy Ryan by sweeps week. My...read more


  • November 12, 2004 - Turandot has finally opened. My thirty third opera. Damn that’s a lot of singing. In keeping with the theatrical tradition of ‘bad dress / good opening’, our preview performance started off so dismally that we re-ran half of the first act after the show was over. Apparently we’re supposed to...read more


  • November 7, 2004 - The Seinfelt poker table has (more or less) been completed! The only thing left to do is airbrush the artwork onto the felt. Of course, that’s a pretty big part of the table, and the thing that’ll give it such panache. But that didn’t stop us from breaking that bad...read more


  • November 7, 2004 - The financial markets have been on a tear lately. Those who supported President Bush will tell you that it’s all due to his electoral victory last Tuesday. But my own feeling is that the markets were just happy to have a clear winner. They probably would have performed well even...read more


  • November 4, 2004 - I took a page out of Jon’s playbook and made a few minor modifications to the House of Rapp CMS code. Now, when you leave a comment, you’ll notice that there’s a checkbox titled “Subscribe to comments”. If you select this checkbox, the system will automatically notify you when someone...read more


  • November 3, 2004 - The verdict is in: I’m a genius. My election prediction came true. I correctly called both Florida and Ohio for President Bush, predicting those two would push him to victory. And so they did. I was a bit off on the popular vote, thinking Kerry would do better. My rationale...read more


  • November 2, 2004 - Election Day is here! Yeah, you bet I’m excited. I had my doubts, friends, that the day would ever come. The campaign seemed to go on and on like a mad cross between the Simpson trial and Groundhog Day. The closer we got to November 2nd the slower time seemed...read more


  • October 29, 2004 - I stumbled upon something interesting on the web the other day, the Lifetime Savings Account. The LSA is a Bush administration proposal for a new kind of retirement account that might best be described as a Roth IRA on steroids. The discovery of the LSA proposal was exciting to me,...read more


  • October 28, 2004 - This poker craze is really getting out of control. Oh, it starts innocently enough. A casual viewing of a few World Poker Tour episodes. Maybe a game or two with some friends. Perhaps you even win a couple of bucks. The next thing you know, you’re in a garage somewhere...read more


  • October 27, 2004 - Tony Snow reported last night that his contacts within the Kerry campaign indicated that they are conceeding Florida and will transfer resources to other battleground states. This is surprising. Both candidates have practically lived in Florida over the past few months, and the overall polling data still shows a tight...read more


  • October 18, 2004 - Every pilot learns to perform short-field landings. Indeed, we take pride in demonstrating the skill with which we extract maximum performance from our aircraft. But a ‘narrow field’ landing? Who ever heard of that? And in a Boeing 747? There’s something you don’t see every day. Yet that was the...read more


  • October 18, 2004 - I just returned from the gym. One of my favorite parts of working out at 24 Hour Fitness is that they have a dry heat sauna, and the temperature is always set just right. It’s even better when there’s no one else in there and you can soak up the...read more


  • October 16, 2004 - What’s this? A bit of good news on the California education scene? I hardly know what to do with myself. By pumping money into a few select departments and aggressively recruiting top researchers, UC Santa Barbara and UC Irvine have hauled in more Nobels in recent years than UC Berkeley...read more


  • October 16, 2004 - As if the legion of aspiring rap ‘artists’ who come upon the House of Rapp and conclude that I must be able to help them with their careers isn’t enough, here’s new evidence that rap causes brain rot: (via VodkaPundit) If Osama bin Laden ever buys a rap album, he’ll...read more


  • October 14, 2004 - I suppose a few comments on the third and final presidential debate would be in order, since I did force myself to sit down and watch the whole thi-Zzzzzz..wmmmfmw….zzzzz…. Okayokay, I’m awake. I wasn’t sleeping, just resting my eyes. After ninety minutes of talking points, one begins to think the...read more


  • October 12, 2004 - Glenn Reynolds has a good article on the legislative shenanigans in Congress on commercial development of space flight. Glenn pointed out correctly in an email to me that the FAA’s Office of Commercial Space Transportation has been behaving itself thus far. But even so, I cannot help but feel that...read more


  • October 6, 2004 - I was out at Hemet-Ryan Airport today continuing toward my commercial glider rating. Man, I love going out there. For one thing, it gives me an excuse to fly. Not that an excuse is required, but it’s nice to use the aviation system for personal transportation. I’ve made the trip...read more


  • October 4, 2004 - The Rutan team (aka Mojave Aerospace Ventures, Scaled Composites, TierOne, or SpaceShipOne ) claimed the $10 million Ansari X Prize victory today with a second flight outside the earth’s atmosphere. But forget the money. You know you’ve really made it big when Google puts you on their search engine banner....read more


  • September 30, 2004 - I managed to catch the Bush-Kerry debate this evening, and I have to say it felt like Sen. Kerry came out on top. My expectations for President Bush were high, despite his reputation as a poor public speaker. The thing about Bush is, he’s improved a lot as a speechmaker...read more


  • September 30, 2004 - I’m starting to think an e-mail etiquette booklet should be required reading before anyone receives access to a mail server. There’s no dearth of annoying customs in cyberspace, but this latest one really takes the cake. It’s almost worse than spam. There, I said it. Worse. Than. Spam. At least...read more


  • September 27, 2004 - Andrew Sullivan received an email that has a familiar ring to it. I am a 33 year old wife and a mom of a 15 month old boy living in a wealthy liberal enclave of Los Angeles called Hancock Park where people go to the farmers market on Sunday, discuss...read more


  • September 24, 2004 - I had no idea that eBay was a topic on the presidential campaign trail. Earlier this month, Vice President Dick Cheney was stumping in Cincinnati when he brought up eBay as an example of why economic data isn’t fully factoring in a robust recovery. “That’s a source that didn’t even...read more


  • September 21, 2004 - Aircraft crash and incident videos I've gathered from various places on the internet. This is a perennial favorite, if my server logs are any indication.


  • September 19, 2004 - When a few colored lines on a weather chart from a location two thousand miles away freaks you out, it’s a sure bet that something nasty is happening. Is this graph off the chart (no pun intended) or what? Notice how the atmospheric pressure drops like a rock as the...read more


  • September 18, 2004 - So I’m preparing for an intensive two week CFI (flight instructor) training program in Las Vegas this December. Ooooh, Las Vegas! you’re thinking. Time for some gambling, a bit of sun out by the pool, maybe catch a show. Not quite. It’s more like fourteen straight days of round-the-clock flight...read more


  • September 16, 2004 - CNN/Money has published a list of the nation’s top housing markets for the second quarter of 2004. The list is… interesting. For one thing, they’re apparently referring to Orange County as “Anaheim-Santa Ana”. An odd choice to say the least. I’ve got nothing against either town, but it’s beyond the...read more


  • September 14, 2004 - I hope Ken Lay, Dennis Kozlowski, Bernie Ebbers, and others of their ilk are reading this. BEIJING (Reuters) – China executed four people, including employees of two of its Big Four state-owned banks, for fraud totaling $15 million, the state Xinhua news agency said Tuesday. The executions occurred in the...read more


  • September 12, 2004 - I’m clearing a few old items off the shelves now that Tweety’s gone. Anyone need a service manual for the 69-76 Skylane series? I’m asking $35 plus $6.50 for shipping. I looked up what I paid Cessna for it in 2001, and it shocked me. It was $104.37 — quite...read more


  • September 10, 2004 - It seems I’m one of the few people in the northern hemisphere that doesn’t play poker on a regular basis. It’s more for a lack of time than invitations or interest. Some folks get pretty serious about the game. Dan has his own Yahoo group for poker nights, and even...read more


  • September 10, 2004 - Dan Rather and CBS News have jumped the shark. Or should I say, started to jump it and then thought it would be better to land directly in the shark’s mouth. As if it’s not bad enough that they put this story on the air when it was clearly forged,...read more


  • September 9, 2004 - Rep. Anthony Weiner (D-NY) is a member of the Transportation and Infrastructure Committee, where he sits on the Aviation and Highways Subcommittees. How ironic it is, then, that he knows absolutely nothing about general aviation except that it’s imperative it be eliminated immediately. On the third anniversary of the September...read more


  • September 6, 2004 - Many in this presidential campaign have taken to using the word “extremist” to describe anyone with an opposing political view. In print, on the web, in casual conversation, the word pops up all the time. It’s getting old. Fast. For example: Pro life? Then Kerry’s an extremist who’s killed millions...read more


  • September 5, 2004 - Ah, Sunday. And what a lovely day it was, flying the Stearman round and round the pattern, landing on the grass, two-pointing it on the pavement, and generally spending a September afternoon the way God intended: in a sixty year old, tube-and-fabric, radial engine, open cockpit biplane. From turning the...read more


  • September 4, 2004 - Like the man said in Ecclesiastes, there is a time for everthing under the sun. Including putting politics aside. I sent this message to President Clinton today: Dear Mr. President, I was saddened to hear about your upcoming heart bypass surgery and wanted to wish you well as you face...read more


  • September 4, 2004 - I was saddened to hear yesterday that President Clinton will be undergoing heart bypass surgery. It’s amazing that Ford and Carter are still going strong while the relatively young Clinton is suffering from advanced heart disease. President Ford is nearly 92 years old, whereas Clinton just turned 58! Someone should...read more


  • September 2, 2004 - I was impressed with President Bush’s acceptance speech this evening. I’d never describe the guy as a master Toastmaster (probably because that sounds really gay), but his delivery has improved tremendously since the 2000 campaign. I didn’t even notice that the he spoke for more than an hour. President Bush...read more


  • September 1, 2004 - CNN is reporting that top donors, strategists, and Democratic party leaders are describing the Kerry campaign as “adrift” and urging a staff shakeup before Labor Day. If not, said one party strategist, “it could be too late.” Sources say major changes could come at the campaign’s highest level. The concern,...read more


  • August 31, 2004 - I was reading an excellent essay from David Warren on the murder of an Italian freelance journalist in Iraq when one of David’s parentheticals caught my eye. Canada, which bans the U.S. Fox News network, has recently permitted Al Jazeera to broadcast nationally through cable Like the Canada Dry slogan...read more


  • August 30, 2004 - Another multi-million dollar aviation event falls by the wayside due to the idiotic and useless restrictions on general aviation. Via AVweb: In Cleveland, Ohio, organizers are scrambling to get a waiver so they can go ahead with a planned air show this weekend after a stadium sports event was scheduled...read more


  • August 27, 2004 - CNN/Money posted a great article today on the state of the housing market. Though it looks at the market on a nationwide basis, Orange County gets a special mention: Last week, real-estate tracker DataQuick said home sales in Orange County, Calif., the No. 2 U.S. market, slumped 17 percent from...read more


  • August 27, 2004 - In honor of this weekend’s closing ceremonies (and sponsored in part by Rich’s Top Five List-o-Rama), I give you the Top Ten Signs the Olympics Have Jumped the Shark: 10. The Parthenon was built faster than the Olympic stadium 9. Synchronized swimming? 8. Not a single riot during Olympic soccer...read more


  • August 26, 2004 - I’ve been back from Mexico for a bit, but haven’t had the time to really post anything about the trip until now. Since a picture is worth a thousand words, you can get the gist of things by checking out the photos. The trip started with an easy non-stop flight...read more


  • August 25, 2004 - When I refer to the “crazy Jackson”, you’d think I’m talking about Michael. And up until now, you’d be right. But from out of nowhere comes sister Janet to claim that title by suggesting that her “wardrobe malfunction” at the Superbowl is actually President Bush’s fault. According to Janet, the...read more


  • August 13, 2004 - Well, I’ve got the scuba gear packed, the regulator overhauled, the books picked out, and the passport in my pocket. I’m outta here — on my way to La Paz, Mexico. This should be a fun trip. Traditionally the group I dive with alternates between Cozumel and San Carlos since...read more


  • August 12, 2004 - I think NBC has run one too many reality TV shows. Or maybe they’re just completely out of ideas for filling airtime. Whatever the reason, this stunt borders on the criminal. If I had tried this, I can assure you I would end up in a terrorist watchlist database. This...read more


  • August 12, 2004 - So the country lost it’s second state governor in as many months today, this time a Democrat from New Jersey. Dropping a political bombshell, New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey announced his resignation Thursday after revealing that he is gay and that he had an adulterous affair with a man. McGreevey’s...read more


  • August 9, 2004 - I like playing a computer game as much as the next guy. But this is a bit extreme: “It was a small fight, something silly,” said Chrisostomides’ cousin and downstairs neighbor, Paul Michaelides. “It started about who would play solitaire on the computer.” The fight escalated, and Ioannou eventually hurled...read more


  • August 7, 2004 - I’ve never made a secret of the fact that I’m not John Kerry’s biggest supporter. I disagree very strongly with his positions on defense, social spending, taxes, and even on the very basics like role of government, interpretation of the Constitution, and so on. Despite all that I want to...read more


  • August 6, 2004 - Well, she’s gone. My airplane is sold. The hangar is empty. The final logbook entry has been made. And there’s a bit of a hole in my heart. It’s not sadness per se. More like an empty spot reserved for an old friend who’s gone away. A thankfulness for all...read more


  • July 21, 2004 - Congratulations, Sen. Schumer. You’re now at the top of my shit list. Via AVweb: Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) claims New York City is being shortchanged on security by the existence of the uncontrolled VFR corridor and he believes the Big Apple deserves the same sort of GA ban that Washington,...read more


  • July 19, 2004 - My hangar is kind of a melancholy place these days, as it seems I’ve found a buyer for Nine-Four-Mike. A nice guy whose name also happens to be… Mike. Anyway, I’ve been thinking about what I’ll miss most once she’s sold. “Ground visibility” is definitely near the top of the...read more


  • July 17, 2004 - There’s nothing quite like the feeling of accomplishment that comes when, after a tough checkride, an examiner reaches over from the right seat to shake your hand and says, “Congratulations — you passed!” That’s the feeling I had this past Tuesday when I recieved my multi-engine rating. I’d almost forgotten...read more


  • July 9, 2004 - Perhaps it was David Brooks who summarized Michael Moore best. In a June 26th op-ed column for the New York Times, he wrote: Like Hemingway, Moore does his boldest thinking while abroad. For example, it was during an interview with the British paper The Mirror that Moore unfurled what is...read more


  • July 7, 2004 - Well, it’s official. God has forsaken the civilized world. I know this because I just saw the first Christmas decoration of the 2004 season in a store. On July 7th. To be fair, it was an online store. Specifically Hallmark.com’s free e-card section. But if it’s being done online today,...read more


  • July 6, 2004 - Paul and I played nine holes today at Aliso Creek, a golf course tucked in a small canyon just off Pacific Coast Highway in South Laguna Beach. Our timing was perfect: right after a long weekend. There were very few people there and we were able to play the course...read more


  • July 1, 2004 - I used to think I was a mediocre cook. But a new stove--indeed, a whole new kitche--might be causing me to reconsider.


  • June 29, 2004 - It must feel great spending ten thousand dollars to attend a fundraiser only to be told that you aren’t paying enough. Hillary Clinton told several hundred supporters — some of whom had ponied up as much as $10,000 to attend — to expect to lose some of the tax cuts...read more


  • June 28, 2004 - I’ve never been a big fan of Mozart operas. Now before you recoil in horror, I’ll freely admit that people far more erudite than I find his work to be the most well-crafted in the entire operatic repertoire. But to me, the stories and music of that period just don’t...read more


  • June 27, 2004 - It’s the most wonderful time of the year! No, not Christmas. I’m talking about June. It’s Lesley’s birthday–time to celebrate! And we did. But it started out on somewhat of a bad note. We’d previously planned to spend the whole day at Disneyland, but I later realized that the Opera...read more


  • June 21, 2004 - Well, SpaceShipOne lived up to its name and today became the first private spacecraft to leave Earth’s atmosphere and venture into the void of space. As if there was any doubt. Has Burt Rutan ever designed an aircraft that didn’t work? If so, I can’t think of it off the...read more


  • June 16, 2004 - What a day. Dan and I made a great formation flight to Crystal Airport to look at an RV6 that’s for sale. The owner was extremely nice and we spent a couple of pleasant hours talking airplanes. Eventually we said our goodbyes and Dan launched (literally) out of there in...read more


  • June 14, 2004 - Hello again. It’s just me, your friendly neighborhood housekeeper, sweeping six weeks worth of cobwebs from the House of Rapp. Six weeks. I guess I really can walk away from the keyboard, eh? I’m not addicted. Really. I suppose I should have written something when I returned from vacation. It...read more


  • April 30, 2004 - I’m outta here. We’re leaving on a ten day road trip to Auburn, San Francisco, Napa, Monterey, and San Simeon, returning on May 9th. I haven’t made a road trip of this length in a long time. It’ll be weird sitting in a car for eight hours on the way...read more


  • April 29, 2004 - One of the upcoming California ballot initiatives asks whether Indian casinos should be required to pay taxes. Thus far, this extremely profitable $6 billion industry (and that’s just here in California) has operated tax-free. I’ve come to the conclusion that native American casinos should pay taxes. Those who argue the...read more


  • April 28, 2004 - I’m officially ready to cast my vote for the world’s most annoying person. It’s Matthew Lesko. No one else even comes close. He is living proof that you can get rich by annoying people. (If you ask, he’d probably tell you there’s a government grant available for it, too). His...read more


  • April 27, 2004 - Freezer burn: it’s not just for food anymore. Nothing brings out the grouch in me like heat. I hate heat with… well, with the heat of a thousand suns. Or whatever. The past two days have set record high temperatures here in Southern California. And glory be, I’ve got no...read more


  • April 26, 2004 - My ninth opera season is officially over. I’m sitting here doing a mental comparison between the 1999 production of Pagliacci & Carmina Burana and the one we just finished. This one certainly seemed like a lot more work, which is odd because I already knew the music. I think part...read more


  • April 22, 2004 - Manish has been kind enough to invite me to join him over at Damn Foreigner. He’s on the other side of the political spectrum, so it should make for interesting reading! Anyway, I just published my first post. I like the name he picked for his web site. We’re all...read more


  • April 20, 2004 - After watching Apollo 13 the other day, I was doing some research on the web and discovered an ironic factoid: the defective oxygen tank that caused the explosion aboard Apollo 13 in 1970 was manufactured by none other than Beech Aircraft. For those of you scratching your heads, Beech (now...read more


  • April 18, 2004 - Visitors to the Golden State like to joke about “The Big One” turning Las Vegas into oceanfront property. But what if the “Big One” was an economic earthquake rather than a physical one? Like a salmon swimming upstream, I figured I was the only person to raise an eyebrow when...read more


  • April 16, 2004 - For anyone who owes money to Uncle Sam, April 15th is not a day you look forward to. Even if you’re getting money back, Tax Day can cause a migraine by virtue of the sheer volume of paperwork required to comply with federal and state tax laws. What’s even worse,...read more


  • April 15, 2004 - Warning: graphic stuff. This is a 4.7 megabyte mpeg video taken from an Apache AH-64D helicopter in Iraq using the ship’s FLIR (forward looking infrared) camera. The Apache crew was two kilometers away and spied the Iraqis with weaponry in a field the night. It’s unclear weather the weaponry is...read more


  • April 15, 2004 - I have four free tickets available for a performance of “Pagliacci” and “Carmina Burana” at the Orange County Performing Arts Center. Anyone interested in these? We did this production five or six years ago and it was so well received that Opera Pacific decided to bring it back. Pagliacci is...read more


  • April 9, 2004 - Kooky: Kevin Drum of Washington Monthly thinks it’s high time we redacted the Fifth Amendment: I’d like to see videotaping required for all police interviews, and in return I’d suggest that the 5th Amendment right against self-incrimination be discarded. If police interviews are all recorded and trials are all held...read more


  • April 9, 2004 - One of the RV6 pilots on the Socal RV list was out at Mojave today and witnessed the lastest Scaled Composites rocket powered test flight. Scaled is likely to be the first to make a run at the $10 million X-Prize. The U.S. government has already issued Scaled a spaceflight...read more


  • April 8, 2004 - Major leage baseball players take a pay cut? I never thought I’d see the day. Of course, if you read carefully, you’ll find this “pay cut” chopped the average salary by 2.7% from $2.56 million to $2.49 million. This definitely belongs on the front page, don’t you think? Just to...read more


  • April 7, 2004 - Mention the word ‘genocide’ or make reference to the systematic murder of millions and most people in the Western world will immediately think of the Holocaust. But that dark period represents only one of three such events to occur in the last century. During World War I, the forces of...read more


  • April 2, 2004 - When it comes to bloggers, the biggest name in liberal politics on the web is The Daily Kos. He’s raised a lot of money for political candidates, is frequently referenced by campaigns, and Hugh Hewitt has even discussed putting him on the air. All this as a result of his...read more


  • March 31, 2004 - A new radio network with a liberal slant called Air America hit the airwaves today. It’s getting a lot of press — as it should. I wish them all the best. Their marquee host thus far is Al Franken. Not exactly my cup of tea politically, but Al’s certainly funny...read more


  • March 30, 2004 - When you’re pilot-in-command of an aircraft, you like to think you’ve really considered all the what-ifs and have a plan for dealing with them. What if the engine fails. What if the flight controls jam. What if we hit a bird. What if there’s a fire on board. What if...read more


  • March 29, 2004 - So this is how it’s done now? Several hundred people stormed the small yard of President Bush’s chief political strategist, Karl Rove, yesterday afternoon, pounding on his windows, shoving signs at others and challenging Rove to talk to them about a bill that deals with educational opportunities for immigrants. The...read more


  • March 28, 2004 - Well I’ll be damned! The thing actually flies. My good friend and fellow pilot Dan Checkoway’s RV-7 made a successful first flight yesterday. I’m bummed that I missed the big event. I had (wait for it) a rehearsal that kept me in Orange County. So what else is new? Hard...read more


  • March 28, 2004 - San Diego’s MCAS Mirimar has long been known as “Fightertown USA”. But with all due respect to the Navy and Marine Corps, I’ve always considered Nellis Air Force Base in Las Vegas to be the true Fightertown. For one thing, Nellis home of the both the Thunderbirds and the USAF...read more


  • March 26, 2004 - Lesley is on the losing end of a hit-and-run accident


  • March 24, 2004 - In the aftermath of Israel’s assassination of Sheikh Ahmed Yassin, many people have made reference to Hamas’ “extensive social network” and all the wonderful things it does for the Palestinian people. Manish over at Damn Foreigner (whose civilized style and thoughtful viewpoints I greatly respect) notes: According to the Council...read more


  • March 24, 2004 - Richard Clarke is testifying before the 9/11 commission right now. I’m listening to the audio feed via CNN and wondering how can we be expected to take him seriously until we know how he went from American Bandstand host to counter-terrorism guru. On the one hand, he’s got a book...read more


  • March 19, 2004 - Palm Pilot, that is. For years, I’ve had a Palm Vx [see it], a PDA renown for its ruggedness and reliability. I literally would toss the Vx around the house, stuff it in my back pocket, etc. I even sat on it a few times, but it soldiered on with...read more


  • March 18, 2004 - Hardly a day goes by without a pleading email from Angel Flight West headquarters seeking an available pilot and aircraft to get someone to medical treatment. The email I received today was heartbreaking, even by AF standards. Cheri — the mission coordinator — was trying to get a Navy medical...read more


  • March 17, 2004 - There’s a new design in town. There are seven other skins here, but this is the first one that leaves the old layout completely behind. The others are all variations on a single design. I’ve taken to calling this new skin the “Starsky & Hutch Go Flying” theme. It has...read more


  • March 15, 2004 - There are as many types of weblogs on the World Wide Web as there are people to read them. But one of the most timely weblog subcultures is a unique brand of no-spin news borne out of the war on terrorism. They’re often referred to as “war blogs” — online...read more


  • March 12, 2004 - I doubt there is a single voter the nation’s electorate who hasn’t at one time been told that “if you don’t vote, you have no right to complain”. And it makes sense, doesn’t it? The last presidential election only reinforced the importance of voter participation. Those that don’t take the...read more


  • March 8, 2004 - My home base airport sits in the Santa Ana canyon area of Southern California. It’s so heavily traveled by general aviation aircraft that a certain paranoia about a midair collision sets in. Everyone–and I mean everyone–keeps their eyes peeled while flying near Corona. When flying over less populated areas, however,...read more


  • March 7, 2004 - Anyone want to take a guess what the pilots of this aircraft were doing when the plane crashed? It may seem cruel to make light of an accident that took two lives, but I can’t help but chuckle when this appears in an official NTSB accident report: EXAMINATION OF THE...read more


  • February 26, 2004 - You know your trusty steed is getting old when a team of factory-trained mechanics at the local dealership spends an hour troubleshooting the power steering system (“we couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working”). I should note that the car doesn’t have power steering. You see, my ’93 Eclipse has...read more


  • February 26, 2004 - 1975 Cessna 182P N6594M “Tweety Bird” $92,000 N6594M has been SOLD!       Additional photos available here. 3000 hours total time 1150 hours SFRM on the factory reman engine (1993) 50 hours since prop overhaul (2003) 100 hours since mags were overhauled (2003) Equipment: heated pitot static wicks alternate static...read more


  • February 25, 2004 - After much consideration, I have decided to put my aircraft up for sale. Not because I have to get rid of it (though aircraft are certainly not cheap to own!), but because I have put more than eight hundred hours on her and I’m ready for a new adventure. I’d...read more


  • February 23, 2004 - The money mavens at CNN seem to think so. I’m not sure I’d classify a 6.6% year-over-year increase as “cooling off”, especially when inflation is less than 3%. No, I’d put it more into the category of another irrational jump in a real estate market that’s already every bit as...read more


  • February 22, 2004 - Hold on to your absentee ballots kids. He’s back! Ralph Nader is once again officially pursuing the presidency of our modest little country. And I say God bless him. He has no chance of winning, of course. You don’t have to be John Zogby to figure that one out. We...read more


  • January 27, 2004 - Who says flying cargo is boring? Certainly not the DHL Global flight crew that landed their crippled Airbus A300 at Baghdad International Airport last November. Their jet was hit by a surface-to-air missile at 8,000 feet while on descent for landing in Baghdad. The missile tore off a large chunk...read more


  • January 26, 2004 - Talk about your close calls! Fascinating on-board and external video of the crash of Thunderbird #6 during an airshow in Idaho.


  • January 25, 2004 - Could it be that nothing has been added to the House of Rapp for eighteen days? Yeah. By way of explanation, I can only proclaim “Life is short. Opera is long.” Especially when it’s a Mozart opera. Nothing personal, Wolfgang… Speaking of which, it’s a pleasure to report that Opera...read more


  • January 7, 2004 - This fascinating photo was sent by a fellow T210 pilot: The pilot of this (now totaled) helicopter was trying to taxi past a maintenance hangar when his rotors cut into the hangar doors. This shredded the doors, rolled the aircraft over, and blew shrapnel through the hangar into several aircraft...read more


  • January 5, 2004 - An analysis and rebuttal of the Dean campaign BushTax.com web site.


  • December 30, 2003 - Well, I’ve tried to warm up to Vermont Governor Howard Dean. I’ve waited, watched, and read just about everything posted on his campaign web site and official blog. I’ve tried mightily to reach the conclusion that he’s an exciting new player with fresh perspective ready to fight for the right...read more


  • December 29, 2003 - Here’s a recent Washington Times editorial by Boeing 737 captain Tracy W. Price detailing yet another TSA fiasco, this time on guns in the cockpit. I can find no reason for the TSA’s behavior except to say that they do not even remotely understand who they’re dealing with–on either side...read more


  • December 28, 2003 - I do believe Rich is onto something with his article on “elite speak”. One undesirable side effect of technology’s march has been the proliferation of abysmal spelling and grammar. We all spend a lot of time at a keyboard dealing with email, instant messages, and other forms of the written...read more


  • December 22, 2003 - I just love that name. It brings to mind images of the Founding Fathers. Or perhaps Mel Gibson defending his home against the British during the Revolutionary War. The very title casts doubt upon the patriotism of anyone who would dare question it. Maybe that’s why this thing has been...read more


  • December 22, 2003 - Time Magazine has chosen the American soldier as the 2003 Person of the Year. I’ll give that the House of Rapp seal of approval. I hope they print extra copies of the issue and send ‘em to the boys in Iraq. Sometimes I wonder if those who are deployed know...read more


  • December 19, 2003 - Check this out: Anthony Rapp is a musician. Melissa Rapp is a musician. Mark Rapp is a musician. Ron Rapp is a musician. And those are just people with their own Rapp domain names. I also found musicians Barry Rapp, Marcello Rapp, Tom Rapp, Michael Rapp, and Sandy Rapp to...read more


  • December 16, 2003 - Lesley and I just returned from Las Vegas. It’s such an interesting place. I’ve experienced Vegas so many different ways. I’ve been a resident there. A student there. A bachelor party attendee there. It’s been an Angel Flight destination for me as a pilot. And so on. Vegas can be...read more


  • December 13, 2003 - I don’t use the word “hate” lightly. But I hate Signature Flight Support. I really do. And I’m not the only one. Look at these comments. We’re headed to Las Vegas tomorrow. The plane is in great shape, the weather is good, and I want to fly. But we’re going...read more


  • December 12, 2003 - Governor Schwarzenegger signed a bill today putting a $15 billion bond measure on the March ballot. I’ll be voting a big fat NO on that proposition. And if you live in California, I strongly encourage you to do the same. Why? It’s quite simple. 1. I’ve been voting in California...read more


  • December 11, 2003 - Canada has banned fruitcake from their airports because it’s so dense that not even the latest x-ray equipment can see through it. As if anyone needed proof that this “food” was unfit for human consumption, fruitcake now joins lead as the only substances x-ray machines cannot penetrate. I have a...read more


  • December 10, 2003 - Some people just can’t leave well enough alone. In this case, that someone would be me. So I came up with yet another Christmas skin for the site. What do you think? The image was taken from the Christmas cards I used last year. The aircraft is a Cessna 185...read more


  • December 10, 2003 - Ah, I love big anniversaries–they always bring out the crackpots and conspiracy theorists. Whether it’s the Kennedy assassination or the Wright Brothers first flight, there’s never a lack of entertaining material to read. The 100th anniversary of the brothers’ achievement is a week from today and the press has run...read more


  • December 6, 2003 - I recently came across an excellent study by the Center for Economic and Policy Research. It’s fifteen months old, but I think it’s just as valid now. Maybe more so, because real estate prices have continued to escalate since that time. Mr. Baker and I are in violent agreement about...read more


  • December 4, 2003 - Yesterday I flew my first Angel Flight in quite a while. Angel Flight is a non-profit organization dedicated to providing free transportation to people who are too sick or poor to use the airlines. Angel Flight does a lot of other stuff too. We transported blood after September 11th. We...read more


  • December 3, 2003 - CNN is reporting that Goodyear’s west coast blimp just crashed. Perhaps “crashed” isn’t the right word. As ususal in these cases, no one died. It’s pretty hard to get killed when your trusty steed is a giant airbag with a cruise speed of 30 mph. These blimps are quite rare,...read more


  • November 30, 2003 - I recently learned that two of my best friends from college will soon enter the ranks of parenthood! For those of you who don’t know them, this might not make a lot of sense. But since picking out a name can be tough, I took the liberty of putting together...read more


  • November 28, 2003 - And how was your Thanksgiving? No knock-down, drag-out family arguements, I hope? Lesley and I spent a simple but pleasant day together. We didn’t even cook–we ate out! Scandalous. It’s the first time I’d ever done that, and it was actually fun. Leaving the kitchen duties to someone else allowed...read more


  • November 25, 2003 - My pal Rich Manning has some serious concerns about who is–and isn’t–being inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. After looking at this year’s list of honorees (George Harrison, ZZ Top, Prince, Jackson Browne, and Bob Seger), your humble host joins him in weeping for the future. I...read more


  • November 24, 2003 - More than one person has had to decide between Hartzell and McCauley when selecting a prop for their aircraft. To make a long story short: Hartzell, hands down. Here's my reasoning.


  • November 23, 2003 - I’ve held off publishing this for a while because I’ve been angry about some things I’ve witnessed. But a few weeks have passed, and despite the fact that the picketers have moved on to another store, I realize I’m not going to feel any better about it. I have never...read more


  • November 22, 2003 - A few days ago I wrote about the growing imbalance in many residential real estate markets and theorized that housing prices were going to have to decline sooner or later. But I couldn’t figure out exactly what would cause this “irrational exuberance” to snap. Obviously a huge spike in interest...read more


  • November 20, 2003 - The media is focusing more and more on the upcoming 100th anniversary of powered flight. In case you’ve been living in a hermetically sealed bubble, that date is December 17, 2003. That’ll mark one hundred years since the Wright Brothers achieved powered flight on the windswept expanse of North Carolina’s...read more


  • November 18, 2003 - Mathew Emmert’s commentary Housing Still Frenzied is a good read. I agree with most of what he says, but there were two glaring omissions. First, in the “Equity Schmequity” section, he misses the point of people’s argument when they say owning is superior to renting because you build equity. There...read more


  • November 17, 2003 - As if the world needed another “make a shorter link” tool. http://www.rapp.org/url/ I prefer not to use 3rd party services for this kind of stuff because you never know when makeashorterlink.com or tinyurl.com will go down for the count. Or when the service will go to hell. Or, more realistically,...read more


  • November 17, 2003 - When a 50 year old zooms down the road in a flashy red sports car, we think “midlife crisis”. When a young punk does the same thing, he’s “compensating”. So what are we to think when a guy buys a 250,000 lb, 600 mph Boeing 707 jetliner?


  • November 13, 2003 - It’s painful to watch an airplane die. They have a spirit, much like people. It’s tough to describe, but if you fly planes or work on them, you’ll know what I mean. There’s a connection there. It’s a combination of the quirks, smells, dings, and history of a particular aircraft....read more


  • November 12, 2003 - Ever heard the phrase “bread ‘n butter”? If a couple walking down the street hand in hand are seperated by a pole, mailbox, or other obstruction, you say “bread ‘n butter”. I don’t know why, but you just do. I consider myself fairly cultured, but this one completely escaped me...read more


  • November 5, 2003 - Ahhh, fresh air and rain–manna from heaven! It seems that Mother Nature has accomplished what 15,000 firefighters, dozens of aircraft, and millions of dollars could not. The fires are finally under control. It’s been two weeks of pure hell for many Southern Californians, not to mention something like a million...read more


  • November 4, 2003 - Reason #1845 Not To Own A Macintosh I’ve never been a huge Macintosh fan. It’s not that the computers themselves suck, though I must admit I’ve used the Mac a lot over the years and in my experience it crashes more often than the Windows boxes I’ve owned. My dislike...read more


  • November 3, 2003 - Between the ambulance chasers, frivolous lawsuits, corporate maneuvering, high finance, and other big dollar areas of our society which are controlled by attorneys, it’s no wonder that dead lawyer jokes are as common as peanuts on a Southwest 737. It’s understandable. Consider our nation’s finest minds, our most brilliant and...read more


  • October 27, 2003 - I’ve only been flying out of the Los Angeles basin for about six years, but in that time I’ve been witness to some unusual stuff. September 11th comes to mind. I recall standing outside the fence at John Wayne Airport and listening to the sound of complete silence. The Southwest...read more


  • October 24, 2003 - I’ve never been one of those people who believes that God strikes people down with a bolt of lightning when He’s unhappy with them. After all, if this were the case I would have been burned to a crisp years ago. No, I think His method is to allow organizations...read more


  • October 22, 2003 - One fine summer afternoon, a tiny Cessna 150 was flying in the pattern at a quiet country airfield. The instructor was getting irritated at the student’s inability to maintain altitude in the thermals. Just then he saw a twin engine Cessna zoom by 5,000 ft. above him and thought “Another...read more


  • October 9, 2003 - Anyone need a cool digital camera, cheap? A friend sent me this message: “I’m selling a friend’s digital camera. He’s in the hospital now, and will probably be there for a while. He needs the money to pay for medical bills – it’s a great camera, see the attached last...read more


  • October 8, 2003 - Congratulations, Governor-elect Schwarzenegger. I’ve never been a fan of Gray Davis, but I have to admit he gave a very graceful concession speech. Not that there were many options open to him. The results were so lopsided that it would have been tough to blame the loss on hanging chads...read more


  • October 7, 2003 - Those kooky Brits. If I tried anything like this in the U.S. I’d lose my pilot certificate faster than you could slap that annoying little “zoom zoom” kid from the Mazda commercials. Maybe they have a get-out-of-jail free card for anyone who flies a Spitfire…


  • October 6, 2003 - Only a few more hours until the polls open for voters here in California. Thankfully, the House of Rapp has been under construction for most of the recall campaign period. This has spared you and 300 million of your fellow Americans my thoughts on people like Gray, Cruz, and Arnold....read more


  • October 5, 2003 - Well, after talking about it for something like two or three years–maybe more–this site has finally been revamped, redesigned, rebuilt, and relaunched. So what do you think? There are a lot of new features. The biggest change (besides the new design, of course) is that everything is dynamically generated. Many...read more


  • October 6, 1999 - For months now, I’ve been having the best time watching Jesse Ventura butt heads with the blue suit/red tie political establishment in Minnesota and around the country. There’s a lot to like about the guy. He’s colorful, unorthodox, and refreshingly bold–and I figure anything that gets the apathetic American public...read more


  • September 20, 1999 - People are so funny. We rant and rave about how things should be different. Then, when they change, we’re even less happy than before. Occasionally I’ll hear some person or other comment on how they never watch the news anymore, because it’s always negative and depressing. To me, that seems...read more


  • September 18, 1999 - Irvine is a pretty square place. This isn’t always a bad thing. I mean, all the neighborhoods are nice–there are no “bad” areas of town. The schools are the best in the nation (Irvine has a University of California campus, a private university, and a junior college). The Spectrum, Irvine’s...read more


  • July 19, 1999 - I had a relaxing dinner at a local Mexican restaurant tonight with some friends. The cool, dry breeze blowing off the lake was a welcome relief after Rome’s blast furnace heat and high humidity. During dinner, discussion naturally centered around the big news of the day–the Kennedy plane crash. Somehow...read more


  • July 17, 1999 - By now, the whole world knows John F. Kennedy, Jr.’s plane is missing. As of right now, they’ve found some baggage with ID tags from one of the passengers and some other wreckage which has been identified as coming from a GA (general aviation) aircraft. Not a good sign. Sad...read more


  • June 22, 1999 - In 48 hours I’ll be somewhere over the Atlantic on my way to London. Three weeks without web or e-mail access is going to be strange. I haven’t been without e-mail that long since…. well, since I got my first internet e-mail address in 1989 (ronrapp@f940.n103.z1.fidonet.org). Man, that brings back...read more


  • June 21, 1999 - That TNT flick (“Pirates of Silicon Valley”) was pretty good! Although I wouldn’t have tried so hard to clear my schedule if I had known they were going to re-play it again. Immediately afterward, no less. And again after that. What kind of station plays the exact same movie three...read more


  • June 19, 1999 - It’s T-minus 3 days until departure for Europe, and there’s still a ton of stuff left to do. Some Europe related, and some work related. But it’ll all get done. It always does. The flight to London is not something I’d normally look forward to because of how long it...read more


  • June 19, 1999 - I enjoy going to the gym, but the crowds really get to me. From about 3:30 to 9:00 p.m., it’s wall-to-wall people. And it seems that the average age of a person there is trending downward. I’ve seen kids as young as eight or nine years old working out. What...read more


  • June 19, 1999 - I’m not a big television watcher. My father wasn’t one of those dads said things like “TV rots your brain!”, but we all know it does. When I do watch television, it’s often CNN, The Discovery Channel, or The History Channel. But there’s something coming up this weekend on TNT...read more


  • June 16, 1999 - I haven’t been at the computer much lately, which has been a relief. I swear, I can practically feel the carpal tunnel syndrome backing away like reprimanded dog. Where I have been a lot is out at the airport, working on the Cherokee. Are you sick of reading about Ron...read more


  • June 15, 1999 - I’ve learned a lot from flying. And not just about flying, either. Today was one of those didactic experiences, and I think my first aerobatics passenger will also be my last. From now I’m doing a solo show. My good friend Steve is turning 40, and I offered to take...read more


  • June 12, 1999 - Class Exiting Interstate-5 and Jeffrey, I came to a stop at the light and my eye caught something large off to the left. It was a car, specifically a late ’60′s Pontiac Elektra. This thing was huge. So huge, in fact, that some serious pretzeling was necessary to get a...read more


  • June 11, 1999 - I’ve been away from the House of Rapp for a while. Probably you have too. Life has a funny way of and overtaking you like you’re an old lady leisurely cruising on Interstate 5 at midnight. If you can’t relate to what I’m talking about, then you should consider yourself...read more


  • May 5, 1999 - In the olden days, when I was a little snot-nosed punk, I used to love to play tag. I could run fast, so whoever was “it” would usually get one whiff of my superhuman speed and go after one of the other kids. I almost went on to become a...read more


  • May 4, 1999 - Since I bought my plane earlier this year, I’ve been itching to really go someplace. I don’t mean a quick jaunt to a nearby locale. I mean a serious trip. Chicago, New York, Mexico, Texas, Alaska. Now that’s a flight. Since my niece Joann recently had her second kid and...read more


  • May 3, 1999 - This whole Littleton, CO high school shooting incident is spawning some ugly things after the fact. It’s not enough that something terrible happened, we have to pollute the healing process too. Or maybe it’s me. Perhaps the things that help other people just sit wrong with me. Today I was...read more


  • May 2, 1999 - One of the unfortunate things about the passing of time (besides hair loss) is that my college friends get together less and less often. Oh, there are still parties here and there, but it’s just a reality of life, I guess, that people go their own way. My good friend...read more


  • April 29, 1999 - The usually clean and orderly house is a disaster area. Something big, fast, and tornado-ish definitely came through here. Clothes strewn all over the place, pillows in the wrong rooms, shoes and socks scattered along a path leading from the bedroom to the front door. What the hell was it?...read more


  • April 13, 1999 - Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. This is my stress level: This is my stress level after taxes: Any questions?


  • April 8, 1999 - I’m starting to understand why all the serious aerobatics pilots live in Arizona or Florida. You’d think Southern California would be sunny and clear as often as either of those states. It ain’t necessarily so. But at least I’m getting some adventure out of waiting for El Nino, La Nina,...read more


  • April 6, 1999 - Time. It’s the fourth dimension, right? The other three I’ve got down pat–I can make an airplane loop, roll, spin, or drop any which way I want. But when it comes to time, I’m totally out of my element. Not in the sense of “being on time”, mind you–but rather...read more


  • March 3, 1999 - greed \Greed\, n. [Akin to Goth. gr?dus hunger, Icel. gr[=a][eth]r. [root]34. ] An eager desire or longing; greediness; as, a greed of gain; vehemently desirous; eager to obtain; avaricious. Before I begin, a disclaimer seems to be in order: I am not, nor have I ever been, a member of...read more


  • February 28, 1999 - A pleasant surprise awaited me at the Orange County Performing Arts Center when I arrived for yesterday’s performance of Pagliacci & Carmina Burana: one of the tenors in the chorus had put a couple of old photos on my dressing table as a gift. One of them was from Carmen...read more


  • February 15, 1999 - Two days, seven auditions, fifteen monologues, one crowded floor of nervous actors. I’m in San Francisco to audition for MFA programs in theatre. The odds of my being accepted are quite low, as I’ve only applied to the top schools: Juilliard, Yale, American Conservatory Theatre, American Repertory, etc. I figure...read more


  • February 13, 1999 - I left Orange County at about 1:00 p.m. today. After driving for eight hours, I’m still in California. It’s almost disappointing. When you’ve put 400 miles on the odometer, you feel like you should be in some far off, exotic place. Anyway, the trip up to San Francisco was uneventful...read more


  • February 7, 1999 - You’ll have to pardon my current mood. Perhaps it’s due to the gloomy weather we’re having. Whatever the cause, I’m really starting to hate people. No one in particular. No specific ethnicity, sex, or religion, but rather the ever-present, seething mass of humanity from which there seems to be no...read more


  • February 2, 1999 - You gotta love people who can just take the day off whenever they want to. It’s never quite that simple, of course. Those who have the authority to do so are usually self-employed, and as such put in more hours at their job than anyone who’s working for The Man....read more


  • January 24, 1999 - When it comes to political figures, it’s been quite a while since anything has come down the pike to make me say “Well isn’t that special?”. But my Church Lady attitude may be changing, because it appears Elizabeth Dole may make a run for the Republican nomination for President in...read more


  • January 21, 1999 - All good things must come to an end. Or so they say. I don’t know that my association with Vanguard was always a good one, but I would like to think it had its moments. Whatever the case, it has certainly come to an end: I resigned from the theatre...read more


  • January 19, 1999 - I’ve been spending all my time lately at the opera. The only days we’re not rehearsing or performing are the days AGMA (the American Guild of Musical Artists) requires us to have off–essentially every seventh day or so. Not that I’m complaining. I’m more than happy to have all the...read more


  • January 7, 1999 - For me, the holiday season begins when the leaves almost imperceptibly start changing color in October, when those warm, pumpkin-ish earth-tone appear in fields, supermarkets, and on the trees. In rapid succession we get Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s Eve, and it ends with my birthday in January (what can...read more


  • December 24, 1998 - Have you ever given a Christmas present to yourself? I think you should. Life is too short not to indulge once in a while. For example: I gave myself a present today. I worked for it, mind you. But that made all the more satisfying. Today I took the FAA...read more


  • December 21, 1998 - So it’s come down to the wire again. Surprise, surprise: it’s four days before Christmas, and I haven’t done any shopping yet. To be fair, I don’t need to shop for many people. And thankfully, I can put off shopping for my family because I’ll be seeing them in person...read more


  • December 17, 1998 - Usually the holidays are the busiest time of year. For everyone, yes–but for me especially. Choral music concerts are a lot of it. The Messiah, the Pacific Chorale’s annual Christmas concert, the annual Candlelight concert at the Performing Arts Center, caroling, opera rehearsals, etc. It all adds up. But this...read more


  • December 7, 1998 - The House of Rapp is proud to present the Martha Stewart BETTER HOMES AND GARDENS recipe for the perfect guys-only weekend: 1 bachelor – skinny, tall, able to eat 274.98 cubic meters of food in one sitting 7 friends – overworked and ready to get the hell outta Dodge 1...read more


  • December 1, 1998 - You know how when life gets busy, you sometimes wait until the last minute to do some time-specific thing which is really, really important? You know you shouldn’t procrastinate, but you do, so there is very little margin for error, right? And then something screws up your well-laid plans. My...read more


  • November 20, 1998 - Have you ever had one of those perfect evenings? You know, the ones where you spend a couple of hours sharing great food with a small circle of good friends, just kicking back, talking about anything and nothing, and really relaxing? I had an evening like that the other day....read more


  • October 31, 1998 - My friend Jon Lagerquist and I have been discussing Halloween. Via e-mail, we’ve been trying to figure out what Halloween in Irvine actually means. Does it really exist? I’m not sure. I have been living here for about 5 years and have yet to have a single trick-or-treater come to...read more


  • October 2, 1998 - All this talk of polls is driving me batty. The polls say this, the polls say that. Why does it matter? The argument that the American people don’t want Clinton impeached is bogus and irrelevant. For one thing, the polls can be made to support any point of view. For...read more


  • September 28, 1998 - So we’re on a break from a ground school class the other day. A bunch of us are standing around outside and (for lack of a more vegetarian term) chewing the fat, when one of the guys mentions something about “the dude from Sunrise who crashed and burned a couple...read more


  • September 22, 1998 - They say that the day a pilot first flies an aircraft alone (“solo”) is something he or she will always remember. Today was my day, and now that it’s over I understand what they mean. Every pilot faces that moment when the CFI has left the aircraft and you’re taxiing...read more


  • September 21, 1998 - It’s been a year since the the day the wedding didn’t happen, and I’m still alive. There were times, especially early on, when I thought I might not make it–but with the help of God and some great friends & family, here I am. I almost didn’t notice that it...read more


  • September 6, 1998 - Vacation ’98, Day Seven Every vacation should end with a “recovery day”. This one did. Slept in like crazy, then went to look at new housing developments around Irvine. They’re trying to build stuff which doesn’t look like tract housing. I’m not sure they’ve totally succeeded, but I have to...read more


  • September 5, 1998 - Vacation ’98, Day Six Someday I’ll laugh at the fact that I paid $14.00 for two tickets to see The Avengers. I really will. Mind you, I’m not a harsh film critic. Very rarely do I see a film I really dislike, and most of the turkeys, like Spice World,...read more


  • September 4, 1998 - Vacation ’98, Day Five The Aquarium of the Pacific , located in Long Beach, has been touted as another Morrow Bay Aquarium. That tends to create some pretty high expectations; Morrow Bay is one of the world’s greatest aquariums. I tried to visit the Aquarium of the Pacific a while...read more


  • September 3, 1998 - Vacation ’98, Day Four A snag. The plan for today was to visit the new Getty Museum complex in Los Angeles. Unfortunately, it’s already booked to the end of the year. So, in the same cultured and heady spirit of the great artistic masters, I endeavored to select something similar...read more


  • September 2, 1998 - Vacation ’98, Day Three God may have rested on the seventh day, but hey, I’m only human. So after Sea World and the San Diego Zoo, I did the geriatric thing today and stayed inside. It wouldn’t have been so bad were it not for the heat. I do believe...read more


  • September 1, 1998 - Vacation 1998, Day Two Day two! Still in San Diego, spent the night at the Hanalei Hotel, a halfway swanky place with a perfect halfway location between Sea World and Day Two destination: the San Diego Zoo. It was another scorcher of a day (100+ degrees with 40-50 percent humidity),...read more


  • August 31, 1998 - It’s here, it’s here!! Vacation. I can’t believe it. I haven’t had a week-long vacation in years, and boy am I due. I’m off to a little place a like to call “nowhere”. This is gonna be a local vacation, but it might as well be in the Amazon, because...read more


  • August 9, 1998 - Since I started flying again, all the old dreams about traversing the earth meeting people and experiencing different cultures while not crashing or losing an engine over the Atlantic are back. I hope to one day purchase a single engine aircraft with sufficient range to traverse the ocean make an...read more


  • August 8, 1998 - Tomorrow is the fifty-third anniversary of the dropping of an atomic bomb on Nagasaki by an American B-29 bomber. Today I was browsing CNN.com as I often do, and I came upon a story about an annual remembrance service which is held in Nagasaki’s Peace Park. First off, I have...read more


  • August 5, 1998 - I sometimes get a bit overeager when it comes to high-tech toys, even if they are justifiable ones. A recent example is the At Home cable modem service. I’m finally getting it installed on Friday. I’ve wanted cable modem or DSL service since the first time I surfed via a...read more


  • July 27, 1998 - I got a call from the network administrator at Pacific Blue Micro today. PBM is a client of mine, and apparently somebody with too much time on their hands decided to hack into one of their Silicon Graphics machines using my account. They took advantage of a weakness in IRIX...read more


  • July 13, 1998 - I think there’s something wrong withh me, because more and more lately I just cannot make a choice. I am paralyzed with indecision. Okay, this is a very minor example–which makes it all the more ridiculous–but I have been trying to come up with a new design for this site....read more


  • July 1, 1998 - A day of reflection. A day of family conflict too, but I’ve decided that’s inevitable. It’s all part and parcel of being human. Not that I’m making any excuses for their not working things out, mind you. I drove to Point Loma Military Cemetery for the funeral service of a...read more


  • June 18, 1998 - Every month or two, my ex-roommate Richard and I will spend an evening hanging out. It usually goes like this: a dinner much too high in calories and fat, then a mainstream type movie, then back to my place to make fun of Saturday Night Live or play a computer...read more


  • June 17, 1998 - I was watching the NBC sitcom “Working” tonight, and saw Harry Groener guest-starring on the show as the Vice-President of Upton-Webber, the fictional company the show is centered around. I thought that was cool because I was just sitting next to Harry a couple of hours ago. He’s one of...read more


  • June 9, 1998 - Returned to Los Angeles last night. As predicted, the trip was short but tiring. No crashes with the plane or the rental car, so as Bing Crosby once sang, “I’m counting my blessings instead of sheep.” Surprisingly, after that two and a half-hour horseback ride through the forest yesterday, I...read more


  • June 7, 1998 - I’m currently in Littleton, New Hampshire. This place reminds me of Alaska. I guess it should… New Hampshire and the southern part of Alaska occupy a similar latitude. Littleton reminds me of Eagle River, the town I lived in during those carefree Alaska years. I remember Eagle River as having...read more


  • June 3, 1998 - Well, everyone’s favorite world-class NASCAR precision driver has made yet another exhilarating trip to the Winner’s Circle. I was feeling so good. The strike for Pick Up Ax had gone very smoothly and only taken about four hours. Everything was accounted for, cleaned up and on it’s way to storage....read more


  • May 28, 1998 - I was dumbfounded to learn that Phil Hartman was killed today. Apparently by his wife, no less. Sheesh. Sinatra and even Chris Farley were not a shock, but this is totally unexpected. Maybe there really is a curse on the SNL alumni. If Hartman can go, then no one is...read more


  • May 25, 1998 - Memorial Day is the official American barbeque day. I honestly think that’s what it means to a lot of Americans. Either that, or just another random name for a three-day weekend. Holidays are such funny things. Did you spend any time today thinking about those who gave their lives in...read more


  • May 24, 1998 - After today’s matinee performance of Pick Up Ax, I was over at my friends Eron and Amy’s place. Eron just got the coolest thing I’ve seen in a long time: a 1979 full-size Asteroids video game. Do you remember this? He’s got one of the original ones, with the “Copyright...read more


  • May 19, 1998 - It is such perfect timing for Pick Up Ax, I tell ya. This Department of Justice lawsuit against Microsoft for anti-competitive practices is fascinating. Strangely enough I’m actually on Microsoft’s side on this one, even though I love Netscape. I was watching Burden of Proof on CNN today and they...read more


  • May 18, 1998 - I’ve been so good about avoiding any news, articles, conversation, etc. about the Seinfeld finale for the last week. I didn’t get to watch it live, but since I taped it, I figure I’d only have to hide out for a little while. Unfortunately, yours truly picked the one bum...read more


  • May 16, 1998 - The world is really shedding some tears over Sinatra’s passing. It’s all you see on television. As I was driving up to the theatre last night, I saw a couple of tributes to him along the way. The first was skywriting in the air over Sinatra’s home in Beverly Hills....read more


  • May 14, 1998 - Frank Sinatra Dec. 12, 1915 – May 14, 1998               Today is a very sad day. The Voice is gone. One of those days that will remain etched in your memory forever; you’ll always be able answer the question, “Where were you when you heard?” I was standing in...read more


  • May 13, 1998 - The last episode of Seinfeld is tomorrow. You’d have to be living inside a hermetically sealed bubble to have not heard about it by now. Supposed to be the most watched sitcom episode in history, something like a billion people. On the John and Ken Show (it’s on an L.A....read more


  • May 12, 1998 - Today, a new addition to the site: the Rappcam! I don’t have any particular reason for doing it. But then again, I don’t need a reason, so it works out pretty well, wouldn’t you say? I was inspired by the .zannahcam., which is still of a much higher quality than...read more


  • May 6, 1998 - I’m pretty bummed about the lack of audience we’ve had for Pick Up Ax. We only had four people tonight. Even in a 99 seat house, that’s pretty bad. Where the hell are all those people who said they’d be there back when I told them about it during the...read more


  • April 26, 1998 - Well, we did it. We finally got through the whole show without blowing any dimmers, circuit breakers, or other electrical elements. You wouldn’t believe the sigh of relief I let go after the curtain call. This has been the longest week I can remember, and most of it shouldn’t have...read more


  • April 25, 1998 - Damn damn damn damn DAMN! For the first time ever, I’ve had to halt a show in medias res, shut it down and send an audience home in the middle of a performance. It’s a hard thing to do. I know the phrase “the show must go on” is just...read more


  • April 24, 1998 - Whew, I’m beat. A bunch of us working on Pick Up Ax just pulled an all-nighter at the theatre trying to get things ready for our first preview tomorrow. The lights have been giving us problems–fuses have been blowing. We’ve managed to get some new ones, but what was supposed...read more


  • April 12, 1998 - Okay, it’s 1:17 am on Easter morning, so I suppose I can be the first to officially wish you a Happy Easter. To my body, though, it’s still yesterday. I’m sick right now, so what the heck am I doing up? I guess I’m still a little excited about the...read more


  • April 11, 1998 - A continuation of what I was talking about yesterday. Today I changed internet service providers. I was drawn in by the amazing stats capability that Deltanet has, plus they are so freaking reliable that I bet if The Big One came along (that’s the big-scary-gonna-getcha earthquake, for those of you...read more


  • April 10, 1998 - I really don’t like change. That’s weird, because in my industry there’s no job security and folks are always looking for their next gig. The entertainment business involves more change than just about any other line of work I can think of. The only people for whom it never changes...read more


  • April 2, 1998 - I love the rain. A lot of people certainly don’t, with El Nino and all. Just think of those people in Laguna Niguel whose homes slid down the mountain, and the poor condos that got crushed underneath them. Of course, one could argue that it’s not really Mother Nature’s fault;...read more


  • April 1, 1998 - I hadn’t a clue that today was the first of April until I was browsing the web and came across an announcement on the news.com site that said CNET was entering the software market and would be releasing a web browser that was so incredible it would instantly crush both...read more


  • March 28, 1998 - Do you use Mail Boxes, Etc.? I’ve oftened wondered what the “Etc.” part is all about. I think it’s “we’re gonna rip you off”. Okay, I know they’re out there to make money, but you’d think when they’re scalping you this badly they’d at least have the courtesy to avert...read more


  • March 27, 1998 - And the saga continues. Got a lovely letter today from Yale. I know it well, on that 100% cotton fiber paper. Such high quality and so official. “I regret that we are not able to offer you admission to the department.” Then there’s the obligatory paragraph containing the generic justification....read more


  • March 25, 1998 - So I’m driving home after rehearsal ended last night. It had been a long, hard day, but the show was running well and I was happy. As I’m getting on the freeway at Bristol, this guy behind me in a minivan decides that there’s no way in hell he’s gonna...read more


  • March 18, 1998 - It’s been a busy week, and I’m ready for a few days off. Unfortunately there’s no break in sight. The staged reading of Uncle Sam’s Fandango at SCR went pretty well. We rehearsaed all day Saturday and Sunday. The director, Dan Kern, wasn’t there for the performance, but I think...read more


  • March 15, 1998 - Well, I’ve decided to move the House of Rapp to a new ISP. I was a little worried when Dreamhost, the new service provider, went down this evening. But I guess those things happen. After all, it’s just a web site, albeit one I put way too much time into....read more


  • March 14, 1998 - I bought a CD-R drive a several weeks ago, but other than backing up my data (which there is a lot of–over 160 meg just in data) I haven’t had any heavy uses for it. I originally got it because a) I don’t trust Zip disks for long term storage,...read more


  • March 12, 1998 - Who is the idiot that invented gas-powered leaf blowers? What I wouldn’t give for five minutes alone with the guy who came up with this concept… Isn’t it odd that Los Angeles, not Orange County, has outlawed these things? They are the scourge of my neighborhood, and I swear they...read more


  • March 8, 1998 - I hadn’t been skiing at all so far this year, but today I finally made it to the slopes at Bear Mountain. I’m glad too, because with all the grief the weather has been giving us, I would hate to have completely missed out on the one good thing all...read more


  • March 4, 1998 - What a day. Not only have legal problems cropped up (through no fault of mine or anyone elses on the production) with Pick Up Ax, but I also lost my wallet. Actually, I don’t think it was lost–it was stolen. “What?!”, I hear you saying, “In Irvine? Nothing bad ever...read more


  • March 3, 1998 - I just love the way bureaucracies work. Sometimes they can be a literal pain in the ass. You’d have to be living in a cave to be unaware of what “El Nio” (the weather phenomenon–not Chris Farley) is doing to the west coast. We’ve had something like two feet of...read more


  • February 22, 1998 - You know you’re scraping the bottom of the barrel when you’re looking to a fortune cookie for advice. I mean, even the Magic 8-Ball is a step up from this thing. At least the Eight Ball is a dedicated bullshit meter. A fortune cookie is nothing but an afterthought from...read more


  • February 21, 1998 - “Always sprinkle the goodies along the way. Be as tough as you want, but always sprinkle the goodies here and there. Because anything they can laugh at, they can’t hate.” –Jimmy Cagney Some days you really need to hear something like that. And boy is this one of those days....read more


  • January 27, 1998 - With each passing year it gets harder and harder to imagine what the world must have been like without computers, films, television, telephones, powered flight, and cable modems. Okay, maybe not the cable modem. Every time I think I have a handle on the power of 20th century inventions, something...read more


  • November 26, 1997 - Happy Thanksgiving! As one of my friends recently stated with such elegance: where the hell did the year go?! One day I’m celebrating my birthday in January (hint, hint), and the next day they’re putting up Christmas lights in the parking lots at local strip malls. I mean, I like...read more


  • November 10, 1997 - Yeah. I’ve been away for a while. Have you missed me? I’ve been spending lotsa time in a darkened theatre. And if you’re smart, that’s what you’ll be doing too! Because The Mikado opens in 24 hours, and you’re going to come and see it. Aren’t you? (imagine a pathetic...read more


  • October 20, 1997 - What a dull week! I have nothing of consciousness-altering significance to show for the last seven days (or should that be years?) of my life. So I’ll have to vamp. Creativity, don’t fail me now. Personal Rehearsals for The Mikado started last week. This particular production comes from Australia, and...read more


  • October 13, 1997 - Write It Like You Stole It Continuing in the fine tradition of Apple Computer and Microsoft, I’m saw something developed by someone else that I liked, and am stealing it for my own financial gain. OK, so maybe that’s a little overdramatic. But I have to admit that my pal...read more


  • July 13, 1997 - Your humble host undergoes "left renal shock wave lithotripsy". If it sounds like a science experiment a deranged scientist would perform on some late night TV movie, you're not far off the mark.


  • June 11, 1997 - Reminiscing about my favorite dog, a pet whom I lost today after nearly 13 years.


  • May 15, 1997 - A few classic photos from the "good old days" of my childhood.


  • May 13, 1997 - Attending the wedding of a childhood friend brings back all sorts of memories, along with the opportunity to reconnect with all the kids from the neighborhood.


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