Month: July 2006

The Cirrus Killer

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 plenty of times it just wouldn’t be safe to fly.… Read more →

Things Fall Apart

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 ZLA ATC ZERO. ALL FLIGHTS TO AND THRU ZLA STOPPED.,… Read more →

Adios, Muchachos

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. Read more →

Seal Beach VOR Out of Service

“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 a fraternity from Cal State Long Beach trashing the place… Read more →


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 the latest thing.  It’s never failed you.  Everyone uses it. … Read more →

Nineteen Minutes

“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 destination. In some cases, you’d actually be right. Here’s something… Read more →


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, tweaking the style sheet, and so on.  The main thing… Read more →

Forced Landing

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.  Until recently, I didn’t know very many people who’d ever… Read more →

Teterboro vs. John Wayne

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 take a person who has never been in an aircraft… Read more →


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