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. Read more →
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. Read more →
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. Read more →
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. Read more →
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. Read more →