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May 2014 Photos

Expect fewer than average posts over the next few weeks as I prepare to move to the CA central coast. For now, here are some recent photos... Departing Ukiah Mt. Diablo at Sunset Flying the Eastern Sierra En route San Diego Heading South Hold at KACBY Lee Vining Mono Lake Approaching Mono Lake Near Lake Mendocino Over US 395 Eastern Sierra Turbulence Over Truckee

Learning to Fly — Without An Instructor?

Just how important is the instructor when it comes to learning to fly? That might be a surprising question for an CFI to ask, but the longer I teach, the more cognizant I become of the many ways in which an instructor can function as a barrier to the student's progress. Show More Summary

The Contract Pilot

As much as one may love flying, it can be a tough career choice. Many pilots struggle through the food chain only to end up discouraged, if not downright hating their job. We're all aware of the reasons: low pay, long days, little respect,...Show More Summary

April Showers and other Photos

Approaching Long Beach Awaiting IFR release Over Castro Valley Y Unusual, late April storm, dodging the yellow stuff Left Base RWY 34, Yolo County Santa Rosa Seven departure Right downwind, somewhere near Lake Merritt Resume direct OAK...Show More Summary

What's An Aircraft Bailment?

If you are a maintenance facility and you work on other people's aircraft, it is a good bet that a bailment relationship is created with the owners of the aircraft you maintain. For more information on how a bailment relationship isShow More Summary

Our Flying Family

People instinctively looking skyward when they hear the whine of a jet engine passing overhead; it’s in our nature to long for a place in the sky, and even though some airspace in the world may be contested, aviation can bring human beings together in impossible ways. Show More Summary

Breaking the Rules: Teaching Snap Rolls

Efficient aerobatic instruction is challenging enough when you're doing a loop, hammerhead, or Cuban. Those figures last ten or fifteen seconds. A snap roll is over in about one second, and what's happening is far more involved. So how...Show More Summary

To Pull or Not to Pull

Simulating partial panel used to be so easy: slap a cover over one or two of the instruments and let the fun begin! In an era of integrated glass panel avionics, however, it's not always so simple. Take the G1000 for example. The FAA...Show More Summary

Soft Field Follies

"My touchdown wasn't very soft," my student lamented, after managing a strong crosswind and plopping the plane onto the asphalt. We were in a tricycle gear aircraft and her touchdown attitude was good: Nose high, but not so high as to strike the tail, minimum airspeed, full flaps. Show More Summary

Wanaka report part I - some points of interest on the way there

As it seems I was the only club member there, my decision to drive down was vindicated. The weather in NZ during the days leading up to the airshow were pretty yucky and long distance VFR flight was really only for the small group of vastly experienced pilots who know what they're doing. Show More Summary

The Red Rocket

I suppose every pilot has a catalog of "dream aircraft" they'd like to fly before their gravity-defying days are over. My bucket list includes a quirky looking homebuilt called the Questair Venture. The Venture conjures up a unique set of images: blistering speed, eggs, air racing, and more than a crash or two. Show More Summary

Making the Best of a Marginal VFR Day

It had been a while since I had flown, so to get current, I booked some time with Simple Flight CFI Extraordinaire Al Waterloo. Our goal was to go out and do a biennial flight review flight (BFR). However, when...

Numerous Cumulus (not just a Few CU)

Last Saturday was one of those lift-is-everywhere days at Crystalaire. Oddly, there seemed to be more moisture in the high desert air than in Orange County south of the mountains... or maybe just more uplift due to surface heating. The...Show More Summary

Early April Photos

A few recent photos from various training flights in various aircraft. Approaching front... Night carnival Cleared for takeoff En route, Calaveras Cumulonimbus mammatus? Get me outta here! Almost on top Dodging the yellow stuff Hayward Sunset Hitching a ride to KLVK with Allan and Chris. Show More Summary

Crissy Field

9:44pm, June 22, 1924. Three minutes before dusk and still no sign of Pilot Russell Maughan. 50,000 people waited at Crissy Field outside of San Francisco for the first ever dawn to dusk transcontinental crossing of the United States. What...Show More Summary

Solo: The Abandoned Column

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...Show More Summary


Hi all. I have been quite busy in real life and have only managed a few flights this year. Just enough to be current on 3 of the 4 types I am rated in really. However, this post is about my upcoming trip to the Warbirds over Wanaka Airshow. Show More Summary

Battling the Hydra

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. Show More Summary

Fork in the Road

No one was hurt when a Southwest Airlines 737 mistakenly landed at the wrong airport in Branson, Missouri or when a Boeing Dreamlifter landed at the wrong airport in Wichita, Kansas, but these high-profile boo boos did reignite a smoldering debate about cockpit automation, autopilots, and stick-and-rudder flying skills. Show More Summary

The Journey of a Thousand Miles

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...Show More Summary

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