Monday, February 18, 2019
I did not think I would write another column, but this is a good way to close things out. I have been flying for 55 years in one form or another. That time has finally come to an end. My Dad died when I was really young. My Mother sold the house a couple of years later and we moved into a high rise condo in the Buckhead area of Atlanta. My sisters met a friend whose Father was the third Chairman of Delta Airlines, Charlie Dolson. Charlie had two daughters and took me under his wing since he did not have any sons. When I was 15 I was introduced to flying in a Cessna 172. I flew with him when able until I went off to College. At that time I was more interested in playing sports at Auburn and was not doing any flying. My junior year I suffered a knee injury that required major surgery. I had several friends that we all decided to join the Air Force after graduation and then fly for the airlines. At that time Delta was only hiring ex military. I had a low lottery number in the very first lottery and was drafted right after graduation. I went to take the "cattle car physical" that almost all passed and enlisted in the Air Force. Everything was fine until I took the flight physical, and the Airforce had my records on my knee surgery. I was washed out of the service right then. They did not want to pay me a disability pension if my knee failed again. All my plans were dissolved in a minute. I had to come up with another plan of action which would not lead to me ever becoming an Airline Pilot. Things turned out pretty well for me, and I had a great career. Part of that career was obtaining jobs for my friends that were through with their Air Force commitment, jobs flying for Delta. I represented these pilots for years up to them taking early retirement with Delta before they went bankrupt. The difference being they could take up to $1.2M early buy out or lose their pension. Most took the early buyout and retired. The retirement age back then was 6o and most of the Pilots were 58. To this day they thank me for the advise as the government pension plan took over the Delta plan at bankruptcy and those pilots that did not take the buyout lost a lot of money. I decided to fly for personal use and did that certificated for 31 years flying gliders and piston airplanes. I also have 10 hours in the Citation Jet 525 with a CFII friend. All good things must come to an end. My body is just not holding up enough to continue flying safely. I had owned my 1954 V Tail Bonanza for 20 years. It was in pristine shape. I did an AOPA V Ref price and placed it on my FaceBook group in Planes for Sale. I placed the ad on Saturday and had a firm sale on Sunday. I can not complain as we had some wonderful trips in the Bonanza from the Baja to Vancouver and Victoria. I had flown all over the Western US. My wife and I planned a trip to New Orleans, Auburn and Atlanta. Two weeks before departure my wife became ill and was in the hospital for over 2 months. We are thankful it happened before we left on our trip. It is time for a new adventure in our life, and we are going to join a sailing club in San Diego using 22 foot sailboats. I will see this summer if I can handle this. No complaints as life has been very good to me. Have some fantastic memories of our trips and only had two problems over 31 years of ownership. The first was when I was based at Phoenix Sky Harbor (PHX). I had sold my Cherokee 180 and was delivering it to El Paso (ELP). The carburetor failed after take off. I had enough power to turn back and land safely. Taxied into FBO and they rebuilt it that day. I delivered the plane the next day. I had an electric prop bracket break landing at Henderson (HND). Left the plane at the FBO after determining the problem and flew home on the Airlines. Picked the plane up a couple of weeks later. That was it for 31, or 55, years of flying. I was proud of my volunteer work for Aviation. I served as the ASN for AOPA at DVT and SDL. My best volunteer work was for Challenge Air, flying mentally and physically challenged children and their families. This is something I will never forget. I also participated in 4 Master Plans at 3 different Airports and was the Chairman of two different Aviation Commissions. I worked for ABC in Phoenix being their Aviation Expert. Finally I was head of the Aviation Committee for the Super Bowl. I have been very lucky and looking forward to the life I have left in front of me that will bring new adventures. So when I start up my car I yell CLEAR, and driving onto the freeway ramps keep the white lines in the center.
Tuesday, April 10, 2018
I've been writing for Plane and Pilot News and My Opinion for awhile now and appreciate immensely the almost 40,000 of you that have been reading this blog. I've had a lot of changes in my life recently, and it's time to do something else. I also gave up my gig with ABC TV in Phoenix as I do not wish to be associated with Sinclair Broadcasting. Wishing all my readers well. Arthur Rosen
Wednesday, February 7, 2018
I have been flying into Grand Canyon Airport for years (KGCN). The past three years I have not flown there due to health reasons for my wife. We decided to fly to KGCN last Saturday with the weather being beautiful for this time of year. The experience we had was horrible. Several years ago KGCN moved GA parking from the FBO area to a ramp about 1/2 mile south of the FBO. KGCN is a secure airport even though they no longer have any commercial flights with the majority of their flights being sight seeing airplanes that fly over and through the Canyon. Upon moving the GA ramp the FBO, Grand Canyon Air, was to supply a shuttle from transient parking to the FBO and back. The GA ramp is a secure area, and we were not supposed to walk to the terminal. No van arrived and we called their frequency several times without a reply. We decided to walk to the FBO which was a big mistake for my wife due to the high altitude. When we arrived at the FBO my wife could not catch her breath for about 30 minutes. We sat down in the lounge, and when my wife recovered we decided to go home. The FBO refused to shuttle us back to our plane, and we had to walk. Our objective was to go have brunch at El Tovar which is a beautiful lodge with old fashion dining and then step out to the scenic area. We were the only airplane on a huge ramp for transient aircraft. I remember when this ramp used to be full! Now KGCN averages 1 GA flight every 4 days. All the rental car facilities have left the airport as there is no business for them. Taxi service has raised their price to get to the Canyon from $10 to $23 one way due to no competition. In the summer there used to be a shuttle that would carry you to the Canyon for $5 a person each way. They quit their service saying it is too expensive. When we went to return to our plane the FBO would not transport us back either. I made some phone calls to pilots around the Phoenix area, and they all stated they do no fly to KGCN any longer for the above reasons. I talked to the new airport manager and he is in between a rock and a hard place. KGCN is going to put out and RFP for FBO services. Until a new FBO is on board with complete service no one is going to fly their plane there. I surely cannot recommend going to the Grand Canyon by GA Aircraft. It takes 1 hour to fly there from Phoenix and 51/2 hours to drive.The Grand Canyon is one of the most beautiful sites I have ever seen, and I never get tired of the views. It is sad that I will probably never return there in my lifetime. After posting this morning had several phone calls from pilots around the Valley. They recommended flying into G40 Valle Airport 18 miles south of the Grand Canyon and renting a car there. We sure will do this next time.
Friday, February 2, 2018
It has been awhile since I have posted anything. I cannot believe it is already February! Things have been hectic here as we bought a new dog which we fly up to receive the end of February, after 12 years I bought a new car and had some tuneup surgery on my back and neck. I have been flying for a very long time. Flying gliders I am never straight and level, just flying above the stall sppeed circiling in thermals. Flying my E 35 1954 Bonanza for the past 20 years, I consider myself a pretty good pilot. I have flown hard IFR, staying away from thunder storms and icing, and have flown numerous approaches into California through the marine layer. I consider myself a very good pilot. Then I stop and think about other pilots I know and have to take a back seat to their skills. I have a friend, Pam Melroy, that was the third female shuttle pilot. She is a graduate of MIT graduate school and flew in the Air Force as a Colonel flying the C130. Pam entered the Space program for NASA and became an astronaut flying several missions on the Shuttle. How in the world can I compete with this...I can't.
Thursday, December 7, 2017
Do you use a checklist when you fly? I have been flying mostly the same plane for 20 years now and always use a checklist. I refined it down to what is necessary and have two pages, front and back, laminated. The front is start up, taxi, runup and cruise. Emergency information is on this page in red. The back is descent, prior to landing and after landing. I keep it simple but cover all the basis. Even though I fly the same airplane year after year I would never consider flying without using my checklist. I have flown with some phenomenal pilots over the years and was surprised they did not use a check list. They know their airplanes inside and out and do everything from memory. For me it would be too easy to forget an item on my checklist. How many times do you hear about a door popping open on takeoff, which is an inconvenience, a minor problem that could turn into a major problem if you try to close the door in the air. I would rather take a little extra time and do things right the first time. As I get older I tend to not rush things on the checklist. Even though I have it down pat, I always use a checklist on every flight. I fly with my wife 90% of the time, and she reads out the items to me and does not move on until I perform that task. I have also learned to think before I touch something instead of rushing. A couple of extra minutes could be a life saver. When in flight I think things out before I touch something. I do not want to put down the flaps when I meant to put down the gear. On the Bonanza I fly, the gear and flaps are backwards from most airplanes. When I was learning to fly the Citation Jet I always stopped and thought something out before I touched anything. I am also thinking and reviewing a few steps ahead so I recognize what is expected of me next. GUMPS check- gas, undercarriage, mixture, prop and speed; I perform this check 3 times before landing. I never want to be in the category of landing gear up. If things get really busy I put the gear down a little early. When IFR on approach I always put the gear down at the initial approach fix. This is one thing I never want to forget. Things can get really busy on an approach in IMC. I still go through my GUMPS check but want to get this item done early. This is just the way I operate. Speaking of operating, my daughter runs the PICU at a major hospital. She has made a checklist for doctors and nurses to eliminate mistakes. The checklist is taken from my flying one and refined for medicine. Hopefully this prevents nurses giving the wrong medicine to a patient or forgetting to give a patient drugs when they need it. Every nurse and doctor has an IPad so they are all looking at the same information. This is kind of like ForeFlight for medicine. Slow down and enjoy the world. This should start on your walk around, through flight and to completion. Do you know someone who forgot to turn off the master switch or battery and returned to find a dead battery. Slow down, take a deep breath and enjoy your flight!
Tuesday, November 28, 2017
For years I have been studying the preliminary accident reports put out by the FAA every work day. I say to myself how could anyone be stupid enough to do that, then I take a deep breathe and say wow I could have done that. It used to be that the major cause of accidents was fuel starvation, but that has greatly decreased over the years. Tail draggers seem to be on the reports almost every day, ground looping and flipping over on landing. A majority of these seem to occur in Alaska. Of course tail draggers are more prevalent in Alaska. I question whether more instruction is needed in tail draggers as they have to be flown to a full stop before leaving the runway. With the center of gravity behind you, one has to be on top of a tail dragger on take offs and landings. They are a much more demanding airplane to fly on takeoffs and landings, and you really have to stay on the rudder and brakes if necessary to remain straight. Gear up landing seem to be prevalent. I do not know if these accidents are due to the gear not coming down or forgetting to put the gear down. I go through my GUMPS check three times before landing and really cannot slow my Bonanza down without getting the gear down. Yet almost every day I read about a gear up landing(s). Taxing into a fence or taxing into another airplane or parked vehicle seems to make the list a lot. Reading these makes me give a parked plane a lot of room when taxing. If there is a fence involved when parking, I pull to a stop turning my plane when parking and push it back into the parking place. I have had a couple of close calls with fences that change direction at airports, and stay far away from fences and light poles. Better to have a lineman or someone else around to help push my plane into a parking place than to tangle with a fence or light pole. Landing off airport is another big number. Again I do not know if this is because of mechanical problems or bad judgment. It is always better to go around then to be lined up wrong for landing. Midairs around non controlled airports also seem to be a problem. It is so important to first study the pattern of an airport before you go. At Sedona, AZ (SEZ) the proper procedure coming from the south is to cross over midfield to join the downwind. If someone decides they are going to land straight in it messes up the whole pattern. The other thing to do is announce where you are and what your intentions are. A radio call 10 miles, 5 miles, downwind and base turns are very important. Sometimes you have planes announcing 25 miles out and every 5 miles thereafter tying up the radio. This is too much. Listen to where other planes are and look out the window. Try to draw a mental picture of where others are in the pattern. Midairs in flight are minimal but still occur. With glass cockpits and IPads in the plane too many are looking at the glass and not outside the window. Keep your eyes outside the window and scan your instruments as necessary. Airliners are not exempt either. There seem to be a number of planes striking each other on pushback or support vehicles running into airplanes. I look at each accident and say to myself how can I avoid doing these things. It has served me well over the years. I would hope that all pilots look at these reports and say what can I do to prevent having an accident or incident.
Tuesday, November 21, 2017
I joined the EAA recently and attended my first chapter meeting last Thursday. This was not a regular chapter meeting, as the chapter awarded not one, not two but three Wright Brothers Master Pilot Awards. To have three recipients in one night is almost unheard of. The Wright Brothers Mater Pilot Award is presented to a recipient who has flown safely for 50 years accident free and has obtained other aviation distinctions throughout their aviation careers. The first person of the evening to receive this award was Arv Shultz. Arv started his aviation career in 1966. He is a CFII, and he went through all his ratings from 1966 through 1967. He has flown aircraft from a Cessna 150 to MD 80. Arv retired from Northwest Airlines and is in the Arizona Aviation Hall of Fame.