Thursday, December 11, 2014


You noticed the topic of this column is for IPAD’s. If you want to fly with one of these apps you are going to have to own an IPad. The stuff that is out there for Android is really bad. 

There are basically around 5 companies in the business with only 2 dominating and 1 that really owns the business. I am writing off Jeppensen and FlyQ, with not that much positive to say about Garmin. Garmin has done an excellent job with panel mounts and portable GPS systems. They came to the IPad market late with their app and while improved, it still leaves a lot to be desired. Their AHARS only shows in a full page and you loose the moving map. This to me is unacceptable.

That brings us to the 2 leaders ForeFlight (FF) and WingXPro (WX). 

WX offers a lot of features and is the best bang for the buck if you are a VFR pilot or IFR pilot. WX offers you everything you will need IFR included for $75 a year. The only thing you would pay extra for is geo referenced IFR approach plates. WX gives you the availability of split screen views in any situation. You could have an approach plate in one screen and a chart on the other. The problem is that if you go full screen with the approach plate you loose all pertinent information on the chart. This means you loose distance to next waypoint and heading. I do not like this approach to IFR flying.
The problem with WX is I cannot rely on it. Two out of the three past trips I have taken the weather has not worked. WX does not seem to monitor the app to see if it is working. I have had numerous other quality problem with WX and therefore cannot recommend it.

FF is the other major app for IPad navigation. If you are a VFR only pilot you do not have a lot of information that is pertinent to flight. The most important thing is that you do not have terrain awareness with the VFR program. I do not think this is in the best interest of safety. You are forced to buy the $150 program to get terrain awareness, safe taxi, height above ground and other features along with geo referenced approach plates. I do like how you can overlay the approach plate on top of the chart so you maintain all pertinent information flying an approach. FF allows you to set the transparency on the plate so it does not block out the chart. FF does have one split screen with the Stratus 2 ADS-B IN unit which is an AHARS, and flying a legacy airplane like mine is an excellent feature. WX also has the same setup with a second generation ADS-B IN unit.
FF has coded weather. Nobody today with a computer or IPad needs coded weather. This needs to be updated to plain english weather briefings.

I have a real gripe with all the apps in that what ADS-B IN unit works with one app will not work with another. If you have the Garmin app you need a Garmin ADS-B. If you have WX there are several ADS-B’s to choose from none of which work with Garmin or FF. FF only works with Stratus ADS-B units. You must be very careful which app you buy and which ADS-B unit as this is a great expense. If you decide you do not like WX and want to switch to FF you will have to buy a new ADS-B unit.

I have a friend that teaches classes approved by the FAA training people on Garmin, FF and WX apps. In the class there are usually 30 with FF, 1 or 2 with Gamin or WX. Take that as you may.

After flying with WX and FF the only app I can recommend is FF, not because of the features but because FF is much more reliable!!! It works and I can depend on it.

One other recommendation I can give is do not perform an update on an app for a coupe of days after it comes out. That way if there is a bug you will usually hear of it before downloading. FF had their first bad update that I recall last month and immediately notified their customer not to download it. It was too late for some.

In closing NEVER update an app if you are going on a trip. Wait until you get home. This way there should not be any problems.

I am recommending FF because of their quality control.

Monday, December 8, 2014


AOPA has had some tough battles over the years and until recently had a pretty good record. I know my Congressman and one Senator, but I have no clout when it comes to General Aviation issues. That is why AOPA is so important to me and GA. AOPA used to have around 419,000 members but that number is way down today due to attrition of pilots dying off, losing medicals and fed up with what has happened with AOPA in the past. The estimate of AOPA membership today is around 300,000. Phil Boyer took AOPA to great strides when he was President.  It only takes a short time to destroy someones hard work, and that is what happened when Craig Fuller became President. He alienated the membership. Now Mark Baker is in office and is trying to do everything the right way and doing a good job at it. When I am no longer able to fly I will remain a member of AOPA for all the good they do for GA.

Unfortunately AOPA’s track record has not been the best on issues lately. AOPA has lost several battles on airspace redo, with GA being squeezed out on Class Bravo Airspace. It is so bad in Phoenix that we have a ceiling in the class B that has been lowered to a shelf that is lower than the mountains adjacent to it. 6 people lost their lives because of this.

AOPA just spent, with others, hundreds of thousands of dollars for a vote to keep Santa Monica, CA (SMO) open. AOPA did everything right, but unfortunately only approximately 20% of the population even bothered to vote. AOPA’s referendum was defeated. We are fortunate that the FAA and DOT has final say so on this.

AOPA has 2 major issues on the table. 

The first being elimination of the 3rd class medical. I have always thought that the 3rd class medical is a joke. AOPA petitioned the FAA to change the 3rd class medical to allow VFR flight with one passenger in an airplane of 180HP or less. The FAA blew AOPA off and shelved this. AOPA then went to Congress to change the 3rd class medical rules. Congress came up with a much better offer to fly below 14,000 feet, VFR only, in any piston airplane. It sounded like Congress was ready to move on this. Then came the midterm elections and now the holiday break and nothing went forward. AOPA will have to start over again after the first of the year. Government never moves fast, and I do not know if I will see a result in my lifetime.

The second issue is ADS-B OUT. AOPA appeared before a Congressional committee 2 weeks ago and stated that there are approximately 180,000 airplanes in the fleet. Of these approximately 88,000 are worth $40,000 or less. The minimum cost I have seen to install ADS-B OUT in an airplane that does not have an IFR WAAS GPS and Mode S transponder is $7,500 parts and labor. Do the math and owners of these planes can not afford to purchase ADS-B OUT at current prices. AOPA is asking for portable units to be qualified to handle ADS-B OUT at a much lower cost to the airplane owner. This seems like a no brainer except the FAA has never approved a portable unit for anything in the cockpit.

AOPA is all we have folks. If these two issues do not succeed I am afraid we will loose even more members. I hate to say this but there will be a lot of parked GA airplanes that will not be flying any longer which leads to empty airports. Maybe this is what the FAA wants.

If you are a member of AOPA please renew, and if you are not....please join now.

Wednesday, November 12, 2014


Whatever you do , if you are looking for an aviation app, do not buy WingXPro. WingX does one thing good, they allow almost all ADS-B units to work with the program. After that everything is downhill.

WingXPro does not have the reliability one needs when flying. Their quality control is near nonexistent. The previous flight I took the weather was not working. Sent them an email, and it was working 2 days later...not when I needed it.

WingX came out with another update this week. They installed a numerical VSI on the top of the map page. I do not know what these people were thinking. Vertical speed with GPS is determined by ones location not the altimeter. If you are flying in level flight the VSI will give you a notice of how many feet up or down you are going...even though you are level! Unfortunately WingX has not provided a way to turn this nuisance off.

They also did not check their program before updating it. There are 2 weather blocks on the Map page. Underneath them is a notice that says “loading...” This is fine if you are connected to the internet but useless in flight. I do no know if this burns more battery on the IPad constantly searching when there is no internet connection. It worked fine with ADS-B In until this update. It would also be nice to turn off the 2 weather blocks in flight as they are useless, not being able to update weather in flight.

WingXPro has some wonderful features, but it is not reliable enough to bet your life on. I have one more year to go on my subscription and can not wait to switch to ForeFlight. ForeFlight has only had one glitch that I know of, and it was corrected in one day.


Saturday, November 8, 2014


When I started flying I had $5 million insurance smooth. That is back when $5 million dollars was a lot of money, and the courts were not a lottery system. My insurance decreased over the years down to $2 million smooth, $1 million smooth, to where it is today at $1 million with only $100,000 per seat. 

The court system has changed dramatically over the years. I have always said if you are a plaintiff have a jury trial, if you are a defendant and guilty have a jury trial and if you are a defendant and innocent request that the judge makes the decision. Juries are very easily swayed by a good attorney and computer graphics. 

Recently in Phoenix there was a case involving 2 TV stations whose helicopters lost situational awareness and crashed into each other with multiple deaths. The insurance companies refused to settle with the heirs, and this case went to trial. The attorneys for the plaintiffs were granted their request to introduce a computer generated recreation of the crash. I was able to review this, and from all the facts of the event, I did not feel it was an accurate recreation of the way things happened. I knew right away the defense was in trouble. If this was presented to the jury the amount of jury award would have been unfathomable . The insurance companies settled before this recreation could be presented into evidence.

This brings me to the reason I can no longer fly passengers. My wife and I have worked hard to build an estate for retirement. If I had an accident and was sued by my passenger or their heirs, my estate would be financially depleted. $1 million with $100,000 per passenger would not cover much in a lawsuit. 

Over the years I have enjoyed giving people their first ride in a GA airplane. They always loved flying into Sedona for breakfast with the thrilling views and great airport. I can not do this anymore in good financial conscience.

When I flew for Angel Flight the passenger signed a waiver. Waivers are not worth much any longer and can be easily pierced. It is my understanding that the EAA takes out an insurance policy to protect its pilots for their Young Eagles events. This is a good thing as there was a mid air about a month ago where both pilot and child were killed. The charity I have worked so hard for raising money, came out with a detailed waiver for the pilots to sign 2 nights before the event. In good conscience I could not sign this waiver and refused to fly. This was a big disappointment for me, but I could not put my estate at risk.

I miss flying friends and now only fly with my wife. The world has changed, and I have had to adapt. I am not very happy about it, but I have to be practical.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Santa Monica and Venice Beach California are magnificent places to visit. You do not need a rental car, taking a cab from the airport to your hotel and walk everywhere.

Santa Monica Airport (SMO) has been a thorn in the side of people who live there, City Council, Airport Commission, FAA, AOPA and NBAA. Just a short history in that SMO quit taking grants from the FAA in 2000 and claim they can close the airport in 2015. Some say this should be 2022. The vote itself had little use as Federal Law supersedes City Law, and in my opinion this issue will be settled in Federal Court.

The City states they have the right to close the airport and develop it as it so wishes. The FAA states that the property has to remain an airport in perpetuity. I have read that NBAA and AOPA spent approximately $800,000 in the campaign for Proposition D. I personally feel that this was a total waste of money as Federal law will prevail one way or the other. Bill Dunn, VP of AOPA, put in hundreds if not thousand of hours traveling to SMO trying to educate the general public in the benefits of SMO to the City and their economy. I am personally sorry to see the negative results for all the effort he put into making Prop D a success.

There is another caveat that I have not heard a lot of discussion on. The City is trying to do everything in it’s power to make the airport unusable. SMO is the only airport that I have flown to that requires a landing fee for my Bonanza. It was $6 two years ago and now it is $18 to land there. I have never heard of an airport that charges based aircraft a landing fee. At SMO all based airplanes have to pay a fee. In addition if a flight school does a touch and go, they have to pay a fee for every time the wheels touch the pavement. 

Now SMO is reducing the amount of fuel that can be pumped every day. I could fly in with my Bonanza, and would not be able to depart if there was not any fuel available. There are many jets based at SMO that could be in the same situation.

SMO is doing every thing in their legal rights to discourage use of the airport. They have also sued the FAA losing twice with attorney fees in the $3 million range.  I personally think that the City will make things so miserable for the flying public they will have to go elsewhere and the airport will disappear. This will be a shame!

Monday, November 3, 2014


The FAA has mandated that every airplane flying in the US in controlled airspace as of January 1, 2020 must be equipped with ADS-B Out. ADS-B is based on ground station technology which is 20 years old. The FAA has always complained that ground based VOR’s were too expensive to maintain. In their infinite wisdom the FAA has based the future on ground stations again. There are some 600 of these ground stations installed but the FAA blew the coverage and has now decided they have to install another 200 more ground stations to get complete coverage. The program could have been aborted many years ago and proceeded with satellite coverage. The FAA could have bought out XM and had the coverage they needed for a minuscule cost of what they have spent on ground stations. I have no idea how much it will cost to maintain this ground based system.

AOPA has stated that there are approximately 180,000 airplanes in the fleet. 88,000 of these are worth around $30,000. The least expensive cost solution today to have ABS-B Out installed is approximately $7,500. This is over 20% of the value of 88,000 airplanes.

There is no perceived value to GA of ADS-B Out other than being able to see traffic on an IPad type device if your plane is equipped with ADS-B In. In addition you are still required to have a transponder so airline traffic can see you on TCAS. AOPA and EAA are trying to get the FAA to back off their 2020 mandate. The FAA is not backing down. The only solution is to have AOPA and EAA go to Congress to have the mandate deleted until a more cost effective solution can be reached, or there will be a lot of planes grounded.

The FAA cannot reach a solution on 3rd class medicals and drone airspace. In my regard this organization is so inefficient that they are unable to accomplish anything successfully and cost effective.

If the FAA goal is to abolish GA then they are doing an excellent job. Some 4000 airports will become abandoned, and the economy will deeply damaged.

Wednesday, September 24, 2014


There is one, and only one, advantage of having ADS-B OUT. It lets you see your traffic on board with a glass screen cockpit such as the Garmin 1000 or on an IPad.

The main purpose of ADS-B OUT is to let airliners fly more direct to airports thus saving fuel. The problem with this philosophy is that in the US airliners use mostly the same 35 airports. They all want to arrive and depart at the same time, which will lead to delays and holding patterns where arrivals will be backed up.

All airplanes will still be required to have a transponder on board. This is so the airliners, and business jets, will be able to see their traffic on TCAS. This defeats the purpose of ADS-B OUT traffic on your screen.

Another problem with the whole ADS-B system is it was devised on technology that is over 20 years old. ADS-B will be using ground stations instead of satellites. The FAA complains that it costs too much to maintain VOR’s and ILS’s because they are ground based. In my opinion it will cost as much or more to maintain the ADS-B ground stations.

ADS-B OUT will be required by 2020 in all controlled airspace. It is my understanding that as of today ATC is not able to see ADS-B OUT airplanes and still uses radar. As of today fewer that 5% of airplanes are equipped with ADS-B OUT. Today the minimum cost of ADS-B OUT to someone that does not have an IFR GPS in their plane is $4,000 for the equipment and approximately $3,000 for installation. This is a huge expense to the older GA fleet that amounts to approximately 15% of the value of one’s airplane with absolutely no benefits other than to see traffic. Embry Riddle University was a test for ADS-B OUT, and all their airplanes are ADS-B equipped. Being that Embry Riddle flies in the Phoenix area I am able to see traffic. ADS-B traffic is awakened by any plane flying in a 15 mile radius to where I am. It does not work if there is not an ADS-B OUT plane in my vicinity. 

If the FAA truly believed in safety they would turn on all the ADS-B OUT stations 24/7 to provide traffic for all....but then this is the FAA we are talking about, and they stated this is not going to happen. We recently lost 2 flight school airplanes in a mid air north of Phoenix. If they were able to receive traffic then this might not of happened. As it was we lost 4 people due to this not being turned on.

In closing, there is only one benefit of having ADS-B Out and that is traffic. The cost does not justify the requirement.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014


On November 8, we will be flying over150 mentally and physically challenged children and their parents at Scottsdale Airport (SDL)

Friday, August 22, 2014


Balboa Park is best known for the world famous San Diego Zoo. 1200 acres were set aside by civic leaders in 1868. Balboa Park now has 17 museums along with several other exhibits such as the Botanical Building and the Spreckels outdoor Organ Pavilion. There is also a replica of the Globe Theater. Street performers can be found throughout the Park’s grounds.




The original Air Museum burned down in 1978. The new museum, San Diego Air & Space, is located in the Ford Building which was built in 1935 for the second World’s Fair held there.

My wife and I have been through this museum on several occasions, but never with a guide. I made a call to Jessica Packard, marketing director, to set up a tour of the museum. Mort Jorgensen, our guide, has been giving tours at the Museum for 12 years. I should say Dr. Mort Jorgensen, as Mort was a Surgeon for the US Navy.

Our tour started with the 2 airplanes outside, one is the A12/SR71 and the other a test airplane that was supersonic and would takeoff and land on skis from the water. This plane was built in San Diego and never produced. Test airplane above.

Upon entering the museum there are several planes of note in the lobby. One is a replica of the Spirit of St. Louis. This plane last flew in 2002. With a tail wheel attached in lieu of the original tail skid.


While not an airplane, the Gemini 9 reentry capsule was next. The burn marks are still visible on the heat shield. I am glad they never cleaned it up.


Hanging from the ceiling is an original Predator Drone mounted with camera not armament.



The last plane of note in the lobby is the X-1, the first plane to break the sound barrier.

Upon entering the museum is a wall of fame of numerous people involved with aviation since it’s beginning. Each Portrait is captioned with an explanation.

When touring the museum it is important not only to look at the planes on the floor but also those hanging from the ceiling. The Museum is laid out chronologically starting with the first balloons and gliders. From there, it travels through history. There are too many planes to describe them all, so I will try to point out some highlights. 

The Lockheed Vega 5B was the plane Amelia Earhart flew, and this one was donated to the Museum after the production of the movie AMELIA was finished.

The Ryan B-5 Brougham is a replica plane of the Spirit of St. Louis except it has a front windshield.
Another highlight is the FA-18 from the Blue Angels. 
I could go on forever but you need to be there for yourself.

I was privileged to go to the basement which I never knew existed. In the basement airplane replicas are built for the museum by volunteers. They are currently working on reproducing the Hughes Air Racer which has an aluminum fuselage and tail along with wood wings. The workmanship by these volunteers is amazing. Bob Porter was our guide in the basement. He is quite the skilled builder.

Another item that caught my fancy is a replica of the original Wright Flyer engine. This one engine powered both counterrotating props. The engine still runs and is an amazing piece of engineering.


The last plane I wanted to write about is an F4U Corsair. The plane was found trashed and rebuilt by SDASM volunteers. What is amazing is that there was no panel or seat. The staff meticulously reproduced both to original specs.

I have been to Air and Space museums all over the world, and I find SDASM to be a hidden gem. It is not as crowded as others I have been to which makes touring more enjoyable. I suggest you try and arrange a tour with a docent as the wealth of information is overwhelming. Allow yourself a minimum of 3 hours and if possible 5 hours for your visit.

Monday, August 18, 2014



I am the AOPA rep at Scottsdale (SDL) and am a member of the Arizona Business Aviation Association(AZBAA) which is a chapter of the National Business Aviation Association(NBAA). 

Yesterday I had the pleasure of having lunch with a true hero and a very prolific speaker, Bill Korner. 

Bill is the Chairman and CEO of Flight Reach, Inc., but more on that later. Bill spent 5 years on active duty with the US Army and Air Force along with many years serving in the Reserve and Air National Guard. He flew 204 combat missions in Viet Nam and was shot down on more than one occasion avoiding capture by the N. Vietnamese. Bill was one of the most highly decorated pilots in Viet Nam receiving: 2 silver stars, 2 distinguished flying crosses, 2 Bronze stars, 14 air medals, Army and Air Force commendation medal, Vietnamese cross of gallantry, and the Vietnamese medal of honor. Bill is also the recipient of the Air Force’s Daedalian Orville Wright achievement award being the leading aviator in a competition of over 2000 Air Force pilots. His combined flying and academic scores were the highest ever obtained at that time in history.

Bill was recalled to fly in Desert Storm and flew 25 combat missions. He is also a recipient of the Ellis Island Medal of Honor which includes 6 former Presidents. If that is not enough Bill played football for Penn State.

As mentioned earlier Bill heads up Flight Research (FR). FR deals with upset recovery in GA airplanes and corporate jets. This is not the same as flying aerobatics, but deals with recovery of an airplane that has gone wrong. The course lasts 3 days including ground school and 2 flights. 

Bill talked about several airline crashes and what went wrong. The biggest problem is automation in the cockpit and Pilots forgetting, or not being trained correctly, how to recover from a stall or being to fly the plane by hand if the magic goes out. I have always stated that the best airline pilots I have flown with also own a GA airplane. They keep their hand flying skills sharp.

One of the biggest problem facing airline crashes are stalls. When a plane is stalling for some reason the pilots are pulling back on the yolk or side stick. In the Colgan crash near Buffalo, NY the Captain applied full power but kept pulling the yolk back which led to a stall spin crash. In a plane with a yolk both yolks are coordinated. If you pull back on one yolk, both go back. In the Airbus with side sticks this is not the case. One pilot does not know what the other is doing. Air France 447 was an example of this. The pitot tubes froze for some reason, and an improper airspeed was given to the crew. The FO in the right seat pulled back on the yolk while the FO in the left seat was pushing forward. The FO in the right seat pulled harder, and the plane stalled and crashed. I do not understand why the pilots did not look at the attitude indicator and GPS ground speed.

In all certified airplanes if you just let go of the yolk or side stick the plane will unload and fly again. This is one of several reasons that the Flight Research training is so important. They can do things in an airplane that can not be recreated in a Simulator. With the abundance of automation airline and even business pilots are not doing enough hand flying and have forgotten the basics of flying an airplane. A perfect example of this was the Asiana crash last summer in San Francisco. Auto pilot goes on around 300 above ground on take off and is disconnected in most cases around 800 feet above ground for landing. The rest of the time spent by the crew is monitoring the instruments. These pilots might have thousands of hours in their logbooks, but I would bet I have more time hand flying an airplane than most of these airline pilots.

Major corporations are sending their flight departments for training at Flight Research. I hope the airlines wake up and smell the roses to recreate this training also.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014



There have been two leaders in the Aviation Apps for IPad, WingX Pro and ForeFlight. I have written about these two apps on several occasions.

I have stated if you want quality that works right every time then buy ForeFlight. To this day I believe that WingX Pro has surpassed ForeFlight in features and ForeFlight has been playing catch up. However ForeFlight is quickly catching up to WingX in features. However if you want quality over quantity I recommend ForeFlight. I do not like that ForeFlight only works with Stratus ADS-B In. It is a closed shop. WingX works with several different manufacture’s ADS-B In units, so you have a choice.

Here is the problem with WingX. They continue to put out updates that do not work right the first time. I have a major trip in 2 days that took a lot of planing with several user waypoints to circumnavigate MOA’s, Restricted Airspace and Terrain. 

WingX previous update has half the screen darker that the other half. The only way to eliminate this is to turn the IPad to full brightness. FAIL!

WingX update of today to fix the above problem crashes. I can not open the program. The only recourse I have is to delete the App, reload it and then plan my route all over again. Why, because by deleting the app and reloading, I will loose all my stored routes over the years. This is unacceptable.

I am stuck with WingX because I bought an ADS-B In unit when they first came out that does not work with Foreflight. I hate to pay another $850 for a new ADS-B unit to change to ForeFlight. I also bought a 3 year subscription to WingX that has another 11/2 years to go.

I had hoped that WingX had put all their problems behind them, but evidently the quality is still not there.

Buyer beware!


Monday, June 9, 2014


Before I get into airplane ownership I would like to give you a little bit of my aviation history. My first flight was in a Cessna 172 when I was 12 years old. My neighbor, Charlie Dolson, was a founder and 3rd chairman of Delta Airlines. I did not know what to expect flying in a small airplane, but I was excited. My only flying back then was as a passenger on the DC3. I remember when we went up it was a beautiful day, and I enjoyed every minute of it. I decided then that I wanted to fly for the Air Force. I was drafted by the first lottery held with a number of 69 and was graduating from college when told to report for my physical. This was during the Viet Nam era, and I did not want to go into the army. I called Maxwell Air Force Base, which was close to Auburn University, to enlist. I had to take my physical during final exams which was a mess. I reported to Maxwell, and I flunked my physical having a knee injury playing football the year before. Back then knee surgery kept you walking, but physical activities were out of the question.

Being married at the time I decided to continue my education and went into business. My dream flying for the Air Force came to an end, and I raised a family. Having really missed flying I decided to get my private rating. I think it cost me under $2,000. After obtaining my private ticket I decided to fly to San Diego. When I talked to my FBO I was told that I could not take one of his planes out of state due to insurance requirements. After examining my options, I decided to buy an airplane. A 1966 Cherokee 180 came on the market locally. It was loaded with every option available. It was owned by one of the FBO’s who was a Piper dealer, and the plane was pristine with new paint.

As soon as the deal was finished I started my instrument training and finished it in the Cherokee. I enjoyed flying so much I also took up glider flying purchasing a Glasflugel Carbon Hornet. I flew gliders a couple of years but enjoyed power being able to travel. I also had a Mooney 201 after selling the Cherokee, and today I fly a 1954 V Tail Bonanza which I have owned for over 15 years. 

In the winter we did not leave Scottsdale much because it was so beautiful. I had a group that went snow skiing every Wednesday and that put on some hours. In the summer we travelled anywhere we could to get out of the heat. I no longer ski so most of my winter flying is local for the $150 hamburger along with one trip to Las Vegas in April.  In the summer we still fly to get out of the heat traveling primarily to San Diego which is a 1 hour 50 minute flight. Our longest trip was to San Francisco, Seattle, Victoria, Portland, back to San Francisco, LA and home. The beauty of having one’s own airplane is; if we liked a place we would stay longer, and if we did not we would leave earlier.

I was putting 150 hours a year on the airplane and enjoyed every minute. Gas prices started to climb several years ago. I was paying $.99 a gallon for 100 LL when I started flying. I told my wife when fuel prices started to climb I was selling the airplane if fuel ever got to $2 a gallon. Well here it is 2014, and I am paying $5.50 to $6.50 a gallon and still flying although my hours are running between 50 to 60 a year now.

This brings us to airplane ownership. I do not write off any expenses for my airplane even when I travel to write a column. Therefore all costs come out of my pocket. It would be cheaper to fly the airlines anywhere we go. Flying one’s own plane is a lifestyle that I am not ready to give up. When we fly to San Diego, we carry our beach chairs, beach umbrella and cooler in the airplane. We certainly could not do this on the airlines. It takes me 4 hours to fly to Palo Alto to visit my daughter and her family and 4 hours to visit my sister in Colorado Springs. I could do either trip on the airlines in 1.5 hours at less money. 

The question is am I crazy to fly my own plane paying for maintenance, insurance, hangar and fuel. The answer is probably, but I love flying. The IPad along with an aviation app and ADS-B In makes things easier than ever for me in the cockpit with no more folding charts. I receive free weather versus paying XM $50 a month which I used to do and traffic when a plane is flying nearby with ADS-B Out. I do not do drugs and flying to me is a natural high. If I ever have thoughts of selling the airplane, they are relinquished after having to fly the airlines.

Can I justify the cost of airplane way! Can I justify the enjoyment I get from flying with my wife and charity better believe it. There are ways to cut costs by being in a partnership or flying club, but this is not for me. I know every time how my plane is landed and flown. I maintain my airplane to the highest standards with no questions asked. I also like being able to leave everything in the airplane after a trip.

I plan to fly as long as I am healthy and the money I have budgeted for flying holds out. I figure I will be done flying before the 2020 deadline for ADS-B Out, so I have not installed it in my airplane. The lowest cost I have seen is $8,500 installed for a mode C transponder no IFR GPS airplane. This is 20% of the value of my airplane. I am hoping the cost will come down in the next few years, but I am not holding my breath.

I love flying, and it is part of my life. Even if I fly just 50 hours a year it is worth it to me.

Saturday, May 17, 2014



Sedona Arizona (SEZ) is one of the most beautiful cities in the US. It is a tourist destination located 70 miles north of Phoenix and 70 miles south of the Grand Canyon. Sedona is truly an eclectic city surrounded by red rock formations on 3 sides. The people are laid back, spiritual  and extremely courteous. Sedona is also home to the famous Pink Jeep tours, which in itself is an amazing excursion.

SEZ sits on a 500 foot mesa. It is like landing on an aircraft carrier that is not moving. When flying into SEZ the calm wind runway is 3 landing uphill and departing 21 downhill. One has to be careful landing at SEZ, if windy there is a lot of sink at the beginning of the runway. It is best not to land on the numbers but stay a little high on approach. The elevation is 4800 feet but you have to be aware of density altitude as Sedona is a high desert, and it gets hot during the day but cools off at night.

The facilities at SEZ are way above normal for a small city. SEZ has a beautiful terminal building, a restaurant that has glass walls that allow you to look at the red rock formations and planes arriving and departing and just north of the restaurant is Red Rock Aviation/Sedona Air tours.

Red Rock is an fantastic entity. They offer Grand Canyon tours in light twins and jet helicopters. There are multiple tours available including a dinner tour and wine tour. In addition Red Rock offers open cockpit tours of Sedona in their 2 WACO biplanes. Each WACO’s flies about 8 to 12 missions a day. In the summer when it is hotter, only one WACO runs Monday through Friday as the other pilot flies for the forrest service. During Red Rock’s main season, 2 WACO’s fly 7 days a week.

When I arrived on May 16 to fly the WACO, Red Rock’s office was full of tourist to fly to the Grand Canyon and for the WACO ride. I arrived on Friday at 8:30AM and met my pilot at 9AM. Scott Sibson lives not far from Sedona in Prescott, AZ. He drives from Prescott to Cottonwood (P52) where the main operation is housed, and then flies the WACO on a short trip to SEZ. When Scott and I sat down to talk, we knew a lot of the same people in aviation, as I lived in Prescott hearing juvenile criminal cases for 4 years and was chairman of the aviation commission. Scott became an A&P flying for the forest service. He learned how to fly tailwheel in Prescott (PRC) having started by helping to rebuild a Piper Cub and was very handy at recovering a cloth airplane. I do not know which I enjoyed more talking to Scott or flying the WACO.

                                                              Scott Sibson...pilot 

I have been fortunate enough to fly gliders, fixed wing, helicopter, seaplane (see my blog on flying the Grumman Widgeon) and jets (see blog on transitioning from pistons to jets) . Until yesterday, I had never flown in an open cockpit biplane. I have flown with a lot of pilots over the years, and found that the best pilots I have flown with are airline pilots that also own their own GA airplane. I now have to add Scott to that list. He is a consummate professional. I have not enjoyed flying with someone more than with Scott in a long time.

The WACO we flew is a 1997 YMF 5-C Super. This WACO has more hours on it than any other WACO in the county clocking in at over 7500 hours. I was giving a pre-briefing by Scott which included entry into the front seat and how to operate the door which only opens and closes from the outside. Scott entered my seat to show me the best way to enter the cockpit. The front seat holds 1 or 2 people. After entering I was sitting low in a hole. My instrument in the front only included an airspeed indicator. Along with that I had stick, rudders, brakes, trim and throttle. My seat was under the wing and Scott’s was in the open behind the wing. He wore a baseball cap to keep the sun off of him. I had no forward vision and Scott does not either sitting in the back seat.

I donned my leather helmet, after entering the cockpit, that was attached to an over the ear headset. Scott primed the Jacobs 275 radial about 7 times and hit the starter. The radial came to life, and we taxied out doing S turns all the way to the active runway as there is no forward visibility in the WACO. SEZ is a Unicom field. Having finished our pre-flight runup we checked on the radio that no one was in the traffic pattern and took the active. After being perfectly straight down the runway Scott locked the tailwheel, and we were ready to go. Upon reaching 60mph the tailwheel came up, and we lifted off at 80mph. It was smooth as silk. Top speed is about 110mph, and we cruised at 100mph. There was no wind in the cockpit as the windshield does a great job of blocking the wind. I had on jeans and a light jacket and could have flown in my shorts and a polo shirt. In flight I pulled the headset away from my ears, and the noise was very loud. With the headsets on it was quiet as flying my Bonanza. Upon departing the runway we climbed to 7500 feet. This altitude kept us above the helicopter tours. We were only going to fly for about 15 minutes but were having so much fun we stayed up longer. Scott asked me if it was okay to do a wingover, and I said go for it. With one wing down about 90 degrees we turned on a pin head. Then we did one to the other side. After that I did some dutch rolls realizing how much rudder push is need to fly this big bird. All the time flying I had to look out 45 degrees to see where we going. The only time I could see directly over the cowl was on descent. There was a King Air on final so we crossed over the runway and then landed. Airspeed in the WACO is very important on landing. There is so much drag that airspeed had to be at 80mph to keep us flying. Pilots are always judged on their landings, and Scott outdid himself. We landed on the mains and kept the tail up until we ran out of airspeed. When stopped Scott unlocked the tailwheel to taxi back into Red Rock ramp. He let the engine run for about 2 minutes to prevent the engine from hydro locking. This is where excess oil drains down to the bottom 2 cylinders.

After the flight was over we could not talk long as there was a couple ready to go and take their WACO ride. 

I rate Red Rock/Sedona Air tours operation as a 10 out of 10 and enjoyed meeting John, James and others that work at the operation. Hats and t-shirts are available for sale in the Red Rock building. My thanks go out to Larry Bruner, owner of Red Rock, for for a wonderful day. 

Thursday, April 17, 2014




I have been involved flying physically and mentally challenged children and their parents for 5 years. Our mission statement is to give the opportunity to these kids to get a taste of flying that they might not normally have. Originally we dealt with a company Challenge Air (CA) who did this on a national basis. The problem with CA was that they had a lot of employees which led to a high overhead. The third year that wanted us to raise $20,000 for them to sponsor the event. We just did not have that kind of money. We looked into partnering with a company from Cleveland but things did not work out with them either due to finances. Finally we decided to form our own non profit 501(c) (3) corporation, and Sky Kids AZ was formed 3 years ago. Our 3rd event was completed at Goodyear Airport (GYR) last Saturday, flying 118 kids and 185 of their parents, and we have added an event for November 8 in Scottsdale (SDL).

It takes a lot of money and volunteers to put on an event like this. First the money. Total cost is approximately $12,000. At Sky Kids we do not have any paid employees. Every one on our board are volunteers, and there are no salaries. All money collected is used to put on the event. The largest expense is insurance which runs around $3,000 per event. A volunteer group provides everyone with a complimentary breakfast. Hot dogs and hamburgers are cooked by retired firefighters for lunch. T shirts are purchased for all volunteers, pilots and of course the Kids. The pilots donate their planes and pay for their own fuel. The FBO sells fuel at their cost. Port A Potties are rented along with tables and chairs. Without donations the event could not proceed.

Volunteers are the backbone of the event. Of course you have the pilots, 24 airplanes and 2 helicopters, along with 2 people per plane to help load the children and their parents. A ground school is taught to all participants. Volunteers are assigned to each family to stay with them throughout the day. Celebrities such as the Phoenix Suns mascot and Miss Arizona spend the day with us. The fire department has some of their trucks there that the kids can play on. A pilots briefing is held early in the morning to go over any last minute questions. The routing had been e mailed to all pilots along with latitudes and longitudes. We have 2 routes, one for slower planes and 1 for faster planes. Each ride lasts 20 minutes. White boards are set up listing each pilot and their plane along with who they are flying. Volunteers are there until the day is complete. When the flight is over the loaders bring out a certificate that the pilot signs and the kids are given their wings. They are then taken to a red carpet where there are volunteers applauding them. A lot of tears are shed at these events. Volunteers arrive early to set up the hangar with tables and preflight areas. All in all these events would not be successful without the volunteers.

Flying starts promptly at 8AM until finished around 2PM. Then the loaders are given a ride at the end of the day. 

There you have it and hoping you might set up an event like this in your city.






Two weeks ago Scottsdale Air Center at Scottsdale Airport had a suitcase party with the proceeds going to charity. Everyone attending had a packed suitcase with them, and the winning couple were flown by private jet to Las Vegas for an all expenses paid weekend. They were then picked up on Sunday by private jet to return to SDL. Everything was donated. We had over 2,000 attend the event at $100 per ticket. This event raised $200,000 for charity. All enjoyed the food and music in the hangar.

Monday, March 31, 2014


I have been fortunate to fly for a long time. I have flown pistons and jets, and if things go right I will have my first WACO ride next month but there is nothing like flying a glider. 

My first glider ride was in a Schweitzer 2-33 trainer. My pilot was not very good and he came in way high on approach and had to do a full slip to land. If I was not a pilot I would have been very scared of his approach. I went on to take my ticket, and my instructor was ex air force and national aerobatic champion in gliders. I can still hear his voice behind me when I am flying to this day.

There are three major glider ports in Arizona, one in north Phoenix, one in south Phoenix and one in Tucson. I took my lessons in the winter, and we could only stay up for about 30 minutes. All our tows were aero tow behind a Piper Pawnee. Arizona is known for great soaring in the summer when the thermals are working. I was amazed how we could glide for hours in the summer.

I learned more about weather flying a glider than I ever did flying an airplane. This was very important for staying aloft. When I purchased my high performance glider I was required to take spin training. When flying in a thermal we are at minimum air speed to get the best lift. It is very easy to stall and spin a glider if you get too slow circling in a thermal to get the best lift.

The Air Force Academy and Israeli Air Force start all their recruits flying gliders. The Air Force Academy out of Colorado Springs always has some great pilots competing in our contests in AZ.

In 1990 I was elected President of the Arizona Soaring Association (ASA), which is a subsidiary of the Soaring Society of America. One of my responsibilities was to arrange local and regional soaring contests. I loved doing this and meeting other glider pilots from around the western US. Glider pilots are a unique bunch of people. The thing I loved most was the knowledge glider pilots were willing to impart to other pilots of lesser experience. In a contest or just gliding for fun they would say stick with me and teach me how to fly cross country. It is not unheard of to fly at 15,000 feet in AZ. When flying a glider you go from point A to B and so on. You do not leave for point B until you have the altitude to get there. In all my time flying gliders I only had to land off field once. I landed on a private strip and the owners came out to meet me with water and anything else I needed that day. The strip was owned by the first President of the ASA and he had a pristine Piper Cub in his hanger. I made a call to my crew and they brought my trailer to pack me up and take me back to my base field. We all made new friends that day. When flying a glider you always have to have an out if you can not make your next waypoint. That day I hit a lot of sink and could not make it home.

When I first started flying gliders there was no GPS. When GPS came out we were not allowed to use it for our contest. Now GPS is allowed in all contest. My glider would fly for 12 miles for each 1000 feet of altitude. We used this on a chart to figure if we could get to the next waypoint. Glider flying is so quiet that at 15,000 feet I felt I could get out of the cockpit and walk alongside of my ship. The trainers are loud as there are not good seals in the ship, and it is loud inside.

There are several kinds of tows for gliders. I used aero tow. There are also winch tows that take you to 1000 feet agl and create their own thermal at release. Some people use car tows. With aero tow I would drop off at 2000 to 3000 feet agl when I found a good thermal. The first part of my flight is to stay in a thermal and gain altitude before going on course. One never flies a glider straight and level. We are always looking to gain altitude to go to the next point. When on a course we are always losing altitude until we find the next thermal and start the process over again. When I got high I can fly 180 miles without stoping to grab a thermal. There are super ships that can fly 50 miles per every 1000 feet of altitude.

If you ever get a chance go take a glider ride. I guarantee that you will be hooked!

Monday, March 10, 2014



I represent two TV stations in Phoenix as an aviation expert. When an event occurs I want to have facts at hand, or I will not go on the air.

When the Asiana 777 crashed on approach in San Francisco (SFO) I was called to give my opinion, but I did not have any facts and declined. I heard talking heads giving their explanation for the crash from everything to terrorism and mechanical issues. When the facts came out it was the crew that flew a perfectly good 777 into the ground in severe blue skies. The ILS was out of service, and all the pilots had to do was fly a visual approach in perfect weather. Facts came out that these pilots flew with the autopilot after taking off and turning it on several hundred feet above the runway until they arrived at SFO, and then they turned the auto pilot off several hundred feet above the runway environment to hand fly the approach. GA pilots, like myself, hand fly the airplane if they do not have an auto pilot. If not in IMC I fly a visual approach to the airport. Lack of hand flying caused this accident.

Over the weekend a Maylasia 777 disappeared over the water in SE Asia. The talking heads came out of the woodwork. First thing I heard was the plane ran out of fuel. Then I heard the plane had wing repairs and the wing fell off in flight. Then I heard there were two aboard with fake passports and it was terrorism. The next thing that came out was that 370 was highjacked and taken below radar levels. Then I heard the plane was shot down. The last thing I heard was it must have been a pilot committing suicide.

At the time I am writing this column no wreckage has been recovered from flight 370, and no one knows for sure what has happened to this plane. Until we find out what really happened I wish that all the talking heads would go back under the covers as they have nothing relevant to say. One day we will find out what happened to 370. Until then everyone please keep their mouths shut!

Thursday, February 27, 2014


I'm sure each one of you have friends that are interested in aviation. If you could direct them to my blog at I can double my readership in a week.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014



Being a pilot I love going to aviation museums. We are fortunate in Arizona to have 3 wonderful museums. 

Yesterday I had the chance to fly up to Valle, AZ (40G) with my friend Roger Whittier aboard. The weather at 40G, 6000 feet, in the morning called for shirtsleeves even though I had a sweater and flight jacket along with me. It was a beautiful sunny day in AZ.

The museum in Valle came about from the overflow at Chino Airport Museum in CA. Chino needed a place to show excess aircraft and chose Valley Grand Canyon airport for this task. 40G is just 40 miles south of the Grand Canyon, and when the Grand Canyon Airport (GCN) is extremely busy in the summer, 40G runs Canyon tours to make up for the over crowding of GCN.

Most of the planes at Valle are in flyable condition, unfortunately one that was not is the Steerman that had a cracked spar. This plane along with several others at Chino and Valle have been used in Movies and TV shows.

The highlight plane at Valle is the Constellation (Connie) that was used by General MacArthur. The staff at Valle opened up the Connie for us and it was a great tour. Engines start consume 40 gallons of fuel.

Pictured here is the famous Connie tail. Connie’s have a reputation, like the V Tail Bonanza, of waggle in the tail area so MacArthur always sat up front in the plane.

Flight engineers panel on the Connie

Connie flight deck

Another plane of interest, which was in another hangar, is the Ford Tri Motor. It is still flying, and due to the weight of the plane, takes a type rating to fly it. You can train in this plane and receive a Tri Motor rating at Valle.

There were several historical display cases which included personal uniforms, log books and historical data on several individuals from WWII, Korea and Viet Nam.

In the lobby of the terminal building are several vintage cars. 40G is one of the friendliest airports I have flown into and worth the trip.

There is a small museum in Mesa, a suburb of Phoenix, that contains the Commemorative Airforce planes of WWII. My favorite airplane there is the B17.

There are docents at the museum to give you a complete history on all the airplanes that are in the hangar and outside.

The largest museum in AZ is located in Tucson, The Pima Air and Space museum. There are several large hangars and in addition several planes are located outside.

The SR 71 is one of my favorite all time airplanes.

The F4U means a lot to me as my Father In Law flew this plane in Korea. Also in his squadron were 2 famous baseball players, Ted Williams and Jerry Coleman.

In addition to the Pima museum, a short private bus ride away is the boneyard at Davis Monthan Air Force Base. A docent will be on your bus to give you a complete history of the planes on Aviation Row. Almost every military plane is there from WWII through Viet Nam. This includes B52’s, A10’s and F4’s. There are not many F4’s left as the airforce rebuilds them as drones for target practice. They fly about 4 missions before they are shot down for practice.

B52'S at the boneyard

So if you are vacationing in AZ and are interested in Aviation we have plenty of museums to keep you busy.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Ukraine Readers

To all those from the Ukraine that take time to read this blog... I wish you peace, safety and democracy.

Saturday, February 8, 2014



DVT is the worlds busiest General Aviation (GA) Airport. The motto of DVT is we do not want to be the busiest airport but the best airport! Well DVT is the busiest airport but nowhere close to being the best. DVT is owned by the City of Phoenix and when they appoint a new airport manager the announcement starts off with “After a nationwide search etc.” The last 2 airport managers were promoted from within Phoenix City employees. One was in charge of swimming pools for Phoenix, and the other was in charge of the sign shop at Phoenix Sky Harbor Airport (PHX). DVT definitely gets what it pays for which is not much.

The pavement at DVT is a disgrace. After several meetings DVT agreed to repair the major cracks. The only problem is DVT did not notify the pilots, and several of us went to fly to find out we could not get our planes out of the hangars. The pilots came down on management and not only did this happen once more but it happened 3 more times. The second time was for more crack repairs. The third time was when the pavement surface was turning to black dust that was interfering with breathing and airplane operations. It was so bad pilots were going to call the EPA to have DVT shut down. DVT then seal coated the pavement. The last occasion a seal coat was put down in front of the hangars and again no announcement. All in all I would have to say DVT is one of the worst run airports in the country.

Approximately 60% of the operations at DVT come from TransPac (TP) flight school which used to be PanAm flight school. TP flies mostly Piper Cherokee 180’s and trains Chinese students for their airlines. On the February 3, a TP airplane with 3 aboard, crashed off the end of the runway. If you follow my blog you know that TP has had numerous accidents and deaths over the past 4 years. I am thankful that all 3 souls got out of the plane before it burned to a crisp.

While the North runway was closed, less than an hour later, a Bonanza landed on the same runway with gear up. It is assumed that the Bonanza had an electrical problem. Instead of flying away from the airport and manually cranking down the gear, this person decided to land gear up on a closed runway.

The only people, besides TP, that do not want TP to leave DVT are the Controllers as they are paid based on the number of operations. Regular GA operations are way down at DVT and if TP were to leave, DVT would revert back to the sleepy airport it once was. The FAA came down on TP after a midair with the other flight school out of DVT, Westwind Academy. 4 souls were lost in this accident near the training area. The GA population is amazed that TP is still able to obtain insurance to continue flying out of DVT.

Taxiway Alpha (A) is crumbling apart. DVT has finally agreed, with FAA financing, to replace the taxiway 100 feet north of its current location. DVT has started sending out information to the to the pilots by email on the construction. The only problem is the emails have incorrect information such as Taxiway A will be closed from A9 to B3. These are 2 separate taxiways. When you do not have a real airport manager no one knows what is going on.

Only time will tell what the future will bring, but it does not look promising for DVT.

After I wrote this I was reminded by a dear friend that PHX placed an electrician at DVT as airport manager. He contracted with a company that never applied their product in the heat of Phoenix to resurface the pavement. The tenants objected to using an untried product. After completion our feet sunk 2 inches in the pavement as it could not handle the heat. We could not pull our planes out of the hangars. Another DVT disaster!

Monday, January 20, 2014


The lawsuits have started to be filed on the Asiana Airline crash in San Francisco (SFO). I am not surprised that Boeing is being sued because they have deep pockets. 

The first basis of the class action against Boeing is they did not have an oral warning that the plane is flying too slow. If these attorneys want to sue somebody let it be the FAA. The NTSB has recommended to the FAA for years that all airliners have an oral call out when planes are flying too slow. The FAA has sat on it behind and done nothing on this issue. 

The second basis of the suit against Boeing is improper flight training on the 777. Hmmm, I thought it was the responsibility of the airline to provide pilot training and for the pilot to obtain a type rating on the 777.

I have to hypothesize as I do not have the facts from both sides and the NTSB. With what little information I have it just seems plain and simple that the Asiana pilot(s) flew a perfectly good Boeing 777 into the ground because they were incapable of flying a visual approach. Visual approaches are one of the first things taught in pilot to land the plane. I am willing to bet that I have more actual stick time than these pilots have. They depend on automation turning on the auto pilot about 300 feet above ground until turning it off 200 feet above ground when landing.

There will be several motions filed and I am sure Boeing will file one for dismissal. I hope that this suit will be dismissed, as if there was ever an accident that was pilot error, this one would be in the dictionary.


The Super Bowl is 2 weeks away and is being played in New Jersey this year. My question is how many are going to brave the unknown weather in an outdoor stadium for a night game. 5 years ago the Super Bowl was here in the Valley of the Sun (Scottsdale/Phoenix) and next year will return, to a warmer climate and an indoor/outdoor stadium with real grass.

I chaired the Super Bowl Committee for Aviation and am do so again for next years game. There are numerous differences between Scottsdale and NYC in the winter, mainly being the weather. We were very fortunate to have New England and the Giants in the Super Bowl here. Both teams are in an affluent area, and I am sure that a lot of people that came to the game appreciated our warm weather.

This year’s game has Denver versus Seattle. FBO’s are expecting a lot of private jet traffic for the game. If New England was in the game it would have cut traffic by over 1/2 as most from that area would just drive. The question remains how many of the private jet owners plan on flying to the game? Time will tell.

Even through our game is in Glendale 1 hour west of Scottsdale (SDL), most jet owners prefer to stay in Scottsdale. The airport is located amongst numerous resorts, high end shopping and golf courses. Parties are held outside weather permitting. In addition to the Super Bowl the Phoenix Open Golf tournament is held in Scottsdale the same week.

Some of the ground factions on the committee are Airport Staffs, FBO’s, FBI, Homeland Security and Scottsdale Police and Fire. Air factions are ATC Towers, TRACON and Albuquerque Center. The last Super Bowl came off well until Monday after the game. It seemed that 288 jets wanted to depart SDL at the same time, in addition there were a lot of Net Jet arrivals to pick up golfers after the tournament, all from a single runway airport. To make matters worse at 12 noon we had thunderstorms over the airport that shut the airport down.  

Phoenix Deer Valley (DVT) is the worlds busiest GA airport and located approximately 15 miles west of SDL. DVT takes the overflow from SDL when it fills. The flight schools in the Valley and Luke Air Force Base all stand down Monday after the game to help open the airspace.

We have changed a few things for next year allowing only departures in the morning. Arrivals will have to wait until after noon. If the winds prevail DVT departures will be to the east on runway 25 and SDL departures will be to the north on runway 3. If the wind does not cooperate departures will slow down as both DVT and SDL use the same IFR departure.

ATC has worked close with us, and it is now up to Albuquerque Center to join the party. We will be meeting with them next month.

Looking forward to a great game in 2 weeks and to see how many planes show for a cold weather outdoor game.

Am really looking forward to having the Super Bowl back in the Valley the following year and hopeful that 2 affluent cities will be represented in the game.

Friday, January 17, 2014


Growing up to where I am now, I have had a lot of heroes in my lifetime. When I was a youngster, and being involved in sports, my heroes were football and baseball players. As I have aged and began my involvement in aviation my heroes have changed.

My biggest hero is none of the above, but is my oldest daughter. Julie received 2 fellowships working at Johns Hopkins in Baltimore. After 5 years at Hopkins she moved to Palo Alto, CA and is an anesthesiologist at Stanford’s Packard Children’s Hospital specializing in transplants for children. In addition she teaches 2 days a week at Stanford Medical School and travels the world volunteering her time to perform her job in underprivileged nations. Needless to say she is my biggest hero.

Bob Hoover is reaching the twilight of his career. Bob is a WWII fighter pilot vet, and to me the best stick to ever fly an airplane. Bob’s performances in his air shows boggles the mind. He has probably forgotten more about flying than I will ever know. There are several You Tubes showing Bob’s flying accomplishments.

You probably have not heard of Pam Melroy. I met Pam when she, along with the rest of her STS crew, were honored at the Fiesta Bowl Parade. Pam is not large of stature coming in at just over five feet tall, but she is one of the most brilliant people and outstanding pilot that I have ever met. Pam attended Wesleyan undergraduate school, MIT graduate school and retired as a Colonel in the Air Force. What Pam is most known for is being an astronaut. Pam was the 3rd female shuttle pilot and flew several missions on the Shuttle. I can not begin to imagine the thrill of flying to space on top of what amounted to a bomb with controlled energy.

John McCain, US Senator from Arizona, is a true War Hero. McCain was shot down in Viet Nam flying an A6 through SAM ALLEY and was captured as a POW. While at the “Hanoi Hilton” he was tortured on numerous occasions. When the N. Vietnamese found out that John was the son of a US Admiral they agreed to release him early without his comrades. McCain refused this release and stayed until all were released. I do not know if I am man enough to go through what McCain did and survive. 

Chesley Sullenberger was the right man in the right place when his US Air flight went down in the Hudson. I can not think of any other pilot I would have wanted at the controls of this incident. Sully is also a glider pilot and Air Force Academy graduate. Being a glider and power pilot I think we think a little differently in the cockpit. We know our glide ratios and can quickly compute whether or not we can get from point A to B. Sully had to compute several options of either turning around to Newark, going to Kennedy or even Teterboro in NJ. He realized quickly that he could not glide to any of these airports and chose to land in the Hudson.
Most accidents I have seen of dead stick landings, the pilot does not keep their wings level and cartwheels into the ground. Glider pilots are taught to keep wings level landing on one wheel until the glider runs out of energy and stops with one wing dropping to the ground.
I have talked to several airline pilots asking them their opinion on this landing. They all answered the same that they hoped they could do the landing. With so many things going on I do not know if they could. Sully never quit flying the airplane all the way down. 

The last heroes I will mention are Orville and Wilbur, the first powered test pilots. Without them who knows when powered flight would have started. I am very thankful to these 2 brothers.

Finally I would like to express my thanks to all who read this BLOG. It is truly a global world with the Internet, and I am amazed at the numerous Countries where people have an interest in Aviation. So thanks for taking time to read my thoughts and hope you enjoy them.