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.