Fly Your Dog?

A key consideration for your next Cessna 140 modified bush plane:

Can you fit the hound?

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Image care of Aaron Bartels

So you purchased a 1947 Cessna 140, put some bush tires on it, and your therapist feels that this is a good direction (and step!) for you.

Bravo.  You eschew “Burning Man” for Wrangell Inlet.  You’re my kinda peeps.

But before we get too excited [whilst thinking of taildragger upgrades], let’s look at the basic needs of the new aircraft owner, facing a mild midlife crisis:

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Mach Crit and Supercritical Wings

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This F-18 is showing off critical Mach.

Sometime around 1962 aerodynamicists realized there was more that could be done.

More efficiency to gain at speeds near the speed of sound.

But most importantly, the phenomena so iconic in this picture wasn’t fully understood until the mid 1960s.  Sure, wings had been swept and shock waves studied.  And it is no coincidence that the area rule was being noodled around this time.

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Your Seaplane Rating is Waiting

This is a Super Cub. It is ready.

If you live in northern California (or are passing through), and seek to be a more well rounded aviator, consider the wonders of a PA-18 Super Cub on straight floats.  It is mild mannered, reliable, honest and peppy enough to get you on the step and taking off in no time.

If you’re not a pilot, fear not – we can do an intro flight / scenic flight where you are at the controls and able to feel what airplanes used to feel like before runways became a thing.  Yes, you can be your very own Indiana Jones!  Accomplished commercial or airline transport pilot?  That “SEL” (Single Engine Land) on your ticket is lonely!  Make room for the “SES” (Single Engine Sea).

If you want to book a flight or get some rates, zip me a note.

NASA Humor: “That wing sure is critical”

I found this image on reddit and realized that since criticism and CRM are topics of interest, this would be a nice post to prime the pump for an upcoming article I’ll be doing on the supercritical wing.

The interesting thing about the supercritical wing is its age, ubiquity and connection to the area rule, which I wrote about here for the pilot and aviation buff community.  It was timely for me since so many of us offer blank stares when quizzed on the “why” of shapes that fly.  Whether we are asked about the hump on top of a 747 or the big blobs behind the wing where the flaps are (what is in those things?) most of us pilots know surprisingly little about design.

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Three Point vs. Wheel Landings

dc3Much like our politics, amateur tailwheel pilots tend to suffer from polarization.

You are either in the three point or wheel landing camp. This is not a grown up way to learn about your favorite hobby.

Why? Because each aircraft type, set of conditions or the landing environment will help you choose the right solution.  It will drive home that there is rarely a panacea via “one solution.”

In the spirit of Dale Carnegie, I’ll start with my own biased world view. I have a fair amount of tailwheel time, but mostly in one aircraft type – the Cessna 180 / 185 family. Whether there was 230 or 300 hp on the nose, one thing to me became clear – this make and model, under most conditions, preferred wheel landings.

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Evaluate vs. Teach (Flight Instruction)

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Duchess in flight thanks to Denis Hersey

I recently added my MEI (multi engine instructor) to my FAA CFI license.  (Certificated Flight Instructor).

This is a simple way for expired old timers (me) to get back in the game of teaching flying.  The FAA flight instructor rating expires if you don’t teach enough (and endorse enough) or take the proscribed renewal classes.  I fell off the teaching wagon in 2001 and lost the legal ability to teach.  This was no travesty until I aged a bit, moved to the Bay Area and realized that I not only like teaching, but I like specific types of teaching such as tailwheel training and endorsements, bush flying, TAA (technically advanced aircraft) as well multi, turbine and high performance transition related training.   Continue reading Evaluate vs. Teach (Flight Instruction)