Sanity Prevails

DHC 2 Beaver near San Francisco

Thank you to the many pilots and supporters that turned out yesterday at the Marin County Civic Center.  Common sense has prevailed and Richardson’s Bay will continue to have Seaplane Adventures operating as part of the fabric it has been there for 70 years.

This also means I can keeping adding seaplane ratings to private and commercial tickets.  Bravo Aaron and the rest of the gang.

NOTAMs: “What if, instead, the Authorities had simply written what they meant?”

Routes of Malaysia Airlines Flight 17 and Singapore Airlines Flight 351, including airspace restrictions

 

Mark Zee’s statement above is sticking in my mind as I prepare for the IFR add on to my CFI.  Mainly because I see it leaking into how we learn.

Archaic CFII and IFR prep questions remind me that much aviation is more about a right of passage than learning.

Becoming a rockstar at decoding weather outputs should make you wonder.  And on a more crazy note, let’s look at the rafts of NOTAMs we’re all asked to process – before each flight.  Then consider that a NOTAM’s obvious urgency could have saved Malaysia MH17.

What if the crew knew what the NOTAM meant, that would have saved their lives?

Continue reading NOTAMs: “What if, instead, the Authorities had simply written what they meant?”

Homage to the Skywagon (Cessna 180 / 185)

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When I first got into aviation I called my company Skywagon Air Service.  That’s how nuts I was.  Nuts about the 180 / 185 that is.  In the basement, of this house, next to this 185, is where the company was born.  I got these photos the other day from Mike Ball of KRKD who reminded me of the day he “took the 185 home for lunch.”  The drive in his car would have been all of 4 min.  But why do that when you can land your 185 in your driveway and taxi it up to the front door… for lunch?: Continue reading Homage to the Skywagon (Cessna 180 / 185)

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:

Continue reading Fly Your Dog?

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.

Continue reading Mach Crit and Supercritical Wings

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.

Continue reading NASA Humor: “That wing sure is critical”

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.

Continue reading Three Point vs. Wheel Landings