Dick Karl is a cancer surgeon who appreciates the beauty and science involved in both surgery and flying; in fact, in the first piece he wrote for Flying, in July 1998, he examined the similarities between the two passions.
Dick had an interest in aviation as a teenager; he really caught the flying bug in college when he worked at Tompkins County Airport in Ithaca, New York, renting Avis cars and driving the airport limo. He soloed in a Cessna 150 in 1966, and he earned his private certificate in 1967. He's been reading Flying magazine ever since. He went on to earn his multiengine instrument land ratings and has logged over 4,000 hours in personal airplanes. Dick has owned many, including a Musketeer, an Arrow, a Cessna 210, a Cessna P210 and a Cessna 340. He now enjoys flying his Cheyenne I. He has earned type ratings in the Cessna 500 series and the Boeing 737, which he called "one of my greatest aviation experiences."
Dick's monthly Gear Up celebrates the human side of flying. He writes about his enthusiasm for both the machines and the people who fly and maintain them. His column is written from the perspective of a lifelong aviation enthusiast who has enjoyed owning, maintaining and flying progressively more capable airplanes. Now in the turboprop world, he's still amazed at the good fortune of personal flying. When he is not writing for Flying, Dick writes op-ed pieces for the St. Petersburg Times. He is also trying his hand at writing longer works; his Across the Red Line, a collection of stories about the bravery of patients and the experience of trying to heal them, was published in 2000. By day, Dick serves as the chairman of the Department of Surgery at the University of South Florida in Tampa. Dick says, "Writing for Flying has been one of the nicest, most rewarding events in my very lucky life."