Richard Bach, who was injured in the crash of a small seaplane over the weekend and who remains in serious condition in a Washington hospital, has been on my mind, as he has for many Flying readers, I’m sure. Like many pilots my age, Bach was a major influence on my decision to become a flyer in earnest.
Last weekend, I placed my three-year-old son Benjamin in the co-pilot’s seat of a Piper Archer for the first time. We were going to visit my friends George and John Kounis at an airport nearby and meet their new puppy, Radar. I was really excited to take Benjamin up for a flight and, while I made some mistakes, I wasn’t disappointed.
For people in my generation, that “one small step” taken by “a man,” in July of 1969 as Neil Armstrong, human being, set foot for the first time ever on another heavenly body, was a transforming event. It defined who we were as citizens of a remarkable experiment called America, a country so convinced we could do anything we set our collective mind to, that we got to the moon in a decade.
We've all noticed it: In the last year or so there has been an exponential increase in the number of pilot-shot videos on YouTube thanks to the popularity of portable HD cameras from companies like GoPro, JVC and Pure Digital Technologies, maker of the Flip. Some pilots are even using suction-cup mounts to affix their cameras to the fuselage for spectacular views that must be making the certification folks at the FAA cringe.
The FAA last week abruptly put on hold its implementation of the new “climb-via” clearances soon before they were set to begin. The decision was based, said the agency in a short release, on the fact that neither pilots nor controllers were prepared for the new phraseology.
It’s very possible that the wreckage of Amelia Earhart’s Lockheed Electra 10E has been at long last located. Objects that might well be part of the wreckage were spotted recently in the bushes behind my barbeque in Austin, Texas, a location where searchers had not previously focused their efforts. “We thought we might have been closing in on the wreckage, but until we spotted what can only be described as a small but curious debris field right off the edge of the deck, we weren’t sure we were looking in the right place,” said the leader of the Austin expedition, which is, er, me.
It just so happened that my good friend Roger Tonry had both his BFR and annual inspection for his Grumman Tiger due at the end of July. Since I’m a flight instructor and have done some owner assisted annual inspections before myself, I decided I would help him out with both. Roger has owned his Tiger for well over a decade, so I knew this would be fun, easy and educational for both of us.
Following the NTSB’s chilling recommendation for pilots not to put all their faith in the accuracy or timeliness of satellite-delivered weather, I’ve really started to rethink my flying in a way that is as profound as any change I’ve gone through since I started flying IFR seriously, that is to say, in order to get somewhere as opposed to practicing toward that end.