Recently, I was reminded about that “thing” about flying when Bonnier Corp.’s Flying magazine and Jack Brown’s Seaplane Base in Winter Haven, Florida, hosted 12 folks visiting from the Bonnier parent company’s headquarters in Sweden as part of a Live the Brand event. Flying offered up two choices: discovery flights in Cessnas or discovery flights in seaplanes. No one signed up for the more “traditional” option.
When CAP Seminole Composite Squadron Deputy Cmdr. Kenny Eads asked a group of five Cadets to volunteer for a unique mission, it caught on like wildfire. The assignment: build the first ever Fire Hub on the Sun ‘n Fun campgrounds.
Wow, what an eye opener! Last night I completed 1.4 hours of my 3-hour night flight-training requirement for the private certificate, single-engine rating, with First Landings Aviation CFI Chris Esposito. I shot 8 full-stop landings in the Remos GX, leaving the last two of the 10 required for my dual cross-country night flight. All I can say is: What a different world than day VFR flight. That should seem obvious to anyone, but until I actually experienced it, I didn’t realize how different it would be and that reading about it in the prep books doesn’t do it justice.
As I was reading the latest issue of Wired the other day, a tidbit updating the remote air traffic management system being developed by Saab and Sweden’s LFV air traffic control service piqued my curiosity enough for me to delve into the topic deeper. My first thought was simple: leave it to the Swedes to maximize practicality and efficiency (oh, how I miss my Saab 9.3 hatchback and its utilitarian design and its turbo, pre-GM!).
Wednesday morning was one of those mornings I was “living the life.” At 0800 John Moreland, the southeast rep for SWT Aviation, a certified CubCrafters sales center, picked me up at Orlando-Apopka in a Sport Cub for a leisurely flight over to Deland and back so I could get a feel for the airplane.
Last Friday morning at 1130, three LSAs departed from Apopka, Florida’s X04 for a long weekend in Franklin, North Carolina. Another sport pilot and I flew the Remos while the SportCrusier (formally a PiperSport) and Gobash each had a sport pilot (one working on his private) and a CFI. Pilots and passengers of a Cessna 182 and Piper Arrow joined the group too, making it a baker's dozen of folks in toto heading to the mountains.
I had the opportunity to ride along with Tecnam demo pilot Andrew Jones in the P92 Eaglet out of Winter Haven (KGIF), where it was based, during one of the company’s Showcase Fly-Bys at Sun ‘n Fun last week. If the term Showcase Fly-By is unfamiliar, I’m certain that if you’ve ever been at the flight line of a fly-in, you’ve witnessed at least one of these displays. At Sun ‘n Fun, they are featured daily from noon until 1:30 p.m. and give manufacturers and individuals an opportunity to display their aircraft by performing a fly-by pattern over show center.
* Co-owner of trucking company, pilot/owner of Piper Saratoga * Aircraft parts manager * Retired air traffic controller * Flight instructor * Greater Orlando Aviation Authority staff * Owner of an environmental consulting firm * Owner of Flight Attendant Express * Co-owner of a Stinson * Teacher specializing in aviation education programs, pilot/co-owner of a Cub & Stearman * FAASTeam representative * City employee working on private license
This past weekend I called upon a friend (who happens to be a private pilot working toward his instrument rating) and invited him to join me for a late afternoon leisure flight in the Remos G3. He would be my third passenger since certification. Admittedly, it’s more fun for me to have someone along so I always have my passenger radar on, but I’ve also tasked myself with sharing this great experience with others whenever possible. With this particular friend it also meant a chance for me to debunk a myth or two among some pilots about light-sport aircraft.
Last Sunday I passed my practical test for the Sport Pilot certificate. And what an eye opener it was. To be honest, I had no idea what to expect and, on top of that, I had managed, very methodically, during the few months leading up to that day, to work myself into somewhat of a tizzy about The Event. It didn’t help that I imagined that all FAA examiners were big, scary I’m-going-to-make-your-life-miserable monsters. Or that I knew that my brain had been dulled by an education system in which multiple-choice testing was the standard.