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Thursday
Nov082018

Editorial: Who’s Boss?

By Ed Downs

It’s good to be the boss … right? Everyone does as you say, follows your orders, considers what will make you happy first, sees to it you get the best of everything and, in general, treats you like a king. Yep, it’s good to be the boss. Does anyone reading this live such a life? If you do, get a cat. You will soon be informed that we bi-pedal Homo Sapiens are notkings of the earth, but merely servants to strange furry aliens that came to our planet after discovering how dumb we are. But there is hope – that is, if your take federal law seriously. As a pilot in command (PIC), the great powers of the FAA have dubbed you “The Boss,” with a whole plethora of caveats and conditions thrown in just to keep you on the straight and narrow. 

Let’s take a quick look at some pertinent FAR’s and see where you stand on the “Boss” scale, with “10” being a High Potentate and “0” being how many feel in their every day jobs. But first, let’s get technically correct. While most of us refer to aviation regs as “the FAR’s,” that is technically wrong. The acronym “FAR” was given to another agency several years ago, to be replaced by the correct legal reference to aviation law, “Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations.” Now, instead of referring to “FAR 91,” we should be saying “14 CFR Part 91.” Having abused the reader with that bit of legal trivia, let’s just follow the FAA website’s lead by ignoring those who make a living deciding who owns what acronym and just continue using the commonly accepted term for the rules we fly by. And if that upsets anyone … well … arrest me. That would make for another great editorial topic!

Back to being a boss and an exciting visit to FAR 91.3:

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Sunday
Oct212018

Smoke in the Cockpit

By Eric McCarthy

It was a hot, humid August day in the year 2000. My wife, youngest son, and I decided to take a quick flight over Massachusetts’ North Shore. I had done this flight many times: we’d depart Lawrence Municipal Airport (KLWM) to the east, climbing to 2,500-3,000 feet, following the Merrimack River as it winds its way 15 miles or so to the Atlantic, passing the quaint town of Newburyport before reaching the mouth of the river. There, I would usually proceed out to sea a couple of miles before executing a 270-degree, descending left turn to align the aircraft with the coastline at an altitude of 1,000 to 1,500 feet.

We’d fly southbound along the beaches of Plum Island, past the majestic Crane Estate and its magnificent grounds, then Crane’s Beach before turning east to round Cape Ann, the nub of land that projects into the Atlantic north of Boston. We’d pass the aptly named and picturesque town of Rockport, and  Thacher Island, a small island just off the coast and home to the twin, 124-foot tall, lighthouses known as Ann’s Eyes, built in 1861.

Then southwest past Good Harbor Beach and Bass Rocks, turning north around Eastern Point, over Gloucester Harbor and past Hammond Castle, up the Annisquam River, past Wingaersheek Beach, then we’d retrace our steps up the coast for the return to the airport. My wife, boys, and I had spent many a summer day at the various beaches and towns we’d be flying over; this flight would provide a fresh perspective on these familiar sites. It’s a pleasant, scenic flight and only takes about 45 minutes to fly.

At least, that was the plan…

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Friday
Sep072018

Lesson Learned: Circuit Breaker Pops Times Three!

By Eric McCarthy

After months of delays following an annual and the installation of new avionics, my friend Rich’s beloved and meticulously maintained 1985 C-172P was finally ready to fly again. I had one of my photo missions due and Rich graciously offered to fly with me out to the Imperial Valley to shoot the site. The flight would also serve as a shake-down run, an opportunity to put the new hardware to the test, and we were both anxious to get back in the saddle and ‘slip the surely bonds.’

The plane was in its usual spot at Palomar (KCRQ) and by the time I got there, Rich had already preflighted it and was patiently awaiting my arrival. I had left early but traffic on the 5 had conspired to make me late – not just a few minutes late, but a half hour late! I’ve tried many times, unsuccessfully, to beat Rich to the plane, but I failed miserably that morning… In fairness, he does have a 30-mile head start on me – he lives in town and I live 35 miles north – but still, I felt bad. 

I bring this up because my anxiety and frustration over being late may have affected my mental state as we prepared to depart. I didn’t feel ‘under pressure’ at the time, but subtle little things like this can add up.

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Friday
Sep072018

The American Museum of Natural History Looks to the Stars with Exhibits Full Moon and Dark Universe

By Mark Rhodes

Alan Bean at Sharp Crater with the Handtool Carrier. Michael Light, from the project FULL MOON, 1999 Photographed by Charles Conrad, Apollo 12, Nov. 14-24, 1969It is likely that most associate The American Museum of Natural History with dinosaurs, the jaw- dropping habitat dioramas, and the 94-foot-long blue whale that looms in the Milstein Hall of Ocean Life. There is good reason for this, as these are iconic treasures in the museum’s collection that have helped educate and fascinate museum goers about the natural wonders of this world in generations past and no doubt for generations to come. 

What some might be unaware of is the fact that the museum also celebrates wonders beyond  this world. At present, the American Museum of Natural History has an exhibit entitled “Full Moon: Apollo Mission Photographs of the Lunar Landing.” In this exhibit, Artist Michael Light has curated and digitally processed photos that the Astronauts took during the Apollo missions. The public is aware of only a handful of the more than 30,000 photographs taken as part of the scientific exploration that was the Apollo program. The result is moving and the most striking and intimate images of space exploration the public has ever seen.  

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Wednesday
Aug222018

Express Aircraft, Here to Stay; Build It Yourself or Work With the Team

 

Composite Aircraft Technology, LLC acquired all of the assets of the former Express Aircraft Company in September 2007. With their 25 years of building experimental aircraft, they can safely say… Express Aircraft is back and here to stay! Their manufacturing facility is geared-up and ready to produce at least one new Express per month.

Express Aircraft is based at the Toledo, WA Airport (TDO). As production requirements dictate, the company will build additional facilities in order to maintain our service commitment to their customers.

From the beginning, the Series 2000 was designed with the capabilities of the first time builder in mind. Through careful planning, design, and engineering, we have taken significant steps to help you obtain your goal of flying your very own Express as quickly as possible. In fact, recent revisions allow for a new Express to be built in under a year of dedicated effort.

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