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Thursday
Dec202018

A Long Journey

By Eric McCarthy


Marine layer on departure from CRQThe day began, as many summer days in southern California do, with a thick marine layer along the coast – only, it was no longer summer. In fact, it was late October. I had been watching the weather for several days and we were definitely in a rut – each day for the past week had featured marine layers both in the morning and late in the afternoon. The marine layer faithfully burns off by 10 a.m. mostof the time and usually doesn’t rematerialize until evening, but even that would lead to a late start for an all day flight, and could well result in a return not only into an advancing marine layer, but also at night. 

With the days getting shorter and shorter, I had planned to do my night-currency takeoffs and landings during the week prior to my planned flight north, but the aforementioned marine layer had thwarted that effort. I was neither instrument nor night current and there are way too many rocks in the clouds in SoCal to be flying around in the dark with clouds if you’re not current and proficient. Time to move to ‘plan B’…

I’d be flying this mission with my friend Jerry; Jerry and his lovely wife Eileen live in Murrieta, not far from French Valley Airport (F70). Located in the Temescal Valley on the other side of a mountain range from the coast, French Valley is usually a safe weather alternative to the airports located along the coastal plain. If I could coerce, or convince, them that I’d be a good houseguest, I could depart Palomar (KCRQ) late afternoon on Saturday and reposition the plane to French Valley for our flight Sunday and spend the night at their home. This would provide several benefits including better weather, an earlier start, and saving Jerry from driving to Palomar. I could also do my night currency there under the forecast clear night skies of French Valley. 

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Thursday
Dec202018

Let’s Remember Christmas

By Ed Downs

Sure, there are lots of regulatory, safety and political subjects that warrant comment, but this writer has had just about enough of politics and regulations for 2018. Maybe give it a rest, and just talk about Christmas and some of the traditions that many of us remember. Having stumbled across an article I wrote several years ago, this writer’s memories and passion for aviation, astronomy and astrophysics seemed to come together. Read on and see if some of your “good old days” come to mind.

My twin brother and me were born in Van Nuys, Calif., just before the U.S. entered WWII. It sounds funny now, but Van Nuys was a small, independent town that was somewhat isolated in the middle of the San Fernando Valley. An excellent street car system allowed residents to get into “the city” when circumstances required. Surrounded by citrus fields, Van Nuys was primarily a bedroom community, serving wartime manufacturing at the Lockheed/Burbank and Van Nuys airports. The town’s secondary purpose was to support the movie industry, with many surrounding locations and sets (like a full western town) used in hundreds of “B” western movies and early TV productions. My parents were part the movie industry, Mom as a dancer (and former Olympian) and Dad as a stunt man and bit actor. We kids also did some bit parts in movies and early TV, enjoying the privileges of grammar school run by the studios. Dad eventually entered the photography side of the business, opening a camera shop on Van Nuys Boulevard. Some readers may even know about Van Nuys Blvd., where Wednesday night “cruising” was perfected to the point of becoming a main theme of the movie “American Graffiti.”  

My brother and I grew up in the company of family friends that included guys like William Boyd (Hopalong Cassidy), Roy Rogers, Leo Carrillo, Andy Devine and others, along with dancers, such as Marge and Gower Champion. Thrown in with that mix were Lockheed test pilots (Dad did photographic work for Lockheed) and trips to Van Nuys Airport to watch P-38’s taking off and landing. Both me and my brother were hooked on aviation before the age of five. As avid model airplane builders, our father invited us to open a “hobby department” in his camera store at the age of 13, and $500 dollars later, we were in business, able to pay for flying lessons ($11 per hour, dual) at Van Nuys Airport, flying Aeronca Champions with wind driven generators and a two-crystal low-frequency Lear radio… advanced technology! Yep, fun childhood with cowboys, six shooters and airplanes setting a pace that continues to this day. You see, being an aviation professional meant that I never had to grow up!

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Thursday
Nov082018

FAA Christmas Present

By Eric McCarthy 

It was cold and gray, as I recall. Christmas Eve in Boston often is, but the ceiling was a respectable four or five thousand feet with no precipitation forecast for the afternoon. I’d be flying from my home base of Lawrence Municipal Airport (KLWM), about 30 miles north of Boston, to one of my prior home bases, Norwood (KOWD), about 13 miles southwest of Boston, to pick up my mother for Christmas. It’s an easy half-hour flight, replacing an at-least one-hour drive on the crowded Massachusetts highways 93 and 128, and besides, it’s way more fun to fly! My mother might think otherwise…

I had flown N2313M, an underpowered 160-horse Cherokee, many times in my pursuit of the coveted Instrument Rating, which I had secured just a few months earlier. I knew that this particular airplane didn’t like to start after being shut down, so I told my mother, and my brother who would be driving her to the airport, that I wanted to keep the engine running when I picked upMom – under no circumstances is anyone to move forward of the wing!

The flight was easy and uneventful. While Boston’s classic “upside-down wedding cake” Class Bravo airspace is basically comprised of several concentric circles rising as they extend outward from Boston, we generally fly straight lines rather than arcs to reach various waypoints. Departing Lawrence, a heading of 220 for 17nm takes us to Hanscom Field (KBED) where we turn to a heading of 180 for the remaining 18nm to Norwood. Simple. It can get a little congested over Hanscom, as apparently I’m not the only one to have figured out that KBED is a good waypoint to circumnavigate the Class Bravo, but the tower at Hanscom does a good job managing traffic through their airspace. The only other concern, besides other aircraft, is the Needham Towers, 1,200-1,300 foot radio and television towers that pierce the sky halfway between Hanscom and Norwood. They’re well lit, well known, and easy to avoid so not too much of a problem.

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Thursday
Nov082018

Guest Editorial: EAA Envisions a MOSAIC to Benefit All of GA

By Jack J. Pelton, CEO/Chairman of the Board, EAA


Jack J. Pelton, CEO/Chairman of the Board, EAAIn 2013, EAA helped create a portion of the Part 23 aircraft certification reform aimed at supporting the general aviation legacy fleet. The proposal was known as the Primary Non-Commercial Category and was among the final recommendations coming out of the process, but unfortunately was never adopted within the final rulemaking. With your best interests in mind, it was time to refocus on how EAA could continue to advocate and push forward change that would benefit an even wider segment of our membership, and, specifically, the amateur-built and light-sport categories. 

Fast forward three years to the fall of 2016 when Sean Elliott, EAA’s vice president of advocacy and safety, and myself  met with the FAA’s Small Airplane Directorate in Kansas City, Missouri, to brainstorm concepts that eventually formed the foundation of FAA’s MOSAIC, or the Modernization of Special Airworthiness Certificates (formerly known as Permit to Fly). During these meetings nearly two years ago, EAA was the first to comprehensively explore modifications that would help the light-sport category reach its full potential and further build on the successes of the amateur-built regulations that EAA has been championing for decades.

That Kansas City meeting was indicative of how EAA has led the way advocating for major change in recreational aviation since Paul Poberezny started going to Washington, D.C., in the 1950s to set in motion development of the homebuilt rules that still benefit us today. Our conversation with the FAA squarely focused on problems and solutions to help all of us. We didn’t wait for a blue-ribbon commission or a 300-page report. Instead, as we’ve always done, we focused on how we can continue to make reform even stronger and more advantageous for our membership.

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Thursday
Nov082018

Preparing the Next Generation for Flight: An Interview with I Hart Flying and EAA Chapter 43

By Annamarie Buonocore

For many In Flight USA readers, starting a career in aviation was exciting and full of possibilities. Mostly everybody in aviation can see the benefits in choosing such a career, but many pilots and aviation enthusiasts are also aware that there is a pilot shortage. Pilots, aircraft mechanics, and air-traffic-control professionals are needed and in high demand, but some say that we are losing the younger generation. While some blame the escalating costs of flight training, there are many reasons why Millennials are hanging around too close to the ground, including lack of community outreach and STEM programs that fall short of aviation. 

Luckily, there is one hardworking organization that has partnered with another association that has given so much to the aviation community. I Hart Flying consists of a dedicated group of individuals who care about aviation, and they have partnered with EAA Chapter 43 of Denver, Colo. to make flight training a little more affordable and attainable. These groups work hard to inspire the youth of tomorrow to engage in aviation-related careers. Here at In Flight USA, we often try to bring scholarship information to young readers, and we are proud to have had the opportunity to interview Rachelle Spector of I Hart Flying, Eric Serani of EAA Chapter 43, and their dedicated PR liaison, Lyndse Costabile. 

 

IF: How long has the program been around, and how much have you given in scholarship funds to date? 

IH/EAA: I Hart flying is a year old now, and we just had our one-year partnership with EAA. To date, we have had three scholarship opportunities. The last one included giving two scholarships away, as we had a silent donor come in. So far, we have given away almost $20,000 in less than a year. 

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