What's Up: November 2014

Un-Controlled Airport Traffic

By Larry Shapiro

I am aware that this subject is not going to change the entire aviation world and that we’ve all got our own opinions about this stuff, but how often do you actually think about the possibility of a mistake in your choice of the active runway on an airport without a tower? Remember, it’s just a bunch of pilots like you making the calls and they are seldom if ever challenged.

I believe the rules say no straight in approaches at a non-tower airport… but then, I guess rules are still made to be broken now and then, and I’d have to line up behind those of you that have done exactly that, made a straight-in approach to one of those do-it-yourself airports. With that said, I’d like to put this on the agenda for your next hangar flying meeting. You’re a few miles out getting ready to announce to the world that you intend to land on the above-described airport, no tower, no one sitting in an airport office pretending to be a controller, and any other options I may have forgotten about. 

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What's Up

OK, Here we go again …


I Told You So

By Larry Shapiro

I know by now you are probably tired of hearing my song and dance routine about using “common sense.” May I respectfully request that you try and get over it! You see my fellow aviators, it continues to work and save a few lives along the way.  Admittedly I am not a CFI, I don’t play one on television and never aspired to be one, but I will admit that I love teaching and sharing the tit-bits I’ve picked up along the way to old age, not zero time students but those of you who have been sitting on your ticket long enough to be a member of AARP. 

I truly love the title of “Mentor” or King of Common Sense. I’ve begged, borrowed and threatened so many of you to give me the benefit of the doubt and join my Church of Common Sense. Day after day I cover my head, or eyes so I won’t see the silly things one sees when you spend more than half your life on an airport. Your troops do some really dumb things that you would never do in the other parts of your life, the part that pays for your flying expenses, sunglasses and silly shirts.

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What's Up: A Very Heavy Heart One More Time

By Larry Shapiro

Everyone has a hero… Mira Slovac was mine. I grew up always wishing that one day I would fly with him or at the very least, just meet him. If you don’t know who he was, maybe this will help, and thanks to the LA Times for this:

Remembering Mira Slovak: Cold War defector, crop duster and daredevil pilot 

Mira Slovak, the youngest pilot with Czechoslovakian Airlines, immigrated to the U.S. after hijacking a DC-3 and evading Russian MiGs to land at an American military base in West Germany in 1953. He became a crop duster, acrobatic pilot and national champion speedboat racer. He was planning one more flight from California to the Czech Republic in a vintage Bucker Jungmann biplane before he was diagnosed with stomach cancer last year. He passed away last week at the age of 84.

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What's Up - June 2014

A Very Heavy Heart!

By Larry Shapiro

This was the first column I was not going to write. Other than one sentence that would have read something like… goodbye, Eddie, I can’t image my life without you. After losing Eddie Andreini during an airshow last month, I thought a blank column would be appropriate as nothing else seemed to be more important than the fact that Eddie was a huge influence on my life, and the hole he has left in the fabric of my life can’t be fixed. I was thinking it would be a written moment of silence.

However, after attending his funeral and visiting with other airshow heroes like Eddie and then being with Eddie’s wife, I knew he would not be happy with my feelings. He lived and died “his” way, and he would not want me to sit around my office using up a box of tissues. So, I’ll keep it simple, business as usual, hangar flying as usual, and telling Eddie stories for the rest of my life. I owe Eddie almost everything good that happened to me in my airshow life and for all the great Italian food we shared.

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What's Up - May 2014

May Day, Actually Everyday This Month Is May Day

By Larry Shapiro

When you think about it, you May do anything you want but with that privilege comes the responsibility of doing just that.

When you’re a student pilot you need to get permission or approval for almost every flight you are about to take.  Someone else has to say okay before you jump off into the blue stuff.  I only mention this because I made a decision last month that if I had asked someone, I would have been told, “Aaaaaaah, Lar, not a good idea.”

But I didn’t ask anyone so off I went into a beautiful sun setting sky. During the entire 50-minute flight from SAC to PAO I kept asking myself if I should have stayed tied down and found another way home or just stayed where I was.

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