Category Archives: Aviation

Aviation is awash in weird terms and expressions that non-aviation people just don’t use much. For instance, consider the term, “relative wind.” Use the term around a pilot and they’ll nod and give every impression they understand entirely. Use it with a non-aviation enthusiast on the other hand, and they’ll scratch their head and start to wonder about your sanity.

Relative wind is critical to flight, so if you want to be a pilot, it’s important that you know what it is, and what it isn’t. So here’s the long and the short of it. Relative wind is the apparent speed and direction of the wind, based on your perspective. It is not the actual speed and direction of the wind. Read More →

New flight students need to know the basics. Old hands do, too. So whether you’re new to the flying game or an experienced pro, we need to learn, review, and expand on our knowledge base on a regular basis.

So let’s start with the basics, the four forces of flight. They are, in no particular order…

Lift, Weight, Thrust, and Drag. 
The lift part seems obvious. You need to have lift to fly. But how much lift do you need? Well, you need exactly as much, or slightly more than the total weight of the aircraft and everything in it. Read More →

Are you wondering what the value of aviation might be? Good. I’ve got an answer for that question. So sit back, relax, put your feet up and get ready for a unique perspective on why aviation matters to each and every one of us, even if we have no intention of ever going to an airport ourselves.

One of the best parts of writing a regular column for a proud aviation publication like General Aviation News, is that I get to hear from people all over the country. Sometimes they just want to share their two cents worth with me. Other times, they have a bone to pick. But sometimes they’ve got some good news to share. That was the case this week when I spoke to Ron Jarmon of Island Air Express in Panama City, Florida. Ron had some good news to share, so I shared it. You can read the whole story right here. But be warned, it’s positive, upbeat, and just might give you hope. Don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Being an advocate isn’t all about flag waving, back slapping, and wild cheering. Sometimes it’s necessary to provide a bit of cold water to the audience, much like when your flight instructor turns to you after a lesson and says, “That was okay, but we’re going to have to work on maintaining altitude a little more consistently in your steep turns.”

The instructor isn’t saying you suck. He (or she) isn’t saying your hopeless. They’re merely saying that you need to focus a bit, work on improving a weakness that can be identified, and more than that – they’re telling you that you’re not in this alone. You’ve got a friend who can help you. A friend that is motivated to help you. So reach out, grab a hold of their offer to assist and take it.

That’s the gist of this week’s Politics for Pilots column in General Aviation News. It runs with the catchy title, “Cannibalism: a cautionary tale.”

With a title like that, you want to read it, don’t you? Go ahead, click the link, read the piece, leave a comment. Your perspective might be the one that pulls this whole thing together.

A Ghost Story – sort of

The first story I ever wrote for AOPA Flight Training Magazine was based on a real life event that left an indelible mark on my psyche. The flight that resulted in this story has always been one of my prime motivators as a pilot. Be safe, make good decisions, be willing to say “no” when you need to, and don’t worry about getting home on time if the circumstances suggest the attempt might be counter-productive.

AOPA Flight Training, and AOPA Pilot have become publications that I am truly proud to be published in as well as being a happy reader. This was the piece that opened that door for me, however. So I have a particular soft spot in my heart for it – even if it is a little dark and mournful.

Read it here, if you dare.

My friends at General Aviation News continue to grace me with column inches in their print publication, and plenty of free electrons on their website. Today’s installment is called, Contact. It deals with the tremendous benefits we have working for us in the modern age when it comes to communications. Take a peek. You just might like it.

“In the old days, the word “Contact!” was central to the process of getting things going. The pilot yelled  “Contact!” The mechanic then responded in kind while laying hands on the prop. Seconds later, after a grunt, a flip of the prop, and a puff of smoke, an airplane would leap to life.

Technology has changed that process a bit. But the need to make contact is as important as ever, in whatever form it takes.”