Best of 2009

I’m not sure how 2009 managed to disappear quite so quickly! But it’s gone and I’m quite happy to be able to talk about my plans for twentyten like I’m from some sort of futuristic sci-fi film.

Before I start investigating what I need to get a space licence, I thought I’d take a final look backwards and see what posts you all seemed to enjoy most over the past year.

Here is the top ten for 2009:

Ten

Have You Seen These?

A selection of aviation articles and images that I found intriguing.

Nine

Sex and the Long Haul Pilot

I have quite a few friends who are pilots so I started to write up a quick questionnaire. Have you ever slept with a crew member? Did a layover ever turn into a hotbed of passion? Give me the real scoop!

Eight

Pitch vs. Power: Landing Better

Like most PPLs, I was taught to use attitude to control airspeed and power to control height. However, the inertia of the Saratoga and its tendency to sink like a stone at low speed, combined with my inability to nudge the power gently enough to keep my pitch steady, can make this difficult. A bad approach can feel like a ship in heavy weather as I adjust the power back and forth to try to keep my perspective of the runway correct.

Seven

Brookman’s Park VOR (BPK)

I shouldn’t have hopped the fence.

It was shut with a big padlock and surrounded by barbed wire so I can’t exactly claim that I hadn’t noticed it.

Six

Military Jet Buzzing Santa Monica Pier

Last November, two high-performance military jets departed Van Nuys airport in California as a formation flight to gather footage for a film in production called Kerosene Cowboys. The plan was for the jets to do four passes off of the coast of the Santa Monica pier, west of a banner tow aircraft towing a banner for the film. The first passes went as planned and then one of the pilots broke away and flew low over the beach area for multiple passes in excess of 250 knots (two of the passes were below 500 feet) and then pulled into a steep climb just before the pier.

Five

Just Like A Woman

I was no stranger to the attitude that women shouldn’t fly. I did my PPL training in southern Spain which was a unique introduction to Mediterranean machismo.

Four

All I Need is the Air that I Breathe

A tragic VFR case in 2003 involved a PA-28 flying over the Rockies. You can read the full accident report from the NTSB – again a number of issues came into play. The pilot was delayed due to bad weather and changed her planned routing to avoid further weather. She requested an altitude of 15,500 feet. The PA-28 was unpressurised and did not carry supplementary oxygen. Radar data indicates that the pilot flew above 12,500 feet for 2 hours, 17 minutes, above 14,000 feet for 1 hour, 49 minutes, and at approximately 16,000 feet for an estimated 45 minutes.

Three

A Mexican Adventure

Joe is a pilot, sailor, former Marine (sniper) and an excellent story teller. He is 83 now and still going strong. He has neuropathy in his hands which means he can no longer use a typewriter normally. He doesn’t let that stop him, slowly typing out emails with two pencils so that he can tell friends about his adventures. I asked for his permission to share one with you.

Two

Drunk steals plane at airshow

The pilot is Kyle Franklin from Franklin’s Flying Circus & Airshow. He is married to the beautiful Amanda Younkin, who manages Franklin’s Flying Circus and Younkin Airshows. Kyle and Bobby Younkin are the pilots – although Amanda can fly as well. When she was featured in the 2010 Bombshell calendar, she was the only babe to fly the planes as well as pose in front of them.

One

FAA Approved?

So, the story goes that the Alaskan pilot had 2 new tires, three cases of speed tape and several rolls of cellophane delivered to the site and promptly repaired his plane so that he could fly it home.

If I was hoping for a specific direction to go in, well, this has proved that my own personal eclectic tastes are shared by a good many of you. A good mix of topics and approaches seems to have worked so far!

I’ve very much enjoyed the online community that is growing around General Aviation and the conversations I’ve been able to take part in, both here and on your blogs.

I’m looking forward to 2010 and more of the same!

Category: Miscellaneous,

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