Flying Magazine article on Formation Flight

3 Mooneys in echelon formation
3 Mooneys in echelon formation. Photographer: Jay Selman

Long before I was a pilot, I poured over the articles in Flying magazine. One of my favorite Flying editors, Pia Bergqvist, is also a Mooney pilot and joined us in Yuma, Arizona for the 5th annual formation clinic there. I first learned to fly formation at that clinic 5 years ago.

Pia wrote a fantastic article on formation flying in the May 2018 issue of Flying titled Learn to Fly Formation like the Pros

There’s a bunch of wonderful pictures in the article, including a nice one of our airplane leading a 4-ship echelon (the photographer is in the #4 airplane)

P-51 Mustang Flight

About to climb in the cockpit for my P-51 flight.

Short version I flew a P-51 Mustang. It was awesome! #bucketlist

Long version
My logbook now contains 1.1 of flight time in a P-51 Mustang, a World War II fighter aircraft that changed the course of the war. I flew in “Betty Jane”, a TP-51C which is a modification of the original P-51 design to add a second seat and a full set of flight controls and instruments in the rear seat. The P-51 was the first fighter that had the range to stay with the allied bombers for the entire time in hostile airspace. I had the rare chance to fly in a piece of history. Continue reading P-51 Mustang Flight

Sunrise Flight

Sunrise Takeoff
The sun is still rising as we begin our takeoff.

We’re still in the process of breaking in the new engine. It’s got about 15 hours on it and still running as smooth as silk. Today’s plan was to get up early and get in the air right around sunrise. The air would be nice and cool, plus the early start would help us avoid the flurry of activity that is typical for a beautiful Saturday morning like this one.
Continue reading Sunrise Flight

Engine Update

Good News and Bad News

The factory rebuilt IO-360-A3B6 engine is ready for installation

The good news is the factory rebuilt engine arrived on schedule, and in great condition. The other good news is the propeller and governor came back from overhaul with no problems. There’s always a chance that the propeller overhaul shop will find a crack or corrosion in the blades that requires replacing the entire propeller.

The bad news is when the mechanics pulled the old engine off, and they inspected the engine mount they found one of the lower U-shaped brackets on the mount was weak and one side of the U actually broke off in the mechanic’s hand as he inspected it. Continue reading Engine Update

Weather Radar: Check the Fine Print

On one particularly beautiful Saturday morning, in preparation for a local flight with a student, I obtained most of my weather information by just looking out the window. The sun had risen above the peaks to the east and the sky was bright blue canvas devoid of clouds. The large American flag that I use for my visual wind check was relaxing against the flag pole. Today would be a great morning to fly, and perfect conditions for my soon-to-solo student. When I checked the weather radar image on ADDS, I was surprised to find lots of activity on the display. That couldn’t be right — radar only shows precipitation, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. What was going on? Continue reading Weather Radar: Check the Fine Print

Why Don’t You Write?

You haven’t seen any flying stories here for a while because we’ve been dealing with some maintenance issues with the Mooney. Here’s a quick update for those who have been wondering what we’ve been up to.

New Cylinder

Mooney with the prop not on it.
What’s wrong with this picture?

Read on to find out why the propeller is not on the airplane.

We first noticed an issue with cylinder number 2 during our Angel Flight to Driggs in the summer of 2006. The spark plugs kept getting fouled with excess oil, so we had our mechanics pull the cylinder and check it out. They discovered a stuck oil control ring which explained the oil fouling, but they also discovered a small crack in the cylinder. Due to the crack, we had no choice but to replace that cylinder. Continue reading Why Don’t You Write?

Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 12

Flight 10 (continued)

The last part of this trip journal left off after our aerial tour of Mount Rushmore.

Back on Course

After completing our turn to intercept the course to Newcastle (ECS), we were just below 10,000 feet and still climbing to our assigned altitude of 12,000 feet. Nancy got the oxygen system turned on and plugged both of us in. Although wearing the nasal cannula for the oxygen supply is never a treat, it was a sign that we were getting closer to home. The colors on our sectional charts had changed from green (depicting the flatlands of Iowa where we started this flying day) to brown (reflecting the higher terrain here in Wyoming). Continue reading Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 12

Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 11

Tuesday, Aug 1: Flight Planning

We were back in Des Moines, Iowa for the second time during this trip. Now it was time to plan the final flights home to Boise, Idaho. We both enjoyed the adventure of flying ourselves across the country in our own airplane, but we were also ready to get back home.

We planned to fly from Des Moines to a fuel stop at Chadron, Nebraska (KCDR). That flight would take about 3 hours, and then from Chadron to our home airport of Nampa, ID (S67) was about 4 hours (depending on how much headwind we encountered). If the headwinds weren’t too bad, we could make it all the way home without refueling again after Chadron. However if we did need more fuel, there were several airports in eastern Idaho that would be good refueling stops before getting home. Continue reading Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 11

Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 10

More time in Washington, DC

The blue line shows the ground track of our eastbound trip across the United States.

When we originally planned this trip, we intended to visit New York City after our stop in Washington, DC. Shortly after arriving in Washington, we decided to spend an extra day in DC and skip the visit to New York City. We’ll save that for our next trip east. There were so many things to see and do in DC, and we didn’t want to rush ourselves. Also, we were both looking forward to the luxury of staying in the same hotel room for four consecutive nights after spending the last week bouncing from hotel to hotel. Continue reading Oshkosh and Beyond: Part 10

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