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Posted by PeteSchug | Mar 08, 2021 @ 10:56 AM | 9,839 Views
Checking the Pattern Before Taking Off

I donít remember when this happened. I think it was after I soloed but I probably didnít have a current medical so I was flying with Tony Barone the FBO who both taught me to fly and was my examiner (quite strict!!!) for my glider private. I also donít remember if this was in the Champ or a Citabria. Probably the Champ because the Citabriaís had Maule tail wheels and you could see over the nose when taxiing. Even though they were taildraggers that big tail wheel made them feel almost like they had a nose wheel.

I taxied to the beginning of the runway and we sat a while checking the pattern and finally lined up on the runway and pushed not quite full throttle. Tony was particular about rpms on take off. He never used full throttle but insisted on something like 2150 or maybe 2250 rpm. All of a sudden a Cessna 310 passed us about fifteen feet above. Tony saw the shadow and hollered, "Iíve got it!! I told him the guy already passed us.

While we were sitting there checking the pattern this guy was on a long straight in approach and our high wing blocked the view.

Since then I have always made sure I could see the approach before taxiing out onto the runway.

The guy in the 310 just kept going. Whatever had drawn him to Wurtsboro was no longer important.

For me it was a valuable lesson.

I can only think of one time I did a straight in approach in a sailplane. It was the day I hit rotor...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Dec 15, 2020 @ 12:04 PM | 10,008 Views
I’ve always had an insatiable desire to read about things that I loved. This included airplanes, both full sized and model. In my mid twenties I built both radio controlled airplanes and small rubber powered scale models.

I learned the art of building rubber models from Teddy Pfeiffer, a sailplane pilot friend who was about twice my age and built and kept exquisite models. Each had its own box fitted to protect the plane. He also made all balsa hand launched gliders that could fly for a minute or so on a good launch. We flew in the evenings if there was no thermal activity. My own models were almost as good as Teddy’s. My covering jobs were flawless. I’d get set up in the bathroom and run the shower to generate steam. I outlined the fuse, wings and tail surfaces with nitrate dope. I then laid the damp tissue on the part I was covering and painted the edges with very dilute dope. I trimmed the tissue to an exact fit with a carefully broken Gillette blue blade. When each part was covered I painted them with dilute dope. The wings and tail surfaces were pinned flat in such a way that air could get to both sides. The fuse never needed any support while drying.

No, I wasn’t devoted exclusively to airplanes. I read motorcycle mags also, including English ones which were more interesting than American mags. The pictures and their blurbs were worth the price of admission. A typical blurb. Photo of Bike sliding out from under a rider with a look of panic on...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Dec 13, 2020 @ 10:27 PM | 11,941 Views
More Mistakes

We got a Schweitzer 2-32 at Wurtsboro shortly after it was introduced. I wanted to try it but I wasnít really chomping at the bit. I watched bunches of guys take their check rides and one of the things that got me was guys whirling around in spins at high speed and often going around two or more times.

I finally got around to taking my check ride with an instructor that I knew but never flew with. The 2-32 felt like a B-29. Or at least I imagined that was what a B-29 felt like. It felt massive, like flying a Mosler Safe. It also had the best L/D (glide angle) of anything Iíd ever flown. I think 34 to 1 or so. Not great by todayís standards but pretty good for a non competition ship in those days.

Finally the big moment came. The instructor said in his carefully enunciated, unexcited monotone, that we would do a spin to the left and we would do one full turn then I would neutralize the stick and hold full opposite rudder until the glider recovered. We entered the spin aiming directly at the ridge and after one turn I did as I was told and it seemed like nothing was happening. My one thought was, unload the wing. I shoved the stick far forward and recovery was pretty quick. I pulled back before we picked up much speed and I think we recovered in one third of a turn or less. No comment from my check pilot. Iíve often wondered what he thought and if, maybe, he learned something.

One of the things that Tony Barone, who was my examiner for my glider...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Dec 02, 2020 @ 02:29 PM | 9,060 Views
The private pilot glider is the easiest license to get but the glider is the hardest plane to fly really well. The skill level is open ended. Anyone should be able to handle the aero tow and the landings are easy. You literally fly the glider onto the ground and remember not to let your spoilers go until you are well below flying speed. A full stall flair and landing will lead to the tail wheel (if there is one) hitting first causing the wing to lose its angle of attack and allowing the glider to to BANG down onto its wheel or skid. Most people never make that mistake twice. In contest flying the spread between the best and the worst can be very large.

No, by hardest plane to fly really well I mean flying cross country. Anyone should be able to thermal well after their first dozen or so thermal flights. On my first real thermal flight George Moffat outclimbed me in his HP-8, AKA the lead sled but he won the nationals in that ship. I was in a Schweitzer 2-22 which had a reputation for being a good climbing ship but it was my first real thermal and my first one hour plus flight. In competition the speed of completion of the given task determines the winner.

I never got a chance to fly cross country. You had to be a stockholder in Sailflights, our local club and Tony, the FBO would not rent me a glider for a cross country flight. I donít think he doubted my ability but it meant either borrowing a trailer and disassembling the glider or aero towing me back and he didnít...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Nov 21, 2020 @ 07:21 PM | 9,143 Views
Dunno why but I got my five hour flight starting out with only five hours of daylight left and I got set up in a 1-26 with a barograph hoping to gain 1,000 meters on a day which looked like it was going to rain at any minute. I guess Iím a raving optimist.

To be honest I donít remember the tow at all. Entering the pattern is mandatory if you get down to 800 feet AGL so I probably got off at least at 2,000 feet so I could descend a couple of hundred feet to mark a clear starting point on the barograph for my 1,000 meter gain. I remember going up a bit and then hitting a solid 400 feet per minute climb. There was a white wall advancing toward the airport and it seemed to hesitate right across rte 209. The runway itself is probably less than fifty yards from the road so I had one eye on the pellet vario, another on the altimeter and both eyes glancing at the white wall right across the road.

I was literally counting seconds knowing the altitude I had to achieve to make my goal. I was there but at 400 feet per minute I thought I should gain at least a couple of hundred extra feet. I mean, whatís another 30 seconds.

Thatís when the lightening flashed from cloud to ground right across the road. Some things help you make your mind up quickly.

I did a steep banked slipping spiral dive with full spoilers. The barograph trace was just about vertical until I hit pattern height. Coming in on 23 thereís a bump about halfway down on final. That bump had increased in magnitude...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Nov 07, 2020 @ 09:50 PM | 12,919 Views
I never kept a diary but I did try a journal for a very brief time.

What I did keep was a couple of log books, one for glider flying and the other for power. I never thought of them as either a diary or a journal but now, over sixty years since my first entry in the power plane log book I occasionally search there for old adventures.

Being relatively unimaginative I used both log books exactly like the rows and columns said and then one day I saw how they really should be used.

In those days stewardesses retired much younger than they do today. We had a stewardess nearly retired and she was learning to fly sailplanes.

She turned her boring old logbook into a work of art. Instead of going line by line, row and column her entries took several lines or even a page. Instead of "flew local" "weak thermals" she’d write something like, "Gorgeous day after an early morning rain. A cold front came through turning the skies a deep blue. The wind was out of the west so ridge soaring kept us aloft while waiting for the thermals to develop."

She always left room for photos and her glider log was a photo album devoted to aviation. Today her old log is probably treasured by her grand children.

Alas, all mine ever says is "25 min on ridge, overcast." I struggle to find some of my memorable flights. They blend in. Exciting flight or not, they all make dull reading.

Posted by PeteSchug | Aug 01, 2020 @ 07:10 AM | 8,890 Views
A flight with Hal Cohen

If you hang around an airport all day long, every weekend, holiday and vacation day, you find yourself making friends with most of the other airport bums who found a home there.

Hal was an engineer and a pilot who owned his own plane for a bunch of years. Dunno why he sold it but it was gone. It was an Ercoupe, the two seater that had no rudder pedals. I think the Ercoupe was also equipped with castering landing gear so it could be landed crabwise in a cross wind and not suffer any damage. Naturally it had tricycle gear.

I remember a scene in an old movie where a guy lands at a party in a high wind and the guests, all friends, run out to hold his plane down in the wind. All the guys are in tuxes and the women in evening gowns but they’re all airplane savvy and tend to the plane. I don’t remember any more about the film but I loved that scene.

I was a bit of a techie and had read Popular Science, Popular Mechanics, Mechanix Illustrated and that pulp, country boy equivalent, Science and Mechanics since I learned to read and only gave them up when I found The Scientific American on a newsstand when I was about eleven. Thus, though I was no engineer I had enough of a background to enjoy talking to Hal about things aeronautical or details about how engines worked and all the etc’s you can think of.

So it was that on occasion Hal was my "passenger" when I flew gliders. Yes, passenger is in quotes. If I flew with a fellow...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Dec 02, 2019 @ 12:29 PM | 10,653 Views
The day I became a Pilot

I soloed the Champ on skis under an overcast sky. I learned to land on grass and I judged my height by the texture of the grass. Now, with the overcast the runway was featureless. Not even the tiniest shadow of ski tracks could be seen. My first landing was a very hard crunch onto the firm surface. Tony asked me if I could see okay. Three weeks earlier he had offered me a chance to solo but he had never asked me to get my medical and student pilot’s license so solo was postponed until I was legally equipped with the proper papers. Today was the day we both expected me to solo. I did a quick review of all I knew and decided that looking at the far end of the runway would possibly help me judge my height better. On my next two tries I improved drastically, gauging my height by seeing the perspective change in my peripheral vision. Tony got out, set the elevator trim to where he said was about right for solo. I taxied back a couple of hundred yards and took off. Skis are funny. Sometimes the drag is so high it takes full power just to taxi. This time I got off with a very short run. The plane climbed out much more briskly. I actually turned around to look at the empty seat. On the downwind leg I could hear Tony in my mind telling me to check the carburetor heat, throttle back etc in preparation for landing. I turned base and final and as I was flairing I could hear the back of the skis touching the runway. A couple of hundred yards later the...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Nov 27, 2019 @ 12:55 PM | 8,614 Views
Old pilots who started that way.

I first met Reggie while having dinner in Vermont with my friend Bob. There was some restaurant that would plan meals like prime ribs in advance and take reservations. We were going there to meet a couple of friends and have dinner. We went in Bob's car since in those days I usually rented from National and turned in my car when I got to Vermont.

We arrived in the parking lot of a strip mall and as we got out Bob said, "Looks like Reggie is already here." He was looking at an ultra-light parked on the grass. Ultra-lights are small aircraft made of things like aluminum tubes with tautly stretched nylon covering the wing. Very interesting. You don't need a license to fly one but there are rules about where you can fly them. They have to weigh less than 255 pounds, are limited to a top speed of fifty-five mph and have to have a stall speed of less than nineteen mph and presumably anyone can land something going that slow.

Inside we sat down with Peter Stebbins and Reggie. I knew Peter, but was meeting Reggie for the first time. Neither had ordered since they were waiting for us and all tables were reserved anyway. Dinner was prime rib and was superb. Reggie was an interesting older guy, probably retired. What amazed me was watching him take off after dinner. Taking off in the dark to fly back to Tater Hill, the local general aviation airport. You can't see things like wires or tree branches in the dark and while the ultra-light had...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Nov 26, 2019 @ 12:39 PM | 10,283 Views
My Flying Buddy

I started flying RC and full sized airplanes around the same time. I think full sized had a slight edge in time and many of my early RC flights involved single channel superregen transistor Rxís and a Tx with just an on/off switch and a single button. My RC planes were short lived in those days but I then bought a Citizenship Proportional outfit with three servos, a Mambo Special and an OS 30 and built my first real RC plane. It too was short lived, only two flights and it landed in salt water.

I flew at a field that "belonged" to a club called "Squadron Escarole." Belonged is in quotes since the park rules said anyone could fly there. The club members were quite unfriendly and how were newcomers to guess that all they wanted was for us newcomers to join? No sense of public relations. In fairness, under a permit they actually built the flying field by hauling boulders away, cutting underbrush and mowing grass, occasionally renting a "steam roller" (gasoline powered) to flatten the runway. They also, without permit or permission, cut the tall branches off trees on the approach to the runway.

I had started with the Mambo Special and that got ruined in salt water. I sent the radio back to Citizenship and when it returned it never failed again. I built a couple of Tri-Squires, an Aristocat and an Aeromaster Biplane with Orbit Propo, and a Supertigre .60 up front. There were Kwikflys and Uglysticks too. While I was building a...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Nov 24, 2019 @ 06:28 PM | 13,325 Views
Adventures and Misadventures

I learned to fly sailplanes in the winter and there was a premium placed on landing at the beginning of the runway. There was a foot or more of snow on Wurtsboro airport and there was a crust of boilerplate on the snow about 3/4ths of an inch thick. The runway itself was packed snow. We landed on the packed runway at the takeoff point rolling to the edge being careful not to hit the boilerplate, which could cut through the fabric covering the Schweitzer 2-22. We were also careful to have the runway side wing down so the tow plane could land short since taxiing had to be done on the runway itself. Right from the beginning I was doing spot landings with a purpose.

On the last flight of the day we came in at redline (80 mph as marked on the ASI but 89 mph according to the specs) flew inches off the ground and touched down near the far end of the runway then turned off toward the hangar, banking the glider on the turn and stopping just in front of the hangar. I did this while Little Tony gave me verbal instructions then on later flights without instruction.

I soloed and as winter slowly turned to spring my flight durations gradually increased until that fantastic day when the first real thermals appeared and I got my first hour long flight.

I spiraled up to over 5,000 feet, practicing centering in a thermal for the first time. Nobody taught me, this was all from discussion and reading. George Moffat out climbed me in his HP-8, aka "...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Nov 20, 2018 @ 12:03 PM | 13,798 Views
Errors at the other end of the tow line.

The first time I went for a sailplane demo ride I was sitting up front in a 2-22, a bit uncertain about what it was all about. I had already soloed in the Champ and I was out to expand my aviation horizons. It really was a first lesson but as a demo ride I got away cheap, a flat rate with no commitment to continue if I didn't like it. I also knew that it would be a long demo with lots of stick time and a sales pitch for glider flying since I was already a student pilot.

We were hooked to the tow plane but short one tow pilot. Finally an amiable young guy showed up complete with 'chute and after a brief discussion hopped into the Supercub to tow us off to adventure. That adventure was both more exciting and much shorter than expected. I'm certain that the tow pilot was even more surprised than we were.

I can only guess what the conversation between the pilot and the guy who was hooking up sailplanes on the long, busy line we were at the front of, but my guess is that it went like this. "Hi Fred"(or whatever his name was) "Joe went to lunch, why don't you take the Supercub?" "Great! Thanks." says our hero and jumps into the Cub, runs up the engine to full throttle, with never a look back. He seems to have thought that he had been offered the Cub for a joy ride.

This was my first glider ride ever and I thought it looked a bit odd but sat there watching until we were catapulted into the air...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Jan 20, 2016 @ 05:47 PM | 23,620 Views
Yet Another Glider Story

When I got my private pilot's license all of a sudden I found a list of passengers waiting to fly with me. Most were friends who I had taken lessons with or in whose airplanes I had been a passenger and a few were friends of friends and relatives of friends. Among those in the latter group was Andy Sturman. Andy is short for Andrea and she was Dave Harris' sister in law.

I had checked out in the back seat of the 2-22 and Andy met me at the airport. Her sister Inez was Dave's wife and Dave had met Inez when she worked at Mac's Rest, the Airport Luncheonette. I spent almost every weekend staying in Dave's house and riding to and from Wurtsboro with Dave, who still worked at New York Hospital as the night electrician. The Sturman family consisted of several girls and young ladies, the oldest was married and living far away and the youngest still in elementary school. There was one boy of almost middle school age and a female cousin living with the family. I had a busy social life just hanging around!

Andy had wanted to fly right from the beginning. I suspect she had a crush on me, but she was in her mid teens and I was in my mid twenties so I took the safe route and played dumb. it was a busy day with two lines of gliders waiting for tows and all the tow planes (four?) operational. I asked George Barone what the flying conditions were like and he said they were fine.

I don't seem to remember a long wait to get towed but I do remember that once we...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Aug 30, 2013 @ 04:47 AM | 23,895 Views
I've read a lot of flying books, very few of the "how to" variety. Several by women fliers. I've always been curious about why people fly. I think it's a calling, like theater or dance or the church. Some hear the call, most do not. Books by women fliers interest me since it tends to be more of a male thing. Maybe I'll figure out what the special fascination is by reading their experiences.

The other subject within flying that attracts me is the memoir. English people in particular seem to gravitate to writing memoirs and English fliers no less than any others. Of these my two favorites have been, "On Being a Bird" by Philip Wills and "An Aeroplane Affair" by John Isaacs. Harald Penrose (Harald is correct) has a few personal memoirs in the huge collection of books he's written. My favorite among his books is "Airymouse" the story of his adventures flying a Currie Wot.

I had a Photobucket picture of a Curry Wot but apparently Photobucket no longer has that image.

This is a Currie Wot. Similar to both Airymouse and the ones Isaacs built for his club. I'm not going to say anything about Harald Penrose's book except that it was a pleasure to read and had me itching to try a Wot.

I read "On Being a Bird" shortly after my first lessons in a sailplane. (Late 1963) Tony Barone the FBO of Wurtsboro, who taught me to fly, solo'ed me in his Champ and who's son was my gliding instructor, had bought a pile of remaindered...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Aug 21, 2013 @ 12:54 AM | 23,078 Views
I'm not going to claim expertise in shooting airplanes, I'm only going to say that I've been doing it longer than most. I've formed a few opinions on how to best shoot airplanes and I hope to share my experiences in this blog episode.

A bit (a lot) of personal history.

I started in RC just as the first proportional RC gear was coming out. The club I joined flew mostly Orbit reeds with some Controlaire in the mix and a couple of brand new Orbit Analog proportional sets that were hinting at the possibilities. All this was on 27 mHz and we lost a lot of planes to CB'ers yakking to pals in Australia using huge Wattage linear amps in the trunk of their cars! This was the late fifties or very early sixties. I was in my mid twenties.

My first servo equipped planes flew with Citizenship proportional gear. My first plane landed in salt water on its second flight and I sent everything back to Citizenship. After they returned it, it never failed again. I flew it for several years and eventually replaced it with Kraft gear on 72 mHz.

In those days we flew until we had nothing left that was flyable, went home and rebuilt or started a new plane. No ARF's yet. You either built or tried to buy someone's old plane. 27 mHz was a hard taskmaster in the NYC area.

Because of the short lifespan of the average model I felt a growing need to record the parade of passing planes for posterity.

Thus I bought a Super 8 camera and added cinematography to my skills. Once I had a few reels of film...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Feb 21, 2013 @ 07:29 AM | 24,720 Views
I'm seventy-five now and this story dates from my mid twenties so at this point it's a half century old.

The first I heard of Brownie was when my Boss Peggy Coyle at J.M. Huber told me we were getting a new secretary in the place and she was a pilot and I was not to talk to her. Miss Coyle (I never called her Peggy and her married name was McKenna) knew I was capable of talking about flying to the exclusion of everything else including (especially) work. However, when people who share some deep interest meet the inevitable happens. It's like being in a foreign country and meeting someone from your home town.

So, as it happened, the next morning this older woman walked into the mailroom and said something like, "Hi, I'm Brownie. I hear you're a pilot." and that was that. I don't know how long we talked, but we exchanged a lot of information.

Brownie had been a WASP in WWII. In this case WASP stood for Women Airforce Service Pilots. Notice the last word of the acronym is pilots, so WASP is plural and saying WASP's would be redundant. The WASP did everything from ferrying bombers from factories to airbases, flying generals around, towing targets and in Brownie's case testing radio controlled drones based on the Culver Cadet airframe.

Sounds simple and sounds interesting. The country needed pilots and there were all these women who could fly, why not use them? The reality is that something like 25,000 women applied and of them 1,830 were accepted for training, of...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Oct 27, 2011 @ 03:43 AM | 25,414 Views
Once upon a time I had a girl friend named Chris.

She could be a royal pain, and I'm sure she felt the same about me on many occasions. We lived together for three and a half years and finally got smart and went our separate ways. One of the high points of knowing her was meeting her father. Chris, for some unaccountable reason was not entirely proud of her parents. She seemed to think that they were too materialistic or something. She, of course lived on a higher plane, admiring her wit and intelligence and her cuteness. Who needed material things when they were so gifted.

I'm not making fun of her, but it is a disappointment that she found so little in common with her parents, especially her father, Joe. True, as Chris predicted, on my first visit to her parents home on Lake Hopatcong her father showed me his coin collection and the many silver medallions he had purchased from the Franklin Mint as collectorís items. Also the Waterford crystal that he bought on his frequent trips to Ireland. His company, Warner-Lambert sent him all over the world, and on every trip he brought something home. He and his wife really did have lots of nice things to show, and the house itself was beautiful.

To me, whose early memories were of the second world war, with blackouts, men in uniform, rationing and war movies, the most interesting thing about Chris' father Joe was what he did in the war.

Joe was Polish and from a wealthy family. At the age of sixteen he abandoned the...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Sep 21, 2011 @ 08:35 AM | 26,262 Views
I'm in my seventies now and all of these are memories of my twenties.

Some Glider Flights

I have almost one-hundred-fifty flights logged in sailplanes and probably a few more that for one reason or another escaped being logged. That's not many flights for something that has been such an important part of my life. I spent several years hanging out at Wurstboro airport every chance I got, flying mostly sailplanes or talking about them, running after tow lines, bringing gliders back to the launch area with a club car and helping tie them down or stack them in the hangar at night. In those days I lived to fly.

There are a few flights that stand out in my mind. Two of them involved things that I read about in books by Philip Wills the English sailplane pilot who wrote "On Being a Bird" which is still one of the best books on soaring I ever read even if it's a bit dated by now.

Being English, Wills often flew in weather that we wouldn't even open the hangar doors for here in New York State, except for lessons toward solo or a license. As it happened I made arrangements to take my friend Alex up for a glider ride and it was one of those days on which nobody would fly for fun. I was flying one of Sailflight's Ka-7's and the FAA says you need five landings to a full stop (Is there any other kind in a glider?) in type and kind in the past 90 days to carry passengers. I asked Bill Placek, the local FAA safety director, who was on the field at the time if a recent flights...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | May 02, 2011 @ 05:34 AM | 26,158 Views
This is an incident that occurred around 1970 when I was a new pilot. It involves full sized airplanes.

It was a beautiful day for flying, late spring or early summer. There were lines of gliders waiting to be towed, there were sounds of engines, both in the air and on the ground and we were walking around the airport looking in the grass for the oil filler cap for my friend Av's Stinson. The engine was a no longer very common one hundred-fifty horsepower Franklin. There were no other Franklin engines from which Av could borrow an oil cap for a while and the caps from Continentals and Lycomings would not fit. So Av Tennebaum, George Barone, son of the FBO and I were walking around the airport looking in the grass hoping that the oil cap had fallen off someplace where we could find it. The alternative was ordering one from a parts supplier and that would take a week at best.

We were around the middle of the area used as a taxiway and we heard the whistle of a fast moving plane behind us. A Ka-7 was flying by over the runway at well over a hundred MPH! It was also oscillating up and down wildly. George instantly recognized the problem. The person flying was pulling the tow release instead of the spoilers. At speeds like that it is almost impossible to set the glider down. The elevator becomes hyper sensitive and you get into pilot induced oscillation, which was exactly what we were looking at.

Just as the glider pulled even with us the pilot took it straight up. I could see...Continue Reading
Posted by PeteSchug | Apr 30, 2011 @ 08:58 PM | 26,322 Views
This is another episode from my website blog. It's expanded a bit and the final section that begins "A little retrospect on all this" is new. I haven't flown for years, but it's still in my blood. I look at the prices of used sailplanes on the internet all the time. Planes that I flew back then are quite affordable today, but experience shows that plane ownership involves a lot more than initial purchase price. Maybe the best bet is a homebuilt since you can be your own mechanic. Assuming that you have time to devote your life to flying!

In "The Wind in the Willows" Rat says something like, "Believe me, my young friend, there is nothingóabsolutely nothingóhalf so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats." So it is also with almost anything you love, but small aircraft seem especially worth messing about with.

I always wanted to fly, but somehow the idea of actually going to an airport and taking lessons never really jelled. I needed a bit of a push. For all the hanging around City Island and watching the float planes based next to the ferry on Fordham Street it never occurred to me to just go over and ask what it cost for lessons.

The big push came when my friend Dave Harris announced, with a big smile on his face that he had taken a flying lesson. "You always talk about it, but I went and did it." He'd been riding his motorcycle around and saw a guy with a motorcycle and and...Continue Reading