Live the Dream
Do it like Doolittle - Finesse, body-beating Gs produce graceful aerial dance
Dancing a Jimmy Doolittle move with airshow legend Sean D. Tucker across the Virginia sky in an Extra 300 was so surreal, it made this aviatrix’s heart flutter and head swoon. OK, maybe it was the negative-4-G outside loop.
“Are you all set to kind of get hurt?” Tucker asked as we dove to 180 knots before pitching up, rolling inverted, and adding forward pressure to form the outside loop invented by Doolittle. “Push it, girl, push harder than that,” he coached, my face flushing as blood rushed to my head. Adding forward stick on the Extra seemed counterintuitive—doing so increased the pressure that was quickly reaching my previously untested threshold for negative Gs. Only when the pitch of his voice changed from the G forces did he say, “Right about there.” Despite attempts to exhale calmly and relieve the pressure, my head felt as if it were going to explode; his earlier comment, “Don’t bust my eyeballs out,” loomed fresh in my mind. Read More>>
From first ride to second lieutenant
After a ride in a family friend’s Cessna 172 instilled a lifelong fascination with aviation in 6-year-old Nicholas DeLuca, the youngster set his sights on the goal of becoming a fighter pilot. Eleven years later, Deluca confided his dream to neighbor Bob Talarczyk, a general aviation pilot and a client of the high-school student’s lawn-mowing venture in their New Jersey community. Talarczyk, active in AOPA’s programs to help student pilots succeed, believed strongly that aviators should act as mentors for the next generation. He offered DeLuca this advice: Set yourself apart from the competition by earning a private pilot certificate as soon as possible. Read More>>
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Aircraft of the Month
With twin-engine reliability; a sturdy design; a large, stable wing; and virtually no fuselage to block your view, the AirCam is an aircraft unmatched in fun. Flying an AirCam has been described as “pure joy and a feeling that you’ve done something special.” Originally developed by Phil Lockwood as an aerial photography platform for National Geographic, the AirCam is now available commercially in kit form. There are approximately 135 AirCams flying and about 15 currently under construction, according to the latest information on the AirCam website. Learn More>>
Ask a Pilot
What is a kitplane?
Answer: Kitplanes, also known as amateur-built or homebuilt aircraft, are non-factory manufactured build-it-yourself airplanes. These airplanes can be constructed from pre-designed plans or assembly kits that include all of the components and blueprints needed for the owner to build. Builders of kitplanes must follow specific regulations, and the aircraft must conform to stringent guidelines (numerous inspections and vigorous testing is part of the process) before it will earn an FAA airworthiness certificate. Building your own airplane takes a lot of work, and construction can last many years, but most proud builders believe to it be one of the most rewarding tasks in aviation.
Do you have a question about flying? Ask a pilot! Call 800/872-2672 or send an e-mail.
In the Blogs
Here are some recent posts from our Let's Go Flying blogs.
What every pilot should know about logbooks
By Pat Flannigan
Logbooks are great. More than a tally of flight hours, the logbook is a sort of journal - a chronicle of the places we've been and challenges faced. Even now, after fifteen years of flying, I can turn to a page in an old logbook and relive each flight. Most flight schools start their students with the small ASA or Jeppesen logbook, and it works pretty well for normal private pilot training. But as experience grows, that old logbook becomes increasingly inadequate. Read More >>
By Kristen Seaman
Coming off the high of soloing for the first time takes a while. There was about a week and a half of “local fame” before it all started to die down. The timing of the solo was perfect because I had a cross country trip planned to my parents’ house for Memorial Day weekend with my boyfriend (and back-up instructor). This was my first chance to experience real flight planning. I enthusiastically unfolded my sectional and asked, “Ok, where do we start?” I quickly learned that I was in way over my head. The whole process was a flurry of measurements, printing off airport diagrams, getting the winds, making all of these crazy calculations, and oh, yeah—learning that in order to meet our weight and balance requirements I couldn’t bring as many pairs of shoes as I wanted on our trip! Read more >>
Heading out for a week of flying
By Arty Trost
The alarm went off at 4:30 a.m., and I woke full of optimism, only to hear the rain drip, drip, dripping. Darn! A friend had spent the night and we were hoping to be wheels off at 6:00 a.m., heading to the very tip of southeastern Oregon for a fly-in. Of course, it’s been raining for days, only partially clearing in the late afternoon and early evenings. Yet I had been so hopeful! My fat-ultralight-type LSA Talon Typhoon has been almost completely rebuilt since last summer’s fiasco. It didn’t have major damage, but the master mechanic and his “elves” as he calls them had taken delight in re-creating the plane. All new wiring, new instrument panel, moving the regulator, the radiator overflow bottle, the battery. They had such fun doing it and I was delighted. My old Rotax 582 was toast, so I bit the bullet and bought a new one. Read more >>
Aviation Calendar of Events
Airports all across the United States offer weekend activities, from pancake breakfasts and barbecues to car and air shows. Find out what's going on in your area. You can search by city, state, or geographic region.
B-17 "Aluminum Overcast" tour
Ever wondered what it would be like to fly in the famous Flying Fortress? You can get your chance July 13 through 15 in Madison, Wis., at the Dane County Regional Airport. Flights start at $409 for pre-booked EAA members. There will also be self-guided tours each day for $10 per adult and $20 per family. Active military and veterans are free. While you’re there, hear stories from veterans who flew, served, and sacrificed on the aircraft during wartime. More information can be found here.
Flying Circus Airshow
Step right up—the Flying Circus is in town! Every Sunday from May through October, you can enjoy an array of airshow acts, from a wing walker to a parachuter, and get a chance to ride in an open cockpit airplane or hot air balloon. The event takes place at the Flying Circus Aerodrome in Bealeton, Va. Special rates are available to large groups and scout troops. For more information, visit the website.
"Cleared for Takeoff" aviation science camp
Want your kids to share the same love for aviation that you do? Send them to an aviation education camp in Pittstown, N.J., from July 9 through 13 or July 23 through 27. Students must have completed fourth grade and not yet entered high school. The camp integrates science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) problems and explores the different requirements of becoming a private pilot. Flight lessons are also available. Registration information can be found here.
"The World's Greatest Aviation Celebration"
The Experimental Aircraft Association’s (EAA) annual fly-in and air show will take place at Wittman Regional Airport in Oshkosh, Wis., from July 23 through 29. There is something for everyone at the show, including an opening-day concert, a night airshow, KidVenture, a Fly-In theater, and more. More than 10,000 aircraft fly in and make Wittman the busiest airport in the world. To learn more about this event, visit the website.
Pilots love to take photos, and they love to share them with other pilots. Now you can upload your flying photos to our online gallery, “Air Mail.” Share your special aviation images, or view and rate more than 7,000 photos (and growing). Photos are put into rotation on the AOPA home page!