Yesterday, my regular flight instructor was a bit under the weather, so she suggested I fly with my original instructor. Dave Hirschman has one of the best jobs at the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association. Not only is he the senior editor of AOPA Pilot magazine, but he’s also the handler for our sweepstakes aircraft, the Aviat Husky.
Dave asked if I wanted to fly in the Husky, and I leapt at the chance. The Husky is what’s called a tail dragger. It has a wheel on the tail and an actual stick to control the yoke. The website describes it thusly:
“Access areas that will take your breath away in a Husky. Its rugged, handcrafted construction, wide-field visibility and tandem seating create an extremely comfortable and secure environment for safely flying into places other planes simply can’t.”
Two Huskys (one owned by our CEO Craig Fuller) were the stars at the AOPA Tent at the recent Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In. Folks stopped by to take a look, have a seat at the picnic tables and even chat with Craig, who was there most of the time.
The views from the Husky can’t be beat, with large windows. Because you fly slowly, you can actually fly with window or the door open. And I had the smoothest landing ever — in the grass! Below are some pictures I took during the flight. Enjoy!!
- The view from my window
In May 2010, I spent the day at the American Airlines Admiral’s Club at Chicago O’Hare to test out the new first class seat being installed on the carrier’s American Eagle regional jets. I also got to sample a new food menu for those passengers. I had some time to kill, and the club had killer views of the airport. I love this picture of a Mexicana jet with the Chicago skyline in the background. Enjoy!
Kids: normally I would have posted The ORIGINAL Strange But True Aviation News today, but I have been run ragged working my first Sun ‘n Fun Fly-In, fondly known as spring break for pilots. So instead, I decided to offer up my list — complete with photos — of my highlights from the show. I’ll be at the AOPA tent today until around 3. Please come by and say hell. Enjoy!
The famous AOPA "Plane Crazy" t-shirt
- Meeting some of my Twitter followers. B-Rad from Showalter Flying Service brought me my own set of chocks! Now I only need my pilot certificate — and a plane!
- Enjoying an ice cream with AOPA President (and my boss) Craig Fuller.
- Watching the aerobatic air shows every afternoon.
- Using the AOPA Facbook and Twitter (@AOPA) accounts to update members and friends on our activities at the show.
- Taking AOPA staffers over for interviews on Sun ‘n Fun radio, hosted by the wonderful Dave Shalbetter.
- Trying out pilot headphones at the Pilot Mall next door to the AOPA tent. Although I really want the Bose headphones, they’re a bit too rich for my blood at this point.
- Getting people to buy our very popular Sun ‘n Fun “Plane Crazy” t-shirts. The gentleman in the photo came specifically to buy them after he saw my tweets touting the t-shirts and letting folks know they can only get them at the show.
- Watching the AOPA eMedia folks offering demos of our new FlyQ app, which just rocks. It will replace the current AOPA Airports app.
- Giving rides to weary attendees in the AOPA golf cart and meeting some great people.
- Catching up with my aviation journalist friends.
Showalter Flying Service chocks
Demo of the FlyQ app
AOPA's 'Keep 'em Flying" stickers
AOPA's Ian Twombly, Dave Shalbetter and Girls With Wings' Lynda Meeks on the air at Sun 'n Fun Radio
Back in May 2009, AirTran Airways made a big announcement — it had installed Gogo inflight Wi-Fi on its entire fleet. As part of the announcemen, a group of us reporter types were invited on a flight to nowhere to give it a whirl. One of those reporters was NBC’s Tom Costello, who did a live broadcast on the flight for the “Today” show. Below is my picture of him doing his report. Enjoy!
I went down to Atlanta’s Hartsfield-Jackson International Airport last April to do a series of stories about the facility, along with my former employer, Delta Air Lines. I usually don’t sit in a window seat because I’m a bit claustrophobic, but the flight was pretty open. So I scooted over to the window seat and got this shot of a very long wing, with some of the Delta fleet in the background. Enjoy!
In July 2011, I got to attend the celebration of United’s first 10 million mile flyer. My Aviation Week Things With Wings blog post on that event is here. The event was held in a Red Carpet Club lounge at Chicago O’Hare International Airport, but we had time to wander around. Sitting at the gate right across from the party was an Airbus A320 painted in United’s Friendship livery. I just happened to catch the pilot giving the windshield a pre-flight cleaning. Enjoy!
One of the best things about going to a U.S. airport that’s an international gateway is all the heavy metal from foreign flag carriers. Back in April 2008, was flying out of Washington Dulles International Airport (my personal favorite) for a trip to Seoul, South Korea. I arrived early on purpose, because it was around the time when the flag carriers were arriving. I caught a snap of an Ethopian Airlines Boeing 767 sitting at the gate. Enjoy!
Back in April 2008, I was speaking at an airports conference. The host was DFW Airport, and they were kind enough to take us on a behind-the-scenes tour of their impressive facility. As the home airport for American Airlines, I managed to get dozens of shots of the fleet. Here’s one, below.
Back in July 2008, I was attending an airports conference in Chicago. As part of the conference, we got to take a great tour of Chicago Midway Airport. I saw a lot of the Southwest Airlines fleet there, and I was lucky enough to get a snap of two Boeing 737s, including the one dedicated to the State of Maryland. Enjoy!
I went to Austin, Texas, last month for a data journalism geek unconference. The first night we had dinner at Stubbs BBQ, and my dinner companion was Lauren Young, owner of Little Lamb web design (she’s currently redesigning this site). She started talking about how much fun she was having with Pinterest. For the uninitiated, check out this article in the Wall Street Journal profiling the website.
I love using Pinterest to show off many things, but my favorites are my aviation and travel boards. The first board I created was one with pictures of my beloved Boeing 747, which has 101 followers. My next board was Cool Aircraft Liveries, which has photos of some of the best aircraft paint jobs of the present and past, with 97 followers. I work across the street from Frederick Municipal Airport, so I created Seen At Frederick Airport (FDK).
I am a BIG fan of art deco airline/travel posters, and have them hanging in my home and office. My Art Deco Travel Posters has 92 followers. I created a board made up entirely of the graphics I use for my Strange But True Aviation News column. And then I have boards entitled Lord, I Was Born A Ramblin’ (wo)Man and Places I REALLY Want To See, with 94 followers each.
Tomorrow’s post will be on 10 folks you should be following on Pinterest. Not on Pinterest yet? Drop me an email at AuntBenet AT Gmail DOT com and I’ll get you an invite. Enjoy!