“Grandpa’s Hat”

Posted in about Greg, Greg's photographs, life & love on July 29, 2015 by Greg Brown


Jean and I were walking Kachina Wetlands near sunset a few weeks ago, when up rode this kid, stunting on his bike like you’ve never seen from 5-year-old.

Turns out his beloved grandfather recently passed away, and the only thing he wanted of his grandpa’s belongings was his hat.

The young man told us he wants to be a cowboy, just like his grandpa. Is there any doubt that he’ll make it?!

And yes, he’s wearing “Grandpa’s Hat.”


(Thanks, “Mom,” for letting me share your son’s pic and story!)

©2015 Greg Brown

“Barn Dance!” Greg’s September, 2015 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, Greg's piloting tips, Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on July 23, 2015 by Greg Brown

Flying airways through time

GregBrownFT915_3034-EeSmw1200Motorcycles, airplanes, and steel guitars were the topics, as we lounged under sparkling skies with Larry and Karen Howard on their vacation-home deck overlooking Lake Thunderhead, Missouri.

What a weather contrast after yesterday’s challenging flight from Arizona! Unable to land at nearby Unionville Airport due to low ceilings, we’d diverted to Centerville, Iowa. (See last month’s column, Three Time Zones.)

Larry and I were University of Illinois architecture classmates after I transferred from Wisconsin junior year. A quiet, low-key farm kid with just a hint of a smile, Larry would have been at home in the movie, Animal House. Many a Saturday night we rocketed down Green Street on our Suzukis — Jean and me on my X-6, and Larry balancing his 350 on one wheel. Larry was such a whiz at “wheelies,” that except when parked, his motorcycle’s front tire rarely touched the ground. Our usual destination was the Rose Bowl Tavern, where even the glare of regulars at longhaired college kids couldn’t dull our appreciation of the house country band.

SteveAlLarryGregBahamas376_7VS5eDetSmw1200One spring break, Larry and I teamed up with my roommate to fly from Champaign, Illinois to the Bahamas in the Flying Illini Cessna 172.

Larry’s friend Steve met us in Florida and we “flew the Atlantic” to Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands under my command. It was an epic journey for a 190-hour, non-instrument-rated pilot. (See “Spring Break,” FT May, 2005.)

10-GregBrownFT915_0909eSm1200The following year Larry joined me in the club Cessna 182 to visit Steve in Houston. He and Karen had since moved to Waterloo, Iowa, so he drove to Champaign the night before departure.

This was the 1970s gasoline-shortage era, and late that night Larry phoned from Bloomington, Illinois where he’d run out of gas because no service stations were open. By the time we rendezvoused, siphoned gas from my car into his, and drove back, it was past midnight


Top photo: “Larry and Karen Howard wave from the ramp, Centerville Municipal Airport, Iowa.”

Middle photo: Larry (with “‘fro”), Steve (far left), with Greg’s roommate, Al, and Greg, Abaco Island, Bahamas, 1976. 

Lower photo: “Karen & Larry at Centerville Municipal Airport, Iowa.”

(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)


©2015 Gregory N.Brown

“Three Time Zones,” Greg’s August, 2015 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, Greg's piloting tips, Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , , , , on June 25, 2015 by Greg Brown

Journey to the past

4-GregBrownFT815_3001eSmw1200“Be prepared to turn around,” I cautioned Jean as we launched under dark clouds. Keeping options open would be key to safely completing this long journey east.

We were bound from Arizona to Illinois for my mother’s 90th birthday and a high school newspaper reunion. Unable to justify flying ourselves 9-10 hours each way for a long weekend, we’d originally planned to go by airline.

But then we learned my mother would be gone over reunion weekend, stretching our stay to a week. That changed everything. By Flying Carpet we could use the free time to visit long-missed friends, relatives, and locations.

Yes, it’s a long flight to Chicago. But from there, many Midwestern destinations are only an hour or two away. Newly excited, we compiled a wish list encompassing three time zones and six destinations in four states. It was an ambitious itinerary, given the vagaries of spring weather.

Indeed, the forecasts were alarming as departure day approached. The Great Plains suffered near-daily tornados, showers were predicted throughout our Midwest stay, and two storm systems threatened Arizona. Rain hammered our roof the night before departure.

11-GregBrownFT815_0885eSmw1200We awoke to dark, racing clouds, but for the moment Flagstaff boasted a flyable 1,400-foot ceiling. From nearby Winslow east, Arizona featured fair weather.

Northern New Mexico reported marginal visual flying conditions, with possible mountain obscuration. That might require staying over in Gallup, but we’d cross that bridge when the time came.

For now the objective was to beat the storm out of Flagstaff. Snowflakes pelted our windshield as we drove to the airport…

**READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, THREE TIME ZONES.”** (Allow a moment for the article to load.)

Top photo: “The clouds break up near Santa Fe, New Mexico.” Lower photo: “Braving a bitter wind at Centerville Municipal Airport, Iowa.” SEE MORE PHOTOS!

(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)


©2015 Gregory N.Brown

“Fogbound,” Greg’s July, 2015 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, Greg's piloting tips, Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , on May 28, 2015 by Greg Brown

Awaiting blue skies

GregBrownFT715_2341-EditeSmw1200It was one of those awful stories you assume happens only to other people…

Jean and her sister Jo were chatting by phone after Thanksgiving, when they suddenly realized their mom hadn’t returned their holiday phone messages.

They contacted their mother’s residential community manager, who discovered the unfortunate woman lying in her bathroom where she’d fallen on Thanksgiving Day, five days earlier. Jean jumped into her car and drove two hours to intercept her mother at a Phoenix emergency room.

When Jean returned home four days later, she was clearly shaken. Her mother had sustained serious injuries, and even if she survived it was questionable whether she could ever live unassisted again.

We arranged to temporarily park a car at Glendale Airport for easy hospital access via Flying Carpet. Jean asked me to fly her there a few days later when Jo arrived from Illinois, so the two could rendezvous at the hospital.

GregBrownFT715_2351eSmw1200Sunday morning we awoke to rare ground fog in Flagstaff. I filed an instrument (IFR) flight plan and told Jean to expect a takeoff delay. However she was eager to go so we hurried out the door.

Only at the airport did we realize how dense the fog was; we could barely see past the first tie-down row. The sun dimly shone through, however, with occasional patches of bluish sky.

“How long until this lifts?” asked Jean.

“Who knows?” I shrugged. “Maybe 45 minutes?” We pulled out the plane, preflighted, and waited…

READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, FOGBOUND.” (Allow a moment for the article to load.)

Top photo: Awaiting blue skies at Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, Arizona. Lower photo: Low stratus lingers just beyond the airport boundary at takeoff.

(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)


©2015 Gregory N.Brown

Introducing “Pilot Achievement Plaques,” featuring Greg’s renowned aerial photography!

Posted in Greg recommends, Greg's photographs on May 14, 2015 by Greg Brown


Commemorate your pilot accomplishments with my new art-quality metal wall plaques! Ideal for celebrating:

  • First solo!
  • New pilot certificate or rating!
  • A gift for your favorite pilot or flight instructor
  • A new-to-you airplane!
  • A special flight accomplishment
  • Just proud to be an aviator
  • Any other aviation achievement you can think of!

These large 10″ x 20″ frameless, ready-to-hang metal plaques feature your supplied photo and pilot achievement. (More info and examples HERE.)

To highlight your accomplishment, select your favorite pilot vista from my Views from the Flying Carpet aerial photographs. (Each image incorporates my signature mark.)

20x30-SunsetRains-MetalPrint_2959-EditeSmw1200These Pilot Achievement Plaques feature superb finish and image quality similar to my Fine Art Metal Prints.

20x30-SunsetRains-MetalPrint_2962eSmw1200Each semi-gloss metal plaque delivers ready-to-hang on a frameless back mount that floats it 1/2″ off the wall, similar to the Fine Art Metal prints shown at left and right.

Pilot Accomplishment Plaques – sizes, pricing, and delivery

  • 10″ x 20,” with floating wall mount: $124 + s&h*
  • 10″ x 20,” with optional black flush-edge mount: $154 + s&h*

* $15.50 shipping within the Continental US. Applicable sales tax is additional. Normal delivery runs 2-3 weeks. (Not guaranteed.)


Order your Pilot Achievement Plaque here!


©2015 Gregory N. Brown

“Santa Ana Winds,” Greg’s June, 2015 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, Greg's piloting tips, Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , , , on May 7, 2015 by Greg Brown

The price of adventure


Let’s face it, not everyone is cut out to be a pilot. Flying is as much about adventure as it is about transportation. Jean and I could drive to Southern California for our annual seaside vacation, as others do. Yes, it’s a dull 8-hour trek, and requires negotiating miles of maddening traffic. But little planning and few decisions are required — just hop in the car, and go.

By Flying Carpet, the same journey takes just two hours and delivers us three miles from the beach. Along the way are spectacular views of mountains, desert, and the Colorado River. Sounds impressive to the uninitiated, but flying demands planning, research, and sometimes stress. We pilots see such challenges as the price of adventure — overcoming obstacles for the rewards of stunning sights and completing our “missions.” But for others less suited to piloting, such trials seem troublesome travel complications.

This would be our second flight into Oceanside Municipal Airport for our “beach fix” with friends Tim and Hedy Thomas. It’s a delightful rural airport, but not without challenges: a short obstructed runway, and noise-abatement procedures that demand preflight study. Those I’d mastered last visit.

This year’s travel was constrained because our hosts could accommodate us for only two specific days. Every pilot knows the challenges of trying to meet an inflexible schedule. Fortunately, this route normally features benign flying weather, so I wasn’t too worried about it.

GregBrownFT615_0513eSmw1200As the day approached, the Southwest enjoyed record winter temperatures: Flagstaff in the 60s and Oceanside in the 80s. The cause was a powerful weather system generating easterly “Santa Ana winds.” I knew the effects of the Santa Anas, but had never flown in them.

Yes, 25-knot tailwinds would speed us on our way. But Oceanside is just 30 miles downwind of California’s rugged coastal mountains, raising specters of mountain wave stretching out to sea, moderate to severe turbulence, and low-level wind shear at our destination…

READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, SANTA ANA WINDS.” (Allow a moment for the article to load.)

Top photo: California’s Oceanside Municipal Airport (lower left) lies just up the San Luis Rey River from its namesake town, beach, and pier (upper right). Lower photo: The reward: savoring sunset at Oceanside Beach, California. SEE MORE PHOTOS HERE!

(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)


©2015 Gregory N.Brown

Introducing Greg’s affordable new Fine Art Metal Prints!

Posted in Greg recommends, Greg's photographs on April 10, 2015 by Greg Brown

20x30-SunsetRains-MetalPrint_2960-EditeSmw1200Introducing my trendy and affordable new Fine Art Metal Prints! 20x30-SunsetRains-MetalPrint_2957eSmw1200

I am thrilled with the superb image quality and fidelity of this series, and believe you will be too.

What’s more, prices start at an economical $125* including shipping within the Continental US.

Each semi-gloss metal print delivers ready-to-hang on a frameless back mount that floats it 1/2″ off the wall. (Framing options available.) 20x30-SunsetRains-MetalPrint_2959-EditeSmw1200

This approximates the museum-mount appearance I prefer on my Fine Art Collector Prints, while helping to keep them affordable.

Each open-edition metal print incorporates my signature mark. (But unlike my Fine Art Collector Prints, not certificates of authenticity.) 20x30-SunsetRains-MetalPrint_2962eSmw1200

In addition to offering all my popular “Views from the Flying Carpet” aerial images as Fine Art Metal Prints, I’m also introducing my terrestrial photographs for the first time.

I predict you’ll be delighted as I am with these gorgeous and impactful prints!


  • 11″x17,” $125
  • 12″x18,” $145
  • 16″x24,” $195
  • 20″x30,” $295
  • 24″x36,” $395
  • 30″x40,” $495
  • custom sizes available
  1. Preview and select your desired AERIAL or TERRESTRIAL image.
  • Ready-to-hang frameless semi-gloss metal prints, 1/2″ standoff from wall.
  • Normal production runs about 1 week, plus shipping time. (Delivery time not guaranteed.)
  • Print sizes are nominal since aspect ratios vary by image.
  • Applicable sales tax additional.

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