“Million-Dollar Brunch,” Greg’s September, 2016 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, Greg's piloting tips, Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , , on July 21, 2016 by Greg Brown

“All the sights we saw”

6-GregBrownFT916_1796editeSmw1200Except for two brief local hops, I haven’t flown in a month. First rain stopped me, then weeks of winds gusting as high as 48 knots.

Today I awoke to the first beautiful morning in forever. I long to fly! I’ve scheduled routine avionics maintenance next week in Prescott—perhaps they could take me today instead. Nope, I call but they’re too busy.

“Jean, want to fly somewhere for breakfast?”

“No, I’m playing tennis this morning.” (No kidding; she really says that to me all the time.)

Okay, if I can’t find anyone to join me I’ll go myself. No way am I letting a morning like this pass after being grounded for weeks, mission or not. I grab a weather briefing to Payson. It’s a mere 30-minute flight, but scenic, and the field’s Crosswinds Restaurant boasts great affordable food and a “million-dollar view” of the towering Mogollon Rim.

Who might consider joining me for such a mission, at the last minute on a weekday morning? It’s a long shot but I phone my nature-photographer buddy Don Hill. He and Barb are usually booked busy but today she’s out of town visiting relatives, and…

DonHill-annotatedMtn-3aeSm1200“Yeah, I’d love to go, Greg! I’ll just load my camera with a fresh memory card and battery and meet you at the airport.”

Don starts snapping photos as our wheels leave the ground. It’s bumpier than I expected, but Don says it doesn’t bother him. I guess a guy who served in Vietnamese river ships in Viet Nam has experienced worse than a little turbulence…

**READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, MILLION-DOLLAR BRUNCH**

Top photo: Don Hill enjoys the Crosswinds Restaurant’s “million dollar view” at Payson Airport, Arizona. (KPAN)

Lower photo: “Don’s email-blast photo of the San Francisco Peaks, annotated with sights from our morning flight.”

SEE MORE PHOTOS HERE!

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

Greg

©2016 Gregory N.Brown

“Bird’s-Eye View: Northern Arizona’s fabled monsoon season seen through the lens of Greg Brown”

Posted in Greg's photographs on July 8, 2016 by Greg Brown

7-7-16 FlagLive-frontcover_Page_1Sm1200Many thanks to Andy Wisniewski and the good folks at Flagstaff Live for featuring my “Views from the Flying Carpet photographs in this week’s cover story! (←Click link or above cover image to see entire story.)

And to Diandra Markgraff for covering my work in her Monsoon Photography article in the Daily Sun!

The coverage is timely — don’t miss my latest solo photography exhibit at Will McNabb Fine Jewelry, 18 N Leroux St, in historic downtown Flagstaff, running through July.

2-6-15 WilMcNabb-FCexhibit-Opening_0485eSmw1200

Included are most of my remaining “Views from the Flying Carpet” Aerial Fine Art Collector Prints, some of which are discounted as much as 50%! (All will continue to be available as Fine Art Metal Prints.)

You’ll also see a few of my new “Down to Earth” terrestrial photography prints.

I hope to see you at the show!

Greg

 

“Vegas for Lunch,” Greg’s August, 2016 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, Greg's piloting tips, Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , , on June 25, 2016 by Greg Brown

“What’s that smell?”

GregBrownFT816_4878e-1Smw1200

I awoke to a text from my friend Sergio Schaar of San Antonio, asking if I’d noticed the airline-window view of Flagstaff he’d posted online. I had, and wondered at the time where he might be going.

“We’re in Las Vegas to see Rascal Flats; Deanna is a big fan.” he explained. “When I spotted the San Francisco Peaks from 40,000 feet coming from Texas yesterday, it didn’t take long to identify Flag.” I asked how long the two were staying in Vegas.

“We’re leaving tomorrow at noon,” he replied.

“Ugh. I was thinking of flying over tomorrow to meet you for lunch. You’re only 90 minutes from Flagstaff by Flying Carpet, practically in the neighborhood.”

“That’s a cool idea—how about today?!” wrote Sergio. This is what airplanes are for, right? So I texted back “Sure!” and scrambled to get up and out the door to the airport.
It proved to be a sparkling clear day, with light winds on the ground and aloft. En route to Las Vegas I entertained myself ogling vistas of the western Grand Canyon. In seemingly no time, I rendezvoused with my friends at Henderson Executive Airport (KHND).

GregBrownFT816_3726eSmw1200Jean and I first met Sergio and his son Max three years ago when they toured the Southwest in their 180hp Cessna 172, the Green Hornet. (See Flying Carpet Tour, FT 6/13.) We dined with Sergio and Deanna in San Antonio a few months later, but that’s the last time I’d seen them in person.

Sergio flies often, including numerous Pilots N Paws missions, and excitedly revealed that he’s changing careers to pursue pro piloting. He recently earned his commercial pilot certificate, and just enrolled for flight-instructor training.

Deanna backs Sergio’s dream 100%, having left a corporate job to indulge her own passion for animals with a thriving pet-sitting business. What an inspiring couple! A brief but fulfilling hour later, my friends dashed off to catch the shuttle back to the Strip.

I was cruising happily homeward through cobalt skies, when a nasty odor filled the cockpit

**READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, VEGAS FOR LUNCH.**

Top photo: The Las Vegas Strip viewed from final approach to Runway 35L, Henderson Executive Airport, Nevada. (KHND)

Lower photo: Sergio and Deanna Schaar greet me at Henderson Executive Airport.

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

Greg

©2016 Gregory N.Brown

“U-Turn,” Greg’s July, 2016 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, Greg's piloting tips, Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , , , on May 26, 2016 by Greg Brown

Knowledge is power

GregBrownFT716_3743-Edit-2Smw1200For pilots, knowledge is power. Today’s broad aviation weather access contributes immeasurably to flight safety by allowing us to anticipate and plan for what lies ahead. Without it, we return to the dark ages of flying.

Recently Jean proposed picking up her mother Marge in Phoenix, and from there visiting her brother in Montrose, Colorado. Phoenix to Montrose is a long flight for the uninitiated— 3½ hours through often-turbulent desert skies. What’s more, Marge is in her eighties and limited in mobility. Most any precautionary landing site along this remote route would lack people, water, or shade, with help potentially hours away. Oh, and another brother was flying in from Chicago, making the schedule immutable. So as much as I love piloting, I suggested dropping Jean in Phoenix, where she and Marge could hop a 1-hour commercial flight instead.

“Mom says she’d rather go by Flying Carpet than airlines,” Jean answered with finality, but she did compromise. After retrieving Marge in Phoenix she suggested we overnight in Flagstaff before proceeding, thereby shortening our Montrose flight by an hour. Although helpful, that didn’t relieve my concerns. But at least Jean and Marge had made an informed decision.

Pilots outside the intermountain west may not easily picture a 275nm route with virtually no attended airports, minimal weather reporting, limited ATC radar and voice communications, marginal to non-existent weather radar coverage*, and 14,000-foot peaks surrounding the destination…

**READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, U-TURN.”**

Photo: A ridge-top “sucker hole” materializes under a line of thunderstorms near Kayenta, Arizona.

SEE MORE PHOTOS!

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

Greg

* Check out the NEXRAD weather radar national coverage map. NE Arizona to SW Colorado features one of the biggest weather radar coverage gaps in the country.

©2016 Gregory N.Brown

“Oblique Views,” Greg’s June, 2016 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, flying destinations, Greg's piloting tips, Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , on April 28, 2016 by Greg Brown

Bittersweet aerial journey

Adriel Heisey flies and photographs from his Flight Design CTsw Light Sport airplane over downtown Santa Fe.Sunrise cracks the horizon as Jean and I rotate skyward. Any direction we steer—north to the Grand Canyon, south over Sedona, west toward Las Vegas–will reward us with spectacular sights. But we’re reminded this sparkling morning that perhaps our favorite route is east to Santa Fe.

From Flagstaff’s mountain pines, we soar above volcanic cinder cones, crazy-jagged Canyon Diablo, within sight of Meteor Crater, over the Painted Desert, and then the buttes, hoodoos, and hogans of the Navajo Nation. Beyond there, crimson cliffs frame Gallup, New Mexico, and jet-black ancient lava flows stream eternally from 11,306-foot Mt. Taylor.

We’re not the first pilots to appreciate these views. Back in 1929, Charles and Ann Morrow Lindbergh photographed area scenic and cultural sites from their custom Curtiss Falcon biplane, and hence today’s mission.

Our friend, National Geographic and Arizona Highways aerial photographer Adriel Heisey, was commissioned 10 years ago by Archaeology Southwest to reenvision the Lindbergh photographs for a comparative “then and now” exhibition, called Oblique Views. We’re bound today for the opening at Santa Fe’s Museum of Indian Arts and Culture.

JeanGreg-BrucePapier-UliNiemeyer_FC-SAF_SantaFeAirport_2661eSmw1200-2Joining us in Santa Fe for the event will be another longtime friend, Bruce Papier.

In a past life we shared many adventures, including piloting a Cessna 210 from Indiana to Arizona…

**READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, OBLIQUE VIEWS.”**

Top Photo: Adriel Heisey photographs downtown Santa Fe for the Oblique Views exhibit, from his Flight Design CTsw Light Sport Aircraft.

Lower Photo: Bruce Papier and Uli Niemeyer greet us at Santa Fe Airport, New Mexico.

SEE MORE PHOTOS!

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

Greg

©2015 Gregory N.Brown

“Mentoring and Marketing for CFIs,” Greg’s webinar with NAFI Chairman Bob Meder

Posted in about Greg, Greg recommends, Greg’s flight instructor tips with tags , , , , , , on March 27, 2016 by Greg Brown

 

SFI-2 FrontCover_shadow1200I had the pleasure of being Bob Meder’s guest on this month’s NAFI Chairman’s Webinar. (National Association of Flight Instructors)

As you’d expect, we spoke primarily on flight training and flight instructor topics, with emphasis on key marketing, motivational, and pricing ideas and insights from my new book, The Savvy Flight Instructor Second Edition.

CFIs and flight school operators should find this material particularly relevant.

So if those topics interest you, please have a listen by clicking below! (Also available as MP3.)

Thanks to Bob and NAFI for inviting me to participate!

Greg

“Ready, Set, Don’t Go,” Greg’s May, 2016 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, flying destinations, Greg's piloting tips, Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 24, 2016 by Greg Brown

Third time’s the charm—sort of…

GregBrownFT516_4694e2Smw1200Winter offers spectacular flying, but its fickle and unforgiving weather can make longer aerial journeys daunting.

Jean and I annually flee snowy Flagstaff to visit our neighbors Tim and Hedy Thomas for a California vacation. Usually we meet in sunny Oceanside or Carlsbad, but this January they invited us to sample Monterey’s rugged coastline, bountiful sea life, scrumptious seafood, and renowned aquarium. Afterward, we planned to visit other friends two hours northeast in Truckee, California, and from there fly home through Nevada.

Although straightforward in good weather, this is an ambitious wintertime journey. Mountainous northern Arizona and California’s coast, deserts, Central Valley, and Sierra Nevada all feature different if interrelated weather patterns, which must coincide for safe air passage across the route. Truckee, in particular, high in the Sierra Nevada near Lake Tahoe, averages 41 inches of January snowfall, yet perfect flying weather would be required to land there.

So rather than attempting to hard-schedule our vacation, we negotiated a three-week “visit anytime” travel window with our respective hosts.

Even then, weather concerns arose. By early January, closely spaced winter storm systems were lined up to steamroll California and Arizona. Our travel needed to be accomplished during one- to two-day gaps between storms…

**READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, READY, SET, DON’T GO.”**

Photo: Ocean mists fringe verdant hills near Monterey, California.

SEE MORE PHOTOS!

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

Greg

©2015 Gregory N.Brown

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