“Passion for Flight,” Greg’s legacy Flying Carpet column

We lost our dear friend Conor yesterday, treasured longtime unofficial family member, and one of the funnest, funniest people ever. Conor, you were and are a ray of sunshine in our lives. We will miss you so much…


What a way to celebrate the New Year! I scan 100 miles in every direction while tracing the boundary between Arizona’s wooded “Rim Country” and the high desert to its north. Snow frosts forests along the Mogollon Rim to my right, while to my left multihued rock barrens stretch out of sight across the Painted Desert. Beneath my wings captivating textures and details reveal themselves one after another on the ground. What created these herringbone rock patterns? Who lives in those remote dwellings? And what might their lives be like?

Memories soon tint the mind-bending vistas on this little-traveled route between Flagstaff and Show Low. Earlier this week my son Hannis journeyed with his buddies Conor and Phil in another friend’s car to the tiny hamlet of Concho. There they celebrated New Years Eve with other members of their on-again, off-again jazz hip-hop band, Lobe. Today their driver heads elsewhere so eagerly I soar over this breathtaking land to retrieve my son and his friends. As far back as Phil and Conor go with Hannis, I treasure their company almost as much as he does. Seeing them will be even better than these amazing views…

**Continue reading Greg’s entire column, PASSION FOR FLIGHT” **. Mobile-device link here.


Photo: Arizona’s Meteor Crater and the San Francisco Peaks


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


If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!


“Raise the Flying Carpet: Shipwrecks over Arizona,” Remembering Clive Cussler, Greg’s legacy Flying Carpet column

I was saddened to learn today of Clive Cussler’s passing.

Jean and I once enjoyed a memorable day with the acclaimed author and adventurer, including a Flying Carpet ride. It turned out Clive had strong aviation connections, along with those of land and sea. The biggest thrills were learning about his famed sea recoveries, and seeing him in action formulating fiction. Here’s the column I wrote about that memorable day. A more detailed account appears in my book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane.


“Clive Cussler!” I said, “He writes the Dirk Pitt novels, like Raise the Titanic and Inca Gold. And he discovered the Confederate submarine, ‘Hunley!’”

“That’s right,” said Penny Porter, director of Tucson’s Society of Southwestern Authors writers conference, “After our original keynote canceled for next week, Clive graciously agreed to speak on short notice. You’re still coming, right?”

“Wouldn’t miss it!” I said, “And I can’t wait to hear Clive Cussler speak. But why are you phoning me?”

“Because we have a problem,” said Penny. “Clive has agreed to present, but he must get home by five o’clock for another engagement. Would you bring him with you in the Flying Carpet? He lives nearby and you’d easily be back before five, right…?

**Continue reading Greg’s remembering-Clive-Cussler column, RAISE THE FLYING CARPET: Shipwrecks over Arizona” **.

(Mobile-device link here.)


Photo: Tucson’s aircraft “Boneyard,” viewed from the Flying Carpet with author Clive Cussler. 


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


If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!


“Snow Dusts Oak Creek Canyon,” Greg’s latest “View from the Flying Carpet” Fine Art Photography Metal Print

It was just to be a quick 20-minute flight home from Cottonwood to Flagstaff, Arizona.

But brevity of flight in the Flying Carpet or any airplane, has little to do with what you might see out the windshield. I had already photographed stunning snow showers gracing edges of the Coconino Plateau on my outbound leg.

The showers had thickened slightly by the time I made my way home, and over Sedona I found myself treading ghostly passages, chasing glimpses of Flagstaff’s San Francisco Peaks.

I rounded a veiled corner and emerged from a snowy chasm over this vibrant vista of Oak Creek Canyon. Magical light illuminated rich colors of the canyon walls, and in place of Arizona’s stereotypical blue sky it was topped with a wispy, frosty crown.

Another subtle element makes this image special. Among my challenges photographing the desert Southwest, is that people living elsewhere often find it difficult to take our regional rock colors seriously. So I treasure views like this one, where grassy terrain at right and atop the plateau help the eye to resolve those vibrant mineral-laden cliffs as real.

My Fine Art Metal Prints start at just $125, and shipping throughout the Continental US runs only $10-21 up to the largest sizes.

Check sizes, prices, framing options, and order your “Snow Showers Dust Oak Creek Canyon” Fine Art Metal Print.

Oh, and consider checking out my other available Views from the Flying Carpet aerial photographs, and Down to Earth terrestrial photographs.

Many thanks for the amazing response to this particular photo, and to all who have invested to date in my Fine Art Metal Prints, Note CardsPilot Achievement Plaques, and 2020 Photographic Wall Calendars.

Greg

“In Search of Lost Time,” Greg’s legacy Flying Carpet column

Where the heck is my watch? I wondered, upon checking my wrist for the time.

I was dining with renowned aviation author and humorist Rod Machado, his wife Diane, and two of their friends at an outdoor cafe in Palm Springs, California. We had joined pilots from all over the country to attend AOPA Expo, the pilot association’s annual convention.

“So Greg,” said Rod, continuing a conversation in progress, “how was your flight from Phoenix yesterday?”

“Very pleasant,” I replied, massaging my empty wrist. “I arrived early to avoid the heaviest fly-in traffic. It can be a real hornet’s nest the afternoon before the program starts.”

“I’ve often dodged those hornets myself,” said Rod. “Any delays?”

“None at all,” I replied. “I just joined the published arrival procedure and followed the freeway in—no circling was required. I suspect it was tougher late in the day.” We proceeded to swap aviator stories with Rod and
Diane’s friends. Ian, an American Airlines pilot, told of his days flying in Alaska. Jason, an author and internationally renowned professional magician, recounted adventures flying his twin-engine Piper Aerostar. Earlier, over appetizers, he’d dazzled the group with mystifying card tricks.

Even as flying yarns circled the table, my thoughts kept returning to the missing watch. It wasn’t valuable, but I liked it and the data bank held important phone numbers. Particularly disturbing was that I’d lost a set of keys earlier that morning. Ultimately I’d found them in the side pocket of my suitcase, but I had no recollection of placing them there. Now I’d lost my watch.

Hopefully I’m not developing memory problems, I found myself
worrying. I must ask my wife if she’s noticed any other symptoms. Attempting to banish such concerns from my mind, I returned to my friends’ ongoing conversation, saying nothing of my loss.

“Did I tell you about flying into Long Beach for the last West Coast Expo two years ago?” I asked.

“No,” said Rod. “Did you have some ‘close encounters’ there?”

“On the contrary,” I replied, laughing…

**Continue reading Greg’s entire column, IN SEARCH OF LOST TIME” **. Mobile-device link here.


Photo: Greg with author, speaker, and humorist Rod Machado. 


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


If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!


“The Day GPS Went Out,” Greg’s January/February, 2020 Flying Carpet column

“Warning! GPS Navigation Lost!” proclaimed my GPS receiver.

Jean and I were bouncing through clouds on instruments at 12,000 feet, over trackless mountains along the remote Arizona-New Mexico border.

Seconds after that initial warning, my primary flight display announced, “GPS reversion mode: for Emergency Use Only!” (but displayed no position.) My multifunction display restarted itself with a “Maintenance Required!” alert. Next came an “ADS-B (out) inoperative!” warning, meaning our transponder had stopped transmitting our GPS coordinates to air traffic control (ATC).

I was flying Jean from Flagstaff to El Paso for tennis sectionals. Normally we make the 2½-hour journey straight-line VFR. Today, however, layered clouds shrouded the mountainous central portion of the route, so I’d filed under instrument flight rules (IFR). This route spans a huge swath of military airspace that when active cannot be crossed IFR, so I’d filed a circuitous route over Socorro, New Mexico.

My first hint of trouble was when our controller asked, “Are you ADS-B equipped?”

That seemed odd, as he had long been tracking us. He then cleared me to an intersection to bypass nearby White Sands Missile Range restricted airspace, but the GPS died as I entered the fix into my navigator. After I reported the failure, the controller assigned radar vectors around the restricted areas.

Now other pilots began reporting lost GPS, and I noted that the position symbol on my tablet computer had stopped moving…

**Continue reading Greg’s entire column, THE DAY GPS WENT OUT” **. (Mobile-device link.)


Photo: Primary Flight Display in GPS-failure Emergency Reversion Mode. 


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


If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!

New! The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual Fourth Edition!

I’m excited to announce my new The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual Fourth Edition, coauthored with major airline pilot Mark Holt, hot off the press and now available in print and e-editions!

This new Fourth Edition features many new illustrations and updates, many in full color, and now covers all required ATP-CTP material.

Along with numerous systems and terminology enhancements we’ve updated and expanded coverage of multi-pilot-crew coordination, one of the toughest challenges faced by new turbine pilots, and added an all-new crew briefings section.

Read all the details here!

Those who’ve been awaiting this new edition will want to order this week before ASA closes for the holidays this coming Saturday, December 21st, through January 5th.

Greg

Greg’s new 2020 “Mosel Valley Castles” calendars

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Check out my new “Mosel Valley Castles” photo wall calendars, featuring amazing castles of southwest Germany. Some are in ruins, some have been upgraded from fortresses to palaces, and some are close to original, but all are spectacularly sited in high places with commanding views.

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Included are amazing views of and from Reichsburg Cochem, Burg Thurant, Burg Eltz, Burg Landshut in Bernkastel-Kues, Ehrenburg, and the upper and lower Oberburg and Niederburg Manderscheid castles.

As usual, I’m offering two sizes, Standard and oversized Premium. Check them out by clicking on each calendar image. (Click “Preview” on the linked page to see all the monthly photos.)

Check out all my 2020 Aerial and Terrestrial calendars here on my site or go direct to my Calendar Store. (Be sure to check out both Calendar Store pages.)

Oh, and be sure to check for publisher discounts here.

Greg

Announcing Greg’s 2020 “Views from the Flying Carpet,” and “Down to Earth,” photo wall calendars!

I am offering quite a number of 2020 wall calendars featuring my best photographs. These are beautifully printed, and the images are suitable for casual framing.

Calendars come in two sizes, standard and premium.

Proceed to my Calendars page for details, or you can go directly to my Calendar Store to see all at once. (Be sure to see both pages.)

Click “preview” under calendar-store images to see inside photos for each calendar.

You can order calendars sent to you, or directly to others as gifts. (Order soon for the best mailing rates.) Check here for any current publisher discounts.

Hope you enjoy this year’s calendars!

Greg

“Mountain Airport,” Greg’s December, 2019 Flying Carpet column

Some airports set a pilot’s heart racing.

Our friends Steve and Molly recently invited us for a hiking weekend in southwest Colorado.

This would be our first summertime visit to 9,070-foot-elevation Telluride Regional Airport (KTEX). Telluride is surrounded on three sides by 12-14,000-foot mountains, but we could approach from the west at 11,000 feet.

Like most Telluride traffic I planned to land on Runway 9 and depart Runway 27 to avoid maneuvering in the dead-end canyon east of the airport. That required good visual flight conditions, and light winds to preclude downwind takeoffs or landings and dangerous downdrafts tumbling over the surrounding mountains.

Given suitable weather, my main concern flying our non-turbocharged Cessna 182 was safely departing such a high-elevation airport in summertime.

Temperatures of 48°F to 75°F sound pleasantly cool, but at 10-12,000 feet density altitude we’d be lucky to get 65% of sea-level power at full throttle, and 300 fpm climb…

**Continue reading Greg’s entire column, MOUNTAIN AIRPORT” **.


Read my detailed planning process for flying into this challenging airport.


Photo: Final approach to Runway 9, Telluride Regional Airport, Colorado. 


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


If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!

“Consolation Prize,” Greg’s November, 2019 Flying Carpet column

Our weekend guests Alex and Sabina arrived to unseasonably wet and cold autumn weather.

As with previous visitors, I’d promised Alex a Grand Canyon aerial tour. I mention only Alex because while he and I had flown together before, Sabina had expressed such fear of airplanes that I’d presumptively invited another friend in her place. Saturday, rain confined us indoors. Based on forecast improvement, we designated Monday for hiking and autumn leaf-peeping. That left only Sunday, weather permitting, for flying.

Sunday morning, both Flagstaff Pulliam (KFLG) and Grand Canyon (KGCN) Airports reported scattered clouds at 1,700 feet above ground (AGL), roughly 8,700 feet above sea level (MSL). While that was adequate for the route, the Grand Canyon Special Flight Rules Area requires a 10,000-foot MSL minimum altitude to overfly the Canyon.

Lacking pilot weather reports, I explained that we could safely fly to the Grand Canyon, but depending on arrival-time conditions we might not be able to cross. Alex was predictably game to go. Sabina, however, surprised everyone by volunteering to join us—her sister and friends had told her she’d be nuts to miss the Grand Canyon from above.

Although apprehensive, Sabina took the copilot seat, usually best for nervous passengers. Noting clenched teeth and hands while taxiing out, I offered to turn around, but she insisted we continue. After takeoff, however, she began peering out the window…

**Continue reading Greg’s entire column, CONSOLATION PRIZE” **.


Photo: “Inner Basin Aspens: Sunstruck autumn aspens line Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks.  (Available as a Fine Art Metal Print, Pilot Achievement Plaque, and in Art Note Cards.)


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


If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!