“Parlez-vous Anglais?” Greg’s March, 2017 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, flying destinations with tags , , , , , , , , on January 26, 2017 by Greg Brown

gregbrownft317_5569esmw1200“Be aware of a Citation jet practicing instrument approaches, and numerous aircraft flying the Trois-Rivières traffic pattern,” cautioned Montreal Center after issuing our instrument clearance from Quebec back to the States.

Not until reaching the runway did Jean and I fully appreciate the implications. How could we determine when to take the runway with so much traffic chattering in a foreign tongue? We might as well be on another planet!

Every aspect of this flight to French Canada had been impacted by language…

**READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, PARLEZ-VOUS ANGLAIS?**

Photo: “Space-age terminal building at Trois-Rivières Airport, Quebec.” See more photos here!

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

Greg

PS: The dichroic-glass bola tie in my new new author photo this month comes from my friends Dana and Karen at Robbins Ranch Art Glass. Check out their wonderful work!

©2017 Gregory N. Brown

Choosing a good flight instructor

Posted in Greg's piloting tips, learn to fly! on January 13, 2017 by Greg Brown

Greg Brown's Flying Carpet Blog

fc-cover-photo-smThe single most important factor in good flight training is lining up an excellent flight instructor (“CFI”). Since flying is largely taught one-on-one, the right instructor will greatly enhance your quality of learning, your safety and competence, and your ultimate enjoyment of flying.

Good training can be found at flight schools of any size — quality should be your key factor in making the decision. Start by asking acquaintances who fly locally if they can recommend a good instructor or flight program. Good referrals always mean a lot. The next step is to visit several different flight schools at nearby general aviation airports, and interview flight instructors at each one. (While you’re at the airport, approach some pilots you see operating light aircraft, and ask if they have any instructor or flight school recommendations.)

To evaluate each instructor you interview, ask him or her to:

  1. Detail the process for completing your…

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Greg’s latest “Pilot Achievement Plaque”

Posted in Greg's photographs, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on January 10, 2017 by Greg Brown

scotttabakosr-pilotplaque_215142esm1200

I thought you might enjoy seeing my latest Pilot Achievement Plaque, ordered for Scott Tabako Sr. by his son Scott Jr. to celebrate Scott Sr. earning his private pilot certificate, and featuring “Winter Stratus,” one of my renowned Views from the Flying Carpet.

Whether it’s to celebrate first solo, a newly-earned pilot certificate or rating, or a new-to-you airplane, these large 10″ x 20″ frameless, ready-to-hang metal plaques feature your supplied photo and pilot achievement, highlighted with your favorite pilot vista from Greg’s renowned Views from the Flying Carpet aerial photographs. (Only $124 plus s&h and applicable sales tax!)

Congrats, Scott Tabako, Sr, on earning your wings! And thank you, Scott Jr!

Greg

“Full Circle,” Greg’s February, 2017 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, flying destinations, Greg's piloting tips with tags , , , , , , , , on December 30, 2016 by Greg Brown

Bienvenue au Québec!

lisejeanmarcel-duvalpatio_stlawrencerivership_champlainquebec_4677-editesmw1200You’d expect a flying carpet to deliver you to enchanted destinations. Well, 2,000 miles and fifteen flight hours from home over French Canada, Jean and I truly felt our steed’s magic. After clearing customs at Windsor, Ontario, we gazed down upon Toronto, Ottawa, and then, Montreal. Each resurrected memories of a long-ago youthful journey.

In 1971, I drove this route on a post-graduation road trip with two Chicago high-school buddies in my 1939 Chevy. After setting up camp in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, we picked up a hitchhiker named Marcel while cruising town. Lacking a common language, we couldn’t determine his destination, so he gestured us to a nearby tavern.

“If you’ll break camp and drive me 15 miles to Champlain,” Marcel offered via the bilingual bartender, “you can stay in the guest cottage behind my parents’ house.” We accepted, and while the others slept, Marcel and I “talked” late into the night via sketch pad and French-English dictionary. The next morning, I was startled awake by the horn blast of an oceangoing freighter. Having arrived in darkness, I never guessed the St. Lawrence Seaway was steps away.

I was recounting this story to Jean for the umpteenth time when Toronto Center issued a frequency change. Bienvenue au Québec! Air traffic control is bilingual in Quebec, so Montreal Center controllers swap seamlessly between French with Québécois pilots, and English with Anglophones like me. The mighty St. Lawrence River materialized off our right wing, and thirty minutes later converged with our course at our destination. Inbound to land at the uncontrolled airport, we heard the following transmission.

“Trafic Trois-Rivières, Cessna Un-Sept-Deux Golf Alpha Bravo Charlie, présentement sur Alpha, je m’aligne Piste Deux Trois pour un décollage immédiat.” Jean and I looked to each another, eyebrows raised. The pilot was obviously in the local traffic pattern, but where? I requested his position in English, but he answered in French. Eventually he managed the word, “takeoff,” but we never spotted the airplane. Clearly, great care would be required to safely operate here.

I was securing the Flying Carpet when two figures rushed from the terminal, arms outstretched. It was Marcel Duval, the very hitchhiker I picked up in 1971, and his captivating wife, Lise Marquis. Who’d have imagined that our chance friendship would endure for decades…

**READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, FULL CIRCLE**

Photo: “Toasting friendship with Marcel Duval and Lise Marquis at their home overlooking the St. Lawrence River in Champlain, Quebec.” See more photos here!

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

Greg

©2016 Gregory N.Brown

“O, Canada,” Greg’s January, 2017 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, flying destinations, Greg's piloting tips, Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , on November 27, 2016 by Greg Brown

gregbrownft117_5433-1smw1200Crossing Borders

When a family wedding beckoned from Chicago, our first thought was to book airline tickets because it’s too far to fly for a weekend. But then Jean and I got to talking.

Think of all the sights to see and friends to visit within flying range of Chicago. And soon, Where shall we go this time? In short order, a weekend wedding trip blossomed into a full-fledged flying vacation to three states and Canada.

Canada! Consider your feelings when flying into a new-to-you state. Now make that destination Canada, Mexico, or the Caribbean and you’ve got one memorable trip.

This would be our first foreign border crossing by private aircraft since 9/11, and security procedures would accordingly be more complicated and stringent than before. I might have waited too long to start planning, if not for chatting a month before the trip with pilot Mark Harris who routinely flies into Mexico.

“Don’t linger ordering your customs decal, and enrolling in the eAPIS program you’ll need when crossing the border,” he counseled. “Those can take time.” Immediately, I tapped into AOPA’s excellent “Flying to Canada” web and video resources, and began submitting the requisite applications.

Every aircraft crossing US borders must have a current Department of Homeland Security Customs and Border Protection (CPB) decal. These annual stickers cost only $27.50, but can take several weeks to receive. In addition, pilots must pre-file crew, passenger, aircraft, and itinerary information for each crossing via CPB’s “Electronic Advance Passenger Information System” (eAPIS) web site. While individual trip manifests can be filed as little as an hour before takeoff, the required pre-registration can take up to a week for email confirmation.

I’d also need a restricted radiotelephone operators permit for international travel, and a radio station license for the Flying Carpet. Canadian charts and GPS navigator database are of course required, and aircraft insurance certificate. Non-aviation planning included current passports, international cellphone and data service, informing our credit card issuers, and medical insurance coverage…

**READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, O, Canada**

Photo: “Downtown Toronto, Canada, and Billy Bishop Toronto City Airport (CYTZ, commonly known as the Toronto Island Airport)”

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

Greg

©2016 Gregory N.Brown

Introducing Greg’s 2017 photo wall calendars!

Posted in Greg recommends, Greg's photographs on November 5, 2016 by Greg Brown

2017 “Views from the Flying Carpet” Photo Wall Calendars

new 2013 Lulu FC oversize wall calendar-frontHere come my 2017 “Views from the Flying Carpet” aerial photo wall calendars, filled with my favorite aviator’s-eye views from around the country.

This “Greatest Hits” version comes in two sizes, featuring some of my most popular aerial photographs from my “Views from the Flying Carpet” series of Fine Art Metal Prints.

2015 Lulu FC Greatest Hits standard wall calendar-frontBoth calendar sizes feature exceptional image quality suitable for framing!

Note that because these photographs represent my most popular images to date, all have appeared in various calendars from previous years.

2017 “Views from Flagstaff” Photo Wall Calendars

new 2013 Lulu FC oversize wall calendar-front

These calendars feature some of my favorite photographs shot in and around our beloved Flagstaff, Arizona, including several from my “Down to Earth” series of Fine Art Metal Prints.

Among them are photographs of historic downtown Flagstaff including the landmark Weatherford and Monte Vista hotels, the San Francisco Peaks, 2015 Lulu FC Greatest Hits standard wall calendar-frontCoconino County Fair, seasonal views of summer sunflowers and autumn aspens, and Flagstaff’s famed New Years “Great Pinecone Drop!”

(Previous buyers note that the 2017 “Views from Flagstaff” calendars contain the same great photos as last year’s.)

New for 2017: “Views from Korea” Photo Wall Calendars

2014 Japan oversize wall calendar-frontCheck out my new terrestrial, 2017 “Views from Korea” photographic wall calendars!

Included are amazing photographs taken in the Republic of [South] Korea, little-known among Americans, with its fascinating blend of old and new.

Lulu Korea standard wall calendar-front copySee Seoul’s renowned Gyeongbokgung Palace, Gunsan’s Barley Festival, traditional Korean horsemen in Jeonju, Gochang-eup Fortress, and more troubling, North Korea viewed from the Demilitarized Zone (DMZ) Joint Security Area.

2017 “Views from Japan” Photo Wall Calendars

2014 Japan oversize wall calendar-frontOnce again, I’m also offering my terrestrial, 2017 “Views from Japan” photographic wall calendars.

Although a departure from my aerial persona, Jean and I have been so taken with Japan’s beauty and character during our travels that I can’t resist sharing special images from there.

This is one country you must make plans to visit! And once seeing the included photographs, I suspect you’ll agree.

2014 Lulu Japan standard wall calendar-frontIncluded are amazing views of Kyoto’s and Nara’s exquisite temples, Matsumoto Castle, Osaka’s Dotombori Entertainment District, a Shinto wedding at Miyajima Island, Tokyo’s Ginza District, and Ogimachi Historic Town.

(Previous buyers note that the 2017 “Views from Japan” calendars contain the same great photos as in prior years.)

2017 “Well, I’ll Be!” Photo Wall Calendars

2015 Lulu FC Greatest Hits standard wall calendar-frontCheck out my 2017 “Well, I’ll Be!” Photo Wall Calendar, featuring some of my wackier photographs.

I created this calendar primarily to hang over my own desk, but can pretty much guarantee you a monthly smile when you change pages!

(Available only in Standard size. Previous buyers note that the 2017 “Well, I’ll Be!” calendar contains the same great photos as last year’s.)

Click on each calendar image to preview and order, or visit my Calendar Store!

(To preview monthly calendar pages, click “preview” under the picture on the individual calendar page.)

Calendar Sizes and Pricing

Each full-color 12-month wall calendar series comes in two sizes:

  • Standard 11″x17″ for $19.95* (8.5″x11″ images).
  • Premium oversize 13.5″x19″ for $29.95* (9.5″x13.5″ monthly images).

Photos for a given calendar are similar in both formats except for cover image and size.

What a great way for you and your lucky gift recipients to celebrate each month of the new year!

Greg

*NOTES:

  • All calendars can be shipped directly to you, or to others as gifts.
  • Shipping and sales tax (if applicable) are additional.
  • “Well, I’ll Be!” calendars come only in Standard Size.
  • ***CHECK HERE FOR ANY APPLICABLE PUBLISHER DISCOUNTS!

©2016 Gregory N. Brown

“Tight Quarters,” Greg’s December, 2016 Flying Carpet column

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

gregbrownft1216_5091-1smw1200Pirate pool party

Attending a kid’s 4th birthday party might sound unimportant, but Jean and I felt high emotional stakes in flying to Alamogordo, New Mexico for the occasion.

Our son and daughter-in-law Austin and Desi and their children had recently moved there from overseas. That would make our grandson’s “pirate pool party” our first family celebration together in six years.

Alamogordo is nine hours’ drive from Flagstaff, but less than three hours by Flying Carpet. Perusing the charts, I was pleased to find manageable terrain en route. However, a 140-mile thicket of restricted airspace encompasses nearby White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base, blocking general aviation access from the west. High mountains and additional military airspace also limit access from the east.

That leaves two flying routes from Arizona, neither direct. Shortest is to fly east beyond Socorro to JUPTR intersection, then steer 90 miles south between military airspace and the Sacramento Mountains. The longer alternative is to fly southeast to El Paso over high and remote terrain, then thread an exceedingly narrow 60-mile corridor northward between restricted areas. Both routes are comfortably flyable in good weather, but given such tight quarters each can be blocked over many miles by a single thunderstorm…

**READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, TIGHT QUARTERS**

Photo: “Massive thunderheads crown the Sacramento Mountains northeast of Alamogordo, NM. (Note malpais volcanic lava fields in foreground.)” SEE MORE PHOTOS HERE!

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

Greg

©2016 Gregory N.Brown

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