“Sky Islands,” Greg’s November Flying Carpet column & photos

“Finally, we’re off to visit Tom and Laurel!” exclaimed Jean as we climbed westward toward Truckee, California. “I can’t believe it’s been four years since we’ve seen them!”

Among our most treasured friends, the Lipperts live near Lake Tahoe in the crook of California’s elbow. It’s a desolate 13-hour drive from Flagstaff to Truckee; though both communities float on cool-and-wooded mountain “sky islands,” they’re separated by 500 miles of harsh desert. But the Flying Carpet would deliver us there in just 3½ hours…

Continue reading Greg’s November column, “Sky Islands,” here. (Please allow a moment for the file to load.)

Photo: Lake Tahoe levitates 2,000 feet above the Nevada desert near Carson City. This perspective you can only see from an airplane! See additional photos here.

©2010 Gregory N. Brown

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

8 thoughts on ““Sky Islands,” Greg’s November Flying Carpet column & photos

  1. It was nice to read about Tom and Laurel. We sure enjoyed our time with them at Oshkosh! Super neat folks!

    Thanks for sharing about your landing! I laughed. It reminded me of a time we flew up to Northern Minnesota and landed in Walker. The wind off Leech Lake was crazy! It was from one direction above, but once we got down to pattern altitude, it was different. Glen was PIC and he had his hands full. We were glad to land safely and didn’t damage Red Bird, but I teased Glen about his 3-in-1 landing! Of course, some of my landings are controlled crashes!

    Your photo is awesome! What a sight!

    1. Thank you, Linda! Sounds like Glen made a worthy performance given the wind conditions! Several years ago Jean and I flew over to Albuquerque. I phoned the flight school ahead of time and offered to meet the CFI staff and sign some Savvy Flight Instructor books while I was there. I waited too late to descend, came in a little too fast, and bounced the plane like five times on landing. Well guess what; it turned out the whole staff was watching. Everybody was too polite to say anything, but I certainly didn’t look savvy on that occasion. Bad landings happen to the best of us – but preferably when no one is watching, eh?!

  2. Isn’t that the truth! I remember my first cross-country solo. I made the best landing I’d ever done. I was so proud of myself! But there was absolutely no one at the little airport I’d selected as my destination.

    One of the worst I made was when I was really hoping for a greaser! My father-in-law was riding with us and my landing was super bumpy. He thought I did fine – like you say, he was too polite to say anything else!

    Ah, for the consistent greasers!!!

  3. Hi Greg!
    I enjoyed this follow-up story on your visits Truckee way. I’m hoping to add that area to my “adventure list”. Your “Flying Carpet” book (which I finished last week) has certainly pre-filled my list a bit.

    Oh, by the way. Solo’d this past Friday (just shy of 18 hours dual). I had a week to stew over the bad weather and my upcoming (possible) solo lesson on Friday. Fred was pumped to let me loose–and he did. It went very well, all things considered. My landings ran the gamut: sweet #1, controlled crash #2, floater with a meandering rollout #3.

    Thx for your input on the possible Skylane purchase, too.

    P.S. I DID prep my radio/headphones during pre-flight and I could hear great on my solo.

    1. Congratulations, Bruce!! Consider how few human beings have realized the dream of flight since the beginning of time. An amazing accomplishment! I would love if you’d post a solo picture – surely you have one – on my Flying Carpet Facebook page. (See link at right on my home blog page.)

  4. Sorry, Greg, no pictures were taken on solo day. Not even a cell phone pic (I leave it in my flight bag in Fred’s office). Too bad, because I was wearing my cool “lucky” Hawaiian shirt!! [Fred gets a kick out of that shirt.]

    Maybe my story is different from others. As the son of a career airline pilot, it was a bittersweet moment for me. My dad passed this past July and I started lessons again (after a mere 38 year hiatus) in mid-August. I’d always dreamed of flying with my retired pilot dad, but it was not to be.

    Funny thing, this flying thing reminds me of when I pursued my dream of getting licensed at skydiving ten years ago–a bit of a solitary pursuit. Regrettably, I don’t travel in a group of family/friends who are aviation junkies like I am. I know my dad would’ve been pleased and proud, so I miss having that. I guess it’s the dream that has always driven me–not the accolades. And I’m not exaggerating when I say that the dream has been inside me since I was a kid in junior high. It’s never too late. And, if not now–when?

    I will take some pictures. Soon. Hey . . . there’s my excuse to get a new digital camera.


  5. I always wanted to fly and explore the world and visit my friends and family… You are so lucky for having that opportunity. Anyway, reading your blog makes me feel the fun of flying so still thank you to you. I hope one day I will be given the chance to fly and wear an aviation suite for that matter.

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