“Silence ‘in the soup,'” Greg’s April, 2019 Flying Carpet column

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A day-long snowstorm had just passed when I flew Jean to Phoenix to see her mom. Lingering flurries receded to the east, while from the west approached the intense cobalt skies seen only after snow.

By the time I dropped Jean and steered for my next appointment at Prescott, a few new snow showers sprinkled northern Arizona’s mountains. No worry–Flagstaff’s San Francisco Peaks beckoned clearly from between them for my subsequent flight home.

Ninety minutes later, I preflighted for my final fifty-mile hop. Prescott’s Love Field Airport lies in an open valley, with Flagstaff 2,000 feet higher at the base of Arizona’s tallest mountains. Therefore you can usually see Flagstaff’s “Peaks” directly from Prescott’s airport tiedowns.

Now, however, the snow showers between here and home were denser than before…

**Read Greg’s entire column, SILENCE ‘IN THE SOUP’” **

Photo: “Seven Veils” (available as a Fine Art Metal Print): Red Rock Secret Mountain Wilderness from the GPS Runway 3 Instrument Approach into Flagstaff, Arizona. 

SEE MORE PHOTOS HERE!

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

Greg

©2019 Gregory N. Brown

“Stranded!” Greg’s March, 2019 Flying Carpet column

New Aviation Friends

“We’re stranded!” lamented my son, Austin. He was flying his wife Desi and family from southern New Mexico to Flagstaff to join us for Thanksgiving.

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Their aero club Diamond DA-40 carried adequate fuel for what’s normally a three-hour flight, but to allow for headwinds and antsy little kids Austin had planned a pitstop at St. Johns, Arizona. Two days before, he’d phoned St. Johns Industrial Airpark (KSJN) regarding fuel availability.

“We’re closed Thanksgiving Day,” explained airport manager Gary Liston, so Austin rescheduled to travel the day before when the airport would be attended and fuel available. A career jet pilot, Austin had only recently returned to light-plane travel. On two previous journeys the family had battled headwinds, turbulence, and been stranded overnight.

Wednesday, however, dawned calm and clear—finally after those rough rides, Austin had perfect weather “to show Desi how enjoyable and efficient flying can be.” They launched after lunch, and midafternoon we received the expected call from St. Johns.

austin-flattire_ksjn-stjohns_2294esmw-2“The flight was fine,” reported Austin, “but after a perfect landing the airplane pulled progressively harder to the right as we slowed until even full left rudder and brake wouldn’t straighten it. It turns out we have a flat tire and there’s no mechanic here nor any way to pull the airplane off the runway…

**Read Greg’s entire column, STRANDED!” **

Photos: Diamond DA-40 disabled on Thanksgiving Eve at St. Johns, Arizona. (Austin’s photos)

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

Greg

©2019 Gregory N. Brown

“Convergence,” Greg’s past Flying Carpet column

greg,penny,chris769eMy longtime dear friend and writing mentor, Penny Porter, passed away last week, and I decided to share a past column in remembering her.

When I met Penny in the late 1990s, she was president of Tucson’s Society of Southwestern Authors (SSA), author of several books, and reportedly the most-published-ever Reader’s Digest contributor back when that was a big deal.

unknownSix feet tall with “big,” fiery red hair, Penny was a consummate writer who somehow balanced between professional woman and delightful giggling 12-year-old.

Penny introduced me to famous writers of the day like Ray Bradbury and Tony Hillerman–she induced me to fly Clive Cussler to Tucson one year for the annual SSA Writers Conference–and lovingly shared writing wisdom and humor that helped shape my own work and inspires me to this day.

Most of all, she was an artist to the core who imbued even the briefest informal message with literary richness.

Penny, I’m gonna miss you big-time!

Greg

**Read about Penny in Greg’s column, CONVERGENCE**

Photo: “Penny Porter with Chris Sis and Greg at Jimmy’s Diner in Tucson, Arizona, 2000.” 

(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine. Read an expanded version in Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane.)

Greg

©2019 Gregory N. Brown

“Piper, the Flying Cat,” Greg’s February, 2019 Flying Carpet column

Dogs commonly travel by airplane, but how often do you meet a flying cat? Transporting the skittish animals can be tough enough by car, much less by airplane. Yet my Montana friends Alyson and Travis Booher routinely aviate with Piper, their adventure cat.

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“Before Piper, two geriatric cats at home limited our travel,” explains Alyson. “So when I got a new kitty, I vowed not to be homebound anymore.” Alyson used to write a “Dear Tabby,” advice column for Missoula’s Animeals food bank and adoption center. One client had trained her kitten to ride everywhere in a harness on her shoulder.

Intrigued, Alyson wondered whether most kittens can be trained to travel. Investigating online, she learned that ‘pet adventure travel’ is trending among young people. Few fly with felines but given countless other “adventure cat” activities she thought, “Let’s try it!” Travis was concerned about being tagged as ‘the crazy cat people,’ so the couple agreed Piper would travel exclusively for function, not attention.

“As with people, flying is not for every pet,” says Alyson. “My cat just happens to be really chill. Probably the key is to train kittens when they are young.” A show-cat owner advised Alyson that if a kitten isn’t bothered by vacuum-cleaner noise, it will be comfortable out and about. Piper passed that test, so she began toting him on errands in a cat backpack. Finally one day, the couple bundled Piper into their Skylane to visit Alyson’s brother in Bozeman. When Piper stretched out relaxed, Alyson freed him from his backpack to cruise the cockpit…

**Read Greg’s entire column, “PIPER, THE FLYING CAT”**

Photo: “Piper relaxes aloft over the Cascade Mountains.” (Alyson Booher photo) SEE MORE PHOTOS!

Follow Piper the Flying Cat on Instagram!

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

Greg

©2018 Gregory N. Brown

“Inches of Runway,” Greg’s January, 2019 Flying Carpet column

Wind rarely seems as threatening as other weather when flight planning, because you can’t see it. But as every pilot learns, wind is real; it can be helpful or hazardous, and often portends changing conditions.

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We’d planned Christmas in Tucson, but holiday snow was forecast, urged along by a powerful cold front. Indeed, Christmas dawned snowing and blustery. Surprisingly though, Flagstaff’s forecast called for midmorning clearing. Sure enough, at precisely 10am sun warmed our yard, blue sky pierced the clouds, and ceilings rose along our route. So we packed and took off.

Ceilings again lowered as we flew south but so did the terrain, so we cruised comfortably to Tucson for a family holiday dinner. Based on a sunny forecast, we planned to brunch and hike the next day before heading home.

The next morning, however, we were wakened by a smartphone weather alert. Despite yesterday’s clear-skies forecast, Flagstaff now expected morning snow flurries, followed by northeasterly 35-knot wind gusts tumbling from the mountains. What’s more, 40-knot headwinds would plague our normal 8500-foot cruising altitude. I suggested staying another night, but Jean wanted to return for the neighborhood holiday party. That meant departing immediately in hopes of beating the winds home

**Read Greg’s entire column, INCHES OF RUNWAY**

Photo: “Down I flew, carrying partial flaps with knife’s-edge readiness to go around because something bad was surely imminent.”

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

Greg

©2018 Gregory N. Brown

“Painted into a Corner,” Greg’s December, 2018 Flying Carpet column

 

Thunderheads_2686eSmw1200“Oh, and the St. Johns VOR is out of service,” said the flight service briefer before we departed Santa Fe for Scottsdale.

In those pre-GPS days, St. Johns was the only enroute radio navigation aid on Victor-190, the 274nm instrument airway between Albuquerque and Phoenix. No matter, I anticipated good weather throughout the 2½-hour flight.

Launching late afternoon in a rented Cessna 172RG Cutlass, we cruised clear skies southwestward. Entering Arizona, however, I spotted unexpected clouds ahead. It turned out that an unforecast stratus layer had developed almost to Phoenix. Fortunately, visual flight conditions prevailed underneath, the only concerning weather being a line of heavy thunderstorms paralleling our route 30 miles to the north.

Soon we cruised under clouds at 8,500 feet, ogling intense distant lightning off our right wing. I’d anticipated reaching lower country by nightfall, but we’d been slowed by headwinds, and darkness falls early under clouds. I calculated ceilings to be 1,000 feet above the highest ridges ahead. While usually plenty in daytime, that’s risky for night flight over mountains…

**Read Greg’s entire column, PAINTED INTO A CORNER**

Photo: A line of heavy thunderstorms paralleled our route 30 miles to the north.

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

Greg

©2018 Gregory N. Brown

UPDATED: “Inner Basin Aspens,” Greg’s latest “View from the Flying Carpet” Fine Art Photography Metal Print

Inner Basin Flaming Aspens!

Recently I flew out-of-town visitors over the Grand Canyon. As always it was amazing, but I found myself dodging clouds so we returned early.

On our way back, however, sun pierced clouds over flaming autumn aspens lining the Inner Basin of Arizona’s San Francisco Peaks, and… Wow, one of my most amazing aerial sights ever! (Click on photo to see a larger image.)

“Inner Basin Flaming Aspens” Fine Art Metal Print sizes and pricing* in ready-to-hang frameless floating wall mounts (pictured at my Fine Art Metal Prints page):

11″x17,” $125
12″x18,” $145
16″x24,” $195
20″x30,” $295
24″x36,” $395
30″x40,” $495
*Prices include standard shipping within Continental US. (Contact me for pricing of custom sizes and framing options.)

Order your “Inner Basin Aspens” Fine Art Metal Prints HERE.

Check 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, 2019 Photographic Wall Calendars, and Pilot Achievement Plaques.

Greg

Announcing Greg’s 2019 “Down to Earth” Terrestrial Photo Wall Calendars!

NEW! 2019 “Views from Kachina Wetlands” Photo Wall Calendars

Nearly every day for years I’ve hiked or biked this beautiful wetlands near Flagstaff, photographing sunsets, weather phenomena, wildflowers, and birds.

(The Audubon Society ranks Kachina Wetlands among Northern Arizona’s top birding sites.)

Finally this year I’ve collected some of my favorite and most unique Kachina Wetlands images into Standard and Premium-sized wall calendars, including many from my “Down to Earth” series of Fine Art Metal Prints.

2019 “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 this year’s “Views from Flagstaff” calendars contain the same great photos as last year’s.)

2019 “Views from Japan” Photo Wall Calendars

2014 Japan oversize wall calendar-frontOnce again, I’m also offering my terrestrial, 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 this year’s “Views from Japan” calendars contain the same great photos as in prior years.)

2019 “Views from Korea” Photo Wall Calendars

2014 Japan oversize wall calendar-frontCheck out my “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.

(Previous buyers note that this year’s “Views from Korea” calendars contain the same great photos as in prior years.)

2019 “Well, I’ll Be!” Photo Wall Calendars

2015 Lulu FC Greatest Hits standard wall calendar-frontCheck out my “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 this year’s “Well, I’ll Be!” calendar contains the same great photos as in previous years.)

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).

Monthly photos for a given calendar are similar in both formats except for size.

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

Greg

**CHECK CURRENT WALL CALENDAR DISCOUNTS HERE.

**NOTES:

  • All calendars can be shipped directly to you, or to others as gifts.
  • Shipping and sales tax (if applicable) are additional.

©2018 Gregory N. Brown

Announcing Greg’s 2019 “Views from the Flying Carpet” Aerial Photo Wall Calendars!

2019 “Views from the Flying Carpet” Photo Wall Calendars

Check out this year’s “Views from the Flying Carpet” aerial photo wall calendars, filled with recent aviator’s-eye views from around the country.

This calendar comes in two sizes,* featuring some of my latest aerial photographs from my “Views from the Flying Carpet” series of Fine Art Metal Prints.

Both calendar sizes feature exceptional image quality suitable for framing!

 

2019 “Views from the Flying Carpet Greatest Hits” Photo Wall Calendars

new 2013 Lulu FC oversize wall calendar-frontHere are my “Views from the Flying Carpet Greatest Hits” 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 ap

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).

Monthly photos for a given calendar are similar in both formats except for size.

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

Greg

**CHECK CURRENT PUBLISHER DISCOUNTS ON MY WALL CALENDARS HERE.

**NOTES:

  • All calendars can be shipped directly to you, or to others as gifts.
  • Shipping and sales tax (if applicable) are additional.

©2018 Gregory N. Brown

“Routine Flight,” Greg’s November, 2018 Flying Carpet column

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“For once,” said Jean, “a routine flight.” We cruised homeward through cool, calm skies thanks to a high overcast filtering New Mexico’s high-desert summertime sun.

Driving from Flagstaff to Alamogordo takes eight hours each way. Going commercially requires two airline legs plus ninety minutes’ drive from El Paso. So general aviation truly offers the fastest way to get there, circumstances permitting, and this weekend was proving to be such an occasion.

But what is a routine flight, anyway? Piloting light airplanes turns out to be more about anomaly than routine. However often we travel a given route, every flight is different. Most aviators learn to appreciate that variety as adventure, but anyone expecting uneventful aerial “auto trips” is doomed to disappointment…

**Read Greg’s entire column, ROUTINE FLIGHT**

Photo: Thunderstorms threaten Alamogordo White Sands Regional Airport, New Mexico (KALM) from the Sacramento Mountains.

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

Greg

©2018 Gregory N. Brown