Archive for aerial sightseeing

“Special Girl,” Greg’s February, 2018 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column with tags , , , , , on January 2, 2018 by Greg Brown

The romance of flight comes in many flavors, so when my friend Andrew requested a “huge favor,” I didn’t know what to expect.

Andrew formerly edited our local entertainment weekly, for which I’d provided aerial photos. An avid outdoorsman, he was eager to explore Arizona from above, so I’d invited him on flights to Tucson and Lake Havasu City. Instantly he was hooked on both the views and the controls. But that was months ago.

“What’s this ‘huge favor?’” I asked, surprised.

“I’ve met this special girl, Rachel,” he replied, “and I’m planning fun things to do together. So suddenly I got this idea… Would you consider taking us flying? It would be a total surprise for her.” Coincidentally, I already had a fitting mission planned: my semiannual rendezvous with buddy and former neighbor Gary at Payson Airport—Gary motorcycles from Phoenix, while I travel by Flying Carpet.

“Would you and Rachel care to join us for breakfast?” I offered, “Grab a separate table if you like. We’ll sightsee Sedona on the way back!”

“That sounds awesome!” said Andrew. “And we’ll definitely join your table because Rachel is a very social person.” Later, Andrew texted downloaded photos of Payson Airport’s Crosswinds Restaurant. “Is this where we’re eating?” he asked. I replied affirmatively with restaurant views of the scenic Mogollon Rim. My friend’s enthusiasm made me feel increasingly honored that he’d involve me in such a personal mission.

When Andrew introduced me to Rachel at Flagstaff Pulliam Airport, I immediately saw the magic that attracted him to her. A dynamic, outgoing professional woman, Rachel sparkles with humor. When I cranked up the Flying Carpet’s radios she asked, “Greg, are you gonna say that ‘copy, roger, affirmative, and negative’ stuff?”…

**Read Greg’s entire column, SPECIAL GIRL“**

Photo: Andrew and Rachel ‘play airplane’ at Payson Airport, Arizona.

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

Greg

©2018 Gregory N. Brown

“Dark, Scary Night,” Greg’s January, 2018 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , , , on November 23, 2017 by Greg Brown

 

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“Beware—the airport you fly into every day is not the same airport at night,” my friend Donna Wood observed last year.

As a new private pilot, Wood had invested in a Cessna 182 and launched on ambitious regular flights between her Detroit home and Charleston, South Carolina, where she has family and business.

Wood is exceptionally careful and diligent, but 18 months after earning her wings, she’d experienced a scare. Battling u
nforecast headwinds from South Carolina with her nonpilot husband, Roger, the couple had arrived home after dark.

“I was legally night current,” Wood said the next morning, “but wasn’t planning on night flight.” Her first challenge was finding urban Oakland/Troy Airport (VLL) under Detroit Class Bravo airspace, landlocked by obstacles and buildings. “All I saw were lights, everywhere.” Then, on the downwind leg of the traffic pattern, the runway lights—activated by a previous aircraft—went out.

Rattled, she keyed the mic too quickly to reactivate them. Fortunately, her former CFI Wayne Hendrickson was waiting to help hangar the airplane, and triggered the lights with his handheld radio.

Now flustered, Wood turned final for Troy’s obstructed 3,549-foot runway, high and too fast. So, she went around. But this time she flew downwind too near the runway and overshot final, destabilizing her approach. This began a dangerous chain of events…

**Read Greg’s entire column, DARK, SCARY NIGHT“**

Photo: “Detroit’s Oakland Troy Airport is surrounded by obstructions, thought-provoking even in daytime.”

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

Greg

©2017 Gregory N. Brown

“We’re So Vain,” Greg’s December, 2017 Flying Carpet column

Posted in flying adventures, Flying Carpet column, Greg's photographs with tags , , , , , , , , on November 1, 2017 by Greg Brown

“You’re So Vain…you flew your Learjet…to see the total eclipse of the sun,” taunted my friend Tom Lippert from the old Carly Simon song.

We laughed because he and his wife Laurel had just flown their Cessna 182, Henry, from Truckee, California, to meet our Flying Carpet in Hailey, Idaho for this year’s celestial event. Jean and I had originally planned to fly to Oregon, but amid predictions of gridlocked airports and roads I’d phoned Laurel and Tom, asking if and where they planned to view the eclipse.

“Greg, that’s three months away!” Laurel had chuckled. But upon learning that hotels and airport ramps were already filling, she proposed we rendezvous in Sun Valley where friends would loan us their condo. For 38 years, Jean has endured stories about the time I flew to Canada for a mid-winter total solar eclipse, on a weekend she had to work. (Flying Carpet, March, 2002) Now, finally, I hoped to share the experience with her.

As media hype grew, however, so did our concerns. Would there be room to land and park? Would the weather cooperate? Could we count on ground transportation? Should we bring groceries, assuming restaurants would be full and stores empty?

Then there was the route—traversing high mountains across Arizona, Utah, and Idaho, and transitioning Salt Lake City’s mountain-ringed Class Bravo airspace

**Read Greg’s entire column, WE’RE SO VAIN“**

Top Photo: “Tom and Laurel Lippert eclipse-watching with Greg and Jean, at Galena Summit, Idaho.” Lower Photo: “Colander holes cast multiple images of the pre-totality eclipse.” SEE MORE PHOTOS!

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

Greg

©2017 Gregory N. Brown

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