“Old Pals and N-Numbers,” Greg’s Cockpit Adventures from the Flying Carpet Podcast, Flight #3

Ride along with renowned aviator, writer, and photographer Greg Brown in his light airplane, the “Flying Carpet,” as he searches behind clouds for the real America, experiencing countless aerial adventures along the way.


Listen to “Old Pals and N-Numbers,” Greg’s Flying Carpet Podcast Flight #3

Like fond memories of long-ago lovers, beloved airplanes resurface occasionally from quiet corners of a pilot’s mind. We hear the last three digits of some familiar N-number and are flooded with reminiscences.

But rarely do the abbreviated call signs used in routine communications fully match the numbers of actual steeds we once flew — especially when 1500 miles and thirty years have passed under the wings.

Along the way, you’ll learn how Greg’s airplane, the Flying Carpet, earned her name.

Photo: Greg with college friends at Marsh Harbour International Airport, Great Abaco Island, Bahamas, 1976.

Podcast music by Hannis Brown.

Greg


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About Greg

A former National Flight Instructor of the Year, Greg is author of five books, a former Barnes & Noble Arizona Author of the Month, and recently completed twenty years as aviation adventure columnist for AOPA’s Flight Training magazine. Some reviewers have compared his book, “Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane,” to sixties road-trip classics like “On the Road,” and “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance.”

“Greg thinks with the mind of a pilot, questions with the curiosity of a philosopher, and sees with the eyes of a poet.”Rod Machado, aviation author and humorist

“You don’t have to be a pilot, or even a frequent flyer, to soar with Greg Brown in [his] Flying Carpet.” — Nina Bell Allen, former Assistant Managing Editor, Readers Digest

So buckle in and join Greg for the ride!


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


“Barn Dance!” Greg’s September, 2015 Flying Carpet column

Flying airways through time

GregBrownFT915_3034-EeSmw1200Motorcycles, airplanes, and steel guitars were the topics, as we lounged under sparkling skies with Larry and Karen Howard on their vacation-home deck overlooking Lake Thunderhead, Missouri.

What a weather contrast after yesterday’s challenging flight from Arizona! Unable to land at nearby Unionville Airport due to low ceilings, we’d diverted to Centerville, Iowa. (See last month’s column, Three Time Zones.)

Larry and I were University of Illinois architecture classmates after I transferred from Wisconsin junior year. A quiet, low-key farm kid with just a hint of a smile, Larry would have been at home in the movie, Animal House. Many a Saturday night we rocketed down Green Street on our Suzukis — Jean and me on my X-6, and Larry balancing his 350 on one wheel. Larry was such a whiz at “wheelies,” that except when parked, his motorcycle’s front tire rarely touched the ground. Our usual destination was the Rose Bowl Tavern, where even the glare of regulars at longhaired college kids couldn’t dull our appreciation of the house country band.

SteveAlLarryGregBahamas376_7VS5eDetSmw1200One spring break, Larry and I teamed up with my roommate to fly from Champaign, Illinois to the Bahamas in the Flying Illini Cessna 172.

Larry’s friend Steve met us in Florida and we “flew the Atlantic” to Grand Bahama and Abaco Islands under my command. It was an epic journey for a 190-hour, non-instrument-rated pilot. (See “Spring Break,” FT May, 2005.)

10-GregBrownFT915_0909eSm1200The following year Larry joined me in the club Cessna 182 to visit Steve in Houston. He and Karen had since moved to Waterloo, Iowa, so he drove to Champaign the night before departure.

This was the 1970s gasoline-shortage era, and late that night Larry phoned from Bloomington, Illinois where he’d run out of gas because no service stations were open. By the time we rendezvoused, siphoned gas from my car into his, and drove back, it was past midnight

**READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, BARN DANCE.”**

Top photo: “Larry and Karen Howard wave from the ramp, Centerville Municipal Airport, Iowa.”

Middle photo: Larry (with “‘fro”), Steve (far left), with Greg’s roommate, Al, and Greg, Abaco Island, Bahamas, 1976. 

Lower photo: “Karen & Larry at Centerville Municipal Airport, Iowa.”

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

Greg

©2015 Gregory N.Brown