Cessna 182.

Back when we lived in Chicago I earned my “high performance” and “complex” endorsements as a private pilot. These two endorsements allowed me to fly airplanes faster than 200 HP and with retractable gear. I earned these endorsements on a 1978 Cessna R182, or a Cessna 182 with retractable gear. She was called “Large Marge” and was a fun airplane to fly. I liked the speed and being able to comfortably carry my husband, full fuel, and a bit of luggage to a destination in a decent amount of time.

When I joined the flying club here in Arizona I was delighted to see they had not only a Cessna R182 of the same vintage, they also have a Cessna 182 “straight leg”; same airplane without retractable gear. The latter is a newer airplane (2001) and yesterday I went up with an instructor to begin the insurance checkout required for the club.

Due to a Temporary Flight Restriction over Redington Pass, near where the Molino 3 Fire seems to be now under control, we opted to fly to KOLS Nogales and do some touch ‘n goes. We did what we call “air work” on the way down; showing off my proficiency in steep turns, stalls, and the like.

We’re scheduled to go up again in a couple weeks to continue the checkout process. Prior to yesterday’s flight, I had one hour less than the amount needed for insurance requirements.

I’m always a happy guy after a flight. While I’m flying quite a bit this year, I’m never flying enough.


My husband and I went flying on Saturday. It was a great day for a flight, actually, I should clarify, it was a great morning for a flight. We are still experiencing record heat here in the desert and after 10:00 a.m. or so it gets a bit too warm for the kind of performance I’m looking for in a Cessna Skyhawk. So, we were up at 5:15 and at the airport by 6:30.

We did a round trip flight to KIWA Mesa-Gateway Airport, just outside of Phoenix. Total flight time was two hours on the nose, clocking in around 166 miles, including run-up, taxiing, and the touch ‘n go at KIWA.

KIWA has three parallel runways that are fairly close together; a new experience for me. I had flown there once before early last year when I was working on my instrument training. It was nice to see the landscape to and ‘fro and to see where I was landing instead of doing a practiced missed approach, which is common when you’re doing your instrument training.

Earl took the photos while I flew the airplane. I forget there’s an autopilot in this C172, I have too much fun actually flying the airplane.

I am very lucky to have a husband that enjoys being my number one passenger in the airplane. After every flight I ask him if I scared him or anything that might have made him nervous. His response is always the same.



I could watch Svetlana Kapanina fly all day long. I love her technique. She is an amazing pilot.

And we’re the same age! I feel like she has more hours than I do.

Peak Aviation.

A lovely desert morning flight with Earl today. We flew to E77 San Manuel and back, though we didn’t land due to density altitude concerns (it was already in the 90s here) around getting out. This was Earl’s first time through Redington Pass in an airplane. He took some great photos. We passed through at 7500′ MSL, with 9500’+ peaks off our left wing and 7000’+ peaks off our right wing.

Shoutout to the Southwest flight that, when told to watch for us as traffic in his vicinity, “watching for the chicken hawk”. That actually made me LOL. For reference, our call sign today was Skyhawk 912LB. KTUS was fairly busy, nearby DM AFB was doing skydiving operations, and the AZ NG had six jets in the air doing impressive things. As you can see below, we did a few extra turns over the city to get sequenced in. I enjoy playing in the sky with the bigger airplanes. This is something my Dad and Grandfather avoided back in their day, heck they didn’t even have radios.


My first flight in a single-engine airplane took place when I was four years old. I can easily remember the flight; Grandpa Country was flying, Dad was in the right seat (he wasn’t a pilot yet), and I was in the back seat of a Cessna 172. I was wearing a dark plaid shirt of some sort. We took off and flew around the area. I remember looking out the window to the right and seeing the ground below us and enjoying the sensation for a little bit. I then started feeling queasy. Dad looked back at me with his usual grin. I would come to recognize that grin when he gained his pilot’s certificate; Dad really liked aviation. Someone asked me if I was OK. I asked if there was a radio like in the car and Grandpa Country briefly tuned in the local country station and I think he did it over a LORAN, which operated on AM frequencies. Unfortunately neither Grandpa Country nor Dad is around so I can ask.

After a few moments of loud country music I barfed, all over my plaid shirt. I remember the airplane landing and then Grandpa Country and Dad frantically (for them) cleaning up the airplane. I also remember being brought back to the family farm and being cleaned up by Grandma Country and Mom. Apparently a clean airplane was more important than a clean son to the aviators of the family.

Luckily, that’s the only time I’ve ever gotten sick in an airplane.

Tonight I went flying with an instructor to continue getting familiar with the policies and procedures of the (new to me) flying club. I demonstrated five landings, all wonderfully graceful and impressive. We even did an engine out landing and that was a lot of fun.

I totally get Dad’s usual grin when one is in an airplane.

Back In The Air.

Last month I became part of a local flying club after being on the wait list for a bit. I’ve finished my security clearance requirements necessary for going into restricted areas of the airport and tonight I had the chance to finally get in the air for one of my checkout rides.

I hadn’t flown since early February, and while I have plenty of hours in my logbook, I always get a bit nervous when it’s been over 30 days since I last flew. I knew I needed to do some checkout flights with the club instructors to show them that I actually know how to fly an airplane, and my flight with Josh turned out to be just fine. If there’s any area of my life where I take an extremely conservative approach to things, it’s around my aviation decisions. It’s part of my plan to become a very old pilot.

While I’ve done plenty of touch ‘n goes at KTUS Tucson International Airport, this was my first time actually departing from there. Because it’s the airport is in Class C airspace, there’s a couple of extra things I need to do on the radios to head out, but once I got that down I was good to go.

It was a really fun night and I’m excited about the club airplanes.


My husband and I were suppose to go flying this evening. The plan was to enjoy a sunset flight. The current airplane rental schedule is packed and the only time I could get the airplane was from 6:00 PM to 8:00 PM.

The FAA considers night starting at 7:43 PM today. That’s an hour after sunset, so it would have been quite dark and I would have landed before 7:43 PM to keep things legal, as I’m not night current at the moment.

If I went up alone all would have been well but that was not the intent of the flight. So, I talked it over with Earl and mentioned my head wasn’t completely in the game for tonight’s flight and my gut told me to stay on the ground.

He completely agreed.

One of my goals as a pilot is to become a very old pilot, and following my gut in the decision making progress will help me reach that goal.


Last night I joined a flying club with a very similar structure to the club I belong to back when we lived in Upstate New York. I’ve been looking for this opportunity for a long while and have been on the waiting list for a couple of months.

It was pouring rain when we met at KTUS Tucson International Airport, but we made our way to the hangar where I got to take a look at the three airplanes I am now co-owing with 49 other folks. The airplanes are all Cessnas and all types I have flown before. I’m anxious to get checked out in these airplanes, meet the other members of the club, and start talking general aviation with folks again.


I’ve decided to try a new airplane rental place located at nearby Marana Regional Airport. They have a couple of airplanes I’m very familiar with, the Cessna 172 Skyhawk and I look to be flying them soon, but they also have a Cessna Cardinal 177 available for rent. Designed after the C172 and manufactured for a shorter time, the C177 is roomier inside and offers better views as it doesn’t have wing struts.

I’d never flown a Cardinal before and I had to get checked out by an instructor in the airplane before I could rent it. Instructor Austin is a younger pilot with many ratings, including flying private jets, so we went up and I showed him I could fly an airplane. It’s been my experience that it would take a couple flights for me to show my proficiency in a new-to-me kind of airplane, but the Cardinal 177 handled wonderfully through the required maneuvers and landing it was easy. I think after all these years I’m realizing I know how to fly airplanes.

I look forward to going up again soon.


I love airports, day or night. And I really like the color of the taxiway lights (the blue ones).