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  1. MRC Aug 25, 2021

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    You really should try it! Yes, you don't have the engine option to go around and have another go, but once you get used to the steep approach and how to use the air-brakes to control the descent you'll wonder why all light aircraft aren't fitted with brakes -- and why the power approach is so shallow. And ridge flying with your wingtip so close to the rocks is something you'll never experience in a power aircraft. Nor in East Anglia where I now live :( We so rarely get wave that it's all thermal around here.

    I got a basic PPL while living in the USA, but when I came back to the UK found the cost of flying here was such that I went back to racing cars. Then I found gliding but it became one of those things where if there's time there's no money and if I've got the money there's no time. Most unusual aircraft I've flown legally was an Antonov AN-2 in Hungary. Boy that's a truck!
     
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  2. Twocats Married... with children Aug 25, 2021

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    I find gliders incredibly elegant and graceful. It's the only flying machine that makes me consider learning to fly.

    Have you considered ultralight flying ? They run on 98 octane and are owner maintained aircraft which reduces the cost enormously, plus most UL clubs operate out of grass airstrips so no landing fees. My vet has a replica Fieseler Storch that I look after for him. It has a nice Rotax 100hp engine and a 22 knot stall speed. He can land and take off three times on a 250m runway.

    We have an AN-2 based here at LUX. When it's in the sky it's so slow that it looks like somebody has pressed pause on it.
     
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  3. MRC Aug 25, 2021

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    Yeah I've flown a Skyranger and a couple of Flight Design CTSW. Now I'm retired it's the restricted income that stops me. But I'd be going gliding anyway ;)

    I remember watching a SOCATA Rallye landing into a very healthy wind. I swear it was on the verge of going backwards. Bit of a pain as I was on the runway threshold waiting to take off in a school Cherokee, thought it would never get down.
     
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  4. Walrus Aug 25, 2021

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    I have a “friend of a friend” who owns a plane. I went to block island with them a couple times. I didn’t enjoy how bumpy the damn ride was. Maybe that’s how it is with smaller planes. I know he wasn’t a bad pilot he had been flying for decades and he was walking around with all his limbs and what not. I have a lot of respect for pilots, I imagine you need to stay on top of that machine every minute and know what it can do and handle like the back of your hand.

    I go through periods of reading about different parts of history for about a year I was reading everything I could find about Vietnam. I found a book about the helicopter pilots fascinating. Pushing that Huey to its capacity flying at tree top level to come up on the enemy too quickly for them to react. Those quick landings where they hardly made contact with the ground. Those pilots where saying they knew they could push those things a little beyond what they were built to do and they relied on that. It’s fascinating to the layman like myself. I guess it’s just another field or skill I have great respect for. The training and the time devoted must be intense. So no pilot here just wanted to tip my hat to you.

    The way flight progressed so rapidly from kitty hawk, to the moon landing, to where we are now is mind blowing. Doesn’t really seem like it should have been possible yet it all did. Pretty damn cool.
     
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  5. DoctorEvil Aug 25, 2021

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    I'm hearing you on the money vs time equation. Just glad that I was able to complete my PPL and enjoy it for a few years flying around the state before other commitments took over.

    What's that An-2 like to fly? It looks positively agricultural but no doubt it's one tough bird.
     
  6. DoctorEvil Aug 25, 2021

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    That's why I love aviation and aerospace.
    As you mentioned, the technological progress has been immense. All that within a human lifetime. No other mode of travel has made such huge leaps. It's extremely cool :)
     
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  7. DoctorEvil Aug 25, 2021

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    @scv55
    Thanks for sharing. Great article. I could feel my heart rate go up when I got to the bit about engine vibrations!

    May I ask which aircraft cockpit that is? And what is a 121 operator? Unfamiliar with that jargon. Thanks in advance.
     
  8. Canuck Aug 25, 2021

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    A friend of mine is a pilot. He has his own private plane. He has a friend who owns a Russian AN-2 bi-plane. Several years ago, the owner of the AN-2 gathered 10 friends, and they flew to Alaska in it. Not because the pilot was afraid of loneliness. Not because he needed the ballast provided by the extra people. But because he wanted to distribute the cost of fueling that behemoth amongst ten other people! I understand they all wore industrial ear protection on the flight! I’ll have to remember to ask my friend if he would ever do that again, next time I see him. :)
     
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  9. DoctorEvil Aug 25, 2021

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    I've been watching a documentary series on Stan called "Life Below Zero" about living north of the Arctic Circle in Alaska. I seem to recall seeing an An-2 being used to deliver supplies to a remote community in one episode. So that aircraft is appropriate for the job! In another episode, the aircraft used was a Curtiss C-46 Commando.
     
  10. Canuck Aug 25, 2021

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    On the topic of aircraft performing heroic feats, flying in frigid conditions, Calgary based Kenn (sic) Borek Air makes a habit of it. This is the report of an emergency flight they made to Antarctica in 2016, to rescue two ill folks. They used two Canadian built Twin Otter airplanes for the mission. Temperatures reached - 60° C (that’s - 76° F, folks!) BRRRRRR!

    https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/calgary/kenn-borek-smithsonian-award-1.4046501
     
    Edited Aug 25, 2021
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  11. Foo2rama Keeps his worms in a ball instead of a can. Aug 25, 2021

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    @MRC wow 54 years of production for the an-2.

    it’s fuel consumption is horrible lol at 2 liters a minute. I wonder how it would run with a modern engine.

    nice to check off radial engine, tail dragger, and biplane in one swoop.
     
    Edited Aug 26, 2021
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  12. Canuck Aug 25, 2021

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    Yeah, It burns 2 to 5 quarts of oil, and 45 to 55 gallons of fuel per hour. It has a range of 525 miles. A cruising speed of ~180 mph, so it would take about 3 hours of flight before re-fueling x 50 gallons per hour = 150 to 160 gallons to fly 525 miles! I have read that avgas goes for about $6.00 per gallon. That’s about $1,000 to fly 525 miles! Wow!
     
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  13. DoctorEvil Aug 26, 2021

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  14. scv55 Aug 26, 2021

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    Thank you! That is the cockpit of a 1972 Piper Aztec. It's a big, old twin engine airplane with an impressive useful load. That basically means it can carry a lot of stuff. Max takeoff was around 5,200lb and useful load was just about 2,200lb! I got my multi-engine privilege added onto my commercial certificate in that airplane- lots of fun!




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    First flight after I was multi-certified; stormy night flight to the Florida keys.

    Also, a "121 operator" refers to a set of FAA regulations that all scheduled airlines operate under. So for example Delta, SouthWest, UPS etc.
     
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  15. Archer Omega Qualified Watchmaker Aug 26, 2021

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    I'm typically just a passenger in planes, but years ago in my engineering days, we dealt with a company based out of Toronto for high speed grinding spindle repairs (80,000 to 120,000 rpm). They would send some specific spindles to a place in Ohio, and I was tasked with visiting that place to sort out a quality issue of some sort that I don't really remember now. The owner of the Toronto company was a pilot, and flew his Beachcraft single engine plane to the local airport here, and we flew from there across Lake Erie to this airport in Ohio, where the other company picked us up for this shop visit.

    Ken was the pilot and he let my fly the plane for a bit here and there - just level flight mostly so nothing fancy. The trip there and back was uneventful, other than being in the dead of winter and very cold. In any case, a few years later I was reading an industry magazine, and there was an obituary for Ken - he was flying with his son-in-law (who was taking over the company as Ken was getting ready to retire) down to this same place for a meeting, and the pane crashed, killing them both. Same plane I was in...have to say I had a pretty big chill go through me when I read that...
     
  16. Canuck Aug 26, 2021

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    Some years ago, we visited a small private airport near Saskatoon, Saskatchewan which was owned by a friend of a friend. He was offering rides in his (fully enclosed), home-built ultra-light plane. Too small for a guy my size, but I convinced my wife to go. The flight lasted about 20 minutes, and traversed adjacent rural areas. She enjoyed the flight. A year or two later, this same pilot was asked to give a trial flight to an ultra-light that a friend of his built. I don’t know if the plane had been approved for air worthiness. Unfortunately, the plane crashed, and the pilot who treated my wife to her flight, was killed!
     
  17. MRC Aug 26, 2021

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    Controls are somewhat heavy but it was nicely responsive and did exactly what I wanted. In no way did it feel that I had an elephant on my back. As for being a tail-dragger the engine is short and you sit well above it so the field of view for take-off and landing is fine. It was a bit noisy, probably enough that I would not want to fly for long without ear protection, but for 20 minutes it was fine.
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    The way it came about is a bit of a yarn. I was Hungary for the Grand Prix and a week or so of sightseeing. After the race I went to the central plain to look at castles and do some bird-watching. But passing an airfield I saw a sign "sightseeing flights", so went to investigate.

    The 'office' was a bench-table out in the open next to the aircraft, staffed by the pilot and his girlfriend. No-one else was there, being lunchtime on a very hot day all the sightseers would be inside a nice air-conditioned restaurant. So we sat and chatted as best we could -- I spoke to the GF in German, she translated into Hungarian and the reply back to German. After a while no other punters had turned up and I was offered brandy which I declined, good job as it turned out. Eventually the pilot suggests that if I pay for 6 seats at the regular rate I could have an exclusive flight. My reply was only if I could fly it. "Oh, what do you fly?" A Puchacz was the answer because I'd been flying one in Scotland some few months before. It's very popular Polish training glider. So the deal was concluded, I could fly it, but not do the take-off or landing. I cannot remember the cost but think it was about £50, a real bargain in my view. Of course we still needed a translator while flying so the girlfriend came along and stood between the seats. As an afterthought I asked the pilot if he had an instructor's licence and it turned out he did, so if ever I find my power logbook again I can enter the flight as P2 under instruction. Perfectly legal :whistling:
     
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  18. DoctorEvil Aug 26, 2021

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    @MRC
    Thanks for your insights on the An-2. I'd agree that £50 is a bargain and I'd gladly pay for the experience. Even better if I could enter it into my pilot's log book as the entry would just stick out like a sore tthumb! Only taildragger plane I've ever been in is a DeHavilland Tiger Moth. It was a joyflight. Pilot sat in front and I sat behind. It was while I was still in high school. No aerobatics but I still enjoyed the "wind in the face" experience.
     
  19. DoctorEvil Aug 26, 2021

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    @Archer
    @Canuck
    So sorry to hear about those crashes. It's what every pilot fears IMHO and it's why my life insurance would be invalidated if I ever went back to flying. On the plus side though, commercial air travel is still supposed to be the safest form of transport around. More chance of dying in a bus crash or crossing the road on foot.
     
  20. DoctorEvil Aug 27, 2021

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    OMG. Do you see what I see? :eek:
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