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Epic Video: Aaron Knight's Denali Adventure... Via Sonex (Heaven On Earth)

 I could try to say something of value to add to this incredible video... but I don't see that making your experience with it any better. I do suggest selecting HD, going full screen, and don't question anything. Just watch, listen, and see another vivid example of why we fly.

 Here's Aaron's video description from youtube:

My July 2014 Sonex trip to the Yukon Rockies & Denali Alaska. 14.5 hours of HD handheld & wingcam video condensed down to 5.5 minutes of Epic Insanity & a perfect film score. 7000+ miles, 80+ hours, in only 8 days!

Psalm 36:5-6 - Your love, Lord, reaches to the heavens, your faithfulness to the skies. Your righteousness is like the highest mountains, your justice like the great deep.

Video screenshot: wow.

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Video: Better Aircraft Rental - The 'OpenAirplane' UPC (Universal Pilot Checkout)

 OpenAirplane is all about making aircraft rental easier and more affordable for pilots, while also bringing more pilots to FBO's that rent. The primary building block for making OpenAirplane work is the Universal Pilot Checkout... a low stress but intensive checkout that makes it clear you know what you're doing in a specific type of aircraft.

Jason Miller conducting an OpenAirplane 'Universal Pilot Checkpout' (UPC)

 Jason Miller from The Finer Points of Flying ( is your host in this 4 minute video. He gives great insight into what the UPC is and how to be prepared to pass it so you can get on with having access to the 67 FBO's around the country currently in the OpenAirplane network. That's 246 aircraft in 34 states available to be rented without a local checkout if you have a current OpenAirplane UPC in the specific type aircraft you're looking to rent.

A variety of rental aircraft are in the OpenAirplane network all across the country

 The OpenAirplane UPC also functions as an FAA flight review, plus it counts as recurrent training which can earn you a 10% discount on your renters insurance policy. The UPC opens the door to a vastly improved aircraft rental experience thru OpenAirplane's revolutionary standardization of the aircraft rental process.

 Everything in the OpenAirplane experience is designed to make it significantly easier for you. From finding aircraft to booking the rental, OpenAirplane is a single point of access that streamlines everything about renting. They even handle your aircraft rental billing... you just drop off the keys and the clipboard and keep your day moving forward. This is good stuff!

 Check out for more info and to get signed up for easier aircraft renting.

OpenAirplane: Renting Airplanes Just Got Better

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Video: GoPro Takes You Crop Dusting In South America

 I was looking for something simple and fun to post this morning since I'm just barely back up and running on my primary laptop after a HDD crash the same day I returned from OSH14. I've been limping along this last 3 weeks with the geezer laptop gasping for air running Vista and overheating most of the time. Anyway, GoPro to the rescue with a fun South American crop dusting video.

 I'm usually not a fan of music backgrounds with aircraft videos, but I like this one. A lot. Seems to go very well with the pilot wearing the filtration mask : )

 Video screenshot: GoPro takes you crop dusting in South America

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Video: Is This Real? Drunk Airline Pilot (Must See)

 Of course it's not real, but it sure is funny! If you're under 40 you might never have seen the late Foster Brooks do his many different 'drunk man' routines on TV (back when there were only 3 networks!) - but then again, because of youtube you might be very familiar with him. It's crazy funny comedy, partly because he does it sooo well. Imagine trying to keep a straight face during this routine.

 I also find it fascinating that while Foster drew from his earlier years of drinking for the character, during his period of fame with it he rarely drank at all. As a pretty much non-drinker myself, I can relate to that.

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Warsaw Indiana Rocks A Great Little Airshow! (Plus Hot Air Balloon CoolPix)

(click pic for hi-res)  Friday night at the Warsaw Indiana Airshow  (photo: Andy Kerr)

 This post is really all about having the chance to share the awesome photo above captured in my hometown by local photgrapher Andy Kerr during last weekend's Warsaw Airshow. This was the second year for an airshow at the Warsaw Airport (ASW) and even more than last year's kind-of-a-surprise success, this event was awesome with great attendance! Congratulations to the organizers, volunteers, and sponsors that made it all happen. (note: I wasn't involved in any way other than to participate) - I did however help my son-in-law with the hot air balloon tethered rides on Friday evening and the Saturday morning launch. His balloon is the one in the air in the pic above, tethered late evening rides!

(click pic to enlarge) The C-54 Candy Bomber flew several times and was open to tour

 I've been living in Warsaw Indiana for almost 20 years now... it's a nice, small city of about 14,000 that has a good sized airport due in part to the city being the Orthopedic Capital with major players in the industry headquartered here. While the Warsaw Airport doesn't usually show a fun side, this Friday evening and all day Saturday it was pure passion and sport aviation central! I'm thrilled to see that this is possible right here in my backyard : )

(click pic to enlarge) Great weather Friday, and nice Saturday for airplanes & people

 The big features this year were the C-54 (DC-4) Candy Bomber from Berlin Airlift Histrorical Foundation, plus Dave Folk's F-4U Corsair,  along with a T-33, several T-6's, and a variety of other aircraft on display. The airshow included all the big aircraft mentioned plus a Pitts, a Chipmunk, and a Super Stearman, as well as some fun runway races between cars and airplanes, and a motorcycle racing the Chipmunk as well as doing a wingtip handshake with it! There were also lots and lots of airplane rides sold both days in Waldo Wright's New Standard 4-pax biplane, along with helicopter rides, hot air balloon rides and some local 172 rides. I was very pleased to see how much business they were all doing! Great food and both live and recorded music gave it all a nice festival atmosphere too. 

(click pic to enlarge) 4 passengers at at a time! 1931 New Standard biplane 


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Video: The 'SLICK' Look At Oshkosh 2014 (Must See!)

 SLICK (Wesley Perkins) has crunched down the footage and his OSH14 video hit the streets (of youtube) over the weekend! This year's version is more of what we've come to expect in the way of a great video that captures the incredible aviation diversity that is Oshkosh, the world's greatest aviation event.

 With such strong attendance this year in both people and aircraft, there's no reason to think that OSH won't remain king of the hill for a long time to come. The reality tho is that Oshkosh isn't about being a mega event, it's really all about people with a passionate love for flying (and building, re-building, or restoring) airplanes of every imaginable kind. It's grass roots. It's down to earth. It's real. If for some reason this isn't the Oshkosh you know, may I suggest that you're doing it wrong. I've experienced 36 or 37 Oshkosh weeks since I was just 9 years old in 1970, and I love my time there every bit as much today as I ever have. 

 Thanx SLICK for another fabulous video reminder of how great Oshkosh Is!

(I've no idea what this A********e thingy is... I've never been to one of those and I never will. To understand what I mean, read reason #1 under 'WHY IT'LL NEVER HAPPEN'  : )

other Slick OSH videos:

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Video: More Piper Cub Love From Hartford Wisconsin (HXF) And 'Cub Air Flight'

 I figured while I have your attention on Cub flying and Cub Air Flight in Hartford Wisconsin (from telling you about me finally getting current after 18 years away) I should share this video from about a year ago. It shows why Cub flying in general is so wonderful, and why doing it at Hartfod is nearly perfect. #LoveToFly



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I'm Current For The First Time In 18 Years! (Living The Cub Life In Hartford WI) 12 Pix

(click pic to enlarge)  Me in the back seat of a Cub... right where I belong!

 When I offered for sale the rare copy of The Long, Lonely Leap in mid-July to help me survive a week at Oshkosh 2014, I mentioned in the post that my plan was to take some of that money and make sure I finally got the flight review that I've been trying to accomplish the last two years. Seems every time I had some cash set aside for that it wound up having to be spent on something ultimately more important. Fortunately for me, the book sold in just a couple days, and I made good on my promise by scheduling a flight review for the Saturday right before Oshkosh began in one of the Cubs from Cub Air in Hartford Wisconsin. Hartford (HXF) is conveniently located about an hour south of OSH, so my trip to the world's greatest aviation event included the chance to finally be a current pilot after an 18 year hiatus.

 I'll admit that I had a pretty high confidence level going into the flight review after having done so well late last August with an hour of takeoffs and landings in a Pitts S2C with Billy Werth in Indianapolis. Prior to those 9 wheel landings in the Pitts, I had probably only had made 5 landings since 1996, and only one of those in a taildragger... but the training I got from my dad when I was just 13 years old in a 150hp Citabria 7KCAB on a narrow runway in Elgin IL burned the basics of 'taildragger' deep into my memory. It really makes no sense to me that I was actually completely comfortable doing takeoffs and landings in the Pitts (the first time I'd ever been in such a high performance airplane) and especially after such a long time away, but I like to point out that I don't think I'm special, I was just blessed to learn at a very young age in an airplane that demands you know how to use your feet. Thanks again dad!

(click pic to enlarge)  Flying a J-3 Cub with a new 'old' EAA logo shirt... Life is good!

 The upcoming flight review at Hartford was also low on the stress factor because I logged a boatload of hours in a clipped wing Cub back when I was 18 and 19. The view and the feel of life in the back seat of a Cub is something I was pretty familar with, even if it had been 34 years since I'd flown one. The clipped wing we had was powered by a 90hp Continental, and the Cubs at Hartford have either 85 or 90hp. A clipped wing J-3 demands more than the 65hp Cubs were built with to get any kind of decent climb out of it, and the full span airplanes benefit greatly from having the extra horsepower as well. I was curious to see if the full span Cub flew significantly different since I really didn't know what it would be like. The only time I'd ever been in a full span Cub was at Hartford two years ago during the 75th anniversary event on the weekend before OSH12, and I just went for a ride to be able to get some good pix of the field-full-of-Cubs from the air.

Check out these posts for some great pix and info on Cubs at Hartford:

Lots Of Cub Yellow At Hartford Wisconsin For 'Cubs 2 OSH'

75 Piper Cubs At Hartford Wisconsin! CoolPix 2Fer

 All of the pictures in this post are actually from Sunday August 3rd, the last day of OSH14. I stopped back by Hartford on the way home to take fellow CampBacon friend Adam Fast and his pilot friend Melinda for rides in a Cub. More info on the rides right after I detail some of the flight review from Saturday July 26th.

(click pic to enlarge) It's hard to beat a Cub with the door open on a summer day

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OSH14: Saturday August 2 - Cessna 195 Heading Home (CoolPix)

(click pic for hi-res)  Beautiful Cessna 195 heading home Saturday morning

 I spent some time out by 18/36 on Saturday morning watching a long string of wonderful aircraft taxi out and then takeoff on their way home. It was obvious that attendance at OSH14 was up dramatically in both people and airplanes, and that included a lot more aircraft still on the grounds Friday. But Saturday morning saw a lot of departures as people left the dream-like world of OSH to return to the real world.

 This beautiful Cessna 195, shot with a slow shutter speed and with what appears to be a Cessna 120 or 140 in the air behind it, is a perfect example of what Oshkosh is all about... people who are passionate about great airplanes and who love to fly them.

 Oshkosh truly is The Spirit of Aviation. I can't wait to get back there.

(see over 170 CoolPix posts)

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OSH14: Friday August 1 - Big Prop 'Super' Back Yard Flyer (CoolPix)

(click pic for hi-res) The 'big thrust' Back Yard Flyer with VW engine and belt reduction

 I've been intrigued with the Back Yard Flyer from Valley Engineering (the Culver prop people) for several years now. They sell it as a ready-to-fly package for $19,500 with the big twin 4-stroke engine that makes 40hp and it comes with a BRS safety parachute. It's a remarkable ultralight with a 275 pound max pilot weight and strong climb performance. It's quite a bit different looking than everything else out there and it packs a variety of unique features... like the swing wing that pivots as all one piece to orient the wing in line with the fuselage. Far more simple than regular folding wings, the swing wing allows for very slim hangar storage or even large enclosed trailer storage.

 This year the Valley folks showed up with their 'super' Back Yard Flyer that has a large displacement VW engine with a belt-drive speed reduction unit. This combo, swinging a big 86" Culver prop, makes thrust like crazy! Even better, the exhaust stacks they have on the VW come as close as I've heard to having a flat 4 sound almost as good as a radial. The amazing STOL performance, the incredible rate of climb, and the nostalgic sound all come together to make one very desirable light aircraft. It's obviously not an ultralight with that much bigger and heavier engine. I watched this overpowered (100+hp) Back Yard Flyer for quite a while Friday morning and 'want' is the word that keep running thru my mind.

 The only downside (unless you don't like its look) is that the welded aluminum fuselage and wing structure makes it very difficult to build from scratch (since few people can effectively weld thin wall aluminum)... or even from a kit since a pre-welded wing and fuselage would leave very little left for the builder to do. The pesky 51% rules gets in the way there. Their $19,500 ready-to-fly price for the ultralight is quite reasonable for what you get, it's just still a chunk of change compared to how much lower the cost would be if built from plans. They don't actually market the big VW engine version, tho it sounds like they'd build one for you, but the price jumps significantly.

 I talked to them about my desire to see the big engine/big prop version being redesigned with a simple steel tube fuselage and then maybe an aluminum wing that didn't need welding. If this design was made available in plans-only, I think they'd have a serious winner. Imagine a retro sounding beast that climbs like crazy, uses nearly no runway, and could be built for $15,000, or even less if you're a good scrounger. You can be sure I'd buy a set of those plans!

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