Brian Regan on Flying


I hate flying, well not all flying just airline flying, which technically isn’t really flying more like riding or being transformed into human cargo.  On Monday coming back from spring break with my family we were sitting in some soulless metal tube when the captain came on the intercom and announced that there was a small mechanical problem with the plane, not to worry something minor, but it would need to be addressed and the proper log book entry made before we could depart.  This was not good news because the plane had already been delayed almost an hour and we only had an hour and twenty minutes in New york to make our connection.  So we sat, and sat  until finally a mechanic boarded the aircraft and performed the life saving maintenance that would keep the hundreds of people on board safe.  He took out a roll of duct tape and taped, taped an overhead bin shut and then put a DO NOT OPEN sticker on it.  We missed our flight home and had to spend the night in NYC but it was worth it, I mean, hey, safety first.



You know you’re a pilot when…

You know you’re a pilot when…

  • you say “correction” instead of “eehhhh”, “affrim” and “negative” instead of “yes” and “no”, answer requests with “roger” or “wilco” and say “stand-by” if you need some time to find an answer and “say again” if you don’t understand the request

  • you spell everything using the ICAO alphabet

  • you pull back on the steering wheel in your car when the road is climbing, pull the handbrake thinking you extend flaps to slow down or brake / accelerate while trying to drive a coordinated turn, or use both feet to brake at a red light

  • you call “Airspeed is alive, engine instruments normal” when accelerating with your car

  • you see a UFO and think, “What a beautiful standing lenticular cloud!”

  • the first thing you do in the morning is to check local METARs and TAFs, and repeat them when someone asks you how weather is in your area

  • you’ve had either an accident or an incident with a lamp post or another obstruction because you were looking at a plane in the sky

  • you have aviation charts assembled together covering your wall like if it was one big chart

  • you know the airway system in your area better than the highway system

  • your non-aviation friends don’t want to sit at the same table if there is another pilot with you and are confused because your watch is set to zulu time but call you each time there’s an aviation accident because they think you know all about it

  • you call all cities by the ICAO code of their airport

  • have the phone number of local airports and ATIS programmed in your phone’s memory

  • you know the frequency and location of all AM transmitters and tune NDBs on your car radio receiver

  • you have a license plate frame that says “My Other Vehicle Is An Airplane”

  • when buying a house a nearby airport is a must

  • your headset is in the top three most expensive things you own

  • your camera is full of airplanes; many of which are several shots of the same aircraft, just different angles and your desktop background is a picture form

  • when you sign a document, you add your license number and expiration date

  • you know what a $100 hamburger is and have had them on many occasions

  • you notice that all the ships on Star Trek actually have Nav Lights on them and get upset during TV shows and movies showing airplane scenes because they just can’t do it right

  • the back seat of your car is littered with weight and balance sheets, aviation charts, flight computers, and other flying stuff and you write your shopping list on old approach plates

But the real proof that you’re a pilot is that you read through all this long list, laughed because half of these things apply to you and the other half could as well!

Black Betty

Black Betty

Ladies and gentlemen I would like to introduce you to my personal go fast machine “BLACK BETTY”.  Betty is a 1960 BE-65 Beech Queen Air and is to quote the classic song about  Shaft, “She’s a bad mother, shut your mouth!  Hey, just talken bout Betty.  I’ve had Betty for three years now and just lover her to death.  She’s legal for nine passengers, small ones, but I only have six seats and that’s just about right for comfortable flying with reasonable baggage space.   The Queen Air is a great IFR platform with de-ice boots and alcohol props and windshield making her an ideal all weather plane to take long trips in.  You don’t see many Queen Airs flying these days, although a company in Minnesota has a fleet of them they use to bring in cargo from small airports for Fed Ex.  Betty started life in the U.S. ARMY before doing a stint in a sheriffs dept before being bought and refurbished by a Texas businessman who put new paint and interior  on/in her before losing his medical and selling her to me.  It is a BIG job waxing the girl but it paid off last year at Oshkosh when she won Outstanding  Beech Multi-Engine in the Contemporary class.

I spent today helping, sort of, my mechanic with the annual inspection and while we’ve not found all that much that needed fixing we did notice that one the engine driven fuel pumps is leaking and needs to be overhauled.  Translation for those non-aircraft owners out there…$$$$.  She should be done and back in the air by April Fools day.  How fitting.