Saturday, July 31, 2010

Bob the Poet

I told Bob to write me a poem today, he has a way with the words!

There was a girl named Victoria
Who liked to fly a Pitts
Doing manuvers that would give other people the shits
Rolling and looping through the sky
I want to be with Victoria up high

Hehe <3 it, <3 him

Platform Shoes and a Pitts

Wow.  Hammerheads, snap rolls, aileron rolls, slow rolls to inverted  flight, loops, cubans, avalanches, immelmans, humpties, spins and inverted spins...um...I think that covers it.  Thinking of all those makes my head just spin again and get even more excited!  I'm not going to ramble on again and just let you enjoy the pictures and the videos.  I'll say this, Don is a blast to fly with and he's a great instructor because he really enjoys what he does.  I got to meet fun new people: Todd an instructor at Ray, who took me around the airport and taught me a few things about aerodynamics, along with Pam who owns a Grumman Cheetah, and Paul who owns a KitFox on floats who has offered to take me up on a ride sometime.  I must also note, that I am somewhat of a commodity at Ray, I'm sexy!  In my Chicks Fly shirt that is a little to small and my rhinestone studded pants that are just a little too low, the many men sitting at the airport were a bit envious of Don strapping me in, LOL.  Oh, and not to forget, I also got to wear some very sexy special made Nike Air Forces so I could reach the rudders-ow ow!  I also must note that I flew aerobatics again to "get it out of my system" yeah, that hasn't happened.  P.S. It is probably best to mute while watching the video-the camera couldn't handle the noise and those pictures of the lovely land below?  Those were taken while inverted!

video

57D

I'm sitting at Ray Community Airport, 57D in Ray, MI and just watched a roaring Pitts depart. I will be taking the pilot seat next, to try to cure my addiction to my new found world of aerobatics performing inverted spins, loops and rolls. While I wait I take in all the sights and sounds at this new found airport. It's a pleasant surprise hidden on a dirt road surrounded by farm land sporting fresh produce for sale on their curbs. The airport "terminal" if you can call it that, is a quaint but cute two room building featuring clean bathrooms and elderly men sitting around a table swapping their aviating stories. Ultralights are the most popular aircraft of choice as are tail wheel airplanes. At the moment I cannot figure out if one is an LSA or an ultralight trying to look tough. The rows of hangars look well kept and tidy, excluding the old green one slowly decaying next to the parking lot. It is my favorite one, it provides this airport with a small country feel. My relaxed and thoughtful attitude these observations have brought me will be changing soon, it's almost my turn in the Pitts and I am going to be ecstatic. Until later, Toriafly out!

Friday, July 30, 2010

JFK Contraband

Interesting to say the least! Click the link below to view pictures "from a set of 1,075 photographs — shot over five days last year for the book and exhibition, ‘‘Contraband’’ — of items detained or seized from passengers or express mail entering the United States from abroad at the New York airport. The miscellany of prohibited objects — from the everyday to the illegal to the just plain odd — attests to a growing worldwide traffic in counterfeit goods and natural exotica and offers a snapshot of the United States as seen through its illicit material needs and desires."

Flying Fidos

FlightAware Photo
It's about time to admit that I am ready for to have a dog in my life again, although no pet will ever replace the perfect pup I had for 9 years, I am ready to let a new one into my life.  I miss the fun that a dog brings to my life and most of all, I long to share aviation with one, which I never got the chance to do with Pascal (the coolest dog ever, by the way).  There are countless of camping spots and fun locations that we can fly to that are pet friendly that I think would make for a fun new adventure.  While I am finally ready (well I think I am) I need to wait until I am settled after the move, I'm thinking maybe next spring.  Who knows though, Bob had to practically tear a puppy out of my arms at the pet store last week :)

Once I have my future flying Fido, my goal is to get him or her into the cockpit as soon as possible, to slowly acclimate it to the noises and sensations of flight.  My first purchase for this new pup would be a doggie headset, for if the cockpit is loud enough for humans to need one, a pet will most certainly need one too.  Yes, they do make head sets for dogs, although I'm sure the puppy is going to need some time getting used to wearing the headset first before even jumping into the co-pilot seat.  After an extensive search, I found that their is only one company that manufactures these and all the websites offer them in similar prices.  The gray dog headset runs around $52 with the colored headsets being $10 more.  Just visit the Mutt Muffs website to checkout these hound headsets.   Also on the Mutt Muffs website are airplane shaped squeaky toys (guilty as charged, I bought one for Pascal and kept it after he passed), flying pet themed bandannas and bumper stickers, traveling pet beds, pet (and human) barf bags and collapsible water bowls.

There are very few flying related accessories for canines out there but I was happy and surprised to find this next piece of merchandise: oxygen masks for dogs.  Veterinarians say that dogs can experience hypoxia just as humans do, articles even suggest that short nose dogs should not fly over 5,000 feet; Kent and Lori Carter set out to create a way for dogs to safely fly at higher altitudes with their human counterparts with their supplemental oxygen hood for pets, that look much like a cone a animal would wear so as not to lick stitches.  Their store, 4 Paws Aviation, offers these for just over $200 as well as the Mutt Muffs and "Doggles", 100% UAV goggles for dogs.  To learn more about the pet oxygen system, read this article.

Airports are also realizing how much pilots enjoy flying with their pets, with Hartfield-Jackson Airport in Atlanta creating a dog park JFK in New York establishing a "pet relief" area.  Check out Pet Friendly Travel or Dog Friendly to find places to stay and attractions to share with your precious pooch.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

My Top 3 Favorite Biographies

After watching and writing about the documentary of Jean Batten (see post below from earlier today) I was inspired to tell you about my top 3 favorite aviators; well, the ones that have things written about them that is.

3. Amelia Earhart: I received the most recent biography on this ever famous pilot, East to the Dawn, from Bob's parents for Christmas.  Truthfully, it took me awhile to get into it.  The author, Susan Butler, really, really, really did her research on this one, the last few pages that are filled with a bibliography prove this fact.  The beginning chapters are the history of her grandparents then delve deeply into that of her parents.  However pointless this history may seem, it really gives one a deep understanding of this aviatrix.  It is a very intimate look at her life in which I highly recommend.

Aviation records don't fall until someone is willing to mortgage the present for the future.

2. Beryl Markham: West with the Night was a quick and beautiful read that supported my wild imagination.  The entire book is comprised of her journaling and correspondence pieced together.  She wrote so poetically every moment in her life sounded like a purposeful piece of artwork. Born in England, Beryl made her fame flying in Kenya as well as in horse racing.  She was the first woman to receive a commercial pilot rating in Kenya and was one of the first to complete a transatlantic solo flight.

I learned to watch, to put my trust in other hands than mine. I learned to wander. I learned what every dreaming child needs to know — that no horizon is so far that you cannot get above it or beyond it. These I learned at once. But most things come harder.

1. Nate Saint: An aviation missionary whose dream was to bring the words of Jesus to a tribe in Ecuador.  His goal, was to get the Waodoni to become peaceful; they were becoming extinct at each others' hands.  Unfortunately, he ended up being killed by this tribe, but his message did eventually come to their community through his forgiving and ever faithful family.  The book on his life, Jungle Pilot, not only covers his adventures with the Waodoni tribe, but of his interesting early life on how he became to be such a talented "Jungle Pilot".  There is a movie, End of the Spear, about the part of his and his families involvement with the tribe that is really inspiring and has breathtaking images of his bright yellow Cub flying over the green forests of Ecuador.  See the trailer below to get an idea of just how powerful this man's dream was (and to see the Cub) then rent the movie!



Want more to read? Check out this forum discussing favorite flying novels for some ideas!

New Zealand's Queen of the Sky

I finally gave myself some time to sit down and learn about New Zealand's famous aviatrix, Jean Batten, the first woman to fly round trip from England to Australia.  I mentioned a documentary hosted on a New Zealand television website in my earlier blog, Jean Batten-The Garbo of the Skies

Her story parallels that of Amelia Earhart's in many ways, she and her mother lived in poverty and struggled to fund her flying aspirations.  Men doted upon her yet she did not usually reciprocate that affection; when she did become engaged, it was kept in secrecy.  Flying was all that mattered and after battling dust storms, thunderstorms and two crash landings, Jean didn't give up on her first solo record.  Also mimicking Amelia's life, Jean became an instant heroin that the public admired.

This story takes a sad twist in that it was hard for her to let individuals into her life and people stated that she had let the fame get into her head.  When writing a check once said, "of course they won't cash it-they'll frame it."  The pedestal she had put herself upon and the death of her fiance, the copilot in an airline crash and the start of World War II caused her to have "deep psychological problems" and for her to retreat from the public eye.

In the 1960's Jean reappeared, advertising for the new Concorde to no great triumph. She seemed to be stuck in the life she lead in the 1930's, surprised to find she had been forgotten and retreated back to her quiet, lonely life.  In 1982 at the age of 71, Jean passed from an infection from a dog bite; she refused to see a doctor.  She was died and was buried in a communal grave in Spain, it would be five years before any of her family or old acquaintances learned of this.  After her the fame of her 20's Jean may have been forgotten, but left behind a legacy, her most notable flights being:
  • 1934 – England - Australia (women's record) 10,500 miles in 14 days 22 hours 30 minutes, breaking Amy Johnson's record by over four days.[1]
  • 1935 – Australia - England in 17 days 15 hours. First woman ever to make a return flight.
  • 1935 – England - Brazil: 5000 miles in 61 hours 15 minutes, setting world record for any type of aeroplane. Also fastest crossing South Atlantic Ocean, 13¼ hours, and first woman to make England - South America flight.
  • 1936 – England - New Zealand. World record for any type. 14,224 miles in 11 days 45 minutes total elapsed time, including 2½ days in Sydney. (Wikipedia)
I have just barely touched the surface of her life, although, on purpose--watch the documentary for yourself!  It isn't exactly inspirational or motivational like that of  other famous pilots, the hint of sadness throughout makes you wonder that with her love of flight, could she have achieved even more?  For your best viewing pleasure, I'd suggest letting the entire piece load first, to avoid buffering interruptions throughout (there are four parts-the third is just credits).

"Every flyer who ventures across oceans to distant lands is a potential explorer; in his or her breast burns the same fire that urged adventurers of old to set forth in their sailing-ships for foreign lands." 
~ Jean Batten, 'Alone in the Sky' 1979.

LOL

Another fun Flight Aware find:

FlightAware Photo
Photo Courtesy of FlightAware.com

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

A picture is worth a thousand words

I came across these photos on today's uploaded pictures on Flight Aware.  I don't know where this is, but it's somewhere I'd love to be!



It's wonderful to climb the liquid mountains of the sky, Behind me and before me is God and I have no fears.
— Helen Keller, on flight around the world

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Soft/Short Field TO/L

I love having an adrenaline rush after a flight and this evening I had one of those flights, even my instructor, Joe, was pumped!  In private pilot and commercial training a requirement is to master short field and soft field take off and landings, unfortunately, most flight schools don't allow their aircraft to perform these on actual grass fields.  To this date all my short and soft field landings have been completed on asphalt.  I'm finally training at an airport that allows their planes to go on the grass, so I figured it was about time to take advantage of that.! The airport of choice was Maple Grove Airport, just 30 miles west of Pontiac.  The wind was favoring the shorter runway 18-36 which is 2,000 feet long.  What made the take offs and landings even more exciting/freaky were the obstacles around it.  500 feet from the runway sits a 50 ft powerline pole; although it's not a very high obstruction, it feels very close when flying a short final.  After clearing this obstacle it's time to go to idle and dive for the runway, much like in the short feel landing practice maneuvers.  Just before touching down add a bit of power and land on the mains; the corn crops at the end of the runway came up fast and although one is not supposed to apply brakes so soon on a soft field, we didn't want to cut the farmer's crops for him.  The same is true on departure, we back taxied, added 10 degrees of flaps, applied power turning onto the runway and made a bumpy b-line towards the crops again.  Applying full back pressure throughout the take off roll, the plane was jolted into the air several times from bumps but did not have enough speed to maintain the altitude.  The plane finally lifted 2/3s down the runway and I kept it in ground effect as long as I could and carefully ascended when the corn crops came rushing towards us.  Clear the crops, make sure I'm not too slow, clear the trees, flaps up.  What a rush!  We did this three times and it didn't lose excitement, well, until I had to head back to PTK and had a mile long runway and no obstacles to worry about :o)

Monday, July 26, 2010

Jean Battan-Garbo of the Skies

I saw a post on an interesting looking documentary of aviatrix Jean Battan on the You Fly, Girl! blog I subscribe to; I just had to re-post, mainly to remember to watch this when I get home tonight :)  Jean was an avid record breaker in the 1930's and you can check out the whole documentary about her here.

Home in the Sky

To most people, the sky is the limit. 
             To those who love aviation, the sky is home.               
~anon.
 


Flying has become too much of a cell and less of a home these days due to my financial and locational deadlines I have to meet. Coming back from a beautiful vacation and flying for fun it is so hard to get back into the flight training and working groove, however, my flight on Sunday made the air feel like home once more; before it becomes a check mark on the 'to-do' list once again.  Bob was preparing to leave out of Royal Air and my flight school was right next door.  We took this opportunity to hop in my old but reliable rental Cessna to take an aerial tour of my home town and brush up on a few commercial maneuvers. Upon returning to the airport we were greeted by a large and full moon rising while the deep red sun set on the horizon.  

Amazingly, this is the first time Bob has been up front in the right seat with me.  Usually we fly his plane and when it's my turn to be pilot in command I will perform the duties on the right; the few times he has been on other flights with me in the left seat he has had to sit in the back.  I was happy to finally share this with him and for the first time we have a photo of us flying together where I am on the left!  Bob took some fun photos with his wide angle lens that you can view in the slideshow below; his lens is so wide that a in a photo of both of us it looks like the plane is a lot larger than it really is! The picture saying "No Position Information At All" is from when Bob (being the button presser he is) turned on the (no longer in service) LORAN.  We found that pretty amusing.  I also had some fun as we said goodbye to pose with some  large and fast wings I'd love to fly in the future.  It's great to have these small but sentimental reminders now and then on just why I wanted to get into this business in the first place.



Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Best Place on Earth: KCMX

Well, I wouldn't say the airport is the best place on earth, but my grandmother's home, just north of it on Lake Superior is.  That's our trip for the weekend; my BF/FFF and I will be joining several other family members for a relaxing weekend away from cell phone towers and WiFi.  A brilliant view, being surrounded by those who love you and no technological distractions-what can get better than that? 

Personal Limitations

Usually when one speaks about personal limitations it's in regards to weather and the type of aircraft that a pilot flies.  To know the limits of your skill and your aircraft helps you to best make flight decisions and avoid emergencies.  I reached my limitations yesterday, but came to the conclusion only a bit too late.  I had only two hours of sleep the night before and had to rush from work to an eye appointment then back to the airport for a long cross country flight that would get us home after midnight.  All I wanted to do was cancel and go home and go to bed, however it was crunch time to get my rating done and I didn't want to cancel on my instructor who had specially arranged this time with me.  So against what everyone was telling me and most importantly what my body was telling me, I went.  I was slow to react and missing things I usually don't, my instructor gently corrected me from time to time but it only made my tired self more stressed.  No more than twenty minutes into the flight I realized, I can't do this.  We will do it another time.  We turned back in and landed (it was amazingly smooth).  I have a limited amount of money to complete my objectives and due to my desire to meet deadlines wasted some of it away trying to accomplish something I knew I couldn't.  Thankfully my instructor was with me so I never put myself in real harms way.  With each experience you learn, and I learned that when Toriafly is that tired, Toria shouldn't fly.  It all worked out great though, come late that night around the time we were planning to land, it started to downpour.  I would have been tired...and wet.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Random Airport

A dual cross country flight with an instructor of over 100 miles and two hours long is required before receiving your commercial certificate.  I've been trying to get this done for quite awhile, but the weather always seems to be against me.  That's not important though; the point of this post is that I was on the AOPA Airports webpage to print out kneeboard material for this trip, when I discovered the "random airport" button.  "How fun!" I immediately thought.  This I thought would make a fun game with my favorite fellow flyer (my FFF) to pick a spontaneous place to go.  So, I clicked and 78IL came up, an airport in the town of Dixon, IL.  The airport name?  The Dixon Correctional Center.  Yeah, veto to that random airport.  After passing on a few unpaved airports, a heliport and one located on an Alaskan island I received 6BO, Middlebury State Airport in Middlebury, VT.  The visitors website describes this area to have "summer breezes off Lake Champlain; quaint villages and thriving downtowns; working farms with the smell of freshly plowed earth; and the sight of rolling hills backed by the Green Mountains."  Middlebury is also home to one of the top liberal arts colleges in the state, Middlebury College.  Let's see if my BF, BFF, FFF is up to this random flying challenge ;)

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Tomato Flames

It's that time again!  Check ride time!  Time to re-memorize all the things I needed to rattle off for my private and instrument check rides.  Such items include the day and night VFR flight required pieces of equipment.  I've been through three flight schools and each one used the "tomato flames" acronyms to help their students memorize them.  I was surprised to find a few more creative acronyms today, although a few differ, but share the same general idea.  Below check out "tomato flames," "atoms atoms," "a fast moose" and "goose a cat."

Tachometer                                                    Altimeter
Oil pressure                                                    Tachometer
Manifold pressure                                           Oil pressure
Altimeter                                                        Magnetic compass
Temperature sensor (liquid-cooled)                   Seat belts
Oil temperature (air cooled)                              Airspeed indicator
Fuel gauge                                                     Temperature sensor
Landing gear position                                      Oil temperature (air cooled)
Airspeed indicator                                           Manifold pressure
Magnetic compass                                          Strobe light (if plane certified after 3/96)
ELT
Seat belts

Airspeed indicator                                          Gas gauge
Fuel guages                                                  Oil temperature
Altimeter                                                       Oil pressure
Seat belt/shoulder harness                             Seat belts
Tachometer                                                   ELT
Magnetic compass                                        Altimeter
Oil pressure guage                                        Compass
Oil temp.guage                                             Airspeed indicator
Safety gear                                                   Tachometer
ELT

Borrowed from Scott Todd's Aviation Page which also offers several more acronyms and mnemonics helpful for pilot review.

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Another Flying Couple

Couple works on dream to fly restored plane to Oshkosh
By: Charles Gonzalaz
News Chief Staff

WINTER HAVEN - Jonathan and Liz Amundsen have had a dream their entire 10-year relationship to fly a 1940 Stearman biplane, and they have worked hard to make it a reality.

Jonathan and Liz purchased the plane in December 2009 for $50,000 in North Carolina and had to restore almost every aspect of the plane to get it in the air. For more than a month, the married couple has been working 14 to 16 hours a day to have the plane ready by July 21 for a test flight. If the plane passes the test flight, the couple will begin a flight to Oshkosh, Wis., on July 24.

Every year, the city of Oshkosh hosts AirVenture, which is a fly-in event that draws pilots and planes from all over the world. The Experimental Aircraft Association puts on the event and the Amundsen's expect to show off their Stearman during the festivities. The event lasts from July 26-Aug. 1.

"It really is a dream come true to re-build this plane and to fly it up to Oshkosh," Jonathan said. "To get to that point after all the hard work that has been put into this project, it will be just amazing."

Liz shares in her husband's enthusiasm for the Stearman.

"It's going to be the best feeling in the world to get up in the air and feel the wind against your face," Liz said. "It's something that we've always wanted to do and we are making it happen and that's just a really cool feeling."

The couple met in Michigan when they were in high school and their first date included Jonathan taking Liz up for a plane ride. Liz said she has been hooked on planes ever since and went to school to become a certified airplane mechanic.

After getting tired of shoveling snow in Michigan, the couple packed up and moved to Winter Haven in 2004. Jonathan is a flight instructor with Tailwheels, Inc., which is a flight school based at Winter Haven airport. Liz is one of the mechanics working on planes at Tailwheels, Inc.

"We were just ready to leave Michigan and so we packed up a plane and moved here," Liz said.
The 1940 Stearman is a World War II trainer plane used for Army and Navy pilots learning how to fly. Jonathan said there aren't too many Stearman's that are functional to fly, which is why he and Liz had to rebuild their plane.

The only thing that was intact with the plane was the tubing, or the structure of the plane, and the fuselage, which is the body of the plane. Liz and Jonathan have replaced everything else including the ignition and fueling systems and the fuel and oil lines.
Jonathan said he didn't know much about the Stearman, but has enjoyed every minute of working on the plane.

"It's like putting together a 10,000-piece jigsaw puzzle without a picture," Jonathan said. "We have been here some days until 2:30 a.m. working on the plane, but we are having so much fun working on it that we just lose track of time."

Richard Parish, who leads the Fixed Base Operations at the Winter Haven airport, has marveled at the work and dedication the couple has put into the rebuilding process.

"This is a very unique plane and not an easy project to do," Parish said. "When I come here at 8:30 in the morning, they are here working on it and when I come here at 10 o'clock at night, they are here working on it."

Jonathan said the Stearman will be used as a major attraction for Tailwheels, Inc., and the airport after they return from their trip. Several pilots will want to fly the Stearman, according to Parish.

 "It's worth all the time and money we've put in it to see it now and it's not even finished," Liz said. "It's going to be really cool to see it when it's done and be able to get it in the air."

To read other posts about flying couples featured throughout my blog see the links below:

A Wee Update

Got a third of my stuff moved down to MD and had a pretty promising interview with what seems like a great company.  I'm so excited to work in the aviation world and with this position I will be meeting all sorts of people within the aviation community.  I was in the interview for over an hour and a half, which brought me a welcome gift from downtown Frederick:
No worries, just $15 poorer and a good story to tell, LOL.  I'll be heading back in the beginning of next month to move some more things down and for a concert.  Final move date is August 30th.  I went crazy sitting still that long in the car on the ride home and dread doing it again so soon-but still looking forward to it :o)

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Night Flight

It's rare that I get to fly "just for fun".  I usually fly either to or from a destination with Bob or flying to meet requirements for further flight ratings.  Bob and I just flew low and slow above Frederick for about a half hour tonight-with no destination nor purpose.  I had a very bad stomach ache before departing, but once the plane lifted off and I had sparkling stars above and shining lights below, all was forgotten and all was perfect.


A pilot's business is with the wind, and with the stars, with night, with sand, with the sea. He strives to outwit the forces of nature. He stares with expectancy for the coming of the dawn the way a gardener awaits the coming of spring. He looks forward to port as a promised land, and truth for him is what lives in the stars.
— Antoine de Saint Exupéry, 'Wind, Sand, and Stars,' 1939.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

WX Forecasting

Just got the news, I've been accepted to Penn State's Weather Forecasting certification program.  I'm really looking forward to it and their meteorology department is said to be one of the best.  I start the week before I move, so things will be busy, but I like it that way :)

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Never give up...


Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about.  ~unknown

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Battle Creek Field of Flight Airshow

I checked out the Battle Creek Field of Flight airshow today and had a blast.  I enjoyed a huge elephant ear while watching an F-22, F-18, and F-4 demo, an L-29 and a Strikemaster dogfight, and the Iron Eagle aerobatics team in Christian Eagles to name a few.  There was also a helicopter that yo-yo'd and the Flash Fire Jet Truck, a pick up truck with a jet engine that offered some unique sights.  In addition to the airshow, there were many carnival rides, food and places to shop.  Below are a few pictures from the show, sorry I did not have Bob and his fancy lens with me this time :)



Thursday, July 1, 2010

:)

Lane Wallace an editor for Flying Magazine, has some beautiful words to say on flying:

I’ll run my hand gently over the wing of a small airplane and say to him, “This plane can teach you more things and give you more gifts than I ever could. It won’t get you a better job, a faster car, or a bigger house. But if you treat it with respect and keep your eyes open, it may remind you of some things you used to know — that life is in the moment, joy matters more than money, the world is a beautiful place, and that dreams really, truly are possible.” And then, because airplanes speak in a language beyond words, I’ll take him up in the evening summer sky and let the airplane show him what I mean.

AOPA Really Does Offer It All

Enhance your aviation lifestyle
Clink your glasses for the AOPA Wine Club

By AOPA Member Products staff

The classic aviation poem “High Flight” states that pilots have “done a hundred things you have not dreamed of.” Pilots live fascinating lives. Pilots see the world from a unique perspective. Skiing, the beach, and extended family are only a short flight away. Pilots get to fish places only accessible by aircraft. Pilots are mobile, always on the go, always looking for something new, something untried, a new experience to enjoy.

Part of that aviation lifestyle is enjoying good food and wine. Whether it’s a little airport café with great burgers or a five-star restaurant, pilots are always in search of their next great meal. For AOPA members who are just learning about wines or are full-fledged oenophiles, the association has launched a wine club that offers intriguing selections to enhance your enjoyment as well as to broaden and educate your wine palate.

Far from a one-taste-fits-all program, the AOPA Wine Club lets you customize the selections sent to you. First you decide how many bottles and what kind of wine you want to receive monthly. The choices are two bottles of white, two bottles of red, one bottle of white and one bottle of red, or the President’s Pick, which is a six-bottle collection.

Then you choose your budget. You can start as economically as $30 a month ($15 per bottle) to sample those surprising finds of great, inexpensive wines. Your monthly budget can go all the way up to $200 ($100 per bottle) a month for rarer offerings.

With the President’s Pick, you decide how often you want to receive the six bottles. The President’s Pick is just what it sounds: AOPA President Craig Fuller selects six wines for you that he is enjoying at his own table at home.

What makes the club so unique is that we’ve located vintners who are not just leading wine producers, but who also share your passion for wine and for the aviation lifestyle. What’s more, they are each AOPA members so they recognize the important mission of AOPA to defend and secure our flying.
These AOPA members own and operate Burgess Cellars, Failla Wines, La Sirena, Trefethen Vineyards, and Chateau Montelena. If you don’t want to commit to joining the Club, you can buy single bottles at the AOPA Wine Store.

AOPA President Craig Fuller explains the impetus behind the club: “We developed the club to bring you an opportunity to help further our mission while discovering some of the greatest wines in the world. We will focus on wines that embody these two passions, bringing you cuvées produced by passionate aviators, as well as some favorites from my own table or shared with some of my friends in the aviation community.”

By joining the AOPA Wine Club, you will support fellow pilots, but you will also support yourself, as all proceeds from the Club will be turned right back to AOPA to further the goals of the association of working on behalf of general aviation pilots. For more information or to join the club, please visit the website.

June 22, 2010