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    Thumbs up Any Of You PILOTS Out There?

    Winged wonder

    By Peter Rusland - Cowichan News Leader Pictorial
    Published: May 19, 2010 6:00 AM

    Clear!”

    With that warning, Cowichan Bay pilot and airplane buff Kevin Maher taxied a 1944 Boeing-Stearman biplane toward Duncan Airport’s runway.

    I was strapped in the front of two ****pits wearing a beige seatbelt — and a red parachute.

    Before take-off, Maher gave me a fast sky-jumping course; five minutes of ripcord instruction in case I had to bail out of the biplane while circling over Cowichan.

    I wondered if my will was up to date, hoping I didn’t experience freefall.

    We gained speed on the runway. Suddenly, we were roaring north into the wild blue yonder.

    Later, Maher would share his lifelong love of flight and airplanes during his debut Kids and ****pits event.

    “I saw an airplane fly overhead when I was in Grade 1 and decided I was going to be a pilot.”

    But first, he taught reporter Rusland about real flight — not the safe kind in Air Canada 777 jets he flies globally out of Vancouver, but seeming seat-of-the-pants stuff.

    ***

    We climbed to 2,000 feet.

    I shot pictures of our verdant valley through the bright-yellow Stearman’s wing braces.

    Riding in an open ****pit shielded only by a windshield — air swirling around like being on a motorcycle or skis —lends a whole new meaning to flying.

    “This is just what flight trainees experienced during the war,” Vancouver-born Maher said behind me over the plane’s radio.

    I imagined those scared guys flying this machine then landing it by feeling rubber touch the tarmac.

    But piloting the Dacron-body, wood-wing Stearman with an original stick-and-pedal system seemed second nature to Maher.

    It’ll be even more familiar two years from now when he finishes rebuilding a 1936 Stearman in his airstrip hangar.

    “Mine’s a serial-number three, so it’ll be the oldest one in the world,” he said of the old cropduster whose chemical tank sat in the front ****pit.

    He’d flown pal Trevor Skillen’s vintage Stearman for 20 minutes from Vancouver to Duncan the night before at 7,000 feet.

    “It was cold on the hands,” noted Maher, 45.

    ***

    We circled the white war-memorial cairn atop Mount Prevost and began heading back toward the airstrip as lofty air currents tugged at the sturdy rig.

    I felt around for something to hold onto.

    “Should we do a roll now?” he asked.

    “I don’t think so,” I answered into the helmet mike by pushing a white button on the dashboard.

    “Wanna fly it?” he asked a minute later.

    “No,” I said over the drone of the 450 horsepower engine. “I’ll leave that to you.”

    For the record, Maher reckons a 777 jetliner packs some 234,000 hp.

    Those engines are constantly checked by Air Canada crews to ensure passenger safety, Maher proudly explained.

    But he lamented having to fly big planes from behind a $250,000 bulletproof ****pit door — sealing off passenger access — during heightened security measures.

    “That takes the fun out of the job.”

    ***

    The biplane began descending to Duncan airport’s runway that parallels a gravel pit.

    Maher told me to lean to the right so he could get a better view of the approaching tarmac.

    Back on terra firma, I unbuckled then apologized for my co-pilot jitters and turning down the acrobatics.

    Maher understood.

    “You have to feel comfortable about things like that.”

    I soon learned more about Maher’s airplane addiction and seasoned flying abilities.

    I had little to worry about while airborne earlier.

    Maher confessed to having fun flying some small planes upside down while hanging from the safety harness.

    “At 12 years old, I decided I wanted to fly crop dusters.”

    He got his wish.

    After his first flight at age 16, he’s piloted everything from crop dusters at 19 in southern Alberta, to water bombers, air ambulances and cargo planes.

    In 1997 he finished training on an airbus, landing his passenger-plane licence.

    “Every airplane’s different; you don’t just hop in and fly it, you have to get to know its systems.

    “The Stearman was built to handle and teach acrobatics,” he explained.

    Stunts followed engineering studies for Maher who stressed the value of learning.

    “Education allows you to dream big.”

    That’s why he likes showing kids around Duncan Airport, sharing his knowledge about flight and its history.

    Supersonic advances in aviation aside, it still boils down to basics.

    “In small airplanes, you’re it.

    “Stick-and-rudder skills stay with you for life.

    “At the end of the day, you still have to be able to fly.”

    For reporters, it’s like learning to type on a typewriter then graduating to using an eMac, he mused.

    Somehow, it wasn’t surprising when Maher admitted he’s afraid of heights, despite his cool confidence at mid-air controls.

    “I don’t even like leaning over an apartment balcony,” he said.

    PHOTOCREDIT:

    Local pilot Kevin Maher with vintage 1944 Stearman airplane during Friday’s Kids and ****pits education event at the Duncan Airport.
    Attached Images Attached Images  

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    Can't do "EDIT" from work.... apparently we STILL can't write Kockpit.

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    Put periods in questionable words or even words that you know won't make it past the profanity filters without them.It works for me.
    Have you ever read Stephen Coonts' "Flight of the Cannibal Queen"?He's the guy who wrote all those "Flight of the Intruder" books.
    He owns a Stearman and in the early 90s took a trip from one civil service airport to another to see how long it would take him to fly across the country without filing one flight plan or certificate of Mother-May-I ? with the FAA.
    I wonder if he could do that today.

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    Ya, well first ya gotta actually SEE the word KOCK before you can make allowance for it. Since I didnt see it for anything other than a descriptor for an aircraft pilot location......

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    Question

    Quote Originally Posted by MalahatTwo7 View Post
    Ya, well first ya gotta actually SEE the word KOCK before you can make allowance for it. Since I didnt see it for anything other than a descriptor for an aircraft pilot location......


    If two females pilots are in the front flying the plane, where are they?

    What is that area called with females in there?

    Is it the same name as if males are flying?

    Or is there a another name for that area?


    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    Quote Originally Posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
    If two females pilots are in the front flying the plane, where are they?

    What is that area called with females in there?

    Is it the same name as if males are flying?

    Or is there a another name for that area?


    Don't matter, it's still a c0ckpit.

    FM1
    I'm the one Fire and Rescue calls, when they need to be Rescued.

    Quote Originally Posted by EastKyFF
    "Firemens gets antsies. Theys wants to goes to fires. Sometimeses they haves to waits."

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    Quote Originally Posted by FIREMECH1 View Post
    Don't matter, it's still a c0ckpit.

    FM1
    Yes it is my friend, Yes It IS!!!!!
    Stay Safe and Well Out There....

    Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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    I have had the pleasure of flying a WACO open ****pit airplane on a sunset flight around Mount Desert Isle, Maine.. aka Bar Harbor.

    Went I went for the flight, I told the guy at the counter that I was a student pilot. He asked my how many hours and what type of aircraft my time was in (at that point, it was 34 hours in Cessna 150's and 172's.)

    He said "okay, I'll have Phil put the stick in for you up front".

    I spoke with Phil, who said got he would test me when we got airborne.. but first, we had to taxi across the Bar Harbor airport to get fuel. We had to wait for a Cessna Citation bizjet to land and a Lear to take off prior t crossing the active runway, so we had a conversation.

    Once fueled and airborne, Phil said "okay.. let's se if you can fly my baby... give me a turn 20 degree turn to the left at a 15 degree angle of bank"....

    All I had for instrumentation in front of me was an altimeter and an airspeed indicator. He had complete instrumentation in the rear ****pit. I moved the stick and rudder to the left and turned the airplane to his satisfaction. He then had me do the opposite to bring us back to our original heading, then he asked for a 90 degree turn to the right at a 30 degree angle of bank... this time incorporating a climb of 1000 feet in altitude.. once again, I performed the maneuver to his satisfaction.... "okay, you can fly my baby.... let me know when you want to take pictures so I can take the controls"...

    It was my second time in an open ****pit, but the first time actually flying it.. it was exhilarating. He let me fly the aircraft into the landing pattern, only taking the controls on final, as the WACO doesn't have flaps and being a tail dragger has a lot different characteristics than the Cessnas I am used to.

    At the end of the flight, I paid the owner of th business and included a hefty tip for Phil. Phil asked me if I had my log book with me... he was a CFI and could credit me for the lesson... but my logbook was at 9B1 (Marlborough Airport). He made a note in the computer and if I am ever in Bar Harbor again to stop in and he'll sign me off. I was in Bar Harbor last June, but they were closed to due to weather the three days I was there...
    Last edited by CaptainGonzo; 05-31-2010 at 12:50 PM.
    ‎"The education of a firefighter and the continued education of a firefighter is what makes "real" firefighters. Continuous skill development is the core of progressive firefighting. We learn by doing and doing it again and again, both on the training ground and the fireground."
    Lt. Ray McCormack, FDNY

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    Default

    cockpit

    ......

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    Koch-pit.

    Makes the cabin cooler.

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