Wednesday, March 21, 2012

In Memoriam: John Lane

If you know anything about aviation in the Dayton/Cincinnati area, you probably have at least heard about John Lane. He flew for decades, served as a Designated Pilot Examiner, was a recipient of the prestigious Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award, and founded what is known today as Lebanon/Warren County Airport (I68) in 1956. Today we are sad to hear he has passed away at the age of 87.

I met him in person a couple times and have heard countless other stories about his skill and personality. He was at home inside an airplane, an incredible pilot - and was rumored to have occasionally introduced a student to spins in a 172 on their checkrides. Outside the cockpit he was one of the nicest people you have ever met, always friendly and willing to chat. They ran a great article about him in the Cincinnati paper last December - I encourage you to read it.

Blue skies and tailwinds, John.
In the rear seat of the restored 1946 Aeronca Champ sat John Lane, carrying with him virtually the entire history of aviation in Warren County.
Lane, 87, was on board the single prop airplane last summer as license examiner for Alaina Kappner, who was celebrating her 17th birthday by earning her sports pilot license at the Warren County Airport near Lebanon.
There was a circle of life tinge to the pairing of the young schoolgirl and the veteran instructor, who essentially built the airport from scratch – with a little star-power help along the way.

Friday, March 16, 2012

March Madness, Pilot Style

If you haven't heard, AOPA is currently running their own version of March Madness. They have picked 64 airplanes and seeded them into an NCAA-style bracket, pitting many of our favorite flying machines against each other. In the end, I suppose us pilots will finally decide which one we love the most! The #1 seeds are the venerable P-51 Mustang, Piper J-3 Cub, Beechcraft Bonanza, and Cessna 182.

Head on over to AOPA's Favorite Aircraft Challenge website in order to cast your vote and follow the tournament. The championship round is scheduled for April 1st and 2nd. Needless to say, you probably can guess that I'm hoping to see the Piper Cub make it to the Final Four. But I'm honestly not sure what I'll do if it comes down to the P-51 and J-3!