Saturday, November 17, 2007

Airspeed's First Officer In CFIT Incident

This is a regular blog post. Looking for show notes or links to show audio? See other entries.

Airspeed's first officer, Cole Tupper, was involved in an incident involving controlled flight into terrain (CFIT) on Thursday. Attempting a nonstandard search and rescue maneuver during a brief unsupervised moment that afternoon, he abruptly discovered that the apparatus he had fashioned to allow him to suspend himself from the railing at the top of the stairs was not up to the task and he and the ill-fated apparatus experienced a rapid altitude loss before meeting the foyer floor below.

Search and rescue forces were immediately on the scene and transported him to the ER 30 minutes later when it became apparent that the incident involved more than the standard boo-boo.

He fractured three metatarsals (bones in the foot) and will be a little heavy on the right rudder for the next month or so due to the cast. He happened to be wearing his orange astronaut launch and reentry suit at the time, much to the amusement of the emergency room staff.

A stern conversation with the Wilshire House FBO managers has elicited a commitment from Mr. Tupper to consult with management before attempting such activities again. Mr. Tupper promptly filed the appropriate NASA reporting service forms. He has not been contacted by the NTSB in connection with the incident and management is hopeful both that his immediate plans for flight operations will be able to continue unabated and that his renewed commitment to the FBO-suggested safety program will avoid similar incidents in the future.

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Glider Ops with Aviation Wunderkind Tony Condon

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We interview pilot, CFI, CFII, MEI (add additional initials until your fingers hurt from typing) Tony Condon. Tony (whose shadow appears in the foreground above) hangar-flies with us to talk about glider operations and his philosophy of flight. He's based at Ames Municipal Airport just south of town in Ames, Iowa, from which he flies and instructs. We caught up with him Wednesday evening and talked for about an hour.

More information about Tony and his really well-written accounts of his glider flights at

In other news, I got to join the panel in the virtual hangar over at Uncontrolled Airspace to talk about instrument flying, instrument flying, and why you should file a flight plan when you're going cross-country in the winter. I also got to bask live in the aura of Jack, Jeb, and Dave. How cool is it to listen to your favorite hangar-flying podcast and actually interject from time to time? And you get to hear the podcast a few days early. In realtime, in fact!

I managed to follow through on my personal game plan of shutting up and listening whenever Jeb and Dave hit stride, but was pleasantly inpressed by their willingness to let me rattle on a little as well. And Jack is a master moderator. These guys are mensches in a community of mensches. Subscribe to UCAP through iTunes or your favorite other podcatcher or listen directly to Episode 54, Back Course Approach, at

The book is coming along! I'm presently experiencing a poetry block and having difficulty finishing the last piece, but will try to finish it off this weekend. It doesn't help that work is kicking my ass, but that's me in November and December. Hard to say I didn't see it coming.

Stay tuned!

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Back to Your Regularly-Scheduled Airspeed with Aerobatic Pilot and Red Bull Air Racer Mike Goulian

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Mike Goulian’s family founded one of the largest flying schools in the Northeast, Executive Flyers Aviation (EFA) in 1964. Michael learned the aviation business from the ground up by washing airplanes and sweeping the hangar floor. Michael started flying lessons in 1984 and soloed a Cessna 150 on his 16th birthday. He started aerobatic training in 1985 while he was still a student pilot.

By age 22, he had become US National Champion in the Advanced Category. A year later he won the prestigious Fond du Lac Cup invitational competition and by 1992 he was the top ranked US male aerobatic pilot and Silver Medalist in the Unlimited Category, an achievement he repeated in 1993. His performance earned him a spot on the 1994 US National Aerobatic Team, which represented America at the World Aerobatic Championship held in Hungary. In 1995, Mike became the US National Champion in the Unlimited Category. He has been a member of the 1994, 1996, and 1998 US Aerobatic Teams.

Today, Mike performs at airshows across the country.
He flies and races in the Extra 300 SHP.

Empty weight: 1,290 lbs.
Engine: 350hp Thunderbolt Lycoming “Reno” IO-580
Construction: Carbon fiber wings and steel tube fuselage
Speeds: Top speed, 260 mph - stall speed, 60 mph
Roll rate: 380 degrees per second
G limits: Plus and Minus 10g

He also races overseas in the Red Bull Air Races.

We caught up with Mike this summer on the ramp at the Battle Creek Balloon Festival and Field of Flight Airshow this summer.

Thanks to Mike Goulian for taking some time out to talk to us here on Airspeed.

Mike is sponsored by Air BP’s Castrol Aviator brand of piston aviation oils, Aubuchon Hardware, Avidyne Corporation, Champion Aerospace, Hartzell, Lycoming, Oxford Aviation, Sennheiser, and Tempest.

Be sure to support Airspeed's sponsor, Gleim, and use your special promotional code, "ASPD," when ordering your Pilot Kit to get your 25% Airspeed discount!