Anyone Remember The Cannonball Run?

John HurlbutFlying, Private pilot0 Comments


I wonder if anyone other than Scott remembers the movie “The Cannonball Run”?  Burt Reynolds, Roger Moore, lots of famous folks set off on a race across country and as was bound to happen, hilarity ensues. I’m considering a Cannonball Run of my own this summer. It won’t be a race against anyone per se, it’ll be more a race against myself and proof that having my pilot’s license is valuable beyond simply going for sight seeing adventures around Mount Rainier. Read on oh faithful follower… So I’m now checked out to fly 5 different Cessna 172’s at two different flight schools.  That’s great, for the most part right now, whenever I want to fly, there is a plane available. It ALMOST feels like I’m an owner. However, there are a few things I could do as an owner that I can’t do as a renter.  Land on a beach. … Read More

Cathartic, That’s as Good A Word As Any…

John HurlbutFlying, Private pilot0 Comments

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I went flying Saturday for just a bit. About 0.7 hours actually. The last time I flew was February 2, 2016. The time before that was November 27, 2015. I’m clearly not flying enough. I’ll post the draft from my February 2 flight as well, I never got around to finishing it. Flying between October and April in the Northwest is somewhat difficult. Lots of low clouds, lots of rain, lots of wind. Certainly not conducive to VFR flying. Yesterday my friend Gordon gave me crap for flying. He said “I’m surprised you’re flying today”. When I enquired why, he said “Because there are clouds”. I called him a dick in jest, because that’s what guys do. It’s true my personal minimums are probably a bit higher than most pilots. My flight instructor was extremely conservative when it came to flying in weather that was maybe ok to fly and … Read More

100 Hours in an Airplane! What an Adventure!

John HurlbutFlying3 Comments


In 1977 my parents purchased land in Ocean Shores, WA. For a number of years we would camp there lots of weekends and a couple weeks a year. My parents eventually moved there in 1991 and I sold their home for them in 2003. Back in the late 70’s and early 80’s Ocean Shores wasn’t much to look at and it wasn’t nearly as popular as it is now. There used to be Porsche clubs that raced their cars for a weekend a year on the back streets of Ocean Shores, of which our property was on one of. I have lots of pictures of old 911’s, 912’s, 914’s, and 928’s tearing around the streets. Our property had frontage on Duck Lake, yes there’s a lake in Ocean Shores. And for awhile, seaplanes would land on the lake right in front of our property. Back then, the airport was right … Read More

Getting My Night Currency…

John HurlbutFlying0 Comments

Screenshot 2015-12-29 22.17.53

One of the things about being a pilot is maintaining your currency. To be allowed to carry passengers as a private pilot you must have made three take offs and landings in the previous 90 days, so basically if you fly once a month you’re “current”. There are no requirements about being PROFICIENT however. If those takeoffs and landings were done during the day, you are current for daytime flight. In other words you have to be back down on the ground within 1 hour of official sunset. You may remember this post from my flight training days where I did my long cross country and had to add in a few landings at a tower controlled airport? I made it back with about 20 minutes to spare before it was officially dark. As a student pilot you are not allowed to fly at night solo. You have to wait … Read More

Epic Day of Flying! FATPNW Fly-In and Sight Seeing Around Mount Saint Helens!

John HurlbutFlying0 Comments

Since I started flight training in 2014 I’ve been a member of a group called “Flights Above the Pacific Northwest” (or FATPNW for short) on Facebook. I learned about them at the Northwest Aviation conference at the Puyallup fairgrounds. It’s a really cool group of NW pilots that share their flying adventures often with photos & video of our amazing landscape here in the upper corner of the country. We have everyone from aviation enthusiasts, student pilots all the way up to professional pilots that fly for the airlines on the page. Anytime I have a question about how to do something, I usually get 30+ responses and many of them are incredibly detailed. It’s a good representation of what the entire aviation community has been like for me. Incredibly welcoming and giving. In fact, they were recently even written up in AOPA magazine after surpassing their 2,000th member! Here’s … Read More

Quick Flight For Dinner . . . Or . . . The $300 Hamburger

John HurlbutFlying0 Comments

All over pilot blogs, forums, books, etc. there is mention of the $100 hamburger. The premise is that as pilots we will find any reason to fly, even if it’s just to fly across town to a neighboring airport for lunch and back. The airport I fly out of, Pierce County Thun Field (KPLU), has a restaurant and nearly every weekend I see pilots flying in for breakfast and flying out. So of course after getting my pilot’s license this is one of the things I wanted to do, grab a $100 hamburger.  However, I’ve pretty much realized that to get this $100 hamburger, the only way you’re going to do it is if the airport you fly out of happens to have a restaurant.  Because renting a plane at roughly $135.00/hour about the only way you’re going to keep the cost under $100 is to take off, do a … Read More

First Flight With a Passenger – Puyallup to Friday Harbor

John HurlbutFlying0 Comments

So having passed my check ride finally I was anxious to take my first passenger on a trip somewhere, anywhere! I booked the plane the day after check ride #2 for about 5 hours in the hopes that I would be able to take my wife, Teri, flying somewhere.  (Author’s Note: This flight actually occurred on May 10th, 2015.  I’m just now trying to get my blog posts caught up, so expect a flurry of activity coming through!) One of the cross country flights I did as a student pilot was to fly from Puyallup Thun Field (KPLU) to Friday Harbor (KFHR) in the San Juan Islands. That flight was amazing for me on many levels, and I wanted to recreate that for my wife as much as I could. You can read about my solo cross country flight here. I booked the plane for 5 hours and my computations … Read More

Achievement Unlocked! I AM a Pilot!

John HurlbutFlying, Personal Growth2 Comments

(Author’s Note: I originally started this post on May 11th, 2 days after I passed my check ride. Life got in the way and it took me a month to get it completed. I’ve got a few more posts coming! Sorry for the delay!)  Well it’s been over a month since my last post “Why I’m Not a Pilot Yet…Or What Went Wrong” so I guess I should catch everyone up. (Both of you) After failing to pass my check ride on March 27th, it took me a few days to get back in the airplane. There was a lot that lead up to that day and it was a HUGE emotional letdown knowing I hadn’t passed. I think my recounting of the events was pretty accurate as to what I did, what went wrong and what I could have done differently. The only question after that was “Do I … Read More

Why I’m Not a Pilot…Yet or What Went Wrong

John HurlbutFlying9 Comments

The most frequent piece of advice I’ve heard since last Friday after not passing my private pilot check ride is “Hey, if it was easy everyone would be a pilot”. While I suspect there is some truth to that, and I do take comfort in the fact that I’ve come a LONG way since I started on this quest some 14 months ago, it still sucks to know that I’m not a pilot yet. The guys and gals over at the Facebook Group I’m a part of, Flights Above the Pacific Northwest (FATPNW) (Cause Everything is an Acronym in Aviation) (CEIAAIA) have been great about sharing that many of them too did not pass on their first attempt. Again, even more comforting especially with the immense amount of respect I have for them as a group. But did I mention it sucks I’m not a pilot yet? OK, so what … Read More

So that others may learn…

John HurlbutFlying4 Comments

So in amongst trying to finish up my private pilot’s license, I’m also working toward my instrument rating. Last night in instrument ground school, we took some quizzes to see where the soft spots are. From what I can tell, ground school (both private and instrument) is simply designed to help you pass the written test. So there’s lots of information put out, lots of quizzes, some tests and ultimately you are ready to take your written test. So in last night’s class there was a question that read (not verbatim): If a pilot is flying along on a course with a 20º right correction for wind and ATC advises them that there is traffic at 2 O’Clock, where should the pilot look for traffic? The answers were:A)  Directly off the noseB)  20º to the right of the noseC) 40º to the right of the nose The correct answer is … Read More