by Bryan Quickmire
Canadian Flight Magazine
by John Gillespie Magee, Jr.
has been a source of inspiration
for countless flyers.
The title "A Hundred Things" is from
||Oh, I have slipped the surly bonds of Earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I've climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds -- and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of ...
Bryan was inspired to spend his life in pursuit of those hundred things!
He earned his wings in the Royal Canadian Air Cadets in
1967 and went on to acquire a commercial licence with multi-engine and
an aerobatic instructor rating, plus glider and ultralight instructor ratings.
He has accumulated 4,500 hours as PIC of more than 60 types of aircraft.
Bryan's career as a computer executive took him to Boston
for nine years.
He spent his time off traveling extensively in his Steen Skybolt biplane
and competing at the Advanced level in International Aerobatic Club competitions.
Since returning to Canada Bryan has owned Challenger advanced ultralights
equipped with amphibious floats, retractable wheel/skis and tundra wheels.
Bryan belongs to the Edenvale Classic Aircraft Foundation where
he flies the DH82A Tiger Moth, Fairchild Cornell, Bellanca Cruisemaster and other types.
Bryan's column "A Hundred Things" in Canadian Flight magazine
offered an account, at times humorous - at times philosophical,
of his wanderings and adventures.
Bryan also wrote "Room To Manoeuvre", a column covering
aerobatics and thought-provoking issues in piloting,
which appeared in Aviation Quarterly magazine
along with his feature articles.
For a selection of magical meanderings and mystical musings click below:
A Hundred Things on All Manner of Things
A Hundred Things on Challenger Discoveries
Room To Manoeuvre on Aerobatics and Airmanship
by Bryan Quickmire
With apologies to
I must go down to the shore again, to the joining of sea
And all I ask is a small plane, and a stick to steer it by;
And the prop's kick, and the wind's song, and little waves curling,
And a blue sheen on the sea's face, and puffy clouds swirling.
I must go up in the air again, for the call of flying
Is a loud call and a clear call, that can not be denied;
And all I ask is a windless day, with golden sun rays falling,
And the gentle swishing of the spray, and the sea-birds calling.
I must go now to explore again, to the vagrant gypsy
To the gull's way and the whale's way, when the wind's no whetted knife;
And all I ask is a merry yarn, from a laughing fellow rover,
And quiet sleep and sweet dreams, when the long trip's over.
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A Hundred Things featuring Challengers on wheels, floats and skis...
(Click the titles to view the articles.)
Getting To Know You
||I was actually, literally, laughing out
loud. Yet nothing was funny. I was laughing out loud with joy! How long
had it been since I laughed for joy?
Reflections, Sharp Shadows
|It's November and snow squalls are coming
in off Georgian Bay. XSL is still on its Puddlejumper amphibs, squeezing
the last drops out of the float season. I've become quite addicted to the
joys of flying around on amphibs in such a pleasurable little airplane
as the Challenger. Here are some vignettes from my first autumn. Some are
short, some are longer. There isn't room for them all.
A Wheel Winter Voyage
||My bags are packed, I’m ready to go. XSL
is standing flat-footed on three skis, fueled and eager to launch. The
back seat of the Challenger contains snowshoes, tent, sleeping bag, stove
and food. I’ve left out the kitchen sink to make room for a steamer trunk
full of clothes. And, of course, there's my laptop PC. The portages of
the couriers du bois must have been arduous indeed, lugging backpacks full
of spare batteries!
Floating On Air
|“Toronto Terminal, Xray Sierra Lima, so
long.” It’s April twenty-third and I’m over Alliston, just north of Toronto,
making sure the Challenger’s transponder and encoder are operational for
next week’s trip into Toronto International Airport.
A Beautiful Day In The Neighbourhood
||I try to avoid doing things I'll regret.
The snow is whiter than white, the sky bluer than blue. The wind is but
a zephyr. Today's weather is so perfect. I'll always
regret it if I don't drop everything and go ski flying in my Challenger!
A Hundred Things on all sorts of magic in all sorts of planes...
(Click the titles to view the articles.)
TwoWhiskeyMike - A Swan Song
Dawn in Phoenix. Strapping into the yellow
biplane. For the last day. After six years
we have six hundred miles to go.
My Skybolt, TwoWhiskeyMike, and I are on the final
notes of an eight day swan song. Together, we’ve
experienced six hundred hours of the intensity of
aerobatic competition and the enjoyment of
wandering like gypsies.
Now we are on our last mission. Tonight,
TwoWhiskeyMike’s new owner will take possession.
Searching for Roots in the Sierra Estrella
Strapped in the Cherokee, engine running, oil
warming. Sectional folded, GPS loaded. The
journey, short in distance, long in time. From
Chandler Airpark to Estrella Sailport. Twenty
miles will take us back twenty years.
Power comes up and we start to roll, four wheels turning.
Yes four, it’s a Jeep not a Piper.
I’ve just delivered TwoWhiskeyMike, my yellow biplane,
to a new home in Arizona, a sizable flight from Boston in
winter. Today was allocated to checking out the new
owner. This morning on downwind, I pointed the nose
west for ten minutes too long and we found ourselves
over the mountains of the Sierra Estrella.
A Whale Of A Time
Two Whiskey Mike, my yellow biplane, glows
in the morning sun. I, in an olive drab flight suit,
do not. Butterflies perform aerobatics in my
Butterflies even though Two Whiskey Mike and I have
flown together hundreds of times. It’s the usual mix of
excitement, anticipation and nervousness. Today the
nervousness is not unreasonable. We’ll start out flying
VFR over a cloud layer and later encounter high winds
and substantial turbulence. We’ll spend most of the day
over unlandable terrain and open water.
If the Lycoming falters I fully intend to make it back. I
wear a parachute and a life preserver. The pockets of my
Nomex flight suit bulge with portable ELT, high-intensity
strobe and survival gear.
Count Aresti’s Ball
We start yet another orbit in the holding
pattern, waiting for the signal from the ground.
Two Whiskey Mike, my yellow biplane, and I
are as ready as we’ll ever be, dozens of
practice flights are behind us. The first flight of
the first contest of the new season is upon us,
fifteen figures to perform in the compulsory
sequence for the Advanced category. The New
England Aerobatic Championships awaits our
A Round Of Montgolfier
I’m in Boston, on the phone to Texas, talking to
my company’s biggest customer.
“Barry, thank you for the contract. It’s taken us a while
but I think it’s good for both parties. When we meet in
San Diego, why don’t we go out for a nice dinner to
“Bryan, I’ve had a lot of nice dinners. How about doing
something different? How about a round of golf? No, you
know what I’d really like to do? To tell the truth, what I’d
really like is to go up in a balloon. Can we do that? If it’s
awkward just say so.”
A balloon? With a key manager from a rather
conservative customer of a rather conservative vendor?
Give me a break! What would the CEO think? How
would I put it on my expense report?
Pele Is Angry, But Oh So Beautiful
A long time ago, in a land far away, the
goddesses were battling. Pele, goddess of fire,
was defeated by Namaka, goddess of the sea.
Banished, Pele set sail in a sacred canoe, from
Kahiki out across the empty Pacific.
Three thousand miles later she came upon the Hawaiian
Islands and settled on the island of Kauai. There she
lived until one day the vengeful Namaka found her and
put out her fires with salt water and tidal waves.
Pele moved to Oahu, then Molokai, then Maui, each time
forced onward by the wrath of her more powerful sister.
Finally, after the fiercest battle of all, she went to the Big
Island of Hawaii where she lives in the fire pit of Kilauea,
the world’s most active volcano. It is said that when the
clouds glow red you can see the form of a beautiful
A Remarkable Step Off The Remarkables
My host and I stand on the edge of the
precipice, awaiting the breeze. Then it arrives.
“Go!” We run together towards empty space.
One step, two steps, three steps on snow. The
fourth step is on air. The mountain is gone, left
behind. We are a bird, one with the wind.
The tandem hang glider slides silently through the air,
moving effortlessly away from the snow covered rock
where we had stood a moment earlier. When earthbound
this now graceful flyer had been awkward, clumsy, out of
its element. It had fought the wind, needed restraining.
Now it rode with the wind. It was home.
The Music Of The Night
The Zlin 142C with flaps fully extended slides
down a rather steep slope to a gentle landing
at Lake Simcoe Regional. I taxi to the ramp
and shut down beside the pumps.
This is day one of the research for an article I’m writing
for Aviation Quarterly magazine. The piece is to focus
primarily on the Zlin’s aerobatics capabilities but it will
also explore the airplane’s versatility in other areas.
Zlin Aerospace, the North American distributor of the
Czech airplanes, apparently has nothing to hide. They’ve
given me carte blanche to take their airplane off by
myself and fly it as much as I feel necessary for the
Holed Up In Pecos
It’s New Year’s Eve. My yellow biplane Two
Whiskey Mike and I are racing the sun
westward. The sun is winning. After four days
we’re only slightly more than half way from
Boston to San Diego.
We’ve just been aground in Texarkana for 42 hours,
trapped first by rain then by fog. The forecast never got
bad enough to give up on flying and go do something
else. The weather however never got good enough to
attempt a take-off.
I checked in and out of the same room twice, hung out in
the hangar polishing Two Whiskey Mike and puttering
around, and logged at least 20 hours watching the
weather channel, checking the radar display and talking
to Flight Service. I was beginning to think I’d have time to
get a job, buy a pickup, raise a family.
A North Dakota Gust
The sun says goodnight in orange and indigo
as it pulls the blanket of black from overhead to
the horizon. The magical colours remind me of
the legend of the Indian Paintbrush. Eight Zulu
Alpha is stunning under the ramp lights. The
white Zlin’s curvaceous yellow and blue stripes
exactly match the shades of the flag of
Sweden, where the airplane spent the first five
hundred hours of its life.
Now I’m delivering the 242L to a farm in North Dakota.
There it will serve the pleasure of Jake Gust, soybean
grower and the new owner. Jake will treat Eight Zulu
Alpha right, I could tell by his smile as we did aerobatics
over Georgian Bay last weekend.
The VFR trip from Barrie, Ontario is about a thousand
miles, including the detour for customs formalities here
at Port Huron, Michigan.
Room To Manoeuvre articles on aerobatics and airmanship...
(Click the titles to view the articles.)
Getting Started In Aerobatics
To most pilots the word “aerobatics” brings to
mind images of an airplane arcing gracefully
through the sky. Loops and rolls and spins and
hammerheads follow one after another.
Sunlight glints off polished surfaces. To some
this is the ultimate expression of the freedom
What’s it like in the cockpit?
Emergency Manoeuvres Training
Wake turbulence from the airplane ahead flips
you inverted on approach! What will you do:
a) pull back on the yoke,
b) apply aileron, or
c) fall out?
Fall out? Choice ‘c’ is clearly a red herring! Surely pilots
fly with straps secured at all times. Perhaps, but the vast
majority of pilots, amateur and professional alike, have
never been upside down in an airplane.
Just imagine yourself in this situation. One minute the
airspeed is bang on target, the airplane is on a perfect
glide slope, life is good. The next minute you’re hanging
from the straps,
Of Avalanches And Humpties
Avalanche. What happens when snow falls off
Humpty Bump. What happens when an egg
falls off a wall?
No! Here’s a clue: Goldfish.
Here’s another: Shark’s Tooth.
Aerobatics! They’re all aerobatic manoeuvres. At a
competition, common English words can be Greek to the
In advanced aerobatics, in addition to interesting names,
we encounter some interesting and perhaps unexpected
aircraft behaviors in dark corners of the envelope.
One Turn Too Many
In both Canada and the United States there is
a fervent desire to help Private Pilot Licence
holders avoid becoming stall/spin accident
Therefore, in Canada actual spins are
incorporated in the training curriculum.
In the United States, they are not.
Whether or not to require actual spins of student pilots is
one of the oldest controversies in aviation. The United
States eliminated the requirement in 1949. Let’s take a
look at what we do in Canada and what it accomplishes.
Let’s also think about potential improvements.
In our last issue we examined some rather
strange, unexpected behaviours of the
In this issue we’ll examine some rather
strange, unexpected behaviours of the
There is an aerobatic manoeuvre where the airplane
does exactly as instructed - no bizarre gyroscopic forces,
no accelerated stalls, no autorotation. There’s no
blackout-inducing high positive Gs and no eyeballpopping
high negative Gs.
the pilot looks for all the world like someone churning
butter and stomping grapes while looking all around to
avoid being pounced by the Red Baron. Limbs are
flailing, the head is pivoting every which way. Blood and
internal organs ebb and flow in conjunction with the G
The Canadian Air Regulations define
aerobatics as “manoeuvres where a change in
the attitude of an aircraft results in a bank
angle greater than 60 degrees, an abnormal
attitude, or an abnormal acceleration not
incidental to normal flying”.
Let’s think about this for a moment. Is being upside-down
abnormal? You’d certainly think so if you were on
approach and were rolled inverted by wake turbulence
from a 757. On the other hand, if you did loops and rolls
every weekend, then being inverted wouldn’t be
abnormal at all. Au contraire, for you it would be quite
For the general public, and a surprising number of pilots
as well, the dry definition posed by Transport Canada
doesn’t define aerobatics at all.
Of engines and wings, space and time
Pete Piston and Carl Camber both landed their
airplanes at the fly-in around mid-afternoon.
Pete was exhausted and complaining.
Carl was relaxed and smiling.
They both flew through the same air.
Why the difference?
The summer sky was full of cumulus clouds, some
towering majestically. A somewhat gusty 15 knot wind
blew across the airport. Even for the light airplanes this
was not exactly severe weather!
Let’s look more closely at the flights of these two
To go or not to go, that is the question.
Whether ‘tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of cancellation,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles
And by opposing, get there.
To wait? To fly? Perchance to try?
At worst, retreat. Go, be fleet!
My mission is to take a Zlin 242L two-seat aerobatic
airplane, from Barrie, north of Toronto, to an airport near
New York City. A jet charter operator is considering
supplementing simulator training with aerobatics and
emergency manoeuvres training in a real aircraft.
This trip was scheduled two weeks ago, an optimistic act
for VFR flight in December. All the company’s pilots are
at home base today and tomorrow, a rare occurrence.
Meetings are planned with the pilots and with corporate
management. I am to take five pilots on flights to assess
the effectiveness of the proposed program.
I’m over five hours behind schedule.
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