A Hundred Things
by Bryan Quickmire

COPA
Canadian Flight Magazine


"High Flight" by John Gillespie Magee, Jr. has been a source of inspiration
for countless flyers. The title "A Hundred Things" is from "High Flight":

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 instrument ratings,
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


Sky Fever

by Bryan Quickmire

With apologies to
John Masefield!


I must go down to the shore again, to the joining of sea and sky,
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 wide,
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 life,
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? ...

Soft 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 stomach. 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 best effort. ...

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 celebrate?” “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 women, Pele. ...

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. And I? ...

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 project. ...

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 of flight. 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 a mountain? Humpty Bump. What happens when an egg falls off a wall? No! Here’s a clue: Goldfish. Here’s another: Shark’s Tooth. Give up? Aerobatics! They’re all aerobatic manoeuvres. At a competition, common English words can be Greek to the uninitiated! 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 statistics. 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. ...

High Roller

In our last issue we examined some rather strange, unexpected behaviours of the aerobatic airplane. In this issue we’ll examine some rather strange, unexpected behaviours of the aerobatic pilot! 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. However, 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 reversals. ...

What’s “aerobatics”?

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 normal! 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 recreational aviators. ...

Decisions, Decisions

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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