Short Final: Good Guidance


As a fresh pilot and first-time aircraft owner back in the early 1980s, I was excited to fly my little two-seat Grumman on a midwinter trip from New England to Florida. Knowing all the complications of weather and airspace issues, I had done my research, but I never missed a chance to seek counsel from experienced local pilots, especially the “old salts” who had the experience to back up their advice.

One group that matched that description was gathered around the coffee machine at work, so I asked, “Anyone have any good tips on flying to Florida?” Without hesitation, one wiseacre piped up, “Yeah. Just fly east until you hit your first ocean, then turn right.”

Mark Phelps
Mark Phelps is a senior editor at AVweb. He is an instrument rated private pilot and former owner of a Grumman American AA1B and a V-tail Bonanza.


  1. Reminds me of the advice given by by FI on my first solo navex in a Chipmunk on the Army Pilot’s Course. Advised me to head South if totally lost until I hit the South Coast of England, where I should be able to fix my position. I asked what I should do if the position was not obvious. His reply was ‘Keep going – you’re no use to us…’

    • I almost spit up my coffee reading this one!

      Also, editor, please disregard my “Report comment” accidental selection… my mouse slipped. Please have your web designer put a bit more space between the ‘Reply’ and ‘Report comment’ areas. Also, if you would, make the font size of ‘Reply’ larger. Thank you.

  2. LOL, you left out the complications of having a limited fuel capacity and only glass tube gauges to read it. My wisecrack would have been “take a kitchen timer”.

  3. Reminds me of the time a pilot from VT confessed to me he got lost over Rhode Island. I was flying that day, and it was CAVU. I asked if he ever got lost in his closet…New England Pilots will know what I mean.