Posts Tagged ‘airplane’

Bush plane flying tour

May 2nd, 2019

Bush Plane Flying Tour
Bush Plane Flying Tour Bush Plane Flying Tour Bush Plane Flying Tour Bush Plane Flying Tour

There’s experiences and then there’s experiences, and this one falls strictly into the latter category. On a whim I booked a “Bush Plane Flying Tour” hosted by an Air Force vet and flying enthusiast named Neil.

We met in the parking lot of the South Valley Regional Airport, just outside of Salt Lake City. It’s a tiny airport with just one runway, and has a flight training school as well — this aspect was particularly unnerving when a helicopter landed only around 100 feet away from me, piloted by someone who was obviously a student.

Neil met me and another guest (confusingly also named Eric) and showed us around his Cessna 170. It’s an unpainted four-seater propeller plane from 1953, with some upgrades including a new engine. We all put on headsets to talk to one another and hear the radio. The radio’s important because South Valley Regional Airport is too small to have an air traffic control tower so pilots have to maintain contact to share the runway.

Taking off in a little taildragger airplane is nothing like flying on a passenger jet. The propeller engine sounds like a motorcycle, and as it gets up to speed the tail lifts off the ground before the front.

As we began ascending I felt a fear of heights kick in, though that quickly became a fear of turbulence as we got knocked around a little by the wind.

We took a slightly roundabout route to Antelope Island in order to avoid violating the airspace of Salt Lake City International. Neil took us pretty low over the island to spot the bison that live there. On the east side of the island there wasn’t much to see. After making a quick turn over the island, we spotted a large herd of bison on the west side. The noise of the airplane scared a few of them away.

Coming back around to the airport we took a detour through a nearby snowy mountain range. It’s supposed to be a good place to spot deer though we weren’t lucky enough to see any.

To land, Neil pointed out a flag outside a grocery store he uses to determine the wind pattern on the runway. Fortunately it was in our favor, so he took us over a soccer field, turned the plane around, and then said “so this is what you do if you want to lose altitude really fast, it’s called a ‘sideslip.’” He turned the plane so it was pointed at an angle to the runway, and sure enough we dropped very quickly, landing fast but smooth.

This excursion went by so fast I had to double check my phone to see that yes, we actually were up in the sky for an hour. It felt more like 10, maybe 15 minutes. Time flies, as they say.

My recommendation: If you want to try something unique and exciting while you’re in Salt Lake City, this is a good bet. It can be booked through Airbnb Experiences.

How to be a decent airplane passenger

November 9th, 2012


Look. I’ve been doing far too much airplane travel recently. Like most of us, I’m not traveling on private jets; I’m flying “economy” on commercial airlines. Airplanes, airports — it always sucks. At best, the experience isn’t complete bullshit. At worst, the stench of airline food will make you beg for death.

Here’s my advice on how to be a decent person throughout your air travels. If we all follow these simple rules, the entire airline experience will suck a lot less for everyone.

Follow along and take notes.


  • The rules are usually posted all over the place, so don’t hold up the line because you forgot to take your shoes off or throw away your water bottle.
  • Yes the security can be demeaning in the United States. If you want to opt out of the scan, just say so. But you don’t need to be a dick about it to the employees. Harassing the security staff will make the other passengers think you’re an asshole — and they’ll be correct.


  • Check in your luggage. Don’t be one of those carry-on abusers who brings a giant suitcase on board that takes up half an overhead bin.
  • You can board at any time after they call you row. So why rush to be the first one on? Unless you’re one of those aforementioned carry-on abusers, spending an extra 30 minutes on a stinky airplane isn’t an advantage. Don’t wait in line, just walk in when everyone else already sat down.

Sitting in coach

  • Squirming wildly the entire flight is not fair to the person behind you. Letting your child repeatedly kick the seat is not fair to the person in front of you. Don’t be a dick.
  • Here’s the rule for armrests: if you take one, you can use that space and no more. Armrests are not an excuse to elbow someone in the gut.
  • As for who gets which armrest, it’s simple: the person squeezed on the inside gets it. If there’s four people side by side, only the armrest in the center is in play.
  • If the person in front of you wants to lean back, that’s their call. Need the extra space? Tough luck, cheapass. You should have shelled out for extra space.
  • Does your baby scream and cry repeatedly for dozens of hours on end? If so, have the decency to cancel your flight. I’m sure your “family emergency” or whatever is important, but that doesn’t give you the right to make the next 10 hours of a bunch of stranger’s lives completely miserable.
  • Nothing wrong with talking to your neighbors, but being extremely chatty is obnoxious. I don’t need a 10 hour lecture on collecting flowers. Know when to STFU.


  • If you’re sitting next to a young child, you probably should think twice before watching Ultraviolent Sex Horror III.
  • If you sit there with the map open the entire flight, it’s like shouting “ARE WE THERE YET” the whole time.
  • For fuck’s sake, bring your own headphones. You won’t be able to hear anything with the piece of shit ones they hand out anyway.

Food and drink service

  • Bring your own. And you’d better eat before they start microwaving the airline food, because the entire plane is going to smell like rotten farts for the rest of the flight, and the bathroom will smell like death.
  • If you’re going to order a bunch of coffee or booze every time they offer it, take the extra five seconds to request an aisle seat. It’s the least you can do.


  • You went before getting on, right? Don’t be one of those dumbasses who does the “I have to pee” dance behind the food cart.
  • Just because the seat belt sign turned off doesn’t mean you have to go mob the bathrooms with everyone else. Have some restraint.


  • You know that whole “captain has turned off the seatbelt sign” thing? Follow it, or risk getting knocked on your ass. It’s there for a reason.
  • Just like boarding the plane, there’s no reason to be the first one off. If there’s no room to stand up, then don’t. Wait your turn.
  • Airplane seat pockets are not garbage cans. Leave a magazine here if you want, but not gum or burritos.

Photo by Wildhaber