It is my opinion, and that of many great instructors much better than I, that the Cub is the greatest basic trainer ever built.  It is "easy to take off and land in a Cub, but hard to do it perfectly" - and perfection is the always elusive goal of any pilot.

This red screamer is a Lazer 200 that belonged by my friend, Alex Brancaccio. That smile appears in an unavoidable consequence of being upside down a lot.

Harley Carnes

Author,   Purveyor of opinions and ideas,   Teacher of Pilots.


This is a Pitts S-1T, designed by a genius named Curtis Pitts. ( Same one in the picture above, shown flying inverted over northern New Jersey.)  It is one of the few aircraft ever built with a  truly organic connection between the pilot and the air that surrounds him.  There are faster aerobats, and some that are more capable, but none that give more pure joy for the magic of flying.

The classic yellow of a Piper J-3 Cub has been around since the 1940s. In face this one was born in 1946, and has never stopped flying except when it was being painstakingly taken down to its skeleton, inspected, recovered, painted and made new again. 

Passions to live life for

When I am not writing, I am often flying.   Everyone needs something to add a sense of thrill and adventure in their life.  Aviation is my guilty pleasure.

Thank you for visiting my aviation page

We need things that pour happy juice into life. For me, it's flying and family. For those who may wonder about the ratings thing. I'm a commercially rated pilot and flight instructor in both single and multi-engine airplanes, VFR and IFR - meaning good weather when you can see where you are going; and not so good weather when you can't see and have to use the instruments to get there. I'm also a helicopter instructor. Over the years, I've kind of settled into a specialty in teaching tail-wheel and aerobatics, though I still do the other stuff when willing, promising students come calling.


I have been fortunate enough to fly a fairly wide variety of aircraft, ranging from Cubs to fighters, and even a couple of turns at the controls of a B-17 bomber. The great honor of sitting in the seat where fifty years earlier a kid half my age had gone to war was a very special occasion.  I interviewed the 76 year old pilot, who flew with me that day, a man who had flown a Fort in the War.  As he talked, he had tears of reminiscence and thoughts of other young men, long gone but never forgotten.