Author Archives: Kevin Johnson

About Kevin Johnson

Kevin Johnson grew up in a farming family living in the Ozarks of south Missouri. He graduated with a Bachelors of Science in Physics in 2006 from University of Missouri Rolla and a Masters in Physics 2008 from the University of Missouri Columbia before joining the Naval Air Warfare Center – Weapons Division at China Lake, California. While engaging in a successful career as a Navy scientist he pursued his long time interest in aviation. Since 2008 he built an airplane with his father, he is building another one with his father-in-law now, he became a glider pilot, and then Kevin became an instrument rated airplane pilot. Still missing the enjoyment of teaching that he found while running the undergraduate physics laboratories at the universities he earned his flight instructor certificate. Kevin looks forward to sharing the thrill of flight with others every day.

First Day of Spring

Flew to KBFL, Bakersfield Meadows Field, with a student on a cross country today. On this first spring day, to all of you looking for warmer weather, Spring is coming.

West face of the Sierra Nevada mountains headed to Bakersfield from Inyokern along the Kern River Valley.  The lots of poppies and other wild flowers in bloom.

West face of the Sierra Nevada mountains headed to Bakersfield from Inyokern along the Kern River Valley. The lots of poppies and other wild flowers in bloom.

Green mountains and the Central / San Joaquin Valley ahead.

Green mountains and the Central / San Joaquin Valley ahead.

Looking back at some more blooms.

Looking back at some more blooms.

Kern River running strong.

Kern River running strong.

Towing a glider off a dry lakebed

1-34 at Cinder Cone Dry Lake

1-34 at Cinder Cone Dry Lake

Did my first aero-retrieve of a glider. Towed the 1-34 off Cinder Cone Dry Lake back to Inyokern Sunday evening. Fun flight and thankfully uneventful as everything went well.

The lakebed is flat, hard, and wasn’t difficult to land on as long as the gravel bar was avoided. I did kick up quite a bit of dust taking off. With 25 knots of wind from the south the 1-34 lifted off almost immediately and the 182 lifted off well before the middle of the dry lakebed where the windsock is.

The flight back was a bit slow with the headwind and required minimum power to maintain altitude with the glider on tow at normal towing airspeed. When we were back over Inyokern the 1-34 released into the pattern and we all came in to land as normal. All in all a good day.

Returning to KIYK with 1-34 in tow

Returning to KIYK with 1-34 in tow

Free King Schools Courses

These are nice short courses offered for free by King Schools. They are good review for current pilots and a nice way to try out King Schools as a student before buying any of their other courses.

Non-Towered Airport Communications

This free course will take you through the paces of arrival and departure from airports without an operating control tower and show you how to use skillful communication together with situational awareness to manage collision risk.

Radio call-up procedures, correct radio terminology, and how to use your radio for increased safety and utility are all there—even the best way to resolve on-air disputes. A wealth of pointers on issuing clear and professional communications.
13 minutes.

Crosswind Landings Made Easy

If you have ever struggled to stay aligned with the centerline with zero sideways drift while landing in a stiff crosswind, this mini-course will give you all the secrets to make it a “breeze”. In-flight footage and clear teaching will give you the perspective you need to nail it—every time! 12 minutes.

Tie Down the Airplane

It’s spring and big winds are back. Tie down your aircraft if you aren’t at the controls because enough wind can fly anything from this…

An airplane flies away in a gust of wind because it wasn't secured.

Click to see what happens…

To this! All the wing needs is sufficient airspeed and it *will* fly. That’s what happened to the 747 in the link above. It’s been stripped down at the boneyard so it’s very light, and stall speed decreases with weight, so the wing needs less airspeed to fly. The only reason this 747 didn’t do like the light airplane above is the 747 was tied down at the main landing gear.

This isn’t just a windy day piece of advice. Helicopter downwash on a ramp can fly most light airplanes just as easily (if not more so) than high winds can.

So secure your aircraft. Tie it down fast if you aren’t at the controls.

Happy New Year

It’s been quite a year. Brian Cepaitis became a glider pilot, Mike Riley soloed, and so did Brian Kajiwara. I’ve flown my longest cross country this year, twice. This first year as a CFI has went very well. And to top it all off Evelyn is here now.

Evelyn Johnson

Evelyn Johnson, born this September, 2014

We’ve had a lot of fun. Here’s Evelyn just before her first flight:

Evelyn's first flight.  Inyokern to Kern Valley for breakfast in the 182!

Evelyn’s first flight. Inyokern to Kern Valley for breakfast in the 182!

Aleta’s worried I might be trying to start her a little early on flying 😉

First lesson: Clean side up, dirty side down, and stay out of the trees. Second lesson: Don't tell Mom!

First lesson: Clean side up, dirty side down, and stay out of the trees.
Second lesson: Don’t tell Mom!

2014 has been a great year. I’m looking forward to 2015 and I hope you are too! Happy New Year!