This week’s project: Fly a helicopter from Los Angeles to Boston

I’ve completed the paperwork and registration for my new Robinson R22 helicopter.  I’m picking up the ship at Silver State Helicopters in Long Beach, California, right near the factory in Torrance, CA, on Tuesday morning.  I will fly it around Southern California on Tuesday to make sure that there aren’t any teething problems (the ship will have been test-flown for about 4 hours by Robinson and then another 1-2 hours by Silver State, the dealer).  On Wednesday morning, I plan to depart for Blythe, Phoenix, Tucson, Las Cruces, El Paso, and onward towards northern Georgia then up the East Coast.  The route is designed to stay at low altitudes across the Western mountains and to avoid snow storms in the Midwest and East.  Helicopters that cost less than $2 million don’t typically have autopilots, so this will be about 30 hours of hand flying.  I expect to have a 125 lb. helicopter flight instructor with me for most of the trip and therefore won’t have to be on the controls the whole time.  We might stop for a day of sightseeing in Tucson, but otherwise are going to try to make it to Boston fairly quickly.

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Lens shopping advice for digital SLR camera owners

I get a lot of folks emailing thanking me for the advice in but asking for more details on “what lenses should I buy now that I have a digital camera.”  I’m trying gradually to write a little bit about that and the first simple article is

Suggested improvements would be appreciated, either via email to or in the comments section.


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