Golden Era Aviation is one man’s attempt to do it all for the Aviation Community. The love of Aviation has been my passion for 60 years. I have been fortunate to make it my career, hobby and main interest in life. Living in a hangar in Friday Harbor, Wa. is about is as good as it gets. To be in a magical place surrounded by the sea and forest living on a beautiful Island flying airplanes has been fantastic.
Now that I have retired from Military and Commercial Aviation I have more time to enjoy my hangar and my fellow pilots. I have determined that pilot camaraderie is paramount in keeping each other safe through “hangar flying”. The ability to get together and enjoy our time together while we tell about our near misses, rough running engines and inadvertent flying into IMC weather alerts us to the fact Aviation is very unforgiving of the unprepared or those who lack flying skills. Through discussing our stories a pilot can learn through the misfortunes of others. The addition of electronic devices in the cockpit have relieved a great deal of constant attention to navigation of the aircraft but complacency and laziness has replaced the once constant awareness of the airplane in flight. We all are guilty of taking a break and just staring out the window. But we all know if it is at the wrong moment we could meet another aircraft head on.
In this age of electronic flight devices the pilot of today has very little to concern him or herself with dead reckoning navigation. The pilot of today departs an airport and arrives at their destination without a concern that they will arrive safely. For new pilots this can be deadly. Even for experienced pilots a casual or nonchalant attitude will be detrimental to their survival.
We are here to teach techniques for your survival. Through experienced “Old Pilots”we evaluate and hone your skills and determine your ability to deal with an emergency situation. We are here to save your life and of your passengers. We all have experienced different methods of instruction and our depth of understanding may or may not be what the instructor intended. In addition we all have had flying experiences that others have not. You may be able to teach us some things. This is a learning environment that benefits everyone. It is a “ thinking mans” way to develop a procedure to deal with an emergency during a phase of flight. As we know when it all hits the fan it rarely looks exactly like what we have trained for.
We have a six day flight program to take you from being one of “those guys” to being a more professional proficient pilot. This course is not easy and your knowledge and skill will be tested. You may not be able to accomplish every task but you will be able to understand your weaknesses and be made more proficient in that area to be a safe pilot. Depending on your availability or level of proficiency you may schedule flights when you are available.
We will present each session as though you are preparing for a normal flight. You will be given a route of flight and you will do your normal flight planning. Your Instructor will brief you on the “emergency of the day” and answer your questions. During the flight the emergency will be basically non-critical but may require alternative flight planning. The lessons learned fall back on the traditional “Aviate, Navigate,Communicate”. Decision making, following procedures, checklists and safety are the areas of instruction. At the end of your flight you will have a debrief for the flight in order to understand lessons learned. The Blackcat Lounge will be the debrief area as there is no better place than a relaxed environment to talk about the days events. Your personal level of ability will decide if you are ready to step up to the next level. If you can depart from and airport, have a partial engine failure, smoke in the cockpit, unsafe landing gear and one stuck flap and get it back on the ground then you may not need this course. But I sure would like to have a beer with you.
Our Instructors have a wide variety of aviation experiences. Each knows how to make you a safer pilot. Our Instructors have flown a wide variety of aircraft from the U2, F15, Boeing 777, Cessna 206 doing mountain flying and Cessna 185 and 206 on floats. We have thousands of hours of experience that we can pass on to you. We each have our own areas of critical concern since we had our own emergencies that we lived through.
Our program is all built around your skill level. Ground training is basically at no cost to you. Only Instructor flight time may have a cost as determined by the Instructor. We will train you in your airplane or our aircraft. Lodging is available on site.
For those who love the beauty of flight, the freedom,the challenges, the professional skill to fly, this place is for you! When you gaze upon a Spad, Spitfire, Connie, Phantom, Cessna 310 or a U2 do you wish that you could have flown that magnificent machine? We all have our favorites. In this Hotel we only speak airplane.
Our desire is to honor those aviators who came before us and who flew dynamic airplanes during a time of conflict. The theme is one of honor and dreams. Yes we display mostly military aircraft pictures of yesteryear and have an understanding of the sacrifices of those aviators. Every pilot is welcome regardless of your background as we all love airplanes and understand your affinity for flight.
During your stay in this hotel you are required to spend time with one of the “old guys” in ground training. This is no cost to you. You may be asked difficult questions so you should at least know the basics. We want to know that the time you spend with us is very enjoyable but that you also take something with you that may make you a better pilot.
The rooms are based on WWI and WWII specific pilot histories. For WWI we have Lt. Frank Luke Jr. His room is set up with turn of the Century furniture, pictures of his short history and copies of original orders, articles and pictures. Lt Luke was the second highest ace of WWI by scoring 18 kills in just 17 days before being shot down. He has an incredible story. One which you need to hear. The second room is for Capt Douglas Campbell who shot down the first airplane when the American Air Service first entered the War. He was also the first Ace.
The third room is for Gen. Claire Chennault of the Flying Tigers.
The last room is for Lt. Saburo Sakai a top Japanese Ace.
The Hotel also has a 300” movie theater screen for those aviation movies and programs. The sound system is just right! Along with the movie theater the Black Cat Lounge is available for your use. The amount of model airplanes, aviation art, and memorabilia are really something to see.
The hotel offers transportation around the Island on a prearranged schedule. We also will have a small complimentary continental breakfast from 7am until 9am.
Our room rates are as follows:
Rooms 1,2,4 are 135.00 per night
Room 3 is $160.00 per night
For pilots that are members of :
West Sound Pilots Association
Washington Pilots Association
Flights Above The Pacific Northwest
Friday Harbor Pilots Association
Your hotel rate will be given a 20% discount with proof of membership (only one discount may be used.)
Flying into Friday Harbor for a vacation? You are also welcome to stay with us. We would be happy to assist you any way that we can. Our rooms have queen size beds, 50” televisions, wifi connection, and shared beautifully tiled modern bathrooms. You all know how beautiful this Island is. The small town friendly atmosphere with the beauty of this location is certainly a good reason for it’s renowned reputation. If you do not know Friday Harbor on San Juan Island you have really missed a fantastic magical place. Check it out today! Come and join us. This is a special place that will make you a better pilot!
Check in is 1:00 PM
Check out is 11:00 AM
The Lone Eagle Society is a non-profit 501 C3 Corporation designed for aviation oriented individuals to mentor those who wish to gain more knowledge and hands on experiences in building an airplane. It is designed to give our Island youth an additional educational experience outside the traditional formal education they are receiving. However all are welcome. The only requirement is that each person be diligent and be a team player. Everyone has talents that others may not. It is beneficial if everyone can teach others something new.
Currently an Aeronca Super Chief 11CC from 1947 is under construction. It is being put back together now but still requires additional painting and to recover with fabric. There are three exciting phases to aircraft restoration: stripping the aircraft down to it’s bare bones, putting it all back together and the first flight. Unfortunately the tedious task of cleaning, sanding, painting and repairing also has to be done. Fortunately we are close to the assembly stage. We have a very experienced individual here that will give us a hand to show us how to do the fabric covering. As they say many hands make lite work. The engine has been rebuilt and is an 85-12 Continental with electric start. The majority of the wood work has been finished. We are using the Stewart recover system and paint for this project due to it being water based. As time goes by other new parts will be purchased when needed to complete the project.
The Black Cat Lounge is a place of honor and rememberance of those incredible pilots who flew the U2. This highly elite group of pilots enabled our Nation to stay ahead of all those who wish us harm. For 65 years the U2 has continuously flown high altitude reconnaissance missions over denied territory around the world. Fulfilling a strategic intelligence requirement on a daily basis over designated “hot spots” has been accomplished by a very few highly dedicated extraordinary pilots. The U2 is known as the the most difficult airplane to fly. Very few have the basic ability to fly the airplane but even fewer would want to deal with the 9 hour missions as a single pilot above 70,000 ft a thousand miles from home base. The U2 pilot was only a part of this incredible team. Those who serviced, maintained, interpreted the photos or were in any position to support the mission were all the most top notch incredible people specifically chosen to be in this program. Everyone on the team made the mission successful. Everyone protected the airplane and the pilot by being exemplary in their duties. We honor everyone who can say that at one time they were the best the Air Force had.
The original Black Cat Squadron was established in Taiwan in the 1960’s. These Republic of China Air Force pilots were trained in the US to fly the U2. They had the incredible mission of overflying Communist China to gather both photo and signals intelligence.During the years the Squadron was operational from the early 1960’s until the early 1970’s 5 U2s were shot down and 7 were lost during training. Approximately 9 of the 22 U2 pilots gave their lives . We honor their memory.
During this time there was an increase in intelligence gathering in Korea and a US Air Force U2 Detachment was sent to fly the required missions. Thus was born the new Black Cats. The unit has been there now for over 40 years. Every newly minted U2 pilot has an opportunity to fly from this location keeping an eye on the North Koreans. In that time the Black Cats have proved their professional excellence on a daily basis. Having had the great honor of joining the Brotherhood back in 1986 I wanted to recreate this Lounge in their honor. Unfortunately as of now I have been unable to find a pure black cat and name him Oscar as our Squadron Mascot was named. Just to verify my credentials my solo number was 482. In 65 years there have been just a few over 1000 U2 pilots.
The most important reason the Lounge exists is to pass on flying experiences between pilots. In any flight program there is a real need for pilots to get together to communicate their stories to other pilots. Pilots are good listeners when they can hear the stories of mistakes, emergencies or screw ups made by fellow pilots.Pilots are very cognizant of the desire not to make any mistakes or they may be held to criticism by their fellow pilots.Therefore pilots are very attune to learning critical information through the misfortunes of others. Besides we all know how important it is to relax after a flight!
740 Airport Circle Drive, Friday Harbor, Washington 98250, United States
09:00 am – 05:00 pm
Golden Era Hangar Hotel is available from May through September. Other days may be available. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.
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We love our customers, so feel free to visit during normal business hours.
09:00 am – 05:00 pm