Sape Mullender

Sape the day after getting his PPL

I started flying in 1996 and I am now a private, instrument-rated pilot.

I learned to fly during a four-month sabbatical at Bell Laboratories where I was introduced to flying by several people in or near the Unix room: Ken Thompson, Dave Presotto, Fred Grampp, and Paul Glick. I joined their flying club, 150th Aero Flying Club based at Morristown Municipal Airport and started lessons in March 1996. John Martin taught me; we had lessons almost daily, weather permitting and I soloed on the 16th of April.  One thing led to another. I took my final check ride on June 28th, literally the day before returning to Amsterdam and here is the result: me proudly standing next to N738SQ after taking up my partner Connie the day after the check ride.

I obtained my complex endorsement and instrument rating under the tutelage of Ken Thompson, with finishing touches provided by George Finlay. The tedium of flying under the hood was relieved on several occasions by warm fronts bringing low ceilings and drizzle, wonderful for making approaches to minimums.  I managed to get four of these in actual conditions on my long cross country.  Click for full story.

This is the panel of our Cessna182RG N4757T, taken on an IFR trip to New Orleans in March of 2003.


I served as president of the 150th Aero Flying club in 2005, 2006 and 2007 and supervised a big project to upgrade the fleet. We completely refurbished one of our 172s, N3054E: new paint, new interior, new panel (but with the same instruments) and it became quite a beauty as shown by the pictures. The “before” picture shows 54E during an engine overhaul (click for larger version).
We started the process of replacing the other 172, N738SQ by a newer, one with autopilot and GPS. The actual replacement happened after my tenure as president.

Connie, my wife, has also been struck by the flying bug; she's taken a “Pinch-hitter's Course”. When we fly together, she does a lot of the flying and navigating, but, to date, she doesn’t want to become a pilot herself.

Technical Stuff

Take care of the engine is an article I wrote about how the engine works with an emphasis on managing temperatures and performance.

Observations from an engine monitor readout.

The mathematics of steep turns.

Memorable Flights

Flying around Manhattan is one of the prettiest things one can do in the New York area.  This is a report of my seventy-first such trip.

Inspired by this (and the Corey Lidle accident), I wrote an article on making steep turns.

Flying the North Atlantic is probably the most unusual flight I’ve made.  The opportunity arose when a friend was contracted to ferry a Cessna Centurion across the pond.
Taking a Sea Survival Course is something we should have done before the Atlantic crossing, of course.  We did it afterwards, out of curiosity.
Flying Across the Continent is something every pilot should do at some point.

Flying a brand-new Stationair, a fun way to spend a day flying cross country.

Flying the Instrument Cross Country before taking the check ride.

Say Souls on Board, a non event, as it turned out, but is was exciting for a few moments.

It has become a tradition every summer to take the Bell Labs summer students on a flying excursion.  For the 2000 trip, we took three of the club's planes to take them to Cape May.  It was one of those awful August days: temperatures near a hundred degrees and humidity near a hundred per cent.  And the breeze in Cape May wasn't all that great either.  We had lunch, looked around town a bit and then looked for the cooler skies again.  Here are some of the pictures Jeff Brown took
(thanks, Jeff).
Preflight at Morristown; I'm preflighting 8SQ on the leftMorristown Airport on climb out from RW 23Final approach to RW 28, Cape MayThe Statue of Liberty


In the summer of 2003 we went to Block Island.  This time, the weather was lovely; a cold front had just passed, the winds had diminished and visibility was 50 miles.  We took three planes and flew to Block Island along the coast of Connecticut.  After lunch on the island and walking around, we flew back using different routes;  I flew back over the Long Island Sound, got flight following and cleared into the Class Bravo airspace to fly over La Guardia and Central Park (at 2000 feet) to the Hudson River.  We descended into the exclusion zone, flew by `the Lady’, over the Verrazano Narrows Bridge, around Staten Island and back to Morristown.  Here are some of the pictures:


One of the summer students flying along the Connecticut coastBlock IslandRae McLellan in N3054E greasing his landing at Block IslandOld harborLemonade standLa Guardia AirportCentral Park looking south from 2000 feetLooking east at Madison Square Gardens and the Empire State BuildingBattery Park, East River with Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge

Sape.150th @ www.diversiorum.org