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Pilot Stories

Enjoy pilot stories? Our Pilot Talk section is full of informative and entertaining flying tales from accomplished pilot authors.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Mechanical Addiction


Don’t even try to explain it



Mechanical AddictionI'm not sure if it's a good or a bad thing, but a couple of months ago, I hit 5,000 hours of Pitts dual-given (most of it in the pattern).
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Light-Sport Chronicles: To Dream, To Live


For Jan Hercek, future vision and reality are separated only by time



Light-Sport Chronicles: To Dream, To LiveJan Hercek got his flying start the way a lot of us did back then: in an old Rogallo-style hang glider.
Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Setting The Selector


In some aircraft, you have to be a contortionist to see where the fuel-tank selector is pointing



Setting The SelectorIf you've flown a variety of aircraft, you know that some designers decided to make it awfully difficult to see for sure which fuel tank or tanks you've selected.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Flying The World’s Biggest Single-Engine Biplane


An open letter to all who have asked, “What’s the weirdest airplane you’ve flown?”



Flying The World’s Biggest Single-Engine BiplaneOne of the most common questions I get has to do with the most unusual aircraft I've flown.
Tuesday, March 27, 2012

From The Editor: The Best Of Both Worlds




From The Editor: The Best Of Both WorldsMonument Valley, on the northern border of Arizona with southern Utah, is pretty much in the middle of no-where.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

On Getting Short


Gravity is the universal enemy in more ways than one



On Getting ShortGetting short" is a familiar old military term: You're coming to the end of your deployment or enlistment, and you don't have much time left before your life will be drastically altered.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Light-Sport Chronicles: Sebring Impressions


Lights, cameras, action: what a great way to start the LSA year!



Light-Sport Chronicles: Sebring ImpressionsI thought those of you who have never been to an air show, specifically the Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo, might enjoy a world's-eye view of what it's like to make the pilgrimage every January.
Tuesday, March 6, 2012

Drinking, Driving And Flying


Just the prospect of facing FAA paperwork should make one think twice about misusing alcohol



Drinking, Driving And FlyingWhen FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt resigned after being arrested by police in Fairfax City, Va., on a drunk-driving charge, some of my pilot acquaintances were quick to express astonishment at the irony of Babbitt himself likely having to face the bureaucratic hurdles set up by the FAA for pilots caught drinking and driving who want to continue flying.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

When Procedures Fail


Learning the lesson the hard way



When Procedures FailPilots are a conscientious group. We do preflights, use checklists, and respect our physical and technical limitations.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Murphy’s Laws Of Aviation


Why what you learned in flight school may be open to question



Murphy’s Laws Of AviationI'm constantly amazed that the constants of aviation usually aren't.
Tuesday, February 21, 2012

From The Editor: Traffic, Gray Whale. 12 O’Clock, Low.




From The Editor: Traffic, Gray Whale. 12 O’Clock, Low.On a recent sunny Saturday, contributor Marc Lee and I decided to fly from the Los Angeles area to Santa Barbara for lunch.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Unplanned Obsolescence


Antiquity is strictly a point of view



Unplanned ObsolescenceEvery so often, something will happen that reaches out and raps you in the noggin, and makes you realize how fast time is ripping past. And how quickly something that's familiar and simply secondhand to you becomes exotic and antique to a new generation.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012

Light-Sport Chronicles: Heart Like A Wing


In celebration of CFIs everywhere, and one in particular



Light-Sport Chronicles: Heart Like A WingIt's that time of year! Spring be sprung, or nearly so; if a blanket of frosty white lurks beyond your window, have faith—the end is near.
Tuesday, February 7, 2012

May I See Your Driver’s License?


Data proving you don’t need an FAA medical certificate to be safe comes as no surprise to many



May I See Your Driver’s License?Others believe the resources the FAA devotes to medical certification could be put to better use elsewhere.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Include, Don’t Exclude


A look at some of the deterrents to flying and what can be done to reverse them



Include, Don’t ExcludeWe all love stories of how people are seduced by aviation, but it's just as interesting to know what keeps them out.
Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Autopilots Equal Safety


It may seem counterintuitive for macho pilots, but an autopilot will nearly always do a better job than you will



Autopilots Equal SafetyOne of the most common questions I get about flying the oceans is, "How do you stay awake on a 10- to 15-hour leg?" My standard answer is, "Consider the alternative."
Tuesday, January 24, 2012

From The Editor: What’s In A Name?




From The Editor: What’s In A Name?I first heard about Amelia Earhart three years ago on Facebook. The new Amelia Earhart, that is.
Wednesday, December 21, 2011

$150 Per Pilot Charge for Using the iPad?




$150 Per Pilot Charge for Using the iPad?Last week, the FAA's AeroNav division held a meeting in Washington D.C.—where the public and press were excluded—to discuss charging fees for users of their digital chart data.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Of Knowledge, Experience And Regulations


Going to school doesn’t necessarily make you smarter



Of Knowledge, Experience And RegulationsAt the time this was being written, word was circulating within the aviation community that as the result of the Colgan airline crash in 2009, the FAA is probably going to place new experience requirements on airline copilot new hires.
Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Air Race Accidents


Safety in air racing depends on the airplane as well as the pilot



Air Race AccidentsThe death toll quickly rose to 11, including the pilot with about 70 injured.