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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, September 21, 2010

The Heavy Glider


An intimate look at the Shuttle Orbiter



The Heavy GliderI’m one fortunate aviator. My professional career has coincided with the 30-year flight history of the Space Shuttle program.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Artificial Speed


Believe it or not, there are some easy, inexpensive ways to fly faster



Artificial SpeedIt’s probably the most common question I hear at air shows and conventions such as Sun ’n Fun, AirVenture, AOPA, NBAA and Reno.
Tuesday, September 21, 2010

From The Editor: No Go-Around




From The Editor: No Go-AroundWhen the space shuttle reenters the earth’s atmosphere, it becomes nothing more than a huge glider—with a pretty awful glide ratio—and the shuttle commander gets just one chance to land.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Taking Command Of Your First Plane


The Bellanca that could not be resisted



Taking Command Of Your First PlaneIt started at Disneyland, holding my daughter Elena’s hand, when my cell phone rang.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Our First Airplane


There’s only one “first...” or is there?



Our First AirplaneI was recently posed with a seemingly simple question: What was your first airplane?
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Light-Sport Chronicles: Little Airports


Green fields, blue skies, white clouds—LSA heaven, here I come!



Light-Sport Chronicles: Little AirportsBehold the home of the $100 hamburger, the remnants of a life gone by, when linen-covered, nitrate-doped biplanes landed in potato fields and took small-town kids for rides on balmy summer days.
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Buyer Beware


Whether it’s a new or used airplane, don’t rush when doing your prebuy inspection



Buyer BewareYou might think that FAA airworthiness, inspection and record-keeping requirements virtually guarantee that any airplane you buy is going to be in superb condition.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Power Of Electric Flight


Bridging the continents, bridging the generations



The Power Of Electric FlightWhat’s the next big leap in aviation? I think about this stuff all the time.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Memories Of The Swift


My first airplane was a Swift—and I survived



Memories Of The SwiftOkay, right up front, in an attempt to stop short any angry letters from Swift owners, I loved my little Swift.
Tuesday, August 24, 2010

From The Editor: Make Your Own Runway




From The Editor: Make Your Own RunwayI’ve always admired—and envied—bush pilots.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

The Good Old Boys Club...NOT!


Sometimes becoming one of the guys is easier than it looks



The Good Old Boys Club...NOT!Do you remember when life was slow enough that we used to sit around in front of the hangar, the sun making us feel like reptiles soaking up the warmth, before bundling ourselves into our respective flying machines to go test fate?
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Light-Sport Chronicles: Staying The Course


Too many songbirds, not enough bird seed–what to do?



Light-Sport Chronicles: Staying The CourseRecently, a gentleman e-mailed me who had invested a ways back in an LSA company, not because he expected to become the next Piper, Flight Design, Rans or Legend Cub, but because, in his own words, "I just love airplanes." A lifelong financial professional, he wasn’t after a fortune—except maybe the proverbial small one from a big one. He just loved airplanes.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Great Places Not To Have An Accident


Don’t spend so much time looking at scenery that you neglect to look at flight necessities



Great Places Not To Have An AccidentOne of the truly wondrous things about general aviation is the ease with which you can reach vacation sites that would be a hassle via road, ferry or airline transportation.
Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Canyonlands By Cherokee


Learning the Utah backcountry



Canyonlands By CherokeeIn 2007 I had been going to Moab, Utah, for four years—hiking, running and sightseeing—and I was 20 years a pilot with my own Cherokee 140.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Really Low On Fuel


A dark and stormy night in Alaska



Really Low On FuelEarly in September of 1977, a fellow Alaska registered guide asked me to fly some avgas to a hunting camp he operated on the west side of the Alaska Range.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Redline!


Vne doesn’t necessarily mean what you think it means



Redline!I was flying home to California from Florida in my Mooney Executive a few years ago following what amounted to a medium makeover of the airplane’s aerodynamic drag signature.
Tuesday, July 20, 2010

From The Editor: The Athlete Pilot




From The Editor: The Athlete Pilot“Athlete” isn’t a word that’s often equated with pilots, but Red Bull Air Race pilots are athletes in every way.
Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Takeoff Alternates


Garmin tips for flying IFR



Takeoff AlternatesJune gloom is here—a time for low ceilings and low visibility due to fog and mist.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010

The Light-Sport Safety Record


Tracking 2009 incidents



The Light-Sport Safety RecordWhile the NTSB’s preliminary statistics show that the number of general aviation accidents dropped again last year, as did the number of people killed, the estimated number of hours flown also dropped, resulting in a slight increase in both the overall and fatal accident rates.
Tuesday, July 6, 2010

From Russia With Love


Soloing a Yak 50



From Russia With LoveThe Yak 50 is a single-engine, single-seat, low-wing, semi-retractable, conventional-gear aerobatic aircraft designed in 1973 by the Yakovlev Design Bureau in Russia. It’s an honest, friendly airplane—if somewhat extraordinary because of its country of origin.