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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.

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.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Zen & The Art Of Airplane Flying


Airplanes and motorcycles may be more alike than you think



Zen & The Art Of Airplane FlyingI’m one of those apparently strange folks who believe that flying is an easy skill to learn. No, that’s not because I do it so well.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

The Courtesy Attitude


No one owns the sky, although some people think they do



The Courtesy AttitudeI don’t normally rant. But this might be an exception. Or at least I’ll clamber onto my ever-present soapbox to make a point.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

From The Editor: Music To Fly By




From The Editor: Music To Fly ByFirst Titanic, then Avatar. Now the Horsemen. Renowned composer James Horner has taken his musical talents from Hollywood’s big screen to the world of aviation.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Light-Sport Chronicles: Profiles In Vision: Boris Popov


One disaster avoided, one vow made–many lives saved thereafter



Light-Sport Chronicles: Profiles In Vision: Boris PopovA few weeks ago, I came within a second or two of a head-on mid-air collision.
Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Sharing The Passion


The mission to grow aviation



Sharing The PassionAviation and flying have been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Monitoring What’s Going On


Managing pilot workload



Monitoring What’s Going OnIndividuals who have passed their FAA written exams and practical tests don’t necessarily have the knowledge and skills to become trustworthy pilots.
Tuesday, June 8, 2010

A Pure Form Of Flying


Stick and rudder in a glider



A Pure Form Of FlyingIt was a beautiful spring day, and I was a newly minted CFI full of confidence and enthusiasm.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Light-Sport Chronicles: Gold Stars & Black Stars


Reviewing last year’s LSA accidents shows improvements...and shortcomings



Light-Sport Chronicles: Gold Stars & Black StarsAbout a year ago, I asked Mike Adams, Avemco Insurance Company’s VP of underwriting, to use his crystal ball (FAA and Avemco accident and claim statistics) to divine trends in LSA flying.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Memories Of Alaska


The Far North is one of the most popular vacation destinations for pilots



Memories Of AlaskaOnce or twice each summer, I slip into the right seat of an airplane and help a pilot fly to an exotic destination, most often across the Atlantic from North America to Europe.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Of Baby Girls & Aeroplanes­


Eventually, they all grow up, but you can still share the memories­



Of Baby Girls & Aeroplanes­Does your mind ever wander, unable to think about any one thing in particular? Instead, your thoughts are unfocused, and your mind is mentally channel-surfing, leafing through memories, lingering for a few seconds and then flipping to a new memory, a new thought.
Tuesday, May 25, 2010

From The Editor: Contrails & Cubs, Gear & Gators




From The Editor: Contrails & Cubs, Gear & GatorsThe last time we visited with John and Martha King, they were flying the new Cessna Skycatcher for a series of light-sport instructional DVDs. Recently, we caught up with them in something on the other end of the speed spectrum—their Dassault Falcon 10 jet.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Analyzing Pilot Performance


The NTSB’s findings on the Colgan Air crash



Analyzing Pilot PerformanceNTSB investigators were able to assemble plenty of data to reconstruct what happened on board the Colgan Air Bombardier DHC-8-400 that crashed at Clarence Center, N.Y., on February 12, 2009.
Tuesday, May 4, 2010

The Chicago Air & Water Show


Inbound to the staging airport while the air show is active



The Chicago Air & Water ShowAs a lifelong Chicago-area resident, I’ve had the pleasure of attending the Chicago Air & Water Show several times.
Saturday, May 1, 2010

An Aviator’s Best Friend


Fifty years later, the next journey to the edge of space



An Aviator’s Best FriendFifty years ago, I stood at the edge of space and jumped. This year, Felix Baumgartner of Austria plans to make a jump from the edge of space, but from a height that’s 20,000 feet higher—an altitude from which no human has ever successfully completed a free fall. The mission is known as Red Bull Stratos.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Stamp Out CFIT


Truth is, not everybody learns from their mistakes



Stamp Out CFITIt was mid-1977, and I had been assigned a story on the first production model of a new twin.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Plastic Pilot License


They may be more practical, but some of us miss the paper ones



Plastic Pilot LicenseMy new plastic pilot license showed up in the mail the other day, and this is what I think: I don’t like it.
Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Light-Sport Chronicles: Reading The Tea Leaves


Some things to watch for...and watch out for



Light-Sport Chronicles: Reading The Tea LeavesPartway through the year, as the economy continues to show signs of recovery, I wanted to look down the road and ask someone who keeps a keen eye on the LSA industry if there were significant trends to track for the rest of 2010.