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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, January 26, 2010

The Science, The Art, The Realities


Perfect airplanes usually exist only in the eye of the beholder



The Science, The Art, The RealitiesAnyone who has flown for more than 10 minutes has developed an idea of what defines the perfect airplane.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

From The Editor: It’s Never Too Late




From The Editor: It’s Never Too LateIt was typical hangar chatter during a holiday party at the MotoArt facility at Torrance Airport.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Muffler Inspection


It’s critical to ensuring a safe flight



Muffler InspectionIf you were to make a list of the most fun and glamorous aspects of flying, I’d bet that inspecting an aircraft’s muffler wouldn’t be on it.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Danny’s Dream


A special day for a special kid



Danny’s DreamWhy would any kid want to do that?” That was the social worker’s response to my offer to take any child flying for free—that is, any child who was a patient at the local cancer center for children.
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Light-Sport Chronicles: School Daze


Three ways LSA flight training is getting done in America



Light-Sport Chronicles: School Daze Recently, I fired up the Skype to glean some insight into LSA flight training in America.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Caravan To Seoul—The Prequel


Here’s what happens before you fly the ocean



Caravan To Seoul—The PrequelIf you saw Jurassic Park, then you may remember the scene where Jeff Goldblum describes chaos theory as a mathematical discipline where the results of any given problem are never totally predictable, no matter how carefully conditions are controlled.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Speed Is Life


Never underestimate the importance of an instrument cross-check



Speed Is LifeAs a former SR-71 pilot, and a professional keynote speaker, the question I’m most often asked is “How fast would that SR-71 fly?” I can be assured of hearing that question several times at any event I attend.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

The Grandfather They Only Thought They Knew


If you don’t ask questions, you won’t get answers



The Grandfather They Only Thought They KnewA few minutes ago, I finished reading an official document in which a gentleman I knew, a lawyer, had put himself up for questioning by another lawyer.
Tuesday, December 1, 2009

From The Editor: Catching Up With The Kings




From The Editor: Catching Up With The KingsThe exchange sounded like something you might expect to hear in the cockpit of a large airliner. But I was in a Dassault Falcon 10 piloted by husband and wife John and Martha King, creators of the popular King Schools training videos and private jet owners.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Sweet Dreams


Don’t take for granted the importance of a good night’s rest



Sweet DreamsIf the NTSB had its way, the FAA would be gauging whether or not you’re having sweet dreams and sleeping through the night cuddled up with your teddy bear.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Air Capital Tanker Chase


Hot-rod flight test in a TA-4 Skyhawk



Air Capital Tanker ChaseAs a flight test engineer for the Boeing Company assigned to Wichita, Kans. (“the Air Capital”), I’m among the fortunate people who truly love their work.
Tuesday, November 3, 2009

LSA Ownership—Condo Style!


Low down payment, affordable monthly installments, zero hassle: sound familiar?



LSA Ownership—Condo Style!I love this concept of sharing ownership in an aircraft, new or used. Last month, I delved into David Kruger’s Aircraft Partnership Association (www.theapa.com), a type of online matchmaking service to bring like-minded pilots together for sharing the costs of aircraft ownership.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Paranoia Of Landings


Landings aren’t the most important thing, they’re the only thing—not



The Paranoia Of LandingsI had been hired to fly a Cessna 340 from Torrance, Calif., to Glasgow, U.K., on an Atlantic tour with the owner in the right seat. The first four days of the trip had gone well. We had departed Torrance, stopped in Denver and made it to Ohio the first day, then managed to have lunch in Bangor and fly on to Goose Bay the second day.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

The Character Of Risk


No adventure is completely risk free



The Character Of RiskIt’s no news to most pilots that we recently lost Vicki Cruse, president of the International Aerobatic Club. What was almost certainly a control failure caught her in the worst possible position, and I can’t get her out of my mind.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Air Shows As GA Rallying Point


Working together to benefit general aviation



Air Shows As GA Rallying PointAs much of the aviation industry suffered through the effects of the historic economic downturn during the last year, the air show industry experienced double-digit growth and, in some markets, record attendance.
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

From The Editor: Spreading The Word




From The Editor: Spreading The WordWhile working on this month’s Guest Speaker column, Managing Editor Pam Lee suggested that the reference to Patty Wagstaff mention that the air show star performs annually in front of thousands of spectators. Hundreds of thousands, I countered.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Little Runway That Started It All


Return to Hidden Lake



The Little Runway That Started It AllPeople often associate memorable flights with a particular aircraft or airport. Others subscribe to the notion that the journey is more important than the destination.
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Light-Sport Chronicles: Matchmaking...For Pilots


The truth shall set you free: How to afford an LSA



Light-Sport Chronicles: Matchmaking...For PilotsWebster should put a picture of a human under its definition of “adaptability.”
Tuesday, October 6, 2009

The Steve Fossett Accident


The NTSB’s findings on the famed aviator’s fatal crash



The Steve Fossett AccidentThe NTSB says the probable cause of the 2007 crash of adventurer Steve Fossett was an inadvertent encounter with downdrafts above mountainous terrain that exceeded the climb capability of the Bellanca Super Decathlon he was flying. Downdrafts, high-density altitude and mountainous terrain were all contributing factors.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009

My Secret


How teamwork makes for the best job in the sky



My SecretI have a secret that I’m going to let fly with the aviation community.