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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, February 10, 2009

Icing Awareness


The quantity and quality of information have improved, but icing is ever a deadly foe



ntsbTen years ago, the National Aviation Weather Program Council met in Washington, D.C., to develop ideas that could be turned into practical steps toward reducing the number of weather-related aircraft accidents. Regarding in-flight icing, the group—which included FAA, Department of Defense, NASA, Department of Commerce, Department of Agriculture and NTSB representatives—concluded that better observation systems were needed for detecting icing, and weather forecasts should present icing hazards in clear, easily understood formats.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009

From The Editor: From Dream To Reality


We all started at the same place: the beginning.



from the editorThere was a time when aviation seemed to be a distant world, out of my reach. I didn’t know any pilots, and as far as I knew, you had to be in the military or have millions of dollars to become one. While my classmates forged ahead on paths to become doctors and lawyers, I stumbled around, sneaking peeks at airplanes passing overhead and memorizing the aviation alphabet. But, one day, everything changed.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Pleasure, Pain & Southern Hospitality


An unforgettable weekend



Pleasure, Pain & Southern Hospitality Skylane 250CW, cleared to land, runway two seven.” Those words marked the start of my anniversary weekend in historic Savannah, Ga. The VFR flight to Savannah from Lawrenceville, Ga., on the morning of August 1, 2008, was smooth and uneventful, as was my first-time arrival into Savannah International Airport. Plane parked and rental car obtained, my wife and I headed off to the resort.
Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Gaining Your Pilot’s License


An opportunity to see the world from a different perspective



Gaining Your Pilot’s LicenseLeonardo da Vinci once said, “For once you have tasted flight, you will walk the earth with your eyes turned skywards, for there you have been and there you will long to return.” There are more than 600,000 registered pilots in the United States, and each of them can relate to this quote.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Always The Weather


Fall, not winter, is the tough time in some parts of the world



x-countryIf there’s one absolute truth about flying the North Atlantic in normally aspirated piston aircraft, it’s ice. Those pilots who’ve been flying the ocean at low level for a few years recognize airframe icing as perhaps the most dangerous threat.
Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Retreads & Me


We’re wearing out more than just our airplanes



retreads & meI’m not sure what it means, but this morning I glanced down at the Tail-Dragger Dragger dolly that I use to push/pull my bird from its nest, and I realized that the tires are wearing out. Bald, as it were. I was a little surprised and asked myself, “Exactly how much mileage should we expect from the accessories we surround ourselves with while flying?”
Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Light-Sport Chronicles: Questions! So Many Questions!


The sport pilot rule is clear and easy to understand...except when it isn’t. Let’s dig a little deeper.



light sport chroniclesThe sport pilot rule under which LSA pilots fly was intended to cover a broad array of recreational vehicles and conditions, gently wrapped within a beneficent, safety-minded envelope of permissions and restrictions.
 
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Parachute Jump Operations


The risks go beyond just jumping out of an airplane



ntsb debrieferThis past September, the NTSB completed a special investigation on accidents involving aircraft used in parachute jumping.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

From The Editor: Milestones & New Beginnings




from the editorYou may have noticed something physically and visually different about this issue! Starting this year, Plane & Pilot will feature higher-quality paper, with a larger overall size than ever before.
Tuesday, December 16, 2008

2008 Reno Air Races


Evolution of the Jet Class



2008 Reno Air RacesIn 2001, “the year that never was,” I was part of the initial attempt to race jet airplanes in the Reno Air Races.
Thursday, December 11, 2008

Entering A New Era


My first use of advanced avionics in the backcountry



Entering A New ErafinfIt was one of those cool fall mornings with low, scudding clouds. The kind where you keep blowing on cold, damp hands while loading the airplane and glancing occasionally at the leaden skies, the north country’s harbinger of imminent seasonal change.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Renewal


A simple, four-hour round-trip helps remind me of the reliability of GA airplanes



x-country logIn most recognizable respects, the trip was hardly unusual. It was just an easy 280 nm hop from Long Beach to Groveland, Calif., for a speaking engagement before the Pine Mountain Lake Aviation Association, a typical out-and-back, 1+50 hop in the LoPresti Mooney, precursor to at least a four-pack of 400 to 600 nm trips around the Southwest.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Adventure Is In The Eye Of…


To some of us, just getting off the ground is an adventure



Elsewhere in this issue, we’re bantering around the phrase “adventure aircraft” as if it’s a universally understood term. Personally, I’m not sure it is. In fact, the more I think about it, the more I think the term “adventure” itself is open to definition and is very much colored by your aviation life and how you live it—one man’s adventure is another’s ho-hum afternoon.
Tuesday, December 2, 2008

Decision Shock? Poppycock!


Just relax, and breathe...breathe...



light sport chroniclesIn keeping with the buyer’s guide theme, I got to thinking about the epidemic of choices modern consumers face every day. There was a time when you’d walk into a fast-food place and order a burger, fries and Coke, and if you really felt like living large, you’d get a chocolate, strawberry or vanilla milkshake.
Saturday, November 1, 2008

From The Editor: Zivko Edge Phone Home




“Spot Check OK. Latitude: 37.7445. Longitude: -97.224,” read a text message on my cell phone, and I knew that contributor Bill Stein had made it safely in his Edge 540 to Wichita, Kans., the final stop on his cross-country flight from Chicago, Ill.
Saturday, November 1, 2008

Ode To The Fast Lane


General aviation answers a question that wasn’t important until recently



I wouldn’t want to be riding out on the wing tonight. The wind is roaring down out of the north like a polar bear’s breath—a vicious torrent of air frozen by winter and twisted by the Rocky Mountains. Somewhere below, far down in a blanket of black sky four miles deep, the night snow of November blitzes New Mexico and Colorado into immobility.
Saturday, November 1, 2008

Weather Encounters


Take weather briefings seriously



There’s never been so much pre- and in-flight weather information available for pilots. If you can’t gather the raw data, forecasts and current airport observations by yourself, a briefer at a Flight Service Station (FSS) can do it for you. Unfortunately, some pilots continue to experience trouble applying the wealth of data and meteorological analyses to the realities of flight.
Saturday, November 1, 2008

The Post-Oshkosh Blues


Good things never last forever, including AirVenture



As this is being written, it’s 7:45 p.m. on the night that the happenings in Oshkosh have ended. I’m sitting in an Arby’s across the street from the airport. I’ve just driven the empty field and, to be honest, I’m feeling pretty melancholy. In fact, I’m a little lonely and depressed. I think that after the high-profile week, my adrenaline meter has just dropped past the big “E.”
Saturday, November 1, 2008

Oshwatch!


A snapshot compendium of LSA overview, new aircraft and dish-the-dirt scuttlebutt



In a recent attempt to scare myself about how old I’m getting, I calculated the total time I’ve spent at EAA’s annual air show in Oshkosh. It’s more than half a year of my life—27 visits of around a week each! Pass the orthotic, please.
Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Citizen Near Miss


An encounter with the past and the future



Citizen Near MissPilots have a lot in common. They’re detail-oriented. They like direct routing and a good deal. But, most of all, they love adventure and the chance to go somewhere that few have gone before, especially in an airplane. I’ve often stared at the circled “R” on my charts and wondered what it takes to land at those special places. Such was the excitement I felt when I was invited to land at the Hearst Piedra Blanca Rancho airstrip in San Simeon, Calif.