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A Flight I'll Never Forget

Share stories about your most memorable flights! Email us at editor@planeandpilotmag.com or editor@pilotjournal.com.



Take in unique flying experiences as told by our authors. Unforgettable Flights will take you inside the cockpits of fighter jets, on board legendary aircraft, and to spectacular locations around the globe.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Thar She Blows!


Spotting whales in the Saint Lawrence



Thar She Blows!Nonpilots often ask me why I spend a good portion of my hard-earned income on flying.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Helping Haiti


Flying relief supplies to those in need



Helping HaitiIt started with an e-mail sent to my partner, Brian Reiff. Bahamas Habitat was looking for pilots with high-performance singles or twins to fly earthquake relief supplies to rural Haiti.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Flying Into Isla Grande


A doctor accomplishes a childhood dream



Flying Into Isla GrandeGrowing up in Puerto Rico in the 1950s, I lived at the top of the Hotel Columbus.
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, 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, 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.
Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Cross-Country Cubbing


A visit to the annual Lock Haven fly-in



Cross-Country CubbingSome things in life make sense. Others do not. For instance, flying a 65 hp, 75 mph cruise J-3 Cub 650 miles from Wisconsin to Pennsylvania does not, by most definitions, make sense.
Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Sentimental Journey


Same place, different time...



A Sentimental JourneyI took a short flight recently, one not normally worth mentioning around the hangar. But ’twas important to me—an attempt to relive the good old days of flying, that is, the ’60s and ’70s.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Flying The Goodyear Blimp


Join Plane & Pilot on a night sign tour over the Los Angeles Basin.



Flying The Goodyear BlimpThe airship—named, “Spirit of America,” and based in Carson, Calif.—continues a Goodyear tradition that began in 1925 with the company’s first helium blimp.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009

The Golden Hour


Honoring a fallen friend



The Golden HourIn 2007, my team, Aerophile Air Racing, returned from a very difficult trip to the Reno Air Races.
Thursday, June 11, 2009

Stick Time In An F-4 Sim


Taming the Phantom



Stick Time In An F-4 SimAs a twenty something, I figured that the only chance I would ever have of getting into an F-4 Phantom cockpit would involve a successful run for Congress, followed by finagling a seat on the Armed Services Committee.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

The Proposal


An extra-special vacation



The ProposalAs a dating couple, Brian and I often had to be very creative about finding time to spend together since I’m an airline first officer and Brian is the operations coordinator for Team Oracle. In July 2007, we were happily anticipating a week off that we were going to spend with our dear friends (and fellow Cub enthusiasts) J.R. and Paige Bisset.
Tuesday, April 14, 2009

We Fly the F-22 Raptor


Here’s what it’s like to fly the world’s most sophisticated fighter – sort of.



we flyI’m cruising at 40,000 feet above Nevada in America’s front-line fighter. Perched out on the pointy end, I can’t see what’s following behind, but I know it’s roughly 63 feet long and weighs as much as 64,000 pounds.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Logging Time In The World’s Largest Airliner


Left seat in an Airbus 380



Logging Time In The World’s Largest AirlinerI’m sitting in the pilot’s seat of an Airbus A380 surrounded by 10 flat-panel displays and more switches than I can describe. It’s the world’s largest airliner, and its size is staggering.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

53 Years Later


Pitfalls over the Rockies



53 Years Later I’m 77 and hold a commercial pilot license and an instrument rating. I’ve filled four logbooks. As a child, I made balsa-wood and tissue-paper airplanes. As a teen, I made gas U-Control model airplanes, and I used to ride my bike to the airport regularly. During the Korean War, I served in the Air Force. All in all, I guess that I’m an aviation enthusiast.
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.
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.
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.
Tuesday, September 30, 2008

The Stearman That Changed Me


A 70-year-old airplane teaches that flying is a gift to be savored



My palms were sweating as I approached the hangar. Behind locked doors sat one of the most storied airplanes in aviation: the Stearman PT-17, and I was going to fly it. I felt like I had been invited backstage to meet Elvis. I had been dreaming about this iconic airplane since I was a kid who spent Saturday afternoons staring up at the type from the weeds of my local airport.
Thursday, November 1, 2007

Speed Is Life


The Mooney Acclaim asserts a new record!



Flying is a compromise. You can have cheap, and you can have fun, but you won’t necessarily travel fast. You can have fast, for sure, but it will not be cheap, and fun depends on your definition of the word. Several new single-engine airplanes are as fast as turboprops, but the question remains: Can an everyday Joe use that speed, say, on a typical business trip, and have fun in the process.
Saturday, September 1, 2007

Bitten By The Viper


This One Goes To 11



viperThis is my “Maverick” moment, so I better not make good on that call sign I was given a few years ago. I’m cinched tightly into the rear seat of an F-16 behind Major Stephen “Chak” Pinchak of the 421st Fighter Squadron, and my heart is racing. I’ve just armed my ejection seat, so I’m sitting on a live rocket, in a jet plane, and we’re about to blast off—literally.
Sunday, July 1, 2007

Refueling The Tacos


The Stratotanker Visits Davis-Monthan



refueling the tacosFrom the cockpit jump seat of a 1954 Boeing KC-135 Stratotanker, our clunky, creaky roll on takeoff seems a stark contrast to the day’s activities at Davis-Monthan Air Force Base in Tuscon, Ariz. After what feels like an eternity on an endless runway, we slowly lift off, leaving behind an incredible assortment of U.S. Air Force fighter jets, including F-15 Eagles, F-16 Falcons, F-4 Phantoms, A-10 Warthogs and two F-22 Raptors, on the ramp below.