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More Pilot Talk

Want more pilot stories? Our More Pilot Talk section is full of informative and entertaining flying tales from accomplished pilot authors.

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

From The Editor: “Student Pilot, First Solo”

editorEveryone remembers their first solo flight. And so when I heard, “Student pilot, first solo,” transmitted on the radio a few days ago at Van Nuys Airport, it brought me back to that chilly March morning when my instructor Liz DeStaffany hopped out of N2447B and I taxied the Cessna 172 to Santa Monica Airport’s runway 21.
Friday, May 1, 2009

Smoke On!

Pushing my Edge to the edge over the Danube

Smoke On!It’s hot in this race plane…even at 1,000 feet…or is it just me? My mouth is dry and my heart is racing as I watch the competitor before me twisting his way through the track.
Friday, May 1, 2009

Plane & Pilot In A Pilot's Story

Filmed in hangars and homes, at restaurants and on ramps, A Pilot's Story is an upcoming documentary from Wilco Films that tells the story of flight in the words of pilots themselves.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

CSI Insurance: Excogitations On LSA Crashes, Part Deux

A discussion about LSA insurance rates

csi insuranceLast month, Mike Adams, vice president of underwriting for Avemco Insurance (www.avemco.com), shared fascinating insights drawn from Avemco’s LSA claims data. Avemco’s conclusion: Incomplete dealer transition training for new S-LSA owners was the biggest contributor to accident claims. Avemco responded by requiring new owners to complete five hours dual and a flight review sign-off from a dealer rep to qualify for solo coverage.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

They’re Here, Now What?

now whatEclipse. Cessna. Embraer. Three different companies with three different certified very light jets (VLJs). The latter, with its newly certified Phenom 100, currently holds the crown as the biggest, fastest and most expensive of the certified VLJs to date. Cessna’s Mustang holds the distinguished position of the tried and tested “sure thing” built by a company that understands owner-pilots better than anyone.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009

From The Editor: Low & Slow

from the editorYou’d normally find her looping and rolling at 250 mph in front of thousands of spectators at the industry’s biggest air shows, but this month, aerobatic champ Patty Wagstaff takes us on a different kind of adventure, low and slow above elephants, rhinos and cheetahs in the remote wilderness of Kenya.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Protecting Kenya’s National Parks

Training the Kenya Wildlife Service Airwing

Protecting Kenya’s National ParksI often wear a little leather choker with two bronze elephant tusks. I picked it up a few years ago in a Nairobi gallery called Matt Bronze, and it reminds me of the wild things that still live in Kenya.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Light-Sport Chronicles: CSI Insurance: Excogitations On LSA Crashes, Part 1

What do three years of a top LSA insurer’s data tell us about sport flight accidents?

lscTooling around the Sebring U.S. Sport Aviation Expo (check out my blog, Light-Sport Hangar Flyin’), I ran into Mike Adams, vice president of underwriting for Avemco Insurance Company (www.avemco.com). Adams was on scene to present what Avemco has learned, based on three years of data, from S-LSA accidents.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

From the Editor: A Diamond For A Pilot’s Pilot

editorThere were more than a few cheers at this year’s U.S. Sport Aviation Expo in Sebring, Fla., which drew a record crowd of up to 11,500 attendees and held its own in spite of the current economic woes. With more than 165 exhibitors and sales of at least 20 airplanes, it’s evident that the LSA industry has come a long way since the sport pilot rule was created four years ago.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Personal Aviation At A Crossroads

Looking back and moving forward

Personal Aviation At A CrossroadsFive years ago, the first special light-sport aircraft (S-LSA) received its airworthiness certificate, opening up a new chapter in the regulation of simple personal flight. More than 1,000 of these factory-built aircraft and more than 8,000 former ultralights (experimental light-sport aircraft, E-LSA) are now flying under the sport pilot and LSA category.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Profiles In Vision: Tom Peghiny

The #1 LSA distributor in America climbs for the blue on how to survive “The Econogeddon”

I like employing people and making things,” Tom Peghiny, president and founder of Flight Design USA, told me on a snowy winter day last January.
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

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

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

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.
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


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.
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.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Guest-Speaker: The Next Space Race

A new era of private space exploration is in prospect

NASA. ESA. JAXA. RKA. These are the world’s major national space agencies. They are the names that have dominated the past 50 years of space exploration. But over the next 50 years, new names will emerge. The names that history will remember from the next five decades will be those of entrepreneurs, members of the private sector who saw in space an opportunity for expansion and vast wealth creation.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Master As Student

The more you learn about flying, the more you know there is to learn about flying

With his big rawboned hand almost lovingly cradling a gigantic bag of Skittles candies, Bob Elliott might almost—almost—pass for Professor Dumbledore munching on Bertie Bott’s Every Flavor Beans. But the baseball cap and screaming-loud, airplane-festooned print shirt puts the kibosh to that comparison in a hurry. His eyes are mere slits from the bright overcast, or insufficient sleep the night before, or more likely, too many Skittles. Tempting me with the open bag, he explains how he got the nickname “A.D.D. Bob” from his flying buddies because he’s constantly diving out of formation (“A.D.D.”=Aviation Deficit Disorder).
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

From The Editor: The Sky's Not The LImit

I first met Lina Borozdina at Oshkosh in 2005, when Richard Branson and Burt Rutan announced a joint venture between Virgin Galactic and Scaled Composites to manufacture a fleet of suborbital spacecrafts intended for space tourism. Lina, a biochemist who had mortgaged her home to purchase a $200,000 ticket on the suborbital flight, was next to me in line for a helicopter flight over the air show grounds. But as our flight time approached, she looked increasingly worried. She was having second thoughts about going in the air, and it became apparent that this astronaut-to-be was afflicted by a fear of flying. Nonetheless, Lina was determined to travel to space, having dreamed of it since her childhood days in Ukraine.