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Cross-Country Flying Stories

Cross-country flying stories from Bill Cox offer fantastic insight into what pilots face on long distance flights. Dig into our X-Country Log today.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

What’s Up With WAAS?


WAAS is the third generation of GPS, and it makes all the difference



What’s Up With WAAS?I was fortunate to discover GPS early on. I was on my way to the 1991 Paris Air Show in the one and only prototype Swearingen SJ30 business jet, and had stopped for fuel in Greenland.
Tuesday, February 23, 2010

To Korea, With Luck


Four legs, 52 flight hours in one of the world’s most comfortable—and slowest—turboprops



To Korea, With LuckMy buddy Jeff Kopps of the National Weather Service in Monterey, Calif., had predicted headwinds out of Santa Barbara, and as usual, he was right.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010

When Slower Is Better


The whole point of most airplanes is speed—except during landings



When Slower Is BetterContrary to sometimes misinformed opinion, a Mooney is one of the easier airplanes to land.
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, 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, September 22, 2009

Pilots N Paws


Here’s a way for pilots to help save the lives of some of our best friends



Pilots N PawsLike many of you, I’ve owned dogs for as long as I can remember, probably longer.
Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Ferry Flying As A Career?


It’s not the glamorous life everyone thinks it is



Ferry Flying As A Career?I receive more e-mail and snail mail from readers about ferry flying than on all other subjects combined.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

From Hero To Bum—Almost


You can learn from your mistakes…if you can just survive them



From Hero To Bum—AlmostIt was January 1989, and I had just delivered a new Grand Caravan to Comair in Johannesburg, South Africa.
Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Dodging The Tornados


“Oh, by the way, could you drive a new T182 back from Lakeland, Fla., to Long Beach, Calif.?”



Dodging The TornadosThere are worse jobs in aviation. It was during the last two days of Sun ’n Fun 2009 that I got the call from Tom Jacobson of Tom’s Aircraft in Long Beach.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Singapore By Bonanza


Flying a Bonanza to Singapore offers an education in “managing” thunderstorms



x-countryHe was a regular reader of this space and he called a while back wondering if I’d be interested in ferrying his pristine A36TC Bonanza from El Monte, Calif., to Singapore. Gee, lemme think about that for 30 seconds.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Traveling By “Corporate” Airplane


A local breakfast flight emphasizes the value of corporate aviation



Traveling By “Corporate” AirplaneI’ve owned personal airplanes almost since I earned my pilot’s license 43 years ago. I didn’t buy my first airplane, a Globe Swift, specifically for business (in fact, I don’t recall ever flying it in conjunction with a story), but most of the half-dozen airplanes I’ve owned since have been employed primarily in pursuit of profit.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Why Retract?


To retract or not to retract? That is the question.



Why Retract?My first airplane was a retractable, but it was sometimes hard to tell. It was a purely stock 1946 Globe Swift GC1B, and while the main wheels would retract—eventually—there often seemed to be little effect on performance. Though the airplane was a cute little devil and a fairly primo example of its kind, its performance was a country mile behind the “book.”
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Return To Goose Bay


There’s nothing so constant as change. Trouble is, change is hard to come by in the far north.



xcWhen I returned to Goose Bay, Labrador, Canada, in early December to complete the delivery of the world’s brightest Marchetti (yellow and red with blue stars, formerly owned by an air show pilot), I was hoping it was cold enough that ice season was pretty much over. It was, but not without a few dying gasps.
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, 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.
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.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Memories Of Africa, Part VI


Seven days to Cameroon



In response to what seems like a gigabyte of e-mails, here’s yet another chapter of ferry-flying experiences in Africa during the ’80s and ’90s.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Great Sandy Australia


See Down Under—on the coast



x-country His name is Blair Howe, and if he were any more Australian, he’d hop or eat eucalyptus leaves. Though he’s only about five feet and 11 inches, he’s a giant of a man—probably 270 pounds—all muscle and attitude and fiercely proud of his country and accomplishments.
Monday, September 1, 2008

Secrets Of Johnston Island


An emergency landing on a top-secret base



Secrets Of Johnston IslandMajuro in the Marshall Islands has to be one of the world's more remote locations.
Thursday, June 19, 2008

How To Blimp


Goodyear proves that low and slow can be fun



How To BlimpAfter a takeoff run of about one foot, the attitude pitches up to 10, then 20, then 30 degrees. I know we can’t maintain this pitch angle very long, but the pilot holds the nose up with no apparent concern for impending disaster.