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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.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Nauru—For The Birds


This island nation once operated the world’s hardest-working 737



Nauru—For The BirdsI'd overflown Nauru perhaps a dozen times. It's almost directly between Majuro, capital of the Marshall Islands, and the famous Henderson Field at Honiara, Solomon Islands.
Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Llamas & Condors


XC Log: Try South America



x-c logI was at a speaking engagement in Alaska awhile back, talking about the joy and pain of flying the oceans, when a member of the audience asked about my experiences in Central and South America.
Thursday, May 1, 2008

Paws In The Sky


Dogs make wonderful copilots, even if they do sometimes complain about the landings



x country logYes, I’m guilty. The rumors are true. I am one of those silly, sentimental pet lovers who regard dogs as a couple of steps above most humans. I’ve owned and raised a succession of Siberian huskies, Alaskan malamutes, German shepherds and dobermans for the last 40 years, and as a group, they’re some of the most wondrous creatures on the planet. I’m ecstatic when they’re born, and I cry when they die.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Safety—A Tough Sell


Blame it on pilot error



piper coltWoody was one of those pilots we all thought would live forever. He was something of a legend in the ferry-flying community: an aviator who had been everywhere in pretty much everything, had never wrecked an airplane and seemed to live a charmed life. A former African missionary, he was a friend for 20 years who knew more about flying the world than anyone else I had ever met, and we all assumed he was invulnerable to the dangers of ferry flying.
Saturday, March 1, 2008

Why Learn To Fly?


The payback can outstrip the cost by a factor of several thousand



x-country logPete runs a dental practice and learned to fly so he could transport his family to and from their vacation retreat in Ogden, Utah, without all the hassles of airline travel. Andy is a relatively young entrepreneur who made it big in video games and learned to fly as one of his rewards. And Patty pursued an aviation career, flight instructed, flew charter and eventually climbed atop the aviation pyramid: She now flies Airbus 330s across the pond for US Airways.
Friday, February 1, 2008

Memories Of Africa, Part V


Taking detours into South Africa



xcThe following is in response to dozens of e-mails requesting additional installments on flying Africa. Keep in mind, this Caravan trip occurred in 1989 when South Africa still maintained its policy of apartheid.
Saturday, December 1, 2007

The Odyssey Of Glacier Girl


The world's most famous warbird takes on the North Atlantic



1942: A flight of six P-38s and two B-17s departs Sondrestrom Fjord, Greenland, for Reykjavik, Iceland, on their way to the WWII European Theater of Operations as part of Operation Bolero. It’s an ambitious project, initiated by General Hap Arnold, tired of seeing his aircraft ride cargo ships to the bottom of the Atlantic, victims of Hitler’s dreaded U-boats.
Sunday, January 1, 2006

The Katrina Aftermath


General-aviation pilots played a huge role in helping hurricane victims



My timing couldn’t have been worse. On Monday, August 29, 2005, I boarded an American Airlines 767 out of Los Angeles and headed for Orlando, Fla., well aware that Hurricane Katrina was scheduled to come ashore at exactly the same time when we’d be passing overhead. The storm had grown taller than 50,000 feet, far above the maximum altitude of a 767, and was directly in our flight path.

 

Tuesday, November 1, 2005

Iceland, The Prequel


Summertime flying in the North Atlantic can be vicious



This is being written on the road or, more accurately, in the sky. As I tap out these words on my Think Pad, I’m cruising comfortably at FL390 in a British Airways 747, only two hours out from Heathrow Airport in London. I’m flying to Jolly Old England to explore the puzzling British penchant for cold meat as well as warm beer.

Saturday, October 1, 2005

Through The Eyes Of A Ferry Pilot


Observing places, people and planes is part of the job



Almost by definition, half of every delivery flight I make is on an airliner. I’ve been able to dovetail ferry flights to and from the same destinations a total of once in nearly 30 years of delivering airplanes.

Thursday, September 1, 2005

The Go/No-Go Decision


It’s better to be safe than sorry



Every pilot has his own tolerance for risk, but most of us who fly ferry across the oceans on a semi-regular basis have developed our own set of guidelines for when we will or won’t fly. We like to hope that those guidelines make perfect sense, but they often don’t. They’re just our way of doing things, they work, and that’s all that matters as long as they keep us alive.
Monday, August 1, 2005

A Chance Meeting


Sometimes reviewing the latest NOTAMs and TFRs isn’t enough



There I was, climbing through 5,500 feet in southeastern Texas, when I had a close encounter with a Boeing 747 named Air Force One. It was closer than I would have liked, anyway.
Friday, July 1, 2005

Wing Dings


Smoothing out those unwanted dents may have gotten easier



It’s a problem most of us with metal airplanes face at one time or another—dings, those small dents that seem to go hand in hand with owning an aluminum flying machine. Unless you own a wood-and-fabric airplane, you’re almost bound to develop some minor dings in your airplane’s aluminum surfaces. Rag and spruce designs aren’t totally immune from hangar rash, but almost.
Wednesday, June 1, 2005

For The Birds


Finding inspiration from these heavenly creatures



As far back as I can remember, I’ve been fascinated by birds. I remember sitting on the beach during family vacations to Venice, Fla., as a kid of seven through 13, entranced by pelicans in ones and twos patrolling the roiling Gulf of Mexico surf for fish. The big-beaked birds seemed to have total command of the sky, gliding soundlessly or climbing for an instant with hardly a movement of wing, then diving straight down into the water faster than I could think about it.
Sunday, May 1, 2005

First Flight


Alleviating a non-pilot’s fears of little airplanes



As one who is sometimes asked to speak before pilot groups, I was struck by a column written by fellow editor, retired airline captain and general-aviation bon vivant Dave Gwinn in the February 2005 issue of Plane & Pilot. Gwinn was lamenting that some of the experiences we relate to live pilot audiences and write about to 300,000 readers each month may only serve to turn off non-pilots.
Saturday, January 1, 2005

So Many Types, So Little Time


In the world of flying, the range of experiences and the fun to be had are never-ending



One of the perks of this job is the chance to fly a wide variety of airplanes. My hours and ratings aren’t anything special, but I’m happy that I’ve been allowed to fly a little of everything at one time or another.
Sunday, August 1, 2004

“Plane Talk” From Machado


A leading aviation expert’s collection of informal, but educational, articles



I’ve been privileged to call Rod Machado a friend for the last 20 years. We first worked together during the launch of ABC TV’s Wide World of Flying TV series back in the mid ’80s. Together with host and ABC senior VP Phil Boyer (now president of AOPA), director Dave Jackson (now president of King Schools), TWA captain Barry Schiff (now retired) and later, warbird enthusiast Jeff Ethell (sadly, no longer with us), Rod and I enjoyed seven happy years of playing to the TV cameras.
Thursday, July 1, 2004

Sporting Performances


The NAA is leveling the playing field for pilots who would like to set national records



Speed! It’s the reason that many of us fly. For most pilots, faster is better. I raced stock cars as a kid, sports cars as an older kid, and the current, much older kid would be racing unlimited air racers but for a lack of money.
Saturday, May 1, 2004

The Fascinating North Atlantic


Still a thrill after countless of crossings



Each summer for the last half-dozen or so, I’ve had the privilege of flying the North Atlantic with one or two clients. Last summer, I made two such round trips, the first in a Turbo Arrow to Versailles, France, and the second in a Cheyenne IIXL turboprop to London. For most pilots, the trip is a long-term dream, something they’ve been planning for a year or more.
Thursday, April 1, 2004

Air Vagabonds


Ferry flying may seem glamorous, but Tony Vallone’s book tells the truth



It seems every aviator I know would like to be an international delivery pilot. Each month, I receive more e-mails and letters on the subject of ferry flying than on any other topic, and that’s been the pattern for 20 years. I hear from every segment of aviation: new pilots with the ink barely dry on their private tickets and retired; 20,000-hour airline types; bored accountants hoping to change careers; charter pilots looking for a more exciting job; prospective aviation soldiers of fortune; and admitted aviation bums like me.