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Pilot Talk

Article: Taking Command Of Your First Plane

It started at Disneyland, holding my daughter Elena’s hand, when my cell phone rang.

Article: Buyer Beware

You might think that FAA airworthiness, inspection and record-keeping requirements virtually guarantee that any airplane you buy is going to be in superb condition. ...

Article: Light-Sport Chronicles: Little Airports

Behold the home of the $100 hamburger, the remnants of a life gone by, when linen-covered, nitrate-doped biplanes landed in potato fields and took small-town kids for rides on balmy summer days.

Article: Our First Airplane

I was recently posed with a seemingly simple question: What was your first airplane?

Also labeled: Columns, Features

Article: From The Editor: Make Your Own Runway

I’ve always admired—and envied—bush pilots.

Article: Memories Of The Swift

Okay, right up front, in an attempt to stop short any angry letters from Swift owners, I loved my little Swift.

Article: The Power Of Electric Flight

What’s the next big leap in aviation? I think about this stuff all the time.

Article: Lessons Learned Part 2

After earning my private pilot’s license in Alaska in 1980, I wasn’t sure what was next. I loved to fly.

Article: Canyonlands By Cherokee

In 2007 I had been going to Moab, Utah, for four years—hiking, running and sightseeing—and I was 20 years a pilot with my own Cherokee 140.

Article: Great Places Not To Have An Accident

One of the truly wondrous things about general aviation is the ease with which you can reach vacation sites that would be a hassle via road, ferry or airline transportation.

Article: Light-Sport Chronicles: Staying The Course

Recently, a gentleman e-mailed me who had invested a ways back in an LSA company, not because he expected to become the next Piper, Flight Design, Rans or Legend Cub, but because, in his own words, "I just love airplanes." A lifelong...

Article: From The Editor: The Athlete Pilot

“Athlete” isn’t a word that’s often equated with pilots, but Red Bull Air Race pilots are athletes in every way.

Article: The Good Old Boys Club...NOT!

Do you remember when life was slow enough that we used to sit around in front of the hangar, the sun making us feel like reptiles soaking up the warmth, before bundling ourselves into our respective flying machines to go test fate?

Also labeled: Columns, Features

Article: Redline!

I was flying home to California from Florida in my Mooney Executive a few years ago following what amounted to a medium makeover of the airplane’s aerodynamic drag signature.

Article: Really Low On Fuel

Early in September of 1977, a fellow Alaska registered guide asked me to fly some avgas to a hunting camp he operated on the west side of the Alaska Range. ...

Article: Lessons Learned Part 1

My first flight lessons might have been different than yours, but as with all pilots, those early experiences are still tattooed in my mind. ...

Article: Takeoff Alternates

June gloom is here—a time for low ceilings and low visibility due to fog and mist. June...

Article: From Russia With Love

The Yak 50 is a single-engine, single-seat, low-wing, semi-retractable, conventional-gear aerobatic aircraft designed in 1973 by the Yakovlev Design Bureau in Russia. It’s an honest, friendly airplane—if somewhat extraordinary because of its country of...

Article: The Light-Sport Safety Record

While the NTSB’s preliminary statistics show that the number of general aviation accidents dropped again last year, as did the number of people killed, the estimated number of hours flown also dropped, resulting in a slight increase in both the o...

Article: Light-Sport Chronicles: Profiles In Vision: Boris Popov

A few weeks ago, I came within a second or two of a head-on mid-air collision. A few weeks ago, I came within a second or two of a head-on...

Article: From The Editor: Music To Fly By

First Titanic, then Avatar. Now the Horsemen. Renowned composer James Horner has taken his musical talents from Hollywood’s big screen to the world of aviation.

Article: The Courtesy Attitude

I don’t normally rant. But this might be an exception. Or at least I’ll clamber onto my ever-present soapbox to make a point.

Also labeled: Columns, Features

Article: Zen & The Art Of Airplane Flying

I’m one of those apparently strange folks who believe that flying is an easy skill to learn. No, that’s not because I do it so well.

Article: Sharing The Passion

Aviation and flying have been an important part of my life for as long as I can remember. Aviation and flying have been an...

Article: An Aviator’s Best Friend

Fifty years ago, I stood at the edge of space and jumped. This year, Felix Baumgartner of Austria plans to make a jump from the edge of space, but from a height that’s 20,000 feet higher—an altitude from which no human has ever successfully completed a...

Article: A Pure Form Of Flying

It was a beautiful spring day, and I was a newly minted CFI full of confidence and enthusiasm.

Article: Monitoring What’s Going On

Individuals who have passed their FAA written exams and practical tests don’t necessarily have the knowledge and skills to become trustworthy pilots. ...

Article: From The Editor: Contrails & Cubs, Gear & Gators

The last time we visited with John and Martha King, they were flying the new Cessna Skycatcher for a series of light-sport instructional DVDs. Recently, we caught up with them in something on the other end of the speed spectrum—their Dassault Falcon 1...

Article: Of Baby Girls & Aeroplanes­

Does your mind ever wander, unable to think about any one thing in particular? Instead, your thoughts are unfocused, and your mind is mentally channel-surfing, leafing through memories, lingering for a few seconds and then flipping to a new memory, a...

Article: Memories Of Alaska

Once or twice each summer, I slip into the right seat of an airplane and help a pilot fly to an exotic destination, most often across the Atlantic from North America to Europe.