Explore Lessons Learned About Flying (and about life), where pilots share their first-person accounts of gripping flights gone bad, and how their skills and quick thinking allowed them to survive to fly another day
See how a student pilot handles a gear up landing.
My first solo (or should I say, “solos?”) was two years, five months, 13 days and nine hours in the making. And some of that was pretty exciting stuff. Just shy of my 15th birthday, I had quite the proposal for my parents “Mom, dad, I want to learn how to fly.” I might as more »
How a seemingly uneventful Unicom call changed everything.
I recently heard a friend say that she wasn’t ready to get another dog because she was still very sad about the loss of her previous dog about a year earlier. A few months back, a different friend told me that he was reluctant to try online dating because he didn’t want to get hurt. more »
An unwelcome surprise provides a powerful and unexpected lesson to a young pilot.
At my airport, it’s rarely ever quiet; that’s a price we have to pay while flying at one of the busiest general aviation airports in the country. It’s not often that I get to fly in the morning with my busy schedule, but I woke up extra early to do a quick engine break-in flight more »
It's not something they'll talk about in sim training, but maybe they should.
My first day as a newly minted co-pilot in a Hawker 700 jet was exciting and early on not what I expected. The weather was clear and a million. Positive ions in the air. Wind right down the runway. Passengers on board, lined up, we were going to San Francisco. We rolled down the runway more »
A pilot shares his fears leading up to his first check ride and meeting his flight examiner.
Like other students contemplating their first check ride, I’d heard the tales from the crypt about examiners. Legend had they were all mean enough to frighten Hannibal Lecter into retirement. Needless to say, I was not looking forward to this day. With the mere mention of the word “check ride,” the nerves hit me, chills more »
Inexperence, inadequate planning and some bad luck lead to near disaster.
Subscribe today to Plane & Pilot magazine for industry news, reviews and much more delivered straight to you! Most of us are familiar with that bromide about life in the cockpit: “Hours of sheer boredom, punctuated by moments of sheer horror.” Like many declamations about flying, that’s quite an exaggeration. Most pilots I know, myself included, more »
A trip home with a brand new plane in unexpectedly terrible weather made for an unforgettable flight.
Are you an aviation enthusiast or pilot? Sign up for our newsletter, full of tips, reviews and much more! Crammed into the tiny, 18-inch-wide cockpit of a Cassutt lllM, the roar enveloped me, battering my ears mercilessly. Watching the red tachometer needle dance over the dial in front of me, I saw the propeller vanish into more »
What was supposed to be an easy VFR flight to go hunting takes a turn
On a clear October night in 1968, I took off from Westchester County Airport (HPN) at 7 p.m. in a Mooney Statesman with two non-pilot hunting buddies. The destination was Quebec City in Canada. I passed my private pilot check ride in July 1968, and this was my second long cross-country flight and my first more »
My morning started on the campus of the University of Louisiana. The “Home of the Ragin’ Cajuns” is known for its culture, cuisine, Southern hospitality and unique dialect of the French language. There was nowhere else I desired to be living while pursuing my degree. An online company would email me a daily inspirational quotation more »
Crosswinds are never fun, but they’re usually manageable—usually
Sometimes lessons learned about flying are painful and expensive. Other times, you get lucky. Back when I bought my first airplane, I was convinced I’d become a tailwheel expert overnight. I’d learned to fly because I was in love with the sky, and with one airplane in particular, the Globe Swift, a low-wing, retractable taildragger, more »
Chance meetings and a mutual love of aviation pass along the passion and joy of flying
We’ve all seen that “annoying” ramp kid who wants to do nothing but talk about your airplane. Even if you’re trying to make a quick turn for an important client, this kid just wants to ask about your plane. Well, that annoying kid working the ramp was me. If I’d just gotten done putting gas more »
Anyone who has ever piloted an aircraft appreciates Virgin Atlantic’s catchy slogan of the early 2000s: You Never Forget Your First Time. Flying is magical. It’s one of those rare experiences that exceeds the hype of its depiction in movies and video games. As an operatic tenor, I always say flying is one of the more »
Changing weather and unforgiving terrain make it all too easy to lose your way
My logbook entry on May 29, 1984, says Cessna 185, N93033, Dillingham to Bethel, 1.5 hours, “Lost.” The writing is small, sheepish, hard to admit. I was excited about my first big solo trip in the 185. The 185 was the first small airplane I had flown, and I had since been working on my more »
I was only a few hours into my flight training before I began fantasizing about owning my own airplane. While the ink was still wet on my temporary private pilot certificate, I developed a five-year plan for aircraft ownership. I should have known that nothing would go according to plan. I had intended to purchase more »
Overcoming a speech deficit—and the naysayers—to achieve and share a lifelong dream
From the time I began, it was clear something was up, and while I was still a small child, I was diagnosed with a severe stuttering disorder. As though that weren’t bad enough, I was told throughout my life not to expect much because I would be working on cars or packing bags at the more »