The FAA's medical standards denied a bright flying future to one young would-be pilot, and it's aviation's loss.
I took my son to his first air show when he was just 4 years old, about 12 years ago. He absolutely loved it. He sat up attentively, pointing at the sky and looking back at me to make sure I didn’t miss any of the colorful planes looping through their smoke trails. I had more »
What really happened to the Boeing 777 that changed course and disappeared with 239 souls aboard?
The Mystery: On March 8, 2014, a Malaysia Airlines Boeing 777 that had departed from Kuala Lumpur was bound for Beijing, China, when the captain got the radio handoff from Malaysian air traffic control to Vietnam’s Ho Chi Minh Center. The captain of the 777 replied simply, “Good night. Malaysia Three Seven Zero.” Those were more »
First military use of ground controlled approach (GCA) radar: 1943 Range: 20 miles Altitude range: 10,000 feet First civilian use: 1945, LaGuardia Airport Landing rate prior to implementation: 5 planes per hour Landing rate after implementation: 15 planes per hour Transponders introduced for aviation: World War II Worst friendly fire incident of WWII: July 11, more »
Inadequately prepared and briefed for the approach, the crew of a Learjet 35A crashed on approach to Teterboro.
Did you ever have the feeling you were reading about a pilot who was deliberately tempting fate in some sort of game of chicken, to see how far he could go to boost his own feelings of superiority while dismissing mistakes and disregarding procedures that were put into place to help ensure disciplined scenarios? That’s more »
GPS wasn't the first long-range nav. It is the best, though.
Like most cities built on the edge of a large body of water, in this case the Cook Inlet, Anchorage, the town where I grew up had a warmer climate than much of the rest of the U.S. We often had brilliant night skies with the moon and a full panoply of stars, including Polaris, more »
Across 1 The Navy’s spectacular demonstration team, 2 words 6 State where much of the transport is by light aircraft 8 ADF’s counterpart 9 Nurses, abbr. 11 ____ K-Max helicopter 13 Initial setting on some gauges 14 NDB’s counterpart 16 Its cowl flaps give it away more »
A seemingly academic exercise to figure out why radar is required on an odd approach leads to an understanding of how approaches are designed and why that can matter.
One of my roles in life seems to be “The IFR Answer Guy.” Sometimes, I can toss off the answer as a one-liner between sips of morning coffee. Other times, I’m left scratching my head until I delve deep into the IFR minutia. That’s what happened with what seemed like a simple question about the more »
This most spectacular plane spotter's site is even more fun from the air.
I came to Saint Martin first in 2010, for therapeutic reasons. Freshly furloughed from flying, hardly thawing between shifts working overnight maintenance on the planes I used to fly, the lady I was dating suggested some warm salt air might help. She wasn’t wrong. We spent a long weekend enjoying beautiful water, good company. A more »
When I wrote my first article for Plane & Pilot, a meditation on flying for the airlines and reaching the milestone of 15,000 hours, I was excited at the prospect of having other pilots read my work. The feedback I received was largely encouraging. It seemed I had weeded out most of my dangling participles. more »
Some thoughts on the all-too-common but hazardous practice of pushing the limits on loading.
Okay, even the least risk-averse, crazy pilot generally knows we probably can’t load up our plane with lead bricks and still manage to defy gravity successfully. But where is the limit? Every day, general aviation pilots succumb to the pressure or temptation to “just put one more person” or “one more bag” into their plane more »
One half-hour on the Hobbs meter with a legendary instructor and old family friend and a life lesson on the fine art of staying alive.
The overcast wasn’t budging. That much was obvious. It had been there all morning, and there it seemed determined to stay. That cloud deck—maybe a thousand feet above us, no higher—was a little ragged but with no hints of blue or even brightness to suggest it might burn off. VFR was not in the cards more »
We have compiled interesting facts about the history and evolution of parachutes.
We have compiled interesting facts about the history and evolution of parachutes. Derivation of “parachute:” From the Italian “para,” meaning “prevent,” and the French word “chute,” for fall. A device for preventing a fall. First known parachute concepts: China: Han Dynasty writer Sima Qian in a book of historical legends Qian’s parachute concept: Two big more »
The world’s first jetliner, the de Havilland Comet, was crashing, and no one knew why.
The Mystery: What was causing the crashes of the pioneering jet the de Havilland Comet. The Backstory: When it comes to lists of planes, the de Havilland Comet jetliner is often mentioned prominently. It was not only the first jet airliner, but many regard it as one of the most beautiful aircraft of all time. more »
Feeling confident about yourself is an important part of piloting. After all, no one wants to fly with a nervous Nellie at the controls, and “no one” can be extended to include the person doing the flying. That appears to be where the pilot of a Beech A36TC got into trouble, according to the NTSB’s more »
The most famous mountains in the world have always beckoned. A few years ago, this U.S.-based pilot answered the call.
European pilots have it bad, I know. They’ve got sky-high fuel prices, landing fees, and a nanny-state mentality to flying around in what we think of in the States as our airspace. No wonder so many European pilots come here to go flying. It’s what God intended flying to be. That all said, at some more »
Check your answers for the June 2019 crossword puzzle.
Across 1 A wispy cloud or a small jet 4 Aka: Pathfinder 9 Direct, ______ x 2 10 The “T” in CFIT 11 What the majority of airplanes are these days 12 Big alloy maker 14 Agency most concerned about 100LL 16 North or South ___, abbr. more »
When ATC is unavailable and you need to guarantee your own separation from terrain, do it carefully.
Many VFR-only pilots are familiar with how instrument approaches offer the safe paths that take us from the air to the ground. Each approach gets a snazzy chart, rich with black lines, zigging arrows and lots of numbers, and the skill at decoding said charts is a time-honored right of passage into the IFR illuminati. more »
Why preaching to the choir has limited effect and what we might do to reach a new audience.
As I looked around the room at the 25 or 30 other pilots taking a seminar on aeronautical decision-making (ADM) led by American Airlines captain and flight instructor Brian Schiff, I had a flashback to about 35 years ago, when I was a young psychologist. At the clinic where I worked, I received a command more »