While pilots can’t have contingencies for every single flight scenario, try to avoid being in a position where there’s no out left to take
Even if you’re a cool hand at the poker table, or in the cockpit, it’s always nice to have an ace up your sleeve. No pilot can have a contingency for every conceivable flight scenario, but having an “out” tips the odds to keep you flush because a bluff isn’t an option. If you’re flying more »
Flying should be in all three dimensions, not just two
When I was a kid and could only dream about being unhinged from Earth, I assumed all airplanes could fly in three, full dimensions. Every pilot knows that’s the definition of flying, but only to a limited extent. As a government brat living in a suburb of Washington D.C., I used to ride my bike more »
Flight bags and their contents are supremely personal—and can reveal a lot about a pilot
“Everybody’s gotta have a little place for their stuff. That’s all life is about. Trying to find a place for your stuff.” — George Carlin Stuff—we’ve all got it. We take it with us, everywhere. We take bags of it to work, to play, overnight, from room to room. We’ve got old stuff and new stuff. more »
“Autopilot-Autopilot” sounded through the cockpit speakers as First Officer John DePaola assumed manual control of the Embraer 135 regional jet. His left hand palmed the white-knobbed thrust levers; his right encircled the ram’s-horn-shaped control yoke. The 37-seat aircraft sliced through the placid air. American Eagle flight 4539 had departed Toronto at 7 a.m. Boston’s suburbs more »
The NTSB puts the focus on midairs, but does it have the solution to the problem?
When it comes to keeping airplanes from bumping into each other, it still looks as if one of the best things we have going for us is the “big sky” concept. Put simply, there’s such a vast amount of airspace, and aircraft so often fly random routes, that the odds that our aircraft will not more »
I’ve been fascinated by the flight of birds since I was a child. I’m hardly the first young person to turn his eye to the sky and never look down again. For a thousand years, birds have inspired people to dream of human flight and, later, just over a hundred years ago, to finally build more »
A sacred mission for a pilot and his Cessna 185 in Venezuela
8:35 a.m. Paul calls us on our shortwave radio in Puerto Ayacucho, Venezuela. “Uncle Ed just died here in Caracas, and Aunt Irma tells us that he wanted to be buried in TT. Can you come pick him up?” I hesitate. Venezuelan law says Ed must be buried within 24 hours, so it has to more »
First manmade aerial propellers: China, c. 500 BCE, child’s toy Leonardo da Vinci airscrew designs: c. 1480 First coaxial helicopter blade design: Mikhail Lomonosov, 1754 Year of first airborne propeller use: 1784 Aircraft it was used in: a balloon Means of power: hand-cranking Early experimenter with metal prop blades: Sir George Cayley, c. 1790 First practical aircraft propeller design: Wright Brothers Their discovery: the more »
Rainbow SkyReach BushCat 2 Uninjured The pilot reported that he took off in visual meteorological conditions after being weathered in for two days. He further reported that while en route to the destination, he encountered deteriorating weather conditions and opted to land at a nearby field to allow the weather to pass. The pilot reported more »
Aviate, navigate, communicate? Well, yes, but if you plan to penetrate a Presidential TFR, those happen only after find, phone, copy, file.
Find the NOTAM. Phone TSA at least 24 hours in advance. Copy your confirmation number. File a flight plan, possibly with an intermediate stop. The milk run for Mrs. Levinson and me is between KBED, in the Boston suburbs where we live most of the year, and KMVY on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, where more »
Don’t admit to loving taildraggers unless you want to be regarded as an aviation traditionalist
Okay, I admit it. I was introduced to flying in taildraggers. Almost by definition, that dates me to the middle of the last century. Today, there are a diminishing number of conventional-gear airplanes still in production, most targeted at the bush plane or aerobatics markets. When it came time to go shopping for that first more »
Experience, planning and discipline were all sorely lacking in this accident that didn’t need to happen
I’m going to tell you about one of those accidents in which what happened is obvious, but why it happened isn’t, despite what the NTSB says. While two planes were flying close together, one underwent an unexpected maneuver and hit the other. The pilot of the plane that was hit managed to keep it flying and more »
Pushing boundaries to cut a ribbon with a turning propeller while flying 20 feet above the ground upside down
Everest was meant to be climbed and the Antarctic explored. Pushing boundaries is what we do. People are motivated by lots of things—fun, money, the chance to be the first, to prove something to themselves or others, or just “because it’s there.” So, one might ask why would any sane person want to cut a more »
The first hybrid propulsion experiments have already taken flight, and capabilities are scaling up rapidly
My father’s dreams of flight were powered by avgas. Lots and lots of it. For his generation, big, radial Wright Cyclone engines and Rolls-Royce Merlin V-12s were the ticket skyward—transforming about 100 gallons an hour into 300 knots or more of speed and an instantly recognizable percussion that those in any nearby zip codes would more »
The weather is not good tonight. Here at the Dakota border, the real temperature is 22 degrees below zero, wind from the west at 18 knots. Yes, the ceiling is unlimited and visibility is a lot farther than 10 miles, but it’s a hard night for flying. On television, the weatherman calls the evening brisk. more »
A cross-country flight runs into mysterious trouble…over Roswell.
The Navy had issued orders for my transfer to Japan, an exotic land that I had wanted to explore since first studying the martial arts as a child. My household goods were packed, and I was beaming with excitement, until I learned that not all my belongings could go with me. The Yokota flight training more »
It’s not a fad. Meditation can help situational awareness, flexible thinking and staying calm in the face of multiple demands for those of us who fly.
It is impossible to get from the bedroom to the bathroom in my house without stumbling across the word “mindfulness” on some book or magazine cover, which is an extraordinary feat because the bedroom and bathroom are connected. It seems as though you can do anything from making your bed to flying an airplane with more »