Coming to flying later than most opens different doors and different perspectives
Before each departure from Heathrow Airport, I meet my fellow pilots at our Crew Report Centre. We shake hands and introduce ourselves, and if we’re early we may talk about the traffic or the football, or our plans for our time off wherever it is on the planet that we’re about to go together. There’s more »
Going to the next level can take you to new and sometimes scary places. Why it’s that next step that matters most.
I spent the winter of ’84 giving tailwheel instruction, getting more aerobatic training and working on my helicopter rating. After I soloed the Bell 47G, I had a lot of fun flying it to the base of the Chugach Mountains that rise over Anchorage. I carved my initials in the snow with the skids and more »
Aviation is more than simply a means to an end. It’s an end in itself.
I wouldn’t want to be riding out on the wing tonight. The wind is roaring down out of the northwest like polar bear’s breath, a vicious torrent of air frozen by winter and twisted by the Rocky Mountains. Somewhere below, far down in a blanket of clouds and black sky one to three miles deep, more »
The challenges and rewards of flying with sports superstars
I’d walk in the front door of my grandparents’ house with butterflies in my stomach and laughter held tight in the back of my throat, because I knew my Uncle Tom was waiting. My uncle was a professional wrestling fan, and his favorite wrestler at the moment was “The Claw” (aka Baron von Raschke). He’d more »
The airfoils and flight control surfaces of the future might be very different than what we’re used to. Think engines, lots of them, and bird wings.
If you’ve been around aviation for any length of time, you know a few stories about so-called revolutionary aircraft that sounded too good to be true. Turns out, most of the time, they are. So, stop me if you’ve heard the one about the airliner that cruises at 600 mph, but lands on a 3,000-foot runway. more »
Severe weather, poor maintenance and faulty flight instruments lead to earthly disaster
The NTSB recently finished its investigation of the October 28, 2013, accident involving a Cessna Citation 500 in which a nationally-known minister and the pilot were killed. Pastor Edward Dufresne, who was 72 years old, led the World Harvest Church in Murrieta, California, and used the twin-engine jet in his travels around the country for more »
Everything has an end, but too often we don’t know it’s coming
Our Christmas morning wasn’t what it should have been: we got a call early on that my ex-brother-in-law had just unexpectedly died. He was only two years older than I am and a health freak. The net effect on me was stronger than I would have expected. It was as if the concept of mortality more »
It was and remains the fastest jet that has ever flown
I’m not much on book reviews, but recently, I came across a new, coffee-table book I couldn’t put down. In fact, it was more likely a book I couldn’t pick up. “The Complete Book of the SR-71” is a massive, 10” x 13”, 260-page work by Colonel Richard H. Graham, USAF (retired). Following 210 combat more »
The chariot, a VFR-only Pitts. The plan, made up along the way. The result, pure magic.
In mid-October, I left Texas in the single-seat Pitts S-1S, N8078, and flew west to compete in my second and third contests, respectively. I knew where I was going, but didn’t really know what I was getting into yet. Other than that I loved to be around aviation and loved to fly aerobatics, all I more »
Almost regardless of our age, 20-something to gray dog, it’s impossible not to engage in those “Hey, do you remember when…?” moments, where we look back at experiences, people and times in our lives when something memorable happened. Then as we progress through life, we find ourselves hitting milestones that make it impossible not to more »
Total number of “airports” in 1903: 1 Total number of U.S. airports in 2014: 19,299 Total number of U.S. airports in 1980: 15,161 Number of public-use airports in 2014: 5,145 Number eligible for federal funding: 3,300 Number of public-use airports in 1980: 4,814 Number of airports used by U.S. in support of WWII: 2,308 State more »
As one who has been trying to figure out this concept called flying for longer than I can remember, I’ve always been a little mystified as to why the same accidents seem to keep happening for the same reasons.
Being doubly sure before trying to take off can save your life
I shook my head in disbelief while reading the NTSB’s report on the May 31, 2014, nighttime accident involving a Gulfstream G-IV at Hanscom Field (BED) in Bedford, Mass., which was released a couple of months ago.