It may be inevitable, but we can control how we react to it
Fear is a topic that comes up a lot when I talk to people at airshows. One of the most frequent questions I get is: Are you afraid? Don’t you get scared? I usually reply that I wouldn’t do it if I were afraid, a true, but simple answer. For me, flying airshows is about more »
Year “Cub” name first used: 1930 Manufacturer: Taylor Aircraft Location of factory: Harri-Emery Field, Bradford, Pennsylvania Designation of first Cub: Taylor E-2 Cub First Taylor E-2 engine: Brownbach Tiger Kitten What young tiger offspring (kittens) are called: Cubs Animal featured in Cub logo: Bear Horsepower of Brownbach Tiger Kitten: 20 Length of cinder runway at more »
An emergency checklist for overwater flight for pilot—and passengers—makes the difference in surviving a crash
I’ve been flying as pilot in command of light airplanes pushing 40 years, and, yes, I’ve had my share of emergencies. Most of them were pretty benign, but one of them did cost me an airframe, and for a while, my confidence in machinery. (That passed.) Fortunately, that’s all it cost, and I’m forever thankful. more »
It’s not worth the academic argument to banter accident statistics related to non-instrument-rated pilots inadvertently flying into Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC), since the data we have is notoriously incomplete; however, we can probably agree that this scenario “too often” results in fatalities. I’m disappointed the new Private Pilot Airman Certification Standards (ACS) didn’t move Flight more »
In Alaska, airplanes truly can take on any mission
The sound is unmistakable. Today, I’d recognize that sound in the first two seconds, but 50 years ago, it was totally alien to me. It was high pitched and guttural at the same time, the smooth, even roar of a gasoline-powered monster, a 1650 hp supernova on a leash. The first time I heard it, more »
Forget ground-based sims. Imagine sitting inside the cockpit of a real plane while computer-generated graphics place you in a real-world scenario outside.
Like many pilots, I remember that more than once my flight instructors accused me of trying to fly an airplane right through the runway. That error is part of learning just how much to flare, or pull back on the controls to slow, then stop, and descend to land. Pull too much, and the plane more »
The pressure is on to complete the mission, but should it be?
Imagine yourself with a flight planned for the morning that will take you from Michigan to Texas and back in the same day. You expect icing along the route, but you’re flying a known-icing-equipped aircraft; however, it won’t climb above the weather. There will be thunderstorms along the route that you hope will be out more »
Aviat A-1C Husky 1 Uninjured The pilot reported he was practicing touch-and-go landings. When the airplane touched down on the runway, the airplane veered to the right, he applied left rudder, but had applied too much and the airplane veered to the left. The pilot reported that he applied right rudder, but had once again more »
When you’re doing what you love, discipline comes easy
In the winter of 1985, we decided to bring our Pitts to Alaska. Some might question the sanity of flying any airplane to Alaska in winter, much less one so small it weighs the same as a Harley Fat Boy, but then, some people are always up for an adventure. It seemed like a good more »
The scene is in a thousand movies. A clear night sky and a glass-calm ocean. A million brilliant stars, every one of them reflected by water. The horizon is difficult to find. Then some ship enters the scene, slowly, and the water is swirled in its wake, troubled just enough to mark the border between more »
A Cessna 340 crashed while executing a missed approach in bad weather. There might have been more to the crash than the NTSB discovered.
The NTSB recently issued its report on a “loss of control” accident from October 10, 2013, in which a Cessna 340A, a cabin-class, pressurized piston twin, crashed while maneuvering during a missed approach on a low-weather day at Hampton Roads Executive Airport (KPVG) in Norfolk, Virginia. The fatal mishap involved a complex combination of factors. more »
Flying regional jets for a living won’t make you as poor as it used to
Regional airlines have long been the conventional steppingstone for civilian pilots to get to a legacy airline. Lots of hopeful pilots signed promises to lenders and racked up debt—often into the six-digit range—while chasing their dream to fly. “I’ll pay it off when I’m at Delta,” many reasoned. Changing times made us reevaluate those goals. more »
Without pilots, there would be no aviation (as we know it and like it, anyways). But what do you really know about these special aviation creatures? Here are 50 Facts about fly-boys and fly-girls that you probably didn’t know.
Population of the United States in 1903: 80.6 million Total number of pilots in 1903: 1 Percentage of population: 0.00000001 Population of the United States in 1929: 121.8 million Total number of pilots in the United States in 1929: 9,215 Percentage of population: 0.000075 Population of the United States in 1975: 216 million Number of more »
What should have been a leisurely demo ride in a perfectly good seaplane somehow went horribly wrong
I grimaced and tried to suppress a groan as I braced myself atop the chain-link fence before throwing my right leg over the top bar. It wasn’t much of a fence, coming up only to around my chest, and I’d been topping barriers far taller than this one since I was a boy. But the more »
Researchers are looking toward the animal and plant kingdoms, and coming up with ingenious ways to stop airframe icing
As the old saying goes, if folks were meant to fly, they would have been born with wings. I might add that if they had been intended to attempt flight through icing conditions, they would have been blessed with dimpled wings like the Namib desert beetle or coated with a slippery substance like the carnivorous more »
Mountains have always represented the ultimate nemesis to some pilots. Though I understand the apprehension, I grew up in Alaska and California, so I accepted vertical terrain as normal, perhaps the ultimate and most spectacular manifestation of Earth’s variety. Learning to fly in Anchorage and Long Beach, I dealt with mountains during practically every flight, more »
The early instructions are clear. Abeam the numbers, reduce power. First flaps. Pitch for speed. When the far numbers are 45 degrees behind your shoulder, turn downwind to base. Pitch for speed. Second flaps. Watch your speed. There are stories about what comes next. Base to final. This is the most beautiful turn in the more »
The actor acted with professionalism when the engine quit
Suppose you or I had taken off on a solo flight, and within minutes, had to execute an emergency landing that resulted in serious injuries and a banged-up airplane. There was no harm to anyone on the ground, and no buildings or vehicles were hit. When the NTSB finished its investigation, the narrative probably would more »