Learn all about the history and evolution of gliders.
What a glider is: Non-powered aircraft that is not lighter than air Derivation of the term “glider:” Unknown Other common term for gliding: Soaring Difference: In soaring, pilots gain altitude in flight Glide ratio: Cessna 172: 9:1 Best high-performance sailplane: Better than 70:1 Northern flying squirrel: 2:1 Steinway Piano: Infinitely poor zero:1 Methods for altitude more »
Forty years in between memorable experiences in very different airplanes keeps love of flying alive for pilot.
As for so many pilots, it all started for me in a C-150. My very first flight in the small Cessna trainer was one I’ve never forgotten. In an extreme climb, my pilot friend took me high up, ending the climb with a stall. “That is what happens when you force an aircraft to stop more »
The new rules will bring some profound changes to the process for instructors, practical test takers and examiners, too.
The FAA issued a Notice in October that allows more flexibility in how Designated Pilot Examiners (DPEs) conduct practical tests These changes are poised to help alleviate some backlogs in the scheduling and conducting of practical tests in the United States for pilots and students. Specifically, the major points of change included allowing DPEs to more »
Knowing when to give it another try is a key to avoiding a big safety risk.
In the sticky southern Georgia afternoon, the air was flat and heavy as we turned final for Runway 6 at KCSG. It was our last fuel stop after a long day, and we were ready to call it quits for the evening. Following my flight lead, an A36 Bonanza, down the imaginary glideslope, I flew more »
Forty years ago, a Twin Otter went down en route to Denver from Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The story of what happened next is as riveting as the analysis of why it happened.
This month marks the 40th anniversary of the December 4, 1978, crash of Rocky Mountain Airways Flight 217 in snow-covered terrain at 10,530 feet MSL near a place called Buffalo Pass, about 8 nautical miles east-northeast of Steamboat Springs, Colorado. The de Havilland DHC-6-300 Twin Otter had 22 on board: the captain, first officer and 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 »
Three days of flying close formation over some of America's most dramatic terrain.
Lift off from Runway 25 at Four Corners Regional Airport in Farmington, New Mexico, turn slightly west to point the spinner at Shiprock, and you’re on track for some of the most remarkable views in America. If you’re a fan of old John Wayne westerns, you will already have seen the dramatic rock formations of more »
The idea behind circular runways isn’t new, but it has gotten increased attention lately. Could it be the key to increasing landing capacity nationwide, or is it just as crazy an idea as it seems?
Round airports have been around since the early days of aviation, because that layout allowed the notoriously lightly wing-loaded planes of the day to land directly into the wind no matter which direction it was blowing. But circular runways are another thing altogether. And while the idea might seem totally crazy at first blush, there’s more »
At the Barnstormer’s Grill in Williamson, Georgia, I sat in a booth next to myself at age 20. Okay, so he was redheaded and thin, but the parts that really mattered were all but identical. Similar socioeconomic upbringing, same struggle to continue higher education, same desire to fly airplanes for a living. And friends, this more »
Not everyone in the world gets to be a pilot. In fact, a fraction of 1 percent of people in the United States ever get their wings, and worldwide it’s a fraction of a hundredth of a percent. Being a pilot sometimes seems common to us, because so many of our friends are pilots, and more »
First helicopter capable of hovering flight with pilot: Paul Cornu’s unnamed helicopter, 1907 Height of that first flight: About 1 foot Duration: 20 seconds Fate of Cornu’s helicopter design: Abandoned Early design standoff: Dual contra-rotors vs. one plus tail rotor Early enabling technology: Swashplate for collective pitch changes First “practical” helicopter: Sikorsky VS-300 Fastest helicopter more »
It’s not supposed to happen, but it does. What to do when the controller forgets about you.
Fly IFR, and you’ll run into this situation soon enough: You’re on a base-leg vector to the localizer or inbound course. This means you’re perpendicular to the final approach course—the course that takes you to the runway—and the next heading you receive from ATC should result in a 20- to 30-degree intercept to that final more »
The phenomenon is not new, but the crash of a Malibu in Eugene, Oregon, makes clear that the threat is as lethal as ever.
Sometimes in the field of aviation safety, there are revelations: As a result of an accident investigation, a hitherto unexplored hazard emerges and everyone becomes cognizant of it and vows that never again shall it be permitted to take a life. That’s just what happened more than 33 years ago on August 8, 1985, when more »
You know that bucket list you have? Maybe it’s time to toss it?
Most people have some sort of bucket list. Sometimes we don’t get it on paper, but we all have goals we want to achieve or amazing feats we want to accomplish before we die. You know the list. Climb Mt. Everest. Fly around the world. Safari in Africa. Get over your fear of public speaking. more »
Explore the risks associated with low visibility takeoffs.
A few months ago I posted a video on Facebook of a takeoff I made in what was pretty much a zero-zero visibility and low-IFR-ceiling situation. The post, as many do, generated comments and opinions. And a few questions. The most interesting question it generated was from a fellow examiner. He asked, “What are the 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 »
It had been a dismal day to fly. Then it got worse.
It was mid-August, 1991, and California had been baking under a seasonal high-pressure system, pushing temperatures well above the century mark from Baja to the Oregon border. I’d departed early from my home base of Compton in the Los Angeles Basin to meet a SOCATA TBM-700 in Concord, a few miles inland from the coastal more »
First landing in a powered plane: Orville Wright, Wright Flyer, Kill Devil Hills, North Carolina, December 17, 1903. First successful helicopter landing: Paul Cornu, November 13, 1907, Lisieuz, France First landing on a heavenly body: Apollo 11 Commander Neil Armstrong, Sea of Tranquility, Earth’s Moon, July 20, 1969. First landing on inflated rubber aircraft tires: more »