Or how to have your column derailed by big news from Over There
It was the best of times; it was the most confusing of times. Half an hour or so into our virtual gum flap, courtesy of matching Gucci headsets and Skype’s Internet-based telephony, my head began to hurt.
As is the case for many pilots, my student solo had been my most memorable flight, ever. What could be more exciting than the first opportunity as pilot-in-command to return an aircraft safely to earth?
Investigating violent oscillations that led to structural failure
In April, the NTSB advised the FAA to ground all Zodiac CH 601XL S-LSA and E-LSA until the FAA determines they have adequate protection from aerodynamic flutter, which occurs when airplane structures vibrate back and forth in increasingly violent oscillations, eventually reaching a point where the structure breaks apart.
We often have to see through the eyes of an outsider to appreciate what we have
It’s interesting how we can become so close to aviation that, even though it’s fueled by passion, it takes a “civilian” to point out what a great privilege and joy it is to fly. A lot of us instructor types spend four or more hours a day in a cockpit, but we really don’t do much flying—mostly we’re riding and talking.
Appealing to the emotional rather than the practical may be the key to revitalizing GA
In 2004, the FAA passed what has been called the “biggest change in aviation in 50 years”—it created the LSA category and sport pilot license. “So what?” you ask. You’ve already got your private, commercial, instrument, CFI and MEI ratings, and your Eagle Scout Badge.
Recently, a VFR pilot flying a Cessna 172 departed after dark in VMC and flew into IMC. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot reported an electrical failure to ATC, but continued into a thickening blanket of fog.
Every flight has ghosts, if you’ll see them. Mine come in those times when I need a little help to get me through a tough spot, or raise my perspective above ground level to reconsider the depth and breadth of the singular, incomparable joy we call flight.
You never know when your skills might be put to the test. For Doug White, who recently had to land a King Air when his pilot suffered a sudden and fatal medical problem, it was a matter of life and death.
As a twenty something, I figured that the only chance I would ever have of getting into an F-4 Phantom cockpit would involve a successful run for Congress, followed by finagling a seat on the Armed Services Committee.
Controllers offer assistance, but it’s the pilot’s responsibility to manage the flight
Each year, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), the union representing FAA controllers, honors members who’ve helped save pilots from dangerous situations that might have resulted in accidents.
Some characters we simply remember; others leave an indelible mark
At the risk of making this page an obituary for passing friends, let me say this: There’s absolutely no way we can let the passing of Harry Shepard go without saying something, if not profound, at least irreverent. Because that was Harry—a little profound, a lot irreverent and massively talented.
Flying a Bonanza to Singapore offers an education in “managing” thunderstorms
He was a regular reader of this space and he called a while back wondering if I’d be interested in ferrying his pristine A36TC Bonanza from El Monte, Calif., to Singapore. Gee, lemme think about that for 30 seconds.
As a dating couple, Brian and I often had to be very creative about finding time to spend together since I’m an airline first officer and Brian is the operations coordinator for Team Oracle. In July 2007, we were happily anticipating a week off that we were going to spend with our dear friends (and fellow Cub enthusiasts) J.R. and Paige Bisset.
The NTSB says it’s time to rethink something most GA pilots learned early in their training: If a circuit breaker trips while you’re flying, it’s okay to reset it after allowing a minute or two for it to cool, even if you have no idea what caused it to trip and cut off electrical power to a particular circuit.