Getting a commercial flight turned around isn’t an easy task
As a young Civil Air Patrol cadet, I struggled with the timing of calling drill commands while marching. Calling, “To the rear, march,” on the wrong foot, as I often did, resulted in a bunch of heavy sighs and some sharp criticism from cadets with more stripes on their lapels than the two on mine. more »
We pilots pride ourselves in sticking to our guns. Perhaps to a fault.
Birds do it, bees do it, even educated fleas and wily pilots do it. We do it in the daytime and at nighttime, but the problem is, most of us resent doing it. We start out intending to go one place, and find ourselves faced with the decision to divert. The DC-8 was on approach more »
Maybe none of your outside issues or life complications are your fault. You know what? That doesn’t stop them from being your problem. Here’s why you’ve got to just deal with it.
Flying is challenging. When I was younger and just starting out as a pilot, I wasn’t a very confident person and was an even less confident pilot. Today, even after I’ve gotten a few new ratings and logged a lot more time, I still face many uncertainties as a pilot. (Don’t we all? If you more »
The crash of a 206 shows the importance of knowing your engine...and your emergency checklists
If you fly behind one or two turbocharged engines, you’ll be especially interested in what happened to a Cessna T206H that was taking off from Essex County Airport (KCDW) in Caldwell, New Jersey, on August 15, 2015. And, yes, there’s value here for those who count on having normal performance from normally aspirated engines, too. more »
Instrument pilots have a thing for regulatory minutia. An information morsel you’ll often hear repeated is “being able to descend to 100 feet AGL when you can see only the approach lights.” That’s too bad, because it belittles a beautiful piece of information design by turning it into a gouge for aviation trivia night. It’s more »
Some things you probably knew, and perhaps some you didn’t, about the development and implementation of GPS
I was just over 1,000 miles south of Honolulu on the second leg of a four-leg ferry flight from Santa Barbara to Subic Bay, Philippines, when all three GPSs failed. The Cessna 421’s panel mount system and both of my portables stopped working at the same time. My lat/long position froze in place, and nothing was more »
Can we ever hope to solve the mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan?
The Mystery What was the real fate of pioneering pilot Amelia Earhart and her navigator, Fred Noonan, who disappeared on July 2, 1937, before reaching their Pacific Island destination on an attempted circumnavigation of the earth? The Backstory The mystery of what happened to Amelia Earhart and Fred Noonan when their flight disappeared over the more »
Check out these cool facts about the biggest things in aviation!
Tallest height allowable for USAF pilots: 6’7” Heaviest powered paraglider pilot: 440 pounds Highest max takeoff weight: Antonov AN-225, 1.3 million pounds Greatest payload: AN-225, approximately 560,000 pounds Max takeoff weight, Boeing 787: about 502,000 pounds (no, it won’t fit inside the AN-225) Largest piston engine: Lycoming XR-7755, 36 cylinders, 7,750 cubic inches, dry weight, more »
Sometimes the bucket list items get checked off early on
Lockheed Burbank had the Skunk Works, a shop known for the rather secretive production of spectacular flying machines. West Georgia Regional Airport was home to The Possum Works, a hangar held by a couple of old-timers who were always playing with the fun stuff. Between the three of them, they owned a Stinson Gullwing, a more »
I got my Certified Flight Instructor Instrument (CFII) rating in Alaska in 1983. It was the icing on the cake after earning my Private, Instrument, Commercial, Seaplane and Multi-Engine ratings as I now had the bona fides to be considered a professional pilot with a marketable skill. But, like most low time CFIs, I had more »
Mooney Airplane Co. Inc. M20TN 1 Fatal Atlantic Ocean near Atlantic City, New Jersey The commercial pilot departed Michigan on a personal cross-country flight in the autopilot-equipped airplane destined for New Jersey. Air traffic control records indicated that after the airplane departed, about 1200, a controller instructed the pilot to climb to 25,000 ft mean more »
I’m tooling around at 37,000 feet the other day—minding my business with 175 peeps comfortably lost in their own personal 2 square feet—when I overhear my lead attendant making an announcement seeking medical assistance. I tap my copilot on the shoulder and signal to him—picture a monkey see, monkey do routine—to listen in on the more »
The investigation of a prop strike and subsequent crash results in more questions than answers
How did a landing that seemed it would be so right wind up in a go-around that went so wrong? Look at the NTSB’s report on the July 29, 2015, accident involving a Socata TBM 700 at Milwaukee, Wisconsin, in which both occupants were killed, and you’ll see the agency’s take on it. But don’t more »
A couple of weeks ago I did cross one off the bucket list when I flew a paraglider for the first time. I’ve always been fascinated by early flight and by very minimalist kinds of flying, and paragliding is about as minimalist as you can get. There’s you, the wing (which is what these kinds more »
What was supposed to be an easy VFR flight to go hunting takes a turn
On a clear October night in 1968, I took off from Westchester County Airport (HPN) at 7 p.m. in a Mooney Statesman with two non-pilot hunting buddies. The destination was Quebec City in Canada. I passed my private pilot check ride in July 1968, and this was my second long cross-country flight and my first more »
Here’s how one pilot set the world prop/piston speed record and came to dominate unlimited air racing
If you’re determined to make an airplane fly faster, traditional wisdom suggests there are three ways to realize that goal. In ascending order of difficulty, you can increase the power, improve the aerodynamics or reduce the weight. Perhaps no class of airplanes exemplifies the need for speed more than unlimited air racers, and few pilots more »
When people ask me what the coolest experience I’ve ever had in an airplane is, I don’t hesitate—it was my F/A-18 Hornet ride to an aircraft carrier
It began at the NAS Oceana O Club at the end of a successful airshow weekend in late September, 1999, when U.S. Navy Captain and Commander of the Strike-Fighter Wing Atlantic John “Lites” Leenhouts joined our table. I’m not sure where Lites got his call sign, but he is the kind of person who lights more »
The arguments, theories and facts about who was really the first to fly
The Backstory The popular story of who flew first is easy. It was the Wright Brothers, at Kill Devil Hills (Kitty Hawk), North Carolina, December 17, 1903. Orville was at the controls, and there are photographs of the plane, the Wright Flyer, on that very flight, which lasted 12 seconds and covered 120 feet. To more »