The rockets’ red glare: a July 4th landing to remember

The rockets’ red glare: a July 4th landing to remember

Sliding quietly past the last of the Quonset buildings, and with 40-degrees of Cessna’s barn door Fowler flaps hanging out, I was pretty well committed at that point. I was ready for the touchdown, probably three or four feet above the grass runway, when the whole world exploded directly in front of the heavy Cessna.

Comparing your dreams – why owning an airplane is worth it

Comparing your dreams – why owning an airplane is worth it

What we love about these aeroplanes is how we feel when we are inside them, travelling across wide open spaces, chasing small puffy clouds or even just mastering two landings in a row without the instructor grabbing the yoke. It’s nice to have a beautiful interior, modern avionics and a super modern profile. But what’s more important is being able to fly, safely and passionately.

My first (intentional) spin

My first (intentional) spin

“I thought today we would begin unusual attitude recoveries, and transition into spins and spin recovery.” I was torn between saying, “No thanks, I only came here for the tailwheel endorsement,” and saying, “That’s exactly what I need to work on!” So I said nothing, climbed in, and fastened my seatbelt, perhaps just a little tighter than usual.

My encounter with a thunder cloud

My encounter with a thunder cloud

My plane entered a pitch dark cloud. Instinctively I took three rapid steps: reduced velocity below VA; turned on the instrument and panel lights; and put the oxygen valve on full demand. Soon hell’s doors were open.

The false choice between technology and flying skills

The false choice between technology and flying skills

Freedom or security. Ketchup or mustard. Life is filled with supposedly difficult decisions that aren’t really decisions at all. Pilots face the same false choice when it comes to technology. It’s time to embrace new avionics and solid hand flying skills.


Logbooks

5 key flying lessons – some things that had to be learned the hard way

5 key flying lessons – some things that had to be learned the hard way

You can’t say “been there, done that” until you have actually been there and done that. Then you should be able to add “and learned that.” The alternative is for someone else to check the “Gotcha” box for you.

continue reading

John's blog

The false choice between technology and flying skills

The false choice between technology and flying skills

Freedom or security. Ketchup or mustard. Life is filled with supposedly difficult decisions that aren’t really decisions at all. Pilots face the same false choice when it comes to technology. It’s time to embrace new avionics and solid hand flying skills.

continue reading

History

Cessna during the glory days – a test pilot’s daughter remembers

Cessna during the glory days – a test pilot’s daughter remembers

In honor of Father’s Day, Mary LeSueur shares her memories of accompanying her father, a Cessna test pilot, to work. She shares the thrills and delights for a young girl witnessing the action in the Cessna hangars and runway, and the life-long lessons she learned.

continue reading

Technique

10 tips for prospective businessmen (or businesswomen) pilots

10 tips for prospective businessmen (or businesswomen) pilots

If you are serious about moving you and your loved ones around by air, here are 10 things I have learned that I never read anywhere else. It is more rewarding and more fun than I ever imagined. It’s a lot of other things, too, nearly all of them good.

continue reading

Recent Articles

The rockets’ red glare: a July 4th landing to remember

The rockets’ red glare: a July 4th landing to remember

Sliding quietly past the last of the Quonset buildings, and with 40-degrees of Cessna’s barn door Fowler flaps hanging out, I was pretty well committed at that point. I was ready for the touchdown, probably three or four feet above the grass runway, when the whole world exploded directly in front of the heavy Cessna.

read more

Comparing your dreams – why owning an airplane is worth it

Comparing your dreams – why owning an airplane is worth it

What we love about these aeroplanes is how we feel when we are inside them, travelling across wide open spaces, chasing small puffy clouds or even just mastering two landings in a row without the instructor grabbing the yoke. It’s nice to have a beautiful interior, modern avionics and a super modern profile. But what’s more important is being able to fly, safely and passionately.

read more

My first (intentional) spin

My first (intentional) spin

“I thought today we would begin unusual attitude recoveries, and transition into spins and spin recovery.” I was torn between saying, “No thanks, I only came here for the tailwheel endorsement,” and saying, “That’s exactly what I need to work on!” So I said nothing, climbed in, and fastened my seatbelt, perhaps just a little tighter than usual.

read more

My encounter with a thunder cloud

My encounter with a thunder cloud

My plane entered a pitch dark cloud. Instinctively I took three rapid steps: reduced velocity below VA; turned on the instrument and panel lights; and put the oxygen valve on full demand. Soon hell’s doors were open.

read more

The false choice between technology and flying skills

The false choice between technology and flying skills

Freedom or security. Ketchup or mustard. Life is filled with supposedly difficult decisions that aren’t really decisions at all. Pilots face the same false choice when it comes to technology. It’s time to embrace new avionics and solid hand flying skills.

read more

Control checks – not normally an airborne requirement

Control checks – not normally an airborne requirement

Sometimes the most thorough of checks and vital actions done before takeoff don’t always prevent an unwanted surprise later when the checks themselves are not developed to the full extent needed. Such was the case when shortly after takeoff in an RAAF Australian Sabre I encountered a significant control problem.

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5 key flying lessons – some things that had to be learned the hard way

5 key flying lessons – some things that had to be learned the hard way

You can’t say “been there, done that” until you have actually been there and done that. Then you should be able to add “and learned that.” The alternative is for someone else to check the “Gotcha” box for you.

read more

Is that legal? Clearing a path through the fog

Is that legal? Clearing a path through the fog

They say that in every life a little sunshine will beam on occasion. Freight dogs learn quickly to take advantage of every streak of light they can find and they usually don’t tell anyone about it until well after the fact, because they’re never quite sure if what they’ve just done is legal or not.

read more

10 tips for prospective businessmen (or businesswomen) pilots

10 tips for prospective businessmen (or businesswomen) pilots

If you are serious about moving you and your loved ones around by air, here are 10 things I have learned that I never read anywhere else. It is more rewarding and more fun than I ever imagined. It’s a lot of other things, too, nearly all of them good.

read more

The Last Flight of Viscount CF-THS Air Canada 637

The Last Flight of Viscount CF-THS Air Canada 637

Seeing the aircraft, my heart sank. The forlorn scene looked hopeless. Sundry bits of airplane scattered over the hangar floor, two of the four engines missing and the silly looking Viscount with half its tail feathers missing. I had second thoughts.

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How airplanes can bridge the gap between fathers and sons

How airplanes can bridge the gap between fathers and sons

Beneath the surface talk of sports or business are often sons who still desperately need to know their fathers are proud of them but don’t know how to ask, and fathers who love their sons very much but don’t know how to answer. Many times over I’ve seen an airplane bridge that gap.

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Cessna during the glory days – a test pilot’s daughter remembers

Cessna during the glory days – a test pilot’s daughter remembers

In honor of Father’s Day, Mary LeSueur shares her memories of accompanying her father, a Cessna test pilot, to work. She shares the thrills and delights for a young girl witnessing the action in the Cessna hangars and runway, and the life-long lessons she learned.

read more

The Cessna Fanjet 310 – a half century ahead of its time, sort of…

The Cessna Fanjet 310 – a half century ahead of its time, sort of…

A Cessna 310 with fanjet engines mounted over the wings?! The improbable design was actually considered in the early 1950s, and one of the designers who worked on the project shares his memories. While the airplane never flew, there are echoes of it in the new HondaJet.

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Real world missed approaches – 6 tips for staying safe

Real world missed approaches – 6 tips for staying safe

The missed approach is really a maximum performance maneuver. The key is to make your decisions long before you ever start the approach, so a missed approach is an automatic reaction. MDA is no time to be making decisions; it’s a time for executing what you’ve already planned.

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A Luscombe without wings – taming the Stearman

A Luscombe without wings – taming the Stearman

“Wow,” I said. “A Stearman,” said Jerry. “You can’t see much, but it’s pretty easy as long as you stay on the grass.” I could not imagine what he was talking about – I had 78 hours in a Cessna 172.

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