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Alps from cockpit

Friday Photo: a trip over the Alps

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This week’s Friday Photo comes from French pilot Georges Casanova, who took this beautiful shot while crossing the Alps in a Pipistrel motor glider. The tallest peak in the Alps, Mont Blanc, towers over the building clouds in the valley. A memorable sight for made so much more impressive when seen from the cockpit of a small airplane.

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V35 crash

Airframe failure: not just V-tails

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A recent accident involving a vacuum failure in a V35B Bonanza and subsequent loss of control and airframe failure made me recall that this was a really substantial problem in the 1980s and early 90s. It also made me recall one of the better private flying war stories – from a pilot who survived an airframe failure.

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Sunrise over Trenton airport

Friday Photo: an airport wakes up

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After a near-record setting blizzard the weekend before, the Trenton airport was covered in two feet of snow. After digging out, pilot Greg John headed out for an early morning training flight. The sun rose in the east, painting the high overcast in beautiful shades of orange, yellow and purple. Another beautiful Friday Photo.

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Canyons of Arizona

Business or pleasure – why choose?

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The 10-day weather forecast looked amazingly good for January, so rather than go home on the weekend between two events, I concocted a scheme to do some sailplane flying at Estrella on the weekend, including the use of Estrella’s lodging facility – fabulously cheap bunk beds only soaring aficionados could love. I was saving the company money!

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Piper Warrior

Being neighborly – an aerial introduction

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The sky was clear and conditions appeared very good. We got into the Warrior and I had him strap in. After the runup, I tuned in to the latest ATIS, then contacted Ground, and started to the active. As we moved along the taxiway, Paul remarked to me, “This the first time in my life I’ve ever been in an airplane.”

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Lenticular cloud

I never should have left the ground

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I felt I needed to expedite, because there was another Southwest 737 eyeballing me from across the runway, also holding short, and waiting for the little puddle jumper to get out of his way, so they could depart. I rolled out on the runway, and went to full throttle… and with a lot of right aileron and rudder. We lifted off and WHAM, we were 30 degrees to the runway. Yeah, I’d say there was a bit of wind shift!

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Core mountains

Friday Photo: Owens Valley solo flight

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Tyler Core snapped this beautiful picture on a solo flight to practice maneuvers. The view is of the imposing Mt. Tom, rising nearly 10,000 ft. over the Owens Valley in the foreground. As Tyler says, “the Owens Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys to live in and the outstanding views coupled with the minimal air traffic around KBIH makes this a unique place to learn.”

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Dick's Blog

Opinion and analysis from Richard Collins
V35 crash

Airframe failure: not just V-tails

By

A recent accident involving a vacuum failure in a V35B Bonanza and subsequent loss of control and airframe failure made me recall that this was a really substantial problem in the 1980s and early 90s. It also made me recall one of the better private flying war stories – from a pilot who survived an airframe failure.

Memorial Day cemetery

A Memorial Day salute – please join in

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I usually write about private aviation but this starts out with an accident involving a military airplane – a long time ago… On November 22, 1952 a USAF C-124 crashed into Colony Glacier on Mount Garrett, 40 miles east of Anchorage, Alaska, where the airplane was supposed to land. The weather was awful and a distress call was received by a Northwest Orient passenger flight.

Takeoff by Cessna

Takeoff: the riskiest three minutes

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There has been a rash of takeoff accidents featured in the news. That cabin-class Cessna hitting the trees in Alabama was dramatic, as was the footage of the Beech Duchess in a yard in Florida. There have been a lot others and when I read of these I think about how unforgiving airplanes can be if you fly away without the old ducks all in a row.

John's Blog

From Air Facts Editor John Zimmerman
Doolittle crew by airplane

The pilot brotherhood – only as good as your next action

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I think we get carried away with this brotherhood talk. Sure, pilots can be accepting and caring folks, and the common bond of aviation often does bring wildly different people together. That hardly means such behavior is guaranteed, though. Pilots are still human beings who often bring their own powerful emotions, biases and agendas to any situation.

decision right and wrong

To go or not to go? That is the (wrong) question

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We falsely view most aviation decisions as binary. The language of decision-making subtly reinforces this, with exhortations to “keep it simple” or “be confident.” What we end up with is a hopelessly unrealistic set of answers: yes or no, black or white. We should know better. Flying is all about subtle clues, 50/50 decisions and shades of gray.

Aero Friedrichshafen show

General aviation in Europe is both inspiring and frightening

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For a crass American, AERO is a very civilized show, held in a beautiful convention center with great coffee and lively beer gardens. Oshkosh this isn’t. Beyond these mundane differences, though, the show offers a fascinating lesson for US pilots. If all you’ve heard is how awful things are for private pilots in Europe, let me offer a more complete – although not entirely rosy – portrait.

At Air Facts, readers are pilot in command. Share your story: editor@airfactsjournal.com

I Can't Believe I Did That

Learn from other pilots' mistakes
Lenticular cloud

I never should have left the ground

By

I felt I needed to expedite, because there was another Southwest 737 eyeballing me from across the runway, also holding short, and waiting for the little puddle jumper to get out of his way, so they could depart. I rolled out on the runway, and went to full throttle… and with a lot of right aileron and rudder. We lifted off and WHAM, we were 30 degrees to the runway. Yeah, I’d say there was a bit of wind shift!

Geneva airports

A pilot in command abdication

By

It was a dark and clear winter night, somewhere between 1979 and 1980. I walked up to the Piper Archer with my three other buddies, in full fighter pilot swag, full of myself and the false confidence only a 20-year old can have. I had earned my Private in just 54 hours and now, with a whole 61 hours logged, I was flying my buddies to the Playboy Club Resort at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.

Friday Photo

Incredible views from the cockpit
Alps from cockpit

Friday Photo: a trip over the Alps

By

This week’s Friday Photo comes from French pilot Georges Casanova, who took this beautiful shot while crossing the Alps in a Pipistrel motor glider. The tallest peak in the Alps, Mont Blanc, towers over the building clouds in the valley. A memorable sight for made so much more impressive when seen from the cockpit of a small airplane.

Sunrise over Trenton airport

Friday Photo: an airport wakes up

By

After a near-record setting blizzard the weekend before, the Trenton airport was covered in two feet of snow. After digging out, pilot Greg John headed out for an early morning training flight. The sun rose in the east, painting the high overcast in beautiful shades of orange, yellow and purple. Another beautiful Friday Photo.

Core mountains

Friday Photo: Owens Valley solo flight

By

Tyler Core snapped this beautiful picture on a solo flight to practice maneuvers. The view is of the imposing Mt. Tom, rising nearly 10,000 ft. over the Owens Valley in the foreground. As Tyler says, “the Owens Valley is one of the most beautiful valleys to live in and the outstanding views coupled with the minimal air traffic around KBIH makes this a unique place to learn.”