I knew they were going to die that day

I knew they were going to die that day

I was not yet a pilot, but when my father lifted off in the Piper Archer with my mother and younger brother on board and quickly disappeared into the low overcast, my mind filled with dread: I knew they were going to die on this flight, and soon.

The folks down the back

The folks down the back

Back in 1976 when I joined my first airline it was still customary for the captain to talk to the SLC (Self Loading Cargo – a somewhat snide description observed on pilot internet websites to denote passengers). Some of the people and the stories “down the back” are unforgettable, even 30 years later.

Debate: do we still need DUAT(S)?

Debate: do we still need DUAT(S)?

A number of rumors (some backed up by the companies involved) suggest that DUAT(S) may be on the chopping block. Whether that happens or not, it raises an interesting question: do we still need DUAT(S)? Add your voice.

My adventure: a long day of flying in a 172

My adventure: a long day of flying in a 172

Dawn lit the eastern sky as the Skyhawk’s engine came to life. I was about to begin a journey that would be as epic for me as the flight across the Atlantic had been for Lindbergh. At age 61, I was flying from Galion, Ohio (GQQ) to Winter Haven, Florida (GIF).

The saddest flight I ever made

The saddest flight I ever made

The story begins about 6 am on a Monday in San Francisco in the late 1990s. This morning I saw a number of flyers posted asking for help locating a lost windsurfer. The previous weekend had been exceptionally windy and if a windsurfer was lost, his prospects weren’t good.


Dick's blog

Logbooks: Concorde adventures

Logbooks: Concorde adventures

Richard Collins made 14 flights on Concorde, both in the cabin and in the cockpit of the supersonic airliner. In this fascinating article, he shares the details of “the most extraordinary airplane ever,” from the performance numbers to the complex systems and what it was like to fly the simulators.

continue reading

John's blog

Remote ATC towers – coming to an airport near you?

Remote ATC towers – coming to an airport near you?

The concept of remote towers, once the stuff of research papers and futurists, is now a reality–and it might be coming to the US sooner than you think. Is that a bad thing?

continue reading

Opinion

Tragedy on the beach at Venice – what would you do?

Tragedy on the beach at Venice – what would you do?

General aviation made headlines recently, and in the wrong way. A father and daughter were killed in Venice, Florida, when a pilot making an emergency landing hit them on the beach. What would you have done in this situation–land on the beach or ditch?

continue reading

I Can't Believe I Did That

I Can’t Believe I Did That – Angel knows best

I Can’t Believe I Did That – Angel knows best

The Angel on my right shoulder whispers, “This is not the time for you to be doing this, look at those clouds!” but the Devil on my left shoulder says, “Aw c’mon! You’re only going for a short flight, you’ve got to be able to fly in this, what’s stopping you?”

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Recent Articles

I knew they were going to die that day

I knew they were going to die that day

I was not yet a pilot, but when my father lifted off in the Piper Archer with my mother and younger brother on board and quickly disappeared into the low overcast, my mind filled with dread: I knew they were going to die on this flight, and soon.

read more

The folks down the back

The folks down the back

Back in 1976 when I joined my first airline it was still customary for the captain to talk to the SLC (Self Loading Cargo – a somewhat snide description observed on pilot internet websites to denote passengers). Some of the people and the stories “down the back” are unforgettable, even 30 years later.

read more

Debate: do we still need DUAT(S)?

Debate: do we still need DUAT(S)?

A number of rumors (some backed up by the companies involved) suggest that DUAT(S) may be on the chopping block. Whether that happens or not, it raises an interesting question: do we still need DUAT(S)? Add your voice.

read more

My adventure: a long day of flying in a 172

My adventure: a long day of flying in a 172

Dawn lit the eastern sky as the Skyhawk’s engine came to life. I was about to begin a journey that would be as epic for me as the flight across the Atlantic had been for Lindbergh. At age 61, I was flying from Galion, Ohio (GQQ) to Winter Haven, Florida (GIF).

read more

The saddest flight I ever made

The saddest flight I ever made

The story begins about 6 am on a Monday in San Francisco in the late 1990s. This morning I saw a number of flyers posted asking for help locating a lost windsurfer. The previous weekend had been exceptionally windy and if a windsurfer was lost, his prospects weren’t good.

read more

I Can’t Believe I Did That – Angel knows best

I Can’t Believe I Did That – Angel knows best

The Angel on my right shoulder whispers, “This is not the time for you to be doing this, look at those clouds!” but the Devil on my left shoulder says, “Aw c’mon! You’re only going for a short flight, you’ve got to be able to fly in this, what’s stopping you?”

read more

Remote ATC towers – coming to an airport near you?

Remote ATC towers – coming to an airport near you?

The concept of remote towers, once the stuff of research papers and futurists, is now a reality–and it might be coming to the US sooner than you think. Is that a bad thing?

read more

The descent: enjoying the ride down

The descent: enjoying the ride down

My pilot buddies and much of what I read tell of the virtues of the more dramatic times: thundering takeoffs, a perfectly executed crosswind landing, the intense concentration requirements of low approaches. While I admit that each of those aspects have their charms, I am smitten beyond relief to the time when the altimeter is slowing unwinding.

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Back to Africa

Back to Africa

“We never fly too much above 500 feet around here,” Michelle said as we began the climbout from the grass strip at the Kosrue Aero Club. “I know it seems low but remember we don’t have any mountains to worry about.”

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What? Me panic?

What? Me panic?

In 1966, two short years after the disbandment of the RCAF Golden Hawks, Canada’s premier formation aerobatic team, the powers-that-be decided that one of the military contributions to the celebration of Canada’s one hundredth birthday would be another formation aerobatic team that would travel across the country during the centennial year and give exactly 100 performances.

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Logbooks: Concorde adventures

Logbooks: Concorde adventures

Richard Collins made 14 flights on Concorde, both in the cabin and in the cockpit of the supersonic airliner. In this fascinating article, he shares the details of “the most extraordinary airplane ever,” from the performance numbers to the complex systems and what it was like to fly the simulators.

read more

Timing is everything – a Grand Canyon adventure

Timing is everything – a Grand Canyon adventure

Last May, three of us decided to hike from the North Rim of the Grand Canyon to the South Rim in one day. Now this is a 25-mile hike, down about 15 miles and 6000 feet to the Colorado River and then back up to the North Rim another 10 miles and about 5000 feet; a challenging hike at the best of times but the real difficulty is the temperature.

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Remembering Saint-Ex.

Remembering Saint-Ex.

70 years ago, on July 31, 1944, Antoine de Saint-Exupéry took off on his last flight, from which he did not return. At 44, he was old for an operational pilot in World War II, and he was flying a fast, unarmed, photo-reconnaissance version of the single-seat Lockheed P38 Lightning fighter.

read more

Tragedy on the beach at Venice – what would you do?

Tragedy on the beach at Venice – what would you do?

General aviation made headlines recently, and in the wrong way. A father and daughter were killed in Venice, Florida, when a pilot making an emergency landing hit them on the beach. What would you have done in this situation–land on the beach or ditch?

read more

60 seconds with the FAA administrator: what would you say?

60 seconds with the FAA administrator: what would you say?

Now it’s your turn. We’re going to pretend you have a one-on-one meeting with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in his office. You have one minute to tell him anything you want, so think carefully.

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