Eight life lessons you learn as a pilot

Eight life lessons you learn as a pilot

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Video tip: angle of attack

Video tip: angle of attack

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Shot down over North Vietnam

Shot down over North Vietnam

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Two airplane rides I’ll never have again
The test: when things go wrong in a DC-3

The test: when things go wrong in a DC-3

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Friday Photo: Glass House Mountains, Australia

Cessna crash

Was it really pilot error – or was it something else?

New Articles

Our most recent posts

Friday Photo: Glass House Mountains, Australia

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The Sunshine Coast in Australia is a beautiful place to fly, and Gerard Merchant captures the scenery beautifully in this Friday Photo, taken from the cockpit of his Cessna 172. The Glass House Mountains, a group of hills that pop up from the coastal plains of Queensland, are draped in shadow as the early morning sun breaks through the clouds.

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Cessna crash

Was it really pilot error – or was it something else?

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The oft-quoted statistic is that about 85-percent of the accidents in private aviation are caused by pilot error. I always had the nagging suspicion that what that really means is that in 15-percent of the accidents they can find cause with something other than the pilot so that just naturally means that the rest get blamed on the pilot instead of on some failure or fault in the training and regulatory system.

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Gulfstream in flight

Eight life lessons you learn as a pilot

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Becoming a pilot changes who you are, even if you don’t realize it at first. Sure, there are the practical lessons about math, physics, and engineering you don’t encounter in everyday life. But as a recent trip through my logbook proved, aviation offers courses in the humanities as well as the hard sciences.

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Video tip: angle of attack

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Angle of attack is a hot topic in aviation right now, with the FAA promoting new indicators and flight instructors offering courses on how to fly it. But what does this phrase really mean? In this month’s video tip, we explore the essentials of AOA, from the aerodynamics to the avionics.

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F-4C Phantom on ramp

Shot down over North Vietnam

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Without any electronic gear onboard to warn us of active SAM sites, there was no way for us to know that at that very moment a Soviet-built SA-2 missile was streaking its way towards our Phantom from directly behind us, “Dead 6 o’clock,” in fighter pilot lingo. Just as the original lead aircraft rolled back to a wings-level position a mile to our left and reacquired us visually, the SAM struck our F-4 too late to shout a warning.

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Friday Photo: sunset on a first flight

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Taking a son or daughter for a first flight in a general aviation airplane is enough to make a flight memorable. For pilot Eric Villiger, though, his sunset flight in his Cessna 150 was even better because his daughter shot this beautiful picture on final for runway 25 at Indy Regional Airport. The lights of the runway contrast against the warm colors of the sunset to make a gorgeous view.

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747 cockpit

Two airplane rides I’ll never have again

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Several contributors have reminisced about experiences in commercial or military aircraft that meant a great deal to them, but which, because of later security issues, could not happen again. One of the most common experiences described is the in-flight cockpit visit. I have had two such visits that come to mind often with pleasant nostalgia.

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DC-3 on ramp

The test: when things go wrong in a DC-3

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This is no way to begin a trip and I knew it. What if I lose an engine on takeoff tonight in this crud? Nothing like the real thing to test a pilot! Every pilot will tell you there is a big difference between engine-out flying during training or a check ride, and engine-out flying for real. But how will I do if it happens tonight?

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Caption contest #5

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Welcome to our latest Caption Contest at Air Facts. Once a month, we post a photo and call on our very talented readers to provide a caption for that photo. Check out our most recent one below and if an amusing or clever caption comes to mind, just post it as a comment. In two weeks, we’ll cut off this contest and the staff of Air Facts will choose their favorite caption.

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Dick's Blog

Opinion and analysis from Richard Collins
Cessna crash

Was it really pilot error – or was it something else?

by

The oft-quoted statistic is that about 85-percent of the accidents in private aviation are caused by pilot error. I always had the nagging suspicion that what that really means is that in 15-percent of the accidents they can find cause with something other than the pilot so that just naturally means that the rest get blamed on the pilot instead of on some failure or fault in the training and regulatory system.

Read More
Instrument approach from cockpit

The complex art of finding the IFR Sweet Spot

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There’s a big difference between finding the VFR and the IFR sweet spot on an arrival. Weather doesn’t play much of a role when it’s really VFR and it plays a humongous role when it is IFR. In fact, weather determines the location of the IFR sweet spot. Sweetest of all would be when the runway pops into view at minimums with the airplane speed and configuration in perfect order.

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John's Blog

From Air Facts Editor John Zimmerman
Gulfstream in flight

Eight life lessons you learn as a pilot

by

Becoming a pilot changes who you are, even if you don’t realize it at first. Sure, there are the practical lessons about math, physics, and engineering you don’t encounter in everyday life. But as a recent trip through my logbook proved, aviation offers courses in the humanities as well as the hard sciences.

Read More

I Can't Believe I Did That

Learn from other pilots' mistakes
Luscombe

Miracle at Mojave: surviving an airplane crash

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At an altitude of about 50 feet, the airplane stalled and Gus lost control. Given our present situation, a team of engineers, analyzing every available factor, would be hard pressed to come up with a set of circumstances that would make this event survivable. I closed my eyes just before the lights went out.

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VFR on top of clouds

VFR on top… for a long time

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Slowly but surely, my outs — the airports that I intended to be able to land at if need be, began to close up. First was Baton Rouge, as the overcast quickly engulfed the airport to IFR. I also noticed that the TAF had been amended to include IFR conditions for most of the remaining day. Next was New Orleans. Now the gravity of the situation began to take hold in my mind. What if everything closes up?

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Friday Photo

Incredible views from the cockpit

Friday Photo: Glass House Mountains, Australia

by

The Sunshine Coast in Australia is a beautiful place to fly, and Gerard Merchant captures the scenery beautifully in this Friday Photo, taken from the cockpit of his Cessna 172. The Glass House Mountains, a group of hills that pop up from the coastal plains of Queensland, are draped in shadow as the early morning sun breaks through the clouds.

Read More

Friday Photo: sunset on a first flight

by

Taking a son or daughter for a first flight in a general aviation airplane is enough to make a flight memorable. For pilot Eric Villiger, though, his sunset flight in his Cessna 150 was even better because his daughter shot this beautiful picture on final for runway 25 at Indy Regional Airport. The lights of the runway contrast against the warm colors of the sunset to make a gorgeous view.

Read More

Friday Photo: solo cross country view

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Wow, this was an crisp and beautifully clear morning for my second solo cross country flight. The marshes of southern Louisiana and Texas fade into the Gulf of Mexico. This was my first time into Galveston Scholes Airport and doing it solo was a great confidence builder.

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