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El Paso sunrise

Friday Photo: El Paso sunrise

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They say the early bird gets the worm, but if you’re a pilot you get a whole lot more. This week’s Friday photo, from pilot Ray Baca, shows the sun peeking over the horizon in El Paso, Texas. The gorgeous purple and orange colors painting the clouds will be familiar to any pilot who has taken in the view before.

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Fuel selector in Bonanza

It’s the little things that get you

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I advanced the power and the 300 hp Continental IO-550 began to barrel us down the runway while I continued looking at the trees at the far end. Racing toward them, I checked my airspeed and fuel flow and began to rotate… and just before I did… the engine died! Like in Dead.

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Author in airplane with grandson

Aviation’s next generation – be the spark

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Look around for that airport kid in your neighborhood or at the local airport and make his or her day by offering them some time exploring your plane or taking a short hop. It won’t cost you anything but some time and kindness and most of their parents would be thrilled to let them have the experience.

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St. George airport

Farewell to an old friend – another airport fades away

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I said goodbye to an old friend today. My friend won’t actually be gone until January 13, but I had to make a special trip to pay my respects. Lots of pilots in the West know my friend, some with tender feelings, others not. My friend was one that challenged the skill, or nerve, of every pilot who came along. I was lucky enough to learn from my friend, and in fact love that dear airport.

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Indy 500 race

Flying dad to the Indy 500 – with a few stops

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It would be the longest VFR cross country for me by far, with precious cargo across Tornado Alley in springtime to the “Greatest Spectacle in Sports.” But I was 26; what the hell did I know? It was before the internet, weather channel, online anything. No TFRs or alphabet soup of airspace.

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Cessna 172

What’s wrong with Cessna 172 pilots?

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The 172 is the most built airplane in history at 43,000 copies. It is probably still safe to say there are more 172s flying in the U. S. than anything else and though production rates today are relatively low, that will remain true for a long time to come. That makes it a true benchmark airplane in a lot of ways, including that good safety record.

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marine layer SF

Friday Photo: marine layer over San Francisco

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Private pilot John Belnap was flying to Salinas, California for some weekend work when he snapped this amazing photo. A familiar sight for California pilots, it shows the marine layer rolling in around San Francisco. The low sun, reflected off the high wing of the Cessna, illuminates a beautiful scene.

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Dick's Blog

Opinion and analysis from Richard Collins
Cessna 172

What’s wrong with Cessna 172 pilots?

By

The 172 is the most built airplane in history at 43,000 copies. It is probably still safe to say there are more 172s flying in the U. S. than anything else and though production rates today are relatively low, that will remain true for a long time to come. That makes it a true benchmark airplane in a lot of ways, including that good safety record.

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.

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.

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

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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!

Geneva airports

A pilot in command abdication

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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
El Paso sunrise

Friday Photo: El Paso sunrise

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They say the early bird gets the worm, but if you’re a pilot you get a whole lot more. This week’s Friday photo, from pilot Ray Baca, shows the sun peeking over the horizon in El Paso, Texas. The gorgeous purple and orange colors painting the clouds will be familiar to any pilot who has taken in the view before.

marine layer SF

Friday Photo: marine layer over San Francisco

By

Private pilot John Belnap was flying to Salinas, California for some weekend work when he snapped this amazing photo. A familiar sight for California pilots, it shows the marine layer rolling in around San Francisco. The low sun, reflected off the high wing of the Cessna, illuminates a beautiful scene.