Friday Photo: San Juan Mountains

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Sometimes waiting is the smart thing to do. Dan Littmann spent an extra day at the FBO before taking off for Oklahoma in his Cessna 182, and was rewarded with this beautiful view of the San Juan Mountains topped with snow. Most importantly, he had a safe flight. As Dan says, “it’s better to arrive alive.”

Mountain wave: an invisible threat

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We heard an aircraft on the frequency report the loss of an engine. It first sounded as though the flight crew was reporting the loss of an engine’s thrust… but further transmissions revealed that engine had been torn from the aircraft wing! Shortly thereafter another airliner reported a turbulence-induced injury to a flight attendant. The controller was suddenly very busy.

Two men, a tropical storm and a hurricane fly into the sunshine state

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Sunday June 5th, tropical storm Colin suddenly popped up in the Gulf of Mexico. Hoping it would die out or veer away from Florida, I got up at 4 a.m. Monday morning to get a weather briefing for our proposed 6 a.m. departure. The briefing confirmed Colin was headed for the mid-section of Florida so I let Stan know that today was a no-go but hoped we could try again tomorrow.

Confessions of a former line boy

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You see, being a line boy teaches us how to treat people and, in turn, how we like to be treated. The fact that I can remember N222GL, N399TL, and N11LA from 43 years ago, but can’t remember what happened last week is probably more indicative of age, but also a vivid reminder of the experiences around each of these airplanes.

Flying beyond a doubt: an epic DC-3 journey

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We know that mechanical things fail, people make mistakes and aviation, like the sea, is inherently unforgiving of failure or mistake. That thought was on my mind recently when we took off from Burlington, Vermont, aboard a classic old airplane, a twin engine DC-3 built in 1945. We were headed for Europe, but less than three hours later, in a flash event, both the failure and the mistake happened at the same time.

Friday Photo: Colors of Denmark

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Danish pilot Andreas Christensen and his wife were flying their Diamond DA-40 to a birthday party when he snapped this colorful picture. It shows the island of Funen, with yellow fields and green trees nestled against the sea. The warm colors contrast nicely with the sleek wing of the Diamond.

An intro ride becomes a thrill ride

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With nearly calm winds and clear skies, I taxied out and transmitted my departure intentions in the blind. From midfield I lined up on what was left of a 5000-foot runway. With the passengers’ weight, the tail wasn’t as quick to volunteer to fly first. It ended up being a three-point takeoff. This didn’t surprise me. Later in the flight was a time for surprises.

An incredibly short-haul airline flight

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The lady from crew sked (as always, courteous to a fault; unlike a few of the brethren who react, when called, like bears rousted from hibernation!) proceeds to acquaint me with the latest offerings from the New York catalog of 757/767 flying. Interestingly enough, the main offering for tomorrow is a 757 ferry flight from EWR to JFK. This brings back some long forgotten memories.

Caption Contest #4

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Welcome to our latest monthly feature at Air Facts – our Caption Contest. 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.

Friday Photo: Lessons from Dad

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My Grandpa and Dad learned to fly in short wing Pipers. Then my Dad taught my two brothers and me to fly in short wing Pipers as well. Now my son Caleb wants to learn to fly so what better airplane than another short wing Piper to learn in – a Piper Vagabond.

My accidental warbird flight

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I asked the young man that would be flying us up into the mountains how something as light and relatively slow as a glider, even an aerobatic one, could possibly need such a robust structure. He informed me that this particular airplane had flown in Vietnam.

Why even the best pilots need to know their limitations

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The two years that I spent as the Piper district sales manager for the West Coast were some of most interesting and fun filled of my aviation career. Not only was I learning the aircraft sales business from some of the most experienced and well-respected people in the Piper distributor organization, I was also learning about grass roots flying from high-time, skilled pilots.

From the archives: Bob Buck gets a Boeing 707 check out

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This in-depth report, originally published in the September 1960 edition of Air Facts, is Bob Buck at his best. The legendary airline pilot and author takes us along as he checks out in the Boeing 707, the defining airplane of the jet age. From practicing maneuvers to taking a check ride and flying to Europe, Buck explains how the big jet flies, why it’s different and how it is changing the airline business.