Ferrying a crop duster to South America

by

It was getting late in the day and the tropical weather was closing in behind me. I felt trapped. Weather was all around and nothing but dense jungle below. I started to get frustrated and really worried. An hour and a half had passed and I was no closer to Panama City. My only alternate airfield was back across the mountains. The last thing I wanted to do was climb back up to 15,000 feet, but I had no choice.

Friday Photo: Beaver sunset

by

Scott Magie loves flying his 1950 Beaver on floats, and with pictures like this it’s easy to see why. He shares this week’s Friday Photo from shore, looking at the big seaplane at rest in the water in Minnesota. The moon is rising above the wings, the water is calm Scott says, “Time for another cocktail.” We agree.

A city boy learns to fly in the country

by

With only a few instructional hours logged, I had virtually no flying instincts. Mac, my instructor, called “power” and simultaneously shoved the throttle forward. It was all that kept us from cutting a swath through a cornfield bordering the runway’s approach end. The Cub wallowed ahead, barely above a stall, bouncing down on the grass just yards beyond the stalks.

Weather forecasts – there’s more to it than just charts

by

On two recent occasions, I have spent my day staring down FAR 121.613. Both cases required a more in-depth study of the day’s weather than a simple scan of the TAF. Regardless of which part of the FARs you are operating under, the area forecast discussions put out by local forecasters are incredibly valuable when preparing for a day’s flying. They will give you the feel of a personal briefing.

Announcing the Young Pilots Writers’ Challenge

by

Attention all pilots under 23 years of age. Your voice needs to be heard as part of the general aviation community. It’s not just multi-thousand hour pilots who have wisdom to share and stories to tell. You are the next generation of pilots. For you, the good old days are right now! Air Facts is sponsoring a Young Pilots Writers’ Challenge. Here are the details.

BasicMed: a cruel hoax?

by

Was 05/01/2017 a day that changed the life of a lot of pilots or was it just another Monday down on the farm? The first attempt to do away with aeromedical certification for pilots started about 70 years ago and the beginning of BasicMed on 05/01 seems to be all the progress that was possible on this sticky subject over all these many years.

Friday Photo: Amsterdam canals

by

Flying over Amsterdam isn’t easy, but Gerhard van Roon says he wouldn’t trade it for anything: “once over the target and the safety pilot has taken the yoke with me hanging with my cameras out of the window, I am sure that there isn’t a job in the world as beautiful and satisfying as mine!” As this week’s Friday photo shows, he does have quite the view.

Silicon Valley discovers aviation – but for how long?

by

You have to pay close attention these days to keep up with all the breathless news about “flying cars” and “disruptive aerial vehicles.” The great and the good from the technology world have fallen in love with aviation lately, and their various startup companies have been launching aviation projects at an unprecedented rate in 2017. Do any of them have a chance? Does it matter?

Are you ready? Flying the Alaska bush

by

I’m going to fly along with you as you take your Cessna 206 Stationair II for a flight to pick up a client out in the flat country beyond the Alaska Range. Your client lives in a log cabin along the Kuskokwim River, downstream from the village of Aniak. You’ve made sure to have the necessary flight charts with you.

Flying to Oshkosh low and slow

by

Like many pilots, flying my plane to Oshkosh was on my bucket list, but work, cost, and time always seemed to say “not this year.” So, in 2012 when the Cub Club announced the “Cubs To Oshkosh” in celebration of the 75th anniversary of the Cub, that was it. I had to be part of that history. This is my story of that trip.

My first flight – as told by my grandpa

by

Saturday October 16, 2010. Mom and I were at a craft show when Grandpa called to see if I could go fly with him today. He tried to take me before but something always came up, like I hadn’t had my nap. When you’re four years old everybody knows no nap and flying aren’t a good mix. Today was my lucky day.

Ghosts in the hangar: a true aviation short story

by

The place as it stands today bears no resemblance to the airport tucked away in my thoughts. Every pilot has melancholy memories of favourite places because flying sears powerful images and feelings they long for. The airfield that comes to mind is where I learned to fly. Introductory flights were $10 back then.

Quiz: IFR holding procedures

by

Most pilots don’t fly holds too often these days, but that doesn’t mean you can ignore them. Whether it’s a hold on an instrument approach or knowing when not to hold, there is a lot to know. Take our 10-question quiz to test your knowledge of IFR holding procedures and see if you’re still current.

Turbulent flying lessons: windy tales

by

The potential for turbulence should be an integral part of pre- and in-flight weather study. And I found over the years that experience is the best teacher because with turbulence what you feel is what you get. If flying IFR in clouds, the fact that turbulence there makes many riders uneasy and uncomfortable has to be acknowledged, and even some pilots riding as passengers get antsy in bumpy clouds.

Friday Photo: Helgeland coast in Norway

by

One of the best parts of our Friday Photo series is the wide variety of locations we get to share. This week’s photo is a great example: Thor Fredrik Eie took this beautiful picture of Torghatten in northern Norway on a recent sightseeing flight. The rocky coast and the blue skies make for a unique view over the nose of his Cessna.

A date with aviation

by

In the remarks section of my logbook entry for January 3, 1999, it simply says, “Ride for Barb – Clear and cold.” We flew for 1.9 hours, but I honestly can’t remember the flight. For Barb, this was her first flight in a plane other than a commercial airliner. For me it was part of my vetting process for potential dating partners. If they didn’t like flying in small airplanes, there wouldn’t be much of a future in the relationship.

The death knell for the vacuum pump?

by

This year’s Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in didn’t have any flashy new product introductions – no $50,000 LSAs or supersonic jets from unknown startups – but there may have been a more important trend unfolding. The vacuum-driven gyro may finally be on the way out. Thank goodness.

Double sunsets: falling in love with aviation and Alaska

by

I loved being at Elmendorf and being in Alaska. It was supposed to be a 90-day tour; I volunteered to stay much longer. My memory causes me to believe there were about a dozen B-47s cocked on alert. Four days a week, three B-47s arrived from Tucson, two of which were turn arounds rotating flight crews, the third cocked to replace an alert bird being rotated home.