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Finishing what you start – even after an accident

Finishing what you start – even after an accident

Climbing back in and getting back to the meat of prepping for the flight test is probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Knowing how quickly, not to mention painfully, things could go wrong didn’t help my tension. Nevertheless, we flew. I flew.

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Go or No Go: VFR under the ice?

Go or No Go: VFR under the ice?

Today you’re not the one flying the trip – a friend who is a relatively low time pilot has called and asked for your advice. You pull out your iPad and review the weather below. What’s your advice for your friend – go or no go?

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Playing politics at 27,000 feet – a story from the South Pacific

Playing politics at 27,000 feet – a story from the South Pacific

In the corridors of power many aviation decisions are made that do not normally affect those of us on the flight deck responsible for a successful flight. But sometimes they do. Such was the case of the Rarotongan Voters Project, where two separate governments intervened mid-flight.

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Fatal Cirrus crashes are way down – thank the parachute

Fatal Cirrus crashes are way down – thank the parachute

Fatal Cirrus crashes are down sharply over the last two years, while more pilots are using the Cirrus Airframe Parachute System than ever before. This is not a fluke – and it has major implications for general aviation.

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Treat the airplane like it’s yours, even when it isn’t

Treat the airplane like it’s yours, even when it isn’t

When you’re paying by the hour, it’s easy to cut corners, be a little careless, or belittle something that we would never forget on our own airplane. However, if we treat a rental plane as our own, every renter or club member benefits. Here are a few things I try to do when I rent.

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A second officer’s tale

A second officer’s tale

Back in the day when props were changing to jets, the Canadian Ministry of Transport contemplated creating a newly required third crew position on the huge DC-8s coming on line. The third pilot crew member would be neither a fully endorsed DC-8 pilot nor a fully endorsed DC-8 flight engineer.

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11 questions for John Laming

11 questions for John Laming

It would be difficult to describe an aviation career more colorful and varied than that of Captain John Laming. In our latest interview, we ask the experienced military and airline pilot about everything from the Battle of Britain to modern simulator training.

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Accident report: aviate, navigate, communicate

Accident report: aviate, navigate, communicate

The phrase is so overused that it’s become a cliche: aviate, navigate, communicate. The clear suggestion is that flying the airplane is much more important than messing with the GPS or telling Air Traffic Control about your problems. But while all pilots hear this advice from day one of flight training, the accident record shows that it’s hard to do when something goes wrong.

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What it takes to be one sharp pilot, part two: intelligence

What it takes to be one sharp pilot, part two: intelligence

When contemplating a smoking hole made by an airplane, “That was a dumb mistake” is a frequent pronouncement. I think that is misleading because I am not aware of any smart mistakes, especially in airplanes. It just takes a relatively high level of native (as opposed to educated on things other than flying) intelligence to perform well as a pilot.

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Stop the prop – not a smart idea?

Stop the prop – not a smart idea?

I remember a flight, well, actually I remember many, but this one ranks up there, where if anything came up short, I probably wouldn’t be alive, let alone a pilot writing about this. Let me just put this out there now: I was young, stupid, and believed in the invincibility of me and my flight instructor, so let’s not go bashing the messenger here.

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There’s no place like home

There’s no place like home

There is a special place in the heart of every pilot for his or her “home patch.” It’s the airport where you know you enter the downwind leg over the lake, turn base over the church and final over the mall. It’s the airport where you know all the little secrets and “gotchas.” Over the years I’ve had a number of airports that I’ve called home and every one of them has taught me something.

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What I learned from my father about flying – and life

What I learned from my father about flying – and life

I never did get to do that solo, with my Dad stepping out of the J-3 as we had planned. In fact, 40 years passed until I was able to get my pilot license. Since then I’ve built my hours and experience, added an instrument rating, reconnecting in a very deep way with my earliest memories, and to the things that my Dad taught me.

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Debate: are single engine airplanes safe at night?

Debate: are single engine airplanes safe at night?

The single engine vs. twin debate has raged for decades, with some pilots even suggesting that twins are more dangerous. But what about night flying? Many pilots still get nervous when contemplating a cross country flight in a single engine airplane. Is it safe?

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How I came to be an ag pilot

How I came to be an ag pilot

Reader Dave Sandidge’s uncle, Bernard Threet, was an ag pilot in the Mississippi Delta region for many years. After his uncle’s recent death, Sandidge wanted to honor him by sharing the story of his memorable cross-country in a Piper Cub crop duster. And what a story it is.

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Coming down with the aviation bug: why me?

Coming down with the aviation bug: why me?

Looking to my right, there is my regular flying companion, my late father, or my sense of him. I talk to him now and then, but he seldom answers. Today, I want to ask him why aviation came to be such a central part of my thinking and my life, despite my never having made a dime with an airplane, or been an especially skilled pilot, or having grown up in a flying family.

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