In 1954, just after the cessation of hostilities in the Korean war, the Marines wanted an improved model of Cessna’s L-19 Army Liaison/Observation airplane. The Marines only wanted a few of these good airplanes, and they were willing to pay–quite a bit more–for them.
I took Ann for her first ever airplane ride on May 30, 1956, in my Piper Pacer. I had been flying for five years then. A couple of years later we got married and she had really signed on. I took her for her final airplane ride on August 19, 2007.
Spend enough time reading this site or any other aviation publication, and you’ll eventually get to the articles or comments sections stating how there just simply isn’t enough interest in general aviation for it to survive. Instead, why don’t we ask ourselves what we can do to improve the flying experience?
The National Transportation Safety Board (NSTB) recently held a much-publicized meeting in Washington that focused on general aviation safety. The message was clear: the board views the GA accident rate as unacceptably high, and they want action. Their first step was to release five Safety Alerts targeting the leading causes of accidents. The question is, will anyone listen?
“Hey! You wanna see a $2,400 pair of sunglasses?” The C-17 crewman yelled and waived a pair at me on a trip to Afghanistan. “No!” My official United States Air Force escort screamed. The crewman plugged his pie hole and sulked away, and that’s the last I saw of either the glasses or the crewman.
More than a year before I set foot in a cockpit, I moved to Oklahoma. I remember a friend of mine telling me, “If you don’t like the weather here, give it fifteen minutes and it will change.” It was a good joke at the time, but once I started flying, this statement would serve as a constant reminder every time I sat behind the controls.
Back in 1968 I was the relief copilot on Pan Am’s Boeing 707 Rome to New York morning flight. I was doing pre-departure checks when the purser entered the cockpit with news that Charles Lindbergh would be traveling with us in first class.
I read the story where the pilot described an early flight into clouds where he did fine, but his passenger in the rear seat developed vertigo and was a major distraction. It was an interesting twist to the complex world of IFR in personal aircraft and it took me back to an experience I had in the early 80s.
You’re headed to Minneapolis today to pick up your daughter from college and bring her home to Milwaukee for a family wedding. Since winter is starting to recede, it looks like a good chance to dust off your 1978 Cessna 172 and make the 2 1/2 hour flight. Read the weather briefing, then decide if you’re making the trip or not.
It is an old, sad story that only becomes sadder in the seemingly endless retelling. Today’s newspaper headline reads, “Lifelong pals, wives perish in air crash… foggy conditions may have played a role.” The deceased were all in their early or mid 40s, and leave behind six children. What are we to do?
Names for various airplanes have always been interesting to me. After WWII, Beech came up with the hands-down best name ever for an airplane: Bonanza. It flies on 67 years later and is, and has always been, a survivor. That is probably because the airplane is as good as the name. My second choice in the name game is Gulfstream.
Pilots spend an awful lot of time talking about safety, and we’re no exception here at Air Facts. Some readers have suggested we actually do it too much–quit the morbid talk about crashes and promote the positives in aviation, they say. Are we really overdoing it?
The FAA medical exam, a key milestone on a pilot’s journey towards a private certificate, is under fire. For years, many pilots have blasted the whole process as a bureaucratic mess that does nothing to improve safety but does a lot to discourage new student pilots. Should it go away?
Nearly 70 years ago, Air Facts editor Leighton Collins called out the need for a better flight training system. In particular, he lamented that “we have never had a flying system designed for the civilian.” His comments are a surprisingly relevant contribution to today’s debates about flight training.
Ten Seconds from Hell may be rather a shocking statement: nevertheless, it is a true one. I am a pilot and have been one for 44 years. However, during my first few months of flying I had an experience that few live to tell about.