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Serendipity – and a great day of flying

Serendipity – and a great day of flying

Memorial Day weekend in northeast Ohio was turning out to be a needed break from a long, hard winter and a stormy spring. I did not get to do much flying since fall and the beautiful morning was not one to be passed up. I asked my wife if she wanted to fly to Salem (38D) for brunch, but she had things on her to-do list and said I should just go.

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Getting past the ABCs

Getting past the ABCs

As businesslike and matter-of-fact as the radio alphabet seems, a closer look shows it is packed with history, romance, mythology, literature and the lure of faraway places.

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Dad is my copilot – Father’s Day flying thoughts

Dad is my copilot – Father’s Day flying thoughts

I’ve been flying with my dad for literally my entire life, growing up in the back of different airplanes while he flew me and my three brothers around the country. 2000+ hours later, I can’t imagine life without aviation in it. More importantly, I can’t imagine my relationship with my dad without flying.

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Father’s Flying Day

Father’s Flying Day

Flying with my father meant that airplanes were part of my life from the very beginning. I have seen the highs and the lows as well as all in between and I have enjoyed every minute of it. Someone asked me if I grew up around airplanes. I said, no, I grew up with airplanes.

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Deadsticking a T-bird

Deadsticking a T-bird

I was a solo pilot in a T-Bird (the T-33, a single jet engine-powered aircraft that was used in Korea) preparing for takeoff to fly wing with another T-Bird that had a student with an instructor. The instructor in the lead aircraft motioned to me… come on… come on let’s go.

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Hungry Pilot: Half Moon Bay, California

Hungry Pilot: Half Moon Bay, California

In the latest installment of our search for the $100 hamburger, we head west to the 3-Zero Cafe. This airport restaurant features big breakfasts and a scenic location.

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Go or no go: NORDO?

Go or no go: NORDO?

Your trip today is all fun, as you flew from your home base in Delaware, Ohio (DLZ) up to Put-in-Bay, Ohio (3W2), a beautiful island airport in Lake Erie. It was a fun day on the water and a great lunch, but now it’s time to head home. Is it a go or no go?

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Accident report: learning to say no

Accident report: learning to say no

The checkride is a time of transition, when new pilots go from the clearly defined instructor-student relationship to the much fuzzier examiner-applicant relationship. Who’s in charge? The simple answer is the applicant, but an accident from late 2013 shows how tricky this question can be in real life.

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From the archives: Len Morgan on airline flying

From the archives: Len Morgan on airline flying

Len Morgan was a legendary airline pilot and writer, but many readers may not know that he wrote for Air Facts before going on to Flying magazine. This article, from the December 1953 edition of Air Facts, takes us back to another era and offers a look at the life of an airline pilot during the glory days.

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Fool’s errand: a Mooney flight to remember

Fool’s errand: a Mooney flight to remember

I appeared early the next morning to pick up my ticket and was greeted with a ticket and a box. In the box was a very large screwdriver and a new starter. It didn’t dawn on me that this job might be a little more complicated than previously explained.

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A break in the chain

A break in the chain

Most stories start out leading the reader step by step to the climax or high point of the tale. Not this one. So here’s your spoiler alert. The next sentence you read takes all the mystery out of my story. I nearly had an aircraft accident.

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10 things “real pilots” do

10 things “real pilots” do

Have you ever met a “real pilot?” I sure haven’t–at least not the ones some aviation experts talk about. According to them, real pilots only fly taildraggers, real pilots don’t use GPS, real pilots don’t cancel flights, etc. I have a different definition of a real pilot.

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Close encounters

Close encounters

I have been flying small airplanes on and off for several decades. I have had close calls before. They tend to happen quickly. I had never had two close calls inside of 20 minutes before that particular Sunday.

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76-year crash course: is only the good news fit to print?

76-year crash course: is only the good news fit to print?

If talking about safety is an aeronautical sin, meet the two biggest perps, my father, Leighton Collins, and myself. Guilty as charged since February, 1938, when AIR FACTS started.

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“Well, you are one!”

“Well, you are one!”

As we landed, my examiner said, “Well, you are one!” which I took to mean either you are a PILOT or you are a REAL SOB. Best not to ask, I thought. We walked back to the FBO, where my flight instructor was pacing like an expectant father.

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