Mechanic helping kid

Passing the torch

Pilots are life-long learners, and, per the Feynman Learning Technique, the best way to learn anything is to teach it to someone else. With that in mind, plus a desire to pass the torch to a new generation, some old pilots developed a week-long aviation camp for youth, ages 14-18. 
SGS 1-26

Soaring and the Aviation Safety Reporting System

The NASA ASRS system was created about 34 years ago, with the main purpose of identifying hazards to the overall approach to safety. In doing so, there had to be some caveats which insured its success. Perhaps the greatest one being that whatever information was disseminated through this process could not (BY LAW) be used in any type of enforcement against the reporting source.

Your passengers may not always enjoy flying

Turns out, it wasn't until turning base leg that we hit smoother air. With a 20+ knot headwind straight down the runway, my touchdown was slow and thankfully smooth. Had we made a fuel or bathroom stop, the guys may have ask directions to the nearest Greyhound station.

Managing the wind

Those little hills made for fiendish turbulence down low. The lower I got, the worse it became. I’m stubborn and I kept thinking it’s just 20 knots, and I’m a CFI (beating chest). Until I was porpoising down the runway like a first-time student. I went around the pattern a few times but finally got a clue and decided to go elsewhere.
cuban eight

Friday photo: half cuban eight

Half Cuban Eight with a 1 1/2 roll over Springdale, Arkansas.
V-tail Bonanza

Burning Man for Builders

Society will always tell us there’s no such thing as safe enough. We will add more and more sensors, cameras and lidar to things that drive themselves, while news headlines rage of man failing machine, machine failing man. We put in airbags and then a switch to deactivate them.

Challenges in Vietnam

Firebug told the flight mechanic to use a nozzle of the second fire extinguisher to open the fire door, and if he still saw flames, to discharge the whole fire extinguisher into the compartment. He then told the load master to get the fire extinguisher from the cockpit.
Airplane off runway

Survival gear after the crash…hmm

Or might it be the case that the pilot–you, for example—has mental and cognitive skills degraded by pain after the crash? And maybe all those survival tools and toys that were so appealing and easy to evaluate on a bright Saturday morning are in the moment hard to use, hard to get open from the packaging, or even forgotten?
Citabria on grass runway

The time when I almost landed short

The plane was perhaps 50 feet above the ground, but at least there was a smooth gravel under-run and the wheel pants were off. I had just enough energy to flare with a soft touchdown. I prepared myself for landing short. What an embarrassing end to the second leg of my Private pilot solo long cross-country.

Our Overton Window

ROP leads to higher intra-cylinder pressures (ICPs) and higher heat production. ROP also uses extra fuel, hence more unburned gasses and metals, given the minor imperfection in the state of metallurgy and the myriad of moving parts soaked in that heat which, over time, might not handle this hot onslaught leading to deformation. Conversely, as you go LOP, the CHTs come down due to more complete combustion.
steep turn

Friday photo: knocking off the rust in the practice area

Beautiful skies in the local practice area in a 45 degree steep turn. I remember initially practicing this maneuver over a decade ago with my instructor (Cory) and learning how valuable pitch trim is during the maneuver. That was a big help practicing the maneuver again all these years later. 

Choosing the best IFR route — Advanced IFR, by PilotWorkshops

In this excerpt from Advanced IFR, by PilotWorkshops, follow along on this scenario-based IFR route selection exercise as we plan a flight from Oceana, CA (L52), to Monterey, CA (KMRY), using ForeFlight Route Advisor. As you can see, there are many variables to consider when planning an IFR route including weather conditions, airspace, aircraft capabilities and ATC preferences.
PC-12 crash track

Ignore the YouTube crash detectives—it’s usually pilot error

When a high performance airplane crashes in IMC, the self-proclaimed experts on social media quickly spin elaborate theories about autopilot failure, in-flight icing, structural failure, carbon monoxide poisoning, or some other incredibly rare cause. It makes for good entertainment (“hit that subscribe button!”) but the reality is usually much less interesting and much more depressing.

A Newbie CFI, Disco Fever, and My Inner Voice

I tried to explain that if you corner a car too hard, it may skid.  “Corner” an airplane too hard, it may stall, spin, and crash, in that order.  One day, I had him do a “high speed” (40 knots) practice abort on takeoff, and he stomped on the brakes—but mashed the left one harder than the right. We got pretty darn far left of centerline—I think I could read the words on the vending inside the FBO building—and came to a stop. 

How stress and anxiety affect pilots

"I read the news today, oh boy!" You can almost hear the drumbeat behind those lyrics by Lennon and McCartney. And yet it was! I did read the news today and in my mind the exclamation of “oh boy!” followed swiftly. An airline pilot was…
Legend Cub

The Last Pilot

On the last base to final turn, the Last Pilot will make one final radio call and touch down on the old grass strip and taxi to the barn, alone in their thoughts.  After the engine is clicked off and The Last Pilot coasts to a stop, the windshield will be dutifully wiped clean, as will the leading edges.  The plane will be pushed into the barn, and the Last Pilot will hang the key on the hook for the final time.

Friday photo: Niagara Falls for the solar eclipse

Flying the family to Niagara Falls to see the total solar eclipse. My fondest memory is my 7-year old son shouting, "That's amazing! Oh my gosh! How are we doing this?"
dc 10

Uncle Joe’s Last Flight

We touched down and as we taxied by the two fire trucks, the firemen unleashed an arching cascade from their water cannons. The trade winds feathered the streams of water and the morning sun gifted us with a welcoming rainbow lei. After parking, Joe was lowered into a loving crowd and was, yet again, surrounded by smiles, tears, and song. He left the airport in an ambulance and left us with memories that will be with us always.

Let George do it!

About our third trip, this time from Pontiac to Waukegan past South Bend and Gary, flying the shoreline, George told me that if he survived this experience, he’d love to learn to fly and maybe even make a living doing so.  He had fallen in love with aviation and wanted to really be part of it. My response was, "Well, hey, no time like the present, are you ready?"

Living the dream

As college in the mid-1960s moved along, our involvement in Vietnam began to ramp up. The draft was scooping up people my age from sea to shining sea. I decided to stay in ROTC and get a commission to keep the draft at bay.