Friday Photo: a pink King Air wing

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The sun is a talented artist, especially at dawn and dusk. This week’s Friday Photo shows how the canvas is often an airplane, not just the surrounding clouds or earth below. Jeff Greer snapped this photo of the King Air he was flying as the sun painted it a beautiful shade of pinkish orange. Another memorable view that’s only available in the air.

A $100 hamburger, the Brazilian way

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This sunny morning, I could convince my wife to fly with me to the UNESCO heritage site of Paraty, Rio de Janeiro, a 50-minute flight that would take us along gorgeous tropical coastal scenery. With the help of my friend Siri, a true Caiçara – as the natives of the coast are called – I rolled the Super Petrel in front of the waterline for the pre-flight inspection, which I did by heart.

I never considered canceling

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Dividing my attention between setting power, keeping her straight and watching my speed, I noticed the windshield starting to mist over with ice but I kept charging. Acceleration was normal and I had a fairly long runway so at 120 I gently rotated the nose – and continued to roll with the mains fully planted.

What’s wrong with single-engine turboprop pilots?

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From studying everything that has gone on with the TBM and Meridian and with knowledge of the high performance piston fleet, I get the feeling that the lower fatal accident rate in the turboprops has to be attributable to better training. Better reliability could be a factor and the enhanced performance capabilities of these airplanes may have also made a contribution to safer operation.

Friday Photo: Catalina pokes above the fog

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Flying offers some great views – even if you’re not the one flying. In this week’s Friday Photo, Carlos Gonzalez captures an amazing view of scenic Catalina Island, just off the coast of Southern California. As the marine layer covers the Pacific Ocean, the hilly island sticks up out of the mist, like an aircraft carrier in the clouds.

Solo in every sense of the word

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The other day I was cleaning out the drawers in an old dresser and unfolded a green button-down shirt, ruined by having been defaced with a marker and having one tail cut off. Why did I save this thing? I made out some words on the garment that jogged my memory and started my mind to wandering…

Rocky Mountain rescue

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I decided to look down and see where I was geographically. When I looked down, I saw a red flare coming up at me. Well that’s a first. I looked again and a second red flare was shot upwards. I began a circling descent and noticed on this logging road, four individuals with their arms outstretched basically making a “T” sign.

The engine just plain quit – my hayfield landing

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A few summers ago, I was climbing out of a little grass airstrip in my Zenith 701 about a mile east of Smithfield, North Carolina, just starting to take in a pretty view of the Neuse River basin below, mostly thick forest with a dark river winding slowly through it, when the engine sputtered a few times (something like sputter, sputter, sput, sput, sput) and then stopped. Just plain quit.

Friday Photo: Sunset over Puget Sound

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High wing airplanes make for great picture frames. In this Friday Photo, the sun sets over the Olympic Mountains as Steve Phoenix cruises along in his Piper Pacer. The sun is framed between the struts, while the light bounces off the water of Puget Sound below. Peaceful, beautiful, and exactly what makes flying so rewarding.

A bad way to learn about aerodynamics

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Many decades ago, my flying career was just getting off the ground when it nearly ended. It was August 1976 to be more exact and I had the opportunity to ferry a PA-23 that a new owner was restoring that had the full Geronimo conversion from Albuquerque to Cincinnati for radio and autopilot work at my father’s shop.

Vipers at 12 o’clock

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It has been said that the last fighter pilot has been born. While time will answer that projection, this story is about the human element in dogfighting: the desire that pilots with skill and confidence have to test themselves against others with the same. In this epic experience, two of the latest fighters of the day meet relics of a bygone era.

Friday Photo: overhead Amsterdam airport

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Passing through the CTR of Schiphol, one of the busiest airports in Europe, is a granted privilege for private pilots who are familiair with the CTR of EHAM. Preparation is key – knowing which runways are in use, wind direction, etc. – so that controllers can give direct commands which are followed promptly.

Go or no go: Thanksgiving trip across Florida

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It’s two days before Thanksgiving, which means it’s time for the annual pilgrimage from your home in Jacksonville, Florida, to the home of your 91-year old mother in Naples. It’s a 6-hour drive or a 1:45 minute flight in your Cessna 182, so it’s easy to guess which method you would prefer. Will the weather cooperate? Read the weather briefing below and then tell us if you would go or cancel.

The loss of an old friend

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I just lost an old aviation friend. The news came in unusual fashion, as an email with graphic photographs of the body, but no note about what happened. The damaged nose, the broken limbs— one separated from the body— it was hard to take. She had been pretty, perky, always ready for a good time. But now it was over.

Friday Photo: Ayers Rock, Australia

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Ayers Rock is a famous sandstone monolith in the remote Northern Territory of Australia. It’s a popular tourist destination, but it’s difficult to reach by car. In an airplane, however, it is a scenic and unforgettable flight, as Bob Main shows in this week’s Friday Photo. He calls it, “the trip of a lifetime.”

Flying with a young child – is it possible?

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One of the things I used to dream about before getting my license was to fly my wife and two-year old daughter around, sharing the experience of flying together. I would daydream about flying off to a fun destination, grab lunch (and coffee) and then enjoy a nice flight back to the home field. I often questioned if having an enjoyable flight was doable with a two-year old.

Spooked about night flying in singles?

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There will be a debate about flying at night in single-engine airplanes for as long as there are single-engine airplanes and it gets dark every night. That is a given. Recently the son of an old friend emailed and asked me what I thought about flying singles at night. My stock answer to pilots who express concern about this is simple: If you are not comfortable with it, don’t do it.

Friday Photo: Manhattan over the nose

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New York has one of the most famous skylines in the world, and there’s no better way to see it than from the cockpit of an airplane. Jody Kochansky was lucky enough to get a view of Manhattan from his Cirrus SR-20 on a perfectly clear day, and he shares it in this week’s Friday Photo.