What it takes to catapult off an aircraft carrier

The flight test pilots and engineers must develop a thorough understanding of many aircraft factors including aerodynamic stall speed, thrust available, angle of attack (AOA), loading, center of gravity (CG) location, and rotational inertia.
Airplane out side window

From the archives: Richard Collins on collision avoidance

The sky really isn’t crowded. Rather it is practically deserted, at least that 38’ X 30’ X6’ piece of it we want to use 2% of the time is practically deserted. With a little attention to the see and be seen concept as a recognized flight skill it can remain that way.
O-2 Skymaster

What Christmas was like far away from family

We saw some fires and secondary explosions, pretty much ensuring we had found and destroyed some supplies.  Those supplies were probably ammo that wouldn't get further down the trail for use against our troops on Christmas Day.  Arriving at Ubon on Christmas morning, we had some plans for as much celebration as you can have while away from family and home.

Always a student—some advice for aspiring professional pilots

As I manuevered toward the field, I realized we were too high.  As I  glanced at the moving map - a luxury I did not have during my Private training - the G1000 revealed a grass strip right underneath us. In no time, I positioned myself for a landing and completed the simulated emergency successfully. Now it was time for pattern work.

Friday photo: Breaking out from a low IFR departure

The view: Low IFR departure just prior to dawn The pilot: Douglas Cole The airplane: King Air E-90 The mission: Transporting company personnel to a job site in Lewiston, ID with several stops on the way. The memory:…

Two in a row – a chain of mistakes and lessons

With less than 30 minutes to go before arriving, the battery couldn't hold a charge anymore. A warning message popped up on the PFD, and it only took five minutes for the electrical system to shut down. Thankfully, the PFD has a backup battery, so I knew I had around 30 minutes before it would go dark. I also had a Sporty's backup radio in my flight bag.
airplanes converging

My self-taught Immelmann for collision avoidance

The speck eventually sprouted a fuselage, twin-engine nacelles and a T-tail.  By the time the wing panels outboard of the engines became big enough to see, along with the turbine exhaust pipe exiting the near side nacelle, I was measuring four G’s on my panel accelerometer and depressing my control stick microphone switch.
Mooney M20E

Unfamiliarity and distractions nearly result in a gear up

About that time, another beeping noise could be heard over the buzzing in my headset.  “What’s that?” I asked.  “I’m not sure,” was the reply.  Now we were about a mile and a half from the runway.  Thankfully Philip did his GUMP check.  Gas, undercarriage.  Then we both noticed where that other beeping noise was coming from.
Cessna 150

My first flight 50 years ago

Flying is something that non-aviators just don't get. It's a calling....almost. I cannot be outside and hear and airplane without looking up to find it. It just seeps into the soul. It's a task that requires concentration, yet allows me to totally relax. The world goes away for me when I fly.
Low approach

Pilots need to be generalists, not specialists

American education has been obsessed with STEM (Science Technology Engineering and Math) for at least a decade, and the aviation industry has eagerly jumped on the bandwagon. The FAA is leading the charge to fit our square peg into this round hole, declaring aviation to be the ultimate STEM career path. I’m in favor of anything that attracts a new generation of pilots, but this framing is a radical oversimplification—and it sets up some pilots for failure. 

Friday photo: Arrowhead Lake in northern Laos

As a FAC in southeast Asia, it was important to always know where you were and how to expeditiously get the fighter aircraft carrying their bombs to join up with you. We used a lot of terrain features that were easily spotted and widely known by those who flew over that terrain for navigation. Pictured is Arrowhead Lake.
CFI with student

How That Proverbial Hamburger Could Save You $100, and a Lot More

Retention makes the difference between success and failure in the classroom. Retention is driven mainly by emotional and psychological engagement. Your brain must be perfectly and correctly stimulated for you to learn something. Information delivered at a trickling garden hose pace will have you falling asleep at your desk.
descent into clouds

As flight instructors we must continue to innovate

I tried the “Leans” on a pilot whom I was teaching and suggested that if he saw me lean left or right, he was to take the cue that he had to turn. And if he felt pressure on the rudder pedals, it was me getting his attention for him not using the rudder. And if I was leaning forward towards the yoke, well, that gets obvious in a hurry.

Flying during the pandemic and my approach to LAX

Gabe contacted the Flight Service Station regarding time and procedure for entering Class B airspace and landing at LAX. The answer was simple: no problem, be airborne at 7am and contact approach control on a given frequency; they will be expecting you. The next day found the Grumman on the taxiway at Long Beach Airport at 6:30am. At the appointed time, they departed and contacted approach control.
Meigs airport

I was at Meigs Field

Hours after Dr. Shehl closed the canopy door on his 1980 Bonanza, and went to his nearby hotel, bulldozers would roll onto Meigs. Under the cover of darkness, and without any notice or approval, Chicago’s mayor, Richard Daley, drove old Meigs Field down.

Taxiing vs. Flying—Which is Harder?

Just after we landed at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Runway 9. “Citation 246GF, turn left on Runway 13, right on Alpha, left on Echo, right on Echo Two to parking with me.”  We were the only aircraft moving at the airport.  The the call sounded like: “Citation246GFturnleftonRunway31rightonAlphaleftonEchorightonEchoTwotoparkwithme.”

Friday photo: Approach into York, PA (KTHV) Runway 35

Approach to York Airport (KTHV) Runway 35, York, Pennsylvania. The summer brings opportunities for late flying, sunsets, and just beautiful green landscape.

An action packed day on the Boeing 727

the flight continued normally until approaching PHL when we noticed various indications of low hydraulic pressure in our “A” hydraulic system.  Something about flap extension had caused a loss of pressure and quantity. 

The friends I do not know

I glance off to my left at the area along the south end of runway 18. He’s there. The friend I don’t know, yet we have become friends because I fly to OC8 often. He and his dog are always there. The dog never runs onto the runway, yet races around happily. I envision him as a Border Collie, though in truth I have no idea.

Caught above an overcast layer results in first encounter with IMC

By the time I did a 180 degree turn, there wasn’t a spot of open ground to be seen from horizon to horizon. At this point in my training, I didn’t even know what an approach plate was, but I knew I needed some kind of a plan for what to do next. What happened in the next few minutes was a combination of beginner’s luck with the benefit of a recent lesson on instrument familiarization from my instructor.