Surviving the merge: how to avoid a mid-air collision

by

After presenting a mid-air prevention seminar at more than a dozen locations around the country, I’d like to highlight some observations and issues that came up during our discussions. First, we’ll review what the regulations say, then we’ll break them down and at look how they might be applied in specific scenarios.

Friday Photo: Sportstar sunrise

by

There’s no better time to fly, as Tom Smith shows with this Friday Photo. He was in his Evektor Sportstar on his way to a safety seminar when he snapped this photo of the sun rising over the horizon. The high clouds are painted that magical shade of orange, and you can tell the air is perfectly smooth.

My adventures in the right seat

by

What’s it like to be an active flight instructor? Some days are rewarding, some days are scary, but every day is different. This pilot shares the unique personalities he flew with over the years, from talented kids to eccentric entrepreneurs. Not every story had a happy ending, but a career spent in the cockpit made it worthwhile.

The old, bold pilots of Alaska

by

We’ve all heard it, and most of us have said it: “There are old pilots and bold pilots, but there are no old, bold pilots.” I’m here to tell you that such purported wisdom isn’t very wise at all. Not long ago, Alaska was filled with old, bold bush pilots. In fact, if you weren’t just a little on the bold side, you had no business at all in trying to fly Alaska’s great outback.

You did everything absolutely right, and you could have been absolutely dead

by

No more than 10 or 15 seconds had elapsed since getting airborne. We had just passed the departure end of Runway 07, and were climbing through about 100 ft. AGL. I was just about to make the turn to 050 then bring the gear up, when the plane made a violent lurch to the left, and we were suddenly descending very quickly despite the airspeed and nose up pitch.

Friday Photo: Misty Mountain Hop

by

The best aerial photos combine a great scene, dramatic lighting, and an element of mystery. Vaughn Schultz has all three in this photo of the volcanic lava domes called the Sutter Buttes. A soft sunlight comes through the clouds and highlights the jagged edges of this unique area, as seen from a Cessna 172 XP.

A kinder, gentler FAA

by

The good news is that the FAA is currently operating under a new, so-called “Compliance Philosophy,” showing a kinder and gentler treatment of those charged with potential violations of the Federal Aviation Regulations and other aviation laws. However, the bad news is that FAA enforcement of the laws and regulations is still alive and well in many cases.

The GPS revolution at 20 – how aviation has changed

by

Decades after it first caught on, GPS is so deeply embedded in everyday life that we now take it for granted. But as important as GPS has been for the world as a whole, it’s hard to think of an industry more transformed than general aviation. Consider the long list of capabilities that even a 60-year old Light Sport Aircraft can now have thanks to this revolution.

Why night flying is special

by

Night flights are distinct. They are pretty rare for me. They seem unorthodox and more dangerous. It’s uncomfortable not being able to see everything as one would during the daylight hours. The excitement of my first night flight during training was unforgettable. The whole atmosphere around the airport was different. It was eerie.

Friday Photo: sunset over the Chesapeake

by

November 11, 2017 was one of the nicest days of the year to be flying. The chilly air made for a smooth ride, and the early sunset cast a gorgeous light across the water. This was one of those days to turn the radio down low and just enjoy the view out the window.

No place to hide – a flight instructor slips up

by

I had volunteered to fly Bill in from Des Moines earlier in the day and had spent the rest of it waiting at the Dubuque airport for his return. The airplane, an older model Cessna 182 and unfamiliar to me, was borrowed from of friend of his. I had never flown it before, nor had I bothered to pay much attention to its panel layout. Those were details meant only for bush-league pilots, not me.

Emergency landing vs. crashing

by

The control of the aircraft during any approach and touchdown determines the difference of landing or crashing. A controlled aircraft flown to and through touchdown is a landing. An approach which stalls the aircraft at any time prior to touchdown will result in a crash. A crash is the aircraft falling uncontrolled to the surface, even just a few feet.

Landing gear up – how the unthinkable happened to me

by

I was brought to my senses by a tremendous noise followed by an ominous quiet. In this quiet there was no sound of the motor. I realized that the airplane had stopped. I could get out of the airplane. I scrambled through the door only to be met by the tarmac three feet closer than it had been. It was not where I expected. I had crash landed. The wheels were still up. I had landed in a daydream.

Friday Photo: Arizona canyons

by

We were heading from the mountains of Show Low, Arizona to the desert of Phoenix, Arizona for the day so Krista and I could spend the day with her son Casey. The trip would normally be a six plus hours round trip by car.  However, being blessed and fortunate enough to fly, it is a 90-minute round trip allowing us to spend more time with Casey and still be home in time for dinner.

The relaxed life as a charter pilot in the Bahamas

by

It really is “Better-In-the-Bahamas” and I tell those people I like, those who live in Florida and have not visited the Out Islands, not to visit would be like living one mile from the rim of the Grand Canyon and never looking in. I felt lucky living and flying in the islands. I slowly became an “island pilot.”

An airline pilot gets his general aviation fix

by

My good friend Jason arrived in Cape Town on an overnight with his airline and very large twin-engine jet. He normally comes to stay and we catch up over a steak, talking rugby and fishing. This time was to be slightly different in that I mentioned to Jay that there was a club outing to Saldanha and would he like to go. He was very excited and hence we awoke early the next morning to pre-flight the Yak.

Friday Photo: sunset in the rain

by

Dale Walton was flying his 1967 Cessna 150G at historic Minter field in Shafter, CA (MIT), an old World War II training base when he took this photo. As he says, “My first landing in the rain! No wind to speak of, but what a thrill it was watching the rain speed by my landing light in the wing Cessna. One of many more adventures to come. Shot with my iPhone 7+.”

Go or No Go: finding a gap

by

You’ve just passed 500 hours in your Cessna 182RG, and it has proven to be a very reliable traveling machine over the last four years. Today’s mission is to get you home from Columbus, Ohio (TZR), to South Bend, Indiana (SBN). The flight will take just under 1.5 hours, compared to over four hours driving, but as always weather is a potential factor.

Flying a Pitts Special over the Amazon

by

I am sitting in this brightly colored red, two seat, Pitts Special S2B stunt plane alone over the Atlantic Ocean at 9,500 feet. I have been flying out of sight from land for quite some time and occasionally the magnitude of the adventure I am undertaking sinks in and I have to mentally remind myself to take this trip one small step at a time.