Friday Photo: rainbow off the left wing

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The old saying reminds us that behind every cloud there’s a silver lining. Most pilots know that behind every line of summer showers, there’s a rainbow. Ed Loxterkamp was in the perfect position to capture this beautiful sight when he was flying home from EAA AirVenture in his Piper Arrow.

The tricky triangle – my ill-fated solo cross country

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“If you don’t like the weather in the Midwest, wait 30 minutes,” they say. I guess there is some truth in that, a truth that I now consider to be a substantial part of my flight preparations. In early summer 2017, I was still a student pilot, preparing for the 150 NM cross country flight, which was one of the last things I had to cross off my list for meeting the requirements for taking the private pilot checkride.

A brief history of single-engine solo circumnavigation flights

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Earth Rounders currently document 231 single-engine circumnavigations by more than one pilot and 124 solo circumnavigations. The range of single-engine airplanes that have made circumnavigations is amazing: Long EZs, RVs, a Stearman, a Searey. Unbelievable! Of course Mooneys, Bonanzas, Pipers, several Cessna 182s and all kinds of homebuilts have made the trip.

Dreaming of jets while flying a DC-3

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It was clear, it was fresh with only a faint odor of exhaust from the nearby Braniff jet’s APU to remind us there were easier ways to fly for a living. Over there was hot coffee, hostesses, snacks from the galley. Over here, we could see our breath in the cabin. When will I be warm while flying airplanes? Not soon, I knew.

Friday Photo: Music City at sunset

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Getting the perfect nighttime photo is part skill and part timing. Glenn Ford had both for this fantastic shot of Nashville, Tennessee. The high wing of his Cessna 172 left a sprawling view of the lights that make “Music City USA” so vibrant.

My first in-flight emergency

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When it came time to leave, I fueled up the airplane and headed for home. The runup went smoothly and within a few minutes I was accelerating down the runway. Only I wasn’t. The mighty 150 usually didn’t have an impressive acceleration on takeoff but it felt especially sluggish today. I remember thinking, “This is weird,” and that thought turned to, “I’m not sure I’m going to make it off the runway” so I aborted the takeoff.

From the archives: Bob Buck on radar

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While datalink weather is all the rage these days, some 60 years ago, Captain Robert N. Buck thought another hot weather technology, onboard radar, was ready to change the world. This article originally appeared in the November, 1956 edition of Air Facts, and it’s still a fascinating look at how pilots interact with new technology.

Video tip: seven bad radio habits

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Talking on the radio is an important skill for any pilot, but especially for instrument pilots where ATC interaction is what it’s all about. Sometimes it’s not what you say but what you don’t say that matters. In this video tip, we share seven things you should not say on the radio. From the improper use of “roger” to using too much information, don’t make these mistakes!

A 1200 nm VFR workout

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After a few days of poor weather conditions and unplanned maintenance, on Saturday August 4, I finally took to the skies in our club’s (Lehigh Valley Flying Club) Cessna 182 to visit my nephew and some friends in Tennessee. The 600 nm (each way) adventure tested my endurance, weather knowledge, aircraft management, and ability to pre-plan and adjust to conditions.

Friday Photo: Mt. Ida, British Columbia

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Oftentimes all you have to do to get a great photo is to look outside. In this gorgeous photo from Clint Schamehorn, Mother Nature sets the scene perfectly, with high broken clouds, a setting sun, and the dramatic shape of Mt. Ida in the foreground. Not bad for a flight where the only mission was “boring holes in the sky.”

Warbirds: a living tribute

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We move to the open side of the tent and gaze toward the clouds beyond the north end of the runway. Suddenly a B-17 appears from out of the overcast on a final approach for runway 17. I know the date is the 1st of September 1973, but my senses tell me I have somehow been transported back in time to an allied air field somewhere in World War II England.

How dynamics and thermodynamics create weather

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As a pilot, you know that the atmosphere is constantly evolving. The changes in precipitation, cloud types, and hazards you see all link back to changes in temperature, pressure, and forces. Understanding weather means understanding the two main meteorological processes behind weather changes: dynamics and thermodynamics.

The Richard Collins Writing Prize for Young Pilots

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The Richard Collins family has partnered with Sporty’s to offer The Richard Collins Writing Prize for Young Pilots. To qualify, the writer must be a pilot (including student pilot) who is 24 years of age or younger. The article must be original, not previously published, and no longer than 1,500 words. The topic may reflect any aspect of general aviation flying.

How one pilot’s story saved my life

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My friend was landing a high-wing Cessna at McCook, Nebraska, more than 30 years ago. As he began to flare, another low-wing airplane landed on top of him. Somehow both kept their cool and both landed safely. You may be able to say his story saved my life – at least it gave my story a much better ending.

Friday Photo: above the clouds in Argentina

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Agustin Rubiños took this photo “on a tourist flight to observe the city of three streams, in the typical climate of the southwest of the province of Buenos Aires in the winter season. With a FL030 roof of clouds over the terrain, we crossed the layer of thin clouds to provide an incredible view to our passengers who took a unique postcard for the rest of his life.”

Not your typical bombing run

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Fighter aircraft are designed and built to be fighting machines. The pilots who fly them are highly skilled in delivering many different weapons: bombs, rockets, missiles, 30 mm cannon… but killing was not the aim when we bombed a Northern territory airport in the early 1960s. As the wingman in a fighter pair for this mission, it was an experience I have held in my memory for decades.