Friday Photo: rough country

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The southwest United States is a wonderful place for flying, says Barrie Strachan. The weather is often clear and the scenery is often striking, as this week’s Friday Photo shows. This picture, taken from Barrie’s SingSport LSA, shows Coyote Gulch in southern Utah. It’s makes for a great view, but it’s “a hell of a place for an engine out.”

Keep your eyes outside

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When I began my flight training several years ago, my first instructor told me something that I thought was common sense and that he didn’t need to tell me: Keep your eyes outside. I remember asking myself where else I would keep my eyes if not outside and wondering why he thought it necessary to give me that little piece of advice.

From the archives: Leighton Collins flies a Lear 24

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In this trip into the Air Facts archives, ride along with Leighton Collins as he gets a familiarization flight in a Lear Jet 24 in 1967. With a variety of small jets hitting the market in recent years, from the Cirrus Jet to the Eclipse, many of Collins’s reactions to flying a powerful jet 50 years ago might sound familiar. Collins concludes, “they’ve really got themselves a show horse in the Model 24.”

The disappearance of two Congressmen in Alaska

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Anniversaries of important events are times for remembering and other things good and bad, including reminding oneself of the dangers of misplaced trust and overconfidence. Forty-five years ago, October 16, 1972, two Congressmen on the campaign trail were lost somewhere in Alaska. They had trusted their pilot to get them from Anchorage to Juneau.

Whirlygig: the troubled life of the J-2 autogyro

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By the mid-1960s general aviation was booming, but airplanes and pilots were still regularly coming to grief in stall-spin accidents. Robert McCulloch sought to revitalize the autogyro concept for the mass GA market. Surely there must be demand for a stall-proof, slow-speed-capable flying machine that was both easier to fly and less complex than a helicopter.

What’s wrong with experimental pilots?

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The higher incidence of accidents in E-AB aircraft is just as logical as the fact that the fatal accident rate in private (general) aviation is almost infinitely higher than it is in airline flying. When more freedom is granted by reducing regulations and eliminating stifling procedures then the risk goes up.

Friday Photo: putting the plane away

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Great aviation pictures don’t always happen in the air. This week’s Friday Photo shares the simple pleasure of a family flight, and the joy of introducing young people to flying. Reuben Keim captured this memorable shot of his son Luke and his two cousins as they pushed the airplane back in the hangar after a flight. Airplanes and family – a perfect combination.

How to interpret radar in the cockpit

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Radar seems so simple at first: red is bad, green is good. What else is there to know? As any pilot with more than a few cross countries in the logbook knows, quite a lot. While a lot of the problems with radar operation have been solved by datalink weather, few of the problems with radar interpretation have been solved.

Friday Photo: Sydney Harbour from an Archer

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Sydney, Australia, has one of the world’s most photogenic harbors, from the famous opera house to the historic bridge. The view is even better from the air, as David Grabham shows in this week’s Friday Photo. He gave a couple of friends the scenic tour in his Piper Archer and snapped this beautiful photo.

North to Alaska

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A friend and I discussed flying to Alaska as he knew a fellow who had expressed a desire to see the northern state. I called a pilot friend who became the other front seat. He was not yet multiengine-rated although he was a competent instrument-rated pilot. I reserved the Twin Comanche for mid-July 1982 for our flight.

Drop everything to fly a DC-3? Absolutely

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My phone dinged as the text message came through. “Can you spend the day in Griffin tomorrow?” I had a lesson first thing in the morning, but was otherwise free. I asked Dan what was going on. “DC-3 flying. Emerg.” I didn’t need any other details and I made arrangements to change what would have been a lazy Saturday into one that would doubtlessly not be boring.

An awful sensation – lost above Brazil with no alternator

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I was totally by myself. I aligned the plane with the 04 runway, with no one in sight, since it was the middle of the week. I took off and decided to test the new plane with some basic maneuvers and a lazy flight. It’s important to say that I was totally unfamiliar with the area, as I was used on flying my Cubs from another airfield some miles away. But the fates decided it was a good time to put me to the test.

Friday Photo: Smoky Mountain Rainbow

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Commuting by airplane isn’t always as glamorous as it sounds, but this flight was a great reminder for McGregor Scott of how beautiful the view is from the cockpit. He snapped this photo of a rainbow just ahead of a rain shaft over Chatuge Lake in northern Georgia, while flying his Trinidad from Kentucky to Florida.

It was more than adventure

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While I have written about the adventures or misadventures of flying during my career, I don’t wish to leave the impression that I was in constant danger or that my career could be characterized as hazardous; it wasn’t. There were times when I witnessed unbelievable beauty—sights that I wished my loved ones could have shared.

Out of control – flying a vintage airplane in Ireland

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“Don’t you have to get permission from ATC or someone?” That’s the most common question I get when people discover I launch myself into the sky from a field. Confusion then turns to disbelief when I tell them “nope.” I usually let that little pot of incredulity simmer for a while; sometimes I’ll stir things with a “why would I need permission?”

Quiz: sectional charts

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Even with iPads and iPhones, the sectional chart is still an essential tool for pilots. From planning a route to avoiding restricted airspace, no other resource packs as much information into a single page. How much do you know about all the airspace, airport, and obstacle symbols? Take our latest quiz to find out.