Flying is no joke

by

As he taxied to “line up and wait,” something was amiss. Yet he and I both persevered in our thoughts of better flight to come. Shattered easily by the slipping nose wheel as the throttle was advanced, I pushed the right rudder a bit and felt the resistance from his feet, locked in a state of motionless silence. He must have felt it, for he looked over at me with a quizzical look.

The case against practicing in the pattern

by

The title is a misnomer, but if I were to put in the actual title it would be: As important as practice in the pattern is, it doesn’t always prepare you for what can happen before and after getting cleared to land, and practice approaching from beyond the pattern is important also.

Friday Photo: Colorado mountains

by

A cool, clear day in the mountains of Colorado is hard to beat. As Greg Chestnut shows in this photo, it’s even better with a high wing airplane. He took this photo while flying his Cessna 182 to Las Vegas, as he passed over the Uncompahgre Wilderness Area near Telluride.

Lake Placid: anything but

by

I ran through the before landing checks from the laminated checklist card and right about then Laura announced she had the field in sight. Then a bump. Not a vertical bump one would expect on a warm summer day, but a fairly stiff bump with a bit of roll. “No big deal,” I thought.

The bad news and good news about engine failures

by

You’ve probably said it to a nervous passenger: “Don’t worry, airplane engines almost never quit.” It’s only in World War II movies that engines cough and pilots have to save the day, right? This is mostly true for turbine engines, which have a stunningly good reliability record. Unfortunately, it’s far less true for piston engines.

Video tip: IFR flight plans, fact and fiction

by

Filing a flight plan is an important part of any IFR trip, but just because you put something down in black and white does not mean you have to fly it. As this video tip shows, some parts of the flight plan are fact, and some are probably fiction – keeping them straight is essential for safe flying. Just because you filed a certain alternate airport, or a specific altitude, does not mean you have to fly that if conditions change.

Why airline pilot schedules and cruises don’t mix

by

There appeared to be five days on the itinerary for our four-day cruise. Counting the days… recounting them… uh oh. Too many days. We are now in the middle of the ocean, with no communication capability whatsoever, and had no way of telling our new company that we simply could not make it back for work the next week.

Friday Photo: a not-so-dry lake in Australia

by

Lake Eyre in Australia covers half a million square miles, but it’s almost always dry. Not for Jeff Brooks. He captured this otherworldly picture of the lake after it had filled up with water that flowed 1000 miles down hill to the lowest point in the country. The sleek wingtip of his Long-EZ perfectly frames the scene.

Changing perspectives, one flight at a time

by

Before I started working at this central Texas plant as an electrician, the people I would soon be working with already knew I was a private pilot with my own airplane. I had many people approach me with questions about being a pilot and flying. The most fascinating aspect of these discussions involved my dispelling the view that becoming a pilot was just for the super-rich.

When breaking the rules is the safest thing to do

by

Everything was perfectly normal as I allowed the plane to accelerate to rotation speed, and gently lifted off the runway. But as soon as I began the climb out, I began to suspect that I had made a major mistake. The little Cherokee, normally as docile as an old mare, was suddenly bucking and swaying like a wild bronco trying to throw me off!

Friday Photo: an Austrian castle

by

A European vacation turned into an unexpected flying adventure for Bob Bickford. In this Friday Photo, he shares the view from the cockpit of a brand new Diamond DA40NG, which he got to fly from the Diamond factory in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. As he says, it’s not every day you get to see a castle on final approach.

The other 4 C’s of aviation

by

We are taught the 4 C’s of aviation in primary training. When faced with difficulty, such as getting lost or flying VFR into IMC, the safest course of action is to Climb, Communicate, Confess and Comply with instructions. But there is another set of C’s that has become more relevant to me as my flying experience has progressed.

A flight of firsts doesn’t quite go according to plan

by

This flight was a primary for multiple events, including my first flight as pilot-in-command (PIC) without an instructor since I received my private pilot license, first passenger flight, and the first time I truly had to exercise my aeronautical decision making skills. Admittedly, I came out of the aircraft somewhat shaky, but safe.

Growth over comfort – true for airplanes and kids

by

Growth over comfort. I’m not sure when I learned that phrase or where I heard it, but it completely sums up my experiences of becoming a pilot. I certainly was not comfortable the first time that small plane rose off the runway. I was not comfortable the first time I heard that stall horn blare, and I certainly was not comfortable the first time I turned final and my instructor said, “Your airplane.”

Friday Photo: a rainy sunset

by

Viewing a sunset from the cockpit of a small airplane is always beautiful, but add in some clouds and maybe even a little rain and things get even better. Rick Spencer took this photo from his Cessna 182 on the way home to Arkansas from South Carolina, and the variety of colors makes for a gorgeous end to the trip.

Fear the reader – my first charter seaplane flight

by

The day was June 8, 2018. After a long and laborious process to get my FAA Part 135 Air Taxi Certificate, I had finally scheduled my first revenue-generating charter flight in my 1959 de Havilland Beaver on amphibious floats. This 200-mile round trip flight was planned from Gig Harbor’s Tacoma Narrows Airport to Roche Harbor Airport in the San Juan Islands.

“Is it always like this?”

by

The purpose of programs like the EAA Young Eagles and Civil Air Patrol Cadet orientation flights are to introduce our youth to aviation. It is not only a good thing to do in and of itself. It is essential if we are to pass on our aviation heritage so that it can continue and develop through the future. Sometimes, though, I think we focus too much on the airplane or on piloting, and not enough on flying.