Friday Photo: Alaska seaplane sunset

by

Seaplanes are as much a part of everyday life in Alaska as pickup trucks are in Texas. Whether ferrying essential supplies or transporting passengers on a memorable trip, they keep things moving the Last Frontier. Craig Bixby captures this spirit in his beautiful Friday Photo, which shows a Male on floats tied up to shore after a long day flying hunters.

VFR to IFR in a flash on a solo cross-country

by

I can no longer recall if I was aware of an incoming system and thought I could beat it, or it developed quicker than forecast and “caught me” or what. But in a flash, I went from VFR to IFR as if someone had flicked a switch. My first reaction was to see if I would “pop-out” the back, like all of us did/would/still do. But after about 15-20 seconds, my thoughts turned to bugging out.

Finally… back in the left seat again

by

There are rusty pilots and then there are RUSTY pilots. I was a RUSTY pilot, having not been PIC in the left seat of an airplane in 40.7 years. Half of a lifetime! As many of you, there existed a love for airplanes since childhood. Growing up, Sky King reruns started the dream and gave me an appetite to experience flight.

Friday Photo: Pure Michigan sunset

by

You’ve probably seen the ads for Pure Michigan, promoting the state’s natural beauty. That’s what came to mind for Tim Crawford after taking this shot. He stopped to capture the moment after a Father’s Day flight, with his Diamond DA40 in the foreground and the setting sun lighting up the background.

My rules for flying the grandkids

by

My wife and I have six grandkids and when we go flying, we like to take one of them with us. The kids know that they get to go for their first plane ride when they turn four years old. Well, Ava turned four in October and asked when she could go for her first airplane ride. But Grandpa has a set of rules he flies by for the first plane ride.

When VFR is the only option, fly to the blue sky

by

Straight line distance from Cairns (YBCS) to Longreach (YLRE) is around 830km (450nm or 515sm) but much further by road, so the only option for getting there and back in the one day was by air. Hew had borrowed hangar mate Michelle’s RV-6A to fly to Longreach and retrieve his aircraft. All that he needed now was another pilot to accompany him in the RV-6, then fly that aircraft back home to Cairns. Was I available? You betcha!

Wave soaring Warrior

by

As I approached 9,500 feet, the climb rate hadn’t slowed, even after reducing power, so I accepted the smooth elevator ride and told Joshua I was going to 11,500. A couple of minutes later I was still going up at more than 1,000 fpm, with throttle closed, carb heat on, nose down, doing 140 kts—30 faster than cruise.

Let’s put the do back in due diligence

by

One of the greatest challenges that I face as a flight instructor is getting my younger students to do their homework. Things like keeping up with online ground school lessons, preparing a flight plan, studying the Aircraft POH, etc. The simple fact of the matter is that flying is, hands down, just a whole lot more fun than reading dry textbooks.

Friday Photo: a foggy sunrise at the airport

by

Sunrise is a magical time, but that’s especially true at an airport in the fall. Doran Jaffas perfectly captures the peaceful and enchanting scene in this photo. His Wittman W-8 Tailwind sits ready to go, as the morning fog begins to burn off. The only reaction is, “let’s go flying!”

Top 10 articles of 2020 on Air Facts

by

We published over 250 articles on Air Facts in 2020, written by a diverse group of over 200 pilots from all over the world, but these 10 were the most popular. Read this list for some thought-provoking articles on all aspects of aviation, from close calls to airplane history to safety debates.

Ride of a lifetime

by

In October 2005, I was giving incentive rides in my MK 4 Jet Provost from Friday through Sunday in support of the Celebrate Freedom airshow at Camden Air Field, South Carolina. I was approached by a middle aged gent asking me to give a ride to his dad. I apologized and explained that unfortunately, I had to fly 100 miles away to take the jet for its annual inspection and then drive 2+ hours back to my home.

What I learned about flying in 2020

by

The end of the year may be a magical time for personal reflection, but my latest trip down memory lane was caused by something much more prosaic: filling out my annual insurance renewal form. Besides a feeling of gratitude for the hours I logged this year—and a burning desire to reschedule some canceled trips in 2021—I came away with a few lessons learned. None of these are exactly revolutionary, but at least a few were surprising to me.

Friday photo: above the thermal layer

by

Cruising along at 8500 feet in his Tecnam P2008, Mike Hackney captured this beautiful and slightly strange photo. As he says, “The optical illusion was of a lake covered by a sheet of ice, and the cloud tops emerging. This went on for an hour of flight time. Simply beautiful.”

A Christmas gift to myself

by

It’s Christmas morning and I rise early, not to play Santa to my children, for they are long grown. Today I rise early to gift myself. I’m careful not to wake my wife, warm and snuggled under the covers. She has no interest in this thing that I go to do.

The day it snowed in Vietnam: a true story

by

Carols played in the mess hall and the calendar read “December 24, 1969,” but it didn’t feel like Christmas Eve. We were tired from a long day of flying many missions picking up infantrymen and recon patrols from field locations, bringing them back to the big airfield at Phan Thiet for the Christmas cease-fire. Soldiers on both sides of this war were glad to allow the cease-fire to start one day early.

An engineering approach to the impossible turn

by

The FAA’s official recommendation on losing power after takeoff is to proceed straight ahead and not to attempt to return to the runway or airport. That existing policy position by the FAA assumes there is an open area available for a successful touchdown. The second assumption is that pilot skill level is not sufficient to execute a 180-degree turn in order to return to landing without stalling and spinning in. Both positions are not much help.

Journey to the End of the Earth

by

Call it a post-midlife crisis. Call it my bucket list. Call it absurd. Call it expensive. OK, I plead guilty to all of the above. I decided to go anyway. I was determined to fly my 1977 Piper Arrow from my home field (KEQY) near Charlotte, North Carolina, to the northernmost airfield in North America—at PABR in Utqiagvik (formerly known as Barrow), Alaska.