Friday Photo: snowy mountain peaks

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The Rocky Mountains are famous for offering stunning views of snowy mountain peaks, but the Monashee Mountains in Canada are close behind. In this Friday Photo, Ken Finlayson shares a picture he took of the range while on a cross country training flight. Not a bad office view.

For want of a nail…

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I got the news the hard, modern way: skimming local news on my smartphone, I cried out to my wife, “Don and Nancy [names changed for privacy] were killed in an airplane crash!” I could think of little else for hours afterward. Why? Did they run out of fuel? Throw a prop blade? Hit geese?

A pilot’s dilemma: inoperative instruments or equipment

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A recent legal interpretation by the FAA’s Office of Chief Counsel (dated June 13, 2018) addresses the rule on operating an aircraft with any inoperative instruments or equipment, FAR 91.213. It gives us an opportunity to review this sometimes complex rule that has bedeviled many general aviation pilots and owners for years.

Friday Photo: San Juan Islands

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Many people outside the Pacific Northwest don’t know about the San Juan Islands, but to those who do know, they are a favorite flying spot. Bill Lombard shares this photo of the deserted islands just outside of Seattle in this Friday Photo. He took it from his Cessna 182 on a return flight from completing some IFR training.

The emergency that wasn’t

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The sun was low on the horizon as we got to the plane, and the idea of a takeoff over the water after sundown was low on my list of fun things to do with a tired/hungry kid in the right seat. Everything was normal until I got to the oil.

Avionics transitions – ain’t nothing like the real thing

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After logging about 1,000 hours in a Pilatus PC-12 with a combination of round dials and EFIS tubes, the cockpit was recently transformed with a pair of Garmin G600 TXi primary flight displays (PFDs). The bright screens filled with synthetic vision views are simply incredible, and I genuinely feel safer flying behind them, but they also sent me back to school.

Video tip: talking with air traffic controllers

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Some pilots are afraid of Air Traffic Control (ATC), as if the voice on the other end of the radio is trying to catch pilots making mistakes. That’s just plain wrong, as this video shows. Controllers are humans just like pilots, and they’re actually there to help. Meet Eddie Albert from Cincinnati Approach and learn what controllers expect from pilots, plus some tips for getting the route you want in flight.

My intentional gear-up landing

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I needed to get to work soon. I glanced at my phone to check the time, just as I saw Tex put the gear handle down. I heard the familiar whir of the hydraulic gear pump, but I felt an abnormal shimmy in the airframe. I knew then that we had a problem, and I dropped my phone back into my shirt pocket.

Friday Photo: Banks Peninsula, New Zealand

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New Zealand sometimes looks like another planet, and this Friday Photo shows why. Andre Michaelides took this photo of the Banks Peninsula from his Piper Warrior, which shows ancient volcanic rock, a beautiful blue-green lake, and the Southern Alps mountain range all in one shot. As he says, it’s “scenery for the soul.”

How to use a Skew-T Log-P diagram

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Whether you’re a high or low altitude pilot, you can see how the temperature and amount of moisture in the air changes as you rise and descend through the atmosphere. How can we better understand these vertical changes to improve weather safety and awareness? Let’s get acquainted with a meteorological diagram called a Skew-T Log-P.

Belize to Canada in a Cessna 182

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At six AM the next morning, I was on a flight from Quebec City to Belize International Airport. The plan was to land, clear customs, and head right out to the plane on the ramp and ready for takeoff, with a 200 NM flight to Cozumel, Mexico. Seeing as how I had already done all these procedures in reverse, I was less apprehensive than I was on the initial ferry.

Friday Photo: Angel Falls, Venezuela

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Angel Falls is undeniably breathtaking from any perspective. With a height over 3,200 feet, it is the highest uninterrupted waterfall on Earth and a powerful testament to nature’s power. Some 80 years after American pilot Jimmy Angel first flew over the falls, Douglas Olivares snapped this photo from his Cessna 172, complete with a partial rainbow.

How to safely solo a student in minimum time

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Another CFI joined me in the grass area between the runway and the taxiways, as we both watched my student solo. I enjoyed smiling to the CFI who joined me and my student waved at me as he passed us halfway on his second takeoff roll. The student was smiling and waving at me with confidence in what he was doing – with only six hours of total time.

A multi-engine rating in a weekend

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I recently added a multi-engine rating to my commercial certificate and it was one of the most fascinating experiences of my 30+ year flying career. Obtaining the rating was a bucket list thing. In light of the time available to me for flying, I chose to do an accelerated program held over a weekend to minimize the impact on my work schedule.

Friday Photo: The Tetons

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The Northwest United States offers plenty of stunning vistas, making it a favorite for pilots – especially when the weather is good. In this Friday Photo, Duane Root shares a beautiful shot of the snow-capped Tetons, shot from his F.8L Falco as he flew to Montana for an AOPA Fly-in. As he says, “It’s views like this that remind us why we love flying!”

Chasing the rabbit

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You can go your whole career chasing the rabbit; chasing the airline, chasing the airplane, chasing the seat, always being junior. You can go your whole career and miss everything. You can miss your kids growing up, your marriage, your friends, holidays, weekend events, miss your life.