My Bonanza is a time and dimension machine

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Bonanza N3255V, born in 1947, is the machine that allows us to enter a world that I still struggle to get my head around. It is a world of possible extreme juxtapositions. We climb into the aluminum tube, go up into the air, and whisk across the planet to land anywhere we choose and instantly enter a different world – not forgetting the experience along the way.

Friday Photo: Boston reflection

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Low level flights over major cities can offer some beautiful views for pilots who are paying attention. In this week’s Friday Photo, Al Muggia shares a beautiful view of the Charles River snaking through Boston, Massachusetts. Even better, the view is reflected in the smooth wing of his Cessna 210 Centurion.

That gut feeling might save your life

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As pilots we’ve all experienced it, that nagging feeling that something’s not quite right. The instruments are all in the green. The navigation is spot on and you know exactly where you are. The weather couldn’t be better but… Call it what you will. Gut feeling, experience, or lack of it. Even when passengers or crew don’t share that gut feeling, you should pay attention to it. It might save your life.

We all need to be weather geeks now

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While apps like ForeFlight and Garmin Pilot can simplify the flight planning process, if we’re not careful they can also make it confusing. We are all our own Flight Service Stations now, forced to assemble weather information, evaluate it, and make a plan. Which sources can be trusted? What do they all mean? How much weather information is enough? To answer questions like these, pilots need more than just a passing acquaintance with Aviation Weather.

What is a Class B airspace excursion?

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Security makes getting a Center, TRACON or tower tour increasingly difficult, but I have done it several times dating back to my first tower visit (VNY) in 1965, and I think it is worth the effort. It is fun, educational, and can enhance safety by allowing you to spend time in the shoes of the guy or gal on the other side of the frequency. My Denver TRACON visit was no different: I learned stuff, had a great time, met some wonderful people… and got an interesting safety lesson that I would like to relate here.

Friday Photo: California sunset

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Sunsets are a common sight from the cockpit of an airplane, but the California coast may provide some of the best available. Valerie Ashton and Richard Garnett were flying a Piper Seminole over Morro Bay when they took this photo. It’s a beautiful combination of sunset, clouds and coastline.

A stuck valve leads to an impromptu skydiving flight

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“You gotta let me pay you for your time and materials,” I said to Art and Goren (not their real names), the two ag pilots who showed us how to free up a stuck valve on the 0-200 Continental engine of our Cessna 150. They simply refused payment of any kind. Then Art said, “Well, I would like to jump from a 150.” Jump, like parachute jump? That is exactly what he meant.

Aviation’s future: a young pilot’s perspective

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“We need more young pilots, like you,” is a statement that I find myself hearing quite often. I typically hear this coming from older pilots and I completely agree with them. But a lot of the older pilots that I know got into aviation because they were either in the military, or they grew up around an airport. Today, these are not usually the top reasons why people get involved in aviation.

Friday Photo: Lake Powell

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Lake Powell, located on the Utah/Arizona border, is a popular vacation spot – and this week’s photo shows why. The sprawling reservoir and rocky banks make for a stunning scene, and there’s no better vantage point than an airplane. Kim Neibauer was taking his wife on her first cross country in his KR2S when she snapped this photo.

Full circle: from watching Buzz Aldrin to flying him

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On a hot, mosquito-laden summer night in July of 1969, we had taken the liberty of renting a black-and-white television, which we perched on a small table in the larger front room of the trailer. We dined on our usual Swanson TV dinners warmed up in the toaster oven, and spent some time fiddling with the rabbit ears to get a good signal before we settled down to listen to Walter Cronkite, Wally Schirra and the crowd down at the Cape. It was going to be quite a night.

To Oshkosh and back – 5,500 miles at 100mph

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My flight to EAA AirVenture Oshkosh in 2016 was special in several ways. The Experimental Aircraft Association was honoring the 75th anniversary of my make of airplane, the Interstate Cadet, a tandem trainer manufactured in 1941-42 in Los Angeles. We were a flight of 15 Cadets by the time we made it to Oshkosh. The trip would also be an ambitious one – over 5,000 miles at 100 miles per hour.

Quiz: IFR departure procedures

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Our latest quiz will test your knowledge of a forgotten area of instrument flying: departure procedures. From minimum altitudes to ATC clearances to obstacle departures, see how much you know about taking off when the weather is low.

Going flying? Be sure to check FSS for TFRs

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If you check the FAA’s Temporary Flight Restriction website, are you covered? Maybe not, as this Florida pilot found out. His story clearly demonstrates that checking assumed “authoritative” sites, like NOTAMs and the FAA TFR pages, is not enough to guarantee pilots have current, comprehensive, accurate information regarding Temporary Flight Restrictions.

Friday Photo: land on the orange dot

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Dick O’Reilly flew over 1500 miles in his 1942 Interstate Cadet to attend the world’s greatest aviation celebration. He was celebrating the 75th anniversary of his airplane with over a dozen other owners, and this picture perfectly captures the magic of arriving at OSH by air. “Land on the orange dot; welcome to Oshkosh.”

Six Degrees of Separation: A Young Pilot Meets a DC-3

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Soon I found myself on the ramp with Ron, walking around the DC-3. Having never before flown anything larger than an Aztec, I was overwhelmed with the airplane. It was daunting, yet familiar, like one’s first approach to an ancient Roman edifice theretofore known only from picture books. Even the fabric-covered control surfaces were massive and substantial. The DC-3 was regal in form and formidable in character, and I approached it with awe bordering on reverence.

More comfortable in the air: an Adirondack odyssey

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My first long-distance flight in a single-engine aircraft began exactly like every other mission we’ve ever flown: with my worrying about the weather and Dad squinting at the radar image on his iPad, assuring me that we would be fine as long as we got in the air within an hour. I call our trips missions because we rarely fly without a purpose.

A lasting impression: the power of spatial disorientation

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Sam was wise beyond his years and decided to show me what it’s like to fly over the Florida Everglades, at night. We departed our east coast airport in a cozy 152 and headed west toward our normal practice area. So far, so good. As the saying goes I was fat, dumb, and happy enjoying the smooth night air when suddenly all sense of relative motion was lost. I felt as if we were hanging by a string in a dark closet.

Friday Photo: Partial Panel ILS

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This is the moment of truth for instrument pilots – seeing the runway lights as you hit minimums on an approach. For instrument student Sandro Salgueiro, it was especially rewarding to see the lights on the ILS to runway 11 at Bedford, Massachusetts. He was finishing up his last lesson before his instrument checkride, and you’ll notice the gyros are covered.

A glider encounter with a wind shear and gradient

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My routine flight only became noteworthy as I approached the field for a landing. The club strip is grass, oriented roughly north/south and about 2500 ft. in length. As I entered the pattern at 1,000 ft. and began a downwind leg for a left hand pattern to the south, I began to note the windsocks sticking straight out to the East and realized the landing was going to be fun with the crosswind at or above the club’s operation limits.