Friday Photo: California poppy bloom

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The Walker Canyon poppy bloom made national news for its beautiful scenery. But Fred Greensite had the best view: “Vastly more extensive, and much more awe-inspiring, than the ground level media views online and on TV had indicated. The mountains looked like they were on fire. The throngs of people arriving by car and exploring on foot missed out on so much.”

Early flight adventures – and errors

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At takeoff speed I commenced rotation, but the Cherokee just didn’t want to lift off and the controls were heavy. Being a newly-soloed student, I muscled the aircraft into the air. It was then that I glanced out at the wings and to my surprise found the flaps in the full down position. I had very obviously failed to release the flap lever in my haste to depart.

Go or No Go: flying to The Masters

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The big week is finally here – you and a longtime friend are flying to see The Masters golf tournament in Augusta, Georgia. As is often the case in spring, the radar is colorful. Are there enough holes in the storms to make the flight? Read the weather reports below, then tell us if you would fly the trip or cancel. 

Lost over Russia in an aerobatic airplane

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It is minus 4 degrees Fahrenheit in this foreign land north of Moscow. I am sitting in a single-seat, Russian Sukhoi 26 at the end of an ice-covered runway waiting to be cleared for takeoff. There is a lot going through my mind. First of all, I have never flown a single-seat Sukhoi 26.

Friday Photo: sun painting the clouds

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Sunsets are always beautiful from the cockpit, but they’re even better when a high cloud layer is involved. This photo from Joe Creecy, taken from his Cessna 182, shows the low sun over Nashville as it paints the clouds with shades of orange, yellow, and purple. Another “why I fly” moment.

The water is up close and personal in a Lake Amphibian

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Tavares, Florida, the town next to Leesburg where Dave and I live, is actually called “America’s Seaplane City.” Tavares is also the home of the Progressive Aerodyne’s SeaRay light sport amphibian. All of this makes this area a great place to enjoy seaplane flying. You always have a place to land in view when you are flying a seaplane in Lake County.

5 good things about general aviation in 2019

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I like to pause every few years and consider what’s going right in aviation. Call me a naive optimist if you like, but I still see a lot to appreciate, from the thousands of airports in the US to the relative openness of our airspace to the strong experimental aircraft movement. These trends are old news; five newer ones caught my attention at the Sun ‘n Fun Fly-in last week, and I think they bode well for pilots.

Friday Photo: sunset over Istanbul

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While flying his Piper Meridian back from Balikesir, Necmi Cicekci “flew over Turkey’s most beautiful western coast. After investigating the Syrian migrants who had to cross the Aegean Sea, I had a great sunset on the way back to Istanbul. The sun was saying to us, ‘goodbye.'”

From anxiety to mindfulness meditation – a pilot’s journey to wellbeing

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I didn’t want to “self-disclose” anything that could ground me, and I really didn’t have a clue about what anxiety or depression was or how to treat it. I wasn’t suicidal or anything so who do I talk to? Who can I trust that won’t end up grounding me on the spot? For many of us, the thought of “talking to someone” can actually make the anxiety worse.

Winning over a reluctant passenger

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One day last spring, I stopped by the local airport and made that appointment to get back in the left seat. I had dreams of taking vacations with the wife to great destinations, most are only two hours away, including the Emerald Coast. I came home that evening and told my wife the great news. She had a look of terror on her face as she uttered the words, “You have a pilot’s license?”

Military flybys: rules and mistakes

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For over 30 years, I have lived on a low-level military flight route. Twice a month, an F-4 would buzz our lake. Now it is KC-130 tankers high in the sky or a few Chinooks thundering across our lake. They can’t sneak up on you like an F-4. I have had five military flybys in the air as pilot in command. Every flyby makes my day better; some even make a life time memory. Here are a few.

Friday Photo: Boulder from a 172

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Colorado is a beautiful place to fly, and you don’t have to be in a high performance airplane to enjoy the view. This Friday Photo comes from Rob Hitchcox, who was flying a Cessna 172 over the flatirons around Boulder when he took this photo. The best part? He had passengers along.

The old man in the plane

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This article was the winning entry in the inaugural Richard Collins Writing Prize for Young Pilots. Over 60 young pilots sent in articles for consideration, and after reading them all our distinguished panel of judges (including Richard’s son) selected Emma Hutchinson as the winner of the $2,500 award. We hope you’ll agree that this moving article is a fine tribute to a great writer and pilot.

From renting to owning – and reluctantly back to renting

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You can say what you want to about renting versus owning. I fully understand the fact that if you’re not going to use a plane regularly, you can’t justify owning one, even in a partnership. I’ve known for years that I could have been flying more for less money if I just rented. But now that I’m faced with renting, the reality of scheduling and not having a fast, capable airplane to fly is staring me in the face.

Friday Photo: Angel Flight passenger

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For doctor and pilot Ruffin Benton, flying patients for Angel Flight is the most rewarding kind of trip. He took this photo on a recent flight to Baltimore with a patient on board. While she’s headed for tough cancer treatment, the picture is all about the peace of flight.

Student flight control jam

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This particular day Al was flying on his third hour of supervised solo, meaning these solo flights needed to be approved by me beforehand. Perhaps 20 minutes after his takeoff, Al called on the Unicom frequency: “Bob, I’ve got trouble with the controls.” I responded quickly. “What’s the trouble, Al?”“I can’t move the control wheel forward or back. It’s stuck a little aft of the neutral position.”