Friday Photo: Dominican Republic from a TBM

by

The view from the cockpit of a TBM 910 as it cruises along in the flight levels is usually pretty good, but sometimes it’s great. Omar Haedo captured one of these unique views as he flew home to Miami, with the sun reflecting off the Caribbean Sea and the cumulus clouds building over the Dominican Republic.

Pitch black landing in Vietnam

by

I asked ALCC if they had any runway lighting. They stated that that field did not have any lighting. I told ALCC to stand by. I got out my list for the artillery units for that location, called the first unit and asked if they had any parachute flares. They responded that they did, and I asked them to pop one.

Bratburger-itis: a memorable trip

by

All week long, the weather was looking good. When I called for my flight weather briefing Friday morning (note this is before the common use of internet weather), the briefer mentioned the potential for moderate turbulence and potential for gusty winds. The velocity of the winds he forecast was less than what I had comfortably handled before so I wasn’t concerned. And, after all, I had a whole two years of flying under my belt!

Go or No Go: above or below the clouds?

by

You earned your instrument rating years ago, but you haven’t been current in a long time. Now you’re kicking yourself for that lapse in currency, because your VFR-only limitation is going to make an easy IFR flight into a marginal VFR flight. You’re hoping to fly your 1972 Cessna 182 from your home in Middletown, Ohio (MWO), to Marion, Illinois (MWA). Will the weather cooperate?

Is that airframe icing or snow?

by

You’re flying in visible moisture with the air temperature below freezing and you notice something building up on the leading edge of the wings. Is that airframe icing? What you see collecting on the wing leading edges in a cold cloud could be airframe icing, or it could be snow. Icing is bad, maybe very bad, but snow isn’t much of a problem. How do you know the difference?

Friday photo: Airbus X3

by

The X3 was unusual from many different perspectives, not the least of which being the addition of a pair of stub wings with tractor propellers at their tips. The propellers, though appearing to have their own powerplants, were actually driven by the engines that drove the main rotor.

Always bring a flashlight

by

November is the time of year in the Midwest that can bring beautiful crisp late fall days, or it can bring fog, snow, ice, and a freezing rain chilling to the soul. In late November of 1981 I had a flight that encountered almost all of those that mother nature could provide.

Understanding Vb: turbulence penetration speed

by

It should be clear that when expecting/encountering turbulence, that pilots should fly a speed that is slower than Va by at least the value of the maximum gust—airspeed gain—they expect to encounter, and higher than Vs1 by the same value for potential airspeed loss. Va is simply too fast!

Flying with Malik: why the newest generation of pilots will be great

by

Malik now has the distinction of being the youngest black person in the world to have received a B-777 type rating. That’s only fitting, because most people think I’m about 60. I now have the distinction of being the oldest person in the world to have received a B-777 type rating, at 74. But neither of us knew this until after we had completed our training.

Friday Photo: storm over the Everglades

by

The Pipistrel Sinus motorglider is all about fun flying, and that’s what Todd Tracy captures in this Friday Photo. His wingtip-mounted GoPro camera shows him soaring over the Everglades in Florida, with a typical summertime rain shower making itself known in the background.

Engine failure at 150 feet, with a glider in tow

by

I was towing and we were taking a passenger on a ride. As I recall the ride was a very attractive young lady so there were many volunteers among the commercial pilots, but it was Joni Whitten’s turn and she was not relinquishing that turn. The flight was normal until we were at about 150 feet over the woods at the south end of the runway, when the engine quit.

Back in the Saddle on a Very Different Horse

by

And then she said it: “why don’t you fly anymore?” My response was simple: “I don’t know.” Suddenly, I had a flying club membership application in my hand—I was going to get my ASEL (I didn’t know what that was, just that was what I was going to get). There I was, a Commercial, Instrument-rated helicopter pilot, learning to land an airplane

Ice bridging: the myth that won’t die

by

Ice bridging is the idea that if you operate the boots too early, you will stretch the ice but not fracture it. When the boot deflates following the cycle, the stretched ice will remain, with more ice building on top of it. Yet there is not a single test conducted in anyone’s icing research wind tunnel that has been able to replicate ice bridging, nor are there any accidents that document ice bridging as a cause or contributory factor.

Friday Photo: somewhere over the rainbow

by

Returning east at 11,000 feet from Saint Jude’s Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee, to Asheville, North Carolina, on an Angel Flight mission. Major thunderstorm activity over Knoxville. ATC queried me, “Do you want to divert north or south? Suggest south.” Good choice.

A checkride turns smoky

by

The examiner was competent and fair, and he really put me through my paces. The flight was going well, and I was confident. He asked me to set a course for Lost Nation Airport in order to do some pattern work. The flight suddenly become far more interesting. I thought I noticed an odd smell in the cockpit, something  unfamiliar in the context of the trusty 152.

The $20 an hour Cessna 172 experiment

by

Although I had a GA background and built time as a CFI, I’ve been flying for the airlines for three decades and have been absent from the GA scene, which I mistakenly assumed had long evolved and would now seem foreign to me. After just a few calls, nothing had seemed to change except that the same 1970 vintage 172s were now renting out at $115-$125 per hour.

From a rusty pilot: it’s not quite like riding a bicycle

by

Air Facts Journal has published many stories about rusty pilots returning to the cockpit, some after years of not flying as a pilot in command. I last flew in March of this year. Like many readers, the COVID-19 pandemic has put a damper on my flying. The economy is uncertain, there are few $100 hamburger destinations where you can eat on-site, and airplane rental FBOs have imposed previously unheard-of restrictions.