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Low, hot, and humid

The subsequent takeoff began normally enough—I didn’t necessarily notice if we became airborne a little farther down the runway than normal or not. But once airborne, I slowly became aware that things weren’t going as expected. After liftoff, the climb rate of the 172 was downright anemic to say the least. It was clawing the air trying to climb, but without much success.

Friday Photo: Denali

Denali is the highest mountain peak in North America, but it’s surprisingly easy to see—thanks to airplanes like the Turbine Otter. That’s the view Craig Bixby shares in this Friday Photo, with the snow-capped mountain peak framed under the wing of the rugged bush plane. Definitely a must-see on any trip to Alaska.

The day my glider checkride almost went bad

Based on past checkrides, it had become the expectation that the rope break would occur on the second flight. But as we turned crosswind on the last flight, he still hadn’t released the rope. I started thinking he must be going easy on me and maybe I started to relax a little—when WHAM he released the tow rope!

Friday Photo: Alaska seaplane sunset

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.