Airplane out side window

From the archives: Richard Collins on collision avoidance

The sky really isn’t crowded. Rather it is practically deserted, at least that 38’ X 30’ X6’ piece of it we want to use 2% of the time is practically deserted. With a little attention to the see and be seen concept as a recognized flight skill it can remain that way.

From the archives: Patrolling the Chesapeake Bay by seaplane

The seaplane patrol has special authority to fly at unusually low levels because the effectiveness of his work depends on his ability to see what's going on at close range. When he's "on target”—that is, when he has determined that a boat crew is fishing illegally—he is frequently within 75 feet of the pirate fishermen.

From the archives: Richard Collins on general aviation safety

If the only accidents in General Aviation were those attributable to the machine itself we would have a safety record equaled by nothing else that moves. Maybe a better answer to “How safe are the flying machines?" would be that they are absolutely 100% safe. The question is: "How safe is the pilot who runs the flying machine?" and that's up to him.

From the archives: What it takes to fly the President

Air Force One, as the Presidential plane is identified when the Chief Executive is aboard, is a swept-wing Boeing VC-137C, basically the same design as the 707-320B, an intercontinental jetliner flown by many airlines. Delivered in late 1962, it has a top speed of 620 miles-an-hour, and a non-stop range of 7000 miles — 2500 miles more than the previous Presidential jet.
Tower BW

From the archives: Richard Bach on the pilot brotherhood

This article, from the November 1960 issue of Air Facts, is a classic example of Richard Bach's mastery of both aviation and language. In telling the simple story of an hour in an air traffic control tower during the graveyard shift, he captures the beauty of airports and the common bond among pilots. "What if every pilot knew, I thought, that we are already brothers?"
Max Conrad by airplane

From the archives: long distance pilot Max Conrad

In this trip through the archives, we're republishing an article from the November 1965 edition of Air Facts. Here, regular contributor Neil Armstrong profiles "the Maestro of Flight—Max Conrad." If the name sounds familiar it's because he set numerous flying records in the 1950s and 1960s, most of them in general aviation airplanes. 
William Piper

From the archives: Bob Buck on William T. Piper

I know a wonderful man who believes that one of life's greatest gifts is the opportunity to work. He believes also that age doesn't keep you from doing what you want to do. He proved this by starting an airplane factory at 50. He learned to fly that same year – 1931. Today his firm has made more airplanes than any other in the world. The man is William Thomas Piper.
AF cover, 8-70

Wolfgang Langewiesche on pilot proficiency

We're diving into the Air Facts archives for another thought-provoking article from legendary pilot and author Wolfgang Langewiesche. In "A Ladder to Climb," which first appeared in the August 1970 edition of Air Facts, he argues that pilots need to step up their game and offers a suggestion for how they might do that—with a nod to the world of gliders. Might this be easier with modern technology?

From the archives: Checkout in a Spitfire

The Supermarine Spitfire is one of the most beautiful airplanes to ever take to the skies, and an effective one too, with a sterling record during the Battle of Britain. In this trip into the Air Facts archives, Nancy Miller takes us inside the famous Spit for a look at what it was like to fly one. She should know—she logged nearly 1,000 hours ferrying airplanes for the RAF.
Cloud map

From the archives: Langewiesche on the weather revolution that mostly happened

Datalink weather has made flying both easier and safer. If you don't believe that, read this fascinating article from 70 years ago. Legendary author Wolfgang Langewiesche explains why the weather information pilots had in 1949 was so limited, and what could be done to improve the situation. Many of his wish list items have become a reality.
Grass runway

From the archives: Wolfgang Langewiesche on airports in every town

This inspiring article, first published in the October 1956 edition of Air Facts, reflects the big dreams of the mid-1950s and perhaps the missed opportunities for general aviation. Legendary writer Wolfgang Langewiesche argued for a nationwide network of landing strips (not airports, just a place to land), to be created as a part of the Interstate Highway System that was born with the passage of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956.
Pilot in cockpit with instructor

From the archives: how valuable are check rides?

In this trip through the Air Facts archives, we pause in 1967 for a thought-provoking article by Richard Collins. He explores the value of a check ride, and considers whether any evaluation can really improve safety over the long term. His comments on what an instrument rating can do are particularly insightful: "without really working at keeping it current, the instrument rating is worth about the value of the ink on the piece of paper."
Reading Air Show

From the archives: the 1968 Reading Show

Before Oshkosh was the big show, the annual gathering in Reading, Pennsylvania, was the center of the aviation universe. In this article from the June 1968 edition of Air Facts, you'll see what general aviation looked like during the heyday of the late 1960s. From the new airplanes to the celebrity pilots, it was a thrilling time to be a pilot.
Radar scope 1968

From the archives: Richard Collins goes behind the scenes at Center

Aviation technology has changed rapidly over the years, and yet Air Traffic Control works much the same as it did during the booming 1960s. In this article from 51 years ago, Richard Collins goes behind the scenes at Washington Center to explore the technology at work, from flight plan routes to weather deviations. It's a fascinating time capsule.

From the archives: Wolfgang Langewiesche on mountain flying

Wolfgang Langewiesche is famous for writing the bible on flying, Stick and Rudder. He was also a friend of Air Facts founder Leighton Collins and a frequent contributor for the magazine. In this detailed article from 50 years ago, Langewiesche offers some timeless tips for flying in the mountains.

From the archives: Bob Buck on low approaches

This article, published 50 years ago in Air Facts, shows how the fundamentals of instrument flying remain constant. While the technology has changed dramatically since Bob Buck wrote these words, the practical lessons are as valid today as they were in 1969.
Langewiesche by Cub

From the archives: Wolfgang Langewiesche on quiet airplanes

In this prescient article from 50 years ago, legendary pilot and writer Wolfgang Langewiesche considered the role of general aviation airports in a world of ever-expanding suburban communities. He saw the need for a quieter breed of airplanes in order to prevent a public backlash. Now, with electric airplanes tentatively finding a foothold, this article seems as relevant as ever.
Braniff Convair

From the archives: Len Morgan on the personal stories a pilot sees

Most airline flights involve simply moving people and things from point A to point B, but sometimes an airline pilot gets a view of the human side. In this touching article by Len Morgan, the legendary pilot and authro shares a memorable flight that shows how powerful air travel can be and the lives it can connect. This article originally appeared in the November 1956 edition of Air Facts.

From the archives: Bob Buck on radar

While datalink weather is all the rage these days, some 60 years ago, Captain Robert N. Buck thought another hot weather technology, onboard radar, was ready to change the world. This article originally appeared in the November, 1956 edition of Air Facts, and it's still a fascinating look at how pilots interact with new technology.
Flying W building

From the archives: Flying W Ranch

In this trip through the Air Facts archives, we stop in June, 1963, where Richard Collins reported on a new airport just east of Philadelphia with a unique community atmosphere. The airport is still around, but the idea never caught on. Why not?