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?
Spitfire

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.
Connie

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?
Lear Jet 24

From the archives: Leighton Collins flies a Lear 24

In this trip into the Air Facts archives, ride along with Leighton Collins as he gets a familiarization flight in a Lear Jet 24 in 1967. With a variety of small jets hitting the market in recent years, from the Cirrus Jet to the Eclipse, many of Collins’s reactions to flying a powerful jet 50 years ago might sound familiar. Collins concludes, "they’ve really got themselves a show horse in the Model 24."
TWA 707 ad

From the archives: Bob Buck gets a Boeing 707 check out

This in-depth report, originally published in the September 1960 edition of Air Facts, is Bob Buck at his best. The legendary airline pilot and author takes us along as he checks out in the Boeing 707, the defining airplane of the jet age. From practicing maneuvers to taking a check ride and flying to Europe, Buck explains how the big jet flies, why it's different and how it is changing the airline business.

From the archives: Leighton Collins flies a 747 to Paris

One of the most popular stories from the Air Facts archive is Leighton Collins's spellbinding trip report from the cockpit of an early Boeing 707 on the way to Europe. In this article, we move 10 years into the future, as Collins again flies to Europe with TWA captain Bob Buck. This time they are in the larger and more advanced 747.
AOA

From the archives: Leighton Collins on angle of attack, 1965

This article, originally published in the May 1965 issue of Air Facts, is a companion to Richard Collins's recent article on "The three keys to flying safely." Here, Richard's father considers the history of angle of attack as both a concept and an instrument, which offers important lessons for pilots of any airplane. This is not a new debate.