https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/07/15142453/Cessna_182S_Skylane_%E2%80%98G-OBBO_30860356187.jpg 683 1024 Rick Spencer https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Rick Spencer2022-07-20 08:57:452022-07-15 14:26:17Weight and balance “get-there-itis” traps
It was a beautiful spring day for an airplane ride, which I was asked to give to a very important and even famous client (and his two friends). As an instrument pilot having flown for years, I knew the importance of getting the exact weight of my client and his two adult friends, so I got the numbers over the phone. I never realized that a hidden trap was awaiting me until I first saw all three of them at the airport.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/06173405/thermometer.jpg 360 640 Craig Bixby https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Craig Bixby2022-03-16 08:39:562022-03-08 16:08:06Low, 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.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/06140304/SavannahS.jpg 536 800 David Johns https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg David Johns2022-02-14 08:14:572022-02-11 15:49:17Who’s pilot in command? A faulty assumption leads to an accident
There was much joking and laughing about operating the Savannah, a small aircraft, from an 8,000-ft runway that had been built for nuclear bombers. The weather was perfect, we were in high spirits, but there was no discussion about our respective licences and experience or check procedures. We were just a couple of pilot mates going for a fly—what could go wrong?
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/06140322/kopec-v-hmle.jpg 1070 1600 Pavol Varga https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Pavol Varga2022-02-07 09:08:412022-02-02 14:09:41A severe, multi-day case of “get-there-itis”
I took off before noon, as planned, and headed south. Soon the sky grew dimmer, and clouds started turning from cumulus to a thick carpet around 3000 ft AGL. Rain patches started to appear and two hours into my 3.5 hour planned trip I had to dodge them. Then about one hour from my destination a solid wall of rain appeared in front of me.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2022/01/06140425/stewart-mountain-dam.jpg 834 1280 Bob Teter https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Bob Teter2022-01-11 08:37:572022-01-05 17:21:17Breaking news—and breaking the rules
The visibility forward decreased gradually, but you could still see the ground. We were able to see Granite Reef, a small diversion dam and the point where the Verde and Salt rivers merge, but continuing further east was becoming a problem. Yet my urge to get the on-air reporter to the news site was strong. After all, that’s what I was getting paid to do.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/12/06140505/Final-runway-29.jpg 1386 1850 John Cotton https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg John Cotton2022-01-04 08:09:242021-12-22 16:50:10A spur of the moment decision, and a missed NOTAM
We entered the traffic pattern, and on left downwind to runway 29 we saw an area in the grass at the edge of the woods surrounded by yellow caution tape. Huh... wonder what that’s about. We landed and back-taxied, and could now see it was a wrecked plane that was cordoned off. No one around, just the plane. Curious.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/06171110/Sample-Weight-and-Balance-Graph-Langley-Flying-School.gif 379 547 RC Thompson https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg RC Thompson2021-11-24 08:01:522021-11-17 13:58:45Flying loaded: what could possibly go wrong?
I knew we were very heavy and would need much more runway than usual to take off, but was really surprised when the nose lifted off before we were even at 40 knots. We were gaining speed slowly, but it needed a lot more nose down trim, and finally at around 110 knots airspeed we lifted off the runway, at the exact moment I ran out of forward trim.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/06140928/5b7dd92795142.image_.jpg 533 1200 Bill Slover https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Bill Slover2021-11-11 08:46:232021-11-09 10:39:59Close call with a blimp
Like all pilots, I don't like to talk about the stupid things I did in the early days of my flying career. I have filed this one (along with a few others) in the file that says "never again." A big lesson was learned that night, and I made myself a promise to never again make low passes in an aircraft.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/06141112/Sack-cockpit-view.jpg 975 1300 Marty Sacks https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Marty Sacks2021-10-18 08:41:102021-10-15 16:17:40Get-home-itis: be on the lookout
During a recent long day of flying I had a chance to experience aviation’s version of completion bias—the drive to complete a flight—also known as get-home-itis. I learned a great deal from it and want to share the experience. First the set up and then we’ll unpack what I did right and wrong.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/06141456/MSN-overhead-view.jpg 1576 1222 Tom Schuster https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Tom Schuster2021-09-07 08:33:302021-09-01 18:28:24Making a big mistake on my solo cross-country
I forged ahead, making good time. It was 5:00. Did I mention the sun was due to set at 5:30 and there was already a thick overcast? I needed to go to plan B. Crap. I had no plan B. But I did have this VOR that would tell me how to get back to Madison. I tuned in to the Madison VOR and turned the OBS knob to center the needle. Then what? I had no idea.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/06141739/Snowy-mountains.jpg 867 1300 Steve Chardon https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Steve Chardon2021-08-05 09:05:522021-08-31 16:22:23Breaking my own “rules to fly by”
My passenger-side wing was pointed straight down at the mountainous terrain below us and, seated behind me, my good friend and her six-month pregnant daughter gasped in sheer terror. Just a moment before, we had been cruising in CAVU conditions while meandering along the windward ridgeline of the Presidential Range in the White Mountains of New Hampshire. How did I find myself in this predicament?
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/06141837/iaf-naga-srk-3_647_091715083430.jpg 433 770 Subhash Bhojwani https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Subhash Bhojwani2021-07-20 09:05:372021-07-16 16:57:21Fire, fire, fire
I had qualified as a fighter pilot in the Indian Air Force in 1966, completed the flight instructor’s course a few months earlier, and just upgraded to QFI Cat B a few days ago. In other words, I could do no wrong. I was indestructible! I was carrying out an A&E check on a Harvard IV-D which had undergone a routine servicing. I was flying solo and the plan was to do the engine and trim checks followed by a stall and spin.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/06142325/Aztec-ramp.jpg 568 546 Erik Vogel https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Erik Vogel2021-06-01 08:49:032021-05-24 18:03:05Lost in the Canadian Arctic
I was a fairly new, 22-year-old bush pilot based in Cambridge Bay, in Canada’s Arctic (now Nunavut) in 1982. I had the only aircraft based this far north at the time and was the first call for medevacs, with our twin engine type E Aztec with long range tanks. It was usually single pilot night IFR, but on this flight, one of my two bosses had recently arrived.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/06173424/152-spin.png 333 500 John Galyon https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg John Galyon2021-05-20 08:45:512021-05-12 18:09:31Overconfident and under-coordinated
After practicing slow flight for a few minutes, I tried a few power-off stalls. Completing those successfully and returning to 1500 feet AGL, I felt that I could handle a departure stall with no problem. Despite the warning from my instructor and still being uncomfortable with the maneuver, I decided to proceed.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142632/Sunset-over-wing.jpg 1172 1332 Jim Collinsworth https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Jim Collinsworth2021-04-15 18:12:512021-04-15 18:12:51Three minutes before the fan turns off
This is a story on how, at 10 minutes after midnight and after 5 hours of flight time, in an unfamiliar airplane, over a highway, I gambled my life and an airplane against a very tempted fate and scythe-wielding death and won the whole pot.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/06143152/04M-210-2.jpg 286 400 James Hicks https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg James Hicks2021-01-21 09:38:332021-01-12 17:25:24Flirting with real (and financial) disaster
Departure was without problem, and soon we were ascending at 1000 FPM over the frozen landscape. It was then than I happened to notice that the amber gear-up light had not illuminated. I cycled the gear down and back up to see if it was a temporary glitch. No change. I then assumed that the light was simply burned out, and not being the green light I needed before landing, made a note to change it at the first opportunity.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/06143219/Owens-Valley-Elk.jpg 768 1024 Pete Alexander https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Pete Alexander2021-01-12 09:59:082021-01-19 16:34:37VFR to IFR in a flash on a solo cross-country
I can no longer recall if I was aware of an incoming system and thought I could beat it, or it developed quicker than forecast and “caught me” or what. But in a flash, I went from VFR to IFR as if someone had flicked a switch. My first reaction was to see if I would “pop-out” the back, like all of us did/would/still do. But after about 15-20 seconds, my thoughts turned to bugging out.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/06143407/Turbulence-AIRMET.jpg 950 1200 Frank Ladonne https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Frank Ladonne2020-12-16 09:04:122020-12-10 15:29:08Bratburger-itis: a memorable trip
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!
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/06143600/seaplane-out-of-water-rotated.jpeg 1280 956 Kevin Malone https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Kevin Malone2020-11-18 09:48:212020-11-10 17:05:07My cold water splash: an airline pilot learns a painful lesson
My first (and I hope last) aircraft incident in 45 years of piloting took place a few years ago on the first really nice spring day, with clear skies and glistening water beckoning for the first seaplane flight of the season. I was a very new seaplane pilot at the time, though my IACRA paperwork showed 29,000 hours total time when I applied for the rating.
https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/06143938/Wing-view-of-ground.jpg 788 1200 Tom Matowitz https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Tom Matowitz2020-09-22 09:18:312020-09-15 17:36:24A student pilot learns an important lesson
Things began to get interesting. I was about to learn a valuable lesson about checkpoints—namely, don’t use railroads or high tension lines. From the air they look exactly alike and as luck would have it I chose the wrong one and begin to get off course.