https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/Sample-Weight-and-Balance-Graph-Langley-Flying-School.gif 379 547 RC Thompson https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png 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.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/11/5b7dd92795142.image_.jpg 533 1200 Bill Slover https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png 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.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/10/Sack-cockpit-view.jpg 975 1300 Marty Sacks https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png 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.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/09/MSN-overhead-view.jpg 1576 1222 Tom Schuster https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png 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.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Snowy-mountains.jpg 867 1300 Steve Chardon https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png 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.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/iaf-naga-srk-3_647_091715083430.jpg 433 770 Subhash Bhojwani https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png 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.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/Aztec-ramp.jpg 568 546 Erik Vogel https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png 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.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/152-spin.png 333 500 John Galyon https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png 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.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Sunset-over-wing.jpg 1172 1332 Jim Collinsworth https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png 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.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/04M-210-2.jpg 286 400 James Hicks https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png 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.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Owens-Valley-Elk.jpg 768 1024 Pete Alexander https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png 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.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Turbulence-AIRMET.jpg 950 1200 Frank Ladonne https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png 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.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/seaplane-out-of-water-rotated.jpeg 1280 956 Kevin Malone https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png 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.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/Wing-view-of-ground.jpg 788 1200 Tom Matowitz https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png 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.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/clouds-gray.jpg 686 1024 Ken Howell https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Ken Howell2020-08-27 09:44:432020-08-19 18:13:20Adding to the judgment bucket—a flight that never should have happened
To illustrate the advantages of learning risk management over the time-honored method of letting fate take its course, I offer the following episode. It happened on a soggy, overcast, and misty day in 1967 in southern Louisiana. I was in my dangerous phase.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/06/fog-on-runway.jpg 427 640 Brett Swailes https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Brett Swailes2020-08-04 09:25:442020-07-29 16:27:17Approach to oblivion
Another low-pressure system was making its way through the Carolinas and into the Northeast corridor with enough attendant weather to bring low IMC to most of the Northeast itself. I had a flight in the morning to Salisbury, MD, then to Richmond, VA, and then back home to Chester County, PA—all forecast to be at or near minimums, or possibly even below. This posed a real problem.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/valley-sunrise-morning-mist-misty-trees-hills-sky-grass.jpg 586 880 Dave Sandidge https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Dave Sandidge2020-07-08 08:55:012020-07-08 08:59:45Night, mist, haze, and all that jazz
Sometimes when we look back to our earliest periods in aviation, we are rightly hounded by some of the infamously stupid things we did—or tried to do. But if you’re like me, you can honestly say you just didn’t know any better at the time, and that there was no one around to warn you of the dangers. We all have to learn. And every once in a while, the learning unveils itself ex post facto.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Piper_PA-38-112_Tomahawk_F-GOFC_in_flight.jpg 683 1024 Rob McCallum https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Rob McCallum2020-06-30 09:41:252020-06-23 15:08:13Goal fixation: when ingenuity overrides common sense
This is not a story about fast jets, elaborate cockpits or major life and death mid-air drama… it is the true story of a humble student pilot trying so hard to overcome a mid-air incident that he took leave of his common sense.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/06/Seaplane-on-river.jpg 415 608 Phil Roth https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Phil Roth2020-06-16 09:45:372020-06-12 12:07:42Implausible, providential, or dumb luck?
I’ve waited almost a lifetime to fess up to behaving badly. The statute of limitations has hopefully expired in sixty-six years. Specifically, in 1954 at age twenty, 165 hours total time, no IFR training and growing up on a rural Pennsylvania farm, I was living a teenage fantasy for adventure in a far-off land.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/01/chicago-sunset.jpg 450 600 Jay Wischkaemper https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Jay Wischkaemper2020-06-03 09:25:422020-05-28 14:45:56Why is it so dark? An important lesson learned
About an hour into that leg, I noticed something disconcerting. It was getting dark, and it was only 7:30. All my questions about why this was happening didn’t stop it from happening, and by 8:00 PM, it was totally dark. It had never dawned on me that I lived on the western side of the central time zone, and that on the eastern side of that time zone, things were quite a bit different.