https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/12/image1-5.jpeg 960 1280 Duane Mader /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Duane Mader2017-12-13 11:34:572017-12-13 11:36:05I never considered canceling
Dividing my attention between setting power, keeping her straight and watching my speed, I noticed the windshield starting to mist over with ice but I kept charging. Acceleration was normal and I had a fairly long runway so at 120 I gently rotated the nose - and continued to roll with the mains fully planted.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/11/Piper_PA-23_Apache_-_Venezia_800.jpg 608 800 William Babis /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg William Babis2017-11-29 18:15:262017-11-29 18:15:36A bad way to learn about aerodynamics
Many decades ago, my flying career was just getting off the ground when it nearly ended. It was August 1976 to be more exact and I had the opportunity to ferry a PA-23 that a new owner was restoring that had the full Geronimo conversion from Albuquerque to Cincinnati for radio and autopilot work at my father’s shop.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/Cub-by-tractor.jpg 652 1000 Jules Tapper /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Jules Tapper2017-10-09 16:44:452017-10-09 16:46:20One chance to get it right: inadvertent IFR flying
I immediately knew that my current situation was extremely serious. I was currently flying at 4000 feet and was trapped between two layers of cloud in a wide band of clear air. This “meat in the sandwich” scenario at the end of the day, in a low speed, basically instrumented aircraft with a relatively low-time pilot was about as bad as it could get.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/09/5233105116_5e9d1d932b_z.jpg 480 640 Renato Tucunduva /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Renato Tucunduva2017-09-25 17:03:592017-09-25 17:04:26An awful sensation – lost above Brazil with no alternator
I was totally by myself. I aligned the plane with the 04 runway, with no one in sight, since it was the middle of the week. I took off and decided to test the new plane with some basic maneuvers and a lazy flight. It's important to say that I was totally unfamiliar with the area, as I was used on flying my Cubs from another airfield some miles away. But the fates decided it was a good time to put me to the test.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/1-3.jpg 480 852 Ben Holloway /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Ben Holloway2017-05-30 12:33:042017-06-01 12:13:22Stumbling into IMC without a plan
I believe this is where things go bad for well-trained pilots. It’s not that we can’t improvise and come up with new plans, but when we're a little lost and our original plan isn’t working out, we need a few moments to compose a new one. I was in the pattern in IMC, trying to descend well below pattern altitude to get below the scattered clouds while trying to do what I told the tower I would be doing - and also not get in trouble with ATC.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/scud.jpg 547 1000 Tom Brusehaver /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Tom Brusehaver2017-05-08 14:16:462017-05-11 16:27:46I am lucky to be a pilot, and I am a lucky pilot as well
It was a humid early September evening after a hot day. In Minnesota, that means when it cools off in the evening, the clouds come up, and the thunderstorms start. I hadn't considered what would be happening later in the evening.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/152-spin.png 333 500 Greg Hutchison /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Greg Hutchison2017-04-05 07:11:482017-04-07 11:47:57A humbling solo flight
So I poured the power on and hauled back on the yoke. With the lighter load, that yoke came right back and the nose of the plane pointed right up. For a split second I thought “that's strange” and before I knew it, I was pointing straight down at the ground in a left spin.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/9548_720w_0000.jpg 480 715 Mike Mason /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Mike Mason2017-03-20 10:01:452017-03-23 13:41:33Tomorrow’s good enough for me
This story happened many years ago to my father-in-law and me, and the statute of limitations has hopefully run out on any broken or bruised FARs we might have encountered during the course of events. Nevertheless, there is a debt to be paid: that is the debt to one’s own conscience when, years later, you look back on things and realize your own stupidity.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/luscombe_8_f-pmcd_ebdt_2009_4.jpg 771 1200 Ken Howell /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Ken Howell2017-01-19 14:52:412017-01-23 13:55:00Miracle at Mojave: surviving an airplane crash
At an altitude of about 50 feet, the airplane stalled and Gus lost control. Given our present situation, a team of engineers, analyzing every available factor, would be hard pressed to come up with a set of circumstances that would make this event survivable. I closed my eyes just before the lights went out.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/12/fuel-gauge-low.png 360 640 Stephen Hunter /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Stephen Hunter2016-11-09 16:41:552016-11-11 10:53:08It can happen to you – a low fuel confession
I always said of pilots who lived through fuel starvation that “God protects drunks and fools… and they probably weren’t drinking.” I never understood how someone could be so thoughtless. And then this…
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/10/vfr-on-top-of-cloud-deck.jpg 744 759 Josh Ford /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Josh Ford2016-10-26 17:09:382016-10-26 17:09:38VFR on top… for a long time
Slowly but surely, my outs -- the airports that I intended to be able to land at if need be, began to close up. First was Baton Rouge, as the overcast quickly engulfed the airport to IFR. I also noticed that the TAF had been amended to include IFR conditions for most of the remaining day. Next was New Orleans. Now the gravity of the situation began to take hold in my mind. What if everything closes up?
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/ezovermtn.jpg 750 1000 Lew Miller /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Lew Miller2016-06-22 12:20:512016-06-24 12:07:22Down the rabbit hole – scud running through Central Oregon
I then made a really bad decision. I climbed quickly to 8500, dodging scud patches here and there with minor course changes. Visibility worsened further over the next five minutes or so, dropping to 1-3 miles, with 50% ground contact, but hazy blue sky above. At this point in the flight, everything being reported seemed way too optimistic.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/06/lenticular-cloud-reno.jpg 682 1024 Sandy Munns /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Sandy Munns2016-06-13 13:38:232016-06-16 09:51:44I never should have left the ground
I felt I needed to expedite, because there was another Southwest 737 eyeballing me from across the runway, also holding short, and waiting for the little puddle jumper to get out of his way, so they could depart. I rolled out on the runway, and went to full throttle... and with a lot of right aileron and rudder. We lifted off and WHAM, we were 30 degrees to the runway. Yeah, I'd say there was a bit of wind shift!
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/05/Geneva-airports.jpg 265 600 John Banas /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg John Banas2016-05-31 16:27:272016-06-02 14:33:59A pilot in command abdication
It was a dark and clear winter night, somewhere between 1979 and 1980. I walked up to the Piper Archer with my three other buddies, in full fighter pilot swag, full of myself and the false confidence only a 20-year old can have. I had earned my Private in just 54 hours and now, with a whole 61 hours logged, I was flying my buddies to the Playboy Club Resort at Lake Geneva, Wisconsin.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/04/image.jpeg 375 500 Gregg Reynolds /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Gregg Reynolds2016-04-11 17:27:082016-04-14 15:00:48Flying it home for the first time
A beautiful October afternoon in 1976 at El Mirage Field, California, saw my daughter and me taking off in our newly-bought old airplane en route to Palo Alto Airport (PAO). We were beyond excited and distracted, so I didn’t recognize clues that we were bound for more excitement than expected. Put another way, this was to become an unfunny, unsafe, head-up-and-locked comedy of errors.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/03/cloud-ocean.jpg 383 575 Dave Sandidge /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Dave Sandidge2016-03-07 14:40:052016-04-13 14:22:33The weather is what it is – all alone in a Cherokee Six
I descended until I was, in fact, right on top of the waves. The visibility was better there, but, of course, at that altitude, I could no longer receive any VOR signals, and the airplane had no GPS equipment – no airplane did back then. All I had was a coffee-stained sectional chart, and it looked coldly aloof and insultingly bare of any useful information at the time.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/wildfire-smoke.jpg 1125 750 Jeremy Lezin /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Jeremy Lezin2016-02-11 11:03:452016-02-16 18:31:33Flying through fire and ice
I noticed a narrow, dark column of black smoke rising from the valley floor, directly in our flight path a few miles ahead. Being both young and ignorant, I thought to myself, “I’m instrument rated; we’ll pop out of the back of that thing in an instant and it will be fun.” So I aimed for the smoke column.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/01/VH-SXS_Beechcraft_58_Baron_Flight_Training_Australia_7469732904.jpg 798 1200 John Laming /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg John Laming2016-01-04 17:37:052017-09-06 12:35:40Cutting corners as a freight pilot – and regretting it
Forcing myself to stay calm, I faced the embarrassing possibility that a wheels-up landing might be the only way out. I was angry with myself for being such an idiot because failure to secure the freight was not only a clear breach of the regulations, but worse still, an example of poor airmanship. I vowed that never again would I be pressured into potentially dangerous situations by fears of job security.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/T-34C-1.jpg 533 600 George Catalano /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg George Catalano2015-11-25 13:17:192015-11-30 16:10:45Out of CG, overweight, at night and in turbulence
For the first time in my flying life, I could feel the blood drain from my face and be nearly consumed by pure fear – because as I pulled the throttle back the nosed pitched up. As I tried to slow down, even with the stick nearly pushed all the way forward against the stop, the nose would start pitch up. And when it did, you could feel the onset of the stall start. There was no mistaking it and I knew that a stall would be unrecoverable.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/04/clouds-gray.jpg 686 1024 Chris Meelker /wp-content/uploads/2021/03/logo2.jpg Chris Meelker2015-10-26 16:08:072015-11-02 09:54:49Don’t be afraid to be afraid – a VFR into IMC story
I think the irony of the flight is that it was fear that drove me into that situation, when it should have been fear, or perhaps respect, that kept me out of it. Fear of failure and nerves pushed me to take off when respect for the weather and the lives that have been lost in that exact scenario should have kept me on the ground.
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