death valley

Flying Out of Death Valley Alive

Tumbling from the heights of permanent snowfields, I pulled out over Lake Isabella, with a few hundred feet left to chance. The water surface reflected a seasawing yellow wing, my dash reflecting needles that no longer moved. I had no more fuel. The cockpit was covered in coffee, debris, and batteries. I had fought through wind and turbulence for 20 minutes.
super cub

Blister Flight – Six Pilots and an Angel

I touched the wheels down in the soft green grass, and all I could think about was Jim Richmond looking down on me. Smiling with his soft grin, as I, the youngest Carbon Cub builder, had just landed back at the same airstrip where I developed my love for aviation.
Dassault-Breguet Br.1150 ‘Atlantique’

A hard day’s flight

I was excited to make my first (and only) ‘Trans-Lant’ (trans-Atlantic) flight.  Primarily because of the jet stream, we planned to fly home via a southern route stopping in Spain, the Azores, and Bermuda.  Join me now on that flight.

From the archives: The real value of an instrument rating

The instrument rating is the most valuable training a pilot can have. I flew 30 years without it, but I strongly encourage everybody that intends to fly anyplace to get the rating. It is amazing how this training gives you the skills to fly in weather and marginal conditions and even avoid thunderstorms. Without it you risk your life when encountering weather.
Glider on tow

As far as the stick would go

I looked ahead to see the D-31 coming directly at me as if in a battle charge.  It took me a precious second to process my situation and another to shove the 1-26´s stick as far forward as it would go. As I felt my stomach drop away in tandem with the nose of my plane, a half-ton of aircraft passed directly over me and the D-31's roaring engine was the only thing I could hear.

It’s Not That Complex

Most of my checkout once airborne was more about me getting a feel of how the Arrow stalls, turns - all the usual primary stuff. However, we did cover various emergencies related to the gear. All went well. In fact, by the time we headed back from the practice area, I was feeling a lot more confident in my airmanship – until I had to land that is.

The Flagship Phantom

The backbone of ARN-101 was an integrated LORAN system. This was a big upgrade in navigation accuracy and also brought much better conventional weapons delivery capabilities. Not as good as what the F-16 had, but a big improvement over earlier Phantoms using Dive Toss.

Challenging runway flying the C-123 in Vietnam

As you get closer to the runway, you get a sinking feeling and, in order to keep your decent and approach speeds, you have to start adding power to overcome the downslope winds from the mountain.

A soaring surprise for my birthday

While I searched for a thermal to gain some altitude or else I would be forced to land back at the field. All of a sudden, something white and black caught my eye going by underneath me and I immediately turned to follow it.  Could it be?  YES!  I spotted a large soaring bird turning in a circle just ahead of me now and I latched onto him and got very close.

Flying Functional Check Flights (FCFs)

As the propeller slowed to one to two revolutions per second, I moved the condition lever to the ‘Feather’ position and #1 came to a full stop.  And that’s when it happened - the #2 engine started winding down as well!  I now saw the advantage to raising the guard on that start switch!

First Time in Real IMC; A Memorable Flight with Lessons Learned

I was then instructed to fly direct to WEVER intersection and join the DVALL 3 arrival. I was not expecting that!  At that moment, I realized that I should have called for clearance from the ramp, and then called back for release when we were number one for departure.  While I was startled for a moment, my training kicked in and I loaded the arrival procedure into the GPS.

An accident in my Taylorcraft

I had instinctively lowered the nose to prevent a stall. That’s about the time the RPMs smoothly returned to full power. But I was already committed to being on the ground even before the RPMs dropped a second time. While lowering the nose, I made a slight left turn toward the field. My attempt to make some kind of a normal landing really didn’t work out because I never got the nose back up to a good landing attitude.
F-4 Phantom

What it’s like not being home for Christmas

I remember sitting on the edge of the bed the night before I left to go off to war in the first place. I wasn't afraid to go. It was my duty and I'm a good soldier.  But I was so afraid for my little girls. A whole year away from them, and just what if I were killed or taken prisoner? Who would take care of them? Who would help their mother see that they arrived at womanhood ready? I collapsed into sobbing.
O-2 Skymaster

What Christmas was like far away from family

We saw some fires and secondary explosions, pretty much ensuring we had found and destroyed some supplies.  Those supplies were probably ammo that wouldn't get further down the trail for use against our troops on Christmas Day.  Arriving at Ubon on Christmas morning, we had some plans for as much celebration as you can have while away from family and home.
Cessna 150

My first flight 50 years ago

Flying is something that non-aviators just don't get. It's a calling....almost. I cannot be outside and hear and airplane without looking up to find it. It just seeps into the soul. It's a task that requires concentration, yet allows me to totally relax. The world goes away for me when I fly.

Flying during the pandemic and my approach to LAX

Gabe contacted the Flight Service Station regarding time and procedure for entering Class B airspace and landing at LAX. The answer was simple: no problem, be airborne at 7am and contact approach control on a given frequency; they will be expecting you. The next day found the Grumman on the taxiway at Long Beach Airport at 6:30am. At the appointed time, they departed and contacted approach control.
Meigs airport

I was at Meigs Field

Hours after Dr. Shehl closed the canopy door on his 1980 Bonanza, and went to his nearby hotel, bulldozers would roll onto Meigs. Under the cover of darkness, and without any notice or approval, Chicago’s mayor, Richard Daley, drove old Meigs Field down.

An action packed day on the Boeing 727

the flight continued normally until approaching PHL when we noticed various indications of low hydraulic pressure in our “A” hydraulic system.  Something about flap extension had caused a loss of pressure and quantity. 

Never a dull moment at a flight school

This guy would aggressively slam the aircraft into a 45-degree bank in the traffic pattern, turning from downwind to base, for example, with a maniacal grin on his face. I suspect he was a successful businessman, used to kind of getting his own way. I tried to convince him that flying like that often led to sudden death, but he smirked.

A Bad Plan is Better Than No Plan At All

The photo of the bridge disappearing into an unknown would tell the story that I was also flying into an unknown. But rather than the whiteness of a marine layer, it was the blackness of oil. Blowing out my cowling. While I flew on unawares, my wife shifted in her seat, looking out into the horizon, as if she knew already that life traded on the thinnest of margins.