A flight to remember – Angel Flight for Sarah

Several years ago I started volunteering for the Angel Flight organization, which transports low income patients for distant specialized medical treatments. Such flights are a fine opportunity to share my good fortune in owning a relatively fast and comfortable cross-country airplane.

A Big Apple adventure

After parking at the FBO and shutting the engine down, we looked at each other and laughed like a couple of kids that just got off their first roller coaster ride. Scary, exciting and fun all at the same time.

Devil Canyon Christmas

After landing at Anchorage, I tied my faithful little ship down and silently thanked the guys at the Cessna plant for their stable and dependable Stationair. And, yes—it had been a lousy way to spend Christmas Eve...

Disappearance in an Alaskan valley

My initial interest in the “crash” was professional. Did I perform professionally? Could I have done anything to prevent it? What was I responsible for? I was one of the last people who did not die with him to speak to the pilot.

How I got involved in aviation – and why

So the question is, "Is GA dead or dying?" I don't think so. For someone from the outside looking in, GA is changing and evolving. There is demand out there; the question is how to meet that demand and get the word out.

First flight – memorable for the wrong reason

I tried to take in as much as I could about every detail until at about 20 feet above the runway. I watched him reach back and forth between the throttle and the microphone hanging below it without actually touching either. Then he looked at me and I heard him say, “Hold on boys.”

Love that eggbeater – taming the helicopter

Helicopter pilots aren’t born with paranoid tendencies; it can take upwards of two thousand hours of flying to realize that you’re smack dab in the center of a million parts rotating rapidly around an oil leak waiting for metal fatigue to set in.

Learning panes – who you are in the cockpit is who you really are

Sometimes you learn things that you didn't expect while looking through airplane windows. I noticed this when I first started to fly and it has become the most beneficial part of the experience. It doesn’t happen on every flight. But it happened again recently.

This time, it’s cucumbers from the Bahamas

In his last Air Facts article, veteran freight pilot Jeff Tait shared his experience flying eggs to Venezuela. In this story, it’s cucumbers from the Bahamas to Florida. Ever think about how those cucumbers end up in your grocery store? Jeff has.

Always trust the GPS?

I punched the identifier for Tuli Block into my GPS and it came up, instructing me to fly a heading of 273 degrees for 300 miles, which would put us well into the Kalahari Desert searching for a non-existent dirt strip in the bush. Not a good outcome. How could that happen?
Gatineau Airport

A trip (up) north

My wife and I had scheduled a trip to Ottawa in our Mooney 231 to begin on Saturday with a return on Sunday. But plans change, and preparation isn’t always enough to ensure a good result.

Renie – and the Block Island Wedding

I’m pretty sure the bride-to-be sent my mom the invitation just as a courtesy, never dreaming she’d actually be there. After all, it was a midweek wedding--on Block Island. Even the “local” East Coast guests had to carve at least a few days out of their calendars for travel. And my mom lived in Kentucky. It was just too far.

Oshkosh Odyssey – a 950 mile pilgrimage via seaplane

Throughout the yearlong building of my two-place, 100 hp SeaRey amphibian kitplane, I thought about flying it to the 2013 EAA Oshkosh event and landing at its Seaplane Base on nearby Lake Winnebago. This would be something of a pilgrimage.

From the ashes: a flight instructor returns to flying

When I first met Matt Cole I thought that he wasn’t a pilot, and there is some truth in that. He isn’t just a pilot. Matt is the epitome of the spirit that has kept man flying, the love of being aloft so strong that not even a close encounter with death can keep one away from it.
Two pilots in the cockit

Split decision

It can be very helpful to have your copilot handle communications on a tough IFR day. And it can keep him/her in the game when you’re cruising in the sunshine at FL240. But I learned the hard way that it may not be such a hot idea in a VFR traffic pattern.
FlightAware map with weather

A recent trip South

From the perspective of a private pilot who has been flying for over 45 years, things are much easier than they were formerly. This should be no surprise to many of you, but it was enlightening to me. The plan was to fly from my base at White Plains Airport (KHPN) to a grandson’s wedding in Delray Beach.

Not so bienvenido

In the 1960s, while in college, I had the opportunity to occasionally ferry new airplanes from the various airplane factories here in the U.S. to foreign destinations. These trips were sometimes new crop dusters to be delivered to the buyers--farmers in Central or South America.

The Caribou Mountain incident

Legendary Alaskan bush pilot Mort Mason has had plenty of nervous moments in his career. In this article, he shares the story of a mountain landing gone awry, and how even an experienced pilot can learn something new from every flight.

When to ditch training

Years of crew coordination training went out the window on an unremarkable New York-Washington shuttle flight. Just as our 727 lifted off La Guardia’s runway 04 and the number three engine silently died, it was obvious that a deviation from the integrated crew response to the emergency was the best course of action.
DC-3 in flight

From Africa to America in a DC-3

Forty plus years back, this pilot had the opportunity to fly as co-pilot on a ferry trip from Africa to the United States, and it was quite an interesting experience. The mission was to go and get a DC-3 that had been used on a contract for oil exploration in the Sahara Desert. Sounds simple enough but, not so fast.