I was there

First flight – memorable for the wrong reason

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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

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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.

This time, it’s cucumbers from the Bahamas

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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?

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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?

A trip (up) north

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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

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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.

From the ashes: a flight instructor returns to flying

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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.

Split decision

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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.

A recent trip South

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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

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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

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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

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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.

From Africa to America in a DC-3

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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.

My 2013 Sun ‘n Fun adventure

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New author Dennis Long shares his Spring flying adventure, as he flew his light sport aircraft nearly 1900 miles in just over 21 hours–all for $400 in fuel. Ride with him as he visits numerous airports throughout the southeast US and Florida, including a stop at Sun ‘n Fun.

Make a case for your airplane

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We asked the Air Facts community to share with us why they bought the airplane they did and why this was the right choice for them. We heard from William “Pete” Hodges of Spotsylvania, Virginia, who made the case for his 1968 Cherokee PA28-140. Here’s Pete’s case.

The $2,400 pair of sunglasses

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“Hey! You wanna see a $2,400 pair of sunglasses?” The C-17 crewman yelled and waived a pair at me on a trip to Afghanistan. “No!” My official United States Air Force escort screamed. The crewman plugged his pie hole and sulked away, and that’s the last I saw of either the glasses or the crewman.

Forest fires vs. VFR flying

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I read the story where the pilot described an early flight into clouds where he did fine, but his passenger in the rear seat developed vertigo and was a major distraction. It was an interesting twist to the complex world of IFR in personal aircraft and it took me back to an experience I had in the early 80s.

Bahamas flying memories

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As suggested by John Zimmerman, I “flew my logbook” into the 80s and 90s to relive some of my trips to the Bahamas. My wife and daughter and I covered quite a few of the Bahamian Islands before finding the spots that suited us best. Andros, Stella Maris, Cat Cay, San Salvador, Treasure Cay, Bimini, Eleuthera,and Staniel Cay are names I see in my logbook.