Flying offers some great views – even if you’re not the one flying. In this week’s Friday Photo, Carlos Gonzalez captures an amazing view of scenic Catalina Island, just off the coast of Southern California. As the marine layer covers the Pacific Ocean, the hilly island sticks up out of the mist, like an aircraft carrier in the clouds.
The other day I was cleaning out the drawers in an old dresser and unfolded a green button-down shirt, ruined by having been defaced with a marker and having one tail cut off. Why did I save this thing? I made out some words on the garment that jogged my memory and started my mind to wandering…
I decided to look down and see where I was geographically. When I looked down, I saw a red flare coming up at me. Well that’s a first. I looked again and a second red flare was shot upwards. I began a circling descent and noticed on this logging road, four individuals with their arms outstretched basically making a “T” sign.
A few summers ago, I was climbing out of a little grass airstrip in my Zenith 701 about a mile east of Smithfield, North Carolina, just starting to take in a pretty view of the Neuse River basin below, mostly thick forest with a dark river winding slowly through it, when the engine sputtered a few times (something like sputter, sputter, sput, sput, sput) and then stopped. Just plain quit.
High wing airplanes make for great picture frames. In this Friday Photo, the sun sets over the Olympic Mountains as Steve Phoenix cruises along in his Piper Pacer. The sun is framed between the struts, while the light bounces off the water of Puget Sound below. Peaceful, beautiful, and exactly what makes flying so rewarding.
Think about the excited guest or family member about to have that first airplane and/or glider flight. Most of the people who visit our glider field can fall into a few different categories, and each category has different backgrounds and expectations.
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.
It has been said that the last fighter pilot has been born. While time will answer that projection, this story is about the human element in dogfighting: the desire that pilots with skill and confidence have to test themselves against others with the same. In this epic experience, two of the latest fighters of the day meet relics of a bygone era.
Passing through the CTR of Schiphol, one of the busiest airports in Europe, is a granted privilege for private pilots who are familiair with the CTR of EHAM. Preparation is key – knowing which runways are in use, wind direction, etc. – so that controllers can give direct commands which are followed promptly.
There will be a debate about flying at night in single-engine airplanes for as long as there are single-engine airplanes and it gets dark every night. That is a given. Recently the son of an old friend emailed and asked me what I thought about flying singles at night. My stock answer to pilots who express concern about this is simple: If you are not comfortable with it, don’t do it.
The higher incidence of accidents in E-AB aircraft is just as logical as the fact that the fatal accident rate in private (general) aviation is almost infinitely higher than it is in airline flying. When more freedom is granted by reducing regulations and eliminating stifling procedures then the risk goes up.
In this off-again on-again series I have touched on awareness, intelligence and coordination. Those are all important. Being realistic also sounds like part of a plan for flying. The first thing that comes to mind is the extremely tired old saw about knowing your (or your airplane’s) limitations. In fact, that has been said with evangelical zeal so many times that, with this mention, I am going to leave it behind.