international

Flying 400 miles to find a hotel room in the Caribbean

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There was no hotel space for Christmas Eve at the Punta Cana, Dominican Republic hotel where we were staying. Rather than change hotels, we decided to fly to the French island of Guadeloupe instead. Weather was not a factor, the distance was only about 400 nautical miles, and we had fuel for 850 so it just seemed like the thing to do.

Friday Photo: Seaplane in Australia

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This week’s Friday Photo raises the bar for $100 hamburger missions. Nic Fabert sent in this picture of a Cessna Caravan on floats, beached in a cove in Australia. His mission was simple: lunch on a beach. But it’s enough to make any pilot dream of the ultimate getaway.

Lucky or good? Flying through Turkey and Iran in 1977

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My brother Hugh and I were in the process of flying a Beech Baron from Calgary in Canada to New Zealand the long way. It had been a bad start to the day and the journey into town the previous evening had been hair-raising. Enroute to Ankara, we had encountered a military roadblock and had been forced out of our taxi at bayonet point by some very uptight soldiers.

A really quick turn: a DC-8 evacuation from Uganda

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There was some apprehension as we approached the terminal as we could see a lot of military personnel and when we parked, I left the No. 3 engine running until I was assured of an airstart as we had no APU on DC-8 aircraft. I opened the forward door to be met by a six-foot Ugandan soldier holding a rifle at me.

Friday Photo: Mooney over Mexico

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The second installment in our Friday Photo weekend series comes from Fernando Gonzalez-Fisher, who took a photo of the cloud-covered mountains of Monterrey, Mexico, from his Mooney M20M. The speed brakes are retracted and the airplane seems to be racing along, but the rugged mountains below are a reminder that all flights must eventually end.

Friday Photo: Table Rock, South Africa

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You won’t have to wait another week for your next dose of Friday Photo. It was one year ago this month that Air Facts launched this popular weekly feature with the impetus of friends sending us photos of their flights home from Oshkosh. Thanks to all the readers who have submitted photos all year long. Today through Sunday, we’ll be posting a whole bunch of Friday photos, so stop by Air Facts often to see the latest.

Using my Cessna to support earthquake victims in Ecuador

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An earthquake struck Ecuador on April 16, with catastrophic consequences for the province of Manabi. On April 19, I received a call from the owner of the FBO where I keep my Cessna. He had organized at the hangar a collection center for food, water, tents and medicine, and was asking for help to transport by airplane the collected goods and doctors to the quake zone, as the roads were badly damaged.

Friday Photo: Mt. Cook in New Zealand

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Mt. Cook is one of the most beautiful places on earth and a must-fly place for every pilot. What an adventure flying through the valleys of this mesmerizing scenery of glades, glaciers, fjords, off shore islands and mountains. Combine beautiful scenery and wonderfully warm, friendly, people and you have my most memorable flight experience in 39 years.

Friday Photo: a trip over the Alps

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This week’s Friday Photo comes from French pilot Georges Casanova, who took this beautiful shot while crossing the Alps in a Pipistrel motor glider. The tallest peak in the Alps, Mont Blanc, towers over the building clouds in the valley. A memorable sight for made so much more impressive when seen from the cockpit of a small airplane.

Helicopter flying in the jungle – lessons learned

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Piloting an aircraft requires certain skills. It also requires certain amounts of discipline, situational and self-awareness. Piloting a helicopter requires even more of each of them, mostly because a rotary wing aircraft is flying in an unstable manner, as opposed to the stable flight characteristics of most civil airplanes.

Friday Photo: blue Bahamas water

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The first time I flew to the Bahamas was in the spring of 1974 in a 1952 Piper TriPacer. On this flight, we’re in our Aerostar following the magenta line – precisely knowing our position, ground speed, ETA, etc. The technology may have changed, but the beauty of the islands has not.

Dead reckon: Georgia to Ecuador in a crop duster

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When a pilot thinks about some of the flights he flew during the early years of a piloting career, one can’t help thinking, “What was I thinking back then?” The event I am referring to took place in February 1970, when I flew a new crop duster from the factory in Georgia to the buyer, a farmer in Ecuador.

General aviation in Europe is both inspiring and frightening

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For a crass American, AERO is a very civilized show, held in a beautiful convention center with great coffee and lively beer gardens. Oshkosh this isn’t. Beyond these mundane differences, though, the show offers a fascinating lesson for US pilots. If all you’ve heard is how awful things are for private pilots in Europe, let me offer a more complete – although not entirely rosy – portrait.

My first real emergency

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Despite all the times I’ve practised these things, both in the aircraft and the simulator, you know at the back of your mind that it’s not real, and that if things do not work out as planned, you can always open the throttle and go around. Only when it’s the real thing do you know whether you can actually handle it or not.

Friday Photo: Toronto skyline aglow

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Toronto, Canada has a unique skyline, with the sprawling city spread along the coast of Lake Ontario, and the massive CN Tower looming over the island airport. Pilot Mark Nye captured the beauty of this city in a stunning nighttime flight in his Cessna 185. Here’s a photo you’ll want to view full size.

Friday Photo: glacier in France

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A ski vacation turned into much more for Hrag Sarkissian. In this week’s Friday Photo, he shares a the postcard view he saw when he touched down on La Grande Motte Glacier in France. The unique runway was a result of a short ski-flying checkout from an “altiport.”

Friday Photo: runway in Sweden

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This week’s Friday Photo has an international flavor. Dmitrij Karpenko snapped this photo of Vaesteras airport, outside Stockholm, from his Glasair Sportsman just before turning final. The sun is lighting up the water in the distance, while another airplane prepares to land.