Posts

Robin crash scene

A relaxing Saturday becomes a mayday

I started my descent from 1500 feet to 1000 feet. Everything checked good. Wait a minute, why is the prop slowing down? Fuel gauge says there is fuel. Electric fuel pump is on. RPM is at the bottom of the green arc and falling. Got big problems!

Friday Photo: Mt. Cook in New Zealand

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

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.
Papua mountains from air

Helicopter flying in the jungle – lessons learned

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

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.
Quail Commander

Dead reckon: Georgia to Ecuador in a crop duster

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.
Aero Friedrichshafen show

General aviation in Europe is both inspiring and frightening

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.
Diamond DA-40

My first real emergency

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.
Vickers Viscount

The little Viscount that coulda, woulda, shoulda – but didn’t?

When we approached the button, we saw the visibility had dropped to ¼ mile in S+ and, as we rolled onto the runway heading, there appeared to be half an inch of wet snow on the surface. The F/O was doing the flying and just after V1 he shouted out, “Jim she won’t fly.”

Friday Photo: Toronto skyline aglow

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

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

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.
Baron

Cutting corners as a freight pilot – and regretting it

Forcing myself to stay calm, I faced the embarrassing possibility that a wheels-up landing might be the only way out. I was angry with myself for being such an idiot because failure to secure the freight was not only a clear breach of the regulations, but worse still, an example of poor airmanship. I vowed that never again would I be pressured into potentially dangerous situations by fears of job security.

Friday photo: twilight over Rotterdam

This week's stunning cockpit photo comes from pilot and professional photographer Gerhard van Roon, who snapped this beautiful shot of The Netherlands' second-largest city. The combination of twilight, tall buildings and calm water make for an unforgettable view.
Reiner by 707 in China

Flying an old Boeing to China for Christmas

Ask airline pilots where they want to be during the Christmas to New Year holidays and most say… home with family and friends! In December 1982, we split the difference; being with wives and kids, but on a 707 odyssey to Tianjin, China, celebrating Christmas Eve in a frigid airport dining room with the leaders of China’s airline, CAAC.

Friday Photo: Toronto at night

In our latest weekly photo entry, Dean Smith shares this picture of Canada's largest city, just after the sun had set. The tall buildings are lit up, and go right to the shores of Lake Ontario. It's all visible, even the island airport, from Dean's 206 at 10,000 ft.
Cuba map

Will the Cuban Skyway come to life once again?

Not too long after the birth of aviation itself, a surging community was forming in Cuba. It was a community that dominated the tropical skies. And that congregated at airstrips scattered amongst the sugarcane and tobacco fields. Can it come back?

Friday Photo: Swiss Alps rise above the fog

Swiss pilot Tobias Goller says "Moments like this always make it clear to me that I'm very fortunate in so many ways... Everyone has his one big love story. I do have three: My wife, my daughter - and being able to fly. All the sorrows you may have on the ground are forgotten once airborne."
Sabre hard left turn

Losing a wingman: the price we pay

Being a fighter pilot is not necessarily just a fun game; it is demanding, always serious, sometimes dangerous and particularly for when you deploy with hot guns and missiles – with no clothes in the ammo bins – just 30 mm canon ammunition as we did a very short time later… and went ready for war.
Boeing 727 Pan Am

Troublesome trips over the pond – North Atlantic crossings the old fashioned way

I was headed to Pan Am’s flight dispatch center in Hangar 14, grateful for the quick ride in from Jersey because we had a long day - and night - ahead. The year was 1989, and I was picking up dispatch papers for a 4pm 727 ferry flight to Frankfurt with a fuel stop in Keflavik.