Tag Archives: flying

And I Thought My Solo Was Exciting

Took me 2.5 hours to get down with a strong crosswind. Or rather, get down and stay down.

Here’s a 17 year old girl on her solo who was informed her wheel fell off her Piper Warrior.

Listen to the audio with ATC though the links.

Stressed, but kept her head and resumed flying a week later.

Good on her.

I’ll bet there are some interesting stories on solos. Some funny.

H/T to Comjam.

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Fate and Mystery

As I have mentioned from time to time, I am fascinated by history. Not only how the past made us as we are, but how many seemingly small and inconsequential events can have profound consequences.

I am currently reading a book by a favorite author, Erik Larson, on Winston Churchill during the time of the Blitz.

It’s his contention that a German navigator’s error, in mistakenly jettisoning their bombs over London rather than a country field during inclement weather, led to Hiroshima.

Personally I think that may be a bridge too far, for reasons that I outlined here.

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Filed under Flying, History, Hollywood

A Simple System with Profound Consequences

Among the many programs I have been watching on Amazon Prime and Netflix is a short series on airliner crashes over the years, with detailed explanations as to the causes. Actually in checking imdb, there have been many seasons but Amazon has just the first.

The accident investigators are interviewed, the controllers, and sometimes the passengers. I’ve seen 3 or 4 episodes, and it has been illuminating, not only for the causes but the pressures from the airline industry (which is understandable, given their investments). I’m thinking of the episode detailing the United Airlines 747, flight 811,  that had the cargo hold door explode from pressure over the Pacific.

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Filed under Aeronautical Engineering, Flying

Into Thin Air

Yesterday, some of us in the F/B group were reading Lex’s post on hypoxia. It reminded me of a time in the early 80s as a (then) active pilot with the massive experience of 200 hours, I was given the opportunity by the FAA to attend the Navy’s physiological course at (then) NAS Miramar. It was probably the same place Lex went to a few years later.

That day remains etched in my mind for all that I learned. As I recall all those years ago, it was comprised of 2 parts – the causes of vertigo and hypoxia, which is the body’s reaction to the thinning air at altitude.

Both can be insidious and sneak up on you,  and you aren’t even aware of it. Both can kill you if you are unaware of their effects.

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What Really Brought Down the Boeing 737 Max

This article is a long read and in case you haven’t seen it, worthwhile if you really want to know what brought these down.

The Cliff Notes version?

“Malfunctions caused two deadly crashes. But an industry that puts unprepared pilots in the cockpit is just as guilty.” 

This was sent to me by someone I’ve known a long time, a retired Air Force test pilot. He believes that this problem is only going to get worse, and chooses to fly on only a few airlines.

I have a good friend who bought his dream car a few weeks ago – and has discovered that it is so heavily invested in electronics and “driver aids” – he is starting to hate it. He calls his car “the beast“.

He almost rear-ended someone thinking his cruise control – with a forward radar that keeps the distance of the car ahead of you – was on.

Point is with that car and this issue, when we depend too much on electronic aids – use them as a crutch instead of an assist – we can get into trouble when the electronics fails.

As an aside, this author knows flying. In addition to his own credentials, his father wrote the classic book on piloting.

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Filed under Airplanes, Flying

Breaking the wall

Courtesy of parrothead Jeff from the Facebook page today:

Sixty years ago today on September 8, 1954, NACA test pilot Scott Crossfield made the first powerless “deadstick” landing of an F-100. Crossfield explains the event in his 1960 book, “Always Another Dawn, The Story Of A Rocket Test Pilot.”

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Paul Allen’s Aviation Museum

Paul Allen's Aviation Museum

My idea of traveling Nirvana – whether I am going halfway around the world or just jumping in the car – is to just go with no specific daily destinations in mind. I don’t like things to be too structured.

Last week I had  5 days I could get away – responsibilities keep me around home most of the time these days – so I just got in the car and went – for 2,000 miles.  Ended up going up the OR coast – to Everett WA (just north of Seattle), back down to “hopefully” see Crater Lake and visit an aunt and cousin I hadn’t seen in decades.

The downside of traveling in this manner is that sometimes there isn’t a hotel room to be found. Last year there was a snowstorm about this time of year and while I was at Crater Lake, it was nowhere to be seen. This year the lake was fine with no place to stay.

Oh well.

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Filed under Flying, History, Travel

The “Why” of Why Flying Is So Forfilling

Over the years, I have counted many interesting friends all from my car club. Among those was a past squadron commander of Beale AFB’s famous SR-71 squadron. I can’t forget a man who was a staff psychologist for the California Dept of Corrections who, upon reading my articles in the club newsletter, found me to be a “fascinating study”. Don’t know how much I wish to delve into that observation 😉

There was a man who in his latter career of the Air Force was an accident investigator.

I guess my club was heavy in aviation people. Among those members is a man that also has an impressive aviation resume who retired as a Boeing 777 Captain. He is very well versed in all things aviation.

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Only Lex knows…

If the heroine of SWA 1380, Tammie Jo Shults, is the same female naval aviator in Lex’s story.

I have come to realize that there is a lot of synchronicity in the world, of which only a small part is known to us.

In both cases, they were among the first female naval aviators in an FA-18…

While Tammie wasn’t allowed in combat, she was good enough to fly in an aggressor squadron.

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Filed under Carroll "Lex" LeFon, Carroll LeFon, Flying, Heroes Among Us

Cool As A Cucumber


Tammie Jo Shults, for taking her wounded Southwest 737 with a shredded engine safely back. She was apparently one of the first female FA-18 drivers. She gets the plane back safely on the ground; then goes into the cabin to talk with each of the passengers.

Listen to her talk with ATC – you’d think it was just another normal flight.


H/T to xbradtc

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Filed under Flying, Heroes Among Us