Never Again

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Never Again: No lights, no alternate

Article | May 01, 2010

The final leg of the wintertime trip to the West Coast was supposed to be easy. The AOPA Let’s Go Flying SR22 was on its way to California, where it would be awarded to the winner of the 2009 AOPA Sweepstakes.

Never Again: Playing through

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2010

Gripping the instrument panel, my friend looked over at me and said, “I guess we’re playing through!” My Piper Cherokee 180 roared over a golf green about 10 feet above the grass as four very surprised golfers and a caddy instinctively ducked. At the moment, I was thankful that we were off the ground at all.

Never Again Online: Sand landing

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2010

Many blunders have a root cause in a previous experience in which the outcome was good, and questionable practices come to seem normal and totally acceptable. A perfectly fine beach landing in the past, led this pilot to try it again. Touching down, the aircraft decelerated in a hurry, the nosewheel dug into the soft sand, and the airplane came to a stop sudden stop under full power...

Never Again: Just land

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2010

A warm summer night and a vacant but familiar airport seemed perfect for practicing takeoffs and landings. I was a new private pilot on that long-ago night, and I was night current, too.

Never Again Online: VFR Limbo

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2010

With the sun shining on all sides and no other apparent obstacles, I called the field in sight and asked to be worked into the sequence. The controller's response was the first clue to an up-coming mistake, and my first break in the "error chain." ...

Never Again: Control failure

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2010

I planned to fly my Cessna 185 to a remote airstrip on the Middle Fork of the Salmon River in Idaho for a day of deer hunting. The trip from my home base in Caldwell, Idaho, in October 2008 wasn’t very far—but it required traversing some of the most rugged and spectacular wilderness in the United States.

Never Again: Camping trip

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2010

I flew to Saranac Lake, New York, for an August canoe camping trip with my kids. I fly a 2007 Cessna 182T equipped with a Garmin G1000 cockpit.

Never Again Online: Ashes in the airplane

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2010

The worst flight I ever made was an attempt to do a favor for a friend. My friend’s grandfather had recently passed away, and his family thought spreading his ashes over his ranch in Oklahoma would be a memorable and fitting tribute. I had been flying for almost 20 years and was honored to be able to fulfill this simple request. I turned the jar sideways and pushed the open end into the open window, hoping the slipstream would carry the ashes away. The slipstream took hold all right, but not in the way I intended...

Never Again: Heart attack aloft

Article | Dec 08, 2009

It was a great day to fly in the Midwest with low humidity, gentle winds, and an infinite sky. My older brother and I lived in Ohio, and I was planning to pick him up in Greenwood, Indiana, an hour away by Cessna 172 Skyhawk, and fly him home.

Never Again Online: Dark instrument panel

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2009

On a clear winter day, I departed Burlington, N.C., for Jackson County Airport at the western edge of the state for a visit with my fiancée. I had just reached cruising altitude at 6,500 feet, established flight following with Greensboro Approach and engaged the autopilot for what I thought would be a smooth, comfortable, VFR flight.