Proficient Pilot

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Proficient pilot: Not a way to go

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2013

A sad aspect of having a lengthy career in aviation is that the list of people one knows who have perished in aircraft accidents grows longer with the passage of time.

Proficient Pilot: Speak up!

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2013

On December 28, 1978, United Airlines Flight 173, a McDonnell Douglas DC–8-61 with 189 souls on board, was approaching Oregon’s Portland International Airport.

Proficient Pilot Automation dependency

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2013

Most of us have heard about automation dependency.

Proficient Pilot: Interruption of routine

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2013

Prior to taking off from the dirt “airstrip” serving the Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa, the manager there had requested that I treat the guests to a low pass over the lodge, which was nestled in a ravine near the departure end of the runway. Not one to pass up such an invitation, I enthusiastically agreed.

Proficient Pilot: Another nail in the coffin

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2013

Thirty-two years ago I wrote a feature article titled, "Death of an Airport" (August 1981 "AOPA Pilot"). It described how the city council of Santa Monica, California, had been conducting a war of attrition against aviation users in an unveiled attempt to close one of the oldest airports in the country.

Proficient Pilot: Reflections, 1963-2013

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2013

My first magazine article, “Why Not Really Learn to Navigate,” appeared in these pages exactly 50 years ago (June 1963).

Proficient Pilot: Time to be true?

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2013

When I used to fly TWA’s polar routes in Boeing 707s between the U.S. West Coast and northern Europe, we often passed close to the magnetic north pole.

Proficient Pilot: Airmanship

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2013

Safe, legal and comfortable

Proficient Pilot: Playing favorites

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2013

I've never met an airplane I didn't like

Proficient Pilot: True confessions

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2012

Up, up, and away in a beautiful balloon.

Proficient Pilot: J–3 heresy

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2012

He's picking the Champ over the Cub!

Proficient Pilot: There is no excuse

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2012

Fuel mismanagement shouldn't be a gotcha.

Proficient Pilot: Look, Ma, no elevator!

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2012

When primary flight controls become a problem.

Proficient Pilot: Look, Ma, no rudder!

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2012

On one fine day in the mid-1950s, a pilot was departing Santa Monica, California, in a Model 18 Twin Beech that had just been returned to service after extensive maintenance.

Proficient Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2012

While attending (and speaking at) this year's convention of the Soaring Society of America in Reno, Nevada, a frequent topic of conversation related to the state of soaring.

Topics Pilots

Proficient Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2012

A friend recently told me that her chapter of The Ninety-Nines was planning a visit to SoCal Approach, the FAA's air traffic control facility near San Diego that provides approach and departure control service for much of Southern California.

Proficient Pilot

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2012

Last December I mentioned that some airplanes, especially Beech Bonanzas, threaten to enter an over-the-top spin when stalled with full power and flaps extended. This is why, I continued, Beech does not suggest using flaps for takeoff.

Proficient Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2012

Last October I announced an essay contest for young men and women between the ages of 16 and 21 ("Proficient Pilot: It's Payback Time," October 2011 AOPA Pilot).

Proficient Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2012

The expression "behind the curve" apparently has to do with being on the left side of the so-called bell curve, the type of curve that many teachers use to issue grades. Being behind the curve also refers to something or someone unable to keep up with the norm.

Proficient Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2012

Whenever receiving my new copy of "Plane and Pilot", I almost always flip first to the last page of the magazine for my visit with Budd Davisson, one of my favorite aviation writers (and a regular contributor to "Flight Training" magazine).

Proficient Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2012

When I was preparing for my private pilot "rating" in 1955, the night experience required by the Civil Air Regulations (CARs) consisted only of 10 takeoffs and landings. A cross-country flight at night was not required then as it is now.

Proficient Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2011

No one likes to admit failure, and I'm certainly not an exception to the rule. One misstep I dislike mentioning is when I failed the flight test for my flight instructor certificate in 1956 when I was 18 years old. I was in the rear seat of the Aeronca 7AC Champion and looking forward at the back of the examiner's head as I completed the 720-degree steep turn.

Proficient Pilot

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2011

The old Piper Apache was anything but a muscle machine. Its pair of 150-horsepower four-bangers could barely lift it into the sky. Yet there I was pointing down Oakland, California's longest runway with a full load of fuel. And I mean full. In addition to burgeoning wing and auxiliary tanks, the cabin was stuffed with a humongous ferry tank also filled to capacity.