Never Again

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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.

Never Again: Red carpet treatment

Article | Nov 02, 2009

A few years ago, I was a pilot working for the aircraft sales division of a large FBO and maintenance chain. I was scheduled to complete an aircraft delivery and provide some flight instruction to a new aircraft owner when my employer asked if I would perform a test flight in a Beechcraft Baron, which had recently had new avionics installed, before I headed out the next day on the aircraft delivery.

My personal "Never Agains"

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2009

As a regular reader of AOPA Pilot, the first thing I usually turn to is the “Never Again” column. I read it, and usually think something along the lines of “that poor sap” or “what the heck was that guy thinking?” The fact that I am sitting in a glass house with no clothes on constantly escapes me.

Never Again: Reluctant passenger

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2009

I had said no before, not only to the offer for a ride in this aircraft, but many others as well. My standing rule is not to fly in any airplane, or with any pilot, that I don’t know well.

Never Again: Dry tanks

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2009

It was a sunny and exceptionally pleasant Saturday morning in late July, and I planned to fly from Memphis to Savannah, Tennessee, to participate in an auction. A 4,000-square-foot Victorian home was for sale along with 150 acres of rolling hills and wooded land overlooking the Tennessee River.

Never Again: Bad Call

Article | Aug 03, 2009

I referee girls’ volleyball tournaments, some of which are out of town, and that gives me a great excuse to fly my Van’s RV–6A. I live in Portland, Oregon, and one of the tournaments I enjoy flying to is the Pacific Northwest Qualifier (PNQ) in Spokane, Washington.

Never Again Online: Land, or die trying

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2009

I had always considered myself a safe and conscientious pilot. I read the safety articles, accident reports, analyses of accidents, and have even had articles on aviation safety published in a magazine devoted to the topic.

Never Again: Landing on the strip

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2009

“Hey Jim,” the phone call from a good friend and coworker began. “How about we check out the dry lake bed today?” My friend was an accomplished Coast Guard navigator and avionics technician.

Never Again: Negative transfer

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2009

It sometimes baffles me how the FAA comes up with a vocabulary all its own. Negative transfer is a term that has been coined by the FAA to describe how pilots who fly various aircraft may apply skills and natural reactions that are appropriate for one category of aircraft but can be disastrous when applied to a different type aircraft.

Never Again: Windsock warning

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2009

I’ve been flying more than 20 years, increasing my flying as my business has grown. I bought my first airplane, a Piper Turbo Saratoga, in 2006, got my instrument rating in it, and flew it 300 hours in one year for business and training.

Never Again: Glider updraft

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2009

Many pilots have had an experience in their past that they are amazed they survived. And the added perspective that years of hard-won experience and knowledge bring can make our survival from those earlier mistakes and misadventures seem all the more incredible.

Never Again: Finding FOD

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2009

I was scheduled to fly an aerobatic demonstration at a local airport the next day. I fly a rainbow-colored Extra 300L.

Never Again: A snap and smoke

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2009

I was in California for business in the early 1990s and decided to fly from Palo Alto to Lake Tahoe with a coworker for the night. I had checked out in a well-equipped Piper Archer on a previous trip and had some mountain flying instruction.

Never Again: Dog Gone

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2009

“When you get home,” my wife told me over the phone, “you’re going to have to get rid of this dog.” I had been attending an airshow in Ohio, and was about to fly home to Maryland as a passenger in a friend’s Beechcraft Baron. I mulled over my wife’s words all the way.

Never Again: Glider Passenger

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2008

We all enjoy sharing our flying obsession, and usually those flights in which we introduce aviation to friends or family members go smoothly because we make extra efforts to ensure that our guests have comfortable, pleasurable flying experiences. But even the best-laid plans can go awry.

Never Again: Night over the Everglades

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2008

I’m the leader of a band called the “Caribbean Chillers,” and we had a performance scheduled in Key West, Florida. Instead of driving 14 hours round-trip, I decided to rent a Cessna 172SP in Leesburg, Florida, and fly with a couple other band members to Marathon, Florida.

Never Again: Hardheaded pilot

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2008

Even though the single-seat Pitts biplane has a tiny cockpit and not much headroom, I make it a point to wear a helmet and parachute whenever I fly one. I take some ribbing from my friends who question my hardheadedness.

Never Again: Dark night in Michigan

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2008

The weekend had been wonderful: I was able to visit family and friends and still make it back to work on Monday morning. At least that was the plan.

Never Again: Bonanza icing encounter

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2008

It was a beautiful October day with nice weather forecast throughout California. I planned on flying my Beechcraft A36 Bonanza from Bakersfield to Reno, Nevada, to attend a veterinary conference.

Never Again: Nowhere to land

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2008

Preflight planning the night before showed it would be like so many other central Texas morning flights; everything looks good as long as you get up before the morning fog rolls in. The trip was from Taylor, just north of Austin to Kendall-Tamiami Regional Airport, which is west of Miami, Florida.

Never Again: Always check for TFRs

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2008

It was a beautiful summer day with a few cumulus clouds and clear weather forecast for the next fortnight—conditions highly unusual for New England. A warm breeze blew across the tarmac as I rolled my Extra 300L out of the hangar for a cross-country flight out of Bedford, Massachusetts.

Never Again: Fuel shower

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2008

We’ve all read accounts of World War I pilots trapped in burning aircraft. Their only options were to ride it down and burn up in the process, jump without a parachute, or shoot themselves.

Never Again: Under pressure

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2008

My mission was to pick up a job candidate and his wife and bring them back to Des Moines, Iowa, in our company’s Cessna 340 twin. The trip was to be a first-class experience to entice him to join our company.

Never Again: I lived through a graveyard spiral

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2008

Before you read this account, you should understand that the author is definitely not a daredevil, tomorrow-be-dammed, reckless flyer. Trained by an ex-Navy instructor, and skilled in many phases of VFR weather, I have always conscientiously maintained what I believed was a wide margin of safety in all aspects of flying.

Never Again: Engine seizure

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2008

This would be a quick out and back business trip in the 1989 Piper Malibu Mirage to Piggott, a small farming community in northeast Arkansas. The overcast was layered between 2,000 to 3,000 feet over most of Northeast Texas and Arkansas.

Never Again: Wild ride

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2008

The day dawned bright and clear, with beautiful Arizona desert winter sunshine and a brisk breeze. I had stopped for the night in Yuma, Arizona, on my way back to Van Nuys, California.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2007

Last Christmas, my family held a party in Salt Lake City. I decided to fly up from my home in southern California and return two days later.

Never Again

Article | Nov 01, 2007

I headed off to Hawkins Field, in Jackson, Mississippi, where I worked flying Beech 18s and Beech Barons hauling everything from crickets to people to UPS cargo to U.S. Mail and sometimes checks.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2007

I have been involved with SCORE International Off-Road Racing for as long as I have been a private pilot. As a race official for the Tecate SCORE Baja 1,000 off-road race I was at the starting line in Ensenada, Mexico, and since my duties included the timing and scoring of the event it was imperative that my staff and I reached the finish line in La Paz, Mexico, before the first racers did.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2007

I had flown my Avid Flyer experimental aircraft, and my friend had flown his Hurricane experimental ultralight aircraft, to Perris Valley Airport located in Perris, California. After landing on the ultralight flying club's dirt strip, which parallels the airport's hard-surface runway, we enjoyed breakfast at the airport restaurant.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2007

I was scheduled to make a delivery flight of a late model Cessna Skylane. The buyer would come to Wichita to pick up the airplane, and I was to accompany him home to Orange County, California, and then give him and his partner a checkout in the airplane.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2007

I was flying a three-year-old Cessna 172SP to check out a student, who had earned his private pilot certificate just three weeks earlier. We flew to the practice area and did the usual air work, including slow flight, steep turns, and stalls.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2007

My friend Jim and his wife, Margo, were going to Hawaii and asked if I would take their two kids to Southern California to stay with relatives while they were gone. I'd use any excuse to fly my Cessna 172 Skyhawk so I agreed to their request.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2007

The day dawned to bright blue skies, low temperatures, and a light wind. A great day for a trip to Augusta, Georgia, for a Masters golf tournament practice round, or so I thought.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2007

It was a cool, spring desert morning at Casa Grande Municipal Airport, a nontowered field located approximately 50 nm south of Phoenix. I was about to embark on the last leg of my first cross-country flight in my newly purchased 1973 Beechcraft Baron.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2007

I kissed my wife on the way out the door. This was going to be a big day for me.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2007

In February 1974, I was assigned to ferry an Aero Commander Model 520 from Missouri to Ohio. Normally I would have jumped at the chance to build flying time, but on this occasion I was hesitant.

Never Again Online: Almost gone with the wind

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2007

I learn something new almost every time I fly, even if I set out to learn something else altogether. I was taking a 10-day, continuous, written and practical IFR training course in Manhattan, Kansas, in my Mooney M20C.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2007

On a cold February morning, 57 years ago, I began a 75-mile VFR flight from Ithaca to Rochester, New York, where I had to attend a business meeting. I had rented a Piper PA-12 Super Cruiser — a three-place tailwheel airplane configured with a single pilot seat in front of two passenger seats.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2006

I am an aircraft-fueling engineer for a military and civilian fuel farm manufacturer and regularly use my Cessna P210N on business trips. This time I had arranged a three-day back-to-back schedule in the 210.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2006

Descending on final, the nose of our Cessna 152 was pointed 30 degrees to the left of the runway. Moderate turbulence bumped us from side to side.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2006

Close friends for 30 years, John and I had flown together a few times in my Beechcraft A36 Bonanza. We both had busy medical practices so we decided to fly to South Dakota to participate in a pheasant hunt rather than drive the distance and take the additional time away from work.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2006

I was attending a private college in the San Diego area working toward my instrument rating. One of my friends had just passed his private pilot checkride.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2006

I grabbed a Cessna Turbo 210 from the flight line and religiously preflighted it for a planned overnight trip from Cessna Aircraft Field in Wichita to Hilton Head, South Carolina. I was scheduled to give a speech about the future of general aviation and the role Cessna would play in it.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2006

"If you hurry, I think you can make it." Those were the last words from the briefer at the Raleigh Flight Service Station (FSS). We were talking about a little cell that popped up just off the North Carolina coast, and I agreed it should present no problems.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2006

It had been a rush job, from the moment our chief flight instructor asked me to deliver documents to a company aircraft located at another airport, to the last-minute air traffic control (ATC) request that I land long on the huge Runway 1R at Washington Dulles International Airport. Frankly, I was in over my head, and was about to be brutally reminded of it.