Category: Learning to Fly

Wheel Falls Off For Student Cross-Country Solo

This was initially brought to my attention by Tom Podolec Aviation on Twitter who posted about a Piper PA-28 in distress. The student pilot, a 17-year-old woman named Maggie Taraska, had just taken off when the right main gear fell off the aircraft on departure. Piper PA-28 in distress. Reported as the right main gear…

Read more… 14 Sep 18

Fourteen Lessons Every Pilot Must Learn

The posts have been very in-depth lately and I’ve not got the next one quite ready yet. However, I did find this great video by instructor Judy Robus. She’s taken YouTube clips and compiled them into a video lessons on the pitfalls of becoming complacent. It’s twelve minutes long and well worth watching, even if…

Read more… 2 Feb 18

Learning Finesse: Pitch vs Power

Today I leave you with a piece from the archives; an ah hah! moment for me as the relationship between pitch and power on landing really came clear (yes, I’m a slow learner). I wrote this in 2009 but rereading it brought it all back… Flying is hours of boredom punctuated by moments of sheer…

Read more… 24 Jul 15

An Unexpected Primer on Aviation Radio

I’ve been waylaid by an unexpected birthday party! It’s hard to complain about such a lovely thing. So here’s something from the archives: a 2008 post about Air Traffic Service Units in the UK and my native ability to talk too much. I’m on my way to Paris (!!!) but I’ll be back with fresh…

Read more… 6 Mar 15

Fly by Night

I’m back from California (I didn’t win) and still trying to get into the swing of things, let alone sleeping on the right timezone. So for this week, here’s a piece I wrote some years ago. A version of this piece was published in Piper Flyer. Fly by Night Flying feels different in the dark.…

Read more… 30 May 14

State Your Intentions

There are different levels of radio service available to pilots flying in the UK: Air/Ground Radio, Flight Information Service and Air Traffic Control. If you fly into Military Air Traffic Zones, things work somewhat differently. I’ve spent quite some time speaking on the radio and am considered quite experienced. Here are my explanations of the…

Read more… 9 Dec 11

Accident Reports

Alitalia flight 404: The result of a dozen small decisions

Last week, we looked at the key events that led to the Alitalia flight 404 crash. A few points from the previous post: Maintenance replaced both radio receivers in the…

Alitalia Flight 404: "Catch the glide!"

On the 14th of November 1990, Alitalia flight AZ404 crashed into high ground upon approach to Zürich. The accident was investigated by the Federal Aircraft Accidents Inquiry Board in Switzerland…

Demystifying

I am a teapot

A reader contacted me to ask about a missing flight 404; they had heard on a trivia podcast that the original computer error message 404 was based on two flights…

The Legend of the Ghost of Kyiv

On the 25th of February 2022, Plane & Pilot magazine shared a video of the “Ghost of Kyiv” overflying Kyiv in a Ukrainian MiG-29. An unnamed Ukrainian fighter pilot shot…

History

Amazing Aerial View of Edinburgh

When I first saw this image, I assumed it was result of modern image manipulations, maybe even the poster for a film. It was too perfect and too modern to…

The Mount Erebus Disaster

On the 28th of November 1979, a sight-seeing flight to Antartica crashed into Mount Erebus, killing all 257 on board. The Mount Erebus Disaster, as it came to be known,…

Fun Stuff

Funniest Thing You've Heard On the Radio

I’ve been struggling this week and was just panicking that I would not have a post finished in time for you for today when I discovered that Reddit had saved…

A Little Bit of Everything

There’s so much great aviation writing and video out there and I’m always appreciative when people send me fun things; it seems a shame not to share them! So here’s…