Category: Learning to Fly

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

The Reluctant Pilot: Emergency Landings

This is another excerpt from my essays about learning to fly at Velez-Malaga airfield in Axarquía, Spain. The events took place shortly before I did my first solo flight away from the airfield. The cross country navigation exercise is required to get your private pilot’s licence. It is effectively the first time the pilot is…

Read more… 4 Feb 11

Sitting and Waiting

After my first solo, that wondrous moment of suddenly feeling in control of the plane and realising that I could fly, dammit! I kicked into high gear. There was only one week of the course left. Desperate to catch up, I got up earlier and earlier, leaving my seven-year-old son fast asleep for the childminder…

Read more… 17 Dec 10

Accident Reports

Fatal Go Around at Tatarstan Part Two

Last week, we left off as the flight crew of flight TAK363, a Boeing 737-500 inbound to Kazan Airport in Tatarstan, broke off their approach for a go around. The…

Fatal Go Around at Tatarstan

On the 17th of November in 2013, the Boeing 737-500 registered in Bermuda as VQ-BBN departed Kazan Airport for scheduled flight TAK 363 to Moscow’s Domodedovo Airport (the largest airport…

Demystifying

The 1% rule and air disaster avoidance

I asked my friend, Robert Dawson, to help me understand the numbers behind risk assessment and the 1% rule. Robert writes fantastic science fiction and poetry, however I contacted him…

Airplane Pens

This is a bit of a short post today to make up for all the heavy posts recently. Me, I’m enjoying the long weekend and a bit of sunshine… This…

History

Amelia Earhart Captured By Japanese

On Wednesday, the news hit the headlines that a newly discovered photograph could show Amelia Earhart in Japanese custody. The photograph, apparently taken by a US spy in the 1930s,…

Sutlej Missing Over Indian Ocean

On 25 March 1986, three Antonov An-32 transport planes departed Muscat, the capital of Oman, in a staggered formation for the Indian Air Force base at Jagmagar. Initially, the Indian…

Fun Stuff

Maybe an Origin Story

It was a lazy evening in 1980 and I was bored at my dad’s house, when I put on his television and flicked through the 150 channels he had, looking…

This Week's Most Amazing Stories

This has been an amazing week for aviation news with unbelievable stories and videos seemingly coming from all directions. Anna and I have been posting every day to the Fear…