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

An Administrative Failure: The Yak-52 Part 2

Last week I posted A Can Of Worms: The Yak-52 Qualitative Training Exercise in which a test pilot instructor lost his life during a standard training exercise. To recap, a…

A Can Of Worms: The Yak-52 Qualitative Training Exercise

There’s a lot to this, so I’ve split the analysis up into two parts. This week we’ll look at the details of the crash and next week I’ll focus on…

Demystifying

Crash in the Desert (Controlled Impact Demonstration)

This post started, as so many of them do, with a seemingly unbelieveable photograph with no attribution information. It didn’t take long to find a Reddit thread discussing the photograph…

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…

History

Goddamned Cat

Sometimes the best stories are the ones that aren’t so famous, where the race was not won and the record was not broken. This is such a story. It’s the…

The Story of the Avro Lancaster LM650 KM-T

I became interested in this story last year, when a reader named Niall left a comment about this rather odd item for sale on Ebay: What was the story of…

Fun Stuff

My Favourite Posts from 2006 to 2017

This week, while I recover from my Holiday Food Coma, I want to try something a little different. I’ve collected my favourite posts from the past – ones that will…

Parachute deployed in flat spin at 1,000 feet

This video was posted to a number of aviation forums last week and it’s easy to see why. I literally watched it three times in a row on the spot…