Category: Learning to Fly –  Page 2

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

Pushing Past the Fear: First Solo

Although I’ve never had an issue with flying or even heights, I found myself terrified of the plane. I was deeply afraid of being in control … or specifically of losing control of the aircraft and plunging to my death. Fortunately, my instructor and my partner were both very patient and their support was unwavering.…

Read more… 12 Nov 10

In the Cockpit

I have been collecting my essays, articles and blog-posts into a single volume to see if it would read well as a book. This is part of the introduction: how I ended up studying for my Private Pilot’s Licence out of a grudge rather than actual interest. It didn’t take long before I was hooked!…

Read more… 8 Oct 10

The Reluctant Pilot

I have been collecting my essays, articles and blog-posts into a single volume to see if it would read well as a book. This is the introduction: how I ended up studying for my Private Pilot’s Licence out of a grudge rather than actual interest. It didn’t take long before I was hooked! The next…

Read more… 10 Sep 10

“You don’t need a real licence”

I have been collecting my essays, articles and blog-posts into a single volume to see if it would read well as a book. This is the introduction: how I ended up studying for my Private Pilot’s Licence out of a grudge rather than actual interest. It didn’t take long before I was hooked! “You don’t…

Read more… 20 Aug 10

Accident Reports

Fatal Seaplane Crash at Oshkosh

The flight crew is often the last safety net when things go wrong, making their failures an easy target for us to point at. After all, if the pilot can…

Never Just One Thing: Air Midwest flight 5481 part 2

Last week, we looked at the weight and balance of Air Midwest 5481, which had been underestimated for a number of different reasons. However, although the aircraft was overweight and…

Demystifying

Maintaining the Stores

We don’t often talk about parked aircraft because it is not very common for them to be involved in crashes. However, one of the side-effects of these pandemic times is…

How Many Successful Ditchings of Commercial Airliners?

When I was learning to fly, I remember someone in the pilots’ bar insisting that all that talk about life jackets under your seat was a waste of time; if…

History

The Last Known Whereabouts of the White Bird

The disappearance of L’Oiseau Blanc in 1927 is one of the enduring mysteries of aviation history. The pilots eventually achieved their goal of changing aviation history, but certainly not in…

The History Listen

I was on the radio on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, in a show called The History Listen. They asked me to tell them about a famous story in Australian and…

Fun Stuff

The Tetris Challenge

When the Kantonspolizei Zürich (the police department of the Swiss canton of Zurich) posted a photograph on Facebook showing the contents of a standard patrol car, they had no idea…

The History Listen

I was on the radio on the Australian Broadcasting Corporation, in a show called The History Listen. They asked me to tell them about a famous story in Australian and…