Seconds after rotation, the airplane has a mind of its own: It climbs; it descends; the controls seem all wrong. You get a moment of stability and have to decide what’s worse: Turning away from airlines approaching O’Hare—and risking renewed loss of control—or busting through the final approach of one of the world’s busiest Bravos.
Seconds after rotation, the airplane has a mind of its own: It climbs; it descends; the controls seem all wrong. You get a moment of stability and have to decide what’s worse: Turning away from airlines approaching O’Hare—and risking renewed loss of control—or busting through the final approach of one of the world’s busiest Bravos. […]
The LSA you’re flying isn’t equipped for legal flight in the clouds, but its autopilot doesn’t know that. That’s why you trained yourself to turn it on and do a 180, if you ever went IMC accidentally. But that’s not working out as planned, so what’s the best way to get back to visual conditions?
There are few emergencies in aviation that require immediate action without time to think. One of them is an engine failure at low altitude. What will you do when faced with four options, given your actual view out the window? Or, will you use the airplane’s parachute—even though you’re so low it might make things […]
It’s a checkride, so you took a long time in the runup area making sure you didn’t miss a thing. Now, it’s time to depart but you can’t see the other end of the runway. The winds are calm. Is there a chance someone else is down there or is that less likely than winning […]
You’re in the descent to your destination airport, where you have an appointment for your first ever tandem jump skydive. As you plan to cross the airport and enter the pattern, you hear a call of “Jumpers away”—probably from over your head. Do you need to change plans, or is an evasive action the worst […]
What started as a favor for a friend has turned into a confusing mess of ATC instructions and attempts at landing. How much PIC authority will it take to straighten this out? And more importantly: Which choice gets you down and safe without causing a pilot deviation—or turning you into a 737 hood ornament?
It’s just a short hop in a plane you’ve logged hundreds of hours flying. However, it’s not until rotation that you realize how poorly the airplane is performing. Now there’s not enough runway to put it back down, but barely enough climb to keep it in the air. Where will you go?
Lowering ceilings and patchy showers have you pushing the limits of VFR along the shore of Lake Erie. The weather is much better along the north shore, but that’s Canada, and you don’t have a passport or permission from Customs and Border protection. Will you press on, turn around, or cross the fence in clear—but […]
What looks like a perfect partnership in a Cessna Cardinal gets a bit rough over unforgiving swampland. How will you resolve an engine issue and personality conflict when it’s not your airplane—even though your backside will be in just as much trouble if the motor quits completely? The alligators below await your choice.
You’ve got the whole family on board for a great weekend by the ocean. However, the landing attempt on a runway that’s short and obstructed didn’t go so well. Now you have only a second to decide if an attempted go-around will safely clear the trees—or result in a catastrophe.
You’re almost home, but a thunderstorm will make that last dash tricky. Can you make the run to your destination safely, or do you take one of the longer routes which present their own challenges? Or do you land at the airport nearly below you, but into the maw of a second storm rapidly heading […]
After a great day at the beach, it’s only a 40-minute flight home. But the sun has long since set, and an uncooperative alternator makes even a short VFR flight complicated when you consider navigation, communication, and regulations. Even the simplest choice isn’t so simple when you look at the big picture, and the destination […]