It was a long time ago when I first started to think about flying my own airplane. Ever since I can remember I was looking up into the sky, searching for the source of the “buzzing” sound made by the airplanes engines. Walking with my parents or other adult, I would pull on their arms to try and stop them so I could stop and look. Seventy odd years later, I still have to “stop and look”.
My love affair with aviation, was greatly reinforced by my obtaining various pilot’s licenses and later in life by owning my own planes. I was fortunate also by being able to fly part time professionally, as I have written about in my blog:operationsafeflight.blogspot.com.
Looking back at my writings, I am struck by how much I have tried to pass on. “tidbits” of flight knowledge and experience, in an effort to help newer pilots, (and some older) avoid costly and deadly mistakes. Whenever I read the FAA accident data, I want to shake the offending pilot awake and offer some constructive guidance.
I can’t help but wonder how much the digital age has accelerated these errors and accidents. For example: the replacement of individual data gauges by two large screens, may be part of the problem. The “big” picture may only confuse the less experienced pilot. I still remember well the basic instruments present in the J-3 I flew as a young solo pilot. Only pertinent data was presented. For example: airspeed, engine RPM, some type of turn and bank and altimeter and compass. Not even a radio in the one flew. There wasn’t much to distract the learning pilot. Just the very basic necessary data presented. As a result, a lot of “fly by the seat of your pants” was done. I learned what an uncoordinated turn or a stall felt like, a useful thing for the neophyte to experience for sure.
Well that’s it for now. Looking back in time and using a word processor instead of a control wheel or “stick”. Definitely not as much fun, but quite a bit safer.
Young pilots. Keep on flying. Eyes wide open and your head cool.