Jet Journal: Higher Minimums

Jet Journal: Higher Minimums

Professional flying is nearly always an extremely relaxed, highly controlled and almost boring affair. When you depart, under what conditions, where you are going, and by what routing is often entirely under the control of a complex set of rules and a team of experts, of which you are only one. You certainly feel professionally Read More

Once a Doctor, Always a Doctor

Once a Doctor, Always a Doctor

  Due to the somewhat insecure nature of the business, many pilots who fly airplanes for a living also have a backup career. When those secondary skills are called for while aloft, it can make for some novel deviations from regular pilot duties. In my case, being a doctor with an emergency medicine background has Read More

Cracked Cylinders

Cracked Cylinders

  What previously was a smooth, aerodynamic engine cowl is now laying on the hangar’s concrete floor with various parts never intended for public viewing being exposed in all their tangled awkwardness for any passerby to see. Within this jumble of tubes, wires and other objects mounted on various odd-shaped brackets, there is a small Read More

Safeguarding the “Gotcha’s”

Safeguarding the “Gotcha’s”

Every aircraft has its unique characteristics, which begs the question: how can this airplane hurt us? It is a short trip today: Seattle’s Boeing Field (KBFI) to Boise, Idaho KBOI) in a vintage 1983 Lear 35. Less than 30 seconds after our wheels leave the pavement of runway 13R we are doing 250 knots and Read More

Blow-Dried Cherries

Blow-Dried Cherries

Cherry farmers ward off harvest-destroying rainfall using a novel tool: Robinson R44 helicopter. It is an ungodly hour on a soaking wet gray morning, with occasional flashes of lightening still visible on the horizon as the recently passed thunderstorm moves out to the east. I am 150 miles from home, suspended some 15 feet above Read More