Calling all backcountry pilots

It’s time again for our special focus on backcountry flying in the print issues of General Aviation News. We’re reaching out to backcountry pilots with a call for memories of your most memorable or notable backcountry flight. What makes it so noteworthy? Where was it? Who was with you?

If you are a backcountry pilot, do you have any advice for readers who haven’t yet ventured off the airport? What’s the important lesson you’ve learned from your adventures? Where is a great place for a novice backcountry pilot to begin? What do you wish you had known before beginning your backcountry flying?

Add your comments below or send them to Also, send your photos from your backcountry adventures and you may see them published in the July 20 issue.



Pilot shortage: Where’d all the pilots go?

Professional pilot Erika Armstrong asks — then answers — that question in a recent blog post at, The problem, she says, comes down to respect and pride. “The aviation industry begs for leaders who recognize the balance required between honoring this glorious industry, while still making enormous amounts of money. It can be done, but not with a ruler and discipline. It will be done with respect, pride and profit. Bring back the pride and you will bring back the pilots.”

Wing hits fuel dock

The pilot was taxiing the Cessna 172N to the fuel pump after he landed at Tell City, Ind., when he turned his focus away from making sure the left wing was clear of the fuel dock. Consequently, the left wing hit the dock and sustained substantial damage.

The NTSB determined the probable cause as the pilot’s failure to maintain adequate clearance from an obstruction while taxiing.

NTSB Identification: CEN13CA452

This July 2013 accident report is are provided by the National Transportation Safety Board. Published as an educational tool, it is intended to help pilots learn from the misfortunes of others.

Trying to reason with thunderstorm season


Welcome to the first of what is planned to be a monthly installment about pilots. We’ll look at how well they aviate, how poorly, and how they can do better. We’ll pick apart news items affecting them, and also have some thoughts about their future.

It’s that time of year in the Northern Hemisphere, when warmer temperatures easily translate into thunderstorms, making them much more prevalent.

With that in mind, a friend called the other day to pick what’s left of my brain on how to plan an upcoming cross-country. And by “cross-country,” I mean crossing the country: He’s based in the Pacific Northwest, and has business in South Carolina. He’ll be flying a fixed-gear Cessna single. [Read more…]