The greatest threat to aviation

What appears as a dot of light on the ground can illuminate an entire cockpit, 
disorienting a pilot or causing temporary blindness

I was once blinded by my best friend while flying at night. He was trying to help me read a map. We were out of KDAL, heading to KSMO.

Inbound to KSMO, at night, over California’s high desert, the earth below looked black as pitch, the sky above a planetarium ceiling’s worth of stars. I’d purposely kept cockpit lighting low to preserve my night vision.

When ATC descended us from12,000 to 8,000, I dropped my sectional. Thinking he was being helpful, my non-pilot friend saw this as an opportunity to show off the new, high-intensity headband flashlight he’d brought along, the kind intended for caves, not cockpits.

“Check this out!” he said. I turned toward him just as he flicked on the flashlight.

“AHHH!” I screamed and jerked away, but not before being blinded completely. [Read more…]

Video: Flying for food

Flying for Food

Smitty Smith from FunPlacestoFly.com recently posted this video of a recent flight to The Taxiway Café at the Lancaster Airport in Lancaster, Texas. He notes: “We flew out of McKinney National Airport, flying over Mesquite and then direct to Lancaster. The Taxiway Café has some of the best food around. Be sure and give them a visit. You won’t be sorry!”

AOPA Foundation offers scholarships

The Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) Foundation is offering scholarships from two programs for those who are learning to fly, and those who want to learn someday.

The foundation will award 25 scholarships, ranging from $2,500 to $12,000, in 2015. At the same time, the AOPA Foundation’s AV8RS program – comprised of teens ages 13-18 – will offer $15,000 in financial assistance for aviation education. [Read more…]