September 26, 2014


    For any first-time reader: these writings are for any aviator or person interested in aviation.  The world of aviation is one in which more knowledge is a necessity, a world of endless development and personal growth, in which nobody has ever known everything about even a small part of aviation.  If we have a day at the airport that doesn’t teach us something, it is a wasted day.  So, I try here to share some of what I’ve picked up during 30 years in general aviation and a life spent thinking and reading about flying.

    The winter of 2013-2014 was an outlier for the Chattanooga area, with more cold weather than normal, and some unexpected snow and ice events.  There were several “snow day” lockdowns, with schools closed and many people choosing to stay indoors rather than venture out, because of a prediction of snow and icy conditions.  The spring and summer of 2014 have been wetter than normal, with many days of low clouds, IFR conditions, and thunderstorms.

    I am posting emergency training scenarios here, to help us think through what we could encounter, so that we won’t freak out when one of these things happens. 

    Chattanooga area flying stories around here have included some sad things, which we should discuss.  After the nationally publicized death of a pilot at Collegedale, who fell out of the airplane he was flying, lots of mis-reporting and nonsense was printed in various journals.  For some clarification, see here.

    I try to keep in shape for flying by running and other training.  Here’s a page with a some links to non-aviation things.  The 2013 Chickamauga Chase was a fun day.

    We had a gear-up landing at Dallas Bay, which became the topic of a safety meeting right afterwards.  This incident had no injuries. For ruminative writing, see here.

    When we teach flying, the early parts of the learning can be overwhelming to the new student.  I’m working on finding ways to allow learning to happen in small enough chunks for the new student to take it all in.  Here’s one method that I use for teaching landing from the traffic pattern.  And working on good pitch control can even save lives.

    Every pilot should seek to perform at his or her highest possible level all the time.  Processing oxygen well is part of that.

    When I observe my instrument students working on that valuable rating, it seems that for many of them the most difficult part is flying straight and level.  Here’s an article about keeping a good attitude.

    Here is a fascinating article about using your brain and “GPS Atrophy”.  Here’s a link to the article:


    A quote from a friend: “I don’t know what to make of a pilot who talks enthusiastically about nearly killing himself in a maneuver the airplane is not certificated to do.”  He went on, “split-S out of an attempted aileron roll is not anything anyone should do in a normal-category airplane.  Aerobatic training in the right airplane is good for all pilots.”

    I couldn’t agree more.  We all need more training.  But it should happen in an airplane appropriate to the situation.....

     Properly leaning engine mixture can save us much grief and maintenance.  See the presentation.

    I watched a near-miss on a runway in 2012.

    The article on landings is still just as important as ever.

    A student pilot and I witnessed group dynamics at work several years ago: Riverbend Grows Up

    A very enjoyable day spent doing spin training with Catherine Cavagnaro compelled this article.  Every pilot should get some spin training to take away some of the mystery of that maneuver.

    Two friends had days they would rather forget a couple of years ago.  Experiencing engine out is reported in their words.

    Several years ago, playing trumpet led to an aviation adventure in a hot-air balloon.

        There is always more to come.  We are blessed to be involved in an activity with endless room for improvement.  Please write to me about things you would like to see here, or to share your stories.  Fly well, Dan      email:


Flying with Dan Bowles