It remains a puzzle

How to land? Last night, in the dark of 16L, everything looked perfect. I gently bought the A320 into a nice flare, and was rewarded with an OK, but harder than I wanted, landing. It was safe. Many would say it was good. But I was disgruntled. I can do better. Often the final touch-down remains a puzzle to me. Today I watched some early 1970’s US TV. Strongly influenced by Bruce Lee, the show Kung Fu featured a fictional monk trained at the Shaolin Temple in China who wandered around the American Wild West kicking bad guy butt. This … Continue reading It remains a puzzle

The Secrets of the Wave Pilots

There is a wonderful long-read article in Sunday’s New York Times Magazine titled The Secrets of the Wave Pilots. It never mentions flying or airmanship, but it’s thought-provoking contemplative stuff for any aviator concerned about visual flying skills. And it’s an in-depth romp through animal navigation, GPS, modern brain science and almost lost ancient knowledge. The glue of the story is Alson Kelen, “potentially the world’s last-ever apprentice in the ancient art of wave-piloting”. That’s the science and art of navigating among the Marshall Islands with no modern tools. Once thought impossible, we know now that somehow it is possible, but … Continue reading The Secrets of the Wave Pilots

Ball flying and baseball

This was sent to me by an Art of Airmanship reader, who is an active USN F/A-18 pilot. It was written sometime in the 90’s, and is credited to Lieutenant Commander James Winnefeld, Jr. He was a US Navy pilot, a real TOPGUN instructor, and worked on the movie Top Gun. He is currently an Admiral, serving as Vice Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. It’s on the reading list at LSO school, and is a fascinating deep dive into the practical mental aspects of high performance flying. Most of us don’t “call the ball” to land on an aircraft carrier. But … Continue reading Ball flying and baseball