Are helicopters impossible to fly? Not really, but they do take practice. In this week's fun flying video, you'll ride along as a brand new pilot learns how to hover both a Robinson R22 and R44 helicopter. From the embarrassing first flight to the physics behind hovering, you'll get an inside look at what rotary wing flight is all about.
The "airport in the sky" is just 26 miles off the coast of Southern California, an easy trip in almost any airplane and yet seemingly a world away from everyday life. Landing at the 3000-foot long runway on top of a mountain requires some preparation and airspeed control, but the view is unforgettable. In this week's video, fly along with experienced pilot Marc Lee as he explains what it takes to fly to AVX, then flies the trip in his stunning Great Lakes biplane.
Many pilots consider soaring to be the purest form of flying, a delicate balance between airspeed and altitude that requires a deep understanding of aerodynamics. It's also an awful lot of fun, as this video shows. Ride along on an intro flight in a glider to see what an aero tow looks like, how glider pilots find lift, and just how peaceful a glider cockpit can be.
General aviation in Alaska isn't some exotic activity - it's a way of life. While many pilots think of bush pilots and seaplanes, a lot of flying in the Land of the Midnight Sun takes place in regular piston airplanes like Cessna 172s and 182s. In this week's fun flying video, Flight Outfitters takes us to a remote village in Alaska in just such an airplane. You'll see the gorgeous landscape pass under the wings and get an appreciation for how vital GA is to everyday life in Alaska.
The Aeroshell Aerobatic Team is one of the most popular airshow acts in the US, year after year. Their demonstration is all about precision flying, from formation takeoffs to loops and rolls. In this week's fun flying video, you can strap into the back seat of a T-6 and go flying with the team to see their routine from the cockpit.
For a new pilot, tailwheel airplanes may seem intimidating and downright difficult to fly. After a little training, though, it becomes clear that they're still just airplanes - they simply require a little more attention on the rudder pedals and some practice. In this video, you'll get to see a pilot on his first tailwheel training flight. Watch him practice landings from inside and outside the cockpit, and hear the instructor's helpful advice. After watching this, it's easy to see why tailwheel airplanes are so addictive.
Class B airspace and busy international airports may be intimidating for new pilots, but there's no reason general aviation pilots can't use them just like the airlines. In this video, ride along in a Cirrus SR22 as the pilot flies VFR into San Francisco International Airport at night. You'll hear all the communications with Approach and Tower, and see some beautiful views of the Bay Area along the way. With a little training and some good communication skills, flights like this are pretty easy.
Seaplanes aren't just for fun - in Canada they are the only way to reach some remote locations. In this video, you'll fly in one for a series of takeoffs and landings in northern Ontario. Even better, the airplane is a de Havilland Beaver, an iconic bush plane still widely used in Alaska and Canada. Watch the airplane move from plow to "on the step" to takeoff, from both inside and outside the cockpit. And yes, sometimes the only way to dock a seaplane is to paddle your way there.
Flying can take you to some exotic places, but not all of them require a fancy jet and a 1000-mile flight. In this week's fun flying video, Matt Guthmiller and some friends take a Beechcraft Bonanza to the ice runway at Alton Bay. In spite of what you might think, this unique and fun airport is actually in New Hampshire. Fly along as Matt visits this surprisingly busy seasonal airport and enjoys some famous pilot camaraderie.
This is why you practice short field landings! The pilot loads up seven of his friends in a Pilatus, then takes off from his home airport's grass runway (yes, in a 10,000 lb. airplane) and flies to Courchevel, a scenic ski resort in the French Alps. There's a very convenient airport right on the side of the mountain, but it's less than 1,800 feet long and has a stunning 18.6% gradient.