Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear (Episode 5): Solo Cross Country – With a Twist

A pilot’s first solo cross-country flight is usually rather exhilarating in and of itself. With the instructor on the ground, it’s the first opportunity to actually go somewhere … alone. In this episode of “Those Thrilling Years,” our hero confidently departs Buttonville for Peterborough, as enthusiastic and proud of his new skills as any student pilot ever was. What he encounters 30 minutes into the flight though, would make even a seasoned aviator sweat!

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First Stick Time

Pilots tend to focus on their first solo flight as the event that changes everything. There’s an argument to made though that the real milestone is when you simply take the controls for the first time, and experience the thrills of controlling an airplane for yourself. A lifelong aviation fanatic, François Dumas was pretty excited when he took his first flight—in a jet—in 1985. But when he actually got some stick time in an Aviasud Mistral ultralight a few years later, well … that was really flying!

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Jim Miller

It’s a rare airplane story that’s told from the perspective of the airplane itself. This terrific story by Robert Bach is rare in other ways, too. His words will gently grab your imagination, transport you back in time, and then take you forward through the years alongside a certain TravelAir 4000. If you don’t already believe that airplanes are living breathing beings with hearts and souls, you will …

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Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear (Episode 3): To Fly Like a Bird

The problem with turning big dreams into reality is that reality is never quite like what we imagine it will be. In the case of a wannabe pilot’s first flight, the experience can be wonderful … or terrifying . If you’ve ever taken a bold leap only to find yourself asking, “What the hell was I thinking?” you’ll identify with Glenn Norman as he recounts his first—humbling—flying lesson.

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The Eyes of a Pilot

It’s not often you find an airline pilot whose skill in a cockpit is balanced by creativity and eloquence behind a keyboard. We believe we’ve discovered such a talent in Scott Burris, and we’re happy to present his first Why Fly contribution to you. It’s the stirring retelling of his first solo flight—in an ultralight—at an age you won’t believe!

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The Incredible Flying Milk Stool

When Glenn Norman bought a steal of a 1955 Piper Tri-Pacer in 1994, he intended to fix it up to resell at a profit. It took a few years for this pilot with an “extreme tailwheel bias” to admit he actually liked flying “the best-kept secret in aviation.” His epiphany came during an uncharacteristically utilitarian trip from point A to point B, in which he learned that while a Tri-Pacer is no jet … speed is relative.

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Speedmail

If a lineboy tells you he’s pumping gas and hauling boxes to get his foot in the door, he’s only telling you part of the truth. The rest has to do with the sights, sounds, and smells he gets to experience on the job … alluring hints of what’s to come. Journey with Robert Bach back to Corpus Christi in 1931 for a real nice story of aviation love at first sight.

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Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear (Episode 2): You Only Live Twice – Part Two

In Part Two of Glenn Norman’s cautionary tale of an ultralight crash, what goes up finally comes down … and it isn’t pretty. After a disorienting inverted journey back to earth (and a trip to the hospital) our hero finds himself wondering, “What now?” The surprising answer comes two days later aloft in a borrowed Cessna 150. Sometimes, he learns, it takes almost losing everything to realize what matters most.

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It Is Cold

A story can take a reader any where, anywhen it likes. One cold winter night Rob Bach sat down at the keyboard and typed out this story, which is guaranteed to transport you to Blakesburg, Iowa on a hot summer day. Flyins (and memories of flyins) are like that.

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Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear (Episode 1): You Only Live Twice – Part One

When Glenn Norman warns “Don’t try this at home” in the preamble to this first “Those Thrilling Days of Yesteryear” story, he means it both figuratively and literally. “Many of my early flying tales were pretty irresponsible,” says Glenn. Nobody would disagree, reading many of his up-coming “episodes.” But in this case, wow … what a story!

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From the Kilo Kid

[Complimentary Content]
Steve Roberts believes pilots should begin their flying careers in gliders. Apart from teaching you how to fly with some subtlety, you’re never really sure where you’ll end up. The results are often unexpected, as you’ll read in this humorous tale.

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