In 1967, when I was in Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) at Laughlin Air Force Base, I devoured everything I could read about flying, like every other student pilot. The UPT leadership helped us by providing a variety of flying periodicals in the magazine racks on the inside of every lavatory stall - Flying, Plane and Pilot, Private Pilot, the works. Early in our careers we learned about multi-tasking!
In one of the magazines, I can't remember which, I read an article titled "The Box Canyon Maneuver". A box canyon is a formation in which there is no room to perform a normal 180-degree turn, which has sides too high for the airplane to outclimb. The maneuver is basically a hammerhead turn, in which the pilot pulls the airplane up to vertical, remaining unloaded to avoid a stall, and then steps on a rudder to bring the airplane to a nose-down attitude facing the other direction. I was fascinated, and I practiced the maneuver whenever I had the chance during solo flight. I became reasonably proficient at it.
A little over a year later, I was flying the O-2A in Vietnam. In addition to combat flying, I flew Functional Check Flights (FCFs), where I would test all the systems of the airplane following maintenance. The FCF had to be conducted in visual flight conditions.
On this particular day I was scheduled for FCF duty, but the weather at DaNang Air Base was lousy. Drizzle and low clouds, and it looked like it would stay that way all day. Certainly not conducive for an FCF. I convinced our Operations Officer that I could climb out through the overcast on a heading of East, over the ocean, until I got into the clear to conduct the FCF.
I took off to the North on Runway 35 Right and immediately turned East. At about 300 feet I was in clouds, flying entirely on instruments, holding steady on a heading of 090 degrees. As a new pilot, I had never flown in solid clouds, and I was pretty proud of myself, feeling like a real pilot.
I was in the clouds, flying over the ocean as I climbed out. Nothing to look at out the windscreen, but for some reason I had the urge to look straight ahead. Suddenly, through the windscreen, I saw the jungle rushing up at me at 100 knots! I instinctively pulled up to vertical, unloaded, and stepped on the left rudder. When the airplane was headed downhill I pulled up to level flight and looked at my heading indicator. Now it showed I was heading West. Then I looked at the Standby Compass, sometimes called the Whiskey Compass. It showed I was heading South!
Finally, I realized what had happened. My heading indicator had precessed 90 degrees to the left, so that shortly after entering the clouds I had slowly turned to North, directly toward Monkey Mountain.
I discontinued the FCF and obtained a gyro-out Ground Controlled Approach (GCA).
I've had a lot of close calls in combat, but this was the closest I ever came to unquestionably losing my life. Every day since then has been on borrowed time.
Mike is a curator of modern military aircraft at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum, focusing on the history of the US Air Force. He is a former Assistant Professor of Strategy at the USAF Air Command and Staff College eSchool of Graduate PME, and a former instructor of military history at the USAF Academy. He completed his PhD in history at Kansas State University in 2018. Mike specializes in military history and the history of technology, with a special interest in air power history. He received his Masters from the University of North Texas in 2013. His current research focuses on the cultural influences on the technological development of Cold War military aircraft, especially the F-15 Eagle and F-16 Fighting Falcon fighters.
Mike has published peer-reviewed work in the Air Power History journal, as well as contributed to several encyclopedias, conference proceedings, and academic websites. He has presented at many academic conferences, including the American Historical Association, Society for Military History, and Society for the History of Technology.
In addition to teaching military history, he has taught courses at Kansas State University in World History, American Air Power, and a course on Comic Books in American History. He has a minor field in public history and has worked as a researcher in the curatorial department of the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art, conducting archival and non-archival research on artists and the historical and cultural context of their work, in addition to co-curating work combing historical artwork and artifacts, including multi-media audio, visual, and digital elements.
The Wright Brothers Master Pilot Award is the most prestigious award the FAA issues to pilots certified under Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 61. This award is named after the Wright Brothers, the first US pilots, to recognize individuals who have exhibited professionalism, skill, and aviation expertise for at least 50 years while piloting aircraft as "Master Pilots".
A distinctive certificate and lapel pin is issued after application review and eligibility requirements have been met. Upon request, a stickpin similar in design to the lapel pin is also provided to the award recipient's spouse in recognition of his or her support to the recipient's aviation career. Once the award has been issued, the recipient's name, city and state will be added to a published "Roll of Honor" located at https://www.faasafety.gov/content/MasterPilot/RecipientList.aspx.
To be eligible for the Wright Brothers MPA, nominees must meet the following criteria:
Any person who meets the eligibility requirements, or a sponsor on behalf of the eligible person, may apply for the award by submitting a nomination package to the FAASTeam Program Manager (FPM) at the nearest Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). The nomination package must consist of the following documents:
· A completed Wright Brothers MPA Nomination Form
o The Wright Brothers MPA Nomination Form can be found in electronic form at https://www.FAASafety.gov/content/MasterPilot/.
· Nominee’s flying history
o Can be a detailed description, resume, or company records.
· Three (3) letters of recommendation
o Must be from holders of FAA pilot certificates who can attest to the nominee’s 50 years or more of U.S. piloting experience.
Additional notes on nomination acceptance:
· A current flight review or medical certificate is not required at the time of nomination.
· Prior accident history is not necessarily disqualifying but will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
· Prior enforcement actions (excluding revocation) are not necessarily disqualifying but will be reviewed on a case by case basis.
· The award may be presented to a nominee up to 3 years posthumously if the nominee has acquired 50 years of U.S. piloting experience prior to passing away.
· Nominations will take a minimum of 60 days to be accepted.
Presentation - The FPM will contact the applicant or sponsor to schedule the award presentation. The FPM will make every effort to arrange a public presentation at a suitable FAA or industry function. An appropriate FAA representative shall present the award to the nominee at the event.
Roll of Honor – The nominee’s name, city and state of residence plus the month and year of the Master Pilot Award presentation will be posted to the electronic Roll of Honor after the award has been presented. The Roll of Honor can be found at https://www.FAASafety.gov/content/MasterPilot/RecipientList.aspx.
Captain Linda Pauwels is an airline pilot. For over three decades she has flown thousands of hours, on many types of big airplanes, all over the world. Linda even counts some aviation “firsts” attached to her name. At present, she instructs and evaluates pilots as a check airman on the Boeing 787 for American Airlines.
Linda was born in San Pedro, Buenos Aires, Argentina. She came to the United States at age six, after the death of her father. Having experienced adversity early on in life, she grew to understand and appreciate the value of resilience. Linda integrates intuition and sensitivity, along with a graduate academic preparation in education, in her professional life.
In the mid-2000s, Linda wrote a regular column, titled From the Cockpit, for the Orange County Register. She has been secretly writing poetry for a while. Unfortunately, that cat is now out of the bag.
Linda has been married to Frederick, also a pilot, for almost forty years. They have two adult children, Nathalie and Patrick, domestic animals, and an Asian garden with a bird feeder. The family has a primary base in North Texas, near DFW airport, and a secondary base in South Florida, near MIA.
When a project is highly successful, it might be as a result of luck or as a result of good planning. You just don't know what does not work. but if you fail, you now know, precisely, what does NOT work.
In his efforts to invent the light bulb, Thomas Edison famously said, "I have not failed. I just found 10,000 ways that don't work".
A failure I had on the FAA Airline Transport Pilot Written Exam was the basis for numerous subsequent professional successes. In this podcast, I share how this monumental failure changed my life.
Dr. Kenneth Byrnes is the Assistant Dean for the College of Aviation at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University’s Daytona Beach campus. In addition, Dr. Byrnes is an Associate Professor of Aeronautical Science and the Chairman of the Flight Training Department. As Chairman of the Flight Department, Dr. Byrnes is responsible for leading over 1300 flight students, over 200 Certified Flight Instructors, 30 A&P mechanics, and 35 additional support staff members. Dr. Byrnes is an expert in all aspects associated with flight training and his academic teaching responsibilities include Instructional Design in Aviation, Aviation Legislation, Private Pilot Knowledge, and Commercial Pilot Knowledge courses. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Aeronautical Science, a Master’s Degree in Business Administration in Aviation, and a PhD in Business with a dual specialization in Airline Management and Management of Engineering and Technology. His dissertation research investigated the relationship between organizational safety culture/climate and pilot decision making. Dr. Byrnes is also a Six Sigma Green Belt and has completed research on important aviation topics such as Flight Instructor training methods, organizational safety culture, aviation professionalism, ADS-B equipage motivation of the general aviation community, Flight Instructor Quality Assurance (FIQA), the pilot shortage, pilot motivations to join the airline industry, and Safety Management Systems (SMS). In addition, he has significant experience as a Certified Flight Instructor and holds a Multi-Engine Airline Transport Pilot Certificate, a Single-Engine Commercial Pilot Certificate, and Instrument Ratings. He has over 20 years of leadership experience within Part 141 and 142 flight training organizations and is well respected in the flight training industry.
On 22 November 2003, shortly after takeoff from Baghdad, Iraq, an Airbus A300B4-200F cargo plane, registered OO-DLL and owned by European Air Transport (doing business as DHL Express), was struck on the left wing by a surface-to-air missile while on a scheduled flight to Muharraq, Bahrain. Severe wing damage resulted in a fire and complete loss of hydraulic flight control systems. Because outboard left wing fuel tank 1A was full at takeoff, there was no fuel-air vapor explosion. Liquid jet fuel dropped away as 1A disintegrated. Inboard fuel tank 1 was pierced and leaking.
Returning to Baghdad, the three-man crew made an injury-free landing of the seriously damaged A300, using differential engine thrust as the only pilot input. This is despite major damage to a wing, total loss of hydraulic control, a faster than safe landing speed and a ground path which veered off the runway surface and onto unprepared ground.
Paris Match reporter Claudine Vernier-Palliez accompanied a Fedayeen unit on their strike mission against the DHL aircraft.
Sara Daniel, a French weekly newsmagazine journalist, claimed receipt, from an unknown source, of a video that showed insurgents, faces concealed, firing a missile at the DHL A300. Daniel was researching a feature about Iraqi resistance groups but she denied any specific knowledge of the people who carried out the attack, despite being present at the moment of attack.
The aircraft took off from Baghdad International Airport en route to Bahrain International Airport at 06:30 UTC with an experienced crew of three: two Belgians, 38-year-old Captain Éric Gennotte and 29-year-old First Officer Steeve Michielsen, and a Scotsman, 54-year-old flight engineer Mario Rofail. The captain had 3,300 total flight hours, more than half of them logged in the A300. The first officer had 1,275 hours of flight experience and the flight engineer had 13,400 hours of flight experience.
To reduce exposure to ground attack, the aircraft was executing a rapid climbout. At about 8,000 feet (2,450 metres), a 9K34 Strela-3 (SA-14 Gremlin) surface-to-air missile struck the rear of the left wing between the engine and the wing tip. The warhead damaged trailing-edge surfaces of the wing structure and caused a fire. All three hydraulic systems lost pressure, and flight controls were disabled. The aircraft pitched rapidly up and down in a roller-coaster phugoid, oscillating between a nose-up and a nose-down position.
As in the case of the 1989 United Airlines Flight 232 disaster in the United States, Captain Genotte could only use thrust to modify pitch, speed and altitude and vary throttles asymmetrically to control yaw and turn the aircraft. Flight engineer Mario Rofail executed a gravity drop to extend the landing gear, a procedure normally accomplished with hydraulic power. Early deployment of the gear was critical to a safe outcome because increased drag helped reduce speed and stabilize the aircraft.
In about 10 minutes of experimentation, the crew learned to manage turns, climbs and descents. After a meandering trajectory, they executed a right turn and initiated a descent path to Baghdad International Airport.
Because of left wing damage and fuel loss, Rofail had to monitor the engine closely – if fuel flow was lost from the left side, he would have to feed fuel from a right tank to maintain thrust. Survival was dependent on accurate power control of each jet engine.
Genotte and Michielsen set up for a final approach to runway 33R. The aircraft drifted to the right of the intended course, so Genotte chose the shorter 33L runway. Visibility was excellent and the pilots managed a controlled descent. They knew that, counter-intuitively, they could not retard throttles before touchdown without risking the nose or a wing smashing disastrously into the ground.
At about 400 feet (120 meters) turbulence upset the aircraft balance and the right wing dipped. With thrust adjustments, the roll was controlled but the aircraft touched down off the runway centerline. Rofail immediately deployed full reverse thrust but the aircraft veered off the paved runway. The aircraft ran through rough soft ground, throwing up a plume of sand and dragging a razor wire barrier, and halted after about 1,000 meters (3,300 ft).
The Honourable Company of Air Pilots jointly honoured crewmembers with the Hugh Gordon-Burge Memorial Award. This is awarded to flight crew whose action contributed outstandingly by saving their aircraft or passengers, or made a significant contribution to future air safety. This annual award is made only if a nomination is considered to be of significant merit.
The Flight Safety Foundation's FSF Professionalism Award in Flight Safety was presented to the crewmembers for their "extraordinary piloting skills in flying their aircraft to a safe landing after a missile strike following takeoff from Baghdad, Iraq".
In May 2006, Captain Éric Genotte, together with Armand Jacob, an Airbus experimental test pilot, gave a presentation to the Toulouse branch of the Royal Aeronautical Society titled "Landing an A300 Successfully Without Flight Controls".
In addition to severe wing and undercarriage damage, both jet engines suffered ruinous abuse by ingesting debris. The already aging aircraft did not fly again. In November 2004 the aircraft was repaired and re-registered as N1452, and put up for sale but not sold in 2005. The aircraft has since been scrapped.
Howard Putnam was raised on an Iowa farm and learned to fly out of a pasture in his Father’s J-3 Piper Cub. He entered the airline business as a baggage handler at Midway Airport in Chicago for Capital Airlines at age 17. Capital was soon merged into United and Howard held thirteen different positions in sales, services and staff assignments in several cities, before being named Group Vice President of Marketing for United Airlines, the world’s largest airline, in 1976.
In 1978 he was recruited to become President and CEO of fledgling Southwest Airlines in Dallas, TX. While at Southwest Howard and his team tripled the revenues and tripled profitability in three years. They also successfully guided Southwest through airline deregulation and Southwest was the first air carrier to order the Boeing 737-300, which later became the largest selling aircraft ever for Boeing.
Howard led the visioning process at Southwest as well as further developing the “fun” culture and excellent customer service that Southwest is still known for today. Southwest has been profitable every year for over thirty years, a record unsurpassed by any other airline.
In 1981, Howard was recruited by the board of directors of Braniff International to come aboard as CEO and save and/or restructure the financially failing airline. He was the first airline CEO to successfully take a major carrier into, through and out of chapter 11. Braniff flew again in 1984.
He is the author of “The Winds of Turbulence” on leadership and ethics. Harvard University wrote a case study on his experiences at Braniff, “The Ethics of Bankruptcy” as a model as to how to handle stakeholders in crisis.
He has also been an entrepreneur, serving as Chairman of a startup investment company and two small manufacturing and distribution companies.
Howard and Krista have two children, Michael, a commercial airline captain and Sue, in public relations and marketing.