I’m not sure of the Captain who taught me to make a PA before departing the gate to “let the folks hear your voice in the event of an evacuation later” —but I never was convinced that there would be any resemblance between the sound of my voice then as compared to my voice actually commanding an evacuation! Nevertheless, for the 18 years, I’ve been a Captain, I’ve tried to remember to make my “pre-departure PA.” I usually say something like, “You picked a great night to fly!"… On this particular flight, however, I had to tell them the truth...
At AircraftSales.US, we love airplanes! We love looking at airplanes and we get to see hundreds every week. Once in a while, we come across some that we fall in love with, some that we think are a really good deal, some that we REALLY want to fly, and some that are just strange. The AN-2 is one of those aircraft.
True instrument flight, i.e., safe flight solely by references to the aircraft instruments lagged behind the development of aircraft by several decades. In reality, there was only one prudent choice—fly only when visibility allowed the pilot to see a horizon. A World War I Army pilot, William Charles Ocker—“the father of blind flying’—nearly died in 1918 while testing an early Sperry turn indicator. He ended up in a steep spiral and only narrowly escaped when he broke out of the clouds with room to recover.
The weather that had been preventing me from completing my solo cross-country while in Navy flight training had finally moved on. The cold front had passed bringing with it beautiful blue skies, one hundred mile visibility, and pristine flying conditions. I could not wait to get in the air and enjoy the performance of the taxpayer-funded T-34C Turbo Mentor (quite a hot rod actually) that I had been training in. What could go wrong?
In the 1970s, the Air Force Undergraduate Pilot Training (UPT) was like college with airplanes. Over the 53 weeks of UPT, at least half of each day was dedicated to classroom academics—typically six-week courses in everything from aerodynamics and navigation to weather, or more properly, meteorology. It was that course, meteorology, specifically the section on thunderstorms, that probably saved us.