The Pilots of Denali sticky icon

Veteran glacier pilot David Lee does not like what he sees out the windshield of his Cessna 185. He and his passengers—a team of German climbers anxious to start their attempt on Mount McKinley’s summit—are headed toward the base camp at 7,200 feet on the Kahiltna Glacier, a two-mile-wide river of snow-covered ice on the southern slope of the Alaska Range. In the single-engine, six-seat, dull red Cessna, Lee is watching clouds build and threaten to obscure the route through the mountains into the camp. He is tantalizingly close to his objective. Five minutes from now, if the weather were even slightly better, he’d be flying an approach he has flown thousands of times to a familiar patch of relatively level snow.

Bomberville (On the Road) sticky icon

Hunched at the command console of the AIR&SPACE web site, I detect a vague grumbling drone that is probably airborne. It's been longer than I can stand to admit since I was an active pilot, but the senses still spring to life at the suggestion of an airplane in flight.

Suddenly, a pair of slab-sided vertical fins rise above the rooftops, followed by the singularly awkward profile of a B-24. A Liberator. That can mean only one thing: The Collings Foundation!

Twenty Seconds over the Crazy Woman VOR sticky icon

'Spirit of Steamboat' by Craig Johnson.

The novella Spirit of Steamboat is a thank-you note to the Greatest Generation from a Wyoming rancher. It's also a hair-raising aerial adventure story wrapped within a charming mystery. Enclosed within are yarns of Wyoming history and a medical procedural. It's also A Christmas Carol for our times.

I can tell you a story about that, as author Craig Johnson would say.

Heart Strings sticky icon

I'm not the one to tell you what it is about the Irish, or the Irish fiddle. There's no hope to do that without a pedigree and aside from a great-great-great someone or another somewhere up the Anglo-Saxon family tree, I haven't got one. I'm an American mutt from the lower 48 with as much elan as a Walmart throw rug.

The Other Lance

As I write this, an epic sports drama of unprecidented historical proportion — and I use those words judiciously — is playing out in a tiny village in the far northwest corner of Alaska.

In a community hall at the White Mountain checkpoint, Lance Mackey is within striking distance of winning the 2007 Iditarod.

That is the One Thousand Mile sled dog race everyone has heard about. Mackey is the musher no one in the lower 48 who doesn't pay attention to the sport of marathon sled dog racing has ever heard about.


It's an old, vague pilot superstition that fatal accidents tend to happen in groups of three.  I hate it when that seems to be true...

Fuel Flow in the Dark

Lindbergh was my hero.  Science was my copilot.  Delano, California was the origin, the KCAB Citabria was taking me home from an aerobatic contest.  Typically, one would land at Blythe for gas and make the flight two legs.  There was something of a tailwind and I had read about how if you get high and lean out the engine you get long range.

Galileo @ Jupiter

Planetary Science hits a high note

Galileo is to robotic planetary science missions what Apollo 13 was to manned exploration, only better. After all the near disasters and heroic improvisation, the spacecraft and its probe have accomplished their primary goal and made it to Jupiter.

by Larry Lowe

NOTE: This piece, originally written upon the arrival of the Galileo spacecraft at Jupiter in 1995, was republished on the web as supplemental material to the collection of photographs compiled and annotated by Tony Reichhardt in the Aug/Sept 2002 issue of AIR&SPACE, entitled "Galileo's Last Look"

The Beckman Auditorium on campus at Cal Tech was jammed to capacity, all eyes focused on the video projector image of a solid purple graph with a single yellow line traced horizontally part way across the top. A muted voice over from an open mike somewhere in the bowels of JPL provided an irrelevant monologue as the line proceeded at a snail's pace across the big screen. Gathered in the auditorium was a loose conglomeration of science teachers, media types, Planetary Society members and others with a common interest in planetary science, enough to sell out the hall weeks in advance.


Walk out on the ramp, past the static displays, the remote-controlled-model tent, the Marine recruiting stand, and the car show, on across the drying grass to where the flying exhibits were parked, then around the corner at the tail of a B-25. There they are, all gleaming deep blue and jutting propeller blades. It's the Corsairs.