August 2001 Issue

Boiling Trouble

Unsuspecting pilot gets caught in rip current between winds aloft and surface

Take an 80-degree summer afternoon, clear skies, high pressure and light winds. Add an airplane, a friend or spouse, and pick a destination a few hours away. While you’re at it, throw in the family dog.

This is a scenario many general aviation pilots would consider the ultimate in personal aviation – the perfect time to embark on what may be the perfect trip. For one Colorado pilot, however, the prognosis wasn’t so sunny.

The pilot had accumulated more than 14,500 hours, many of them as a Part 135 helicopter pilot. He had single and multi ratings and instrument ratings for both airplanes and helicopters. He had once been a flight instructor. Even though he was retired, he still held a...

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