"There I was..." An Aviation Podcast

By AOPA Air Safety Institute

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There I was…, presented by the AOPA Air Safety Institute, invites you into the cockpit with pilots across the aviation community. We fly with them as they encounter unpredictable scenarios and we learn from the knowledge and skills they utilize to fly safely out of them. This podcast honors the tradition and heritage in aviation to leverage “hangar flying” as an avenue to pass along knowledge and experience.

Episode Date
Episode 56: John Berman
On a cold January evening, pilot John Berman was flying his Velocity XL aircraft from Liberal, KS to Santa Fe, NM when he encountered severe icing.
Jan 12, 2023
Episode 55: Bruce Landsberg
NTSB Vice Chairman (and former senior leader of the AOPA Air Safety Institute) Bruce Landsberg comments on the 2019 Ethiopian Airlines Boeing 737 MAX crash findings by Ethiopian authorities who downplayed training and other human factors.
Jan 04, 2023
Episode 54: Kerry McCauley
Ferry pilot Kerry McCauley recounts a night flight in a Cessna 210 over the Sahara Desert, en route from Morocco to Ivory Coast, when he lost his alternator.
Dec 05, 2022
Episode 53: Ken Urban
After a November afternoon flight with his father in the Boston area, GA pilot Ken Urban has an unwelcome encounter with a deer on short final.
Nov 07, 2022
Episode 52: Derick Jones
New Hampshire-based pilot Derick Jones was flying his Cessna 172 to Lawrence Municipal Airport in Massachusetts, in IMC conditions, when he experienced a complete electrical failure.
Oct 17, 2022
Episode 51: Devin Miller
GA pilot Devin Miller, first featured on the podcast in 2019, joins us again to talk about a more recent incident – an engine failure while flying a PA-34 Seneca III.
Sep 12, 2022
Episode 50: Cody Goodan
Regional airline pilot Cody Goodan tells the story of an incident he experienced shortly after earning his private pilot’s license as a senior in high school. During a series of touch-and-go’s in a Cessna 172 carrying 3 friends, the combination of weight and density altitude resulted in disaster.
Aug 15, 2022
Episode 49: Michael Koury
Michael Koury tells the story of flying his Cherokee 160, VFR from Sun Valley Airport in Arizona to St. George Regional Airport in Utah. With only 15 miles remaining in his trip, Michael suddenly found himself in blizzard conditions and zero visibility.
Jul 11, 2022
Episode 48: Paul Loewenstein and Larry Suter
On a November afternoon, pilots Paul Loewenstein and Larry Suter, both members of the Northern California Soaring Association at Byron Airport, took off just a short time apart from each other in separate gliders. While both heading toward nearby Mt. Diablo, the two gliders experienced a mid-air collision.
Jun 16, 2022
Episode 47: Trevor Peterson
During a training flight from Camarillo to John Wayne Airport in southern California, CFI Trevor Peterson and his student found themselves dealing with a rough running engine and loss of oil pressure in their 172.
May 11, 2022
Episode 46: Andrew Edgerton
As part of the AOPA Air Safety Institute’s 2022 campaign to eliminate VFR into IMC accidents, this episode features a discussion with helicopter pilot Andrew Edgerton, who inadvertently found himself in instrument conditions while flying an R44 Raven II from Quebec City to Baie-Comeau in Canada.
Apr 12, 2022
Episode 45: Drew Ryan and Potomac TRACON
GA pilot Drew Ryan, along with brothers Eric and David Lomascolo (both air traffic controllers from Potomac TRACON), join us to recount the story of Drew’s flight in a snowstorm while flying from Albany, NY, to Manassas, VA, and the brothers’ help to bring him to safety.
Mar 16, 2022
Episode 44: Brian Lenzmeier
Having purchased a Cirrus SR22 just a couple of days prior, pilot Brian Lenzmeier departed on a flight from Addison to Waco, TX with an instructor pilot on board. What followed was an engine and avionics failure that resulted in a CAPS (Cirrus Airframe Parachute System) pull over the busy Dallas area.
Feb 15, 2022
Episode 43: Russ Jeter
Living with the consequences of an aircraft accident is hard. Living with the loss of a son is excruciating. In this episode we take a sobering look at one pilot's personal tragedy, the devastation it wrought, and the lessons all of us can take from it. Warning: This episode involves a fatality. Listener discretion is advised. You can find a video version of this story on the Air Safety Institute's YouTube channel.
Jan 19, 2022
Episode 42: Genesah Duffy and Lynn McNorton
In this episode, we talk to pilots Lynn McNorton and Genesah Duffy, who had a chance encounter in Tampa Bay just south of Peter O. Knight Airport. After experiencing engine trouble in his Mooney M20M, McNorton was forced to ditch the airplane in the bay just short of Runway 4. Duffy was nearby in an Icon A5 and was able to land in the water to render assistance.
Dec 13, 2021
Episode 41: Dario Costa
In this special edition of “There I was…”, host Richard McSpadden and AOPA’s Cayla McLeod interview Red Bull Air Race competitor Dario Costa, who debriefs his 44-second flight inside two Turkish highway tunnels, and the painstaking planning and preparation that got him safely through.
Nov 30, 2021
Episode 40: Henry Coffeen
On a November afternoon a few days before Thanksgiving, GA pilot Henry Coffeen was practicing aerobatic maneuvers when he experienced a fire in the cockpit of his Edge 540.
Nov 17, 2021
Episode 39: David Bradley
David Bradley joins us to talk about ferrying a flight of UH-1 “Huey” helicopters from Jefferson City, Missouri down to Ellington Air Force Base during Operation Desert Storm.
Oct 20, 2021
Episode 38: Jon Humberd
While flying his experimental Zenith 701 out of his grass airstrip in Tennessee, pilot Jon Humberd has a close call with a quickly approaching storm. To see Jon’s YouTube video of the incident, click here.
Sep 21, 2021
Episode 37: Brian Lloyd
In the summer of 2017, aviator Brian Lloyd began a solo round-the-world flight in his Mooney to commemorate Amelia Earhart’s famous equatorial route 80 years prior. While on a flight leg from New Zealand to American Samoa, Brian experienced an engine failure over the Pacific Ocean.
Aug 20, 2021
Episode 36: Thomas Marrow
While flying out of a backcountry airstrip near Johannesburg in South Africa, pilot and YouTube personality Thomas Marrow experienced a prop strike in his Safari Kitplane.
Jul 21, 2021
Episode 35: John Lancaster
Former Washington Post reporter John Lancaster shares the story of flying across the U.S. in his Flight Design CTLSi light-sport aircraft, for a book he is writing about the 1919 Transcontinental Air Race. While tracing the route flown by pilots in the Air Race 100 years ago, John faced challenges with weather, congested airspace, mountainous terrain, and more. Look for the release of John's book in the next year or two! Note: This interview was recorded in August 2019.
Jun 15, 2021
Episode 34: Craig Beles and Truman O'Brien
On an IFR flight from Bend, Oregon to Vashon Island, WA, Craig Beles and his friend and CFI Truman O’Brien experienced an engine failure in their PA-28 Cherokee 140. Over vast wilderness with no ideal landing options, the pair are forced to put the aircraft down in the treetops near Mt. St. Helens.
May 25, 2021
Episode 33: John "Pappy" Mazza
Warbird pilot and former aircraft racer John “Pappy” Mazza shares an engine failure experience while flying a Grumman FM-2 Wildcat.
Apr 21, 2021
Episode 32: Doug Rozendaal
Longtime GA pilot, warbird trainer and DPE Doug Rozendaal tells us a story about piloting a Beech 18 during his years of flying freight, when he experienced an electrical failure at night in low IMC.
Mar 24, 2021
Episode 31: Kelly Keller
In this episode, we talk to GA pilot Kelly Keller, who was flying back from a fishing resort in Arkansas with her husband while 7 months pregnant when she experienced an engine failure in a Cessna 172.
Feb 23, 2021
Episode 30: Terry Pretzloff
GA pilot and Cirrus Training Center Instructor Terry Pretzloff tells us about a flight from Chicago Midway to Rochester, Minnesota in a Cirrus SR22. Despite thorough preflight planning, Terry encountered hazardous icing conditions worse than forecast, and he shares with us how he took action to get on the ground safely.
Feb 17, 2021
Episode 29: Dennis Martin
Helicopter pilot Dennis Martin joins us to talk about an incident he had after departing the AOPA Fly-In at Carbondale, IL in 2018. While flying his Enstrom 480B from Carbondale to Chicago Executive Airport, Dennis experienced deteriorating weather conditions and found himself in half-mile visibility.
Jan 20, 2021
Episode 28: Doug Stewart
Master Certified Flight Instructor, DPE and general aviation icon Doug Stewart joins us to talk about an incident he had in a 1974 Cessna Cardinal at a small New Hampshire airport. While departing the 1,900 foot strip, Doug experienced a loss of power following takeoff, with trees at the end of the runway quickly approaching.
Dec 15, 2020
Episode 27: Todd Clark
In this episode we talk to Todd Clark, a 700-hour pilot based in beautiful Kalispell, MT. Todd experienced a gear-up landing in his Mooney M20J, and he joins us to talk about the day’s events that led up to the incident.
Nov 03, 2020
Episode 26: Mirek Fatyga
Join us as we talk to Mirek Fatyga, a commercial-rated pilot based in Phoenix, AZ. Mirek tells the story of piloting a Tecnam light sport aircraft at night, when he flew through a tree while on approach to land at an airport near Richmond, VA.
Oct 07, 2020
Episode 25: Loren Kopseng
In this episode, we chat with longtime GA pilot Loren Kopseng. Loren experienced an alarming bird strike at night while flying his Aviat Husky out of North Dakota, and he joins us to tell the story. To see photos from Loren's incident, click here.
Sep 10, 2020
Episode 24: Jon Gandy
If you've called AOPA’s Pilot Information Center, you’ll recognize this episode's guest: pilot and AOPA employee Jon Gandy. As an Aviation Technical Specialist from the PIC, Jon brings a wealth of knowledge, and shares a story in which he experienced a partial engine failure in a PA-31 Piper Navajo, which created a distraction and caused an inadvertent gear-up landing.
Aug 25, 2020
Episode 23: Robert Clark
VFR into IMC continues to be a leading cause of fatal accidents in general aviation. In this episode, we talk to a pilot who was fortunate enough to escape from this highly dangerous scenario. Robert Clark recounts the story of flying his Dyke Delta aircraft through unexpected instrument conditions - at night, during an electrical failure.
Jul 28, 2020
Episode 22: Mark Murphy
Over the past 33 years of flying - including aerobatics in the P-51 Mustang, T-6 Texan, Japanese Zero, and F4U Corsair - pilot Mark Murphy has accumulated his share of stories. He joins us to talk about one such story - an unexpected flat spin in a Christen Eagle.
Jun 18, 2020
Episode 21: Thomas Middleditch
Join us for a special episode as we chat with actor, comedian, screenwriter and general aviation pilot Thomas Middleditch about his flying adventures, including a time where a trip to Monument Valley (UT25) didn’t go as planned. To see the video version of this podcast, click here.
May 21, 2020
Episode 20: Gabrielle Palmas
Not many pilots have survived a midair collision. Gabrielle Palmas experienced one in 2012, while working on her instrument rating. Now, years later, as second-in-command on a Lear 60, she joins us to tell her story.
Apr 16, 2020
Episode 19: Jeff King
GA pilot Jeff King shares the story of a 2009 incident in which he experienced an engine failure in his Cherokee Six, and made a forced landing in a nearby Walmart parking lot. To see video and photos from Jeff's incident, click here.
Mar 19, 2020
Episode 18: Chuck Cook
In this episode, we hear an incredible survival story from Chuck Cook, T-28 warbird pilot. In the summer of 2018, shortly after a warning light in the cockpit caused him to separate from a formation flight and head back to his home airport, Chuck experienced thick billowing smoke and a fire in the cockpit of his T-28. Chuck crash-landed the airplane near the runway threshold and managed to escape from the burning wreckage with his life. Warning: This episode contains graphic descriptions of burn injuries. Listener discretion is advised.
Feb 19, 2020
Episode 17: Greg Soter
Join us as we talk to Greg Soter, a long-time GA pilot based in Utah. In 2013, Greg was flying a Cessna 172 for a company testing radar gear, when the equipment caught fire in the backseat and forced Greg to make an emergency landing off-airport.
Feb 12, 2020
Episode 16: Patty Wagstaff
We’re delighted to welcome back our inaugural podcast guest - Patty Wagstaff. Patty returns to tell about an incident in September of 2019, in which she and a fellow pilot experienced a runway excursion in Patty’s V-tail Bonanza.
Jan 21, 2020
Episode 15: Julie Clark
In this episode, we talk to aerobatic airshow performer and Living Legends of Aviation member Julie Clark. Against the backdrop of a distinguished career and her retirement in 2019, Julie shares some interesting experiences and lessons she’s learned over more than 40 years as a solo aerobatic pilot.
Dec 16, 2019
Episode 14: Devin Miller
Join us as we chat with Devin Miller, GA pilot and creator behind the Youtube channel, Family Pilot. Devin shares the story of a recent flight with his wife and children in a Piper Arrow, in which his throttle cable breaks and leaves the engine stuck at full throttle. To see Devin’s Youtube video of the incident, click here.
Nov 21, 2019
Episode 13: Dan Bass
In this episode, we talk to Minnesota-based pilot Dan Bass. While flying his Mooney on a return trip from Ontario, Dan experienced carbon monoxide poisoning and lost consciousness while airborne. Hear Dan’s incredible story of survival as he wakes up in a snow-covered field in the bitter February cold. To see photos from Dan's incident, click here.
Oct 17, 2019
Episode 12: Air Trek
In this episode, we talk with Florida-based air ambulance service Air Trek. On a routine transport flight from Naples to Niagara Falls, Captain Bruce Monnier and co-captain Gerald Downs experienced a dual engine flameout in their Cessna Citation II. Strangely, that wasn’t the only jet in Air Trek’s fleet to experience an emergency that day. Join us as we talk to the pilots and hear how they worked together to land safely – and uncover the cause of the incident.
Aug 23, 2019
Episode 11: Ed Regensburg and Jillian Harner
Join us on an adventure in the Caribbean as we talk to Ed Regensburg, Cirrus SR22 pilot, and Lt. Jillian Harner, commander of a US Coast Guard HC-144. Flying home after a trip to St. Croix, Ed was piloting a Cirrus SR22 with his friend, Dan Tucker, when a drop in oil pressure and subsequent engine failure forced them to pull the plane’s parachute and land in the Atlantic Ocean. Meanwhile, a Coast Guard HC-144, led by Lt. Jillian Harner, heard the distress call and began the search and rescue mission. To see video and photos from this story, click here.
Jun 11, 2019
Episode 10: Jim Johnson
25-year GA pilot Jim Johnson shares the story of a hot Sunday afternoon in Alabama when he set out to practice approaches in his Cessna 177RG, and experienced an engine failure just after takeoff. To see photos from Jim’s incident, click here.
Apr 24, 2019
Episode 9: Steve Guetter
In this episode, we hear a story from Steve Guetter, president of the Minnesota Seaplane Pilots Association. Steve experienced a complete electrical failure while flying at night in his 1958 J model Bonanza. Listen in as Steve recounts the event and explains the actions he took to land safely.
Feb 01, 2019
Episode 8: Aaron Tippin
Country music star Aaron Tippin has been a pilot since he was 16, just like his dad, and he’s keeping that tradition alive through his two sons, both of whom soloed more than one airplane on their 16th birthday. In this episode, Aaron describes the dynamic of being a father & CFI, as well as the joys and challenges that come with getting your kids ready to solo a Stearman, T-6, and J-3 Cub all on the same day.
Aug 20, 2018
Episode 7: Mark Levy
In this episode, British warbird pilot Mark Levy stops by Richard’s hangar to discuss an engine failure he experienced in a P-51 Mustang during the annual airshow at Duxford, England, in 2017. Levy recorded the entire event with a pair of point-of-view video cameras, and he shared his analysis, along with the video, with the Air Safety Institute. For a condensed video clip of the engine failure, click here - https://youtu.be/jnODYKx5ics For the full video including analysis and breakdown of the event, click here - https://youtu.be/BBpqvPujZgM This podcast episode is an audio version of the full analysis video.
May 22, 2018
Episode 6: Michael Goulian
Airshow performer and aerobatic pilot Michael Goulian shares some interesting situations he’s encountered over a lifelong career of flying, and provides a few safety lessons along the way. Listen in as we chat with one of North America’s most recognized aviation professionals.
Apr 18, 2018
Episode 5: Mark Baker
In this episode, we sit down with AOPA President & CEO, Mark Baker. Mark is an accomplished aviator with almost four decades of flying experience, and he has flown and owned over 100 airplanes throughout the years. Mark shares some of the challenging situations he’s experienced, and he also gives practical advice on how to transition between different airplanes successfully.
Jan 23, 2018
Episode 4: Kenny G
World-famous saxophonist Kenny G has been entertaining audiences for decades with his music – and he’s also a very accomplished pilot. As the owner of a de Havilland DHC-2 Beaver since 1995, Kenny has flown all over the country in his airplane, and in the process he’s accumulated a few stories! Listen in as he shares some interesting experiences.
Dec 13, 2017
Episode 3: Sean D. Tucker
Renowned aerobatic pilot and airshow performer Sean D. Tucker recalls a life-threatening emergency he faced in 2006, when he lost elevator control in his airplane and was forced to bail out. Listen to Sean’s harrowing tale as he recounts the steps he took to survive.
Nov 02, 2017
Episode 2: Lee Lauderback
In this episode, we talk to Lee Lauderback - owner, founder, chief instructor and demo pilot for Stallion 51 (a P-51 operation in Orlando), and former chief pilot for Arnold Palmer. Lee recalls a landing gear emergency in a TF-51 Mustang. Tune in to hear how Lee evaluates the situation and takes action.
Aug 01, 2017
Episode 1: Patty Wagstaff
U.S. National Aerobatic Champion Patty Wagstaff recounts a Cessna 185 flight in southwest Alaska, where she loses her bearings and encounters IMC. Learn how Patty keeps her cool under pressure and climbs through ice to get her and her passenger safely to their destination.
May 24, 2017