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Aviation News

No Flaps, No Problem

Flaps are a pretty standard device on airplanes, and one that many pilots take for granted. Whether we have manual flaps actuated by a lever on the floor, or fancy electric driven flaps that move at the touch of a switch, flaps can and do fail in flight.

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My Last Near Miss

I happened to remember the other day while I was driving this experience from my life as a pilot. I was on my way back from an American Bonanza Society (ABS) Service Clinic, where experts on the Beech aircraft line went over my plane with a fine-tooth comb, looking for problems. They poked and prodded, did a retraction test of the landing gear, and found a few problems that needed to be resolved.

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More on Fueling -- Truck Mounted Tanks

We had even more questions on fueling as a result of the article on explosive potentials in fueling your airplane from a fuel truck. One reader pointed out that he has a professional contractor's tank in the bed of his pickup, and that he uses that tank to fuel his airplane. He wondered if using this rig could expose his plane to a potential static electrical charge, and in doing so, introduce the potential for an explosion while he was fueling his airplane.

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Missing Grounds -- Big Problems

Excluding certain personalities, AvGas is the most explosive part of your piston-powered airplane. For the energy that AvGas contains, it actually can pose a significant threat to the safety of flight.

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Minor, Major and Critical Errors ... and the Highly Qualified Pilot

Maybe one of the best "flying lessons" I ever got took place 60 feet below ground level! Back in the Bad Old Days of the Cold War I served as an Air Force Minuteman launch control officer. How I came to do that for a living, when I took command of the Air Force's Precision Sitting Team, the "Thunderchairs," and why I actually launched an ICBM in 1987 are all stories for some other forum. But the pressure-cooker environment of potential total nuclear war, 60 feet under the Missouri plains, strangely did much to prepare me for the single-pilot cockpit of a piston airplane. One thing the "missile business" did for me was to teach the concept of minor, major, and critical errors.

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