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Smooth Operator

How are your radio skills? I happen to subscribe to the notion of multiple intelligences when it comes to assessing the potential accomplishments of my fellow man (along with perhaps the idealistic notion that everybody is good at something). Still, aside from those few peripheral oddities having comical inequities among their relative abilities in different areas, most of us do seem to squeak by with a fairly even balance. This equilibrium usually manifests itself in various ways. In my opinion, there seems to be a fairly reliable correlation between what someone looks like they might have to offer in the way of conversation, and how well they can actually articulate what's on their mind. This often holds true at least, until they first try their hand at speaking in public. And such exceptions invariably surface within the fellowship of aviation whenever a pilot first learns to key a microphone...  

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Small Spark, Big Kaboom

Every once in awhile, we make mistakes -- then again, every so often we get treated to the experience of almost making a mistake.

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Slip-Sliding Away

Altitude is your friend, sure, but not when you're too high on final approach because you misjudged your perspective of the runway. Then again, you might make a conscious decision to stay too high if you have engine trouble and you want altitude in the bank until you're sure you have the runway made. Or let's say you're trying to get over obstructions on the approach path to a short runway, and having full flaps isn't quite enough. The solution for regaining your figurative footing that's called for in these slippery situations is (as if I didn't give it away already): the slip.

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Singles vs. Twins: A Case Study (Part 2)

In a single-engine airplane engine failure introduces relatively few decision steps. The airplane's tendency during the emergency is to continue ahead in a straight line, descending. This characteristic helps prevent either a stall or a spiral. In a twin, engine failure introduces a large number of sequential pilot decisions, each with potentially adverse consequences ... all while the airplane (under the influence of asymmetric thrust) is attempting to radically diverge from a controlled path in all three axes. It takes regular, intense training (ideally in a simulator where such things can be realistically presented and safely practiced) to be proficient in overcoming aircraft tendencies, and making safe and proper decisions.

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Singles vs. Twins: A Case Study

It’s hard to argue the 'single vs. twin' debate ... especially with someone who had just put a single-engine airplane down off-airport following a catastrophic engine failure.  This endless debate has no statistically provable answer (many twin-engine failures end with a successful single-engine landing and no accident report, and even some in-flight engine failures in single-engine aircraft end up with a glide to a runway and don’t land in the record books).  I do have some information, however, that helps draw some conclusions about the relative safety of single- and twin-engine airplanes.

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