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By Paul A. Craig

What happens when an air traffic controller tells an aircraft with the call sign of 'Six-Seven-Tango' that they are cleared to land, and the pilot of an aircraft with the call sign of 'Six-Sierra-Tango' says, 'Roger. Cleared to land.'  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

The controller's use of an aircraft call sign is also a code within a code.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

The occupation or service of a pilot. 2. Nautical Coastal navigation, as by reference to buoys and soundings.

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By Paul A. Craig

I overheard two private pilots talking, recently, -- one was telling the other about the poor controller service received the last time he had gone into a particular Class C airport.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

A Florida pilot who regularly volunteers his time and his Cirrus aircraft to transport dogs between rescue shelters logged his 1,000th canine passenger last week. Jeff Bennett has been volunteering for Pilots N Paws, the charity transport group, for only three years, taking several dogs on each mission. The group matches willing pilots with dogs who need to be moved from overcrowded shelters that would otherwise euthanize them; Pilots N Paws makes sure that the dogs end up at no-kill shelters or in foster homes while they await adoption. For his part, Bennett pulls out the two rear seats of his Cirrus to fit the dogs, in each in its own crate. He flies throughout the Southeast, though he lives in the Florida Keys. Bennett describes himself as a dog lover, and has four dogs of his own.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-501843_162-57457701/florida-man-flies-rescues-his-1000th-animal/

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By Editor Staff

All 12 skydivers made it safely out of a Beech 18 plane moments before it crashed into a backyard in rural southern Illinois Saturday morning, killing the pilot. Officials suggested the pilot, 30-year-old Brandon Sparrow, may have had enough control of the plane in the last seconds of flight to steer it away from homes; there were no injuries on the ground. Officials are far from having any indications of why the plane crashed. And so far it is unclear if the skydivers jumped out at their predetermined location, or if some type of problem on the plane prompted Sparrow to order the jumpers out sooner. Witnesses to the crash reported seeing the plane in a nose-down attitude and heard at least one of the engines rev up shortly before the plane crashed.

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By Editor Staff

The pilot of a Lake Amphibian died when his plane crashed in a ravine Saturday afternoon while performing for a gathering of Republicans in a rural Idaho town. Randy Humble, well known in the circle of Latah County Republicans and the owner of a local construction company, was the only person on board the plane. Witnesses indicated that he appeared to be throwing toilet paper or streamers out of the plane as it flew at low altitude, before it dipped a wing and dropped from view behind a nearby hill. The crash happened at the county Republicans' annual fall social event, which earlier in the afternoon had featured another pilot's Piper Cub making low flybys. By the time partygoers reached Humble's plane, most of the wreckage was consumed by fire. Photos showed the fuselage destroyed by the crash and fire, and one wing crumpled along the length of its leading edge.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2201764/Man-crashes-small-plane-throwing-toilet-paper-rolls-GOP-event.html

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By Editor Staff

The Cessna 172 that crashed in a mountainous area of southwest Idaho last weekend had entered icing conditions and didn’t have enough power to clear the peaks ahead, the pilot told reporters in interviews this week. Brian Brown was flying with his wife and daughter from California to a city southeast of Boise. After stopping at a gravel strip in far eastern Oregon as weather deteriorated, Brown took off again, thinking he saw a break in the weather. Instead, the Skyhawk apparently entered IFR conditions, as Brown said it started accumulating ice quickly. He elected to abruptly pull the plane up into a stall as it crashed into the side of a mountain. Brown and his wife both went through the plane’s windscreen and sustained broken noses and fractured ribs; their daughter had minor injuries, he said. Brown used fuel from the plane’s tanks to start a warming fire on Saturday night. Eventually, his daughter was able to call 911, but rescuers couldn’t pluck them from the side of the mountain until Sunday afternoon, nearly a day after the crash. All three had left the hospital by Wednesday and were recovering from their injuries.

http://www.kimatv.com/news/local/California-family-on-the-way-home-after-plane-crash-155420055.html?tab=video&c=y

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By Jeff Pardo

There is a certain cultural component to the province of piloting that actually becomes self-defining. From habits in our non-flying lives, to what and how we think of ourselves; from routine actions or procedures all the way up to how we look at life -- they're all affected by the precepts, disciplines, behavior patterns, or even just plain motor activities of aviation. Have a look...  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

As pilots we understand that our decisions are crucial and the safety of every flight depends on them, but now other fields that require decision-making are looking to aviation as the model of how it should be done.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

There is a considerable gap between the creativity of people who fly airplanes and the limits set by people who write regulations...  Continue»

By Greg Brown

'Rat-tat-tat-brrrrrrrmmm, rat-tat-tat-brrrrrrrmmm!' I could scarcely believe my ears, for there, dogfighting over my head, were World War I fighters — SPAD, Fokker Triplane, Camel, Albatross, and Nieuport — marques I had read and dreamt about, and even seen in a few museums. But never had I guessed that one day I’d actually hear them fly.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Although some tend to view these paths as being somewhat divergent, with the former sometimes seen as the "high road" while the latter might be thought of by some as the "low road", in reality they are just two different sets of regulations that work toward the same end. Which is better? Well, it depends... Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations, and the first parts of subchapters D and H, address pilot certification and pilot schools, respectively. Part 141 describes the rules for the more formalized, standardized, and credentialed flight schools, and Part 61 details the minimum knowledge and experience needed to earn a pilot certificate.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

A recent television documentary discussed the “crisis” in general aviation safety. “600 people die every year in little airplane accidents,” heralds the narrator as scenes of post-crash devastation and amateur video of a Cessna in a deadly spin play and replay across the screen.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

When we think, read, or speak about airplane performance, aside from the more obvious implications regarding a relative ability to accomplish a particular goal such as taking off from a short field or getting somewhere in a hurry, in reality we’re thinking and living in a secondary world. When you compare numbers for these things and others like rate of climb, service ceiling, range, or fuel burn, aeronautically speaking, you’re actually inside the matrix, if you will. In other words, there’s a more elemental reality behind them.  Continue»

By Doug Marshall

Congratulations! You are the proud owner of your first airplane -- a high-performance, retractable, at that.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Whether scare tactic or sales pitch... or maybe an altruistic safety warning sent to every instrument-rated pilot in the land, one aviation company has the right idea.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

No matter how many checkrides you take, you never completely get rid of what is commonly known as 'checkride-itis' but there are some strategies that can reduce the fear-factor.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Who’s the wisest pilot -- the one who flies below the clouds, the one who flies above them, he or she who deviates around clouds, or the pilot who files instruments and flies through?  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

These days, we've all been boning up on interception procedures, and we've been getting our NOTAMs and checking them twice, but sometimes that doesn't help.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Get set for another "one year since 9/11" retrospective … but this time, from the point of view of a pilot.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

The FAA has standard turbulence reporting criteria, but there is a problem.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Congratulations! You successfully navigated to a busy controlled airport, handled all the radio work, and even landed on the correct runway.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Man, my airplane is fast, boasts a pilot. "I was getting 150 knots true groundspeed."  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Our country was defiled, our way of life was visibly threatened, and our citizens were traumatized by an act of war -- of unprecedented proportions -- visited upon our soil.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Richard Gillespie and his team of searchers are returning to a tiny, remote island in the South Pacific next month, hoping to finally find proof that it’s the place where Amelia Earhart’s plane went down during her around-the-world flight in 1937. Gillespie and his team have searched tiny Nikumaroro Island and the reefs around it nine times already, finding evidence of campfires, food scraps, bottles and a woman’s compact mirror, but nothing to conclusively prove that whoever was living on the island was Earhart or her navigator on the flight. This time, the searchers will use side-scanning sonar to create a detailed map of the ocean floor around the island. Any spots that look unusual will get a second visit from a remotely operated submersible equipped with cameras to document the findings. Searchers zeroed in on Nikumaroro years ago based on the last known coordinates of Earhart’s flight and her planned route. The island is about 2,000 miles southwest of Hawaii, one of several places that explorers have looked for Earhart’s wrecked twin-engine Lockheed Electra 10E.

http://www.theworld.org/2012/06/searching-the-pacific-for-amelia-earharts-long-lost-airplane/

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By Thomas Turner

All pilots share a common trait. Is it money? Background? Education? Daring, or caution? No, pilots come from a wide variety of backgrounds ... all economic classes, upbringing, schooling and personalities. There is one thing seemingly all pilots share, though -- that big stack of old aviation magazines. And there they are, just lying around waiting to do all of us a world of good ... maybe in ways that aren't so obvious. Yes, you've been misled. This is not a story about magnetos.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Weydahl Field in remote Killdeer, N.D., used to get only 90 flights per year to its 4,200-foot runway, and there's no fuel available. But thanks to a boom in oil and natural gas drilling, the airport now has as many as 20 operations per day, even though the airport has been closed by NOTAM since the city and county stopped maintaining it. But for energy companies that need to get parts and workers to far-flung drilling sites, using small airstrips like Weydahl can save 100 miles of driving each way from larger airports in the state. The sudden uptick in traffic has local airport officials across the state taking on big improvement projects: widening and lengthening runways, adding FBO facilities and hangars, and installing fuel tanks. Weydahl Field, which officials plan to reopen in about six months, can only handle aircraft up to 5,000 pounds, but a runway project would dramatically increase that limit, letting many turboprops and small jets use the field.

http://bismarcktribune.com/business/small-north-dakota-airports-adjust-to-more-business/article_608a39b0-0416-11e2-a015-0019bb2963f4.html

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By Editor Staff

The state of Ohio owns two planes and a helicopter, but isn't doing a good enough job keeping track of how they're used or whether the cost of operating them is worth it, a state audit found. The state's two King Air turboprops and its five-seat Eurocopter flew a combined 121.5 hours last year, though the helicopter was rarely used. That prompted the audit to recommend that the state sell the 30-year-old helicopter. And the state should have clear policies on proper use of its aircraft, the audit said. Lawmakers called for an investigation of the state's aircraft usage after two high-level politicians used the planes for private transportation and later reimbursed the state.

http://www.daytondailynews.com/ap/ap/aerospace/audit-concludes-state-of-ohio-owns-too-many-planes/nR4w9/

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By Editor Staff

Thanks primarily to the efforts of Senator James Inhofe, pilots and other FAA certificate holders who are subjected to FAA enforcement proceedings can now enjoy the basic due process and fairness that has heretofor been lacking in these matters. The Pilot Bill of Rights was passed unanimously by the Senate and House of Representatives, and signed into law by President Obama on August 3, 2012.

http://melbourne.legalexaminer.com/miscellaneous/attention-pilots-pilot-bill-of-rights-is-now-law.aspx?googleid=303450

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By Editor Staff

Five people died in March 2011 when a Beechcraft King Air bound for Utah crashed seconds after takeoff from Long Beach, Calif. While the National Transportation Safety Board hasn’t released its final report yet, hundreds of pages of investigation documents made public this week indicate that the plane was more than 650 pounds over its maximum gross takeoff weight and that its fuel tanks may not have been properly drained to check for water. Witnesses to the crash recalled hearing two pops as the plane lifted off; seconds later, it rolled to one side and dived into the ground. Only one person survived the crash. One of the crash’s witnesses was the maintenance director who often worked on the aircraft; he said that in the past, the pilot had not properly drained the King Air’s fuel sumps to check for water. Winds were light at the time of the crash, with an 800-foot overcast ceiling; the plane had not been airborne long enough to climb into the clouds.

http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2012/05/long-beach-plane-crash-ntsb.html

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By Editor Staff

Following the failure of an engine during a Boeing 787 taxi test in Charleston, S.C., in July, the NTSB now wants urgent inspections of all GEnx-1B and -2B engines. Boeing 787s that have been delivered with those engines have already been inspected for signs of fan midshaft fatigue cracks, which is believed to have caused the July engine failure. But the same engines are also used on many 747-8F freighters in service and haven't been inspected yet. A cargo flight departing from Shanghai recently aborted its takeoff when pressure dropped in one engine. After safely returning to the ramp, photos of that plane's turbine showed similar damage as the engine in the Charleston incident. And last month, an inspection of an engine on a new 787 that hadn't flown yet also showed signs of fan midshaft cracks. The inspection process involves using ultrasonic and X-ray equipment in the field, and the plane's engines do not have to be removed to conduct the test.

http://www.ntsb.gov/news/2012/120914b.html

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By Editor Staff

The NTSB this week recommended that all large airliners be equipped with wingtip cameras so that pilots can determine whether they will clear nearby obstacles. The announcement comes in response to an uptick in the number of ground incidents in which airplanes clipped each other while taxiing, including a dozen events in the last 20 years, of which three occurred last year. Just last week, an American Airlines 767 clipped a parked MD-80 at Dallas-Forth Worth, damaging both planes. Currently, some Airbus aircraft have external cameras, but they don't provide a view of the wingtips. While the incidents haven't resulted in serious accidents, they can be costly to repair and pose a safety risk because they could result in a fuel leak. But an airline industry group countered the NTSB's recommendations, expressing concerns about the high cost of adding cameras to address a problem that is relatively rare and hasn't resulted in injuries or serious accidents. The NTSB wants cameras added on Boeing 757s and larger aircraft. In smaller aircraft, the pilots can generally see the wingtips from the cockpit.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/ct-met-ntsb-plane-taxiing-crashes-0906-20120906,0,4256211.story

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By Editor Staff

First responders who don’t know how to look for and deactivate ballistic airframe parachutes and ejection seat rockets are endangering themselves when they head into aircraft crash sites, the National Transportation Safety Board is warning. While such hidden hazards haven’t caused any fatalities or injuries among rescuers, the NTSB said there is a growing risk, especially since more GA planes are equipped with ballistic parachutes that might not have been deployed before a crash. First responders already receive training on dealing with things like fuel spills and sharp objects at crash sites, but that’s not enough, the NTSB said. Efforts to pry apart an airframe to get at trapped occupants or remains could accidentally discharge parachute rockets or airbags, the NTSB said. The board cited an accident earlier this year in which an NTSB investigator warned first responders who wouldn’t have otherwise known that the aircraft’s ejection seat needed to be deactivated before recovering the remains of the pilot.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/11/01/us/ntsb-warns-of-hazards/index.html

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By Editor Staff

Citing an accident rate double the rest of the general aviation fleet, the National Transportation Safety Board is encouraging a broad set of changes to make experimental aircraft safer. The board’s 16 recommendations include having the FAA require builders or owners to test the plane’s fuel system before first flight, and to draft a flight testing plan and a thorough aircraft flight manual. The Experimental Aircraft Association should do more to promote education, training and flight test data collection in the homebuilt community, the board said in its recommendations. While broadly supportive of the NTSB’s review, EAA expressed concern that some of the board’s recommendations would lead to added rules and regulations, when more training would suffice. The NTSB reviewed all 224 homebuilt accidents that occurred in 2011; 54 of those were fatal, a rate three times higher than the rest of general aviation. The NTSB study found that engine failure and loss of control were the most common causes of accidents, while structural failure and inflight breakups were rare.

 

http://www.ntsb.gov/news/events/2012/EAB_Study/index.html

http://eaa.org/news/2012/2012-05-22_ntsbstudy.asp

 

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By Editor Staff

All of the pilots aboard a Skyhawk and a Cessna 180 that collided north of Denver last March are at fault for failing to see and avoid one another, the NTSB said in its final report of the accident this week. The flight instructor and private pilot on the Skyhawk were both killed, while the sole occupant of the Cessna 180 survived after making a forced landing near an airport. The NTSB indicated that the Cessna 180 was climbing from 6,800 feet to 7,000 feet in the moments before the crash, while the Skyhawk was level at 7,000 feet; the planes were on nearly parallel but slightly converging courses. In the midair collision, the Cessna 180’s right horizontal stabilizer was bent downward, leaving the plane with little elevator control, while the outboard six feet of the Skyhawk’s left wing was bent upward. The pilot of the Cessna 180 said she had no way of seeing the other plane, since hers didn’t have any rear windows; both high-wing planes have limited views upward. While the Skyhawk was equipped with a Garmin G1000 that was capable of displaying nearby traffic, investigators had no way to tell if the pilots got a traffic alert or tried to respond to it, since the G1000 didn’t have a secondary data card installed that would have recorded some flight data. The pilot of the Cessna 180 had about 6,300 hour of flight time, but stopped flying as a result of the accident.

http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/brief2.aspx?ev_id=20120325X10800&ntsbno=CEN12FA199A&akey=1

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By Editor Staff

The National Transportation Safety Board released its annual “most-wanted” list of safety improvements, with general aviation safety once again prominent on the list. The board noted that many accidents it investigates reveal common underlying problems in pilot education and training. More GA pilots are using glass cockpits, but don’t necessarily know how to make the most of the information available to them on those displays, the NTSB said. The fatal accident rate for GA operations has increased by 25 percent in the last decade, and the overall accident rate has been steady at about 6.8 accidents per 100,000 flight hours. The agency also wants airport operators, pilots and airlines to work together to make airport surface operations safer. Runway incursions, though declining overall, continue to be a large safety risk. New equipment like runway status lights could provide clear warnings to pilots, but the systems have only been installed at a handful of airports nationwide.

http://www.ntsb.gov/safety/mwl5_2012.html

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By Editor Staff

The pilot of a Pilatus PC-12 that crashed in central Florida on June 7 discussed deviating around a cell of extreme precipitation with an air traffic controller in the minutes before the plane crashed in a swamp. The controller told the pilot about precipitation ahead of the flight and suggested a deviation around the storm cell. The pilot agreed, and read back instructions to deviate north-northwest around the storm. But radar tracks indicate that the plane immediately entered a spiraling right turn, losing almost 15,000 feet of altitude in one minute. The National Transportation Safety Board did not indicate in its preliminary report if the aircraft entered the area of precipitation during that maneuver. Witnesses on the ground reported seeing the plane in a spin before it crashed, and one noted that parts of the plane appeared to be missing. The NTSB found that the Pilatus’ horizontal stabilizer, elevator and parts of both wings separated from the aircraft before it hit the ground. The pilot, a well known Kansas businessman, as well as his wife and two children, were all killed in the crash.

http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/brief.aspx?ev_id=20120607X54234&key=1

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By Editor Staff

NASCAR owner Jack Roush didn’t apply full takeoff thrust when he executed a go-around in his Hawker 390 jet when he tried to land at Oshkosh AirVenture in 2010, leading to the plane’s low-altitude stall and crash. That was the National Transportation Safety Board’s finding of the cause of the crash, published this week. Roush saw a Piper Cub begin its takeoff roll from the same runway as he turned from downwind to base, and was concerned that plane wouldn’t be clear of the runway when he landed, so he elected to go around. But, worried about other traffic in the vicinity, he only advanced the throttles partway to avoid gaining too much airspeed. His plane stalled and crashed, and he was seriously injured. The NTSB’s review found that the departing Cub, having been told by controllers to start a left turn once airborne, was clear of the runway environment when the jet turned its base leg and would not have been a factor. Roush, in an interview this week, said he acknowledged his error but added that he didn’t think the NTSB took into account the complexity of the special procedures in place for takeoffs and landings at Oshkosh.

http://www.thenorthwestern.com/article/20120623/OSH0101/306230051/NTSB-Pilot-error-blame-Roush-crash-2010-AirVenture

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By Jeff Pardo

There's little else quite as ingrained in the minds of pilots, or emblematic of flight itself, as the stick and rudder -- so what happens when they fail?  Continue»

By Editor Staff

A Montana aerospace engineer with a novel approach for a general aviation airplane has raised nearly $80,000 in a fundraising drive through the online site Kickstarter. John McGinnis’ airplane, called Synergy, uses an integrated design for its wings and tail, along with a pusher prop, to lower induced drag and make the plane much more efficient.  Winglets curve up and backward, eventually reconnecting with the trailing edges of the wings at the roots. The vertical portions serve as the plane’s rudders, while the upper horizontal portions of the structures, behind the wings, act as the horizontal stabilizer. McGinnis has a flying quarter-scale remote control prototype. He plans to use the Kickstarter funds to build a full-size mockup that can go through wind tunnel tests to verify whether the design really does reduce drag as much as McGinnis hopes it will. For now McGinnis himself admits the Synergy is more science fair project than anything else. There is no development timeline for bringing a version of the five-seat plane to market.

http://www.aopa.org/aircraft/articles/2012/120531kickstarter-funds-synergy-prototype.html

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By Reader Submission

The BT-14 was a later development of the 440 hp Wright-powered BT-9 basic trainer used by the United States Army Air Corps.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

I don't know about you, but you might say that I have an approach/avoidance conflict with some non-precision approaches, in particular with VOR approaches. On the one hand, I like them because they cut me some slack if I'm feeling mellow, the weather isn't too crummy, and the ceilings are still comfortably in the neighborhood of the transition point from three to four digits. Then again, particularly with the VOR approaches for which the navigation facility isn't on the field, the errors can really accumulate if your navigation equipment isn't as precise as it once was, and you don't fly them accurately. When the chips are down (along with the ceilings and visibility), that might just leave you wondering-particularly when you emerge from the clouds and the runway (or even the airport environment) is nowhere in sight.  Continue»

By Greg Brown

We aviators know how privileged is our view from above — we thrill to Earth’s vigor, form, and splendor on every flight. Yet few of us have the skills to capture that magic and convey it to others. I was reminded of that when the announcement arrived for Adriel Heisey’s new exhibit, “From Above: Images of a Storied Land.” You’ve likely seen Heisey’s spectacular aerial photography on public television specials, and in magazines like National Geographic, Arizona Highways, and Smithsonian.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Faulty or imprecise navigation could put you in prohibited airspace, or controlled airspace without proper clearance; these days, that could lead to loss of your flying privileges -- or it could get you killed.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

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.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

I don't know if it was Chuck Yeager, Tom Wolfe, or anyone else in particular that should earn extra credit for this gem, but it doesn't matter. It could be Klem Kadiddlehopper, for all I care. What is it? It's that, in the interests of safety, may pessimism know no bounds! Applied in plain language, that means: always have an out.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

I strongly suspect that I'm just one of the many among the subjugated masses of aviators yearning, figuratively at least, to breathe free. And I'm damned sure that I'm not alone in feeling mad as Hell that a few bad apples -- make that rotten apples -- have made America's skies much less friendly. But particularly now, when it has become less and less socially acceptable to question authority, I feel it is time we remind ourselves that when it comes to your own safety and that of your passengers, certain rules have never changed.  Continue»

By Greg Brown

Magic! The whining of gyros gave way to mystical drums and rhythmic chanting, crazily mixing images of flight with those of ancient and sacred ceremonies. Chills traveled our spines - we could scarcely have been more astonished if we'd arrived by flying carpet.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

'I love night flying and, in fact, will be making some night flights out of necessity -- however, I often read that flying a single engine airplane at night is a huge risk...'  Continue»

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