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By Reader Submission

The Martin Mars was designed for a need that evaporated before it went into service.  Continue»

By Reader Submission

Although the Martin B-26 suffered some serious problems in its stateside training programs, the airplane was one of the most successful U.S. bombers in the combat sector.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

A Lockheed F-35B fighter arrived at the Marine Corps Air Station in Yuma, Ariz., last week, the first of 15 jets that will comprise the new Marine Fighter Attack Squadron 121. So far only two Marine pilots have been trained to fly the jet, which is expected to start training missions by the end of this year. It’s a big step for a Pentagon program that has soared billions of dollars over budget and has been dogged by years of development delays. The Marine variant of the F-35 is the most complex of the three versions of the fighter, since it has unique short-field takeoff capabilities and can land vertically. The F-35 is eventually expected to replace the F/A-18 Hornet and AV-8B Harrier jets, which were both developed more than 20 years ago. The F-35 program has cost about $385 billion over the last decade, which is 65 percent more than the development program was originally budgeted.

http://www.ajc.com/ap/ap/defense/marine-corps-forms-new-fighter-jet-squadron/nS9Y8/

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By Thomas Turner

Move up from most training airplanes into high performance aircraft and you’ll confront a number of new gauges and devices. One of these, so very basic yet commonly misunderstood, is the manifold pressure gauge. Let’s look at what the manifold pressure tells us—and what it doesn’t.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

ATC is trying to keep things as orderly as possible and when they ask a pilot to fly a holding pattern, the pattern itself is only part of the problem.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Inadequate training and a lack of safety bulletins at contractors hired by American Airlines may have been factors in several incidents of seats coming loose on the airline’s planes last month. The company outsourced the work of adjusting the spacing between rows of seats in many of its aircraft over the summer, as well as the task of shifting overhead lighting controls and emergency oxygen masks. A San Diego contractor working on American’s 767s told the airline in August that its mechanics misinterpreted installation instructions and did the job wrong on at least one plane. Installers at another contractor in South Carolina made a similar error in September, but it wasn’t until October that American issued an alert to all its contractors to be aware of seat brackets that appeared to be installed correctly, but which were not actually secure. The FAA is investigating whether American was supervising its contractors, as it is required to do.

http://www.nytimes.com/2012/11/24/business/installation-problems-seen-in-american-airlines-loose-seats.html

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By Jeff Pardo

Not quite a year ago, in August of 2002, I flew a Cessna 172 with a Traffic Proximity Alert System, or TPAS. Well, I've got a hot sequel for you. Actually, the folks at SureCheck Aviation out in Vista, California, are the ones with the scoop. The TrafficScope TPAS (VRX and VR) is a black box you'll soon be seeing in catalogs, at airshows, and by the time word gets around, probably in a cockpit near you.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

This is one you don’t hear about every day, and it concerns something that all piston engine pilots do and take for granted.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

The U.S. Department of Defense wants a hypersonic aircraft in the skies in the next four years, an ambitious timeline for a technology that doesn’t fully exist yet. With a top speed of Mach 20, or about 13,000 mph, the rocket-powered plane could reach any part of the world in less than an hour. But so far, the longest hypersonic flight test has lasted just nine minutes. Researchers are focused on how to bring such an aircraft to bear, addressing concerns like heat tolerance, navigation and propulsion. One idea is to launch the so-called X-plane from a larger vehicle in low orbit, then give the plane its own set of rockets for added power. For much of the rest of the flight, it would glide back through the atmosphere at hypersonic speeds. At such high speeds, the whole aircraft would need to be able to withstand temperatures of 3,500 degrees Fahrenheit. Officials haven’t publicly given the project a pricetag, though research has been ongoing for several years already.

http://www.msnbc.msn.com/id/48153313/ns/technology_and_science-space/#.T_8_sRxO6zY

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By Reader Submission

The Luscombe Model 8 was one of those classics in aviation that was recognized for its nice lines, good performance, and excellent flying characteristics from its inception.  Continue»

By Reader Submission

The Sedan was the Luscombe Company’s entry into the medium-performance four-place general aviation market.  Continue»

By Laurel Lippert

I thought I was doing fine flying loops and rolls, even a hammerhead, in the brand-new Pitts S2C with only 36 hours on the tachometer. A half-hour earlier, Sean D. Tucker (yes, world-famous airshow performer Sean D. Tucker) had said jokingly, “Now don’t lose your lunch in my new airplane, Laurel.” But, the flat spin did me in.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

You would think that our goal-oriented, law-abiding, type-A personalities would more often lose a battle with weather rather than lose face (and worse) from attempting some dumb stunt, but as Spiderman says, if somebody told you that, they lied.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Did you know that flying at maneuvering speed when encountering turbulence might not be such a good idea? Wait a minute, you may have said to yourself; I know that flying above maneuvering speed when penetrating turbulence can definitely be non-habit forming, so…since when should I not slow down when things get bumpy? Don’t worry, I haven’t been sniffing one too many fuel samples. All I mean to say is that…even maneuvering speed might be too fast.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Despite all our precautions, problems can occur in the cockpit -- typically when you least expect them, and even more often when you can least afford them...  Continue»

By Chad Austin

There is a saying about old pilots and bold pilots, which ends with the statement that there are "few old, bold pilots." In fact, we see accident statistics every year that seem to reinforce this adage -- as we see several new pilots try to boldly do stupid things in flight that typically end badly!  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Ordinarily the aircraft speed limit below 10,000 feet is 250 knots, but there is an exception that might surprise you -- or worse.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Amazing things can spill out of pilots' mouths when they manage a particularly skillful response to an event that was initiated by their own stupidity -- running out of fuel, for example.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

It is becoming more and more possible to include Radar "overlay" information into everyday general aviation flying as new technology emerges. But lets not forget that flying and flight training, both VFR and IFR, has been taking place for decades without onboard radar assistance. Are the techniques of avoiding hazardous weather, even without having onboard radar information soon to be included as a Lost Art?  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

The more I use our airplane's new technology the more I appreciate what it gives us, but I have also discovered some areas that, so far, the technology appears to have missed. One skill that I fear may be lost is chart reading. There is a big difference between a chart and a map. The new technology provides moving maps -- not moving charts.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

I have been learning to use the new technology and along the way I have discovered a few situations where the old technology is not only still relevant, it's more important that ever. One of these situations is planning to divert to an alternate airport...  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

I told you last summer that I would give the new technology an honest try (Trying not to be an Old Fogey) and I am doing that. Here is what I've learned so far: Some old methods are still necessary even with the new equipment. But I'm afraid some of these methods may become Lost Arts.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Transitioning to a new airplane can be a lot of fun, if you do it correctly. I can remember way back to when I was making the transition to my Debonair, and all of the fun and challenges that were included. This was mostly due to the fact that I was going from flying Cessna 172s, to flying a complex, high performance, retractable gear aircraft like the Debonair. Let's just say the experience was loaded with opportunities to expand my skills as a pilot.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

When VFR aircraft share airspace with IFR aircraft, the pilots must have three miles visibility so they might avoid mid-air collisions -- but can both IFR and VFR pilots legally occupy the same airspace with less than three miles visibility?  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

A friend of mine has a turbocharged, single-engine airplane. Part of the appeal of the turbo is the ability it provides to “overfly the weather.” He and his wife were happily cruising at Flight Level 200 (20,000 feet) when something happened…and manifold pressure dropped in half. Where seconds before they were racing above a bank of clouds 15,000 feet thick, now they were sliding down into the deck with but a fraction of their available power…and the clouds were full of ice.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

When we fly we are accustomed to scanning the ground for obstructions like building cranes, towers, buildings, and rising terrain -- but what about those obstructions above our altitude?  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

The yellow and orange Aeronca Champ reflected off the bright morning lake as the pilot drew his craft ever closer to the water.  Continue»

By Doug Marshall

In enforcement actions, the FAA has the option of initiating a certificate action (read: suspension or revocation) or assessing a civil penalty. In some cases, they may pursue both.  Continue»

By Doug Marshall

Suppose your best buddy wants to impress his latest girlfriend with a quick spin around the city in your airplane. You’ve flown with him a few times and feel confident in his ability. True, you’ve never loaned your aircraft to anyone before, but what’s the worst that could happen?  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Your plane looks very cozy to the mouse population -- they will be more than happy to set up housekeeping inside your airframe, and that's a problem (I speak from experience).  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Years ago, I enjoyed reading the Peanuts comic strip written by Charles M. Schultz -- in one series, one of the characters was terrorized repeatedly by a fear of the dreaded Queen Snake.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

The weather briefer told me there'd be 'nothing' between me and home for the 2.5 hour flight -- so why am I seeing towering cumulus up ahead?  Continue»

By John Dale

In the middle of July, I received an early Xmas present. Allen Schrader, President of Lightspeed Technologies, Portland Oregon, answered an email I had sent...  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Ever since the second aircraft started flying, a primary concern among pilots has been the ability to see and avoid the other aircraft.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Here's a story you don't hear very often. It is a tale of a hard IFR flight, and a chance encounter with a thunderstorm in a twin engine Cessna 421. The results of the encounter would challenge any pilot, and in most cases, would have cost a lot more...  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

When you get right down to it precise knowledge of local weather is the one critical determinant as to whether your three-hour instrument flight is going to have a happy ending, or become a cliffhanger at decision height.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

An airplane is a terrible classroom. It's noisy. It's cramped. It's hot -- or it's cold. It can be a high-pressure environment. It's difficult for the instructor to control training, because of weather, other traffic or airspace issues. And it's hard for students to "step back" from the physical tasks of controlling the airplane long enough to assimilate new information.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

They say the two most dangerous words in aviation are 'Watch this!' I considered that just as I'd said them to prepare my passenger for an E-ticket ride.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Slow, but skillful: Although the operative word here is 'slow', lazy eights are usually the final VFR maneuver introduced to commercial pilot aspirants.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Researchers in Wales, England, think they’ve hit on a way to use a small, low-cost laser to determine airspeed in real time and are working on a way to make the device ice-proof. Conventional pitot tubes convert the difference between ambient air pressure and ram air pressure into airspeed. While pitot tubes are heated, sometimes that isn’t enough, and the tubes can clog with ice in severe conditions, leading to inaccurate airspeed readings that can contribute to a loss of control and crash. That phenomenon was a contributing factor in the 2009 crash of Air France flight 447, whose pitot tubes iced up as it flew through thunderstorms over the Atlantic Ocean. The prototype being developed uses a small laser, like those in some computer mice, that shines through a small window on the side of the fuselage and bounces off a reflective surface, such as the side of an existing pitot tube. Software would determine the change in the laser’s wavelength as it bounces back toward a light sensor on the fuselage. The software could then calculate airspeed. The system is being tested in a wind tunnel and could soon be scaled for a real-world test flight.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/08/07/laser_measures_airspeed/

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By Chad Austin

The landing gear on our planes is really taken for granted -- even though it's often the only thing between you, your airplane, and the ground.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Airlines are steadily returning to their normal flight schedules now that all three major airports in the New York area have reopened following the superstorm that pummeled the northeast earlier this week. LaGuardia had been closed for four days and was the last of the major airports to reopen when it did on Thursday. The storm surge from the remnants of Hurricane Sandy flooded large portions of one of the runways and much of the ramp area around the terminals at LaGuardia. It took several days to drain the water and then to check that the runways, signs and lights were still in working condition. Newark and JFK airports reopened on Wednesday; both had lesser degrees of flooding and damage than LaGuardia. Since Oct. 28, airlines cancelled nearly 20,000 flights as a result of Sandy, many of which were scheduled in and out of New York’s airports. Airlines were progressively adding flights as they repositioned aircraft and flight crews, operating partial flight schedules in the New York area. At LaGuardia, several pieces of equipment used for instrument approaches were damaged by the storm, limiting approaches and landings to VFR conditions for the short term.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-10-31/jfk-joins-newark-reopening-as-air-travel-disruptions-ease.html

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By Reader Submission

One of the first light multi-engine airplanes, the Kreutzer Air Coach was an airplane with no market.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Epic Aircraft is planning to expand next year and could add between 40 and 150 new jobs as the company aims to start producing certified aircraft. The Bend, Oregon-based company previously only made homebuilt aircraft, with owner-builders doing their share of the specialized fabrication and assembly at the company’s plant. A Russian firm bought Epic earlier this year with plans to seek full FAA certification for the Epic LT, so that the company could assemble and sell the plans as finished aircraft instead of being classified as homebuilts. So far, Epic hasn’t commented on its expansion plans. But the company won approval for a change of its hangar lease in Bend, to take over a much larger facility once used by Columbia Aircraft and Cessna. Epic plans to certify the turboprop LT as the Epic E1000, but has not announced a timeline for doing so.

http://www.ktvz.com/news/Bend-s-Epic-Aircraft-on-expansion-flight/-/413192/17686726/-/vhocdj/-/index.html

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By Thomas Turner

There’s a maneuver -- it's both easy to enter and easy to recover from -- that, when left unchecked, almost always ends in death.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

If you think we are talking about a new style of props, we wish we were. Instead, we’ll tell you the sad story of what can happen if you aren’t cautious around airplanes.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

I’m taking my son and his cub scout den to an airshow this weekend. It’s one of the bigger events, featuring the U.S. Air Force “Thunderbirds” and a number of well-known civilian acts...  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Don't look now, but we're living through the beginning of another upheaval, of sorts. Along with the more promising changes such as Free Flight, advances in avionics, or the Sport Pilot initiative, and the more discouraging aftermath of 9/11 or the graying of our fleet, there is also another, though at the moment it is one only of perception. I will call it a new age of realism.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Last time, we looked at prohibited and restricted airspace. This time we're going to discuss the other four types in detail (plus an additional thing or two). As you may recall, these remaining types comprise what is known as non-regulatory Special Use Airspace, or SUA.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Our national airspace system sure isn't getting any less complicated, but any long-awaited rescue through increasingly available and ostensibly more accurate means of navigation seems instead to have come at the expense of positional awareness: i.e., we're losing it!  Continue»

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