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By Chad Austin

IT WAS ALL OVER IN A FLASH, literally in the blink of an eye. The airplane was trashed and a deer laid dead on the taxiway, half-butchered by the propeller of the now-blood-covered plane. How this happened is the sad story of a distracted pilot, the proclivities of nature, and just a bad combination of circumstances...  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

When a pilot falls ill (or worse) at the controls of an airplane, it sometimes leaves a frantic passenger at the controls. Pilot incapacitation is a factor in less than one percent of all general aviation accidents; chances are one in many millions that the pilot won’t be conscious to land the airplane.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Responding to an objection from a group of Hawker business jet owners, the judge in Hawker Beechcraft’s bankruptcy case ruled that the company couldn’t sell its remaining inventory of 20 Hawker 4000 jets at a 70-percent markdown. The company wanted to sell the planes at such a deep discount so that they wouldn’t sit and continue losing value, since the company does not plan to keep making the jets once it exits bankruptcy. But the judge noted that Hawker didn’t have any buyers for the jets lined up, and ruled that it didn’t justify the need to sell the jets without court approval first. Hawker has also filed motions to discontinue warranty support for the existing fleets of Hawker 4000, Premier I and Premier IA jets. The company has said previously that it would continue to provide service and support for its jets, even after it stops making them.

http://www.businessweek.com/ap/2012-11-19/hawker-beechcraft-customers-balk-at-inventory-sale

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By Editor Staff

A JetBlue flight last week from Las Vegas to New York had two of its hydraulic systems fail shortly after takeoff. With six hours of fuel on board and no way to dump it to reduce the plane’s weight, the crew entered a holding pattern east of Las Vegas for four hours before making an emergency landing at Las Vegas. There were no injuries among the 155 people on board, although passengers in Twitter posts and interviews recalled an uncomfortable ride with some people experiencing motion sickness. The plane had to be towed off the runway after landing because the hydraulic failures had disabled its nosewheel steering. JetBlue put the passengers on a replacement aircraft and flew them to New York later that night.

http://abcnews.go.com/US/jetblue-flight-forced-emergency-landing-las-vegas/story?id=16608572#.T-P6fhxO6zY

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By Chad Austin

Tires are one of the most forgotten parts of our airplanes. After all, we spend a majority of our time flying through the air, our tires getting a “free ride,” as it were, not in contact with the ground. To the dismay of engineers and aircraft designers everywhere, most of the time an aircraft is in use, its tires are just sitting there being heavy. Unfortunately, because of their seemingly secondary role, pilots tend to neglect their tires to some extent, downplaying problems that could eventually come back to bite them in the tail – HARD!  Continue»

By Chad Austin

In this business, I have to keep my finger on the pulse of aviation. Imagine my surprise when I received a memo from the National Business Aircraft Association (NBAA), noting that on the subject of airport security, that complacency is not an effective countermeasure against terrorist attacks.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Nothing sizzles and nothing sells quite like performance numbers. Two of the most commonly used metrics in describing how an airplane will fly, or when making comparisons between them, are terms that may seem to the uninitiated to belong perhaps to the agricultural sector, or maybe the building of bridges. (So no, despite the provocative title, this isn't about firearms and anti-terrorism.) Among the many parameters used to describe an airplane's abilities and engineering endowments, and which arise from the juggling act that aircraft designers must perform to arrive at the best compromise among them, two parameters in particular provide an excellent snapshot of what a pilot can expect. They are both known as loadings, and they are: wing loading, and power loading.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

As you study and learn the Sectional Chart symbols for landmarks and airspace you begin to notice a hidden message within the color codes.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Earlier this month Iraqi Airways took delivery of a brand new Airbus A330 and a Boeing 777, the first new planes the struggling airline has obtained in 30 years. The deals marked major breakthroughs for Iraqi Airways, which dates from 1938, but stopped flying from 1991 to 2000, during part of Saddam Hussein’s rule. The airline restarted domestic flights, as well as flights to Jordan and Iran, in 2004. But it hasn’t run international flights outside of the Middle East in years; a $500 million settlement with Kuwait last year over Hussein’s alleged plunder of parts during the Gulf War should ease those restrictions. Iraqi Airways is slated to receive 30 new Boeing 737s and 10 of its 787 Dreamliners in the coming years. The airline hasn’t said which routes its widebodies will fly first, though it acknowledged the need to get more before it can fly a regular schedule to more than a handful of international destinations.

http://www.presstv.ir/detail/2012/12/15/278274/iraq-gets-first-new-boeing-in-30-years/

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By Reader Submission

A weather observer writes in to say that the FAA is kicking his kind out -- and warns they'll be taking accurate weather reporting with them...  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Across the United States there are Airport Surveillance Radar sites that do not have boundaries shown on the sectional chart, but you nevertheless should use them ... where are they?  Continue»

By Chad Austin

My buddy Mike loves to fly, and the only thing he likes more than flying is flying aerobatics. He got the bug a few years back and has been hard-bitten ever since. Every time he can scrape together enough money, he's off to the airport for another hour of inverted fun and adventure.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

The key to understanding what airspace boundaries look like is 'seeing' what the terrain looks like...  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

It looks like you really did your homework on this one. The Interactive Pilot readers who took challenge number 4 were almost unanimously correct.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

The iPilot readers that took Challenge #3 did very well and bounced back from a poorer performance on the previous challenge!  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Several weeks ago I issued an interactive challenge; the iPilot readers have met that challenge -- and then some!  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Several weeks ago I issued the first airspace challenge question and 80% of the iPilot readers who took the challenge had the correct answer -- the second time it was different.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Everyone has the potential to have a bad day when flying and, if you’re not careful, your insurance company can make a bad day worse.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Insurance is a gamble: When you take out an aviation insurance policy, you’re gambling that you may have an accident and need the insurance company’s help to pay.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

There it is, in my logbook in May of 1990…0.5 hours in a Cessna 172 over central Missouri, one NDB approach under the hood…and an instructor sign-off for an instrument competency check, what is now known as an instrument proficiency check (IPC). In the mind of my CFII (certificated flight instructor-instrument) I'd demonstrated enough competency in that short time aloft for him to bet his career and fortune (and my life) that I was safe to fly in weather of my choosing. I was too new a pilot at the time to know any better.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

The Instrument Rating requires more than mastery of instrument procedures and flight skills -- it also requires mastery of the paperwork that tells you when you're current and when you're not.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

'Baron 600 Romeo Victor, you’re cleared from the Hardwick Airport to the Hardwick NDB, then hold as published...'  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Boy, was I disappointed!  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

With tax time looming at the next fiscal waypoint, it might be a good time to mention Section 162 of the Internal Revenue Code, which says that deductions are allowed for 'ordinary and necessary expenses paid or incurred' in sustaining 'any trade or business.'  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

I was in the right, front seat of a new Beech Baron. My student, owner of the factory-fresh Beech, had smoothly taken off, beginning a wide, standard-rate turn to the left, away from the airport and toward our practice area. The morning was cool and bright, the sun muted through a thin layer of cirrus clouds far above.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

The mosaic NEXRAD weather radar images that many general aviation pilots get in their cockpits may be 15 to 20 minutes old, even when the image’s timestamp shows it’s only a few minutes old. That’s the takeaway message in a recent National Transportation Safety Board alert based on several recent accidents. The timestamp shown on the image is when the data processing company transmitted that image, the NTSB says. But it can take many more minutes before that to collect the radar imagery from multiple Doppler radar sites, stitch it together into a larger composite image, and then transmit that image to the cockpit. Many pilots figure a five-minute delay as a rule of thumb to calculate how much a storm cell may have moved, the NTSB pointed out. But even that isn’t enough of a buffer. The NTSB noted fatal accidents in 2010 and 2011 in which cockpit NEXRAD displays would have shown images purportedly only one minute old, but which were actually eight minutes old.

http://www.ntsb.gov/doclib/safetyalerts/SA_017.pdf

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By Editor Staff

As part of its bankruptcy restructuring plan, Hawker Beechcraft has whittled its list of potential buyers from 35 companies to just six. While details on five of those are scarce, one of the bidders is the Indian company Mahindra, a large conglomerate that bought a small Australian turboprop aircraft maker in 2009. Mahindra also owns an aircraft components company and has said it wants to produce regional jets as well, a goal that would get a big boost from buying Hawker’s business jet expertise. Hawker went into bankruptcy in May to reduce millions of dollars in debt from Goldman Sachs’ purchase of the company several years ago. It has already shed dozens of jobs at its Wichita headquarters and has pondered scaling back its business jet lineup, possibly eliminating the largest and newest jet, the Hawker 4000.

http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-07-04/mahindra-said-to-consider-bidding-for-hawker-beechcraft.html

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By Chad Austin

It could happen to you at any time and, from the moment the ice begins to form, your actions, and the time you take to implement them, will either keep you alive or get you killed.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

I owe my life to aviation mechanics. For one, my father was an A&P (certificated airframe and powerplant) mechanic (now called "maintenance technicians"). But even if you don't so literally derive your very existence from airplane wrench-turners, you almost certainly live today because of the skill and professionalism of aviation professionals who keep the airline and general aviation fleet going.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Just because your lightning detector doesn't see it, that doesn't mean that the Level 5 thunderstorm isn't there.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Lightning flashed and torrential rain blew in sheets as the 747-400 lined up for takeoff.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Not too long ago, thermal cameras that mapped advancing wildfires would only work well at night, so it would take hours for a plane to survey a fire, process the data on the ground and pass the information to firefighters early in the morning. But new infrared sensors increasingly deployed on wildfire command aircraft can continuously take photos during the day and download the shots to firefighters on the ground within a couple of minutes. The change, while subtle, means that firefighters can pick out small hotspots of burning embers and drop water on them before they develop into large flaming areas. Drones with similar infrared sensors are also sometimes called into duty, a useful tool to get views of hard-to-reach places in rugged terrain. But the complicated and evolving rules for mixing drones with manned aircraft near wildfires mean that for now, drones are seldom actually deployed.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/26/tech/innovation/technology-fighting-fire/

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By Chad Austin

Whether you use a pressure or vacuum system, the loss of your pneumatic system in IFR conditions can provide you with a very challenging last couple of minutes of your life -- and a pneumatic system failure can occur at any time.  Continue»

By NTSB

On November 26, 1999, about 1053 Eastern Standard Time, a Beechcraft S35, N8992M, was destroyed when it impacted a building in a residential area.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

I've managed to see some of the seamy side of the world of aviation in my time, including some pretty lousy repairs. I was thinking about one repair I spotted while looking at an airplane for sale. The plane in question was an older Beech Bonanza, which had looked pretty good on the first inspection.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

The regulations require that you have a two-way radio communications system in order to fly IFR, but radios don't read regulations. What do you do when you go IFR and the radios go AWOL?  Continue»

By Chad Austin

How many times have you stared at the display of your lightning detection equipment, and questioned whether it was telling you the truth?  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

'Confused VFR Pilot' writes: 'I'm ready to start working toward my IFR (Instrument Flight Rules) rating, but I'm confused by the options available.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

You would never think that water could cause these problems, but the fact of the matter is that it can and it will.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Flight under instrument flight rules (IFR) is largely procedural. There’s little room or tolerance for zany spontaneity; if you love surprises, look elsewhere. But although we fly by the book, when the plot thickens, we do in fact have options (although they’re more like regulatory provisions) for choosing a different ending. Usually, the thickening agent affecting our best-laid plans is weather related.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

I am a new pilot and would like to immediately start working on my IFR. Several of my friends who got their licenses have basically put off the IFR and frankly I wonder if they will ever get it.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Keeping your airplane warm and dry has some advantages; let's take a look at your propeller, for example.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

The amphibious ICON A5 aircraft will be spin-resistant, the company announced Wednesday as it released a video of spin test results. The tests, done sometime earlier this year, show the A5 flying alongside a Cessna 150. The pilots of both enter a power-off stall and add full right rudder; while the Cessna 150 drops into a spin, the A5 appears to mush along and start descending straight ahead. ICON touts the wing design as an aerodynamic achievement, a claim that has some pilots furrowing their brows. The video does not address how the A5 handles in more aggressive stall/spin entries, such as with cross-controlled aileron and rudder, and with power added (much like the dreaded base-to-final overshoot with rudder and power added to try to correct). And the video indicates that while the A5 meets the FAA’s Part 23 spin-resistant criteria, the plane won’t actually be Part 23 certified: It will be a light sport aircraft. The two-seat plane costs about $140,000 and is slated to begin production in the next two years.

http://www.flyingmag.com/blogs/going-direct/spin-test-icon-a5-vs-cessna-150

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By Thomas Turner

Ice is the last great unknown in instrument flight -- although wide areas of suspected icing conditions may be forecast, there is *no* technology that can tell you specifically where you’ll encounter ice.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

And I have been taking notes. Over the course of many years I have had the opportunity to watch pilots at work. As an instructor I have seen students of every skill level flying and working the system. In flight simulators I have seen pilots handle problems that we hope we never face in the air. By collecting and grouping these observations, I think I have a fairly good idea of what good piloting is. For most, good piloting is one of those things you have a hard time describing, but you know it when you see it. Well, through prolonged engagement, I have seen the traits that make up skilled piloting ... and the traits that indicate the problems.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

A recent purchase reminded me that, as much as things change through avionics upgrades and regulations, the spirit that lures us to flight has endured in its most basic and shared form for all the years man has yearned for the sky.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

I've often made wry reference to the coward's credo that discretion is the better part of valor. Aside from past tales of gallant heroes battling against great odds in wartime skies, fearless courage usually bears little or nothing of value in civil aviation, and too often brings only grief, not glory. All pilots know that risk assessment is an ever-present task, and all pilots train to expect the unexpected. There is one skill in particular which is seldom needed, but always mandatory, which is called upon should mechanical or other problems ever get the better of us, and that involves knowing how to successfully execute a forced landing. There is another kind of courage needed however, during times when all is not yet lost, when that special blend of knowledge and trust in one's own judgment dictates the best course of action to be…the precautionary landing.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

As Hurricane Isaac lashed Louisiana with inches of pounding rain last week, water backed up in drains at Burke Lakefront Airport in New Orleans, flooding more than 20 planes that owners thought would be safe in their hangars. One of the damaged aircraft is a heavily modified Skyhawk used for aerial surveys of whales and other marine wildlife. Its owner rushed to disassemble as much of the aircraft as he could, applying chemicals to try to ward off corrosion. While most of the aircraft appears repairable, its wiring and ELT will likely have to be replaced. West of New Orleans, at the uncontrolled St. John the Baptist Parish Airport, floodwaters damaged some planes, and owners were forced to contend with thousands of dead earthworms that piled up trying to escape the rising water. At Lakefront, aircraft owners are asking questions about why the airport's drains apparently failed. The airport sits outside the city's levee system, but is protected by its own levees, which held back Isaac's storm surge. But a valve connecting the airport's drains to a city canal behind the levees may have been closed before Isaac made landfall.

http://www.aopa.org/aircraft/articles/2012/120906new-orleans-aircraft-owners-seek-answers-after-flood.html

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By Jeff Pardo

What is one danger to watch out for in a weight shift controlled ultralight aircraft in which either an intentional dive or turbulence causes the nose to pitch suddenly downward?  Continue»

By Editor Staff

The Federal Aviation Administration’s acting administrator, Michael Huerta, endured a grilling from senators on a variety of issues during his confirmation hearing to become the agency’s head for the next four years. Huerta, if confirmed, would replace Randy Babbitt, who resigned last year after being arrested on suspicion of DUI, charges that were later dismissed. Huerta said the FAA was working as quickly as it could to update rules related to training for airline pilots. The more stringent rules were supposed to go into effect last year, but may not be ready until next year, he said; the changes come after the crash of a Dash-8 turboprop in Buffalo in 2009. He attributed the delay to having to review a large number of comments on the rule changes, which would require more flight time before airlines could hire pilots. Huerta also said that, in response to a high number of whistleblower complaints from its employees, the FAA has created its own office to investigate and respond to those complaints.

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-06-21/faa-nominee-grilled-by-senators-on-whistle-blowers-rule-delays

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