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By Chad Austin

It never ceases to amaze me how many people are involved in plane wrecks every year...  Continue»

By Reader Submission

One of the most enduring of the early speedsters, the Howard 'Pete' raced continually from 1930 to 1935.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Where ever you are - be there! This is a direct quote from Mr. Joel Smith who is a training coordinator for the Boeing 747 fleet of Northwest Airlines. Joel is a former student of mine, and he invited me to sit in on one of his CRM training sessions one time.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

It seems that, in the summer, the Flight Service Station weather briefers always hedge their bets by adding 'potential for afternoon thunderstorms' onto every briefing.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

When problems arise in the cockpit there are many levels of concern and, when asking for assistance, your terminology should reflect the proper level of that concern.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

At the conclusion of any IFR flight, the pilot must determine how to transition from the enroute phase to the landing phase of the flight -- there are five possible ways to do this...  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

A pilot flying through the clouds on an instrument approach can break out below the clouds and see the runway, have the required visibility, but still be unable to safely and legally land on the runway.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

You can fly an instrument approach through the clouds perfectly; you can break out from under a cloud deck and catch a glimpse of the runway ahead, but that doesn't mean you can land on that runway -- you still must have the proper visibility.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Like most other instrument pilots and instrument students in General Aviation, I must fly instrument approaches with precision... and hope.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

In September the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) pulled the prescription pain killer Vioxx off the shelves and last week its chief rival Celebrex was pulled from a clinical trial. It was learned that these two drugs may have dangerous side effects that were previously unknown. The FDA has now come under fire for allowing drugs on the market without completely testing their side effects. Will the FAA have the same problem with new glass cockpit technology in the near future?  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

GPS receivers work because of something navigators have known about for hundreds of years, but what actually goes on inside those microprocessors and is it really just as simple as triangulation and ranging?  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Life has a way of throwing problems at you when you least expect them, and having an engine cowling open up in flight is just one of those problems.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Let's toss the esoterica for the moment. A few months ago, I offered some winter flying tips...  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

At last, I was on my own in a retractable-gear airplane. What’s more, this Cessna’s numerical descriptor started with a two, and not just a one! However, I can still remember my apprehension that I’d be stranded in Chapel Hill the first time I flew the 210 to North Carolina from the Maryland suburbs to visit a friend one very warm Sunday, a number of years ago. I’d watched my flight instructor demonstrate the “hot start” procedure for the Centurion’s fuel-injected engine (several times), but I can well remember the feeling that either mechanical intuition or just plain dumb luck was going to be needed in ample quantity, if ever I took this airplane anywhere that was remote or isolated. Unfortunately, that day, the place looked pretty sleepy to me.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Nearly three years behind schedule, Honda Aircraft Company is finally starting the production line for its very light jet. While flight tests started almost two years ago, the HondaJet program faced lengthy delays after the company had issues procuring some components and after ice damage problems forced a redesign of the plane’s engines. So far the company has assembled the first fuselage and wing sections for customer aircraft, and it plans to deliver the first planes in early 2013. The company must finish some flight testing before it receives its FAA type certificate, which typically comes after the FAA can inspect the first planes that roll off the production line. The $4.5 million very light jet uses a novel design, with its twin engines mounted on pylons that extend vertically from the inboard sections of the wings. The jet seats up to six people, cruises at 420 knots and has a range of 1,400 nautical miles.

http://www.dailyfinance.com/2012/10/29/honda-aircraft-company-begins-hondajet-production/

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By Thomas Turner

This is not amateur-hour: Making sure you stay out of the wrong airspace can take some fancy footwork, so make sure you know how to execute the proper maneuvers at the proper time -- there have never been worse days to end up in the wrong airspace, by mistake and in the blind.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

“Altitude busts” heighten the risk of a midair collision, FAA enforcement action, and, in a descent, controlled flight into terrain.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

We all remember being told what it means if we're flying along and we see an airplane, and it's not moving in our field of vision: trouble, right? RIGHT! Then there's that part about what it means when that other airplane is level with the horizon. It means it's at your altitude, right? WRONG!  Continue»

By Chad Austin

No, we’re not talking about that date you went on...  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Imagine squeezing in a flight lesson in between high school English and biology courses: That’s the reality at the Southwest Aeronautics, Mathematics and Science Academy, a charter high school in Albuquerque, N.M. The new high school’s first cohort of students started classes earlier this month. Students get a curriculum geared toward science, math and engineering, and also have the opportunity to take ground and flight training classes so they graduate with a private pilot’s certificate. Much of the coursework for all classes is online, with teachers providing one-on-one instruction for students who need it. The school is leasing a Skyhawk and a Diamond DA20 for flight training, which costs an extra $4,600 if a student doesn’t get a scholarship for the flight program. And regardless, students can also take classes at a local community college that earn college credit.

http://www.aopa.org/training/articles/2012/120815new_high_school_leverages_aviation_to_the_max.html#at_pco=cfd-1.0

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By Thomas Turner

Last week, we reviewed four of the eight "high risk situations" that lead to almost all lightplane accidents -- taking off with a known problem, midair collision, controlled flight into terrain, and flying an unstabilized approach.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

We pilots take pride (and some even revel) in our ability to overcome obstacles -- but sometimes, the deck is stacked against us. No flight, from the "dawn patrol" cruise to an ocean-spanning instrument odyssey, is completely without hazard -- to fly is to accept, and to manage, risk.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

This year, several aspirants to the edge of space will each consummate years of preparation and sacrifice to compete against the past (and each other), to shatter several high-altitude records and set one for longest free-fall.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Half of all general aviation accidents, and more than half of all transport category accidents (according to a 1992 Logistics and Transportation Review study), occur during landing.  Continue»

By Reader Submission

The four- to six-place Helio Courier was developed from the Helioplane proof-of-concept aircraft (which now resides in the Smithsonian Collection), and has a long list of unique “Short-field Take Off and Landing (S.T.O.L.)” features.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Witnesses say pilot Owen Park flew his medical transport helicopter at treetop level and below the rim of a canyon near Grand Junction, Colo., in late September, scattering a herd of elk in all directions. Park was fined $200 by the state’s hunting division and had his hunting privileges docked, though it is unknown if the FAA has pursued any action. Park’s helicopter wasn’t carrying a patient at the time of the incident but did have a medical crew on board. The crew was flying back to the helicopter’s base in Page, Ariz., after dropping off a patient in Grand Junction. Park told authorities that he was just trying to get a better view of the wildlife and didn’t realize that he was disturbing them. Hunters who had been tracking the elk complained about Park’s helicopter, which was flying low enough that they were able to record the aircraft’s tail number and pass it on to hunting officials. The helicopter is owned by a Utah company which operates Classic Lifeguard Air Medical.

http://www.koaa.com/news/medical-helicopter-pilot-cited-for-harassing-elk/

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By Thomas Turner

The night before, Flight Service reported a morning forecast with a 900-foot ceiling, visibility at two miles in rain showers with heavier rain showers along my route for the planned very-early-morning departure in the company Baron.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

If you've read my work here, you know that I respect Mother Nature. She is the force that creates beautiful sunsets, and gives us the delightful spring rains that bring forth the green fields that feed our world. I also believe that Mother Nature is a witch of the worst order, who will use the weather to beat sense into any pilot who should happen to disregard her power.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Hawker Beechcraft will have another opportunity to win a $350 million contract for 20 light aircraft for the Afghan National Army, a federal judge has ruled. The U.S. Air Force originally disqualified Hawker from the bidding a year ago for having deficiencies in its offer; the contract initially went to Sierra Nevada Corp. Hawker appealed the contract award. In a ruling this week, the judge sided with Hawker, pointing out numerous problems with the contract award process, including a lack of proper documents to support the Air Force’s decision the first time around. The Air Force could make a decision as soon as next month on whom to award the contract to. A win for Hawker, soon to be Beechcraft Corp., would be a big boost for the company as it emerges from bankruptcy. Beechcraft plans to continue making piston and turboprop aircraft, as well as military trainers.

http://www.aviationpros.com/news/10843866/ruling-lets-hawker-beechcraft-rebid-air-force-contract

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By Editor Staff

A Chinese company, Superior Aviation Beijing Co., has agreed to buy Hawker Beechcraft for $1.79 billion in a deal that could bring Hawker out of bankruptcy and spare its U.S. operations. Hawker had been shopping for buyers for months before entering bankruptcy in May to escape its debt after an earlier takeover. The offer from Superior could still fall through, since it must be approved by regulators both in the U.S. and in China, as well as by the U.S. bankruptcy court handling the case. That process could take several months. If finalized, Superior said it would keep Hawker’s management team and production lines in place, moves that would save Hawker’s 7,400 employees for the time being. But it’s not clear what the company’s long-term prospects would be under the deal. Hawker had previously said that if it emerged from bankruptcy as a standalone company, it would likely cut back its business jet lineup, but would keep producing its popular King Air turboprop models.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/hawker-beechcraft-announces-179-billion-sale-to-chinese-firm-to-support-ongoing-operations/2012/07/09/gJQATjE5YW_story.html

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By Editor Staff

Hawker Beechcraft expects to finalize a buyout deal with a Chinese firm in the next few days, though employees could have their pensions frozen if the deal gets approved. Superior Aviation Beijing Company stands to gain ownership of Hawker in the $1.8 billion deal, assuming the bankruptcy court approves it and assuming Superior isn’t outbid in a court-required auction. Under the plan, employees would have their pensions frozen at their current levels, though Hawker would agree to pay the nearly $500 million that it has failed to set aside into the fund in recent years. An overwhelming majority of employees represented by the International Association of Machinists and Aerospace Workers agreed to the pension provisions. In related news, the bankruptcy judge handling the case struck down the Hawker’s plans to pay eight of its top executives a combined $5.3 million in bonuses. The judge said the bonuses amounted to paying the top brass for little more than just doing their jobs, not reaching the threshold of achieving so-called “challenging goals” that judges look at when approving bonuses in bankruptcy cases. Last month, the court approved Hawker’s plan to dole out $1.9 million in bonuses to 31 other management-level employees.

http://www.foxbusiness.com/news/2012/08/30/hawker-says-it-is-closer-to-superior-deal-settles-with-pbgc/

http://www.flyingmag.com/news/bankruptcy-judge-rejects-hawker-beechcraft-bonuses

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By Editor Staff

Hawker Beechcraft sees three main options for emerging from bankruptcy protection, all of which include eliminating at least some of its business jets, court records show. The company filed for bankruptcy in May to help it shed debt that grew after several investment banks bought the company from Raytheon in 2007. Under the three rough plans, employees would keep their pensions, but the six-seat Premier jet would get cancelled, as would development of the similarly sized Hawker 200. The plans differ in what would happen with the rest of the company’s portfolio of jets: The large Hawker 4000 could also get the axe, or the company could stop making business jets (including the successful Hawker 900) altogether. Under all of the plans, Hawker Beechcraft would continue making and supporting its popular King Air turboprops, as well as its military trainers. The company indicates in its filings that the mid-size Hawker 900 would likely remain a competitive jet in the near term, but that the Hawker 4000’s costs would need to be cut 20 percent to keep it profitable, an “unlikely” achievement for the company to attain.

http://www.kansas.com/2012/06/17/2374539/hawker-beechcraft-bankruptcy-plan.html

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By Editor Staff

Hawker Beechcraft’s potential buyout from a Chinese conglomerate is just the lastest example of a growing trend of American aircraft manufacturers getting significant financial help from Chinese firms. Cirrus may have been the first, securing $150 million for its single engine jet program when it agreed to sell itself to a Chinese company last year. In March, Cessna agreed to have some of its turboprop Caravans produced in China, a step seen as opening up China’s largely untapped general aviation market to Cessna’s products. Last week, Hawker announced that, pending government approval and a bankruptcy auction, it would agree to a buyout from a large Chinese company with limited aviation holdings. In all three cases, critics have worried about losing highly skilled aviation manufacturing jobs in the U.S. when the Chinese parent companies decide to move plants to their own shores. But doing so would likely jeopardize FAA production certificates. So for now, those jobs that remain should be safe. Since 2008, Wichita, Kan., a hub for several large aviation companies, has lost 13,000 aviation-related jobs due to the recession.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/business/industries/hawker-beechcraft-bid-by-chinese-firm-exemplifies-interest-in-international-partnerships/2012/07/15/gJQAJhnemW_story.html

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By Editor Staff

One of only 12 remaining airworthy World War II Hawker Hurricane fighters is on the auction block in the UK next week. The 1942 Mark XIIA Hurricane flew for the Royal Canadian Air Force during the war, likely patrolling Canada’s east coast for German U-boats. The plane deteriorated in a barn but was eventually bought in 2002 and restored to flying condition in 2004. While more than 14,000 Hurricane variants were produced during World War II, only 12 remain airworthy today. The one up for auction could sell for between $2.2 million and $2.7 million. It can cruise as fast as 280 knots with a range of about 900 miles. The model up for auction once flew with a dozen Browning .303 guns, but their bays in the wings were replaced by long-range fuel tanks during restoration. Most of the other parts of the plane are original or restored to their original condition, including the 1,300-horsepower Merlin 29 engine. The plane’s only other major modifications are the addition of a radio, transponder and seat harness. It has about 465 airframe hours and 170 engine hours since restoration.

http://www.bonhams.com/auctions/20148/lot/375/

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By Reader Submission

Made famous by its success in the “Battle of Britain”, the Hurricane is still close to the hearts of many English aviation enthusiasts.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Hawker Beechcraft has ended talks with a Chinese joint venture over what would have been a $1.8 billion buyout of the bankrupt American company. Officials blamed a number of complex issues and said that the political climate surrounding China in the U.S. presidential election may have played a role in souring the tone of the talks. Hawker now plans to emerge from bankruptcy as a new company, Beechcraft Corp., which would focus on piston and turboprop aircraft, along with military projects. Most notably, the company said it would likely shut its business jet lines for good; it plans to find a bidder for those parts of its business so that it can repay its creditors. Hawker Beechcraft was struggling under a $2.5 billion debt load after the 2007 buyout of the company by a group of investors. Since entering bankruptcy in May, the company floated several restructuring plans, most of which would have pared back business jet production. But this week’s announcement to end jet production altogether came with few other details, such as who would support the company’s existing fleet of business jets. A bankruptcy court hearing on the plan is scheduled for next month.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/10/18/us-hawkerbeechcraft-bankruptcy-idUSBRE89H1LA20121018

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By Editor Staff

Financial disclosure documents approved by a bankruptcy judge this week put Hawker Beechcraft on track to emerge from bankruptcy by the end of January, if the company’s creditors approve its reorganization plan. The company would then be known as Beechcraft Corporation, and while it would no longer make business jets, it would continue to make piston and turboprop aircraft. Hawker has not said what will happen with its jet production lines, type certificates and other related assets, though many other companies are reportedly eying a purchase. Hawker entered bankruptcy in May to escape its heavy debt load from a previous buyout, and said this fall that it would stop producing the Hawker 4000 and Premier lines of business jets.

http://www.sacbee.com/2012/12/05/5033656/hawker-beechcraft-disclosure-statement.html

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By Editor Staff

 

Hawker Beechcraft plans to lay off 170 of its 450 workers in Little Rock, according to a letter to employees delivered Thursday. In a letter, CEO Steve Miller and Chairman Bill Boisture said cuts will affect employees "across multiple levels and functions, hourly and non-hourly."

http://www.arkansasbusiness.com/article.aspx?aID=132391.54928.144533

 

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By Chad Austin

I received a letter recently from an old pilot friend of mine, who said he had experienced a proverbial "bad day of flying." After reading his letter, I was left with an impression -- while his day was certainly not great, it was a pretty good "bad day" for several reasons. Once I explain what I mean, I think you will understand... and agree.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

If you think about how the various temporary flight restrictions and outright groundings have affected your ability to fly, think some more and consider how these actions have affected your FBO...  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Since the Airspace series began, many of you have written about your hometown airpace and its unique characteristics -- the best way to get to know your own local airspace is to 'slice' it and take a good look.  Continue»

By Laurel Lippert

Flying cross-country in an old, slow airplane guarantees adventure. We have learned to be flexible, and, when weather or mechanical problems change our plans, to relax and appreciate where we are. Many flying stories are worth sharing, and our favorites affirm our motto: Fly often, stay open, allow fate to redesign the trip, and welcome any opportunity to improve on the original plan.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

The most commonly glossed-over subject on complex checkouts could cost you several knots in cruise and a couple hundred hours of useful life from your engine.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Did you read that right? Bad C-O-N-T-R-A-C-T-S was the title, not contacts. Believe it or not, some airport contracts (hangar leases) have some real hum-dingers in them.  Continue»

By John Dale

We will look at several of these in this month's article. The Visor Deluxe, as with most new Palm Pilots, will let you add a modem for email when traveling.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

YOU DON'T OFTEN HEAR ABOUT EVENTS LIKE THIS, BUT THEY DO HAPPEN. I happened to notice that there was a fleet of fire trucks headed towards the airport. It turns out they had good reason to be in a hurry, since one airplane had just plowed into three airplanes!  Continue»

By Chad Austin

You don’t hear about people hand-propping planes very much any more.  While there are still a good number of planes without electric starters out there, the pilots that fly (and hand start them) are generally a well-trained and cautious bunch, and don’t generally get into trouble.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Here are some facts you may already know, a few that you probably didn't, and one or two that, properly applied, might keep you from getting killed.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

In the furor of the Post September 11th attacks, a subject seems to come up again and again -- that of whether or not flight crews should be able to carry firearms in the cockpit.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Gulfstream's newest ultra-long-range business jet got FAA type certificate approval last week, paving the way for deliveries to start later this year. The jet can seat up to 18 and cruise up to 7,000 miles at Mach 0.85. Built to compete with large business jets like Bombardier's Global series, the G650 has a wider and taller cabin than previous Gulfstream models, and a cockpit build around four 14-inch LCD displays. The company's PlaneConnect system lets jet operators on the ground monitor flight parameters and engine health in real time; the plane can even automatically send maintenance alerts to Gulfstream. The company's new midsize G280 also earned Israeli and U.S. type certificates last week. The 10-seat plane replaces the older Galaxy business jet, which was made by Israel Aerospace Industries. The G280 features a new wing design and Honeywell engines that use less fuel and are quieter than before, allowing the plane to cruise at Mach 0.85. Its 3,600 range means it can fly across the U.S. or from New York to London nonstop, one of few business jets in its size category with that capability.

http://www.gulfstream.com/news/releases/2012/gulfstream-g650-receives-type-certificate.htm

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