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By Reader Submission

A jack of many trades, the four-place Grumman Tracker was primarily used as a carrier-based anti-submarine airplane.  Continue»

By Reader Submission

Originally designed as a biplane, the Wildcat was converted on the drawing board to a mid-wing monoplane when it was found that the competitor's airplane was to be a monoplane.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

A sobering set of anecdotes is casting doubt on new European Union rules that let airline pilots be on duty for 22 straight hours, including 11 hours of flight time. Britain’s Civil Aviation Authority, the equivalent of the FAA in the U.S., has collected several reports of pilots who left the cockpit in flight to use the bathroom and returned to find the other pilot asleep when he or she should have been monitoring the flight. Currently, airline pilots in Britain are limited to 18-hour duty days, while U.S. pilots are limited to 9- to 14-hour duty days. A survey of British airline pilots found that 40 percent admitted to falling asleep in the cockpit under the old 18-hour duty day limits, a figure that pilots warned could climb if they are forced to fly over longer periods without rest. Of those who admitted to falling asleep in the cockpit, a third said when they woke up, they found the other pilot was also asleep.

http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2224660/Plane-terrifying-The-passenger-jet-pilots-falling-asleep-cockpit--sole-charge-aircraft.html?ito=feeds-newsxml

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By Paul A. Craig

We learn to fly an 'S' turn down a road, a circle around a barn or to fly parallel to a railroad track when learning to fly ... but why?  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

The number of our landings must always equal our number of takeoffs -- or so goes the adage -- but sometimes the safest way to ensure equality is to do neither. Unlike birds possessing the gift of flight and whose skills are instinctive, we have the gift of thought, but our skills are hard won.  Continue»

By Brian Nicklas

Although a more infamous airship was to follow, perhaps the most famous airship was the Graf Zeppelin, which launched on September 18, 1928.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

It's cold, it's dark, it's winter. The alternator is the electrical lifeline for your aircraft. While the battery on board most planes, if you lose the alternator, the life of the battery is typically less than an hour at full load, and even shorter with all the lights on! But many pilots pay little attention to the alternator in their airplane, since it is such a dependable piece of equipment. The problem with alternator problems is that they usually come when the alternator is under heavy load. Translation: The alternator usually fails when you need it most.  Continue»

By Greg Brown

Don was at the island that Saturday, his bit of paradise on the Canadian side of Lake of the Woods, when the pain began. Fortunately my brother-in-law Dave was there with his wife, Barb. They rushed Don by boat and car to Kenora, Ontario, where he was airlifted to Winnipeg.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Things are a bit messed up right now, so if you do get the chance to go somewhere, you'd better know what you're doing, because getting it wrong might result in a military escort followed by an unplanned landing at an unfamiliar airport.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

If you ever fly through a fusillade of hail, whether you get to experience an abrupt cacophony of tiny bouncing frozen particles of graupel, or the total panic and pandemonium of genuine hailstones pummeling your airplane, it will get your attention.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Recently we looked at engine-failure case studies of aircraft that are close to identical in design and performance -- except for the number of engines.  We discovered that significant, regular pilot training is needed to enjoy the safety advantage of a second engine.  Translation: For many pilots (those with 'twin' ratings, included) the single-engine airplane may actually be the safer machine.  And yet, regardless the number of engines, there's still that pesky engine failure scenario, especially hazardous in the clouds.  If you fly a single-engine airplane, you need to prepare for the catastrophic power loss in instrument conditions.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Flying a C172 toward Columbia, MO, one day, I grew nervous as the ATIS spoke of lower and lower visibilities.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

There is perhaps no more appropriate application for the term "grass roots" than when applied operating an airplane from a so-called soft field. Grass runways evoke a certain goggles-and-white-scarf nostalgia, but the demands they impose do confer more than just some bragging rights. Besides the obvious benefits of improved skills, there's also the advantage those landings (and hopefully, subsequent takeoffs) will give if ever your plans don't take you, where your plane did...  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Get Lost! Think about how many times you have heard that in your life (alright, some of us more than others). When looking at this from the perspective of a student pilot, getting lost while in the air is somewhat scary, and the fear of getting lost is one of the key issues that ends future pilots when they obsess about that fear.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Takeoff and landing comprise about three percent of flight time, but account for roughly half of all accidents -- one significant contributor is density altitude.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

If the engine quits, flying the airplane at a speed greater than stall speed is the number one priority, but once the airplane glide is safely under control, the pilot must make the next most important decision.  Continue»

By Reader Submission

Developed for the Cirrus Derby cross country race (in which the type placed second behind the Command-Aire 'Little Rocket' Racer), the small single-place Sportsters went into production shortly thereafter with several engines to choose from.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Garmin ( www.garmin.com) has long had the relationship as the leader in airborne GPS technology. Their latest additions to the market are the monochrome GPSMap 96 and color GPSMap 96C units, both of which are perfectly sized to fit into the palm of your hand, and yet pack one heck of a punch. We managed to get our hands on one of the color versions of these hot-selling units, and tried it out to see what it could do.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

General aviation pilots who want an onboard weather radar antenna have a new option in Garmin’s GWX 70, a $21,000 add-on that is compatible with most of the company’s displays and flight decks. The GWX 70 comes in three different antenna diameters from 10 to 18 inches and has features designed to reduce pilot workload. The antenna will automatically adjust as the plane climbs or descends to keep the same tilt, and it will highlight areas behind storm cells where another cell may be growing, but wouldn’t be visible to the radar. And pilots can use the radar in ground mapping mode during approaches, or to detect turbulence up to 40 miles ahead. The GWX 70 is priced about $10,000 below Honeywell’s entry-level weather radar. This week, Garmin also announced several new products to bring ADS-B data into GA cockpits. The $4,000 GDL 88 receiver can work as a standalone unit to bring ADS-B traffic and weather data to other cockpit displays, as well as transmit GPS-based position data to other aircraft – without having to replace one’s transponder. And for $1,200, pilots can upgrade their GTX 330 and GTX 33 transponders to be fully ADS-B compliant. For tablets and other portable devices, the GDL 39 wil supply both GPS position data and ADS-B weather and traffic data, all in an $800 package.

http://garmin.blogs.com/pr/2012/07/garmin-leads-the-way-to-ads-b-future-introduces-comprehensive-lineup-of-certified-and-portable-ads-b.html

http://garmin.blogs.com/pr/2012/07/garmin-brings-affordable-doppler-capable-weather-radar-capabilities-to-general-aviation-with-gwx-70.html

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By Editor Staff

A one-runway airport in rural Illinois, northwest of Chicago, could be in jeopardy as the land underneath it heads to the foreclosure auction block this week. Galt Field only has about 100 operations per day, and is home to about 70 general aviation aircraft. The rural airport is a local hub for flight training, aerobatics and airport buffs in the summer, meaning business is good for the man who sells fuel and operates the airport on a day-to-day basis. But he has no connection to the owner of the land underneath the airport, and it’s that land that’s in foreclosure. The airport’s owner made a series of improvements to Galt’s taxiways, runway and other facilities, but fell behind in the payments to a local bank for those improvements following the 2008 recession. It’s unclear who will step up to buy the airport at auction, or what its fate will be. There is little else besides farm fields near the airport, and it is only a modest economic generator, since there are no commercial flights, no control tower and only limited services. The total debt on the airport property is $16 million.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/news/local/suburbs/mchenry/ct-met-galt-airport-20120618,0,6756016.story

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By Chad Austin

This trip took place back in the mid-1970’s: flying down along the western coast of Mexico and meandering down to the South American continent sounded like just the trip these US-worn pilots needed -- until... When I think of this story, it still gives me the chills...  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

You’re four thousand feet above the ground and having the time of your life... when -- without warning -- the smooth purr of your engine chokes into a coughing fit that becomes sudden silence...  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

I leveled at 11,000 feet as Santa Fe slid beneath the left wing. Turning southeast onto the airway that runs the pass between the San Juan de Cristos to the north and the Sandias to the south, I set the Bellanca Super Viking's power and tweaked the trim for cruise. Reaching to the floorboards I moved the fuel selector to the AUX position, for auxiliary-tank fuel placarded "for use in level flight only." "Level off checklist complete," I spoke to myself after completing the level-off "flow pattern." But then...  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Airlines flying Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner must inspect each aircraft’s fuel systems for potentially faulty couplings that could leak and lead to a fire. The problem first surfaced in October at All Nippon Airways, which reported a fuel line leak on one aircraft; no one was hurt in the incident. The FAA is now requiring inspections of the plane’s fuel couplings, which may have been installed incorrectly by Boeing. Other international aviation regulators are likely to follow suit. News of the problem came the same day this week that a United 787 flight from Houston to Newark made an emergency landing after an unrelated electrical problem. One of the plane’s six electrical generators failed partway into the flight, forcing it to divert. No one was hurt in that incident, either.

http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/12/06/uk-boeing-dreamliner-faa-idUSLNE8B403P20121206

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By Thomas Turner

Success! After years of experimentation, building on the work of countless others yet furthering the science of aeronautics well beyond any others before them, Wilbur and Orville Wright had solved the elusive problem of aircraft control in gliding flight. The ultimate prize, however, was to combine that control with power to go when, where and however long they wished. The Wright Brothers needed an engine.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

We all know the story of how two bicycle-shop brothers from Ohio built and flew the first successful heavier-than-air aircraft from the dunes of North Carolina on December 17, 1903. Last time we looked at the path of science and imagination that created the atmosphere in which the Wright Brothers began their work. This time we'll look at how the Wrights adapted that experience to finally conquer the air.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Avionics installers across the nation face a daunting challenge in the coming years. To meet the FAA’s mandate that all aircraft be equipped with “ADS-B Out” capability by 2020, they would collectively need to upgrade 125 planes each day starting next year. And until a recent memo issued by the FAA, each upgrade has required a lengthy battery of tests. Now, ForeFlight is close to having a set of STCs that will allow its RANGR ADS-B transmitter to be installed in many general aviation models with only a Form 337. That should cut installation time and cost, but the hurdle may still be high for many GA aircraft owners. ADS-B out requires the transmitter, a WAAS GPS unit and a Mode S transponder, each of which costs thousands of dollars. And taking advantage of ADS-B In, which gives pilots real-time traffic alerts and weather, requires yet more equipment.

http://www.aopa.org/aircraft/articles/2012/121105freeflight-systems-gains-wider-approval.html?CMP=News:S2T

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By Editor Staff

 

Surveillance video footage from the airport in St. George, Utah, shows a Cessna Skyhawk flying low down the length of the runway, then climbing rapidly before apparently crashing about 300 yards off the end of the runway over the weekend. The late-night crash killed all four men on board, who ranged in age from 20 to 28. Because the airport is uncontrolled, there were no witnesses to the crash and the wreckage was not discovered until the next morning, about four hours after the crash. The video footage may provide only limited clues about what happened, since only the plane’s lights and strobes are visible in the final frames. Investigators don’t yet know where the plane was headed; calm VFR conditions prevailed at the time of the accident.

http://www.boston.com/news/nation/articles/2012/05/27/video_captures_plane_before_it_crashes_killing_4/

 

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By Paul A. Craig

To become a Private Pilot you must have a total of 40 flight hours: 20 with an instructor and 10 solo; let's see, 20 + 10 equals... hey, wait a minute!  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

We all know that filing a flight plan is good insurance, priceless in fact: it (still) doesn't cost us anything. But there are a few things about flight plans that aren't so well known. Let's look at some of them...  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Not every engine-out need take you by surprise and even if there's nothing you can do about the problem, having some warning that its coming and some knowledge of its nature will always help. Generally speaking, your mission as a safe pilot is not simply to fly the airplane but also to account and compensate for those variables that might otherwise do you in. This means you must acquire knowledge of and / or take the proactive steps that will minimize or remove those threats. The steps listed below, are designed to help you prevent a forced landing due to engine failure, and survive one should it happen anyway...  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

For most of us, if our engine quits, we're going down. It happens, though not often. About half the time, it's either because a pilot exhausted his fuel, starved the engine by attempting flight with a tank that had none left, or forgot about that red knob. An additional fourth or so are attributable to maintenance issues. And about another ten percent are attributable to fuel contamination. These data come only from those events in which a forced landing resulted in an "NTSB 830 classifiable accident" but based on these, a forced landing occurs about once every 200,000 hours: many times more than most of us will ever get to fly.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Until that defining moment which comes to some of us at some point during our training (somewhere between the day we start flying and when we inevitably must stop), we fail to grasp the importance of the rods and cables that carry our control inputs from inside the cockpit out to our wings. In my case, appreciation and awareness came rather suddenly.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

...a few things you didn't know about prohibited airspace incursions, and a few things that the Secret Service, FAA, NASA, and Slimy Contractors are considering in the Back Room.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

An aircraft storage subsidiary of Airbus is finding there is good money to be made in breaking down old aircraft for parts and scrap. Storing planes can cost $25,000 each month, but breaking them down is usually less than $200,000, letting the plane’s owner resell valuable parts for a profit. Tarmac, the Airbus subsidiary, says parts like landing gear assemblies, flight control surfaces and even engine components can be serviced and reinstalled in flying aircraft. Cut off the cockpit as one section, and that can be converted into a full-featured flight deck simulator. The rest of the aluminum, electrical wiring and other parts are worth thousands of dollars to scrap metal buyers. There’s an upside for Airbus, too: the company gets a good look at how its planes (and the competition) stand up to years of use, including which parts fatigue first and which stay strong. Tarmac has so far only recycled about a dozen aircraft, but says as much as 90 percent of the material can be salvaged, rather than thrown out.

http://edition.cnn.com/2012/06/15/business/airplane-recycling-tarmac/index.html

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By Jeff Pardo

Marshalling aircraft is one of the most thankless tasks that linemen must perform. Often overlooked during pilot training, and in practice, it's also prone to mishaps. As those who work the line will tell you, it is one of the least understood areas of operation among pilots ... that's us, folks.  Continue»

By Reader Submission

The Fokker Triplane will always be remembered by the general public as the flaming-red mount of Manfred von Richthofen ('The Red Baron').  Continue»

By Reader Submission

The last of the great WWI Fokker fighters, the D.VIII (Flying Razor, as it was called by the English) was built too late in the War to affect its outcome.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Children can be the most cooperative, curious, and cheerful of airborne companions -- I said they can be. On the other hand, if aerial introductions are done unwisely, they can also become most difficult, distracting, and very unhappy.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

If you plan to fly with very young children, you need to be especially careful to protect her or him from the rigors of flight.  Continue»

By Keith Connes

Airline Captain – considered by many to be the ultimate flying job.  Continue»

By Doug Marshall

An airman's certificate is an airman's certificate is an airman's certificate, except when it is a medical certificate, or is it?  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

“The keys are in the airplane. Just fill it up when you get back.”  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

When I was a kid I was always looking to the skies. One of my earliest memories is seeing the Goodyear Blimp float past my dining-room window. Absolutely guaranteed to make my youthful heart race was the silhouette of a pair of wings, stacked around a single airframe -- a biplane, what my father called, in his transplanted West Virginia drawl, a "double-winger."  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Of course, military, law enforcement, and some emergency services and medical pilots have already run this gantlet of extensive background and criminal history checks, so it's nothing new to them, but it may be new to you... and very soon.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

People with disabilities must face many barriers in their lives, but learning to fly an airplane isn't necessarily one of them.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Since it’s January, and I happen to be in northern New Jersey where evening temperatures have been dropping into the single digits this week, I’m feeling particularly motivated to bring up the subject of winter flying. If you’re feeling a bit cramped and compromised by cold weather though, take heart, because it could be worse: you could live up in Frostbite Falls.  Continue»

By Greg Brown

Twin-engine airplanes weren't available for rent at my old home airport of Lafayette, Indiana, so when I decided to pursue multiengine training I went down the road to Herman Brown's flying service in Terre Haute. 'Brownie,' as he's known in the neighborhood, fit the mold of old time pilot examiners - hardboiled and independent, but warmhearted once you got to know him.  Continue»

By Greg Brown

We had endured a long dry spell here in Arizona, and I'm not just talking about lack of rain. Following months of toil without a break, Jean and I were physically and emotionally drained. 'I must get out of here for some reason other than work,' she complained while packing for yet another business trip. 'When's the last time we went camping? Or walked a beach?'  Continue»

By Greg Brown

'See where the river breaks over that wide rock?' said our guide, Donny. 'We need to be careful there because the water tumbles violently on the other side, like a horizontal tornado.'  Continue»

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