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By Greg Brown

“I wonder if there’ll be time to land at the Patton Museum.”

“I hope so,” said my wife, Jean. “You deserve it for flying me to Palm Springs. Besides, I’m getting sick of hearing about it.” I looked forward to delivering Jean to her annual tennis camp. Not only is Palm Springs an interesting aerial journey from Phoenix, but along the way lay an unfulfilled Flying Carpet adventure.  Continue»

By Greg Brown

“Hey, Dan, check out that ’39 Chevy. It’s just like the one I owned in high school – even the same color!” Dan drives a tricked out Camaro, so I doubt he appreciated the old car’s beauty as I did. Then again, my view was burnished by memories. As we crossed the road to see it, I remembered my dad encouraging me to buy the low-mileage antique he’d spotted on a street corner. Among life’s rich lessons was when girls at the Dog ‘n Suds drive-in bypassed the muscle cars to ride in my emerald Chevy. It only did 55mph, but like puppies and babies it exuded character so the girls loved it. Best of all, the narrow front seat ensured that such passengers rode deliciously nearby. After graduation I rebuilt the engine and journeyed in the old auto from Chicago through Canada to Maine and back.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Partial panel flying isn't hard, but it does take practice -- frequent practice -- and there are a few tricks that will make your chances of getting home with a partial panel a lot easier.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Most pilots continue to learn about flying and being prepared, but, no matter how many hours we fly, some things will always turn your stomach.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Your plans are all set -- with some excitement, you will be flying up to the All-Star Game, to be held in Chicago this year. Your plane is fueled, your hotel reservations are made, your flight plans are made, and you even bought the charts you need. Everything is all set for your trip, which is scheduled to start on July 12th to allow you to get in and find your hotel and spend some time in the City of Chicago before the big game starts.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

A Piper Arrow pilot lands without extending the landing gear... A jetliner takes the runway, when the crew discovers they forgot to start an engine...  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

As the project continued -- and the General Aviation pilots continued to have problems -- I became interested in what an "expert's" performance might look like. So during the project, I invited other pilots who would be considered experts to come and give the simulator a try.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

What actually is experience and what does it give you? The dictionary defines experience as "gaining knowledge through direct observation or participation." For pilots, experience is being able to better deal with situations in the future because you have seen them in the past.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

After the volunteers had flown the first LOFT scenario and attended the workshop/seminars, they were scheduled back into the flight simulators for a second session. The second LOFT scenario was different from the first but it featured the same elements and decision prompting situations. The results were overwhelmingly positive.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

After all the pilot volunteers had flown the flight simulator for the first time, I invited them back for a seminar. Up to this point all the volunteers had the same experience with the project.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Last week I described a project that involved volunteer general aviation pilots, a simulator, and a decision scenario -- this week we'll discuss how the pilots handled the situation. In short: Not very well.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

The airlines use a form of training called Line Oriented Flight Training or LOFT. "Line" refers to the "flight line." In a LOFT scenario a pilot and crew are in the simulator but instead of practicing maneuvers, they fly through an actual flight from Seattle to Los Angeles as an example.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Last week we defined a Danger Zone: A pilot who has between 50 and 350 flight hours is more likely to be involved in an accident than any other pilot. This week, we'll look at federal action taken to address the problem.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

The participants in the first simulator session all appeared to be reluctant to tell the controllers that they had an emergency. What were they afraid of? Do pilots risk their certificates and bank accounts by declaring an emergency?  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

As flight students and instructors we work very hard to improve our skills and maintain our status as safe pilots. But can our methods of flight training actually create problems once the student has left the protected environment of the flight instructor? In some cases the answer to that question is YES!  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

So what happens after notification of an emergency reaches the Flight Standards District Office? What is more dangerous -- the emergency or the FAA? I interviewed an FAA Flight Standards Inspector, about the subject.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Accident statistics indicate that pilots with the least experience have the most accidents -- but are there ways to turn that around ... are there ways to help you fly like you have 1000 hours? This week we start a new series on how to find out.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

What are the Airlines doing that we should be doing? The National Transportation Safety Board initially classifies 65-percent of the General Aviation accidents as "pilot error" accidents.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Joe Marsh was the airport manager at Sedalia, Missouri, when I first began giving flight instruction 15 years ago (Joe's now manager at Easton, MD -- drop in and say hello for me!). Retired from the Air Force, Joe had served first as a navigator and then as pilot on lumbering C-124 four-engine, propeller-driven cargo airplanes. In the mid-1960s, Vietnam was a common destination for Joe and his crew.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Officials in Florida are ready spend as much as $1.4 million in an effort to make that state one of six FAA-designated zones for testing how unmanned aerial vehicles integrate with human-piloted planes and the air traffic system. While drones are being used on a smaller scale by a variety of law enforcement and environmental agencies in the U.S., there are many restrictions on how high the drones can fly and how far they can travel from ground-based observers. Drone pilots generally don’t talk to air traffic controllers for clearances, and the smaller aircraft size makes it harder for human pilots of other planes to spot drones in the sky, among other potential problems. The pilot program Florida wants to get involved in would evaluate how drones do at higher altitudes and with less supervision. Scientists envision using drones to monitor wildfires and storms, while police departments in Florida want to expand the use of drones for lengthy surveillance missions.

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/story/2012-06-23/increased-drone-use-privacy-concerns/55783066/1

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By Thomas Turner

As far as the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is concerned, there are only two ways for a civilian to learn to fly... either the school you use is FAA approved, or it is not.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

When can a simulator replace an airplane and is simulator time logged the same way as flight time?  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

A plane slices through thickening fog, the pilot straining to find his destination ahead; another drones over an empty forest into a fierce headwind, sweat on the pilot's brow as the fuel gauges bounce closer to empty.  Continue»

By Reader Submission

A very unusual and expensive five-place airplane, the Sea Bird had many fascinating characteristics.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Back in the early days of the last century, when most men wore hats and a great many sported moustaches, air traffic control wasn’t yet an entirely justifiable concept, and engines failed with regularity, one thing airplanes didn’t have was flaps. Certain airplanes flown today, such as the Piper Cub, still don’t have them. So who cares?  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

A careful preflight won't protect you from some problems -- in the case of a flap problem though, that’s not necessarily the case. Knowing what to look for (and what to do if it happens anyway) can make the difference between a tough day and a bad year -- or no year.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Five crewmen aboard a V-22 Osprey on a training mission Wednesday at a Florida Air Force base are in the hospital after their aircraft crashed. The aircraft was in formation with another Osprey during the training run, but there is no indication yet of what went wrong. Less than a month ago, Japanese officials halted the Marines’ plans to deploy the Osprey there, citing the tilt-rotor aircraft’s safety record. Dozens of people have been killed in Osprey crashes dating back to the aircraft’s development more than a decade ago. Many of the accidents involved mechanical problems. The Osprey, once meant to replace the Marines’ transport helicopters, uses a pair of large rotors on the ends of its wings to take off, land and hover. In flight, the engines and rotors pivot forward, acting as propellers.

http://www.cbsnews.com/8301-201_162-57453528/5-injured-in-osprey-crash-in-fla-panhandle/

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By Jeff Pardo

About half of all general aviation accidents happen in the landing phase.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Last time we talked about the avionics revolution, the introduction of Primary Flight Display (PFD) and Multifunction Display (MFD) equipment into light, personal airplanes. Flat-screen avionics hold the promise of vastly improved situational awareness, the pilot no longer having to mentally combine input from as many as a dozen different (and frequently less intuitive) indicators and instruments across the width of the airplane's panel.  Continue»

By Brian Nicklas

Space-shots from Florida's Cape Canaveral began 50 years ago on July 23rd with the flight of Bumper 8.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

A 'first flight' experience can make or break a passenger -- or even a pilot -- for life.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Granted, your plane’s no Concorde or SUV, but a bad set of tires will make every effort to do for you what it’s done for them.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

If you ever encounter fire in the cockpit, rapid and immediately action is required to save your life.  Continue»

By Ed

To an aircraft -- and whatever is inside of it -- fire is a fast-acting cancer.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Efficient in quickly developing pilots, traditional aviation training nonetheless leaves significant knowledge gaps that contribute to the vast majority of aircraft accidents. It’s up to pilots to seek out knowledge to fill those gaps…here are three ways to increase your knowledge and safety.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

British Aerospace’s new Striker helmet may be one of the first to bring “augmented reality” to the battlefield. Pilots flying with the helmet don’t just get attitude, altitude and airspeed projected inside the visor, as with heads-up displays. Sensors in the helmet can tell which way the pilot is looking and feed the appropriate video signal from cameras mounted outside the aircraft so that pilots can look directly below and behind the plane, with the view projected inside the visor. Circuitry can tell what the pilot is looking at on the visor’s screen and automatically determine targets, reducing heads-down time programming weapons systems. BAE’s helmet is similar to a model in development for the Pentagon’s Joint Strike Fighter jet, both of which incorporate infrared cameras and night vision to let pilots see what’s below them in almost all flight conditions. It’s all part of a trend to reduce pilot workload and button-pushing in the cockpit, while giving fighter pilots greater situational awareness. But some critics worry that the advances are making the battlefield seem too much like a video game.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-19372299

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By Jeff Pardo

I’d like you to think back a minute. The last time you practiced stalls, either with a flight instructor or on your own perhaps, how did you go about it? Did you do a clearing turn, first to the left, then to the right, enriching the mixture, and then if you were planning to do power-off (or “approach to landing”) stalls, perhaps you reduced power along the way and added carburetor heat (if you had a fuel injected engine), slowed to VFE and extended flaps (assuming you had them), and then increased pitch attitude and simultaneously decreased power while maintaining a constant altitude, until things got mushy. . . and then. . . you felt that sinking feeling?  Continue»

By Editor Staff

In a letter to the FAA’s acting administrator last week, the head of the Federal Communications Commission said that the FAA’s ban on portable electronic devices during takeoff and landing needs to be changed. The letter doesn’t address the use of cell phones in flight, but says that other electronic gadgets like tablets and e-readers should be allowed. This summer the FAA launched a panel to review its policies on in-flight electronics, but there is no timeline for when that panel’s eventual findings might be implemented. The FCC’s letter noted that small electronic devices have become a part of everyday life for travelers, and that therefore the FAA needs to update its policies as a result.

http://thehill.com/blogs/hillicon-valley/technology/271565-fcc-chairman-to-faa-allow-greater-use-of-electronic-devices-during-flights

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By Editor Staff

A father and son are safe after being rescued by a Coast Guard helicopter when their amphibious Cessna 185 lost engine power off the California coast on Sunday. The men were flying the Skywagon from southern California to British Columbia for a fishing trip and were only about two hours into the flight when the engine abruptly quit. They landed on the water about a mile from shore, but heavy swells estimated at 8 feet popped the doors off their hinges as the plane hit the water. The men waited in the plane for about two hours before a Coast Guard rescue helicopter arrived. Photos of the rescue show the plane listing with one wing in the water and one pontoon submerged; the son said the plane sank as he was being hoisted into the helicopter.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gWJiatxJ0I4lgyPuIHk63nTa76xw?docId=c32bc53fac514e5d9e80ef1251b31e09

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By Paul A. Craig

Once you get your Private Pilot Certificate, you should celebrate -- take your family for a flight over your hometown, brag at work ... then, make a five-year plan.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

 

A husband, wife and their adult daughter are all recovering after their Cessna 172 Skyhawk crashed in rugged, mountainous terrain southwest of Boise, Idaho over the weekend. While one person was able to call for help on a cellphone about midnight Saturday night, rescuers couldn’t reach the three passengers until later on Sunday because of snowy conditions. Though the passengers suffered head and back injuries in the crash, all three people were listed in stable condition by Monday, the Associated Press reported. Photographs of the crash site taken by rescuers show the plane upright, but with extensive damage to its engine cowling, windscreen and right wing. The outer section of the right wing from the spar to the tip, including the aileron, appeared to have been sheared off in the crash. The family was flying from their home in California to visit relatives southeast of Boise. It wasn’t immediately clear whether the flight was VFR or on an IFR flight plan, nor was it clear what factors may have contributed to the crash.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5iSvvs_xo2XjUJztB_VuC8lD9uoog?docId=f6c831043884421d878ba93dbf71c9f5

 

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By Thomas Turner

Once a year, aircraft owners lay their airplane bare while an expert methodically checks and prods it for any indication the standards under which it was produced or modified are no longer met. It's called the annual inspection. A vital task to assure airworthiness (all too often this is the only real going-over an airplane gets each year), the "annual" is a pass/fail exam ... and owners wonder what their options are if the inspector turns thumbs down.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

When TWA Flight 800 exploded shortly after departure in 1996, the accident highlighted the importance of eliminating combustable fuel vapors in partially empty aircraft fuel tanks. So the FAA gave airline maufacturers until December 2010 to issue service bulletins on how to modify aircraft to inject inert gases into fuel tanks to displace fuel vapors. But Boeing missed that deadline by more than 300 days for two of its aircraft models, leading the FAA to propose $13.6 milllion worth of fines on the company. Boeing’s guidance for 747s didn’t come until October 2011, or 301 days late. And its bulletin for 757s was more than a year late. Meanwhile, Airbus met the agency’s Dec. 2010 deadline for all its aircraft. Aircraft operators have until 2014 to retrofit half their fleets to meet the respective service bulletins, and until 2017 to complete modifications on all their aircraft.

http://www.faa.gov/news/press_releases/news_story.cfm?newsId=13776

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By Editor Staff

Pilots now have until Sept. 14 to send in their comments on an exemption for the third-class medical certificate for certain pilots and aircraft. The extension comes after the agency collected 14,000 comments ahead of the initial July 2 deadline. The changes, favored by AOPA and EAA, would let private pilots use just their drivers license instead of having to get a third-class medical, as long as they took an online refresher course on medical problems for pilots. The exemption would only apply to aircraft with four or fewer seats and an engine of 180 horsepower or less. And pilots who take advantage of the proposed rule change would be limited to day VFR flight. AOPA estimates that 39,000 pilots would take advantage of the easier medical self-certification process each year, and that more than 100,000 single-engine piston planes could be flown if the rule is changed.

http://www.aopa.org/advocacy/articles/2012/120709new-chance-to-comment-on-medical-petition.html

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By Chad Austin

There are two things that are given in aviation: First, the cost to fly will go up each and every year; second, if you don’t keep an eye on your exhaust system, it will most assuredly kill you dead!  Continue»

By Editor Staff

While EADS’ military midair refueling program may have fallen through, the company is betting that the Department of Defense will go for its next generation helicopter, the X3, to replace aging Blackhawks and other helicopters in the coming decades. Eurocopter is taking the X3 prototype on tour to a number of military installations this summer, showing off its handling and cruise speeds, which have topped a whopping 267 mph in flight tests so far. The X3 prototype has a large conventional top rotor to hover, as well as two constant-speed propellers mounted on short wings on either side of the cabin. Unlike the V-22 Osprey, the two side propellers on the X3 don’t tilt upward and only provide forward thrust. And by using differential power on the two propellers, the X3 does away with needing a tail rotor to yaw the body. Eurocopter sees the X3 as a platform that could be expanded to make attack, utility and cargo versions. The military has yet to commit to purchasing any of the next-generation helicopters.

http://blog.al.com/huntsville-times-business/2012/07/eurocopter_putting_high-speed.html

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By Jeff Pardo

Many highly instrumented aircraft and very capable crews have flown their aircraft right into the ground during seemingly safe night visual approaches -- here's why.  Continue»

By Reader Submission

The two-place side-by-side Ercoupe first enter production just before World War II, with a 65 hp Continental engine.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Yep, you read that right, flames, as in FIRE (which is never a good word around an airplane fueled with any kind of AvGas) around your airplane when you are trying to start the engine. If you haven't seen this yet, be wary, because all it will take are the right circumstances, and you not only can see this type of event, YOU WILL.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

At various points during my instrument training, my redoubtable primary (and instrument) instructor took me on a number of memorable mini-adventures. There was that DME arc approach into Martin State Airport in Maryland, or my first taste of Warp Five through snow on a night flight from New Jersey, or that time we flew over to Andrews Air Force Base, and down a special chute reserved mostly for the folks in uniform: the Precision Approach Radar.  Continue»

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