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Looking for great informative articles? Our extensive database of more than 1000 articles ranging from flying in bad weather to trivia has something for everyone!
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By Paul A. Craig

Can you fly your airplane with that missing or inoperative equipment?  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

“Come to work for me. Here’s what I’ll pay you. And oh yeah, here’s your Baron.”  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

A recent poll revealed that 60% of all pilots consider an alternate route or diversion airport when they plan a flight -- that’s 40% too low.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Where did 'Zulu' time come from, anyway?  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Looking over the flight controls is one of the important tasks that a pilot performs just prior to taking to the air and the extent of your effort here might be a good judge of your overall thoroughness as a pilot.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Unlike the non-flying population at large, when it comes to blood pressure (an important indicator of cardiac health), any pilot pretty much already knows what their score is. And any pilot who is on the borderline between ho-hum normal and mildly elevated probably knows it, too. But here's something you probably didn't know...  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Your first solo was the challenge of a lifetime, but was it legal?  Continue»

By Chad Austin

If you were flying in the military, and were in a hot spot where your aircraft was at risk, you would be flying with your IFF, or Identification, Friend or Foe System on high alert -- things are a little different in the civilian market.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

If you’re flying under a U.S.-issued pilot certificate, your days are numbered.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Whenever we fly from point A to point B, many of us use the Victor airway system, and we pick a route that offers us the smallest increase beyond a great circle distance, or the highest groundspeed ... and these days, perhaps the widest berth from unfriendly airspace. In addition, particularly in the IFR world, there's often more to it.  Continue»

By Reader Submission

The Yakovlev Yak-11 “Moose” (a United Nations Designation), went into service with the Russian Air Force in 1946 as a high-performance two-place advanced trainer.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

 

Commercial spaceflight operator XCOR unveiled plans this week to shuttle paying passengers on 45-minute trips into low earth orbit for under $100,000, starting as soon as 2014. XCOR is the latest of several companies that have announced in the last few months that they’re on the cusp of offering commercial space tourism flights. The company’s Lynx vehicle takes off and lands like an airplane, using a rocket engine for all phases of flight. XCOR plans to start flight tests on the vehicle later this year. But the company doesn’t plan on stopping with short hops into space. Future, larger variants of the Lynx will be able to carry passengers from New York to Tokyo in about an hour and a half, quickly climbing into orbit for most of the distance. But that may not come to reality for another 20 years. In the mean time, the first Lynx vehicle is compact, at about 30 feet long with room for just a handful of people.

http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/23/xcor-lynx-the-supersonic-plane_n_2005323.html

 

Correction: An article last week about XCOR’s commercial space vehicle implied that the Lynx vehicle could be used to fly passengers between cities. The company has no such plans.

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By Editor Staff

An Alaska National Guard helicopter on a training mission in the mountains east of Anchorage two weeks ago found the wreckage of a 1952 military transport plane crash that killed 52 men. The C-124A Globemaster, flying from Washington State to Anchorage in November 1952, went down in the mountains during poor weather and would have been navigating solely by radio beacons and timers. Search crews shortly after the crash managed to find the Globemaster’s tail and surmised the plane had flown into the side of a 9,100-foot peak, but winter weather conditions quickly buried most of the debris field in snow. The small pieces of wreckage found two weeks ago may include bone fragments, and the military will start the time-consuming process of trying to match DNA from any remains to relatives of the men who died. The rediscovered debris field, atop the Colony Glacier, is about 12 miles from where the plane is thought to have crashed; other pieces of the wreckage may be trapped in layers of ice deeper in the glacier.

http://www.adn.com/2012/06/27/2522543/glacier-plane-wreckage-was-1950s.html

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By Chad Austin

If you live in the northern climes -- specifically where the outside air temperature dips below the freezing mark -- then you are probably familiar with engine heaters. These little units do a single, simple task: they pre-heat our aircraft engines, so that the engines will start when needed... and not self-destruct in the process.

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By Paul A. Craig

A good pilot customarily calculates a ground speed, duration and estimated fuel burn before each flight -- all from forecast winds -- and that’s not so good...  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

At about 11 AM, just as I arrived to fly an R-22 into a cool blue March sky out of Frederick, Maryland, a pilot proved once again that when you consider all weather phenomena, it is winds which are the cause of many accidents. As I was waiting for the instructor to return with his student and the helicopter, I heard a cacophony of sirens, but I just figured that it was coming from one of the local roads nearby. They weren't.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Flying that little J3 Cub to the 1840-foot long, 30-foot wide runway at Clearview Airpark in Westminster, Maryland, I quickly learned to watch for squirrely winds and descending air on short final to runway 31.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

It’s expensive, it’s dangerous, it takes a lot of time to learn, and even more to stay current -- flying is just a rich snob’s way of avoiding the interstates and the airline terminals crowded with “common people.”  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

You know the old saying: “What can go wrong usually will.” But in reality what can go wrong usually goes right.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Winds were calm, the Saturday morning skies hazy with scud, and I was in the right seat of a 1998 Cessna 172 flying the ILS/DME approach to Runway 1 at Rome, Georgia.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

To Fly Pro, Or Not To Fly Pro: Ten years ago, approaching age 40 and afraid that the light at the end of the tunnel might be an oncoming train, I was shopping for a career change.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

As VFR pilots, we should first consider the terrain elevation and then the wind when we select an altitude to fly, but then there is that confusing Even/Odd plus 500 question. It may be more complicated -- and more important -- than you think...  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Each year for the last several years, the NTSB has classified several dozen general aviation accidents as VFR-into-IMC.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

High, low, or in the middle -- which is better and why (a not-so-serious look). When Otto Lilienthal started jumping off that mound of his near Berlin, you don't suppose he tried surfing atop that glider, do you?  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Airplane engines suck. Pistons move up and down (or in horizontally opposed engines, in and out) and create tremendous suction that draws air in through the induction system. Although some engines benefit somewhat from "ram air" induction, and others have turbochargers to boost the airflow, all depend primarily on this internal suction to draw air in for combustion.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

STUFF HAPPENS WHEN WE FLY. Whether that stuff is exciting (like an engine failure), or it's just a distraction (like the failure of a radio), how we react to the event frequently determines whether it becomes a big deal, or an event easily corrected.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Engine failure is rare (and usually the result of poor fuel management), but if you ever find yourself sitting behind a stopped prop -- with concurrent heart stoppage -- don't forget the most important fact: at least the wings are still attached.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

It was a cloudless, hazy morning when the Cessna Skylane pilot preflighted for a hundred-mile business trip.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

This is a weird one, but it happened just the same -- which means it could happen to you.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

I’ve taught hundreds of pilots in airplanes and simulators and, to my horror, one of my students died flying his airplane.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Next to an onboard fire, an electrical power failure in the clouds is the biggest challenge a pilot can face.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Problem: The Federal Aviation Regulations cover two-way communication failure quite nicely, but a total electrical failure can give you a nice front row seat in purgatory.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

The pilot of a single-engine airplane and the pilot of a twin-engine airplane both prepare to takeoff on parallel runways.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Gust locks are our friends... really... but they don't like to be ignored. They keep our controls locked in position, so that they aren't subjected to the abuse of Mother Nature while our airplanes sit out in the weather.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

The airspeed indicator has colorful arcs that advise us about our speed -- and on every flight those markings lie.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Believe it or not, the cylinders in aircraft engines have been known to fail. While this doesn't happen every day (thank goodness!) it certainly can't hurt to know what you need to do, or to understand the telltale signs that will tell you your cylinder may not be a "cylinder" anymore.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Just like the arguments over which is the better alternative between high-wing or low-wing, tricycle gear or tail-draggers, there's no simple answer to the question of when you should raise the gear after takeoff in a retractable gear airplane.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Even though the Space Shuttle doesn't deploy its landing gear until reaching an altitude of only a few hundred feet, not much more than 15 seconds before landing, that would probably make most general aviation pilots a little nervous.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Whether your plane has rubber bladders to hold the fuel, a wet wing, or a metal tank inside the wing, fuel leaks can result in in-flight fires or a loss of engine power.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Mirages do not exist only in the domain of the parched desert traveler; they can actually influence your flying, to a greater extent perhaps, than you might expect.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

When I was a kid I'd wake up from dreams of skimming treetops -- sans aircraft -- often just hovering there horizontally, arms fully extended, looking down at the amazed upturned faces.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

No more excuses, no more preparation -- it's time to go up...  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

If they're so wonderful, you may be wondering, why don't more people fly the things?  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

'Z' What? IFR pilots already know about those three letter entities that start with a 'Z' (in the US at least).  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

We perform takeoffs and landings all the time. I’ve done more than a little reading in aviation textbooks and periodicals, and aside from the statistically greater number of incidents and accidents during these phases of flight that are attributable primarily to human error, I don’t recall either one getting much bad press by itself as being somehow inherently dangerous. But when you begin one landing, break off the attempt for whatever reason, and then proceed to attempt another one well, suddenly, it gets hard.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Sometimes it's hard for experienced pilots to remember what it was like to be wide-eyed with the newness of flying airplanes. Often pilots and instructors get challenged with what sound like very basic questions from lower-time pilots ... and if we're smart we'll treat these "simple" questions as educational opportunities for those joining our ranks, not irksome distractions cast aside like Jepp charts previous revision. Remember, one of these new pilots might be sitting to your left in the cockpit of a Regional Jet when you get laid off from your "major airline" or corporate job in the future <grin>.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

The WaveRider unmanned hypersonic test vehicle is set to make its third flight over the Pacific Ocean this week, with engineers planning for a 5-minute flight at Mach 6, or more than 4,500mph. The WaveRider uses similar technology as the Defense Department's Falcon HTV2, which flew earlier this summer but ended its flight early when the aircraft's skin started separating from the airframe due the high heat in flight. The WaveRider will be carried on a B-52 bomber to 50,000 feet, then released and propelled by its own rocket to Mach 4.5. After the rocket detaches, a scramjet will accelerate the drone the rest of the way to Mach 6 before gliding into the Pacific Ocean. While such a vehicle could whisk passengers across the U.S. in just 45 minutes, military officials envision using it to launch drone missile strikes with a far faster response than is currently possible. For example, a failed 1998 strike on Osama Bin Laden that took 80 minutes to execute would only have taken 12 minutes to hit its target with a hypersonic drone. The Pentagon and NASA have three separate hypersonic research projects in the works, and have spent $2 billion in the last decade trying to bring the new technology to reality.
http://www.latimes.com/business/la-fi-hypersonic-revolution-20120813,0,4998122.story

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By Editor Staff

The Air Force’s X-51A hypersonic test drone crashed just 15 seconds after it started its flight high above the Pacific Ocean this week. The WaveRider’s control fins stopped working after it had been dropped from a plane and after its rocket had engaged, starting to accelerate the aircraft. The WaveRider was slated to accelerate to Mach 6 during a five-minute test flight powered by a scramjet engine, but the flight didn’t last long enough for that engine to engage. The WaveRider’s three test flights have now all faced problems. The first flight, in 2010, suffered from a remote data sensing problem three minutes into the flight. And in last year’s test, unexpected shockwaves caused airflow problems for the scramjet, which had to be shut down prematurely. The control fins had never posed problems before this week’s failed test, sending engineers back to review data about what went wrong with the test.

http://www.latimes.com/business/money/la-fi-mo-hypersonic-x51-test-flight-20120815,0,7169817.story

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By Editor Staff

The National Transportation Safety Board is investigating the source of water found in the engine and part of the fuel system of a Piper Cherokee Six that crashed near Jackson, Miss., last month, killing three Civil Air Patrol members. The plane had not been flown in two months before the crash, but the pilot conducted an unusually quick preflight inspection and apparently didn’t notice that one tire was low on air, according to witnesses. The pilot and two passengers, all experienced pilots and Civil Air Patrol officers, were running late to an FAA safety meeting about 30 miles away. Witnesses said the plane did a quick run-up but that otherwise the takeoff appeared normal. At about 1,000 feet, while talking to air traffic controllers, the pilot said the plane had an engine problem and that it was returning to the airport. But the plane crashed into a house and was extensively damaged by fire, killing all three men on board. In testing the plane’s engine, the NTSB said it found dirty water in the cylinder valves, likely from firefighting efforts. But the fuel divider had clear water in it, and the NTSB is still trying to determine where that water came from.

http://www.ntsb.gov/aviationquery/brief.aspx?ev_id=20121113X94546&key=1

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By Chad Austin

No, we aren’t talking about your choice of shoes -- the sound of your aircraft's wingtip hitting something is distinctly different...  Continue»

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