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By Mark Roberts

On May 8, 1919 Three Navy--Curtiss flying boats set out to fly the same ocean. Just one made it across.  Continue»

By Brian Nicklas

On Saturday, June 4th 1927, a mere two weeks after Charles A. Lindbergh had changed the world, a Bellanca WB-2 monoplane christened “Columbia” took off on what was to be the second non-stop Trans-Atlantic airplane flight -- and the first-ever passenger carrying flight to cross the great ocean. But for several twists of fate, this aircraft could have been the first to do both...  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

We've all heard that an airfoil develops lift by means of this esoteric thing called Bernoulli's Principle.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

This is a true story. It concerns the confession of an old friend of mine named Bob. After years of suggestions that he take up flying, Bob has taken up flying. He has a total of 8 hours of flight time at the time I write this, but he has already started a list of things that you never want to hear from your flight instructor.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

They say altitude is your friend, but once you get above 10,000 feet, the greatest potential danger isn't ice or turbulence, it's thin air.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

On Monday July 1, two large commercial jets -- both flying IFR under ATC control, and both equipped with functioning electronic collision avoidance systems -- collided in rarified air some 35,000 feet over Germany... think it couldn't happen to you?  Continue»

By Chad Austin

We are all trained to prepare a plane for landing. Generically, this includes the reduction of power to provoke descent, extension of flaps as called for in the Pilots Operations Handbook or POH, and extending the landing gear on those planes with retractable gear, before we make a safe landing. However, there are times when the use of full flaps isn't necessary, and by knowing when these cases arise, you will be better able to handle them.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

The Cessna line is not the only plane with a built-in weakness in the landing gear.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Landing gear on aircraft can have some problems, and early Cessna 170 landing gear have a real doozy!  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

There are still a few control towers in the United States that operate like airfield bonfires did 75 years ago...  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

All this talk about proficiency: we never seem to give it a rest, do we? For example, let's pick on vacuum failures. The system is being eliminated by modern dual independent electrical system aircraft offered by Cirrus and Lancair, but are a major contributor to fatal accidents in instrument conditions for most of us who must still fly much older aircraft. Although I was never terribly won over by the clever pun, as it turns out it happens to be appropriate for me to make one now, because most of those arguments about partial panel proficiency have, in a way, been made inside one (a vacuum, that is).  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

The debate about where the middle wheel belongs isn’t quite as stormy as the disputes over where the wing goes, when to raise the gear, or how to lean -- but there are still more than a few firm convictions out there.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

After you have made the big decision to pursue flying lessons one of the first items to accomplish is to become a Student Pilot.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Last week we discussed where Class E (controlled airspace) reached the surface, where it met Class G (uncontrolled airspace) and associated VFR minimums... so, why should a cautious VFR pilot care?  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

After observing pilots in action for several years I started seeing trends in how they handled stressful situations. These trends made it clear that pilot performance varies widely but can loosely be broken down into categories. In the two previous articles on these trends, I characterized pilot performance groups as the "Information Managers" and then the "Non Assertive Decision Makers."  Continue»

By Chad Austin

This is a sad story, with an even sadder ending. Two pilots, who loved to fly their homebuilt Long EZ airplane (a very efficient canard design), got a bad case of get-there-itus. The problem was simple: they should have had a case of stop-and-figure-it-out-itus.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

We all want to save money, and the Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs) outline the privileges and limitations of a Private Pilot in FAR 61.118 in that regard -- but how well do you understand them?  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

The regulation that requires recent experience in order to exercise the privileges of an instrument rating mentions the possibility of using a 'Safety Pilot'... what exactly is a Safety Pilot?  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

While helicopters obey the same laws of physics as airplanes, there are pronounced differences when it comes to control and operation -- same air, different machine -- and many ingrained fixed-wing reactions can be catastrophic when applied to rotary-wings.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Ah, yes, spring has arrived in all of its beauty and glory -- the bugs are flying, the birds are back in the northern parts of our country... and that's bad news for pilots.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

We trim our airplanes multiple times each time we fly. Trim is set based on what is needed at the time, which is typically to maintain a comfortable equilibrium that maintains low control pressures.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Landing gear-related mishaps (LGRMs) account for nearly half of all reported accidents involving certified, piston-engine retractable gear aircraft. Up to 15% of these gear up and gear collapse mishaps happen when you'd least expect it: during dual flight instruction. Certainly much less than 15% of all RG flying happens with a CFI on board. How can we account for this high rate of dual instruction LGRMs, and more importantly, how can we use this knowledge to avoid this sort of mishap?  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

It can happen to anyone. And it does with alarming regularity. At minimum, nearly half of all mishaps involving piston engine, retractable-gear airplanes result from failure of the pilot to properly operate the landing gear.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Don’t you just hate it when you show up to fly your rental airplane, and it’s not there?  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Airspace questions on knowledge tests are missed often, and pilots frequently violate airspace boundaries -- no wonder, the rules are very complicated.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Winter's coming (or here), and that means ice. If you were merrily motoring along and suddenly noticed ice forming on your wings, windshield, and elsewhere, aside from vacating that altitude pronto, you probably wouldn't slow down (unless it involved a maximum rate climb to warmer air). Your pulse would quicken, and most likely so would your engine, at your behest. That's probably a good idea -- except for one thing...  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Many times in your flying career, even if while on the wing, your most focused objective is comprised of nothing more then Sunday afternoons chasing clouds hither and yon, you will have to make decisions. Most will be simple ones, such as making sure to lean the mixture at cruising altitude, not adding full flaps during that crosswind landing, perhaps deciding to land at an intermediate airport when the fuel gauges begin reading lower than you expected during a cross-country flight, or deciding that you aren’t going to fly up to that business meeting today because of a much bigger drop in rpm on that left mag, when you did your run-up…  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Propellers on most multiengine airplanes, and even some singles, have an unique capability to feather, to be brought to a stop in the event of an engine failure. This dramatically reduces drag, as the stopped blades twist to nearly align with the slipstream and no longer present a disc to the relative wind. The result is substantially improved glide performance for those few feather-capable single engine airplanes, and the difference between a slight climb capability and a steep descent in most piston twins. But there's a trap that may befall the pilot of a feather-capable airplane if an in-flight engine restart isn't successful. How can we avoid the propeller unfeathering trap?  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

With the Sport Pilot proposal right around the corner, a lot of people are anxious to see what comes -- while we're waiting, here's a look at the FAA's last effort.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Old Man Winter is here, and he’s brought his little bag of tricks with him -- here are some simple strategies that could save you a bloody fortune...  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

I gave a talk about a month ago at a Pilot Proficiency program and, just to satisfy my own curiosity, I asked all the pilots in the audience that were 50 years old and older to raise their hands.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Your mechanic should have test-run the engine(s) before signing off the airplane as airworthy, but it’s unlikely that he or she test flew the airplane.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Watching pilots at work can be very informative, but sometimes you see things you didn’t want to see. The past several articles have chronicled pilot observations that I have made over the years in both airplanes and flight simulators. With careful observation and notes, patterns started to appear. I eventually grouped the patterns and named the categories. The broad categories were 1) The Information Managers, 2) the Non Assertive Decision Makers, 3) the Snowballers, and 4) The Lost in Space – see previous iPilot articles. But I also identified two sub-groups and one of these I call the Good Decision Makers/Poor Fliers groups.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

My previous series of articles was written to help pilots stay "ahead" of the airplane, but if you are a pilot I'm confident you have at some time felt "behind" the airplane. I remember my first takeoff in a complex airplane. Between the landing gear retraction, faster speed, manifold pressure adjustments, and propeller control settings, I never looked outside the airplane once. I thought, "I'm glad this flight instructor is in here taking care of everything." I was so far behind the airplane, it felt like I was sitting in the back seat! The real problem is that "behind the airplane" feeling is a sure sign that situation awareness is gone or on its way out.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

I loved looking at airplanes when I was looking to buy my first plane. The exploration of the different models was incredibly interesting, and the stories that I stumbled across along the way helped to enlighten me about the challenges and, at times, the outright perils of ownership.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Paper or Electric? If you asked most General Aviation pilots if having a handheld, color, moving-map GPS means that they can leave their charts at home, they would (hopefully) laugh at you.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Remember when airspace rules were about avoiding collisions with other airplanes? Return with me now to those days of yore, when Class B airspace and MOAs were designed to keep us safe, not secure.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Some pilots have good habits. Others don't. After watching pilots for many years, I tried to understand what was going on in their heads and what lead to some of their flawed decisions. It started becoming evident that pilot traits fall into definite categories and later I named these categories with descriptive names that defined pilots as groups. A single pilot will often display traits from different groups and I don't intend to attempt to "label" a pilot, but instead provide tools pilot self-assessment.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

You've probably already read my call to watch your tires and preheat your engine when the temperature gets cold. Now I'm going to remind you about another important part of your flying that needs a little time to warm up on those spring mornings (and most any other day) - namely, your Avionics! The key here is to remember that aircraft are generally built for transportation over large distances. (Translation: just because the nights are warm where you came from, that doesn't mean they'll be warm where you're going.) As a pilot you must be very aware of your surroundings -- more so than you are attached to your expectations.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

When the only thing keeping you above an unwelcome encounter with unseen terrain below is a single powerplant, you'd better know what you're doing.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Type clubs are organizations for owners, pilots and enthusiasts of specific makes and models of airplanes -- today, they have the ability to be much more.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

I can still remember the awestruck feeling as I stepped back, mesmerized, away from the whirring Cuisinart that the propeller on our friendly yellow J-3 Cub had just become.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

When a SilkAir Boeing 737 crashed in a river in Indonesia in 1997, killing all 104 people on board, the impact shredded its cockpit voice recorder and flight data recorder tapes. James Cash was the one to bring together several U.S. government agencies aiding in the investigation to digitize the audio from fragments of tape and reassemble a partial transcript of the seconds before the crash. Cash recently received a Samuel J. Heyman Service to America Medal, awarded by a nonprofit group that recognizes outstanding career achievements by public servants. Cash is the NTSB’s chief technical advisor in the office of research and engineering. He also played an important role in the NTSB’s 4-year investigation following the explosion of TWA Flight 800 after takeoff from New York in 1997. Cash used sound analysis techniques he developed to compare the explosion sound caught on the last quarter-second of the cockpit voice recorder on that flight with sounds the NTSB gathered blowing up a second Boeing 747 during its investigation.

http://servicetoamericamedals.org/SAM/finalists/cam/cash.shtml

  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

I've already described the TrafficScope TPAS VRX traffic proximity alert system. Now it's time to put it to the test. I took to the asphalt at Frederick, Maryland, on a hazy Sunday morning in late June. I had the TrafficScope on board a Cessna 152 Aerobat and I had a VFR flight plan to cut right into the ADIZ beehive around the Baltimore-Washington area. Visibility was about four miles (not good), and there were no clouds. But there were plenty of airplanes.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Ever wonder about those flight strips that controllers use?  Continue»

By Laurel Lippert

Some friends called it “The Love Flight.” It was our 25th silver anniversary gift to each other, a month-long trip in our polished 1946 Cessna 140 to the site of our honeymoon on the other side of the country. My husband Tom and I were eager to take off into carefree skies with little to concern us except an occasional call to the home office. Wrapping up business, paying bills, and packing to be gone for at least a month is stressful, but I knew the moment we lifted off the ground in Truckee, Calif., it would be worth it.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Two weeks ago in North Carolina I was flying en route to teach a flight instructor workshop. It was very early on a Saturday morning and during my weather briefing I was interested in learning about the cloud tops. When I asked about pilot reports of the cloud tops, the FSS briefer just said, "general aviation pilots don't give many pireps (pilot reports) and certainly not this early on a weekend day."  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

Seventy-five years earlier, nearly to the minute, the dirty silver monoplane touched down outside Paris, France, over 33 hours and an epoch of human achievement after splashing skyward from a muddy field in New York.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Remember the Cessna 182 that blundered into the prohibited airspace around Washington DC recently -- the one that meandered within four miles of the White House -- he didn’t mean any harm, right? Well I’ve got a hot flash for you...  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

The largest number of mid-air collisions take place in a traffic pattern.  Continue»

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