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By Chad Austin

YOU’D THINK PILOTS WOULD BE SMART ENOUGH TO STAY CLEAR OF HANGARS. I would think so, since when I’m the pilot in command, I’ve managed to slip past any number of obstacles in my life, and have never bumped a parked airplane, person, or hangar with my airplane while taxiing. I guess I always thought of this as my job – you know, to SEE AND AVOID things both on the ground, and of course, while in the air.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

We make landings (hopefully) after every takeoff -- it's a reasonably simple process, once you learn how to do it right the first time, but there are some times when landings just don’t go the way we expect them to.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Take another look at the title -- we aren’t talking about the taxiway here!  Continue»

By Brian Nicklas

On Aug 16, 1960, a redheaded Air Force test pilot by the name of Joseph Kittinger took a *very* long step and landed squarely in the record book.  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

WAAS: No, it's not a name from the Netherlands; it's an acronym -- it stands for Wide Area Augmentation System and, simply put, it's GPS on steroids.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Insurance is what most pilots use to manage the risk of flying -- it's important for you and those you might meet with misfortune; it's just as important to know the fine print.  Continue»

By Reader Submission

The Waco YMF's that were produced the thirties were available as floatplanes, and were certainly one of the most attractive American-built seaplanes available at the time.  Continue»

By Reader Submission

The first of the long line of cabin biplanes produced by the Waco Company was the QDC.  Continue»

By Reader Submission

The Waco Cabin Standards were quite commonly used as floatplanes due to their excellent short field performance and their weight hauling ability.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

The majority of tachometers on the market are mechanical meters, which translate the engine RPM from a cable into a meter reading of how fast your engine in running -- and they don't always work right.  Continue»

By Reader Submission

Designed as a single-place carrier-based fighter, the Corsair was a very long-lived airplane.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Drivers in Virginia don’t have to worry as much anymore about looking to the skies for planes patrolling for speeders. The state is cutting back its aerial speed enforcement program, which issued just 87 tickets in the last three years, as it looks to trim costs and put its Cessna 182 Skylanes to other law enforcement uses. Operating the Cessna 182s costs $150 per hour in fuel and maintenance, and requires two specially trained people in the aircraft and one on the ground on speed trap missions. While the Virginia State Police is keeping its three Skylanes, most of the 600 hours of flying they did last year was for other types of missions, like surveillance and transporting officials. When the state started its speed enforcement program, it was averaging more than 550 tickets per year. Many other states have also cut back their aerial speed enforcement programs; Alabama and New York stopped doing it entirely several years ago, and California’s budget for the program has lost a third of its funding, with much of the remaining money going to missions like searches and pursuits.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/local/virginia-state-police-grounds-aerial-speed-enforcement-due-to-expense/2012/11/12/cb683afa-2ccc-11e2-b631-2aad9d9c73ac_story.html

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By Editor Staff

Fare-paying passengers could start taking trips into space aboard Virgin Galactic by the end of 2013, with up to 300 people a year taking flights after that. The private space exploration company provided new details about its timeframe in an announcement this week. The first three passengers will be Virgin chief Richard Branson and his two grown children. Virgin Galactic already has about 530 people signed up to take the $200,000 suborbital flights, with each ride lasting about two hours. As previously rumored, Virgin Galactic will also offer satellite launching services for other companies. The LauncherOne program will put payloads of up to 500 pounds into orbit for $10 million, or about half the cost of a similar launch today. LauncherOne has already signed up an earth observation company and a company that plans to mine asteroids for rare metals and minerals.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/07/11/tech/branson-farnborough-virgin-galactic/index.html

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By Editor Staff

After nearly two years on the back burner, Virgin Galactic is expected to announce that it will soon start launching small satellites into orbit for about $1 to $2 million per payload. The project would use Virgin Galactic’s WhiteKnightTwo aircraft to launch a rocket into low-earth orbit from the flight levels, with a maximum satellite weight of about 440 pounds. Virgin Galactic has said it will make an announcement at the Farnborough International Airshow in mid-July, but has been scant on details. It confirmed that the satellite-launching program is back on track, but said it wouldn’t be open to anyone who wanted to put something into space. Several federal agencies have expressed interest in using a low-cost commercial vehicle like Virgin Galactic’s to put small satellites into orbit, and the company won a handful of NASA and Defense Department contracts toward those efforts.

http://www.foxnews.com/scitech/2012/06/27/virgin-galactic-to-launch-new-cargo-plan-spaceship-design/

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By Editor Staff

Police this week released surveillance video from July’s accident involving a SkyWest pilot who stole a CRJ200 regional jet in St. George, Utah, before killing himself. Joseph Hedglin was wanted in connection with his girlfriend’s murder and the airline had put him on administrative leave. The video shows a figure crossing part of the airport ramp, apparently after jumping a barbed-wire fence; another camera view shows the aircraft at the gate, with a figure running up to it and reaching underneath, likely to remove wheel chocks. After getting in and starting the plane, the video shows that Hedglin used the plane’s thrust reversers to back it away from the gate before taxiing forward. But the plane’s left wing clipped the jetway and part of the terminal building. As it sped up, the plane appeared to careen through a fence and across a landscaped area before coming to a stop in a parking lot. Officials found Hedglin dead of a self-inflicted gunshot wound with the plane’s engines still running.

http://abcnews.go.com/WNT/video/surveillance-video-catches-murder-suspect-allegedly-stealing-plane-17676219

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By Editor Staff

One of the passengers aboard a Stinson 108 that crashed near Stanley, Idaho, in June has posted video from inside the cockpit of the ill-fated three-minute flight. The full video starts during the long takeoff roll along most of a dirt strip, and shows the plane barely gaining altitude as it flies across a broad, grassy plain. But as the Stinson approaches trees about 90 seconds after takeoff, it appears that the plane had barely climbed above the tops of the trees. And while it flies above the trees for a short time, it isn’t long before the Stinson loses altitude during a slight bank to the left, clipping the tops and tumbling to the ground. The plane came to rest inverted, with the cowl crumpled and bent. The NTSB has issued only a preliminary report so far, noting that VFR conditions prevailed at the time but providing no specific weather information. In online comments, one of the passengers said the flight was on a hot afternoon, and that the plane encountered a downdraft right before the crash. While the pilot suffered a broken jaw, he has recovered, and the two other passengers had only minor cuts and bruises.

http://www.cnn.com/2012/08/09/travel/plane-crash-video/index.html

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By Reader Submission

Designed as a WWI era five-place heavy bomber, the 68 foot span Vickers Vimy was produced too late to see combat service.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

There have been numerous fatalities in fog related accidents recently and far fewer survivors.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Most all of the iPilot readers who responded to Challenge 6 knew what VFR Waypoints are (apparently, so does my GPS), perhaps it's time for more important questions.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Every now and then a Student Pilot gets lost and never tells their Flight Instructor about it...  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

The Sport Pilot proposal is coming and it will establish a new subpart (“J”) under Part 61 of the Federal Aviation Regulations but it also promises to introduce nothing less than a new concept of airman certification.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

Beyond the loss of life
Beyond the jumble of sorrow and outrage
Beyond the courage of people helping people in need
  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Most problems are of our own making and most solutions begin as numbers.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

More than a dozen universities and numerous companies will work with the FAA over the next decade to make general aviation safer. The Center of Excellence initiative is part of the FAA's broader effort to reduce GA fatalities by 10 percent by 2018. The agency will spend at least $5 million funding the research initiative, with companies pitching in an equal amount. The sixteen universities across the U.S. will work on a variety of issues affecting general aviation, from airport safety and human factors to weather avoidance and making aircraft systems safer. The FAA has funded several other Centers of Excellence in the last decade, working on topics like ADS-B, improving pilot training and making airplanes quieter.

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By Editor Staff

United Airlines, the first carrier in the U.S. to take delivery of Boeing’s new 787 Dreamliner, announced short-term domestic routes for the new planes this week. For most of November and December, several of the planes will fly at least once a day between Houston and San Francisco, Los Angeles, Denver, Chicago and Newark. While those flights go on sale Saturday, word is that they won’t be the official first flights on United’s new Dreamliners. That’s likely to happen sometime in October, though United hasn’t announced specific flights or events coinciding with the roll-out. Early next year, United will start using the Dreamliners on international routes to Amsterdam, Lagos and Tokyo, among others. United has 50 of the new 787s on order and is gradually announcing new routes as the company finds out when it will receive each plane.

http://travel.usatoday.com/flights/post/2012/08/united-first-passenger-flight-on-dreamliner/835125/1

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By Editor Staff

Passengers on United’s first flight of its new Boeing 787 gave high marks to the airline and the aircraft on Sunday. The flight from Houston to Chicago is one of several new routes the airline will fly with its new 787s in the next two months as it breaks in the aircraft on domestic segments. The 787 has the potential to improve United’s reputation in a year when it struggled to integrate its systems with Continental Airlines, causing headaches for many travelers. Sunday’s flight went smoothly, with passengers happy about the plane’s quiet ride, larger windows, better seatback entertainment options and higher cabin ceilings, among other improvements. United stands to save lots of money on fuel as it eventually phases out older aircraft with the 787. While several foreign carriers have been flying the 787 for about a year, United is the first U.S. airline to receive the new plane.

http://articles.chicagotribune.com/2012-11-04/business/ct-biz-1105-787-dreamliner-20121105_1_nickname-7-late-7-twin-aisle-plane-dreamliner

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By Editor Staff

In a move meant to update United’s aging fleet of workhorse Boeing 757s and Airbus A320s, United announced on Thursday that it would buy 150 new 737s from Boeing. Fifty of those planes, the current generation 737-900, will be delivered starting next year, while United will be first in line for the new 737 MAX 9 when it starts rolling off production lines in 2018. The orders have a combined retail value of $14 billion, though airlines typically receive large discounts that cut the purchase price in half. United plans to start retiring its Boeing 757s as it receives 737-900s next year. While the new aircraft will seat fewer people, they will burn much less fuel. Boeing used this week’s Farnborough Air Show to make up lost ground to Airbus’ A320neo, a revamped narrowbody jet that company unveiled last year. But while Airbus has more than 1,650 orders for the A320neo, including several smaller orders signed this week, Boeing has just 650 orders for the 737 MAX. In a separate announcement, regional carrier SkyWest announced it would buy 100 Mitsubishi MRJ regional jets, making SkyWest the first commercial airline ever to buy Mitsubishi’s aircraft. The 70- and 90-seat regional jets will replace some of SkyWest’s CRJs, which it flies for several different airlines. Deliveries are expected to start in 2017.

http://www.chicagotribune.com/business/breaking/chi-united-continental-boeing-expected-to-a-10b-order-20120712,0,1491507.story

http://www.businessweek.com/news/2012-07-12/skywest-sees-mitsubishi-order-kicking-off-fleet-renewal

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By Chad Austin

If you have been flying for any length of time, you know that stuff happens – there is just no way around it.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

A novel set of software algorithms is giving a University of North Dakota test plane the ability to automatically detect airborne traffic conflicts and take evasive action. The project, using a Cirrus SR22 with a safety pilot on board, has NASA backing and could find its way into cockpits in the coming years. The system uses ADS-B signals to determine the position and closure rate of nearby aircraft. While that data is accurate, it requires that both planes be equipped with ADS-B transponders and other equipment, something that few general aviation aircraft have installed so far. During dozens of tests, UND used a manned Cessna Skyhawk as the intruder aircraft. Each time, the software, driving the Cirrus’ autopilot and a rudimentary autothrottle, successfully made an evasive maneuver to avoid the collision. While the system needs more refining before it’s ready for the market, researchers said it could be key in letting unmanned planes mix with manned aircraft in the National Airspace System.

http://minnesota.publicradio.org/display/web/2012/09/21/technology/nasa-und-test-new-sensing-technology-for-unmanned-aircraft/

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By Thomas Turner

We all know the story of the two bicycle-shop brothers from Ohio who built and flew the first successful heavier-than-air aircraft from the dunes of North Carolina on December 17, 1903. From our vantage point one century later, though, many of us fail to appreciate the meticulous work that led to the dawn of aviation ... much of it done not by the Wrights themselves, but those who had come before. Last week we learned just a bit about Sir George Caley, William Sanford Henson, Felix Du Temple and more. This week it's on to more familiar names...  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

This Centennial of Flight finds me grateful to the Wrights for their ability to attack dangerous trial-and-error with analytical science and ultimately open the door to the world of flight we so enjoy. It was a longer road than most might imagine, full of fascinating history few people know...  Continue»

By Chad Austin

When I heard this story, I couldn't believe it. It concerned the owner of a nice Cessna 172, who had a bad case of get-home-itus, and the sad story of how his pride and joy managed to take off without him...  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Do you use Unicom to your best advantage?  Continue»

By Laurel Lippert

I have survived five checkrides in my 18-year flying history, and I dreaded every one. Only one, my private pilot checkride, felt good from the start, perhaps because I had no idea what to expect or didn't understand the consequences of a pink slip.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

We all practice short field landings. It is a part of the Recreational, Private, Commercial, and ATP practical tests. But how practical is it?  Continue»

By Ed

Two summers ago, a British Airways crew found themselves unable to provide roll control to their Boeing 747-136 as the 28 year old aircraft carried some 300 passengers from Detroit, Mich., to London, England.  Continue»

By Editor Staff

There’s no indication yet of what went wrong when a Lockheed P-2V air tanker crashed in rugged terrain on the Nevada-Utah border while dumping a load of fire retardant on a wildfire Sunday. Both pilots died in the crash of the plane, which was contracted from a Montana wildfire equipment company to fight fires for the U.S. Forest Service. The plane was flying in VFR conditions but the fire had a large fuel load of dry shrubs and grasses, and conditions were hot and windy. One of the pilots had been flying aerial firefighting missions for 17 years; information on the other pilot’s experience wasn’t immediately available. Also on Sunday in a separate accident near Reno, a P-2V tanker had trouble lowering its landing gear. After circling for about 90 minutes, the plane made an emergency landing at the Minden-Tahoe Airport, sliding off the runway and sustaining extensive damage. Video appeared to show the plane landing with its left main landing gear at least partially retracted. Both members of the crew were uninjured. The pair of accidents comes weeks after politicians called once again for a review of the aging fleet of aircraft the Forest Service relies on to fight wildfires.  The P-2V air tankers commonly used to drop water and retardant on wildfires date from the 1950s and are nearing the end of their useful lives.

http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5gSmvMbm17Ywo-3ipdUHr3lx10GbA?docId=205e2a831a5544b7bd929a0c3c7068da

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By Thomas Turner

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) calls it that -- they even publish an Accident Prevention Program Bulletin by that name to warn of its dangers.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

What is the best thing to do if your engine quits while climbing out after takeoff?  Continue»

By Editor Staff

Turkish Aerospace Industries showed off a 2-two seat turboprop trainer last week, the first aircraft designed by Turkish engineers. The Hurkus will be used initially by the country’s military for VFR and IFR flight training, though a civilian model is also planned. The plane uses the popular Pratt & Whitney PT6 turboprop and features retractable landing gear, a pressurized cockpit and ejection seats. Cruise speed is estimated to be about 360mph, with a 900-mile range. The Hurkus won’t have its first flight until early next year, with deliveries expected by the end of 2013, almost three years behind schedule. When it was announced in 2007, designers expected first flight in 2009, with deliveries starting in 2011.

http://www.hurriyetdailynews.com/turkey-reveals-domestic-training-airplane-hurkus.aspx?pageID=238&nID=24242&NewsCatID=344

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By Thomas Turner

Most aircraft engines are limited by the structure of the atmosphere -- the higher you go, the less air is available to create power. Turbocharging, or mechanically compressing inlet air to provide more power at altitude, overcomes this limitation by boosting the air pressure to something greater than “natural” levels. Turbocharged engines particularly shine above 10,000 feet MSL, where sea-level (or greater) power is combined with reduced air resistance to provide spectacular true airspeeds.  Continue»

By Paul A. Craig

I'm really not trying to be an old-fogey about this, but I guess I can't help myself. My flight school has just purchased 25 brand new airplanes and each one has a fully IFR capable GPS moving map system. The systems are wonderful, and I should be happy that students will have a very hard time ever getting lost again. I should be happy that calculating an in-flight intercept angle on a vectored NDB approach is a thing of the past. I should be excited that holding patterns are now drawn out for us, but I still have to pause and reflect on what we're giving up.  Continue»

By Thomas Turner

You don’t have to be going for your Commercial certificate, suffering the strains of aerobatics or trying to get a fighter off your tail; the chandelle will improve your stick-and-rudder skills, make you less likely to have a stall-spin accident and they're fun, too.  Continue»

By Mark Roberts

Friends -- fellow pilots with more experience -- told me I was nuts ... crazy ... out of my cotton pickin’ mind to voluntarily admit a medical problem to the FAA.  Continue»

By Mark Roberts

The phone call came as bad news: The doctor I’d hired to represent me before the FAA was calling to say the agency needed more information.  Continue»

By Chad Austin

Just how much do you control when you fly?  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

Airplane propellers generate most of the noise that is the source of complaints (at least those against piston and turboprop airplanes). The noise becomes much worse as propellers reach transonic speeds. If airplane wings can spoof critical Mach numbers by means of their sweep-back, why aren't the propellers on small airplanes also swept back?  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

A prototype of the venerable Boeing 707 launched the honored lineage of the Boeing 7-7 series of airliners when it made its maiden flight in July of 1954. The Boeing 727 was introduced into service in February, 1964. Since then, aside from that one gap, the series has continued uninterrupted. The commercial revenue service history of the 737 fleet began in 1968. In late September 1968, the first 747 rolled out of the Boeing factory. Boeing turned its first 757 loose early in 1982. The first 767 emerged from the Everett Washington Boeing plant in August of 1981. In June 1995, the first Boeing 777 entered revenue service. But what the blazes happened to the Boeing 717?  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

1) What is the meaning of those cryptic numbers used to identify engine oil? 2) A pilot of an airplane without floats would be glad to have a frozen lake to land on, if that engine (or engines) ever quit while out of reach of land. But if heat rises, then why does ice form first on the surface of lakes, ponds, rivers, and even oceans? 3) The oceans have tides, but do any other bodies of water have tides as well?  Continue»

By Jeff Pardo

1. True or False: In the United States, there are actually more "mayday" calls in the month of May than any other. 2.Pilots rightfully have something of a vested interest in that benchmark of assessing their visual acuity: namely, the eye chart. Why is it that the letter E is usually the topmost letter? 3.The percentage of single-engine piston home-built aircraft in the general aviation fleet is now roughly...  Continue»

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