Learning how to train yourself to relax in the face of danger
You read the accident reports, hoping to learn something from someone else’s troubles. Often, I imagine, you’re left with a nagging sense that things just don’t add up. Why did the highly experienced pilot do that? Why didn’t the CFI grab the controls and take over? The answers might lie in a kind of stall more »
How general aviation pilots make an impact by turning their passion into a vital service
In an exciting reversal of trends, general aviation aircraft ownership in the U.S. is increasing. According to the General Aviation Manufacturers Association, GA aircraft based in the United States rose from 199,000 in 2014 to approximately 204,000 in 2015, the first increase in private ownership since 2009. As more aircraft and pilots take to the more »
Post-maintenance flying has a greater potential to encounter problems than our typical everyday flying. Learn how to reduce the risk.
After lifting off and establishing a positive rate of climb in the Cessna 340, I retracted the gear when I was out of usable runway, but the result wasn’t normal. As the gear went up, both airspeed indicators stopped working and dropped to zero. Uh, oh, that’s not normal. Pitching forward a little to guarantee more »
In the aftermath of a crash of a Cessna 421B Golden Eagle, statements made by witnesses to the NTSB actually reveal more than the official probable cause
The NTSB’s narrative report on the Cessna 421B Golden Eagle crash in Hammond, Louisiana, on October 14, 2015, in which the pilot and passenger were killed, repeats a deficiency we occasionally see in other reports from the agency. It lays out facts and provides a carefully worded probable cause for the accident, while failing to more »
As I was about to climb into the front pit of the solid-silver, letter-opener, stiletto of a glider for my first soaring lesson, instructor Gus Briegleb reached into his pocket and pulled out a silver dollar. He placed it on the runway at El Mirage Airport, then turned to me and said, “Bill, when you’re more »
It is a fascinating thing when we, especially in the aviation industry, attempt to improve upon performance and efficiency only to find that we are returning to old technology and ideas, some of which are nearly as old as aviation itself. Let’s look at just three specific ideas, or technologies—two that are on the market more »
Overcoming a speech deficit—and the naysayers—to achieve and share a lifelong dream
From the time I began, it was clear something was up, and while I was still a small child, I was diagnosed with a severe stuttering disorder. As though that weren’t bad enough, I was told throughout my life not to expect much because I would be working on cars or packing bags at the more »
Nausea isn’t the most alluring topic. Just the very word brings up bad memories. It’s not fun to regurgitate that icky feeling we’ve all experienced at one time or another. When we feel nauseated, we normally have a very good idea why we do—food poisoning, the flu or a whole host of other reasons. When more »
It was a desolate and alien place, looking more like a photo from Mars than any place that could be on this Earth. The vista stretched for miles in every direction, a rock-strewn blanket of baking, undulating tan, brown and bone white scree. As desolate as this vista was, so too appeared the lives of more »
Using this technique raises the lowered wing on departure to prevent loss of control.
Inflight loss of control (LOC), unintended departure of an aircraft from controlled flight, is regarded by the NTSB and the 25th Joseph T. Nall Report from the AOPA Air Safety Foundation as a significant flight safety issue. Over 40% of fixed-wing general aviation accidents occurred because pilots lost control of their airplanes. NTSB and AOPA more »
Aeronca 11AC Chief 2 Fatal Ishpeming, Michigan During a personal local flight, the private pilot made a low pass in the airplane over the runway and turned left to enter the traffic pattern for landing. A witness stated that the airplane “looked mushy” when it made its left crosswind turn. Another witness reported that the more »
First flying car patent issued: 1918, Felix Longobardi, never developed First flying car built: Curtiss Autoplane, 1917 Designer: Glenn Curtiss Patent issued: 1919 Debut: Pan-American Aeronautic Exposition, NYC, February 1917 Flight: Reported to have made a few straight-ahead hops Style: Aluminum automobile body with detachable wings and tail Seats: 3 Engine: 100 hp Curtiss OXX (water-cooled V8) Propeller: 4-blade, rear-mounted Dimensions (flight mode): 27 ft. x 40 ft. more »
A routine night flight turns harrowing when both engines inexplicably go silent.
I have a hunch that when I finish telling you about what happened to a Piper PA-34-220T Seneca II, you’ll take a close look at your airplane’s emergency checklist, if you can find it. You know, it’s that thing you may have misplaced, or maybe never even bothered to photocopy from the airplane’s documents, or maybe more »
Contrary to sometimes popular opinion, most folks at the FAA aren’t really the bad guys
Incident 1 The flight from Santa Maria to El Paso had gone well, or so I thought. I’d picked up a new Aerostar 601P from Roy Tucker at the company’s delivery center early in the morning and pointed the nose east toward Florida. It was one of those chamber of commerce days that the Southeast more »
While your next plane won’t be 3D-printed (we think), plenty of parts will be soon, thanks to huge advances in additive manufacturing
Let’s get one thing straight right from the start: You cannot have your next plane printed for you. Not now, not soon, probably not ever. It’s a beautiful dream, to be sure, like the Willy Wonka invention that let kids reach into a television screen and pull out a chocolate bar. In this case, you’d more »
The PA system is an opportunity to think thoughtfully about the information we share with those who travel with us
If you made a list of the audible wonders of the ancient world, the theater of Epidaurus, on the Argolid Peninsula of Greece, would probably come first. Even today spellbound audiences of around 14,000, wherever they’re seated, can easily hear the unamplified voices of actors. The science behind all this was a mystery until a more »
Every season has its challenges for pilots. Learn how to prepare for the heat and humidity, warm fronts and thunderstorms, to make summer flying a breeze.
When I think about summer, I think of long, lean days, blue water, tan legs, iced tea. I can survive winter, but it’s really about paying my dues until my favorite season returns. Summer means flying west into a golden sun or heading home trying to beat the darkness so I can sleep in my more »
Curt Brickman is 57 years old. When I meet him, he’s wearing jeans, hiking shoes and a dark blue jacket. His cap says “Cold War Veteran.” He wears an Army pin in his lapel and sunglasses over his prescription glasses. Ten years in the service, he tells me. Here, I think, is a guy who’s more »