Plane & Pilot
Sunday, August 1, 2004

“Plane Talk” From Machado

A leading aviation expert’s collection of informal, but educational, articles

Plane Talk is a collection of 96 articles Rod has written during the last 15 years, and the stories run the gamut from hilarious to philosophical to inspiring to brilliant, sometimes all four at the same time. Machado writes very much as he talks, from the heart with intelligence and insight, but always with a touch of irreverence, and Plane Talk reads almost like a conversation with the man.

The book’s 440-some pages are divided into 18 chapters on everything from aviation statistics, handling new fliers, avoiding mid-airs and conquering crosswinds to helicopters, using GPS, VFR simulators and landings to forget. As a trained psychologist, Machado deals with aviation subjects with a different tack, examining why we do some of the dumb things we do and explaining how we can shortstop bad decisions. Like any good psychologist, he prefers to examine motivations and analyze people rather than dwell on accident reports as subject matter.

As mentioned above, Plane Talk isn’t a formalized manual on flying, but it imparts more pure aviation smarts than any other book I’ve read. The book is available through the Aviation Speaker’s Bureau at (800) 437-7080 or on Rod’s Website at

Air Chart Systems
Air racer Howie Keefe (P-51 “Miss America”) started Air Charts some 43 years ago, and the now highly evolved books are still probably the best single-source chart system available for domestic VFR and low-altitude IFR. I’ve used them consistently for probably 30 of those years, and it certainly makes the task of flying easier, knowing that you always have every chart you could possibly need in a single, simple source.

The full package of Air Charts includes all the low-altitude en-routes, all the WAC charts and, most recently, all the sectionals in the contiguous 48 states. The latter were added this year, and they make dealing with long flights across multiple charts an easy task, without spreading paper all over the cockpit. The books measure about 11 x 11 inches, are easy to manipulate in the cockpit and are heavily spiral bound, and finding your way around the country is relatively simple using the system.

Air Charts also includes a compact Captain’s Guide with lots of stuff you won’t find anywhere else, at least not conveniently: an AM radio guide, including a list of 50,000-watt, clear channel stations; a localizer/locator frequency guide; hotel and car rental and airline toll-free numbers; freqs for all towers in the country; an airport directory; NDBs/fixes listings; an ASOS/AWOS directory; and much more.

Air Charts is now owned and operated by Mike Barker at (800) 338-7221 or on the Web at

Bill Cox is entering his third decade as a senior contributor to Plane & Pilot® and provides consulting for media, entertainment and aviation concerns worldwide.
E-mail him at This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it .

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