Once upon a time, intrepid pilots rapped with their oil-stained, gloved knuckles on balky steam gauges; needles quivered unstuck, and all was right across the skies.
The NTSB says the probable cause of the 2007 crash of adventurer Steve Fossett was an inadvertent encounter with downdrafts above mountainous terrain that exceeded the climb capability of the Bellanca Super Decathlon he was flying. Downdrafts, high-density altitude and mountainous terrain were all contributing factors.
VFR corridors have served an important function in U.S. airspace since the creation of the old TCAs (Terminal Control Areas) and TRSAs (Terminal Radar Service Areas), now less telegraphically renamed Class B and Class C airspace, respectively.
Affordable flying is something of an oxymoron. World War II aviator Jimmy Doolittle is credited for uttering the phrase, “How can it be said that there is no money in aviation? That’s where I left all of mine!”
Weeks into the New England summer season, which, as of July 4, is more like an extended March, I’m feeling a serious need for some LSA speed.
The crash of Air France Flight 447, an Airbus A330, in the Atlantic Ocean on June 1, 2009, during a flight from Brazil to Paris focused attention on pitot tubes, although many people had never heard of them before.
The other evening, I got a call from a friend who operates a Piper Navajo for his business. He filled me in on what had happened with a flight from his home airport in the Northeast to Miami, Fla.
As of June of this year, I’ve been cranking out this column for 40 years! These are words I never thought I’d hear coming out of my mouth.
This year marks the 90th anniversary of the first nonstop flight across the Atlantic by pioneering aviators Captain John Alcock and Lieutenant Arthur Whitten Brown (in 1919).
All of us have spent considerable time observing our fellow aviators’ takeoffs, landings, radio communications, preflight inspections and general behavior at (and away from) the airport.
It was the best of times; it was the most confusing of times. Half an hour or so into our virtual gum flap, courtesy of matching Gucci headsets and Skype’s Internet-based telephony, my head began to hurt.
In April, the NTSB advised the FAA to ground all Zodiac CH 601XL S-LSA and E-LSA until the FAA determines they have adequate protection from aerodynamic flutter, which occurs when airplane structures vibrate back and forth in increasingly violent oscillations, eventually reaching a point where the structure breaks apart.
Back in the ’80s, when I was working on the ABC TV show Wide World of Flying, I flew up to Washington State to interview Ken Wheeler, designer of the Wheeler Express homebuilt, and fly his innovative airplane.
You need go no farther than a summer air show buzzing with a vibrant, colorful contingent of light-sport aircraft to see what the excitement has been all about and sense where it might take us. The LSA movement is a living, breathing example of the sheer innovation, quality and giddy diversity that has characterized personal flight from the very beginning in 1903.
Each year, the National Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA), the union representing FAA controllers, honors members who’ve helped save pilots from dangerous situations that might have resulted in accidents.
Through my Lightspeed Zulu headset, I hear a confident voice: “Denver Center, Citation One Three Zulu Mike, vacating flight level 390 for 240, smooth ride.”