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Quail Commander

Dead reckon: Georgia to Ecuador in a crop duster

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When a pilot thinks about some of the flights he flew during the early years of a piloting career, one can’t help thinking, “What was I thinking back then?” The event I am referring to took place in February 1970, when I flew a new crop duster from the factory in Georgia to the buyer, a farmer in Ecuador.

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Aero Friedrichshafen show

General aviation in Europe is both inspiring and frightening

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For a crass American, AERO is a very civilized show, held in a beautiful convention center with great coffee and lively beer gardens. Oshkosh this isn’t. Beyond these mundane differences, though, the show offers a fascinating lesson for US pilots. If all you’ve heard is how awful things are for private pilots in Europe, let me offer a more complete – although not entirely rosy – portrait.

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Citation factory line

Airplane certification: be careful what you wish for…

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What most pilots don’t realize is that certifying that exciting new design is but a small part of the picture. There’s financing, engineering, production and sales and, in the end, profit. If the latter isn’t possible all the rest can be for naught. This is why I, for one, take the proposed rewrite of Part 23 certification standards not with a grain, but with a round blue cardboard container of salt.

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Confidence thermometer

Why CFIs need to think about confidence more

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Who would feel safe flying with someone who did not have an appropriate level of confidence? In my mind, developing a student’s self-confidence should be one of the main jobs of the instructor. During periods where pilots are not actively undergoing flight training, it needs to be something they work on themselves. I can think back to several experiences which taught me this firsthand.

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SNF prop spinner photo

First trip to SUN ‘n FUN

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It’s been just over a week since I departed KLAL (Lakeland, Florida) after enjoying four wonderful days at SUN ‘n FUN 2016. This had been the first airshow I have attended, and being what I consider to be a “new pilot” (205 hours, PPL earned just one year ago) it was an amazing experience.

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Cirrus sun off wing

Friday Photo: why we love flying

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Take a beautiful airplane and a beautiful vista and you get a special photo. This week’s cockpit photo comes from Greg Pepper, who snapped this one on the way home from Dallas in his Cirrus. As he says, it’s a great reminder of why pilots love what they do.

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Dick's Blog

Opinion and analysis from Richard Collins
Citation factory line

Airplane certification: be careful what you wish for…

By

What most pilots don’t realize is that certifying that exciting new design is but a small part of the picture. There’s financing, engineering, production and sales and, in the end, profit. If the latter isn’t possible all the rest can be for naught. This is why I, for one, take the proposed rewrite of Part 23 certification standards not with a grain, but with a round blue cardboard container of salt.

multitasking-o

What it takes to be one sharp pilot, part three: coordination

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Operating a private airplane has come to require more and more coordination as time has passed. In the good old days, coordination was thought of mainly in relation to the use of the elevator, ailerons, rudder and power. Now it has become a matter of getting all your stuff together before a flight and keeping it together until the airplane is secured after the flight. Multitasking might be a better word for that.

Stabilized approach

The changing myths of aviation

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In this wide-ranging article, Dick Collins explores 9 myths about flying – some of which the FAA wants to bust, some of which the FAA perpetuates. Is GA safe? Not safe enough. Is learning to fly hard? No, but it’s not easy either. Read the complete article for a thought-provoking look at our shared wisdom.

John's Blog

From Air Facts Editor John Zimmerman
Aero Friedrichshafen show

General aviation in Europe is both inspiring and frightening

By

For a crass American, AERO is a very civilized show, held in a beautiful convention center with great coffee and lively beer gardens. Oshkosh this isn’t. Beyond these mundane differences, though, the show offers a fascinating lesson for US pilots. If all you’ve heard is how awful things are for private pilots in Europe, let me offer a more complete – although not entirely rosy – portrait.

Flight Design C4

Why you should care about the new Part 23 proposal

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There has been a lot of talk lately (perhaps too much?) about aviation issues in Washington: Air Traffic Control privatization, the third class medical, and user fees to name just three. Somewhat obscured by these Capitol Hill battles is a more complicated but also arguably more important legislative issue: aircraft certification reform.

happy-birthday-red

Air Facts turns five!

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This magazine was founded in 1938 by Leighton Collins to advocate for “facts – knowledge – safety.” Since then, its pages have been filled by some of aviation’s greatest writers, including Richard Collins, Wolfgang Langewiesche, Bob Buck and Richard Bach. Given that rich history, it may seem odd to celebrate a fifth birthday, but Air Facts in its current form was relaunched five years ago, in March 2011.

At Air Facts, readers are pilot in command. Share your story: editor@airfactsjournal.com

I Can't Believe I Did That

Learn from other pilots' mistakes
Light gun in tower

Flying it home for the first time

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A beautiful October afternoon in 1976 at El Mirage Field, California, saw my daughter and me taking off in our newly-bought old airplane en route to Palo Alto Airport (PAO). We were beyond excited and distracted, so I didn’t recognize clues that we were bound for more excitement than expected. Put another way, this was to become an unfunny, unsafe, head-up-and-locked comedy of errors.

Wildfire smoke

Flying through fire and ice

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I noticed a narrow, dark column of black smoke rising from the valley floor, directly in our flight path a few miles ahead. Being both young and ignorant, I thought to myself, “I’m instrument rated; we’ll pop out of the back of that thing in an instant and it will be fun.” So I aimed for the smoke column.

Friday Photo

Incredible views from the cockpit
Fresno sunset

Friday Photo: Sierra Nevada mountains at sunrise

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The early bird gets the worm, but he also gets the beautiful sunrise. Pilot John Krikorian shares this week’s Friday Photo, with the sun peeking out from behind a few clouds over the Sierra Nevada mountains. He was on a trip in a Cessna 182 to Mexico to support the Flying Doctors of Mercy.

Cirrus sun off wing

Friday Photo: why we love flying

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Take a beautiful airplane and a beautiful vista and you get a special photo. This week’s cockpit photo comes from Greg Pepper, who snapped this one on the way home from Dallas in his Cirrus. As he says, it’s a great reminder of why pilots love what they do.

NJ airport

Friday Photo: small New Jersey airport

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It was one of those beautiful afternoons in December when the sky was so clear, crisp and my workday was cut short by my longing to fly. Being a new pilot, every time I fire up the plane I get goosebumps. The excitement of not knowing what to expect keeps me going further, like a child sneaking out of his yard for a look around. This afternoon I decided to go north, not really having an absolute destination but just enjoying the view of the New Jersey landscape.