Video Tip: LPV approaches

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In this month’s tip, Jason Miller of The Finer Points of Flying explores the LPV approach, a type of WAAS approach that acts like a precision approach but technically is not. So how do you fly an LPV approach? How do you know when you can fly one? What indications should you look for on your GPS navigator? Watch this six minute video tip for some practical advice.

Friday Photo: Seaplane in Australia

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This week’s Friday Photo raises the bar for $100 hamburger missions. Nic Fabert sent in this picture of a Cessna Caravan on floats, beached in a cove in Australia. His mission was simple: lunch on a beach. But it’s enough to make any pilot dream of the ultimate getaway.

In-flight icing’s hidden threat: the landing flare

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Following uncontrolled collisions with the ground, hard landings are the second most prevalent outcome attributable to structural icing. Unlike the uncontrolled collision data, hard landing events are generally well documented; almost no one is fatally injured, and the sequence of events and aircraft response is pretty easy to map out. This set of data may give us a window into an obscure and overlooked aspect of aerodynamic icing… drag rise as a function of angle of attack.

Grounded at 37,000 feet

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Early December 1990, cruising at 37,000 feet on a glorious clear day overhead Cheyenne from Los Angeles to Toronto, I thought, “It just doesn’t get any better than this.” Suddenly the data link printer spat out a short message. Even before I read it, I had a feeling that my bubble of bliss was about to explode in my face.

Caption contest #3

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Welcome to our latest monthly feature at Air Facts – our Caption Contest. Once a month, we post a photo and call on our very talented readers to provide a caption for that photo. Check out our most recent one below and if an amusing or clever caption comes to mind, just post it as a comment.

Crash history: Cessna 182 and Bonanza 36

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In doing safety studies over the years I, a dedicated single-engine advocate, have always been encouraged by the almost complete lack of engine-failure related fatal accidents in singles. That appears to be changing, by at least a bit, and I fear that the trend will continue as the airplanes age and the price of overhaul or replacement goes up as the value of the airframe goes down.

Friday Photo: Colorado colors

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Fall in the Rocky Mountains is a beautiful thing. In this week’s Friday Photo, Jim Densmore shares a gorgeous shot of the aspens in Wolf Creek Pass. The view was from his Cessna 180 on a trip home from the AOPA Fly-in in Arizona.

Debate: are drones good or bad for general aviation?

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Drones are certainly one of the hottest news stories of 2016, with everyone from Disney World to the Department of Defense adopting them for a variety of missions. While drones still have a lot to figure out, it’s clear that they are here to stay – and that could have serious implications for pilots. Are those implications good or bad?

Practicing “incorrectly” is good practice

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The better we are prepared for mildly unusual conditions, the more equipped we are to face them at short notice. I feel that the introduction and practice of atypical scenarios in aviation during training and maintenance of currency is invaluable, and encourage pilots to exercise the following situations carefully, possibly in the presence of a CFI.

Friday Photo: a memorable first flight in a Cub

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This is what flying is all about. Steve Ellis loves to give airplane rides to kids (he’s working on his 3rd guest logbook), and this early morning flight with 12-year old Luke Kallaher was just about perfect. In this week’s Friday Photo, you can enjoy the smile of a kid at home in a J-3 Cub with the windows open.

Don’t let a forced landing get you down

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The sign said “Learn to Fly – $80.” It was posted at the entrance to the airport, a small grass strip located near the Mississippi Gulf Coast. It turned out that “learning to fly” meant going solo; after that, more cash was needed. Still, it was a pretty good deal. As a 17-year-old airman with a few extra bucks in his pocket, this was an opportunity not to be missed. How could I pass it up?

Risk management: it’s a personal thing

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What are you willing to risk? It’s a question at the heart of everything we do as pilots. Obviously, we’re willing to take a few risks or we wouldn’t be flying at all. Fact is that flying is a gazillion times safer than many other activities. It’s also a fact that it can be terribly unforgiving of errors or carelessness compared to other hobbies.

Friday Photo: fall colors in the UP

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It was a perfect day for flying, with light winds and unlimited visibility. We took off from our home base at KSAW and flew north along Lake Superior. The areas of peak color vary dramatically and seeing it from the air is really the best way in this remote area.

Bob Hoover: the one and only

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Many words will be written about the legendary Bob Hoover who died on October 25, 2016, at age 94. His flying exploits have made news over the years and his accomplishments and talents have been well celebrated with countless awards and accolades. I spent time with Bob off and on over the years and a couple of things really stood out that set him apart.

VFR on top… for a long time

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Slowly but surely, my outs — the airports that I intended to be able to land at if need be, began to close up. First was Baton Rouge, as the overcast quickly engulfed the airport to IFR. I also noticed that the TAF had been amended to include IFR conditions for most of the remaining day. Next was New Orleans. Now the gravity of the situation began to take hold in my mind. What if everything closes up?

Video Tip: weather radar 101

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We see radar all the time, but how does it really work and what does it show? In this video tip, meteorologist Scott Dimmich dives into the details of NEXRAD, including: the difference between base and composite reflectivity, how to use echo tops, and what signs indicate severe weather.

What the artificial intelligence boom means for aviation

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Artificial intelligence (AI) is the hot technology of 2016, finding its way into research papers and cocktail party conversations alike. As usual, most talk is either hopelessly optimistic or relentlessly negative (you know a trend is mainstream when you start reading headlines like, “Is fashion ready for the AI revolution?”). Cut through all the hype, though, and pilots can find a lot of reasons to be enthusiastic about AI.