Just as I reached to push the call button and alert the crew that the wings were iced, the First Officer announced, “We’re number one for takeoff,” turned immediately onto the runway, and away we went. The clear, ripply ice on the wings was the only thing I could see; I vividly remember thinking, “Well, it’s a good day to die, sun shining, storm passed.”
Archive for Category: "Debate"
The single engine vs. twin debate has raged for decades, with some pilots even suggesting that twins are more dangerous. But what about night flying? Many pilots still get nervous when contemplating a cross country flight in a single engine airplane. Is it safe?
One of the double-edged swords for pilots is the issue of Part 91 weather minimums. Unlike commercial operators, private pilots can start an instrument approach even when the weather is below minimums. For takeoff, there really aren’t any minimums, so a zero-zero takeoff would be perfectly legal. But is that a good idea?
A number of rumors (some backed up by the companies involved) suggest that DUAT(S) may be on the chopping block. Whether that happens or not, it raises an interesting question: do we still need DUAT(S)? Add your voice.
Now it’s your turn. We’re going to pretend you have a one-on-one meeting with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in his office. You have one minute to tell him anything you want, so think carefully.
Since the 1950s, most airplanes have been designed with wing flaps, allowing for steeper approaches, better sight pictures and lower airspeeds at touch down. But how to use those flaps has been an endless source of debate. Should you land with full flaps every time, or are partial flap landings easier and safer in windy conditions?
The iPad, originally dismissed as a novelty, has now become an essential part of many pilots’ flight bags, whether student pilot or airline pro. But have all these features actually made flying safer?
Many pilots value their license not just for the privileges it unlocks, but also for the membership it represents. That membership is in the unofficial “pilot brotherhood,” which bonds together aviators from around the world–regardless of race, class or location.
A pilot complained: “It used to be, pilots were real aviation enthusiasts. But this new breed of pilots, especially the guys who learn to fly in a Cirrus, they don’t care about the joy of flying. They just use their airplanes to travel.” The obvious question is: so what?
As I tied my light sport airplane down, I couldn’t help noticing the Ercoupe sitting adjacent to me. Not only is an Ercoupe a rare craft, this one was notable because it wasn’t tied down–it just had two straps hanging loose from the wings–as if someone started to tie it down and stopped mid-process.
“If you really want to use your license, better get an instrument rating.” This is fairly common advice given to new pilots–the implication being that you can’t really travel in a light general aviation airplane very effectively without an instrument rating. Is it really essential?
Air shows have been slowly fading for the past few decades, mirroring the overall decline in general aviation. This year, the federal government has dealt the final blow, thanks to the budget sequestration. Are air shows a dying species? Join our debate.
With traditional piston engines fading, and small turbines and electric motors unable to pick up the slack, all eyes have fallen on the diesel engine. While these have been around for decades, diesels are earning renewed attention because of their relative fuel efficiency and their ability to burn Jet-A. What do you think?
Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is an awkward phrase that was virtually unknown to pilots just a few years ago. Today, as the 2020 deadline approaches for equipping with ADS-B Out pilots are starting to learn what this new system really entails. But not everyone likes what they see.
The FAA medical exam, a key milestone on a pilot’s journey towards a private certificate, is under fire. For years, many pilots have blasted the whole process as a bureaucratic mess that does nothing to improve safety but does a lot to discourage new student pilots. Should it go away?