Archive for Category: "Debate"

Debate: do electronic stability systems improve safety?

Debate: do electronic stability systems improve safety?

More and more airplanes are being equipped with Electronic Stability systems, which monitor the pilot’s performance at all times and gently nudge the controls back towards stable flight. Will such systems improve safety, or are they merely the latest gadget?

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Ice on the wings – would you tell the pilot?

Ice on the wings – would you tell the pilot?

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.”

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Debate: are single engine airplanes safe at night?

Debate: are single engine airplanes safe at night?

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?

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Debate: zero-zero takeoffs?

Debate: zero-zero takeoffs?

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?

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Debate: do we still need DUAT(S)?

Debate: do we still need DUAT(S)?

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.

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60 seconds with the FAA administrator: what would you say?

60 seconds with the FAA administrator: what would you say?

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.

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Debate: full flap landings?

Debate: full flap landings?

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?

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Debate: has the iPad made pilots safer?

Debate: has the iPad made pilots safer?

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?

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Debate: is there a pilot brotherhood?

Debate: is there a pilot brotherhood?

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.

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Debate: do you have to be an enthusiast to be a good pilot?

Debate: do you have to be an enthusiast to be a good pilot?

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?

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Hands off another pilot’s airplane: always the case?

Hands off another pilot’s airplane: always the case?

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.

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The Great Debate: do you have to have an instrument rating to travel by GA?

The Great Debate: do you have to have an instrument rating to travel by GA?

“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?

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The Great Debate: are air shows dying?

The Great Debate: are air shows dying?

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.

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The Great Debate: are diesel engines the future?

The Great Debate: are diesel engines the future?

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?

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The Great Debate: is ADS-B good or bad?

The Great Debate: is ADS-B good or bad?

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.

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