Archive for Category: "John’s blog"

Practice makes perfect–sometimes

Practice makes perfect–sometimes

Everyone wants to be a better pilot. The real question is: how do we become better pilots in the most efficient way? Fortunately, the past decade has seen a boom in the science of how people learn and improve their skills. This research has much to offer pilots.

read more

The approach plate olympics – more crazy charts

The approach plate olympics – more crazy charts

Everybody loves a good approach plate. At least Air Facts readers do. After we shared seven bizarre instrument approach charts last year, we had hundreds of positive comments and numerous requests for more. As we like to say here, the readers are PIC, so here we will indulge your desire for more torturous procedures.

read more

Have we won the safety battle?

Have we won the safety battle?

Here’s a number that should be on the front page of every major newspaper: 224. That’s how many people died–worldwide–in airline crashes last year. Around 3 billion people flew on airlines last year, which makes 224 a simply incredible number.

read more

The truth about learning to fly

The truth about learning to fly

As a community, pilots do a pretty good job of getting kids interested in flying. But I think we do ourselves a great disservice when we tell prospective pilots that learning to fly is all fun and excitement. It’s not, and we know it’s not.

read more

One pilot’s Christmas wish list

One pilot’s Christmas wish list

A non-pilot friend recently asked me, “what do pilots want for Christmas this year?” Since he knows I work at Sporty’s, I think he was really looking for the hot aviation gadgets of 2013. But as I thought about what would make pilots happy in the year ahead, some much bigger wishes came to mind.

read more

New FAA medical policy – fixing a problem that doesn’t exist

New FAA medical policy – fixing a problem that doesn’t exist

In describing a new policy on obstructive sleep apnea that will soon take effect, the FAA basically put pilots on notice that if you’re too fat you might lose your medical. There’s no other way to read this outrageous proposal.

read more

Have pilots lost their sense of adventure?

Have pilots lost their sense of adventure?

Almost everyone today, pilots included, is less spontaneous and less accepting of risk. That’s probably a good thing overall (we’re living longer), but it’s less than ideal for getting the most out of a pilot’s license.

read more

7 instrument approaches you have to see to believe

7 instrument approaches you have to see to believe

In spite of what new instrument students might think, not all IFR approaches are straight-in ILSs to 200 and 1/2. Some airports just don’t lend themselves to an approach. But one look at the examples in this article shows that where there’s a will, there’s a way.

read more

Drones: the good, the bad and the ugly

Drones: the good, the bad and the ugly

There’s a lot of talk about drones recently, some of it reasoned but most of it not. Which side is right? Probably both. If we look close enough, there may be a silver lining to this cloud–but the forecast is still cloudy.

read more

Angle of Attack isn’t a miracle cure

Angle of Attack isn’t a miracle cure

Hop on the bandwagon–Angle of Attack (AoA) is the new must-have aviation accessory. This year’s Oshkosh fly-in was just the latest evidence, with a number of new product introductions, safety seminars and ad campaigns all proclaiming the life-saving potential of AoA instruments.

read more

Trust but verify: ATC can’t fly the airplane for you

Trust but verify: ATC can’t fly the airplane for you

Many pilots get complacent when they’re in ATC’s warm embrace, assuming that terrain, weather and traffic concerns are being handled by the person in a dark room. But a chilling accident report from 2010 offers an important reminder that controllers can make mistakes.

read more

FAA wants your data – will you give it to them?

FAA wants your data – will you give it to them?

In the wake of disturbing stories about pilots being tracked and detained for no reason, the FAA is considering a new data-monitoring program for pilots. “Big data” may help the GA safety record–but only if pilots give up their data. Right now, that’s a tough sell.

read more

The new “killer items” for IFR pilots

The new “killer items” for IFR pilots

Many pilots learn the “killer items” checklist during their flight training–fuel, flaps and trim. But for instrument pilots, GPS receivers and WAAS approaches have brought new traps to be aware of. Here is an IFR “killer items” checklist to consider before shooting your next approach.

read more

5 things general aviation needs right now

5 things general aviation needs right now

General aviation isn’t dying, it’s just changing. To successfully navigate this major transition, we need to face up to some critical issues, like avgas, NextGen and certification. We also need to look in the mirror.

read more

A revolution in remanufactured airplanes

A revolution in remanufactured airplanes

Have we seen the last clean sheet piston airplane? It’s a fair question given the current state of new airplane sales. But a handful of new companies may point to an alternative–remanufactured airplanes that are as good as new ones for half the price.

read more