Archive for Category: "Opinion"

This is why you became a pilot

This is why you became a pilot

OK, so after a year or so of lessons, studying, agonizing over the written, sweating during the oral and dreading the practical, you’ve done it! You are a pilot! Now what? What do you do with this very rare right and privilege?

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Tragedy on the beach at Venice – what would you do?

Tragedy on the beach at Venice – what would you do?

General aviation made headlines recently, and in the wrong way. A father and daughter were killed in Venice, Florida, when a pilot making an emergency landing hit them on the beach. What would you have done in this situation–land on the beach or ditch?

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AvGeek is the worst buzzword ever and is damaging aviation

AvGeek is the worst buzzword ever and is damaging aviation

If you’ve ever tweeted the hashtag #avgeek, I want to you to exit your World of Warcraft game, put on some pants, slowly climb those steep, dark stairs out of your mom’s basement and quickly make your way to the nearest video store and pick up a VHS copy of The Right Stuff.

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I have my license – now what?

I have my license – now what?

Now I’m a private pilot, and I’m just not sure what to do or where to go now. Do I keep adding ratings? A tailwheel endorsement would be cool for sure, but for what purpose? Maybe now that I’ve accomplished my “lifelong dream” there is a bit of a hangover associated?

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Thoughts on training vs. education

Thoughts on training vs. education

“You train for things you know are going to happen. You educate for the things you can’t anticipate.” Most of us use the term “train” to mean everything we pay for in order to get a license or rating. But the reality is that the respective approaches to training and educating are very different.

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Two very different types of flying

Two very different types of flying

For most of us amateurs and professionals, flying involves risk management. While boating has its own satisfactions (and accidents), the reward-risk level in aviation is substantially higher, and this to me indicates that aviation attracts people who are more likely to be “risk-takers.”

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Avionics: advancing or retreating?

Avionics: advancing or retreating?

For some ancient, bureaucratic reason my Piper is not allowed to use the same newer, more capable and less expensive avionics and autopilots that experimental airplanes do, although we all fly the same airways, airspace and systems. Is TSO’d equipment really twice as good and twice as reliable as today’s non-TSO’d?

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Accident? No, it’s a screw-up!

Accident? No, it’s a screw-up!

Most “accident” reports should be labeled “lack of judgment” investigations. Ian Seager says that too often we fail to learn from our own and other pilots’ errors.

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In the air, trust is all we have

In the air, trust is all we have

False bravado in the left seat can get you killed. The trust that you carry has to be inviolate: a certainty that you know what to do, how to do it and when. For me, that trust has been an off-and-on thing.

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Mission possible: flying starfish

Mission possible: flying starfish

Why do I fly? What is it about being in the air that compels me to spend spare time, and even more scarce resources, to pursue aviation? Actually, it’s pretty simple: it’s about sharing my insatiable passion with others.

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Proposal for a new IFR certification

Proposal for a new IFR certification

From time to time, the FAA changes the qualifications for a license or rating and even adds a new designation of pilot. Steve Phoenix has made a study of the pilot population and gives here his recommendation for a new category of instrument pilots.

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Why do we stink at being safe?

Why do we stink at being safe?

Pilots are an interesting sub-species of human. Although every pilot has their own unique traits, there are certainly some strong stereotypes that apply to almost all aviators. Unfortunately some of these characteristics are diametrically opposed to safety.

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Accentuate the positive!

Accentuate the positive!

Spend enough time reading this site or any other aviation publication, and you’ll eventually get to the articles or comments sections stating how there just simply isn’t enough interest in general aviation for it to survive. Instead, why don’t we ask ourselves what we can do to improve the flying experience?

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Malibu down

Malibu down

It is an old, sad story that only becomes sadder in the seemingly endless retelling. Today’s newspaper headline reads, “Lifelong pals, wives perish in air crash… foggy conditions may have played a role.” The deceased were all in their early or mid 40s, and leave behind six children. What are we to do?

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Changes at Air Facts: the torch is passed

Changes at Air Facts: the torch is passed

A couple of years ago when we were hatching the idea for an online magazine called Air Facts, I made it clear that, because of my age, I certainly couldn’t be the future of any such publication. Now we are adding a masthead.

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