Saying goodbye to a beloved airplane
The hunter and the door

The hunter and the door

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Ice, acorns and blind hogs

Ice, acorns and blind hogs

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When the margins get thin

When the margins get thin

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8-3-1981: the day the FAA disappeared

8-3-1981: the day the FAA disappeared

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Air Traffic Controllers don't all sleep

What to do when the panel goes dark

Friday Photo: Blue Ridge Mountain sunrise

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Our most recent posts
Air Traffic Controllers don't all sleep

What to do when the panel goes dark

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Just after Hollister had passed under the left wing, the transponder flashed an error message, and went from their assigned squawk code to 1200. “Huh?” says the instructor, “What’s up with that?” The instructor tried to enter the assigned squawk code a couple more times, with the same result. That was exactly when the wheels fell off the cart, electrically speaking.

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Friday Photo: Blue Ridge Mountain sunrise

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This week’s Friday Photo pretty well sums up why you became a pilot. Fitzwilliam King snapped this amazing photo from the cockpit of his PA-11 Cub, just as the sun peeked over the Blue Ridge Mountains outside Greenville, South Carolina. The rolling hills, the lingering valley fog, the warm colors of the sun, and the yellow fabric of the airplane – it’s recreational aviation at its very finest.

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Mort Mason 206

Saying goodbye to a beloved airplane

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The flight was supposed to be pretty much a routine trip, though not really a happy one. I was relocating my turbocharged 1984 Cessna TU206G amphibian from West Palm Beach, Florida, to St. Cloud, Minnesota. Economics had demanded that I sell the marvelous ship, and I was delivering it to the buyer.

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Runway lights

The hunter and the door

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Night. Rain. Extremely high surface winds. Low visibility. Mountains. Less gas then I would have liked. Now I couldn’t get the lights to the runway at Martin Campbell Field (1A3) to come on. “This is how people kill themselves in small planes,” I thought to myself as I passed the final approach fix and decided to go missed. I thought back to the start of the trip, The Hunter and The Door.

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ADDS icing report

Ice, acorns and blind hogs

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Flying out of El Paso earlier this week I picked up a little airframe ice. It would have been a non-event for a more capable airplane, but the anti-ice equipment on 32A (pitot heat and windscreen defrost) just wasn’t up to the task.

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Friday Photo: downwind for Sedona Airport

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Sedona is one of the more unusual airports in the US. With a field elevation of nearly 5,000 feet, the runway sits on top of a mesa, some 500 feet above the surrounding terrain. It’s a wonderful fly-in destination, but the conditions can be turbulent. This photo from Mike Landis shows the rolling terrain on short final.

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ADS-B radar

When the margins get thin

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Richard Collins once summed up risk management, a subject that now elicits PhD-level jargon, in four simple words: “it’s all about margins.” Shave the margins too close and you’re one bit of bad luck away from an accident. The importance of those margins was driven home for me on a recent flight in a Pilatus PC-12, when I allowed schedule pressure to reduce them just a little too much, but not in the usual way.

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Jackson Hole

Old Navigators Never Die, But They Do Fade Away

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One of my favorite flying memories happened while I was a part-time single-engine Part 135 charter pilot for the FBO at Laramie, Wyoming. My occasional charter flights were a welcome respite from my law office, allowing me to meet people who weren’t in legal trouble and to take them places I might not have gone otherwise.

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Dick's Blog

Opinion and analysis from Richard Collins
Cessna control check

The devil is in the deadly details

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Careful pilots use checklists. One item on all checklists calls for the controls to be free. After studying two accidents, one in a new production twin on a first flight and one in an experimental jet, because the ailerons were reversed, I paid extra attention to controls free and correct. I looked at the ailerons when I deflected them, every time, and made sure they moved correctly.

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Medical

BasicMed: a cruel hoax?

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Was 05/01/2017 a day that changed the life of a lot of pilots or was it just another Monday down on the farm? The first attempt to do away with aeromedical certification for pilots started about 70 years ago and the beginning of BasicMed on 05/01 seems to be all the progress that was possible on this sticky subject over all these many years.

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John's Blog

From Air Facts Editor John Zimmerman
ADS-B radar

When the margins get thin

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Richard Collins once summed up risk management, a subject that now elicits PhD-level jargon, in four simple words: “it’s all about margins.” Shave the margins too close and you’re one bit of bad luck away from an accident. The importance of those margins was driven home for me on a recent flight in a Pilatus PC-12, when I allowed schedule pressure to reduce them just a little too much, but not in the usual way.

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Turbulence map

3 questions to ask about weather reports

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When you consider the big picture, you’re really creating a weather hypothesis – an overarching narrative that ties together the various weather reports. Not all weather reports are developed the same way, and not all deserve equal attention. Here are three questions to consider when comparing different weather products.

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Uber concept for VTOL

Silicon Valley discovers aviation – but for how long?

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You have to pay close attention these days to keep up with all the breathless news about “flying cars” and “disruptive aerial vehicles.” The great and the good from the technology world have fallen in love with aviation lately, and their various startup companies have been launching aviation projects at an unprecedented rate in 2017. Do any of them have a chance? Does it matter?

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I Can't Believe I Did That

Learn from other pilots' mistakes
Clouds above airport tower

Stumbling into IMC without a plan

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I believe this is where things go bad for well-trained pilots. It’s not that we can’t improvise and come up with new plans, but when we’re a little lost and our original plan isn’t working out, we need a few moments to compose a new one. I was in the pattern in IMC, trying to descend well below pattern altitude to get below the scattered clouds while trying to do what I told the tower I would be doing – and also not get in trouble with ATC.

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152 in a spin

A humbling solo flight

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So I poured the power on and hauled back on the yoke. With the lighter load, that yoke came right back and the nose of the plane pointed right up. For a split second I thought “that’s strange” and before I knew it, I was pointing straight down at the ground in a left spin.

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Friday Photo

Incredible views from the cockpit

Friday Photo: Blue Ridge Mountain sunrise

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This week’s Friday Photo pretty well sums up why you became a pilot. Fitzwilliam King snapped this amazing photo from the cockpit of his PA-11 Cub, just as the sun peeked over the Blue Ridge Mountains outside Greenville, South Carolina. The rolling hills, the lingering valley fog, the warm colors of the sun, and the yellow fabric of the airplane – it’s recreational aviation at its very finest.

Read More

Friday Photo: downwind for Sedona Airport

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Sedona is one of the more unusual airports in the US. With a field elevation of nearly 5,000 feet, the runway sits on top of a mesa, some 500 feet above the surrounding terrain. It’s a wonderful fly-in destination, but the conditions can be turbulent. This photo from Mike Landis shows the rolling terrain on short final.

Read More

Friday Photo: sunset over Grand Lake, Oklahoma

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David and Judy Smart were up for a sunset flight in their Cessna 172 when everything came together. The sun dipped in between clouds on the horizon, throwing a soft shadow over Grand Lake O’ the Cherokees, in Northeast Oklahoma. David says it’s “perhaps the most beautiful sunset we have ever witnessed together.” Hard to argue with that.

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