My first in-flight emergency

My first in-flight emergency

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From the archives: Bob Buck on radar

From the archives: Bob Buck on radar

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The unleaded fuel disaster – what it means for pilots
Friday Photo: leaving storms on the other side of the mountains
The pre-preflight inspection: know your plane’s history
10 ways to know you’re ready to be an airline captain
Video tip: seven bad radio habits

Video tip: seven bad radio habits

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A 1200 nm VFR workout

A 1200 nm VFR workout

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Glass cockpits – don’t make it harder than it really is

Saying no as a pilot

New Articles

Our most recent posts
Cessna 150

My first in-flight emergency

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When it came time to leave, I fueled up the airplane and headed for home. The runup went smoothly and within a few minutes I was accelerating down the runway. Only I wasn’t. The mighty 150 usually didn’t have an impressive acceleration on takeoff but it felt especially sluggish today. I remember thinking, “This is weird,” and that thought turned to, “I’m not sure I’m going to make it off the runway” so I aborted the takeoff.

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Connie

From the archives: Bob Buck on radar

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While datalink weather is all the rage these days, some 60 years ago, Captain Robert N. Buck thought another hot weather technology, onboard radar, was ready to change the world. This article originally appeared in the November, 1956 edition of Air Facts, and it’s still a fascinating look at how pilots interact with new technology.

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Video tip: seven bad radio habits

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Talking on the radio is an important skill for any pilot, but especially for instrument pilots where ATC interaction is what it’s all about. Sometimes it’s not what you say but what you don’t say that matters. In this video tip, we share seven things you should not say on the radio. From the improper use of “roger” to using too much information, don’t make these mistakes!

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Clouds from Cessna

A 1200 nm VFR workout

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After a few days of poor weather conditions and unplanned maintenance, on Saturday August 4, I finally took to the skies in our club’s (Lehigh Valley Flying Club) Cessna 182 to visit my nephew and some friends in Tennessee. The 600 nm (each way) adventure tested my endurance, weather knowledge, aircraft management, and ability to pre-plan and adjust to conditions.

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Friday Photo: Mt. Ida, British Columbia

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Oftentimes all you have to do to get a great photo is to look outside. In this gorgeous photo from Clint Schamehorn, Mother Nature sets the scene perfectly, with high broken clouds, a setting sun, and the dramatic shape of Mt. Ida in the foreground. Not bad for a flight where the only mission was “boring holes in the sky.”

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John's Blog

From Air Facts Editor John Zimmerman
Collins family

I’ve got connections

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What is aviation, in a word? Many writers have tried to answer that question, and the word mentioned most often is freedom. Aviation sets you free, whether it’s freedom from the ground-bound view of the world or freedom from everyday worries. That’s certainly true, but I’d like to offer another nominee, even if it’s not as poetic: connection.

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Engine stopped in a Cessna

The bad news and good news about engine failures

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You’ve probably said it to a nervous passenger: “Don’t worry, airplane engines almost never quit.” It’s only in World War II movies that engines cough and pilots have to save the day, right? This is mostly true for turbine engines, which have a stunningly good reliability record. Unfortunately, it’s far less true for piston engines.

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I Can't Believe I Did That

Learn from other pilots' mistakes
Matanuska River

Poor planning, poor choices, and poor airmanship

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I could see that the weather lifted just beyond the big rock that held the radio tower located off to my left and not far ahead. I could see that I would have about 50 feet between the cloud deck and the highway there, enough room to skirt the rock and fly into better weather. So I just took it…

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Cherokee 140

The day I almost didn’t take off

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As I advanced the throttle, the acceleration on takeoff was less than I thought it should be, but I justified this with the thought it was a 140 and not the 180. No alarms were going off in my mind yet. What could go wrong with almost 760 lbs of people and full fuel?

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Stearmin

Fitting in flying around a busy life – and learning a lesson

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As a student pilot, the ups and downs of the learning cycle can be as exhilarating as your first flight or as frustrating as bad weather on a day you really wanted to fly. On one particular day after not flying for a few months, I had my first “I can’t believe I did that!” moment. I had asked my instructor to go on a “no stress, fun flight.”

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Flying Technique

Tips and tricks for safer flying
Cessna on runway

The other 4 C’s of aviation

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We are taught the 4 C’s of aviation in primary training. When faced with difficulty, such as getting lost or flying VFR into IMC, the safest course of action is to Climb, Communicate, Confess and Comply with instructions. But there is another set of C’s that has become more relevant to me as my flying experience has progressed.

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A pilot’s dilemma: inoperative instruments or equipment

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A recent legal interpretation by the FAA’s Office of Chief Counsel (dated June 13, 2018) addresses the rule on operating an aircraft with any inoperative instruments or equipment, FAR 91.213. It gives us an opportunity to review this sometimes complex rule that has bedeviled many general aviation pilots and owners for years.

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Threats: can they keep us safe?

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Humans make mistakes. We always have and always will. We have to use our training and skills to recognize the fact that we will make errors, recognize those errors, use techniques to minimize errors and mitigate any negative outcomes caused by those errors. There are many methods and tools to accomplish this, but let’s focus on the management of the “threats.”

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Weather Geek

Understanding Mother Nature
500mb chart

How dynamics and thermodynamics create weather

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As a pilot, you know that the atmosphere is constantly evolving. The changes in precipitation, cloud types, and hazards you see all link back to changes in temperature, pressure, and forces. Understanding weather means understanding the two main meteorological processes behind weather changes: dynamics and thermodynamics.

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How to use a Skew-T Log-P diagram

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Whether you’re a high or low altitude pilot, you can see how the temperature and amount of moisture in the air changes as you rise and descend through the atmosphere. How can we better understand these vertical changes to improve weather safety and awareness? Let’s get acquainted with a meteorological diagram called a Skew-T Log-P.

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GFA cloud top map

The area forecast is going away – here’s why that’s bad news

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Rumors have swirled for years, but now it’s really happening: the text-based Area Forecast (FA) will officially disappear on October 10, 2017, to be replaced by the Graphical Forecast for Aviation (GFA). On the surface, this seems like an inevitable step in the transition from coded text products to graphical, interactive weather maps. But before we relegate the FA to the dustbin of history, we should consider a few important details. This transition may not be quite so innocuous.

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Young Pilots

Stories from the next generation
Liftoff of Cessna

I had the sky to myself: my first solo at 16

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My takeoff was great and my landing was spectacular; “a greaser” as Dan would say. “Two more like that,” said Dan, “and I’ll let you fly solo!” My heart pounded. I knew I was close to my first solo, but now, with both parents right there with me? To say I was excited would have been a terrible understatement.

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Kids at airport

Aviation’s future: a young pilot’s perspective

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“We need more young pilots, like you,” is a statement that I find myself hearing quite often. I typically hear this coming from older pilots and I completely agree with them. But a lot of the older pilots that I know got into aviation because they were either in the military, or they grew up around an airport. Today, these are not usually the top reasons why people get involved in aviation.

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Cessna in hangar

More comfortable in the air: an Adirondack odyssey

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My first long-distance flight in a single-engine aircraft began exactly like every other mission we’ve ever flown: with my worrying about the weather and Dad squinting at the radar image on his iPad, assuring me that we would be fine as long as we got in the air within an hour. I call our trips missions because we rarely fly without a purpose.

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Friday Photo

Incredible views from the cockpit

Friday Photo: Mt. Ida, British Columbia

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Oftentimes all you have to do to get a great photo is to look outside. In this gorgeous photo from Clint Schamehorn, Mother Nature sets the scene perfectly, with high broken clouds, a setting sun, and the dramatic shape of Mt. Ida in the foreground. Not bad for a flight where the only mission was “boring holes in the sky.”

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Friday Photo: above the clouds in Argentina

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Agustin Rubiños took this photo “on a tourist flight to observe the city of three streams, in the typical climate of the southwest of the province of Buenos Aires in the winter season. With a FL030 roof of clouds over the terrain, we crossed the layer of thin clouds to provide an incredible view to our passengers who took a unique postcard for the rest of his life.”

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