Friday Photo: an Austrian castle

Friday Photo: an Austrian castle

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The other 4 C’s of aviation

The other 4 C’s of aviation

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A flight of firsts doesn’t quite go according to plan
Growth over comfort – true for airplanes and kids
Friday Photo: a rainy sunset

Friday Photo: a rainy sunset

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Compound emergency – a line boy learns a lesson
Fear the reader – my first charter seaplane flight
“Is it always like this?”

“Is it always like this?”

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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

Friday Photo: an Austrian castle

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A European vacation turned into an unexpected flying adventure for Bob Bickford. In this Friday Photo, he shares the view from the cockpit of a brand new Diamond DA40NG, which he got to fly from the Diamond factory in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. As he says, it’s not every day you get to see a castle on final approach.

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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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Piper takeoff

Growth over comfort – true for airplanes and kids

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Growth over comfort. I’m not sure when I learned that phrase or where I heard it, but it completely sums up my experiences of becoming a pilot. I certainly was not comfortable the first time that small plane rose off the runway. I was not comfortable the first time I heard that stall horn blare, and I certainly was not comfortable the first time I turned final and my instructor said, “Your airplane.”

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Friday Photo: a rainy sunset

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Viewing a sunset from the cockpit of a small airplane is always beautiful, but add in some clouds and maybe even a little rain and things get even better. Rick Spencer took this photo from his Cessna 182 on the way home to Arkansas from South Carolina, and the variety of colors makes for a gorgeous end to the trip.

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De Havilland Beaver on floats

Fear the reader – my first charter seaplane flight

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The day was June 8, 2018. After a long and laborious process to get my FAA Part 135 Air Taxi Certificate, I had finally scheduled my first revenue-generating charter flight in my 1959 de Havilland Beaver on amphibious floats. This 200-mile round trip flight was planned from Gig Harbor’s Tacoma Narrows Airport to Roche Harbor Airport in the San Juan Islands.

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Kid in airplane

“Is it always like this?”

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The purpose of programs like the EAA Young Eagles and Civil Air Patrol Cadet orientation flights are to introduce our youth to aviation. It is not only a good thing to do in and of itself. It is essential if we are to pass on our aviation heritage so that it can continue and develop through the future. Sometimes, though, I think we focus too much on the airplane or on piloting, and not enough on flying.

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Dick's Blog

Opinion and analysis from Richard Collins
Flight instruction

Teaching flying over the years

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I became a flight instructor in 1953. I last renewed my CFI in 2016 and will let it lapse today (2/28/2018). There is no log entry for that because there was no flight. I’ll tell you why I let it lapse in a bit. For now, I’ll just say that it has to do with the FAA at its petty and officious best.

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Air Facts turns 80: some things have changed, some have not

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On the 80th anniversary of AIR FACTS’ founding, I see two good questions: (1) What have been the major factors in the safety record improvement over the years and in particular the last couple of years? And, (2) Is there any way to reduce the risk even more? It is tempting to give technology a lot of potential credit for improvements but a look back throws a bucket of water on this.

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John's Blog

From Air Facts Editor John Zimmerman
Low approach in Pilatus

Avionics transitions – ain’t nothing like the real thing

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After logging about 1,000 hours in a Pilatus PC-12 with a combination of round dials and EFIS tubes, the cockpit was recently transformed with a pair of Garmin G600 TXi primary flight displays (PFDs). The bright screens filled with synthetic vision views are simply incredible, and I genuinely feel safer flying behind them, but they also sent me back to school.

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Radar map

Don’t ruin a flying vacation with weather worries

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Sure, the convenience of traveling by general aviation is hard to beat, and as pilots we usually have a lot of fun just getting there. But there’s another factor that can quickly overshadow the fun – weather worries. I’ve battled this off and on for years, but a recent family trip to Disney World was almost ruined by my constant stressing about the weather.

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The GPS revolution at 20 – how aviation has changed

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Decades after it first caught on, GPS is so deeply embedded in everyday life that we now take it for granted. But as important as GPS has been for the world as a whole, it’s hard to think of an industry more transformed than general aviation. Consider the long list of capabilities that even a 60-year old Light Sport Aircraft can now have thanks to this revolution.

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I Can't Believe I Did That

Learn from other pilots' mistakes
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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Cessna Skyhawk

Never fly in New Jersey

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One of my most memorable flights was my long solo cross country during my PPL training. The two hours that I spent in the cockpit of my little Cessna would turn out to be two of the most valuable hours in my flight training.

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A bad case of get-there-itis

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What kind of idiot would knowingly take off into unsafe conditions, simply because they were in a rush to get home? I only skimmed this section of my training manual, secure in the knowledge that I was too smart, self-aware and cautious to ever fall prey to that kind of insidious thinking. Who could be so stupid and reckless? I now know the answer to that question: me.

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Flying Technique

Tips and tricks for safer flying
Cessna on runway

The other 4 C’s of aviation

by

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

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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Fog around approach lights

Deep dark weather secrets about fog are really no mystery

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It’s not accurate to say that Mother Nature keeps secrets. However, it is spot on to say that Mother Nature harbors all manner of surprises for pilots who fly on without making an effort to develop some personal weather wisdom. One key is in understanding that what you see and feel is what you get, regardless of what is forecast.

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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: an Austrian castle

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A European vacation turned into an unexpected flying adventure for Bob Bickford. In this Friday Photo, he shares the view from the cockpit of a brand new Diamond DA40NG, which he got to fly from the Diamond factory in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. As he says, it’s not every day you get to see a castle on final approach.

Read More

Friday Photo: a rainy sunset

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Viewing a sunset from the cockpit of a small airplane is always beautiful, but add in some clouds and maybe even a little rain and things get even better. Rick Spencer took this photo from his Cessna 182 on the way home to Arkansas from South Carolina, and the variety of colors makes for a gorgeous end to the trip.

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Friday Photo: snowy mountain peaks

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The Rocky Mountains are famous for offering stunning views of snowy mountain peaks, but the Monashee Mountains in Canada are close behind. In this Friday Photo, Ken Finlayson shares a picture he took of the range while on a cross country training flight. Not a bad office view.

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