Friday Photo: a pink King Air wing

Friday Photo: a pink King Air wing

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A $100 hamburger, the Brazilian way

A $100 hamburger, the Brazilian way

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I never considered canceling
What’s wrong with single-engine turboprop pilots?
Friday Photo: Catalina pokes above the fog

Friday Photo: Catalina pokes above the fog

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Solo in every sense of the word

Solo in every sense of the word

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Rocky Mountain rescue

Rocky Mountain rescue

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The engine just plain quit – my hayfield landing
F-4C Phantom on ramp

Shot down over North Vietnam

Why you must fly a taildragger

New Articles

Our most recent posts

Friday Photo: a pink King Air wing

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The sun is a talented artist, especially at dawn and dusk. This week’s Friday Photo shows how the canvas is often an airplane, not just the surrounding clouds or earth below. Jeff Greer snapped this photo of the King Air he was flying as the sun painted it a beautiful shade of pinkish orange. Another memorable view that’s only available in the air.

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Super Petrel on beach

A $100 hamburger, the Brazilian way

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This sunny morning, I could convince my wife to fly with me to the UNESCO heritage site of Paraty, Rio de Janeiro, a 50-minute flight that would take us along gorgeous tropical coastal scenery. With the help of my friend Siri, a true Caiçara – as the natives of the coast are called – I rolled the Super Petrel in front of the waterline for the pre-flight inspection, which I did by heart.

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Cessna 402B

I never considered canceling

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Dividing my attention between setting power, keeping her straight and watching my speed, I noticed the windshield starting to mist over with ice but I kept charging. Acceleration was normal and I had a fairly long runway so at 120 I gently rotated the nose – and continued to roll with the mains fully planted.

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TBM 900

What’s wrong with single-engine turboprop pilots?

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From studying everything that has gone on with the TBM and Meridian and with knowledge of the high performance piston fleet, I get the feeling that the lower fatal accident rate in the turboprops has to be attributable to better training. Better reliability could be a factor and the enhanced performance capabilities of these airplanes may have also made a contribution to safer operation.

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Friday Photo: Catalina pokes above the fog

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Flying offers some great views – even if you’re not the one flying. In this week’s Friday Photo, Carlos Gonzalez captures an amazing view of scenic Catalina Island, just off the coast of Southern California. As the marine layer covers the Pacific Ocean, the hilly island sticks up out of the mist, like an aircraft carrier in the clouds.

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Cessna takeoff

Solo in every sense of the word

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The other day I was cleaning out the drawers in an old dresser and unfolded a green button-down shirt, ruined by having been defaced with a marker and having one tail cut off. Why did I save this thing? I made out some words on the garment that jogged my memory and started my mind to wandering…

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Mount Robson

Rocky Mountain rescue

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I decided to look down and see where I was geographically. When I looked down, I saw a red flare coming up at me. Well that’s a first. I looked again and a second red flare was shot upwards. I began a circling descent and noticed on this logging road, four individuals with their arms outstretched basically making a “T” sign.

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Airplane by hay

The engine just plain quit – my hayfield landing

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A few summers ago, I was climbing out of a little grass airstrip in my Zenith 701 about a mile east of Smithfield, North Carolina, just starting to take in a pretty view of the Neuse River basin below, mostly thick forest with a dark river winding slowly through it, when the engine sputtered a few times (something like sputter, sputter, sput, sput, sput) and then stopped. Just plain quit.

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Friday Photo: Sunset over Puget Sound

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High wing airplanes make for great picture frames. In this Friday Photo, the sun sets over the Olympic Mountains as Steve Phoenix cruises along in his Piper Pacer. The sun is framed between the struts, while the light bounces off the water of Puget Sound below. Peaceful, beautiful, and exactly what makes flying so rewarding.

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Dick's Blog

Opinion and analysis from Richard Collins
TBM 900

What’s wrong with single-engine turboprop pilots?

by

From studying everything that has gone on with the TBM and Meridian and with knowledge of the high performance piston fleet, I get the feeling that the lower fatal accident rate in the turboprops has to be attributable to better training. Better reliability could be a factor and the enhanced performance capabilities of these airplanes may have also made a contribution to safer operation.

Read More
Night flying

Spooked about night flying in singles?

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There will be a debate about flying at night in single-engine airplanes for as long as there are single-engine airplanes and it gets dark every night. That is a given. Recently the son of an old friend emailed and asked me what I thought about flying singles at night. My stock answer to pilots who express concern about this is simple: If you are not comfortable with it, don’t do it.

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RV-7 in flight

What’s wrong with experimental pilots?

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The higher incidence of accidents in E-AB aircraft is just as logical as the fact that the fatal accident rate in private (general) aviation is almost infinitely higher than it is in airline flying. When more freedom is granted by reducing regulations and eliminating stifling procedures then the risk goes up.

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John's Blog

From Air Facts Editor John Zimmerman
Washington airspace

Death, taxes, and airspace

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Pilots and aviation lobby groups are up in arms right now about the potential privatization of Air Traffic Control, and rightly so. Unfortunately, these same groups have been much quieter about another government-led aviation disaster, one that has happened right under our noses: the relentless expansion of restricted and controlled airspace.

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ADS-B radar

How to interpret radar in the cockpit

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Radar seems so simple at first: red is bad, green is good. What else is there to know? As any pilot with more than a few cross countries in the logbook knows, quite a lot. While a lot of the problems with radar operation have been solved by datalink weather, few of the problems with radar interpretation have been solved.

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General aviation trends in 12 charts

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What’s the state of the general aviation industry? That’s a question we hear at lot at Air Facts, sometimes by prophets of doom looking for confirmation, sometimes by new pilots trying to get a handle on the community they have just joined, and sometimes by outsiders who genuinely don’t know. Unfortunately there’s no simple answer, but these 12 graphs offer a partial answer.

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I Can't Believe I Did That

Learn from other pilots' mistakes
Cessna 402B

I never considered canceling

by

Dividing my attention between setting power, keeping her straight and watching my speed, I noticed the windshield starting to mist over with ice but I kept charging. Acceleration was normal and I had a fairly long runway so at 120 I gently rotated the nose – and continued to roll with the mains fully planted.

Read More
PA-23

A bad way to learn about aerodynamics

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Many decades ago, my flying career was just getting off the ground when it nearly ended. It was August 1976 to be more exact and I had the opportunity to ferry a PA-23 that a new owner was restoring that had the full Geronimo conversion from Albuquerque to Cincinnati for radio and autopilot work at my father’s shop.

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Super Cub

One chance to get it right: inadvertent IFR flying

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I immediately knew that my current situation was extremely serious. I was currently flying at 4000 feet and was trapped between two layers of cloud in a wide band of clear air. This “meat in the sandwich” scenario at the end of the day, in a low speed, basically instrumented aircraft with a relatively low-time pilot was about as bad as it could get.

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Flying Technique

Tips and tricks for safer flying
Smiles in cockpit

Flying with a young child – is it possible?

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One of the things I used to dream about before getting my license was to fly my wife and two-year old daughter around, sharing the experience of flying together. I would daydream about flying off to a fun destination, grab lunch (and coffee) and then enjoy a nice flight back to the home field. I often questioned if having an enjoyable flight was doable with a two-year old.

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Flight instructor in cockpit

Talking at non-towered airports

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During the last several months, I traveled around the country presenting an AOPA safety seminar on non-towered airport operations. I had some pretty interesting encounters/discussions with other pilots during my seminars. This subject seemed to inflame the passion in a lot of folks. I’d like to share some of my observations with you.

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Weather Geek

Understanding Mother Nature
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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Surface analysis chart

Weather forecasts – there’s more to it than just charts

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On two recent occasions, I have spent my day staring down FAR 121.613. Both cases required a more in-depth study of the day’s weather than a simple scan of the TAF. Regardless of which part of the FARs you are operating under, the area forecast discussions put out by local forecasters are incredibly valuable when preparing for a day’s flying. They will give you the feel of a personal briefing.

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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: a pink King Air wing

by

The sun is a talented artist, especially at dawn and dusk. This week’s Friday Photo shows how the canvas is often an airplane, not just the surrounding clouds or earth below. Jeff Greer snapped this photo of the King Air he was flying as the sun painted it a beautiful shade of pinkish orange. Another memorable view that’s only available in the air.

Read More

Friday Photo: Catalina pokes above the fog

by

Flying offers some great views – even if you’re not the one flying. In this week’s Friday Photo, Carlos Gonzalez captures an amazing view of scenic Catalina Island, just off the coast of Southern California. As the marine layer covers the Pacific Ocean, the hilly island sticks up out of the mist, like an aircraft carrier in the clouds.

Read More

Friday Photo: Sunset over Puget Sound

by

High wing airplanes make for great picture frames. In this Friday Photo, the sun sets over the Olympic Mountains as Steve Phoenix cruises along in his Piper Pacer. The sun is framed between the struts, while the light bounces off the water of Puget Sound below. Peaceful, beautiful, and exactly what makes flying so rewarding.

Read More