Belize to Canada in a Cessna 182

Belize to Canada in a Cessna 182

Read More
Friday Photo: Angel Falls, Venezuela

Friday Photo: Angel Falls, Venezuela

Read More
How to safely solo a student in minimum time

How to safely solo a student in minimum time

Read More
A multi-engine rating in a weekend

A multi-engine rating in a weekend

Read More
A long and noisy flight during the “good old days” of airline travel
Friday Photo: The Tetons

Friday Photo: The Tetons

Read More
Guy garbage: a woman learns to fly in the 1950s
Chasing the rabbit

Chasing the rabbit

Read More

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

Saying no as a pilot

New Articles

Our most recent posts
Cozumel

Belize to Canada in a Cessna 182

by

At six AM the next morning, I was on a flight from Quebec City to Belize International Airport. The plan was to land, clear customs, and head right out to the plane on the ramp and ready for takeoff, with a 200 NM flight to Cozumel, Mexico. Seeing as how I had already done all these procedures in reverse, I was less apprehensive than I was on the initial ferry.

Read More

Friday Photo: Angel Falls, Venezuela

by

Angel Falls is undeniably breathtaking from any perspective. With a height over 3,200 feet, it is the highest uninterrupted waterfall on Earth and a powerful testament to nature’s power. Some 80 years after American pilot Jimmy Angel first flew over the falls, Douglas Olivares snapped this photo from his Cessna 172, complete with a partial rainbow.

Read More

How to safely solo a student in minimum time

by

Another CFI joined me in the grass area between the runway and the taxiways, as we both watched my student solo. I enjoyed smiling to the CFI who joined me and my student waved at me as he passed us halfway on his second takeoff roll. The student was smiling and waving at me with confidence in what he was doing – with only six hours of total time.

Read More
Piper Seneca

A multi-engine rating in a weekend

by

I recently added a multi-engine rating to my commercial certificate and it was one of the most fascinating experiences of my 30+ year flying career. Obtaining the rating was a bucket list thing. In light of the time available to me for flying, I chose to do an accelerated program held over a weekend to minimize the impact on my work schedule.

Read More

Friday Photo: The Tetons

by

The Northwest United States offers plenty of stunning vistas, making it a favorite for pilots – especially when the weather is good. In this Friday Photo, Duane Root shares a beautiful shot of the snow-capped Tetons, shot from his F.8L Falco as he flew to Montana for an AOPA Fly-in. As he says, “It’s views like this that remind us why we love flying!”

Read More
Airline pilots

Chasing the rabbit

by

You can go your whole career chasing the rabbit; chasing the airline, chasing the airplane, chasing the seat, always being junior. You can go your whole career and miss everything. You can miss your kids growing up, your marriage, your friends, holidays, weekend events, miss your life.

Read More

Threats: can they keep us safe?

by

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.”

Read More

Dick's Blog

Opinion and analysis from Richard Collins
Flight instruction

Teaching flying over the years

by

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.

Read More

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

by

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.

Read More

John's Blog

From Air Facts Editor John Zimmerman
Radar map

Don’t ruin a flying vacation with weather worries

by

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.

Read More

The GPS revolution at 20 – how aviation has changed

by

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.

Read More

I Can't Believe I Did That

Learn from other pilots' mistakes
Stearmin

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

by

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.”

Read More
Cessna Skyhawk

Never fly in New Jersey

by

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.

Read More

A bad case of get-there-itis

by

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.

Read More

Flying Technique

Tips and tricks for safer flying

Threats: can they keep us safe?

by

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.”

Read More
Airplane out side window

Surviving the merge: how to avoid a mid-air collision

by

After presenting a mid-air prevention seminar at more than a dozen locations around the country, I’d like to highlight some observations and issues that came up during our discussions. First, we’ll review what the regulations say, then we’ll break them down and look at how they might be applied in specific scenarios.

Read More

Weather Geek

Understanding Mother Nature
GFA cloud top map

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

by

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.

Read More
Fog around approach lights

Deep dark weather secrets about fog are really no mystery

by

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.

Read More
Surface analysis chart

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

by

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.

Read More

Young Pilots

Stories from the next generation
Liftoff of Cessna

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

by

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.

Read More
Kids at airport

Aviation’s future: a young pilot’s perspective

by

“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.

Read More
Cessna in hangar

More comfortable in the air: an Adirondack odyssey

by

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.

Read More

Friday Photo

Incredible views from the cockpit

Friday Photo: Angel Falls, Venezuela

by

Angel Falls is undeniably breathtaking from any perspective. With a height over 3,200 feet, it is the highest uninterrupted waterfall on Earth and a powerful testament to nature’s power. Some 80 years after American pilot Jimmy Angel first flew over the falls, Douglas Olivares snapped this photo from his Cessna 172, complete with a partial rainbow.

Read More

Friday Photo: The Tetons

by

The Northwest United States offers plenty of stunning vistas, making it a favorite for pilots – especially when the weather is good. In this Friday Photo, Duane Root shares a beautiful shot of the snow-capped Tetons, shot from his F.8L Falco as he flew to Montana for an AOPA Fly-in. As he says, “It’s views like this that remind us why we love flying!”

Read More

Friday Photo: Western Australia from a 172

by

Geoff van Schie flies his Cessna 172M on volunteer missions to teach Christian Value Educational classes to mainly indigenous children in four remote schools in Australia. This photo was taken at the end of a five-day trip, for a total of 8 hours for the week, much of around IFR weather.

Read More