The loss of an old friend

The loss of an old friend

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Friday Photo: Ayers Rock, Australia

Friday Photo: Ayers Rock, Australia

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Making an air drop from a Champ on floats – only in Alaska
Flying with a young child – is it possible?

Flying with a young child – is it possible?

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Spooked about night flying in singles?

Spooked about night flying in singles?

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Friday Photo: Manhattan over the nose

Friday Photo: Manhattan over the nose

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Don’t turn a practice emergency into a real emergency
Death, taxes, and airspace

Death, taxes, and airspace

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F-4C Phantom on ramp

Shot down over North Vietnam

Why you must fly a taildragger

New Articles

Our most recent posts
Aeronca

The loss of an old friend

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I just lost an old aviation friend. The news came in unusual fashion, as an email with graphic photographs of the body, but no note about what happened. The damaged nose, the broken limbs— one separated from the body— it was hard to take. She had been pretty, perky, always ready for a good time. But now it was over.

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Friday Photo: Ayers Rock, Australia

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Ayers Rock is a famous sandstone monolith in the remote Northern Territory of Australia. It’s a popular tourist destination, but it’s difficult to reach by car. In an airplane, however, it is a scenic and unforgettable flight, as Bob Main shows in this week’s Friday Photo. He calls it, “the trip of a lifetime.”

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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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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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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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Video tip: Instrument approaches

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Single pilot IFR is hard, says well-known flight instructor Jason Miller, and the biggest challenge is to stay ahead of the airplane. In this practical video, he offers three tips for managing a flight, from airspeed control to autopilot usage. The goal is for your mind to arrive at the next waypoint before the airplane does.

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Dick's Blog

Opinion and analysis from Richard Collins
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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Cirrus SR22

What it takes to be one sharp pilot, part four: realistic

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In this off-again on-again series I have touched on awareness, intelligence and coordination. Those are all important. Being realistic also sounds like part of a plan for flying. The first thing that comes to mind is the extremely tired old saw about knowing your (or your airplane’s) limitations. In fact, that has been said with evangelical zeal so many times that, with this mention, I am going to leave it behind.

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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
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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Citabria

An awful sensation – lost above Brazil with no alternator

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I was totally by myself. I aligned the plane with the 04 runway, with no one in sight, since it was the middle of the week. I took off and decided to test the new plane with some basic maneuvers and a lazy flight. It’s important to say that I was totally unfamiliar with the area, as I was used on flying my Cubs from another airfield some miles away. But the fates decided it was a good time to put me to the test.

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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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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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Class B airspace

What is a Class B airspace excursion?

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Security makes getting a Center, TRACON or tower tour increasingly difficult, but I have done it several times dating back to my first tower visit (VNY) in 1965, and I think it is worth the effort. It is fun, educational, and can enhance safety by allowing you to spend time in the shoes of the guy or gal on the other side of the frequency. My Denver TRACON visit was no different: I learned stuff, had a great time, met some wonderful people… and got an interesting safety lesson that I would like to relate here.

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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: Ayers Rock, Australia

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Ayers Rock is a famous sandstone monolith in the remote Northern Territory of Australia. It’s a popular tourist destination, but it’s difficult to reach by car. In an airplane, however, it is a scenic and unforgettable flight, as Bob Main shows in this week’s Friday Photo. He calls it, “the trip of a lifetime.”

Read More

Friday Photo: Manhattan over the nose

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New York has one of the most famous skylines in the world, and there’s no better way to see it than from the cockpit of an airplane. Jody Kochansky was lucky enough to get a view of Manhattan from his Cirrus SR-20 on a perfectly clear day, and he shares it in this week’s Friday Photo.

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Friday Photo: Wichita sunset

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It was a silky-smooth IFR flight from KIXD to 1K1 for Dianne White. She was treated to this beautiful sunset, a view those on the ground didn’t have the benefit of enjoying that winter evening. As she says, “We pilots get to enjoy so many breathtaking sights those on terra firma never get to see.”

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