Friday Photo: cranberry harvest

Friday Photo: cranberry harvest

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History moving forward – my flight in a B-17
Eight things I know about flying in Georgia
Go or No Go: IFR over the mountains

Go or No Go: IFR over the mountains

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Accident report roundup: time in type

Accident report roundup: time in type

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Friday Photo: the Twelve Apostles

Friday Photo: the Twelve Apostles

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Memories of flying the Connie

Memories of flying the Connie

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The perfect pilot myth is finished

The perfect pilot myth is finished

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Beech Starship

Why the Starship was such a disaster

EAA AirVenture Oshkosh

11 things you must do with your pilot’s license

New Articles

Our most recent posts
Cranberry harvest

Friday Photo: cranberry harvest

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Cranberries are knocked off their bushes while the bogs are flooded, allowing them to be corralled for harvest. We may be flatlanders here in this part of our state but the water views (both coastal and lakes) make it beautiful flying country. This annual sight is always one of my favorite iconic views of the Cape Cod area.

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B-17 on ramp

History moving forward – my flight in a B-17

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I like history. I try to imagine what it was like to experience the things that I read about. What were the sounds, the smells, the feelings? Well, after volunteering with our EAA Chapter 17 that hosted the B-17, I was able find out. A group of ten of us who volunteered over the weekend were selected to tag along on the repositioning flight.

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Eight things I know about flying in Georgia

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Georgia was my birthplace for flying. I cut my teeth piloting a little Alarus out of DeKalb-Peachtree airport in northeast Atlanta (PDK), and that was home base for 15 years. I set a goal of landing at every public-use airport in the state, and dang near got most of them, even if it was just a touch and go. Over that time I learned a thing or two about flying in the South.

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Route BIL BOI

Go or No Go: IFR over the mountains

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Since upgrading to a Cirrus SR22 Turbo a few years ago, you’ve really started using your instrument rating for serious travel. The airplane is well-equipped with a TKS deice system, Garmin glass cockpit, and built-in oxygen. All of those are useful for your typical flights around Montana, Idaho, Utah, and Oregon. Today is no exception, as the mission calls for a two-hour flight from Billings, Montana (BIL), to Boise, Idaho (BOI).

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Conquest

Accident report roundup: time in type

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in spite of the well-meaning advice, total time is still the measuring stick for pilots. A pilot with thousands of hours is assumed to be safe, and both his insurance premium and his reputation around the airport will probably reflect that assumption.

But read through NTSB accident reports and you’ll quickly notice another measure of pilot proficiency is more important: time in type.

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Twelve Apostles

Friday Photo: the Twelve Apostles

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Towering over the shoreline of Port Campbell National Park in Victoria, Australia, the Twelve Apostles is a unique formation of limestone stacks. Neil Sidwell captured a great photo of this unique vista from the cockpit of his ICP Savannah. While many visitors see it from the nearby road, there’s nothing like an aerial view.

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Connie

Memories of flying the Connie

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The first big airplane I ever flew was the Lockheed Constellation, affectionately known as the Connie. The Connie simulator was just a procedures trainer (no motion, no visual) so most of the flight training was done in the airplane. I confess I was scared to death! The biggest thing I had ever checked out in was the Piper PA-23 Apache.

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737s parked

The perfect pilot myth is finished

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The rules are that test pilots must recognize the trim failure, for example, by some positive event. Once that positive identification is made, the test pilot must wait exactly three seconds before taking the proper action to disable to system. When non-pilots hear this information, their mouths drop open. They utter something like “that’s crazy. Three seconds! That’s just nuts.”

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Grass runway

From the archives: Wolfgang Langewiesche on airports in every town

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This inspiring article, first published in the October 1956 edition of Air Facts, reflects the big dreams of the mid-1950s and perhaps the missed opportunities for general aviation. Legendary writer Wolfgang Langewiesche argued for a nationwide network of landing strips (not airports, just a place to land), to be created as a part of the Interstate Highway System that was born with the passage of the Federal Aid Highway Act of 1956.

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John's Blog

From Air Facts Editor John Zimmerman
ADS-B deviation

Thunderstorms and ATC – how to get from A to B when direct isn’t an option

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The good news is technology like datalink weather has made it a lot easier to manage convective weather. With ADS-B on my iPad or SiriusXM on my panel, it’s fairly simple to avoid the worst weather; it just takes patience and discipline to go all the way around it. Since most of my cross country flights are IFR, those long deviations require a lot of coordination with Air Traffic Control.

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Cessna 210 in flight

Why I love it, why I hate it: Cessna 210

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Every airplane model has a personality; some even have a stereotype. So when a friend recently asked what I thought of the Cessna 210 Centurion, I hesitated. I felt qualified to offer an opinion since I flew one for about five years in the early 2000s, but I also felt obligated to go beyond cliches. I have very fond memories of the 210, but it is a love it/hate it type of airplane – its strengths are unique, and its weaknesses are maddening.

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I Can't Believe I Did That

Learn from other pilots' mistakes
Fuel truck

I almost ran the tanks dry

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It was four-plus decades ago, on my solo cross-country as a student pilot flying from Salem to John Day and back, that I almost ran the tanks dry. So in the spirit of learning from others’ mistakes, I offer this true-life-student-pilot experience.

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Snowy field

Whiteout in a Cub

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My plane had no instruments for flying in the clouds, and no radio for communication. Visual Flight Rules were the only option, and that didn’t look too promising. The time of go or no-go was approaching rapidly. The low ceiling would not be a problem if it held. Young and foolish? Yes, but the decision was made.

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Windsock

I can’t believe I did that… and that… and that

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I was distracted by early arrival of a passenger while adding a quart of oil, and closed the cowl without replacing the oil filler cap. That meant that a short while later, at 5000 ft on a thank-God CAVU day, I saw a trickle of oil on the cowl, and the oil pressure needle at the bottom of the green and headed down.

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Flying Technique

Tips and tricks for safer flying
Citabria on grass runway

Always read the fine print

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It was pretty obvious that some folks hadn’t cracked open their respective book(s) in a long time. Those who had studied their documents, tended to be familiar with the BIG PRINT stuff, like their Normal Procedures sections and Emergency checklists, but were not so well-versed when it came to the various Notes, Warnings, and Cautions found throughout. There’s a lot of free, but hard-earned, wisdom in that fine print, all intended to protect life and limb.

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John Wise CFI

Lessons from a later bloomer CFI – and why you should be one too

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A CFI friend who worked with me on this rating told me that I would probably ruin the lives of my students for the first 100 hours that I instructed. It was true, but hopefully not that bad. As of this writing, I have over 700 instructing hours in most every single-engine trainer out there, and I have evolved in my thinking about this whole business of training homo sapiens to safely take to the skies.

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Static cone 737

What is that dragging behind the Boeing 737 MAX in TV news video?

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I’m sure you’ve seen video of a Boeing 737 lifting off as yet another news reader drones on about the MCAS troubles in the MAX version of the world’s most popular airliner. If you watched closely, you have seen what looks like a wire or tube with a cone on the end trailing from the top of the rudder.What the heck is that thing, and why is the 737 dragging it through the air?

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Weather Geek

Understanding Mother Nature
Radar map

The two rules of weather flying

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It’s when you start to plan longer trips, over several hours or several days, that you develop a deeper understanding of how to navigate the atmosphere. And for me there are two principles that guide my thinking on these journeys: the weather will always change; and, it’s always scarier on the computer screen!

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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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Young Pilots

Stories from the next generation
Ben Siepser

Into the fog: a kid’s view of IFR flying

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“Maybe we should wait until tomorrow to leave,” my mom inquired as she looked at the weather forecast on her phone. I noted that her voice was very nervous sounding.” No, it will be fine once we get to a high altitude,” my dad said reassuringly. The engine sputtered and then roared, then we started to roll onto the taxiway. I could feel the tension inside the cabin; everyone seemed a bit uneasy.

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Grandpa's logbook

Chasing my shadow

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It may have been falling apart – the cardboard and paper ripping at the seams and the ink slowly fading from its pages – but within it dwelled the memories and accomplishments of a young man striving to become a pilot. All of this I failed to realize as my grandpa’s logbook passed from his outstretched hands to mine just a few months before his death. Looking back, I wish I had explored the stories hidden within.

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Lakes by Grove

Medical crisis on a solo cross-country

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I had just taken off from Aurora, Missouri (2H2) heading toward Grove, Oklahoma (KGMJ), flying at an altitude of 4,500 feet. I was a student pilot, and this was my first solo cross-country experience. Everything seemed to be a pretty standard day; the weather was nice. The one big mistake I made I had no way of knowing or preparing for, but it happened all the same.

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Friday Photo

Incredible views from the cockpit
Cranberry harvest

Friday Photo: cranberry harvest

by

Cranberries are knocked off their bushes while the bogs are flooded, allowing them to be corralled for harvest. We may be flatlanders here in this part of our state but the water views (both coastal and lakes) make it beautiful flying country. This annual sight is always one of my favorite iconic views of the Cape Cod area.

Read More
Twelve Apostles

Friday Photo: the Twelve Apostles

by

Towering over the shoreline of Port Campbell National Park in Victoria, Australia, the Twelve Apostles is a unique formation of limestone stacks. Neil Sidwell captured a great photo of this unique vista from the cockpit of his ICP Savannah. While many visitors see it from the nearby road, there’s nothing like an aerial view.

Read More

Friday Photo: chasing the rainbow

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Every pilot has spent time in an FBO waiting out weather. For a lucky few, that patience is rewarded with a beautiful view. That’s what happened to Rick Kennett as he climbed out of St. Louis in his Cessna 340. The stormy clouds supplied the perfect rainbow, which he followed on his way home.

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