Sporty’s Air Facts published more than 150 articles in 2023, written by more than 100 different writers. Many of these writers were first time contributors with a compelling story to tell or a lesson learned. Some authors you’ll recognize as regular conributors, having built a loyal following with their thoughtful insights. Thank you for your many comments and spirited debate which is what makes Air Facts a special venue for pilots. If you provided an article this year, thank you. If you’re thinking about contributing in 2024, please do and here’s how to get started.
All of these articles have appeared in Air Facts popular Sunday morning email newsletter – a collection of new and popular contributions to begin your day. If you’re not already a subscriber, you may sign- up here.
Please enjoy these 10 most popular articles of 2023.
10. Flirting with the tropopause. Jet engines are most efficient at higher altitudes— coincidentally, near the tropopause. Captain Doug Morris discusses why the “trop” is important to airline pilots and clues on locating this boundary or where the first two layers of the atmosphere meet. Read now
9. The friends I do not know. A peaceful, early morning flight is relatable to many. Such is the case for author, Robbie Culver, and his Champ in rural Illinois. Robbie offers a poetic nod to the many pilots passing by overhead and the unique bond aviators share. Read now
8. Making peace with a very bad day. Author, Michael Olah, shares the devestation of straight-line winds collapsing hangars at his airport which destroyed his homebuilt Cassutt before he could take his first flight. His inspiration in tackling a rebuild and flying to EAA AirVenture in Oshkosh resonated with readers. Read now
7. Expectation bias and distractions lead to near disaster. Author and retired airline captain, Mario Jimenez, describes the “new technology” aboard his heavy DC10, a series of system failures and anomalies and finally, the terror of more than 400,000 lbs. of aicraft rolling forward on the ramp without warning. Read now
6. Two in a row – a chain of mistakes and lessons. We know most accidents are caused by a series of mistakes – the “error chain.” After a perfect first day of his multi-day trip, author, Kyle Braga, made some critical mistakes which ultimately resulted in electrical issues while flying in busy terminal airspace. Read now
5. The Silent Treatment: Techniques in Learning. It turns out, every one of us ‘hears’ on a specific frequency. If something is said to us in a specific manner it will make sense. New contributor, Charles Turner, examines this phenomenon as it relates to flight instruction. Read now
4. Never again – too much trust in the weather forecast. In our popular “Never Again” category, Dan Stukas, describes a terrifying inadvertent IMC encounter with a passenger and an aircraft unequipped for IFR flight. He desparately seeks familiar landmarks while flying less than 200′ AGL. Read now
3. Pilots need to be generalists, not specialists. Aviation requires a broad range of skills and experiences and while 1500 hours can land you a job, it won’t automatically make you a great pilot. In this recent installment from Air Facts Editor-in-Chief, John Zimmerman, discusses the downside of chasing the simplest path to the right seat of an RJ. Read now
2. Never a dull moment at a flight school. Relatively new to Air Facts, Matt Johnson has quickly built a loyal following with his unique and entertaining writing style. In this popular installment, he shares tales of some of his most memorable students and also why he got scolded by the boss. Read now
1. I was at Meigs Field. Since its creation in 1948, Chicago’s Meigs Field was the model for what general aviation could bring to a major American city. But 20 years ago, bulldozers rolled into the airport under the cover of darkness, and without notice or approval, destroyed the airport. This is the account from author, Michael Brown, in our most popular story of 2023. Read now
- IFR Challenge – RNAV approach at Tillamook - February 14, 2024
- Interactive exercise: Unusual attitude recovery procedures - February 7, 2024
- Announcing the 2024 Richard Collins Writing Prize for Young Pilots - January 19, 2024