Friday Photo: Orlando sunset

Friday Photo: Orlando sunset

Read More
The simple reason I ran out of gas

The simple reason I ran out of gas

Read More
How I crashed the sim from the instructor station
Caught on top, Moses on board
Friday Photo: forest fire off the wing
Flying solo – why everything is different when you’re alone
Who’s in command?

Who’s in command?

Read More
Reuniting with a special airplane, 46 years later
F-4C Phantom on ramp

Shot down over North Vietnam

Why you must fly a taildragger

New Articles

Our most recent posts
Citabria fuel gauge

The simple reason I ran out of gas

by

I guess it was a slow traffic day as the tower cleared me to land on that initial call. I wasn’t expecting that, but I had plenty of time and was starting my landing procedure when the engine “missed.” It was just a short blip but after so many hours in the airplane I noticed it. Then in only seconds the engine stopped completely.

Read More

Friday Photo: forest fire off the wing

by

Jim Yares took this photo while flying his Cirrus from Buchanan Field in Concord, CA, to North Las Vegas, NV, via the famous “Trona Corridor” — a VFR path cut through the Edwards Air Force Base complex. This is a great way to get from Northern California to Las Vegas without going high over the hostile mountain terrain of the central Sierra Nevada.

Read More
Pilot in left seat

Flying solo – why everything is different when you’re alone

by

On those rare occasions when I am flying solo, I instantly notice how different the whole experience is. The safety record for solo flights is different too. A pilot flying solo needs to approach each flight with good habits and perhaps larger built-in safety margins. For me, that means thinking about four key areas: the condition of the pilot, cockpit habits, teamwork, and personal risk tolerance.

Read More
Squall line cloud

Who’s in command?

by

The chief pilot made a statement that he had never canceled a flight for weather and he stated that if he hired me he expected me to do the same. What I didn’t allow for was that I was used to following the rules like an airline pilot. It turned out, he was looking for a cowboy, who thought it was cool to say they never canceled for weather.

Read More

Friday Photo: Santiago, Chile

by

Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city, has a memorable skyline – not for the buildings, but for the snow-capped Andes that tower over the city. Gaspar Galaz was flying his Piper Archer over the city on a beautiful day when he snapped this photo of the scene. It’s this week’s Friday Photo.

Read More

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?

by

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.

Read More

John's Blog

From Air Facts Editor John Zimmerman
Pilot in left seat

Flying solo – why everything is different when you’re alone

by

On those rare occasions when I am flying solo, I instantly notice how different the whole experience is. The safety record for solo flights is different too. A pilot flying solo needs to approach each flight with good habits and perhaps larger built-in safety margins. For me, that means thinking about four key areas: the condition of the pilot, cockpit habits, teamwork, and personal risk tolerance.

Read More
Washington airspace

Death, taxes, and airspace

by

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.

Read More
ADS-B radar

How to interpret radar in the cockpit

by

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.

Read More

I Can't Believe I Did That

Learn from other pilots' mistakes
Undercast

Caught on top, Moses on board

by

Fully proud of my license and confident of my newly acquired knowledge and 125-hour engine, I felt fully prepared for the 450nm trip that would take me from my home base at PDK to 5A1 in Norwalk, Ohio. For days I carefully reviewed weather patterns around my planned route of flight. It was not to be.

Read More
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

by

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.

Read More

Flying Technique

Tips and tricks for safer flying
Taxi diagram

How to nail taxi instructions every time

by

Have you ever botched taxi instructions? I cannot count how many times I have made this mistake. The most prominent one I can remember was at Seattle (KSEA) in a King Air many years back. I called ground, proceeded to butcher the response call, and, because it’s a Class B airport, I advertised to the world I was an amateur.

Read More
Smiles in cockpit

Flying with a young child – is it possible?

by

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.

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: Orlando sunset

by

Sometimes it’s the simple flights that deliver the best views. In this Friday Photo, college student Steven Myers shares a beautiful sunset over Orlando, Florida, from his Cessna 172. He captured the scene while doing some pattern work.

Read More

Friday Photo: forest fire off the wing

by

Jim Yares took this photo while flying his Cirrus from Buchanan Field in Concord, CA, to North Las Vegas, NV, via the famous “Trona Corridor” — a VFR path cut through the Edwards Air Force Base complex. This is a great way to get from Northern California to Las Vegas without going high over the hostile mountain terrain of the central Sierra Nevada.

Read More

Friday Photo: Santiago, Chile

by

Santiago, Chile’s capital and largest city, has a memorable skyline – not for the buildings, but for the snow-capped Andes that tower over the city. Gaspar Galaz was flying his Piper Archer over the city on a beautiful day when he snapped this photo of the scene. It’s this week’s Friday Photo.

Read More