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

Saying no as a pilot

New Articles

Our most recent posts
F-15

Fighting the war on drugs in the Air Force

by

My first Counter Drug (aka CD) operation involved deploying F-15s to Howard AFB in Panama. Under the auspices of the USAF’s 12th Air Force, we took four F-15Bs down south to provide augmented air surveillance in the Caribbean as part of the grand plan to interdict drug running out of Colombia up in to Mexico and points north.

Read More

Friday Photo: Phoenix sunset

by

Photographers call it the golden hour for a reason. As this Friday Photo from Kimberly Prodan shows, the time just before night falls is utterly amazing – especially from an airplane. This photo captures the emerging lights of Phoenix below, while the sun’s fading light paints the horizon.

Read More
Cirrus SR22T

Flying is no joke

by

As he taxied to “line up and wait,” something was amiss. Yet he and I both persevered in our thoughts of better flight to come. Shattered easily by the slipping nose wheel as the throttle was advanced, I pushed the right rudder a bit and felt the resistance from his feet, locked in a state of motionless silence. He must have felt it, for he looked over at me with a quizzical look.

Read More

Friday Photo: Colorado mountains

by

A cool, clear day in the mountains of Colorado is hard to beat. As Greg Chestnut shows in this photo, it’s even better with a high wing airplane. He took this photo while flying his Cessna 182 to Las Vegas, as he passed over the Uncompahgre Wilderness Area near Telluride.

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
Engine stopped in a Cessna

The bad news and good news about engine failures

by

You’ve probably said it to a nervous passenger: “Don’t worry, airplane engines almost never quit.” It’s only in World War II movies that engines cough and pilots have to save the day, right? This is mostly true for turbine engines, which have a stunningly good reliability record. Unfortunately, it’s far less true for piston engines.

Read More
Low approach in Pilatus

Avionics transitions – ain’t nothing like the real thing

by

After logging about 1,000 hours in a Pilatus PC-12 with a combination of round dials and EFIS tubes, the cockpit was recently transformed with a pair of Garmin G600 TXi primary flight displays (PFDs). The bright screens filled with synthetic vision views are simply incredible, and I genuinely feel safer flying behind them, but they also sent me back to school.

Read More

I Can't Believe I Did That

Learn from other pilots' mistakes
Matanuska River

Poor planning, poor choices, and poor airmanship

by

I could see that the weather lifted just beyond the big rock that held the radio tower located off to my left and not far ahead. I could see that I would have about 50 feet between the cloud deck and the highway there, enough room to skirt the rock and fly into better weather. So I just took it…

Read More
Cherokee 140

The day I almost didn’t take off

by

As I advanced the throttle, the acceleration on takeoff was less than I thought it should be, but I justified this with the thought it was a 140 and not the 180. No alarms were going off in my mind yet. What could go wrong with almost 760 lbs of people and full fuel?

Read More
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

Flying Technique

Tips and tricks for safer flying
Cessna on runway

The other 4 C’s of aviation

by

We are taught the 4 C’s of aviation in primary training. When faced with difficulty, such as getting lost or flying VFR into IMC, the safest course of action is to Climb, Communicate, Confess and Comply with instructions. But there is another set of C’s that has become more relevant to me as my flying experience has progressed.

Read More

A pilot’s dilemma: inoperative instruments or equipment

by

A recent legal interpretation by the FAA’s Office of Chief Counsel (dated June 13, 2018) addresses the rule on operating an aircraft with any inoperative instruments or equipment, FAR 91.213. It gives us an opportunity to review this sometimes complex rule that has bedeviled many general aviation pilots and owners for years.

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

Weather Geek

Understanding Mother Nature

How to use a Skew-T Log-P diagram

by

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.

Read More
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

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: sunrise over a Cirrus wing

by

Sometimes, Mother Nature knows best. After evening storms delayed Salim Helou’s flight home until the next morning, the sun made a grand appearance over the co-pilot’s wing. The Cirrus SR22 meant Salim made it to work on time, but the view was the real prize.

Read More

Friday Photo: Phoenix sunset

by

Photographers call it the golden hour for a reason. As this Friday Photo from Kimberly Prodan shows, the time just before night falls is utterly amazing – especially from an airplane. This photo captures the emerging lights of Phoenix below, while the sun’s fading light paints the horizon.

Read More

Friday Photo: Colorado mountains

by

A cool, clear day in the mountains of Colorado is hard to beat. As Greg Chestnut shows in this photo, it’s even better with a high wing airplane. He took this photo while flying his Cessna 182 to Las Vegas, as he passed over the Uncompahgre Wilderness Area near Telluride.

Read More