The Great Debate: are air shows dying?

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Air shows have been slowly fading for the past few decades, mirroring the overall decline in general aviation. This year, the federal government has dealt the final blow, thanks to the budget sequestration. Are air shows a dying species? Join our debate.

Wrecks and recession: is there a connection?

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The question I have relates to serious accident activity in general aviation. We all know that the accident rate does not vary by much so the number of fatal accidents tells us a lot about flying activity. What has happened here during the economic collapse and rebound and the general aviation collapse without a rebound?

Eggs to Caracas, Venezuela

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Eggs. Who knew there would be a need to fly eggs from Florida to Venezuela? In this case, it was 28,800 pounds of eggs each flight, every night for weeks. Here is the story as it occurred in the summer of 1977.

Split decision

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It can be very helpful to have your copilot handle communications on a tough IFR day. And it can keep him/her in the game when you’re cruising in the sunshine at FL240. But I learned the hard way that it may not be such a hot idea in a VFR traffic pattern.

The Asiana crash: rampant speculation?

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The fact of the matter is that the airplane crashed on a beautiful day, there was apparently no mechanical failure, and the public feels entitled to all the speculation that anyone cares to offer. That is just the way things work. From what is known, the crew just turned in a truly lousy job of flying.

A recent trip South

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From the perspective of a private pilot who has been flying for over 45 years, things are much easier than they were formerly. This should be no surprise to many of you, but it was enlightening to me. The plan was to fly from my base at White Plains Airport (KHPN) to a grandson’s wedding in Delray Beach.

I Can’t Believe I Did That #8

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The big day had arrived and I was going to fly my wife, her sister, and my 13-year-old niece to the West Coast by way of the Grand Canyon. A check of the weather revealed a rather dynamic situation developing with instrument conditions along the first part of the route from Tulsa, Oklahoma, to Dalhart, Texas.

Not so bienvenido

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In the 1960s, while in college, I had the opportunity to occasionally ferry new airplanes from the various airplane factories here in the U.S. to foreign destinations. These trips were sometimes new crop dusters to be delivered to the buyers–farmers in Central or South America.

9 questions for Harry Clements

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From time to time, we ask a particular aviation personality to answer some random questions. Harry Clements was an aeronautical engineer for many years with his hand in the design of some well-known airplanes. Now retired, we posed these questions to Harry to delve into the mind of an engineer.

Are you a plain cheesecake pilot?

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Get out there and try something new, something exhilarating, or something that perhaps is a fear! Don’t get stuck eating plain cheesecake all your aviation career; come join me as I try some double chocolate cheesecake and maybe, just maybe, we will change the general aviation community for the better in the process.

A flight well flown: you be the judge

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After every landing we’d all like to hear that it was a flight well flown, even if the pronouncement comes from self. In the past, I have written articles about self-grading of all flights and have always thought that a pilot can be a great judge of himself—if he is objective.

Why do we stink at being safe?

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Pilots are an interesting sub-species of human. Although every pilot has their own unique traits, there are certainly some strong stereotypes that apply to almost all aviators. Unfortunately some of these characteristics are diametrically opposed to safety.

The Caribou Mountain incident

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Legendary Alaskan bush pilot Mort Mason has had plenty of nervous moments in his career. In this article, he shares the story of a mountain landing gone awry, and how even an experienced pilot can learn something new from every flight.

The reason I never fly alone

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In the first entry from our Summer Writing Challenge, 24-year old Alec Synakowski shares the ups and downs of earning a pilot’s license fresh out of college. After a medical setback, Alec finally managed to fly home to the grass strip in New York that started his dream.

I Can’t Believe I Did That #7

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Just before I took my Private Pilot flight check, the 150 I’d been flying was grounded for an overhaul. I told my instructor that I wanted to fly the one I’d be flying for the test before hand so I could get a feeling for its idiosyncrasies. His reaction was “Heck, they all fly the same.”