Debate: zero-zero takeoffs?

One of the double-edged swords for pilots is the issue of Part 91 weather minimums. Unlike commercial operators, private pilots can start an instrument approach even when the weather is below minimums. For takeoff, there really aren’t any minimums, so a zero-zero takeoff would be perfectly legal. But is that a good idea?

Debate: do we still need DUAT(S)?

A number of rumors (some backed up by the companies involved) suggest that DUAT(S) may be on the chopping block. Whether that happens or not, it raises an interesting question: do we still need DUAT(S)? Add your voice.

Debate: full flap landings?

Since the 1950s, most airplanes have been designed with wing flaps, allowing for steeper approaches, better sight pictures and lower airspeeds at touch down. But how to use those flaps has been an endless source of debate. Should you land with full flaps every time, or are partial flap landings easier and safer in windy conditions?

Go or no go: NORDO?

Your trip today is all fun, as you flew from your home base in Delaware, Ohio (DLZ) up to Put-in-Bay, Ohio (3W2), a beautiful island airport in Lake Erie. It was a fun day on the water and a great lunch, but now it’s time to head home. Is it a go or no go?

Debate: has the iPad made pilots safer?

The iPad, originally dismissed as a novelty, has now become an essential part of many pilots’ flight bags, whether student pilot or airline pro. But have all these features actually made flying safer?

Debate: is there a pilot brotherhood?

Many pilots value their license not just for the privileges it unlocks, but also for the membership it represents. That membership is in the unofficial “pilot brotherhood,” which bonds together aviators from around the world–regardless of race, class or location.

Top 10 articles of 2013

In 2013, Air Facts debated the big issues in aviation, offered tips for safer flying and shared some good pilot stories. If you missed any of the 160 articles we published this year, here’s our list of the 10 most popular.

From the archives: Wolfgang Langewiesche flies across Africa

Today we are pleased to republish “140 in Africa,” a delightful article that will take you back in time. Legendary author Wolfgang Langewiesche shares the simple pleasures of flying low and slow across a vast continent. This originally appeared in the March, 1951 edition of Air Facts magazine.

10 questions for new AOPA President Mark Baker

From time to time, we ask a particular aviation personality to answer some random questions. Today it’s Mark Baker, the new president of the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). We asked him about his background and his vision for the future of GA.

Go or No Go: storms in the panhandle?

After a productive day of meetings in Savannah, GA, (KSAV) your plan is to return home to New Orleans, LA (KNEW) tonight in time for dinner with your family. Here’s the weather picture that greets you as you sit down at the FBO computer in Savannah. Read the details, then tell us if you’re making the trip or spending the night.

Connie flight from Paris to Cairo, 1951

From time to time, we revisit an original Air Facts article that we think would make enjoyable and worthwhile reading today. So it is with Bob Buck’s “Flight to Cairo,” the legendary airline pilot’s story of flying a TWA Constellation from Paris to Cairo in the days before jet engines and GPS.

Goodbye PTS, hello ACS?

The Practical Test Standards (PTS) have been the guide for student pilots for decades, spelling out exactly what tasks will be covered on the checkride. But this could be changing soon. An industry group was recently formed to design an enhanced version of the PTS that is more suited to the 21st century.

The Great Debate: are air shows dying?

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.

Summer Writing Challenge

Attention all pilots from 16 to 24 years old. Your voice needs to be heard as part of the general aviation community. All summer long, Air Facts will publish stories from young pilots in addition to our usual content of stories about safety, history, weather, technique and a dozen other topics.

The Great Debate: are diesel engines the future?

With traditional piston engines fading, and small turbines and electric motors unable to pick up the slack, all eyes have fallen on the diesel engine. While these have been around for decades, diesels are earning renewed attention because of their relative fuel efficiency and their ability to burn Jet-A. What do you think?