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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.

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.

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.

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?

Go or No Go: home from the Bahamas

After a relaxing week of vacation in the Out Islands of the Bahamas, it’s now time to head home. The good news is your Cirrus SR22 is a capable machine, and you should be landing in Ft. Pierce to clear customs about an hour and a half after takeoff. The bad news is your secluded beachfront villa is totally disconnected from the outside world.

From the archives: Molt Taylor on flying cars

This article, published in the January 1959 edition of Air Facts, shows just how long we’ve been talking about flying cars. Molt Taylor was perhaps the most successful (or least unsuccessful) flying car entrepreneur of the last century. Many of the questions he asked are still being asked today about the Terrafugia Transition and other flying car concepts.

The Great Debate: is ADS-B good or bad?

Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is an awkward phrase that was virtually unknown to pilots just a few years ago. Today, as the 2020 deadline approaches for equipping with ADS-B Out pilots are starting to learn what this new system really entails. But not everyone likes what they see.

NTSB shouts – will anyone listen?

The National Transportation Safety Board (NSTB) recently held a much-publicized meeting in Washington that focused on general aviation safety. The message was clear: the board views the GA accident rate as unacceptably high, and they want action. Their first step was to release five Safety Alerts targeting the leading causes of accidents. The question is, will anyone listen?

Go or No Go: marginal VFR?

You’re headed to Minneapolis today to pick up your daughter from college and bring her home to Milwaukee for a family wedding. Since winter is starting to recede, it looks like a good chance to dust off your 1978 Cessna 172 and make the 2 1/2 hour flight. Read the weather briefing, then decide if you’re making the trip or not.

Leighton Collins on flight training, 1944

Nearly 70 years ago, Air Facts editor Leighton Collins called out the need for a better flight training system. In particular, he lamented that “we have never had a flying system designed for the civilian.” His comments are a surprisingly relevant contribution to today’s debates about flight training.

Go or No Go: game time

Your friend got you tickets to the Super Bowl to see your beloved Baltimore Ravens play. To make an adventure out of it, you’ve decided to fly your 1995 A36 Bonanza to New Orleans for the game. But will you be able to make it?

The Great Debate: are flying clubs the answer?

In an industry that is battered by a variety of negative forces (fuel prices, regulation and demographics to name a few), almost everyone is looking for a solution. While some ideas look fairly hopeless, one concept that has caught on lately seems more realistic: flying clubs. Are they a great idea or a hopeless waste of time?