The Great Debate: pilot shortage?

It seems like someone is always warning of a looming professional pilot shortage, but most often the dire predictions never come to pass. Now, a coalition of industry and government officials are asking the Government Accountability Office to investigate the issue. Is this time really different?

Time Capsule: Leighton Collins flies an early 707 to Europe

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 Leighton’s “Flight 700,” his story of flying with iconic Captain Robert Buck in a 707 at the beginning of the Jet Age. This is a detailed description of a flight, and like us, you will no doubt marvel at how much has changed.

Top 12 articles of 2012

2012 was quite a year at Air Facts. We welcomed more readers than ever before and tackled a wide variety of aviation topics, from the fun to the serious. Here is our list of the top 12 most popular articles of the year.

Go or no go: heading north

Talk about “get-home-itis.” Your trip today is the final leg of a marathon freight dog run, with over 1 billion legs in the logbook so far. The flight has gone flawlessly, but you’re dead tired and would really like to get home to the Mrs. (Claus, that is). But just because you’re the big red man doesn’t mean you can skip the weather briefing, so you take one last glance at your iPad before takeoff.

Washington Report: changes in stall training

Stall training has been a hot topic for many years, but it’s taken on even more importance in the wake of some high profile airline crashes in recent years. The FAA has now responded, with Advisory Circular 120-109, covering training for stalls and stick pusher activation.

The great debate: the “spouse factor”

Before every flight, pilots make some sort of go/no-go decision, even if it happens nearly instantly. A good decision-making process involves a review of the weather conditions, the health of the pilot and the condition of the airplane. But there’s another factor that comes into play more than we probably admit: passengers.

Go or No Go: home for the holidays

It’s the week of Thanksgiving, and your mission today is critical for staying married: you’ll be flying with your wife from your home outside San Francisco to visit the in-laws in Seattle for turkey day. Your flight is scheduled to depart in an hour. Read the weather briefing here, then decide if you’re flying or driving.

Washington Report: FAR Part 23 rewrite

One of the major reasons cited for the declining pilot population is the high cost of new airplanes, with a new Cessna 172 costing $300,000 or more. But a new group hopes to turn back this tide by simplifying the certification process. Can they succeed?