Debate

Reader question: what do non-pilots ask when they learn you fly?

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When meeting someone for the first time, talk often turn to hobbies or professions – the dreaded, “what do you do?” question. For most of us that means flying and a long conversation about airplanes, weather, safety, and so much more. So this month’s question asks: when you tell someone you’re a pilot, what question do you know is coming next?

Reader question: what is the best and worst airport you’ve visited?

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What makes for a good airport? Is it the scenic location, the friendly tower controller, the low fuel prices, or the memorable courtesy car? Or does it have more to do with the memories at the airport and the flights that started or ended there? In this month’s reader question, we want to know the best (and worst) airport you’ve ever flown into.

Reader question: have you ever met a celebrity through aviation?

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General aviation attracts all kinds of people, from teenagers learning to fly to Hollywood stars traveling by private jet. For many everyday GA pilots, that means it’s not uncommon to cross paths with a celebrity at the airport. For this month’s reader question, we want to know whether you’ve ever met a famous person through aviation.

Reader question: have you ever experienced aviation nirvana?

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This month’s reader question asks whether you’ve ever experienced something special in the air – what we are calling aviation nirvana. We don’t mean just a flight well flown or a fun trip, but a truly perfect aviation moment. Was it the airplane that made it special, or the people? Did it even involve flying?

Reader question: what is your aviation nightmare?

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This reader question was prompted by the comments on a recent Air Facts article. As one said, “The intense, and deeply disturbing, nightmares you experienced regarding wire encounters are not uncommon among pilots.” So we want to know – have you had any aviation nightmares or anxieties? Is it the same issue every time?

Reader question: what’s your 2019 flying resolution?

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2019 is just around the corner, and many pilots take the time to make a flying resolution for the new year. We’d like to hear from you – what’s your aviation goal for 2019? Do you want to fly more, add a rating, get current, check out in a new airplane, or maybe fly to Oshkosh? Add your comment below – and be sure to tell us how you plan to keep yourself honest.

Reader question: when did you know you had the aviation bug?

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When asked about how they originally got interested in aviation, many pilots talk about a specific moment when “the aviation bug” bit. It might have been a first airplane ride, a trip on an airliner, or a visit to an airshow, but the result was the same – a lifelong passion for airplanes took hold. We want to know what that lightbulb moment was for you.

Debate: are drones good or bad for general aviation?

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Drones are certainly one of the hottest news stories of 2016, with everyone from Disney World to the Department of Defense adopting them for a variety of missions. While drones still have a lot to figure out, it’s clear that they are here to stay – and that could have serious implications for pilots. Are those implications good or bad?

Debate: what’s going on at ICON?

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ICON Aircraft’s self-proclaimed mission is to “create products that not only deliver great functional benefit but also deeply inspire us on an emotional level.” But inspiration isn’t the word that comes to mind right now for many ICON position-holders. As the A5 finally gets close to being delivered to pilots, the company’s purchase agreement has raised a number of questions.

Debate: a kinder, gentler FAA?

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The FAA has a reputation for being punitive and unequal in its enforcement, more interested in paperwork and police work than in promoting real safety. If you believe some recent announcements, though, that attitude may be changing. Administrator Michael Huerta spent much of 2015 promoting a new “Compliance Philosophy Order,” which promises to change the way his agency deals with pilots.

Debate: is registering drones a good idea?

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The FAA kicked off one of its most aggressive rulemaking efforts in history this week, as the drone industry task force met to consider how to register the hundreds of thousands of unmanned aerial systems (UAS) projected to be sold this Christmas. Will it work?

Debate: when are you “established” in the hold?

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Upon passing the VOR I called the Center controller to inform him that we were entering the hold at Sea Isle and was immediately called on the carpet by my pilot friend with me. He informed me that the controller told us to call him when we were “established” in the hold – not when we were passing the VOR.

Ice on the wings – would you tell the pilot?

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Just as I reached to push the call button and alert the crew that the wings were iced, the First Officer announced, “We’re number one for takeoff,” turned immediately onto the runway, and away we went. The clear, ripply ice on the wings was the only thing I could see; I vividly remember thinking, “Well, it’s a good day to die, sun shining, storm passed.”

Debate: zero-zero takeoffs?

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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?