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?
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.
Now it’s your turn. We’re going to pretend you have a one-on-one meeting with FAA Administrator Michael Huerta in his office. You have one minute to tell him anything you want, so think carefully.
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?
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?
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.
A pilot complained: “It used to be, pilots were real aviation enthusiasts. But this new breed of pilots, especially the guys who learn to fly in a Cirrus, they don’t care about the joy of flying. They just use their airplanes to travel.” The obvious question is: so what?
As I tied my light sport airplane down, I couldn’t help noticing the Ercoupe sitting adjacent to me. Not only is an Ercoupe a rare craft, this one was notable because it wasn’t tied down–it just had two straps hanging loose from the wings–as if someone started to tie it down and stopped mid-process.
“If you really want to use your license, better get an instrument rating.” This is fairly common advice given to new pilots–the implication being that you can’t really travel in a light general aviation airplane very effectively without an instrument rating. Is it really essential?
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.
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?
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.
The FAA medical exam, a key milestone on a pilot’s journey towards a private certificate, is under fire. For years, many pilots have blasted the whole process as a bureaucratic mess that does nothing to improve safety but does a lot to discourage new student pilots. Should it go away?
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?
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?
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.
The vast majority of airports in the United States (some 20,000) have no control tower, a fact that shocks many non-pilots. But the traffic pattern at these airports usually operates quite smoothly, with pilots flying prescribed routes and announcing their positions on CTAF. But do you have to fly the classic four leg pattern?
To each pilot, the primary airplane chosen for flying has some appeal that tends to stand out. Here, we want to get pilots to comment on what they like best about the primary airplane flown, whether owned, leased or rented.
The Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) rule is coming up on its 8th birthday, and that seems as good a time as any to reflect on the successes and failures of LSAs and the Sport Pilot license. Has it worked? Share your opinion in our latest debate.
How do we tell the good FARs from the bad FARs? Specifically, what is the right balance between safety and the utility we all want from our airplanes? And what do you think is the worst FAR of all? Join this lively debate and add your comments.