High Jackers

Best FBOs and my personal minimums

Speaking of food, KCBE, Greater Cumberland Regional Airport, in Maryland, has the Hummingbird Cafe.  While technically not an FBO, they get the “Best Call-Out To Mom” award.  You park right out front, and ideally chock your aircraft to keep it from rolling away and then you have to chase it and chock it anyway.  They have a great BLT at the Hummingbird Cafe, approximately 11 inches thick. (The BLT, I mean.)

Instructional Inheritance; An Examination of the DNA of Your CFI

We are all a product of our upbringing, and aviation is no exception.  Your lens on learning is created by your CFI from the first time you sit in the airplane.  On that day, they set the tone for the transmission of information.

Pilot’s Discretion Podcast with John Zimmerman – top 10 episodes of 2023

Join Air Facts Editor-in-Chief, John Zimmerman, as he interviews some of aviation's most interesting people in the popular Pilot's Discretion Podcast. You'll recognize some of the guests as contributing authors at Air Facts. From honest discussions about flight training to fascinating stories from world famous airshow pilots, this podcast is for anyone who loves to fly.

GA Airports Suffer from Costly Mismanagement

Politicians ignore the highly technical needs of the airport and focus on other departments which attract more community interest, such as schools, roads, and parks. This degrades and undermines the ability of the airport to make significant contributions back to their community.

Always a student—some advice for aspiring professional pilots

As I manuevered toward the field, I realized we were too high.  As I  glanced at the moving map - a luxury I did not have during my Private training - the G1000 revealed a grass strip right underneath us. In no time, I positioned myself for a landing and completed the simulated emergency successfully. Now it was time for pattern work.
CFI with student

How That Proverbial Hamburger Could Save You $100, and a Lot More

Retention makes the difference between success and failure in the classroom. Retention is driven mainly by emotional and psychological engagement. Your brain must be perfectly and correctly stimulated for you to learn something. Information delivered at a trickling garden hose pace will have you falling asleep at your desk.
descent into clouds

As flight instructors we must continue to innovate

I tried the “Leans” on a pilot whom I was teaching and suggested that if he saw me lean left or right, he was to take the cue that he had to turn. And if he felt pressure on the rudder pedals, it was me getting his attention for him not using the rudder. And if I was leaning forward towards the yoke, well, that gets obvious in a hurry.

Taxiing vs. Flying—Which is Harder?

Just after we landed at Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Runway 9. “Citation 246GF, turn left on Runway 13, right on Alpha, left on Echo, right on Echo Two to parking with me.”  We were the only aircraft moving at the airport.  The the call sounded like: “Citation246GFturnleftonRunway31rightonAlphaleftonEchorightonEchoTwotoparkwithme.”

The Silent Treatment: Techniques in Learning

I clearly couldn’t hear what she was trying to say to me, so she had the wisdom to leave her ego at the door that day and line up another instructor who she thought could take the same concept and say it in a way that would somehow get through to me.  In essence, she brought in another stone mason.

Is your airplane maintenance legal, safe, or neither?

The airplane was rough at best - high time engine, old radios, needed paint.  The mechanic asked if the owner had the log books.  He produced them, and as the mechanic looked through them, he asked “Who does your annuals?”  The reply was “Oh, I do them myself and have (mechanic name) sign them off for me.”  Was the airplane legal?  The logs book said so, but in reality, it was neither legal or safe.
Citation on ramp

Better ramp etiquette is needed

The Beechcraft King Air pilots spend the next 15 minutes holding the adjacent aircraft captive before finally getting underway.  It is the longest fifteen minutes of the day for passengers on both airplanes.  Pilots and passengers still in the lobby must also wait until the coast is clear.
Cessna stall

How Not to Lose Control: What We Can Learn from Colgan 3407

The captain of Colgan 3407, when faced with an impending stall while IFR at night and relatively close to the ground, pulled against the Stick Pusher, another safety system designed to help a pilot lower the nose in a stall. The stick pusher, in this case, activated three times, and at each successive activation the FDR indicates a stronger and stronger pull by the captain.

Reflections from a backseat glider pilot

Most powered aircraft do not need a lot of rudder these days. Gliders generate a lot of adverse aileron yaw, and you have to fly with your feet as much as you do the stick.
172 on short final

Don’t damage the pilot brand

All of us pilots are functioning as brand ambassadors of the general aviation (GA) business to the public.  We need to strive to make sure everyone sees our brand in a positive light. Straight up accidents are going to be a consistent part of living life and there is probably nothing we can do about some of those, but the avoidable things are what we really can change.
Cirrus in flight

Cirrus and Bonanzas dominated their eras

No two other airplanes dominated their time as the premier personal piston single. And each succeeded by being different in very fundamental ways.

Pilots are not smarter, they are just better prepared

Ask any group of pilots to raise their hands if still a student, and you will be surprised at how many hands go up.  The pace of progress for aviation instruments requires pilots to be lifelong students, and they know it. 

The hidden benefits of learning to fly

Learning to fly takes time, dedication and commitment. But the reward can serve you in life far beyond flying an airplane. You probably know the benefits of flight - speed, saving time, maximizing productivity - but have you considered the benefits of learning to fly?

The Chart Supplement and “Deer, coyotes, and birds on and invof arpt”

The Chart Supplement can spell out the huge words “waterfowl” or “jack rabbits,” but can’t spell out the word “airport,” but instead uses “arpt?”  Or “invof” versus “in the vicinity of?” Why not abbreviate bears, to “brs?”  Or “buffalos” to “bfflo?”  Reason?—because all the bfflo were sht by bfflo-hntrs in like 1885.
Super Cub landing

Which controls which? Throttle/elevator and airspeed/altitude

There’s an old story about an insane asylum in which nobody ever thought up any new jokes, so all the old jokes were given numbers. This meant that telling a joke only required giving its number. In that same spirit, here is a list of arguments as to whether pitch or power controls airspeed or altitude. Now pilots can discuss the issue more succinctly by tossing numbers around.
J-3 Cub on floats

No good reason to fly, but this is why I do

Flying is expensive, but then again, it has always been expensive. Perhaps you too have had enough of the touch-and-goes, and the "$100 dollar hamburger" flights to your favorite non-towered field. The thought of cruising the beach once again does not exactly motivate you to race to the airport. But I do it because it’s fun!