https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/On-final-for-9R.jpg 900 1200 Enderson Rafael https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Enderson Rafael2020-08-06 09:11:562020-08-09 17:06:10Unstable approaches in a pandemic world
Who would have guessed? Most pilots—notably airline ones—are flying less than ever since March, and the number of unstable approaches has skyrocketed. According to a recent report from the International Air Transport Association, the rate of unstable approaches per thousand flights jumped from around ten to fifteen monthly in the last two years to 28 in April and 37 one month later.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/Global-Hawk.jpg 711 944 Thomas Yarsley https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Thomas Yarsley2020-07-20 12:05:422020-07-20 12:06:08Autonomous control systems—what does it really mean for aviation?
This 1,200-word piece is not intended to be a manifesto of advocacy for autonomous aircraft. Its purpose is to explain what autonomous control systems in general do, and—at a very perfunctory level—how they do it. It is not a blueprint for how to build one. But if nothing else, it shows that that real people like me actually have considered these things, and have figured out ways to do them successfully.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/PPBBE58.jpg 968 1434 Enderson Rafael https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Enderson Rafael2020-07-01 09:20:052020-07-04 10:03:03Pilot-induced oscillations: are you a sinner or a victim?
You have probably seen this before: a GoPro video showing a pilot struggling with large inputs on the yoke, giving the throttle a hard time with either high thrust or idle power, and after a fair amount of time focused on that demanding approach, a smooth touchdown followed by a reassuring smile. On the title of the video, something mentioning a high crosswind component, and below, the comments saying that the pilot nailed it like a boss. Did he or she?
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/airbus-a330-a340-flight-2.jpg 365 550 Mac McClellan https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Mac McClellan2020-06-29 10:01:152020-06-23 14:49:49Train like you fly—not really
A number of years ago safety and training experts realized few, if any, crashes were being caused by the events pilots spend training time for. Those action-packed simulator sessions were difficult, and we sweated through them, but in reality accidents were happening because of much more mundane aircraft failures and pilot mistakes.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/walking-to-flight-line.jpg 720 960 Enderson Rafael https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Enderson Rafael2020-05-28 09:22:312020-05-27 11:51:57Flying out of the pandemic
With the honorable exception of the freighters, fighting the pandemic directly and covering for most of the belly cargo network lost due to the lack of passenger flights, pretty much everyone else in aviation has been flying less, perhaps not at all, during the last couple months. That is not healthy, either for humans or machines.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/1540828_b06c702a.jpg 480 640 Mark Jarratt https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Mark Jarratt2020-05-20 09:17:072020-05-20 10:42:54If only… The friends I’ve lost in airplane accidents
I’ve struggled with writing about this tragedy for a long time. I wanted so much to give other pilots a glance at this image, hoping a few might take a moment before a flight to see if there were any gotchas they missed amid their haste and distractions. But I recoiled against the prospect of telling a very personal, painful, and graphic story about a good pilot buddy. Finally I decided to just start writing.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/04/E3-diagram.png 364 711 Ed Wischmeyer https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Ed Wischmeyer2020-04-29 09:18:262020-04-29 11:30:43Is traditional proficiency enough?
Regardless of license level, elements of being a good pilot normally include skill at operating the airplane; book knowledge; situational awareness of everything going on around the airplane and what it means; and experience. All of these are, good, no doubt about it, but what additional elements can be incorporated to make an even better pilot? In effect, what would constitute an Honors Course in flying?
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/Cessna-stall-external.jpg 797 1200 Mac McClellan https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Mac McClellan2020-04-06 09:35:022020-04-06 10:10:31Be afraid of stalls
Very early in a pilot’s initial training the instructor will reduce the power, raise the nose, feel the airplane shudder, the nose drops, and the CFI releases back pressure on the controls and adds power. See, that was a stall. Not so bad. Nothing to be afraid of. Really? Stalls are the leading cause of fatal accidents in general aviation airplanes.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/12/kid-at-fence.jpg 400 533 Jay Wischkaemper https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Jay Wischkaemper2020-03-12 08:48:442020-03-12 11:21:36Training logistics—the forgotten problem with learning to fly
Airplane inflation has gone up more than wage inflation, but if my grandson wanted to learn to fly when he’s old enough, I suspect the money wouldn’t be an issue. The thing that has changed in his case—more than the money—is the logistics.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/03/39_017p_2400-980x551-1.jpg 551 980 Kent Davis https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Kent Davis2020-03-02 08:38:002020-03-02 09:45:51Is software enough to keep pilots safe?
As pilots, we are all to familiar with the problems on the Boeing 737 MAX. We are being told that faulty software is the cause. Yes, there were or could have been problems with the pilot training, but Boeing is re-writing the software and when complete, the problem will go away and the aircraft will be safe. Or will it?
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/1024px-Cessna_150_at_BIL.jpg 768 1024 Dave Gampfer https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Dave Gampfer2020-02-19 08:30:182020-02-19 09:58:50The little airplane that could… and still does!
Many airports here in the Midwest have almost all of their aircraft locked securely inside, with the possible exception of a small ramp space for the less fortunate. As pilots whoosh past this area in their BMWs and Range Rovers, they may be vaguely aware of the diminutive and familiar shape of the Rodney Dangerfield of airplanes: the Cessna 150.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/02/3deddf6e037a429cb398d245fd8c04d4.jpg 626 940 Robert Tock https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Robert Tock2020-02-11 08:51:472020-02-11 10:05:13There’s room for improvement at GA airports
I don’t like to pen anything negative, but I believe that there is room for improvement in the way that our General Aviation community conducts business. Let me start with the “simple” process of getting avgas. The larger airports have the hard-to-read, difficult-to-use credit card machines installed.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Upset-in-Citabria.jpg 545 900 Mac McClellan https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Mac McClellan2020-01-13 08:46:342020-01-13 09:24:32Why upset training just doesn’t work
During my 45 years of observing and writing about aviation, pilot upset training is a topic that has waxed and waned. For the past few years the idea of learning how to recover from an extreme attitude is in ascendance. But the reason upset training emphasis falls in and out of favor is because it just doesn’t work.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2016/09/sectional-charts.jpg 594 800 Mac McClellan https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Mac McClellan2019-12-09 08:57:482019-12-09 10:09:54Who Needs Charts? Under the Rules You Probably Don’t
If you want to win a bar bet among your pilot friends, ask them to show you the FAR that requires you to have charts in your general aviation airplane. After some fumbling around on the FAA site on the web, one pilot will probably declare the rule is FAR 91.502. But before you pay off ask your friend to read the title of the FAR subpart that contains rule 91.502. It’s Subpart F.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/11/Untitled_Cessna_525B_Citation_CJ3_D-CCBH_29337028722.jpg 683 1024 Mac McClellan https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Mac McClellan2019-11-11 08:54:452019-11-11 10:52:47Are single pilot risks real?
In the past year or so it has become very, very expensive to insure a light jet flown by a single pilot, particularly an owner pilot. In some cases the single pilot may not be able to buy coverage at any price. This is significant because the light jets provide our only glimpse into the risks of flying solo.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/03/cfi-2.png 360 640 Marty Sacks https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Marty Sacks2019-10-28 08:48:162019-10-28 10:42:40Fly like a professional? Yes, we can and should!
Most of us are not commercial pilots nor do we fly as our profession, so it would be very easy to immediately move to the next article in Air Facts thinking this article doesn’t apply to us. I would argue that flying like a professional does matter. I want to encourage you to approach your flying with the attitude of a professional.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/7510460530_5109f5c8a3_b.jpg 790 1024 Mac McClellan https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Mac McClellan2019-10-10 08:59:062020-07-30 10:15:44When pilots have too much experience
As pilots we spend our flying careers amassing hours of experience. Our skill and competence, and qualification for new ratings, and certainly for flying jobs, is largely based on our hours of logged experience. But when does a pilot have too much experience? In other words, when do the number of years logged since birth matter more than the number of hours in the logbook?
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/10/Boeing_787-8_N787BA_cockpit.jpg 853 1280 Fred Zanegood https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Fred Zanegood2019-10-07 08:24:562019-10-14 09:57:32Manual override and Occam’s razor
What if there were an easier way to revert to manual control? To remove the so-called “envelope protection” algorithms built into modern flight control systems. We’ve all heard the adage: Aviate, Navigate, Communicate. But can you really aviate when control inputs are analyzed thousands of times a second and then spit out to the control surfaces?
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/09/1024px-Boeing_737_MAX_grounded_aircraft_near_Boeing_Field_April_2019.jpg 682 1024 Mac McClellan https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Mac McClellan2019-09-11 10:04:152019-09-11 10:04:22The perfect pilot myth is finished
The rules are that test pilots must recognize the trim failure, for example, by some positive event. Once that positive identification is made, the test pilot must wait exactly three seconds before taking the proper action to disable to system. When non-pilots hear this information, their mouths drop open. They utter something like “that’s crazy. Three seconds! That’s just nuts.”
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/image-4.jpg 1333 2000 Kristin Britt https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Kristin Britt2019-09-05 13:35:222019-09-05 13:35:35Night, over water
On a moonless or cloudy night, over deep water, without visual reference and out of normal VHF radio communications range with air traffic control, you are alone. Having charge of all souls on board, while always a heavy responsibility, feels heavier.