https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/06143147/LBB-crash-track.jpg 976 1152 Jay Wischkaemper https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Jay Wischkaemper2021-01-25 09:44:192021-01-19 17:31:44Know your limitations
One of the hardest things to do in life is to acknowledge our limitations. We all have them, and most of the time they are benign, but not always. A doctor with less than stellar skills can kill someone. A sub-par lawyer can cause someone to spend years in jail. There are people in every walk of life who make mistakes, some more than others. Pilots are no exception.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/06143153/V-tail-on-ramp.jpg 900 1200 Timothy Acker https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Timothy Acker2021-01-19 09:41:572021-01-19 09:44:18Flying old school
I am an Old School pilot. I don’t have a sophisticated, built-in navigational system, nor even an autopilot in our plane. That does not mean I do not know how to fly a 530, but I learned to fly on a float plane on Lake Union in Seattle when I was 19 and the experience formed much of my view of flying.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/06143254/Flight-planning-paper.jpg 1080 1920 Tom Slavonik https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Tom Slavonik2021-01-04 09:22:032020-12-23 13:52:43Let’s put the do back in due diligence
One of the greatest challenges that I face as a flight instructor is getting my younger students to do their homework. Things like keeping up with online ground school lessons, preparing a flight plan, studying the Aircraft POH, etc. The simple fact of the matter is that flying is, hands down, just a whole lot more fun than reading dry textbooks.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/03/06164935/41854723_m.jpg 565 848 Air Facts Staff https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Air Facts Staff2020-12-31 08:41:222020-12-21 15:28:46Top 10 articles of 2020 on Air Facts
We published over 250 articles on Air Facts in 2020, written by a diverse group of over 200 pilots from all over the world, but these 10 were the most popular. Read this list for some thought-provoking articles on all aspects of aviation, from close calls to airplane history to safety debates.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/06143557/VFRoverthetopC172.jpg 768 1024 Enderson Rafael https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Enderson Rafael2020-11-19 09:51:412020-11-19 10:11:25VFR over the top: legal, but not clever
In many countries, you can’t fly VFR without reference to the ground. This is applicable even to sport, recreational, and student pilots in America, but usually after you are a private pilot you can. But what if you need to land?
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/06/06180241/CFI.jpg 400 600 Marty Sacks https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Marty Sacks2020-11-17 09:15:572020-11-10 15:44:20Flying with good and bad pilots—what I’ve learned as a new CFI
I became a flight instructor late in life (my mid-50s) and it has been fascinating after many years of “left seat” flying to take this next step in my flying career. Shameless plug and article spoiler: If you’ve ever thought about becoming an instructor after years of flying, you’ll be fascinated by what you experience and learn in the process of training toward the CFI and even more once you earn the certificate and begin your CFI flying.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/06143847/G1000-cockpit.jpg 791 1200 Parvez Dara https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Parvez Dara2020-10-08 09:22:032020-10-01 17:33:31Assumptions can be dangerous in the air
In flight, assumptions are the Achilles heel in safety. One cannot press on with the assumption that all is well, when a crushing burden of mounting evidence is screaming against further pursuit. The fallacy of not knowing the unknowns ahead leads one to despair.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/08/06155306/5-Year-Old-Flying-crop.jpg 511 800 Mac McClellan https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Mac McClellan2020-10-05 09:14:142020-09-30 17:25:45Should you take your grandchildren flying?
Both of our kids were in the backseat of our Mooney 201 headed off to visit one grandmother or the other before they were two weeks old. Stancie and I never really gave it a second thought. But that was 40 years ago. And much has changed—actually, almost everything has changed—when it comes to risk assessment for young children.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/06143921/640px-Pterodactyl_PSF.png 440 640 Daniel Zurich https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Daniel Zurich2020-09-29 09:15:272020-09-23 16:03:17High wing or low wing? Ask Mother Nature
I agonized over this for a very long time before I bought my first airplane. It seems to be one of those endless hangar discussions that divides pilots into one of three camps that almost serves as a form of introduction. And so, “Hi, my name is Dan, I’m a high-wing guy. How about you? Oh, you like low wing aircraft because you can see the numbers as you turn base to final?”
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/06143927/1-26-17-YoungEagles960.jpg 579 960 Aaron Trueblood https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Aaron Trueblood2020-09-24 09:26:462020-09-16 09:27:39Aviation Education to the Masses: How do we do it?
While we were hanging onto the balloon to keep it on the ground, a group of high school age kids approached us. They were obviously super excited about being up and close with it, which is great—I love seeing it. But after conversing I realized that they didn't understand general aviation at all. What I gathered from them was that everything with flying seemed out of reach.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/09/06144046/LDUUAKU2QIUUR2WDAWGACGNJEM.jpg 524 778 Gonçalo Greguol https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Gonçalo Greguol2020-09-03 10:07:192020-09-03 10:10:06If we were all airplanes
If I were an airplane, I would be a Cessna 182. Because it “drinks” a bit, but it’s a trustworthy, sturdy airplane. If I were an airplane, I would be the Cessna 182 because it is simple and obvious but delivers what it promises and rarely lets you down. You can’t say it’s pretty, but it won’t scare you with its looks. It’s not nimble, but it climbs well and doesn’t need much runway to take off…
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/05/06164035/flight-instructor-with-student-in-cockpit-of-Cessna.jpg 561 1000 Ben Lovegrove https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Ben Lovegrove2020-08-26 09:31:462020-08-19 17:37:35Student pilot nerves and the fear of flying
Most flying instructors will be familiar with the sight of student pilot nerves and most pilots can remember experiencing them. Learning to fly presents the student with all kinds of challenges. How each person reacts to these depends upon their individual strengths and weaknesses. For some, they must overcome a fear of flying itself.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/06144202/636px-Boeing_787-8_N787BA_cockpit_cropped.jpg 480 636 Steve Green https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Steve Green2020-08-17 09:11:222020-08-07 17:45:55On automation and airmanship
The original intent of contemporary cockpit automation arose from the capabilities view of technology, in particular the capability to optimize aerodynamic efficiency while also optimizing airspace utilization. This was, and still is, clearly a machine in the service of man. The intent of automation began to migrate toward the cybernetics view with the notion that we could automate human error out of the equation.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/08/06144155/Da-Vinci-book.jpg 831 620 Dave English https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg Dave English2020-08-11 09:08:272020-08-07 18:14:29The famous quote that da Vinci never said
“Once you have tasted flight, you will forever walk the earth with your eyes turned skyward, for there you have been, and there you will always long to return.” This Leonardo da Vinci quote is everywhere — aviation books, magazines, websites, Instagram posts, coffee mugs, tee shirts, several science textbooks and some Smithsonian publications. Yet Leonardo da Vinci never said it; and it’s nowhere close to 500 years old.
https://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/06144217/On-final-for-9R.jpg 900 1200 Enderson Rafael https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg 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://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/07/06144326/Global-Hawk.jpg 711 944 Thomas Yarsley https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg 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://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/06144706/PPBBE58.jpg 968 1434 Enderson Rafael https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg 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://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/01/06161216/airbus-a330-a340-flight-2.jpg 365 550 Mac McClellan https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg 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://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/06144703/walking-to-flight-line.jpg 720 960 Enderson Rafael https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg 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://media.airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/05/06144719/1540828_b06c702a.jpg 480 640 Mark Jarratt https://airfactsjournal-images.s3.amazonaws.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/06142440/Air-Facts-Logo340.jpg 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.