https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Takeoff-tailwheel.jpg 614 1100 Brian Souter https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Brian Souter2021-09-06 08:24:092021-08-31 17:37:20Crosswind operations—no drama, please
Contrary to the title, you frequently hear two different viewpoints being vociferously debated between the proponents of crabbing into wind or wing down and slipping for crosswind landings. Let’s dissect the arguments.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/08/Flaredusk.jpg 1080 1418 Enderson Rafael https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Enderson Rafael2021-08-09 08:45:422021-08-09 12:33:09Smooth operator: sometimes you can go too far
How smooth is too smooth? And how to achieve that? Before we start the never-ending discussion about super butter/greased touchdowns, an essential disclaimer right from Boeing’s Flight Crew Training Manual: “A smooth touchdown is not the criterion for a safe landing.”
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/emergency-checklist-copy.jpg 738 1275 Mac McClellan https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Mac McClellan2021-08-02 09:01:322021-07-23 15:40:48Checklist vs. memory items
An old saw among pilots is that you use a checklist for actions you perform on every flight, such as lowering the landing gear, but for a very rare event, such as an engine fire, you’re required to perform the proper actions from memory. Does that make sense?
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Turning-on-final.jpg 868 1546 Ed Wischmeyer https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Ed Wischmeyer2021-07-26 07:21:232021-07-22 14:24:09Reducing loss of control accidents in five minutes
Let’s cut right to the chase: there is a strong case to be made that many base-to-final accidents may have as a significant factor the pilot’s fear of a runway overshoot, fearing that any runway overshoot can only be disastrous. However, if pilots have flown even one deliberate runway overshoot and seen that the real issue is instead fear of the unknown, then just one five minute traffic pattern with a deliberate runway overshoot has the potential to significantly reduce loss of control accidents.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/Berube-Zahn-2.jpg 600 975 Leo Berube https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Leo Berube2021-07-15 09:05:462021-07-06 18:25:54The startle response
The crosswind, downwind, and base legs were uneventful. Then, while turning from base to final for Runway 11, a flock of redwing blackbirds suddenly appeared out of nowhere. A heartbeat later, the Cub’s windscreen was shrouded by a dark cloud of feathers and more. This was my first encounter with the startle response.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/07/NXi-PFD.jpg 1000 1500 Parvez Dara https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Parvez Dara2021-07-13 09:12:202021-07-06 18:25:49The magenta line children and buttonology
The aircraft that I fly is tricked out with a high-tech minimalism of the G1000 NXi. And lo and behold, the other day it decided to bite my hand. The very hand that paid for it, no less! On a very short trip of about 70nm to Caldwell, NJ (CDW), my human frailty showed its colors.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/Traffic-page-Garmin.jpg 1000 857 Ed Wischmeyer https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Ed Wischmeyer2021-06-28 08:41:512021-06-23 11:56:31Great expectations: ADS-B traffic uplink
When ADS-B traffic uplink was announced, there were great expectations for what it could do to improve safety, specifically, to reduce mid-air and near mid-air collisions. After some years of flying with ADS-B traffic, my expectations have been, shall we say, down-sized. It’s nice to think that improvements are easy, but there are real world constraints.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/06/In-a-flight-simulation-you-can-safely-try-IMC-conditions.-Even-ones-you-would-never-attempt-in-reality-copy.jpg 675 1200 Mario Donick https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Mario Donick2021-06-08 09:01:432021-06-04 17:53:04Desktop Flight Simulation and COVID: how it helps, how it hinders
The coronavirus pandemic caused the flight school to close for several months and also imposed some funding issues on me. I am even at the point now where I have to repeat the theoretical exam, because it is more than three years since I passed it. However, whenever I go back to the cockpit, I feel right at home. I am convinced that flight simulation on desktop computers helped me to keep in a mental state of preparedness.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/05/autoland-4.jpg 480 720 Mac McClellan https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Mac McClellan2021-05-17 09:00:382021-05-24 12:09:12How much should the autopilot fly?
Now that the Garmin Autonomi has been developed and certified the question of how much flying an autopilot can do has been answered. Everything. How does the human pilot retain and practice the skills necessary for precision hand flying while still making best use of the autopilot system? That’s the question.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/05/thermometer.jpg 360 640 Norm Ellis https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Norm Ellis2021-04-28 09:27:302021-04-27 15:11:39Density altitude: the calculation you cannot ignore
Density altitude. We cannot see, smell, or taste it. However, it is something that must not be ignored. There was an incident in which four people died because they failed to account for density altitude. Three Marine Corps helicopter pilots went up to a high altitude airport to pick up a passenger with their baggage, and, on a hot day, took off and tragically never got out of ground effect.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/crosswind-landing-smoke.jpg 832 1562 Mac McClellan https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Mac McClellan2021-04-12 08:57:302021-04-09 12:35:03Landings at the crosswind limit
We’ve all seen this movie before on countless videos of airline pilots attempting to land in extreme crosswinds. More often than not, the amateur videographer captures the jet touching down in a significant crab angle to the runway, tires smoking, and the airplane nose pivoting back toward the runway centerline. How is it possible to land in such extreme conditions?
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/03/Alaska-mountains.jpg 912 1214 Duncan Witte https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Duncan Witte2021-03-22 09:01:162021-03-19 12:06:47Preparing for the trip of a lifetime to Alaska
There is a lot of preparation for any long cross-country journey, but this trip had two elements that I hadn’t had to include in any of my trips before. These are the specific items needed for flying from the US through Canada, and the preparations for survival, in case of a forced landing, potentially hundreds of miles from the nearest town or road, across a largely uninhabited and often rugged wilderness.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Airplane-Jet-Engine-Fire.jpg 398 662 Tom Curran https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Tom Curran2021-02-22 09:11:412021-02-22 11:02:17Mayday, mayday, mayday!
I am surprised at how reluctant some pilots are to declare an emergency with ATC, as if some stigma is attached to saying the “E” word, that follows you around for the rest of your flying life. What I find more intriguing is some folks who are the most hesitant to declare one have never had an actual “real world” emergency. Yet.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/02/Cirrus-engine-page.jpg 928 1254 Mac McClellan https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Mac McClellan2021-02-15 09:14:592021-02-11 15:03:35Fuel Reserve Requirements—the FARs Aren’t Much Help
You’re pointed away from the destination airport on some controller’s vector and you are sweating the near-empty fuel gauges. As a last resort you tell the controller you are minimum fuel and need priority to the runway. Did you violate FAR 91.167, the rule that sets the requirements for minimum fuel when flying under IFR?
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/TXi-engine-gauges.jpg 1021 1500 Parvez Dara https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Parvez Dara2021-01-27 09:07:522021-01-20 11:09:11Why it quits—and what to do about it
If you are into the sort of thing that warrants full tanks of fuel for every flight, then you are already in the realm of those who live to read these tales. Otherwise, this one is for you. You see, flying with a half tank of gas when the trip requires more is asking for a prayer at some time before you reach your destination.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/01/Low-approach-Malibu.jpg 789 1265 Mac McClellan https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Mac McClellan2021-01-18 09:18:432021-01-25 10:26:18How low can your autopilot go?
The Collins autopilot in the King Air 350i did its usual perfect job of flying the ILS. When the radio altimeter system called “100 feet” I bumped the trim switch under my thumb to disengage the autopilot. It handed me the airplane in perfect trim and exactly on centerline over the lights. An easy landing. So was that all legal? Do you know the operating altitude limitations for the autopilot in your airplane?
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/maxresdefault.jpg 720 1280 Skip Stagg https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Skip Stagg2020-12-22 09:19:412020-12-17 15:55:56An engineering approach to the impossible turn
The FAA’s official recommendation on losing power after takeoff is to proceed straight ahead and not to attempt to return to the runway or airport. That existing policy position by the FAA assumes there is an open area available for a successful touchdown. The second assumption is that pilot skill level is not sufficient to execute a 180-degree turn in order to return to landing without stalling and spinning in. Both positions are not much help.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2018/07/PIREP-turbulence-zoom.jpg 676 800 O.C. Hope https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png O.C. Hope2020-12-09 09:14:382020-12-04 16:42:10Understanding Vb: turbulence penetration speed
It should be clear that when expecting/encountering turbulence, that pilots should fly a speed that is slower than Va by at least the value of the maximum gust—airspeed gain—they expect to encounter, and higher than Vs1 by the same value for potential airspeed loss. Va is simply too fast!
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/01/Pilatus-ice-on-wing.jpg 675 900 Steve Green https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Steve Green2020-11-30 09:23:052021-01-26 14:51:39Ice bridging: the myth that won’t die
Ice bridging is the idea that if you operate the boots too early, you will stretch the ice but not fracture it. When the boot deflates following the cycle, the stretched ice will remain, with more ice building on top of it. Yet there is not a single test conducted in anyone’s icing research wind tunnel that has been able to replicate ice bridging, nor are there any accidents that document ice bridging as a cause or contributory factor.
https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2020/11/cowl-off.jpg 1504 1000 Jay O'Donnell https://airfactsjournal.com/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/Air-Facts-Logo340.png Jay O'Donnell2020-11-25 09:15:232020-11-25 09:16:19The $20 an hour Cessna 172 experiment
Although I had a GA background and built time as a CFI, I’ve been flying for the airlines for three decades and have been absent from the GA scene, which I mistakenly assumed had long evolved and would now seem foreign to me. After just a few calls, nothing had seemed to change except that the same 1970 vintage 172s were now renting out at $115-$125 per hour.