approach fog

Danger lurks in circling approaches

Let us not forget that the circling approach maneuver is designed as a last resort, non-precision approach. A circling approach is one that, by dwindling numbers and its inherent design, forces the pilot(s) into a seldom used and high-risk evolution–often migrating us to an unexpected and seldom visited zip code of the threat/error management neighborhood.
airplane engine

Aviation shop rat

After about two years of ownership, and working with Shop A, I had the wild idea of asking them if I could work one day a week in the shop as an unpaid intern. My goal wasn't to become an A&P mechanic, but for the learning experience. To my surprise they said yes!

Aviate. Navigate. Simulate.

I loaded up the last leg of my trip into the sim and then proceeded to not only fly that leg but decided to survey the entire area, virtually, to familiarize myself with both the terrain and any notable landmarks as well.
Pilot logbook

Remembering what flying was like fifty years ago

While I was training for my instrument rating, my instructor taught me what real partial panel was. No skid ball, that was easy to lose. No attitude or directional gyro, simulating a vacuum failure. Vertical speed didn’t mean much, so it got covered up, and who needs airspeed when you can set power and hear feel what’s going on. Besides, the altimeter is still there, along with the turn needle and the LOC/ILS.

Becoming an Aviation “YouTuber” Has Made Me a Better Pilot

We now live in a world where nearly anyone can produce their own online content, and this is amazing. However, it’s important that such content be created with a purpose. Otherwise it just becomes more self-obsessed, ego-stroking pablum that no one wants to eat.
Cirrus CFI

Tips for retread pilots

In today’s digital world, autopilots are incredibly accurate, especially compared with the analog versions you may have used.  Plus, they interface with most navigators such that you will be surprised at how rapidly you become proficient. Also, they are surprisingly affordable and are no longer a rarity in a flight school’s fleet. Once you are comfortable with the navigator, add the autopilot to your repertoire.
Angle of attack graphic

Angle of attack for dummies

Angle of attack is really a measure of how hard the pilot is commanding the wing to work with the air flowing past. If the pilot is not asking the wing to work very hard (low angle of attack) the wing will generate some lift. If the pilot is asking the wing to work harder (higher angle of attack) the wing will generate more lift.

What it takes to catapult off an aircraft carrier

The flight test pilots and engineers must develop a thorough understanding of many aircraft factors including aerodynamic stall speed, thrust available, angle of attack (AOA), loading, center of gravity (CG) location, and rotational inertia.

Flirting with the tropopause

The suffix pause denotes a boundary among the four layers of the atmosphere. The first pause is the tropopause, dividing the troposphere and stratosphere. There, jet streams corkscrew the globe like atmospheric snakes and create turbulence. Airline pilots strive to bestow passengers with a smooth ride, so knowing where the tropopause is in relation to the aircraft's flight level is a must.

The new Helio Courier pilot

In real wind, say 25 to 30 MPH, the pitching up of the nose happens the instant you hit throttle for takeoff. In that moment you look and feel like a praying mantis, tilted all up on long front legs, charging down the runway. A new Helio pilot will find this more than a little strange.

The European “28 Day Holiday License”

If you have not flown in Europe, there are some differences from the US. Airspace, altimetry, transition level, VFR procedures, and airport operations differ. A quick flight with a flight instructor is not enough to get familiar with the differences. You will want to schedule ground and flight training to familiarize yourself with European airspace and regulations.

Memories of flying the L-1011

If there was a crosswind the autopilot would stop crabbing into it at 150’ and then side slip into it by dropping the upwind wing and adding top rudder to maintain runway centerline tracking.

Ten things I know about flying in Massachusetts

If you have an airplane, Massachusetts is a tiny little state. Depending on what you’re flying, it’ll take less than 90 minutes to fly the 164 nm between Nantucket (ACK) and North Adams (AQW) - the longest intra-state flight. That’s what it seems to take some nights driving home from downtown Boston.

Nine things I know about flying in Iowa

The “field of dreams” from the Kevin Costner movie is located near Dyersville, Iowa, and it's worth a circle or two if you are flying over. However, if you are antique airplane enthusiast you know that Iowa’s real field of dreams is Antique Airfield in Blakesburg. Antique Airfield is home of the Antique Airplane Association, founded by Robert Taylor in 1953 and the AirPower Museum.

Nine things I know about flying in Wisconsin

Wisconsin is my adopted summer home state and the place where I do most of my fun flying. No, I'm not crazy; I head to Florida when snow, cold temps and ice fishing become the norm. Returning just before Memorial Day allows me the advantage of enjoying the best of both worlds. I like to say that I live in paradise... but in two widely disparate states.

Eight things I know about flying in Arizona

Most people know that Arizona is home to the Grand Canyon. It really is amazing to stand at the edge of this geologic marvel. It is hard to comprehend its scope without having looked out over the edge. But another great way to appreciate this canyon is from the air.

Eight things I know about flying in Georgia

Georgia was my birthplace for flying. I cut my teeth piloting a little Alarus out of DeKalb-Peachtree airport in northeast Atlanta (PDK), and that was home base for 15 years. I set a goal of landing at every public-use airport in the state, and dang near got most of them, even if it was just a touch and go. Over that time I learned a thing or two about flying in the South.

Nine things I know about flying in Maryland

Maryland is one of the most unique states in the country in that it has a unique mix of mountains, the Chesapeake Bay - which is the largest estuary in the United States - and beautiful beaches on the shore of the Atlantic Ocean. By itself this would be notable, but we also have airports that serve these regions so they are more easily enjoyed.

Seven things I know about flying in California

California is a huge state and to sum it up in a few bullet points doesn’t truly do it justice. You must fly there to fully experience it yourself so “Go West, young man!” With airline service and a checkout from one of the many FBOs, it’s possible to experience California flying on a vacation if only for an afternoon.

Six things I know about flying in New York

This is the latest article in our series about flying in different states and countries. Sal Marinello says New York may be famous for the Big Apple, but there's a lot more to it than just cities. He explores the active GA community on Long Island and the gliders of the Adirondacks. Plus, see why he thinks New York controllers are the best.