Flying safely in high wind conditions is a matter of adopting the proper technique for your aircraft's weight and configuration.
One complication with which we pilots must always contend is wind. It can complicate a takeoff or landing, force heading changes while en route, mandate a fuel stop when stronger than forecast and make an otherwise smooth ride uncomfortable when blowing over uneven terrain. Learning to deal with the wind is one of the major lessons of primary training, yet the accident record demonstrates many of us still haven't mastered the challenge.
Call it what you willChinook, Santa Ana, Foehn or Boreapilots who live in the lands of seasonal high winds know they must either learn to fly in them or sit grounded and watch the world blow by. What is their secret for flying safely in windy conditions?
People in the aviation industry have been talking about a looming U.S. pilot shortage for decades, but you may be hard pressed to find anyone in the U.S. who's actually experienced one during the past 20 years. Actually, 20 years ago, I remember receiving materials from an outfit that explained just how strong the demand would soon be. Now, the warnings are back (if they ever went away). So, should you believe them this time? If you think the hype is overblown, you're not alone.
"Shortage" is relative, and if history is any indicator, any future shortage may depend more on real world market conditions than projections developed years earlier (a.k.a., today). For example, if there were any projections for a shortage this past decade, market forces turned that shortage into massive furloughs that took place around 2003 and slashed benefits for many pilots lucky enough to keep their jobs through that decade. Back then, Northwest Airlines was on pace for 1,068 total furloughs. United and Delta had actually each hired furloughed pilots to serve as furlough administrators. Not long after that, in 2008, the world's economy fell off a cliff.
Cessna 152 vs. LSA: Vintage Wins the Day By Staff Report On the flight training line, ancient 152s can still be more profitable, chiefly because LSAs lack a mature parts chain and repair support infrastructure.
Bulletproof Engines: Are There Any? By AVweb Staff Yes, say engine overhaulers, and Lycoming's four-cylinder models own the category. Owning one substantially reduces the cost of flying.
Buying Used, Buying Smart: The Prebuy By Glenn Pew The economic downturn continues to depress used aircraft prices so if you've managed to escape significant and sustained financial peril you could be well positioned to pick up a good used aircraft at a very good price. Unfortunately, not all bargains are what they seem. The old phrase "buyer beware" is as true as it's ever been. The course most pilots take to avert the potential heartache and financial headache created by a bad aircraft purchase is the prebuy inspection. But not all inspections are equal. And if you think a recently logged annual is good enough, you may want to reconsider.
Automating Weather By Jeff Schweitzer, Ph.D. Properly managing risk is essential to successfully pursuing life's more exciting adventures. Activities such as scuba diving, downhill skiing, motorcycling, mountaineering and, of course, flying, all entail elements of risk which we must consider and manage if the thrills we seek are to be experienced more than once. But risk management often is poorly understood: While most people believe themselves to be prudent, the reality is large risks are often ignored and minor dangers grossly exaggerated.
You Can't Put a Label on EAA By Jack Pelton None of us want to be labeled. Yes, we all have our professional skills, our favorite activities, personal beliefs, and attitudes about everything from what we eat to where we live. But slap a label on us, and we are confined. A label puts one in a pigeonhole unable to grow and change and, well, experiment.
The Drones Are Coming: Who Will Fly Them? By Glenn Pew Unmanned aircraft systems (UAS) are scheduled for integration into the national airspace system (NAS) in 2015, spurring job growth and a forecast economic impact of $13.6 billion by 2019. But while the growing industry will be adding to the overall workforce, the segment might also be changing the employment landscape for people seeking professional pilot positions. The new segment will need pilots, but what kind of pilots, and where will they come from? Let's take a look.
When The Lights Go Out By Amy Laboda Handling in-flight electrical failures requires knowing the affected systems and where good weather is.
Fuel: The Money You Save And The Price We'll Pay? By Glenn Pew Tecnam USA CEO Phil Solomon thinks he sees the beginnings of a problem for general aviation, and we may all be a part of it. Solomon believes he's watching a transformation take place in aviation. It's starting at the grass roots level and extending all the way to the FAA. And each level plays off the other for an overall negative effect. As Solomon describes it, this transformation begins with the desire for lower fuel costs but ends as a long term detrimental impact on general aviation. After hearing his concerns and experiences we went out in the world to learn if, or how, other people were affected. This is what we found.
Rotax Overhauls: Simple Options By Aviation Consumer The good news is that you probably won't need cylinders, but you'll always get a new crank. Buying a factory-new exchange is sometimes a practical choice.
Life in a World Without Towers By Paul Bertorelli So now that all the towers are closed, what are we to do? Will chaos reign? Have the dogs of doom been loosed? Not quite, but depending on where you fly, there could be some challenges ahead that will be unnerving. And just to put some numbers on it, the FAA-announced closures will shutter 149 of 516 control towers in the U.S. or 29 percent. It's not a trivial number so irrespective of safety or risk, many of us will have to adapt to operational changes.
Wanted: A Methodical Means to Close Towers By Jason Blair Guest editorial by Jason Blair. As the government's budget sequestration gains steam, the FAA is expected to announce which control tower might close as a result, perhaps as early as today. Discussion on this topic has produced plenty of opinions, some valid and some best characterized as fear mongering, in my view.
AOPA's Flying Clubs Initiative, Where It's Going By Glenn Pew AOPA started on this project about one year ago, announced its intentions publicly at AOPA Summit last October, and is now setting out on an effort to grow the nationwide collection of 650 independent flying clubs into 1,000 networked aviation cooperatives.
Mid-Air Collisions: The Myth And The Math By James E. Lockridge Mid-airs aren't always fatal, and all of them can be avoided. Keep up your speed, look outside and vary your aircraft's attitude to eliminate blind spots.
Avionics Gone Wild By Larry Anglisano Whether it's a calamity of wrong button pushes or a subtle input failure to a glass panel, understanding the interface is key to safety.
Oops, But Not Busted By Mark Pestal Deviations happen, even to the best pilots. Some also may come with a heart stopping "call this number on the ground." Knowing how to handle the call can improve your odds of keeping it from becoming a violation.
Building A Better Bonanza By Glenn Pew It cruises easily at better than 165 knots, can carry six (provided at least two aren't large), and has a range of 1,000 miles. The pilots who fly it generally love it, and the pilots who don't generally respect it. Samples can be found on the used market today in decent shape and for less than $150,000 -- a price that undercuts some higher-end LSAs. It's an aircraft with decades of history and a following to match. But this is aviation. Pilots always want more. Fortunately, the aftermarket for Bonanza owners offers many ways to grow.
Cirrus CAPS Repacks: Expense, Depreciation By Aviation Consumer Staff The fleet of older Cirrus airframes could face further depreciation because of pricey parachute upkeep. We look at the economics and the CAPS repack process.
A Schedule Not Kept By Armand Vilches An old and often-used justification for owning a light General Aviation aircraft is the ability to bypass the automobile and the airlines in order to spend valuable time in a more productive manner. This rationalization focuses on the time savings created by flying oneself. Thus, according to the reasoning, it is possible to easily meet with clients in distant cities and be home for dinner. And as pilots, we also know it's always more fun to fly ourselves than it is to drive or to sit in the back of a crowded airliner.
Simulator Training: How Important Is Motion? By Glenn Pew Flight simulation is a part of nearly every pilot's curriculum, whether he or she is just starting out, staying current, or landing a type rating. But the type of simulation and its benefits (especially when it comes to motion) is often the subject of controversy -- maybe for good reason.
The Return of Anti-Detonation Water Injection (ADI) By AVweb Staff The only reason leaded avgas still exists is to deliver high octane cheaply and the only reason for octane is to prevent detonation in high-power, high-compression engines. But octane isn't the only way to quench detonation, something engineers have known for years. Injecting a water-methanol spray into the combustion chamberso-called anti-detonation or anti-detonant injection (ADI)was once a common technique for military aircraft when octane wasn't available or when aircraft designers wanted excess power in bursts, even when burning high-octane fuel. It was also used in civil transport applications. If it worked 60 years ago, why not now? That's exactly what Air Plains is proposing in its resurrection of ADI STCs developed by Todd Petersen during the 1980s, when mogas as an alternative fuel was in vogue.
Corrosion Treatments: Well Worth The Trouble By AVweb Staff While there is evidence CorrosionX provides the best protection, ACF-50 also works well. Get it applied by a pro, however, or you'll be cleaning it up for months.
Corrosion is like aging; it does its damage slowly and is easy to overlookuntil major systems begin to fail. Unlike aging, we know how to stop corrosion in aircraft. It's cheap insurance against a slow destruction of your airframe.
Winterizing Your Security -- Locks By Dave Hook Having inspected many aircraft hangars for security for nearly a decade, I can report that the most common device keeping the outsides world away from our airplanes is a keyed lock. We turn the key in that door knob and figure that our airplaneour investment in fun and transportationis secured against those who want it, the radios inside it, or anything else having to do with our flying machine. Or perhaps we close the hasp and attach a beefy looking padlock, figuring that the metal body of the lock will discourage sufficiently those who want what's inside. My grandfather once told me that locks are only good for keeping honest people honest. Let me tell you why his country farmer's wisdom continues to be true today.
Who's Working Against Your Favorite Apps By Glenn Pew The app revolution has changed more than the cockpit; it's displacing dedicated handheld gps units, giving panel mount avionics a run for their capability (at a deeply discounted price), and challenging the FAA's chart distribution systems. In other words, relative to the still slow economy, it's a booming industry that's changing how a segment of the aviation economy functions. It's not just bringing more capability into more cockpits, it's challenging the way some big entities make money -- and that might soon be changing things for you. For this article, we spoke with one of the biggest names in the business, Hilton Goldstein, of Hilton Software LLC (maker of the WingX app) to find out what makes a winning app and the very big forces that could soon challenge them all.
Fuel Projects Move Forward, But Slowly By AVweb Staff While the EPA continues gathering data on lead emissions toward a 2017 deadline on tighter air pollution standards, development to find a 100LL continues apace, although no clear winner is in sight. Meanwhile, the FAA has initially funded a new fuels program oversight office called AIR-20 whose job is to set up certification and testing standards for candidate fuels. AIR-20's work will be funded by a combination of government funds and contributions from private industry.
The Job Market May Be Bad; What About The Applicants? By Glenn Pew The business of matching aviation jobs with qualified applicants can provide a different perspective on the broader health of the aerospace industry. We spoke with one source in that position who is seeing some positive movement with jobs but believes the longterm prognosis isn't good. And, if he's right, the problem might not be something that an upturn in the economy is going to fix.
Bad Judgement Gets Worse By Armand Vilches A pilot who had twice extensively damaged airplanes by flying into thunderstorms tries it a third time. This time he doesn't live to tell about his own foolishness.
The Training Mix By Robert A. Wright Advances in technologies and regulations mean the best mix of airplanes, simulators and other resources also is changing and will enhance your training.
Dumbfounded By Paul Berge So many dumb things happen in aviation every day. Good things too, of course. But today, we're talking about dumb things. That is, you -- dear readers -- are talking about dumb things. In Brainteaser #178, we invited you tell us the dumbest things you've encountered in aviation, and here are your complaints.