AVweb Features

AVmail: March 30, 2015 »

Vern Schulze writes: "I am a single-engine aircraft owner and private pilot that only flies VFR. So the following question is based on my 2,000 hours of flying over the past 33 years. My Grumman Cheetah is equipped with the standard altimeter, and my airplane has a Mode C transponder. I also have three GPS instruments, two portable and one panel-mounted. The panel mount is strictly a VFR unit with no WAAS capability. One of the two portables has a WAAS capability. Over the years, flying at 8,000 to 10,000 feet in Nevada, I have noticed some remarkable variations in the altitude reported by the three GPSs versus the altimeter when corrected for barometric pressure. Since most of my flying is in mountainous terrain, these variations that approach 500 feet make me wonder why we rely on altimeter readings rather than GPS altitudes." Click through to read the full text of this letter and other mail from AVweb readers. More

Hand-Propping Demystified »

Most casual discussions of hand-propping begin and end with the admonition "Don't." That's not bad advice, except when there's no other way to start the engine. In fact, hand-propping is a time-honored practice, dating to the beginning of heavier-than-air flight. That it's still employed says as much about the legacy of aviation as it does our ability to manage risk. More

Rust Never Sleeps »

As the average GA fleet age goes well into the 30s, it's time for a voluntary, on-going program of corrosion inspections. More

Your Refurb: New Paint »

While it may be a shallow measuring gauge, the most popular indicator of the success of an aircraft refurb is the paint job. A good one can be used to disguise many ills while a bad one can overwhelm the perfection of the new leather interior and top-of-the-line glass panel. More

Danger Below MDA? »

Not long ago, an airline began to receive notices that crews flying the RNAV (GPS) RWY 36 approach into Birmingham, Alabama (BHM) were receiving GPWS alerts while descending from the MDA to the runway. Since it wasn't an isolated incident, the airline suspected that the approach was flawed and notified the FAA, who flight checked the approach. The results of that inspection are educational to instrument-flying pilots at all levels. More

Speed: Buying 180 Knots for $180,000 »

In this day and aviation market age, a $180,000 purchase price isn't out of line, especially if it's split a few ways. Moving through the air at 180 knots is cooking along nicely, so in keeping with our general fascination with symmetrical numbers, we decided to create the 180 for 180 club and then find out what airplanes are qualified to join—those that have a real-life cruise speed of at least 180 knots and a Bluebook value of $180,000 or less. More

No Electrics? No Problem! »

A pilot can learn a great deal by stripping his or her flying down to its fundamental roots. Flying an aircraft without an electrical system puts you in touch with the basics of flying by altimeter, whiskey compass, pilotage and pure stick-and-rudder skills. On the mechanical side, it's a chance to commune with the engine using only the minimum required instruments. There's also a certain romance to flying a vintage plane, especially one lacking an electrical system. It harkens back to the barnstorming days when men were real men, women were real women and there was no TSA to verify the difference via pat down. Even in this era of modern instruments, glass panels and gadgets, there's still room in the skies for a basic plane with minimal systems. Here's how. More

one-G simulation: Affordable Flight Simulators »

We're interested in the attractively-priced flight simulators developed by one-G simulation, a Seattle-based company made up of CFIs and commercial pilots. We think they hold promise to make high-quality simulator training available to more pilots in more areas at attractive hourly rates. More

Sikorsky S-38 Project »

It's probably safe to just come right out and say it: Walter Treadwell is not your typical homebuilder. In fact, he's something of a legend around his local airport. The latest project of the World War II combat pilot is a scratch-built, 55 percent-scale replica of a 1928 Sikorsky S-38 amphibian. More

The Invisible Hand »

The Air Traffic Control System Command Center in Warrenton, Virginia is responsible for the entire National Airspace System. Unlike tower or radar controllers who micromanage up to 30 planes at a time, the ATCSCC oversees the five thousand or so aircraft at any given moment over the United States. More