AVweb Features

Autopilot Repairs: Worth a Try »

It wasn't long ago that an entry-level, two-axis autopilot was priced around 10 grand—including installation. Today, that price is double. Add some options and the bottom line could soar toward $30,000. These big proposals have many owners repairing older autopilots. But as service parts for older systems become obsolete, repair costs are high, downtime is increased and factory flat-rate pricing makes the repair questionable. More

Top Five Pre-Flight Mistakes »

The pre-flight inspection is something we learn about during our first flight lesson. We poke, prod, uncowl, measure and eyeball various fluids and components while the airplane is still safely on the ramp, all to help decide if it's safe to fly. Yet, once we take off, we often find we missed something. Hopefully, what we missed is relatively insignificant and merely embarrassing, rather than a safety-of-flight issue. In any case, we should be striving for perfection and ensuring we've not forgotten anything. So, based on our long experience in missing things during a pre-flight inspection, here's our list of the top five pre-flight mistakes. More

Checkride: The Examiner's View »

Instrument pilots take far more checkrides than their more visually oriented counterparts. In addition to the initial rating check, you occasionally face an instrument competency ride when you are more than six months out of currency. Most times when you add a rating, like a multi-engine ticket, you'll be expected to show off your gauge gazing skills in order to pass. More

Landing Flaps: Full, Partial or None? »

Want to start an argument on an online aviation forum or while having a $200 hamburger with your buds? Express an opinion on flap use on landing in a light single. The responses you'll get are aviation's form of red states versus blue states. More

Shimmy Dampers »

Is nosewheel shimmy bugging you? It's a continuing problem for many aircraft owners. With the following, we offer suggestions to minimize the effects of, or even solve this annoying problem. More

Turbonormalized P210: Fast, Efficient, Quieter »

Vitatoe Aviation's turbonormalized P210 conversion may just have turned the Cessna P210 into the airplane it should have been all along. I've liked the P210 ever since I first flew it in 1979. It's fast, carries a good load, has honest handling and the pressurization spoiled me. More

Automation Awry »

An increasing amount of instrument flying is done using technologically advanced airplanes and sophisticated avionics. Correct use of automation improves safety immensely by giving pilots the time to monitor systems, gather information, and plan ahead. But researchers have found that as a group we do not use automation effectively. Automation presents additional challenges. Over reliance or incorrect use can quickly get us in trouble. To take advantage of the benefits of automation, a pilot must… More

Fly Into BigCity Int'l »

If none of your experience involves a major international airport, it is incomplete. There are times when flying into a big airport is just more convenient, such as for a business meeting at the airport hotel or to pick up a passenger arriving by airline. With a little planning and study, you can handle even the biggest airports like an old pro. … More

Turbo Troubles »

The turbocharger is a useful part of a pilot's toolbag. When flying an airplane with one installed, it can increase our rate of climb, boost our groundspeed and lift us above a lot of the weather. It also can be used to pressurize the airplane's cabin, allowing us to enjoy a shirtsleeve environment in the flight levels. More

Public Benefit Flying: Get Involved »

For more than 70 years, public benefit flying (PBF) has harnessed the passion of pilots to help others. What began out of abject frustration evolved into what is now thousands of volunteer pilots donating their time, skills and airplanes (owned or rented) to serve others and, incidentally, improve the perception of general aviation, one flight at a time. More