The Top Ten Practical Considerations for Mountain Flying »

Each year a number of airplanes get bent or broken while flying in mountainous terrain because their pilots weren't prepared for the challenges. Mountain flying requires a clear understanding of and a healthy respect for those challenges. AVweb contributor R. Scott Puddy has several years of experience flying light aircraft over some of the most unfriendly terrain in the continental U.S. Here is his list of the "Top Ten" things the well-prepared pilot will consider when flying in the mountains. More

Transitioning to High-Performance Airplanes »

Stepping up from that C150, Skyhawk or Archer you've been flying to something that can carry the whole family and enough fuel to fly nonstop to Aunt Fanny's for Thanksgiving can mean transitioning to what the FAA defines as a "high-performance" airplane. In addition to a new logbook endorsement, you'll need a firm understanding of the substantial differences in weight, loading, controls and additional equipment these airplanes usually carry. Before you decide what wine goes best with turkey, AVweb's Scott Puddy has a few thoughts for the transitioning pilot. More

The Control-Performance Technique for Instrument Flying »

You've upgraded your airplane from the fixed-gear IFR trainer in which you earned your instrument ticket. Isn't it time you upgraded your instrument flying skills? Instead of using techniques designed for the newly-minted instrument pilot, why not transition to those developed for more experienced pilots flying faster, more capable aircraft? Contributor R. Scott Puddy discusses the benefits and how to make the transition work for you and your airplane. More

Vacuum Pump Substitutes from $500 to $300,000 »

Flying around in a single-engine airplane usually means depending on its lone vacuum pump to turn some gyros. Even piston-powered twins have a weak link or two in their systems. Despite training in no-gyro procedures, recent high-profile accidents have demonstrated that failure of the vacuum system is both insidious and a bona fide emergency. In a follow-up to his recent article on vacuum system failures, AVweb's Scott Puddy takes a look at some of the choices available on today's market to back up your vacuum pump. There are a lot of options and a wide range of price points. Which is the best solution for you? More

Flying Into Known Icing — Is It Legal? »

Winter weather forecasts often include the threat of icing. But your Bugsmasher II lacks the equipment required for flight in "known icing" conditions. Does that mean you can't make a planned trip? What do the FARs and the NTSB say? AVweb contributor R. Scott Puddy tackles these and other questions in this second part of his series on icing. More

Icing — Taking Adequate Precautions »

It's that time of year again. Time to shift your operational concerns from thunderstorms to icing. But where does airframe icing come from? How does it form? Where? How can I recognize the danger of icing during my flight planning and what do I do about it? In this first part of a series, AVweb contributor R. Scott Puddy tackles these questions and more. Consider it a primer for what's to come. More

Petite-Panel IFR »

You're in IMC and the electrics start to fade -- lots of clouds, no-coms, iffy navigation -- what else could go wrong? As one of AVweb's own recently discovered, you could lose your vacuum instruments as well. Features Editor Scott Puddy recounts a heart-stopping moment and discusses how you can keep the dirty side down if it happens to you, aided by some really cool graphics courtesy of AVweb's Linda Pendleton. More

Pop-Up IFR »

You didn't file and the weather's getting rude. AVweb's Rick Durden says there is a much safer way to go than scud running: Get a quick-and-dirty IFR clearance. More

From Big to Little »

When slumming down from a heavier airplane to a lighter one, watch the V-speeds and donít count on the automation. As Pat Veillette reported in Aviation Safety , there isnít any. More

An Icing Encounter — PIC Judgment and Prosecutorial Discretion »

An Airline Transport Pilot is still trying to live down his uneventful landing following a momentary encounter with light-to- moderate icing in a fully de-iced twin-engine cargo plane. By all accounts (except the FAA's, of course) he played by the rules and exercised his good judgment to assure that it was safe to initiate and complete the flight. Nevertheless, the FAA elected to prosecute him and won. How could that be? AVweb's Scott Puddy winds up his series on in-flight icing with this in-depth look at how the FAA exercises its discretion in such cases. More