Handling a Vacuum System Failure »

Vacuum system failures and the consequent loss of attitude and directional gyros has been the subject of two recent AVweb articles. In light of recent, high-profile accidents stemming from gyro system problems, those articles discussed how and why vacuum systems fail and the various options for back-up systems. But how does a pilot recognize a system failure? What if you don't have that back-up system installed yet? AVweb's Linda Pendleton offers some valuable tips on how to diagnose and understand when your gyros are lying, what to do about it and why you yes, you need to get more training. More

The Go/No-Go Decision »

Making timely, correct decisions is of critical importance when we consider using our flying machines as safely as we can. While many think of the time-honored go/no-go decision as one made on the ground before takeoff, it's actually one that should be constantly made, evaluated and re-evaluated, based on the conditions of plane, pilot and weather. AVweb's Scott Puddy takes on the go/no-go decision and how and why having a Plan B is not only good advice, following it can mean the difference between a safe, successful flight or something less. More

The Naked Truth About Known Icing Conditions »

The question of what constitutes known icing conditions and the legalities involved have been the subject of three articles by AVweb's Scott Puddy and a rebuttal by retired FAA inspector Eric Jaderborg. Scott took a close look at existing regulations and a celebrated enforcement case in which Eric participated. Now, it's Eric's turn again as he takes a close look at what the FAA thinks about icing, where it draws the line and why. Before you depart into icing conditions, read this. You may be risking more than you think. More

An Icing Encounter — A Former FAA Inspector Replies »

Scott Puddy's recent article for AVweb, " An Icing Encounter PIC Judgment and Prosecutorial Discretion ," generated a great deal of interest and discussion. Perhaps the most interest came from Eric Jaderborg, the FAA inspector now retired who did the field investigative work leading to the court case of Administrator v. Watkins. According to Eric, it's time to put a stake through this one's heart, explode a few myths and move on. Trust us, folks: It doesn't get much better than this! More

How Can I Fail Thee? Let Me Count the Ways ... »

Recent high-profile accidents have demonstrated that even when redundant or back-up systems are present, they don't guarantee a successful outcome to a vacuum system failure. Indeed, the vacuum pump and its associated bits and pieces are some of the most failure-prone components with which pilots of piston-powered aircraft surround themselves. AVweb's Scott Puddy takes a close look at the vacuum system and its many weaknesses while offering some insights on what you can do about them. More

Instrument Failures: The Pitot/Static System »

No matter what you fly, one of the more mysterious systems in your aircraft is the pitot/static system. Because of its mysteries, a failure can present itself in different, insidious ways, affecting large aircraft and small ones. AVweb's Linda Pendleton begins a three-part series on instrument failures by taking a close look at how the pitot/static system can fail and what you can do about it. More

Something Special in the Air »

On any other day, three American Airlines jets flying wingtip to wingtip over Lake Michigan would be a "deal" for the controller and a ton of paperwork for the pilots. But on September 22nd, American sent a 737, a 757, a 777 and six of its best pilots out at dawn to pose in formation for a 35mm motion picture camera in Clay Lacy's Learjet. If you were lucky enough to be in the skies over Lake Michigan at sunrise, you saw it live. If not, producer/director Fred Ashman was there directing the footage, taking stills and making notes on what went into making "On The Move," his film for American Airlines. More

Making Every Drop Count »

It's best to have a fuel strategy so you won't run low in the first place. But if the worst happens, here's how to get the most out of what you've got left. More

Aviation Myths »

They're like bad dreams: They just keep coming back. "They," of course, are the half-truths and tall tales that come up from time to time and include "getting on the step," never running "oversquare" and using reduced-power takeoffs to baby your engine. AVweb's Linda Pendleton takes on these myths and offers a few guidelines to help you make up your own mind. More