Features

The Art of Crashing »

When considering how to crash, my first bit of advice is don't do it. Since the reality of any flight is that things can go wrong, that isn't particularly helpful, I know. What can go wrong? Your crankshaft can break, your fuel lines can clog or, if you are a damn fool, you can run out of gas. The point is, someday your engine may stop working for reasons beyond your immediate control and your next option is an off-field landing, or worse. If you're lucky, you will be mid-field downwind at your home airport and it will work just like the last time you practiced engine-out procedures—you do still practice those, right? More

Build It Better »

In aviation, one pin out of place can result in disaster. Details matter. More

A Test Pilot Spins »

Experimental flight testing involves taking new or modified aircraft designs to, and sometimes beyond, the edges of their performance envelopes. Most of the time the steps into the unknown go smoothly. It's the times that they don't that when test pilots earn every cent of their pay while discovering that even the most carefully made plans can suddenly come unraveled. A experienced test pilot recalls spin testing that didn't go quite as planned. More

Engine Heaters: Probes, Bands or Pads? »

Unless you operate your aircraft in a warm climate, we think fixed engine heaters are essential accessories. Even if you store the aircraft in a heated hangar, there could be times when you're faced with an engine-stressing cold start. More

Whether a Refurb? »

Not surprisingly, as the rate of price increases for new airplanes left the rate of inflation in the dust, the business of giving new life to aging airplanes became a growth industry. When it's time to step up from your current airplane, the right step up might well be to keep it and have it refurbished. More

When the Chatter Ceases »

Peace and quiet is something that every parent has longed for at some time or another. A lack of chatter is not so great when in the clouds and rain—being vectored for a parallel ILS approach to a major airport like Atlanta. More

Homebuilt Flight Testing: The First Flight »

A day of flight testing is supposed to end with everyone safe in their beds and the airplane reusable for another day. That should be our ultimate goal, and if we have prepared properly, the actual flight can almost be a letdown when everything goes well. Here's how to help make it go smoothly. More

Aircraft Finance: Getting the Right Loan »

You've decided that it's time to buy an airplane, or you own one and you want to upgrade it with a glass panel or a larger engine. The "how will I pay for it?" refrain has gone through your head more than once. Now you have to listen to that voice. It's time to get the money and do the deal. More

ATC Pitfalls — Communication »

Effective communication between pilots and controllers is at the heart of safe operations in our National Airspace System. It means listening and understanding what is said; but it also may require listening and understanding what is not said and asking the right questions. More

Akro for Under $100K: Wide Variety; Use Caution »

There has long been a subset of pilots with a certain sense of adventure and the burning desire to own an aerobatic airplane. While most lust after an aerial hotrod such as one of the Extra 300 series or a Sukhoi Su-29, economic reality means putting something a little less impressive into the hangar. We'll give you a look at what's available for under $100,000. More