Features

Belly Degreasers »

For many pilots, the first realization that the bellies of their airplanes are becoming hazardous waste sites is when ATC advises that their transponders are intermittent. Investigation reveals a layer of goo on the belly antennas, doing its best to block the signal. Frequently cleaning the by-products of engine operation—oil, grease, soot and other delicacies—off of the belly isn't just presenting a pleasing view to the world when over-flying, it helps keep the dorsal antennas working their best, keeps potentially corrosive materials off the paint and aluminum and lets you easily see whether the fasteners are in place or the paint isn't. The idea is to be able to remove that coating of grease, oil and soot without having to wear a hazmat suit. For many of us, water isn't available at the hangar, or the airport requires that all washing be done on a wash rack that has a drain that catches the crud that comes off of the airplane—and it's a half mile away. More

Prepping For Your IPC »

Maintaining your IFR currency isn't that hard. Just fly and log in actual or simulated conditions six instrument approaches, "holding procedures and tasks" and "intercepting and tracking" electronic courses within the preceding six months, and you're golden. Even if you find yourself slightly out of currency in the 11th month, you can go out with a safety pilot and fly the requisite approaches/holds/intercepts, regaining your ability to legally file and fly IFR. But after 12 full months of being out of IFR currency, you'll need an instrument proficiency check, or IPC. There was a time, before the most recent revisions to FAR 61, when an IPC—previously known as an instrument competency check—wasn't structured. That's no longer the case. More

Night IFR Operations »

Most instrument rated pilots log about 10 percent of their flight time in IMC. That same percentage holds true for night operations. When you combine the two, encountering IMC at night is a rare occurrence for many. More

On Your Tail »

Of all the major components of a conventional airplane, the tail—empennage, if you prefer—may be the least understood. Yes, we generally know it's there to help balance and stabilize the airplane's attitude in flight, and to help control yaw and pitch, but that's often the extent to which we paid attention in ground school. If we were paying more attention, we might have learned airplane tails come in many different shapes and sizes, and can be placed at either end of the airplane. They can be partially or totally omitted from some airplanes, while others might be considered to have more than one. More

Pet Pup »

Building a replica Sopwith Pup from scratch is not for the faint of heart. More

Summertime, and the Tailwheels Are Flying »

If you want to expand your aviation horizons into some more adventurous flying, why not get a tailwheel checkout and endorsement? If nothing else, it will greatly expand the spectrum of types of airplanes that you can fly and, in my opinion, substantially upgrade your aeronautical skills. More

Life Rafts »

When comes to buying a life raft, quality costs money. In reviewing what's on the market, Winslowl, in our opinion, offers the best rafts—you pay a premium, but we feel you get the value for your dollars. More

Is Owning Safer? »

Pilots decide to buy their own airplane for a variety of reasons. It could be a business decision, helping ensure coverage of a relatively wide sales area, or perhaps an aerial photography business. Specialized flight training—like acro, or a quicky instrument rating—also can be a reason. Recreation or personal transportation is yet another. One of my major motivations was safety. More

Creating an Emergency »

Flight instructors often note to the student, early in the training cycle, that there are back-up systems in case the primary equipment fails. However, using the backup system may require some skill and one wonders why a pilot would depart with the primary system inoperative. More

Your Refurb: Upgrading the Interior »

One of the centerpieces of any aircraft refurb is upgrading the interior. It can be as basic as recovering the seats, but usually involves a complete redo of the headliner, side panels, carpet and upholstery. As the insulation is often stripped out and replaced as well, it's a good time to install soundproofing. More