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

An IA's Notes on Recent Annuals »

As a long-time IA and A & P mechanic and pilot I look at airplanes with a somewhat different eye than pilots. My purpose, whether it's actually inspecting an aircraft, flying one or writing about my experiences, is safety. Most certificated aircraft owners should know what the meaning of airworthy is and that there are two parts to the determination that an aircraft is airworthy at the time of an annual inspection. More

Used Aircraft Guide: Tailwheel Maules »

Still the only production four-seat or side-by-side, conventional gear airplanes being built in the U.S., Maules have been attracting owners who march to a slightly different beat for over 50 years. In general, the airplanes are easy and forgiving to fly when in the air, yet not so much on the ground—the runway loss of control accident rate is distressingly high. They're simple to fix, good at going slow but capable of decent cruise speeds, although the published speeds for many in the line are considered humorously optimistic. More

Thunderstorm Safety »

As summer arrives and the days get longer, pilots may let their guard down when it comes to weather. Icing and large hail may certainly be less of a factor during the balmy dog days, but the June, 1999 American MD-80 runway excursion and the Delta L-1011 crash in August, 1985 are some of the incidents that underscore the hazards of flying during the warm season. … More

A Tale of Two Aviation Lawsuits »

The month of May brought verdicts in two lawsuits, providing some good news to those who care about aviation, users of airports and the value of small, general aviation airports to our country as a whole. More

Fixing Your Flare »

No matter how smooth and enjoyable the flight, your passengers always will remember the landing. Anything other than a single, bounce-free touchdown is ripe for comment and, if your passengers also are pilots, ridicule. While a good landing is a combination of many factors, the last chance you have to affect its outcome is in the flare. Whether you're flaring too high above the runway or too low, at too high an airspeed or too enthusiastically, there's usually a fix for what ails your landings. More

West Coast Fog Monster »

Fog along the West Coast of the United States has been documented as far back as the arrival of the Spaniards in the 16th century. Ship captains in later years learned to take it seriously; 100 years ago when the Marine Exchange in San Francisco was asked what proportion of coastal shipwrecks were the result of fog, the reply was "All of them." Even today, aircraft pilots at coastal airports find themselves trying to stay… More

Rare Bird »

A biplane designed in the 1920s inspires thoughts of aviation's Golden Age, and for one pilot, it's a perfect complement to his Aeronca Champ. More