Features

Big Blows »

Flying safely in high wind conditions is a matter of adopting the proper technique for your aircraft's weight and configuration. One complication with which we pilots must always contend is wind. It can complicate a takeoff or landing, force heading changes while en route, mandate a fuel stop when stronger than forecast and make an otherwise smooth ride uncomfortable when blowing over uneven terrain. Learning to deal with the wind is one of the major lessons of primary training, yet the accident record demonstrates many of us still haven't mastered the challenge. More

The Pilot Shortage Crisis Is Nigh! … Or Not »

People in the aviation industry have been talking about a looming U.S. pilot shortage for decades, but you may be hard pressed to find anyone in the U.S. who's actually experienced one during the past 20 years. Actually, 20 years ago, I remember receiving materials from an outfit that explained just how strong the demand would soon be. Now, the warnings are back (if they ever went away). So, should you believe them this time? If you think the hype is overblown, you're not alone. More

Cessna 152 vs. LSA: Vintage Wins the Day »

On the flight training line, ancient 152s can still be more profitable, chiefly because LSAs lack a mature parts chain and repair support infrastructure. More

AOPA's Flying Clubs Initiative, Where It's Going »

AOPA started on this project about one year ago, announced its intentions publicly at AOPA Summit last October, and is now setting out on an effort to grow the nationwide collection of 650 independent flying clubs into 1,000 networked aviation cooperatives. More

Building A Better Bonanza »

It cruises easily at better than 165 knots, can carry six (provided at least two aren't large), and has a range of 1,000 miles. The pilots who fly it generally love it, and the pilots who don't generally respect it. Samples can be found on the used market today in decent shape and for less than $150,000 -- a price that undercuts some higher-end LSAs. It's an aircraft with decades of history and a following to match. But this is aviation. Pilots always want more. Fortunately, the aftermarket for Bonanza owners offers many ways to grow. More

Simulator Training: How Important Is Motion? »

Flight simulation is a part of nearly every pilot's curriculum, whether he or she is just starting out, staying current, or landing a type rating. But the type of simulation and its benefits (especially when it comes to motion) is often the subject of controversy -- maybe for good reason. More

The Return of Anti-Detonation Water Injection (ADI) »

The only reason leaded avgas still exists is to deliver high octane cheaply and the only reason for octane is to prevent detonation in high-power, high-compression engines. But octane isn't the only way to quench detonation, something engineers have known for years. Injecting a water-methanol spray into the combustion chamber—so-called anti-detonation or anti-detonant injection (ADI)—was once a common technique for military aircraft when octane wasn't available or when aircraft designers wanted excess power in bursts, even when burning high-octane fuel. It was also used in civil transport applications. If it worked 60 years ago, why not now? That's exactly what Air Plains is proposing in its resurrection of ADI STCs developed by Todd Petersen during the 1980s, when mogas as an alternative fuel was in vogue. More

Who's Working Against Your Favorite Apps »

The app revolution has changed more than the cockpit; it's displacing dedicated handheld gps units, giving panel mount avionics a run for their capability (at a deeply discounted price), and challenging the FAA's chart distribution systems. In other words, relative to the still slow economy, it's a booming industry that's changing how a segment of the aviation economy functions. It's not just bringing more capability into more cockpits, it's challenging the way some big entities make money -- and that might soon be changing things for you. For this article, we spoke with one of the biggest names in the business, Hilton Goldstein, of Hilton Software LLC (maker of the WingX app) to find out what makes a winning app and the very big forces that could soon challenge them all. Click here to read the full article. --> More

Fuel Projects Move Forward, But Slowly »

While the EPA continues gathering data on lead emissions toward a 2017 deadline on tighter air pollution standards, development to find a 100LL continues apace, although no clear winner is in sight. Meanwhile, the FAA has initially funded a new fuels program oversight office called AIR-20 whose job is to set up certification and testing standards for candidate fuels. AIR-20's work will be funded by a combination of government funds and contributions from private industry. Click here to read the full article. --> More

The Job Market May Be Bad; What About The Applicants? »

The business of matching aviation jobs with qualified applicants can provide a different perspective on the broader health of the aerospace industry. We spoke with one source in that position who is seeing some positive movement with jobs but believes the longterm prognosis isn't good. And, if he's right, the problem might not be something that an upturn in the economy is going to fix. More