The Ride: Flying First Timers and Your Family »

In discussions with new pilots at airports and on aviation forums, two of the recurring questions I get are how to give a good ride to someone who has never been in an airplane before and how come the spouses and families of a fair percentage of pilots don't like to, or simply won't, fly with them. More

Twin Takeoffs »

Departing from a 4200-foot runway, the twin engine Beech B60 Duke lifted off after a 1500-foot takeoff roll. The landing gear was immediately retracted but at approximately 100 feet agl, a large puff of black smoke erupted from the left engine. Witnesses stated the airplane pitched up and then banked sharply to the left. At approximately 500 feet agl, the airplane banked 90 degrees to the left in a nose-down attitude, rolled inverted and impacted a building, killing the pilot and passengers. It was a classic VMC rollover accident, resulting from the pilot's failure to establish and maintain an airspeed equal to or greater than the airplane's minimum controllable airspeed in one engine inoperative (OEI) flight. More

Gettin' Older »

Concerns about pilot aging are just as important for the younger pilot as for the more silver-haired among us. The US population is getting grayer, and it's plain to see when looking around any airport, so too is the average pilot. This aging brings numerous challenges and a few rewards that should be important to all of us. More

Your Refurb: Aging Gracefully »

In our series on refurbishing airplanes we've covered what's involved with updating all aspects of your airplane. As a wrap up, we'll look at the situation where you like your airplane as it is, and you want to keep it in good shape so you can keep flying it happily and safely for the foreseeable future. More

Used Aircraft Guide: Mooney Ovation »

Mooney aficionados tend to be clustered in the end of the gene pool that has "I want a fast airplane" in the DNA. For years, they flocked to the marque that promised and delivered speed while sipping fuel. Starting with the single-seat Mite, they were willing to shoehorn themselves into tiny cabins in return for not having to stay in them long when going someplace, while assuming a certain look of superiority over others due to miserly demands at the gas pump. Over the years, Mooney obliged its faithful with progressive aerodynamic clean ups, making quick airplanes steadily faster. However, Mooney eventually shocked the aviation world by tacitly admitting that they'd gone as far as was economically viable with aerodynamics, and it was time to accept that there's no replacement for displacement when it comes to sheer speed. More

Well Structured ATC »

In spring 2003, I was halfway through my flight training. My instructor and I were chatting about air traffic control. He'd just visited the local TRACON. From his description, I pictured a dark room filled with the intense chatter of men and women half-lit by radar scopes and blinking sci-fi lights. A few short years later, I'd be a radar controller in one of those dark rooms. My imagination hadn't been far off. In due course... More

Hypoxia: The Subtle Killer »

Almost 15 years ago a well-known professional golfer named Payne Stewart was a passenger in a Lear 35 that departed Orlando, Florida for Dallas, Texas. Three minutes after the last communications with the Lear it made a turn consistent with a human input, but just three minutes later ATC was unable to raise any response from the aircraft. More

Avoiding Extreme Weather »

As anyone who's paid attention to Central U.S. weather the last few months knows, it's been a particularly violent spring across "Tornado Alley." Midwest storms made national news and reintroduced repeat targets—such as Moore, Okla. Well ahead of the storms and far in front of the inevitable miles of destruction images, Americans coast to coast shared ringside seats of the progressing destruction thanks to the coverage of storm chasers who shared real time some of the clearest videos and still images ever made of in-progress tornadoes. Most images came from a large contingent of ground-pounders but, more than ever before, much of the resulting imagery was captured through the efforts of people aboard aerial platforms, whether helicopter or fixed-wing. More