Features

Your Refurb: Panel Connectivity for Avionics »

If you're doing an avionics upgrade as part of a refurb, we think wireless avionics integration makes sense, especially as the cost may be as low as $1,000 plus installation. More

Used Aircraft Guide: Piper Apache-Aztec »

Some insist it began production as the world's largest flying sweet potato and evolved into Snoopy crouching as he waited for his supper. The original PA-23, the Apache, seemed almost round and had such modest powerplants that single-engine operation could be hazardous—just as with other twins with small engines. The last versions, the Aztec series, by contrast, are capable load-haulers with very good short-field performance. More

Climb Considerations »

How we chose to perform our climbs should be tailored specifically to the time of day, the weather, the surrounding terrain and/or the traffic. We can chose to maximize the trip's average groundspeed, minimize fuel use or get as high as we can as fast as we can, fuel efficiency be damned. More

The Unflyable Clearance »

14 CFR §91.123 says, "When a pilot is uncertain of an ATC clearance, that pilot shall immediately request clarification from ATC." Complying with the reg seems easy enough, but under pressure of time, heavy weather and busy controllers we are tempted to assume that ATC knows its intentions and to accept a clearance as given. More

Hand-Propping Demystified »

Most casual discussions of hand-propping begin and end with the admonition "Don't." That's not bad advice, except when there's no other way to start the engine. In fact, hand-propping is a time-honored practice, dating to the beginning of heavier-than-air flight. That it's still employed says as much about the legacy of aviation as it does our ability to manage risk. More

Rust Never Sleeps »

As the average GA fleet age goes well into the 30s, it's time for a voluntary, on-going program of corrosion inspections. More

Your Refurb: New Paint »

While it may be a shallow measuring gauge, the most popular indicator of the success of an aircraft refurb is the paint job. A good one can be used to disguise many ills while a bad one can overwhelm the perfection of the new leather interior and top-of-the-line glass panel. More

Danger Below MDA? »

Not long ago, an airline began to receive notices that crews flying the RNAV (GPS) RWY 36 approach into Birmingham, Alabama (BHM) were receiving GPWS alerts while descending from the MDA to the runway. Since it wasn't an isolated incident, the airline suspected that the approach was flawed and notified the FAA, who flight checked the approach. The results of that inspection are educational to instrument-flying pilots at all levels. More

Speed: Buying 180 Knots for $180,000 »

In this day and aviation market age, a $180,000 purchase price isn't out of line, especially if it's split a few ways. Moving through the air at 180 knots is cooking along nicely, so in keeping with our general fascination with symmetrical numbers, we decided to create the 180 for 180 club and then find out what airplanes are qualified to join—those that have a real-life cruise speed of at least 180 knots and a Bluebook value of $180,000 or less. More

No Electrics? No Problem! »

A pilot can learn a great deal by stripping his or her flying down to its fundamental roots. Flying an aircraft without an electrical system puts you in touch with the basics of flying by altimeter, whiskey compass, pilotage and pure stick-and-rudder skills. On the mechanical side, it's a chance to commune with the engine using only the minimum required instruments. There's also a certain romance to flying a vintage plane, especially one lacking an electrical system. It harkens back to the barnstorming days when men were real men, women were real women and there was no TSA to verify the difference via pat down. Even in this era of modern instruments, glass panels and gadgets, there's still room in the skies for a basic plane with minimal systems. Here's how. More