Features

Air Care Alliance: The Voice of Public Benefit Flying »

One of the ongoing bright spots in the world of public perception of general aviation is the growing recognition that pilots are quietly volunteering their time, skills and aircraft to make flights that benefit others. Working tirelessly to support those pilots and the organizations for which they fly is the Air Care Alliance, the Voice of Public Benefit Flying. More

Long Trips On Short Legs »

For most of us tooling around the airstrip and to the occasional pancake breakfast, the size of our fuel tanks doesn’t matter. But when you’re planning a longer flight, your aircraft’s range becomes a consideration. More

Vortex Generators: 50 Years of Performance Benefits »

It was more than 50 years ago that Boeing used the first vortex generators—carefully located metal tabs angled slightly relative to the airflow—on portions of the upper surface of the wing of the original 707. The odd-looking devices eventually trickled down to general aviation, notably on Learjets, then to even the most modest of bugsmashers. For decades, vortex generators, or VGs, have been providing safety and controllability benefits throughout the piston single and twin world at a rate well beyond what their diminutive size might imply. More

Partial Panel Peculiarities »

Probably the most difficult task on the Instrument Rating (IR) practical test is Area VII, Task D: Approach with Loss of Primary Flight Instrument Indicators. But why is the FAA so interested in this? In their own words from the IR Practical Test Standards (PTS): “The FA A is concerned about numerous fatal aircraft accidents involving spatial disorientation of instrument-rated pilots who have attempted to control and maneuver their aircraft in clouds with inoperative primary flight instruments (gyroscopic heading and/or attitude indicators) or loss of the primary electronic flight instruments display.” 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. 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

Wrong Airport, Wrong Runway »

You are on approach in busy airspace with an even busier cockpit...you are changing frequencies, receiving vectors, looking for traffic. You are well into the descent phase. As you flip through your kneeboard to get ready for the final phases of flight, you instinctively start looking for the runway. You see one in front of you just as ATC asks, “Do you have the airport in sight?” “Affirmative,” you respond with confidence. The only problem is that it's the wrong airport. More

The New ATP—A Brief Window Before the Sky Falls? »

Following the 2009 Colgan Air Flight 3407 crash near Buffalo, New York Congress and the FAA mandated extraordinarily expensive changes in the training requirements for the Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate. The ATP changes have almost all phased in, but a few months are left before the most onerous one becomes effective. Pilots seeking an ATP should do all they can to pass the written before August 1, 2014 or face additional training estimated to cost over $15,000. More

Used Aircraft Guide: Cessna 120/140 »

The first of the post-war Cessnas to be built in volume was the diminutive Cessna 140, followed a month later by a stripped-down model called the 120. At the time, the Cessna 120/140s were perfectly serviceable and practical two-place airplanes. They were reasonably priced to buy and economical to own. Although they all initially had fabric wings, they were made mostly of metal, avoiding the periodic need for recovering. More

GAMIjectors—18 Years of Precision Fuel Injection »

After selling over 22,000 sets of GAMIjectors that help aircraft owners save over a million gallons of avgas a year through lean-of-peak operations GAMI now makes precision fuel injectors for almost every fuel-injected, general aviation airplane. Here's a review of the engine power curve and why lean of peak operations can prolong engine live and reduce fuel burn. More

The Pre-Buy Examination—Just Do It »

Face it, buying an airplane involves more of the former Federal Reserve’s Chair, Alan Greenspan’s “irrational exuberance” than it does steely-eyed appraisal—it’s easy to fall in lust with a paint job. That's why a careful pre-buy examination by a mechanic you chose is essential. More