Dissecting The PIO »

We see it happen here all too often. The Franklin County Airport in Sewanee, Tenn., sits at the western edge of the Cumberland Plateau. During cooler months, northwest winds are thrust up the side of the plateau and swirl back down toward the airport. Tall trees surround the runway and make the airport difficult to see throughout the approach. Pilots in the pattern are greeted by updrafts followed by downdrafts that can make landing on our 50-by-3700-foot runway a challenge. More

Transatlantic Homebuilt »

Flying an RV-8 from Los Angeles, California to Oxfordshire, England in 19 days may strike many as an adventure of a lifetime. For me, the 7000 NM trip was my way to return home after working four years in the Tesla Motors Design Studio in Hawthorne, California. Airfields along the Crimson Route, partially developed in WW-II as a way from North America across Greenland and Iceland to Britain and the European theater, would provide the critical fuel stops to complete my journey. More

Serious IFR: Flying the Hump »

As humble seekers of aeronautical knowledge it might do us well to tread among the giants of an earlier generation and listen to what sort of instrument flying they did, and decide if we, in our modern machines, are accomplished pilots. More

Pitot-Static Systems »

No matter how much automation we fly behind, no matter how many air-data computers are installed and no matter how simple it is, it's likely a pitot-static system—pretty much like the one Lindbergh flew across the Atlantic—is what generates airspeed and some other basic flight information aboard the aircraft we fly. These systems are relatively simple, consisting of basic sensors, some plumbing and sensitive instrumentation. The difference in air pressure does all the work. More

Tailwheel Landing Battle: Three-Point or Wheel? »

After features on tailwheel flying here in AVweb in July and November, it's time to step up to the graduate-level issue for the topic. It's tailwheel flying's hot button question—whether three-point or wheel landings are "better" or safer. If you want to stir things up some evening when a bunch of tailwheel pilots are at the bar, look innocent as you make that inquiry. Wander away for 10 minutes or so. When you return, be ready to duck, as the chairs may be flying. More

Used Aircraft Guide: Cirrus SR20 »

It wasn't the first "plastic" airplane, but the composite Cirrus was far enough along the cutting edge to stir up the pilot community. Of course, some loudly asserted that no "real" pilot would want one of those things—it's got a parachute, for crying out loud. Yet the SR20 and its offspring the SR22 quietly and effectively changed ideas of what a personal airplane should look like, how it should be used and how it should be equipped. More

Pop-Up Clearances »

The pilot wasn't having much luck on his flight review. As he and his instructor were about to depart, the airport weather went from a manageable SCT006 to BKN006, requiring an IFR clearance. Since they had planned to depart VFR, they didn't file an IFR flight plan. To top it off, the part-time tower was closed. More

ATC Pitfalls: Communication »

Only a small percentage of the controller work force in the system today—or for that matter, in the past—are or have been pilots. Controllers are taught to perform the duties and provide the services that are outlined in the controller's bible, the FAA Order 7110.65, Air Traffic Control Manual. More

Abnormals »

Things can go "bump" in the night. Daytime, too. Most of them either have been considered before or encountered by someone, resulting in a section of your AFM/POH labeled "Emergency Procedures." More

Tooling Up! »

Very few aircraft builders are not tool hounds. These are the people who walk through the local tool stores with a glazed look in their eyes. They are thankful when their spouse gives them a wrench for a present, even if they already have 12 identical ones in the toolbox. When a tool catalog arrives in the mail, they trip over the first step leading to the front door because they are heads down in the catalog. If this describes you, you need help! More