It's The Great Pumpkin Drop Charlie Brown! »

Boy, oh boy, has this been fun! The excitement level at Liberty Landing International Airport had reached a fever pitch; the crowds of cheering spectators were on their feet! The field was littered with the orange carcasses of shattered pumpkins scattered over a very impressive area. Some were pretty dang close to the hangars. That may have been the reason that all planes not flying in the competition had been put away. The remaining planes, not in the air but still flying in the competition, were parked on the opposite side of the big hangar, away from the target field. More

Your Refurb: "Fresh Annual" and Other Scams »

It's a sad law of aviation that while we like to think of pilots as honest, upstanding citizens, when it comes to selling airplanes, an unpleasantly high proportion suddenly turn into snake-oil salesmen. More

Plastic Window Care »

There are two important notes with respect to aircraft windows. The first is that there is no reason they cannot be serviceable for 20-25 years or more with reasonable care and a little luck—especially with a hangar. The second is how you care for your windows. More

Operating Superstitions—Part Two »

Last month's feature on the frustrating persistence of engine operating superstitions generated a number of comments from readers, most appreciating the ammunition to fire back at the Old Wives' Tale-spouting "experts" at their local airport. Several referenced other operating superstitions—engine and airplane—regularly being passed off as time-honored aviation truths and asked if they could be addressed. In the spirit of reader service, we pulled up a handful of the most common. More

Used Aircraft Guide: Beech 36-Series »

Since 1968, the 36-series Bonanzas has steadily built a solid record for workmanship, performance, handling and comfort. Prices on the used market reflect the high regard for the airplanes. Easy entry to the rear seats and club seating made them popular with passengers as well as pilots, even though the aft CG limit can make loading a challenge and some turbocharged models are a little light on useful load. Aftermarket mods such as turbonormalizing and tip tanks can turn a 36-series Bonanza into an airplane that can carry four people 1000 NM at 200 knots. More

Back in the Game »

Sometimes something comes between us and flying, and sometimes the interruption can last a few years. Here' how I came back to flying IFR, by making a plan and flying the plan. More

Handling Broken Glass »

With glass cockpits becoming more prolific, a wider spectrum of the pilot community is now engaged in flying them. Understanding the implications of malfunctions is an important responsibility of the PIC as higher levels of technology competence and preparedness are required. More

Pre-Flight Follies »

When did you last experience an embarrassing moment on the takeoff roll? Have you ever had to taxi back to the ramp to deal with a problem discovered during the run-up? Any moments of tension or near-terror because you missed something during the pre-flight? Most pilots can recite at least one tale about discovering they missed something in the pre-flight inspection. The idea at its root is to never, ever start the engine without a thorough look-around to be sure all remains as it was when you last landed the airplane. In the case of the day's first flight, you're conducting an inspection to confirm the aircraft's airworthiness, general condition, fuel status, etc. More

Fasteners Through an Engineer's Eye »

The structure of an airplane and its systems are only as strong and reliable as the joints holding its components together. The strength of a joint is dependent not only on the properties of the fasteners, but on the design of the joint itself. The way the fasteners are loaded, the strength of the parts the fastener is holding together, and the stability of the joint itself are all important. More

Engine Operation Superstitions: Frustrating Persistence »

I used to be astonished at how aviation myths, particularly when it came to engine operation, have such incredible staying power. Now, when I hear one spouted, I just shake my head in admiration of the power of ignorance and belief over data. With some folks, the laws of physics, aerodynamics, metallurgy and thermodynamics are trumped by unwavering faith in their particular superstitions. More