Stupid Pilot Tricks »

Why do holiday newsletters begin with, "It's hard to believe another year has passed"? Have we not yet accepted the earth's orbit around the sun? Or is it truly unfathomable that no matter what reality dictates we're doomed to repeat the same dumb things year after year? And I'm not just addressing you folks in Washington, DC. It's easy to ignore signs of catastrophe while hoping for positive results. The Chicago Cubs could win the World Series but only when we pilots quit reenacting the absurd. More

Instrument Upkeep: Repairing Saves Money »

Here's a common scenario: You bring your airplane to the avionics shop for its 24-month IFR pitot and static system certification and the tech says you'll be wheels up in a couple of hours. Thirty minutes later while you're cooling your heels in the pilot lounge, the technician tracks you down with news you don't want to hear: Your encoding altimeter flunked the test because it has too much friction. More

Old Aviation Truths for a New Year »

Out of respect for you following a three-day weekend over the New Year, the thoughts are succinct and paragraphs short in a conversation about some of the basic truths of staying alive, happy and well when flying. Okay, there might be a few opinions included. More

Your Margin of Safety? »

When was it, to avoid compromising personal limits, you decided not to fly? Sure, serious deteriorating weather conditions are an obvious one. As I write this, severe turbulence SIGMETS from surface to 5000 feet have been issued over northwest Europe, which for me is an obvious "no flight." But there are some diehards (or dare devils) out there, who are willing to give it a try anyhow. More

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