AVweb Features

Propeller Care »

In May 2008 the FAA published five new SAIBs or Suggested Airworthiness Information Bulletins on propeller maintenance. While these bulletins do not carry the weight of an AD, they do come about as a result of discussions with field organizations such as aircraft type clubs as well as maintenance shops who identify problems they see as recurring or actually becoming worse. Such problems now seem to be somewhat a result of our aging aircraft fleet and frequent deferred or minimal maintenance to get past an inspection or minimal overhaul compliance. More

Yikes, I've Gotta Land Gear Up »

You're near the end of a lovely flight, but the gear won't come down no matter what you do. Now what? More

Belly Degreasers »

For many pilots, the first realization that the bellies of their airplanes are becoming hazardous waste sites is when ATC advises that their transponders are intermittent. Investigation reveals a layer of goo on the belly antennas, doing its best to block the signal. Frequently cleaning the by-products of engine operation—oil, grease, soot and other delicacies—off of the belly isn't just presenting a pleasing view to the world when over-flying, it helps keep the dorsal antennas working their best, keeps potentially corrosive materials off the paint and aluminum and lets you easily see whether the fasteners are in place or the paint isn't. The idea is to be able to remove that coating of grease, oil and soot without having to wear a hazmat suit. For many of us, water isn't available at the hangar, or the airport requires that all washing be done on a wash rack that has a drain that catches the crud that comes off of the airplane—and it's a half mile away. 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. Even if you find yourself slightly out of currency in the 11th month, you can go out with a safety pilot and fly the requisite approaches/holds/intercepts, regaining your ability to legally file and fly IFR. 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

Night IFR Operations »

Most instrument rated pilots log about 10 percent of their flight time in IMC. That same percentage holds true for night operations. When you combine the two, encountering IMC at night is a rare occurrence for many. More