A complete index to John Deakin's popular Pelican's Perch column on AVweb.
November 20, 2004
Pelican's Perch #80: Gear-Up Landing In A 747? - (Articles - Nov 21, 2004)
You know the cliche: There are two kinds of retractable-gear pilots in the world -- those who have landed gear-up, and those who will. AVweb's John Deakin is back with his Pelican's Perch column, and relates his own heavy-jet gear-up story.
Pelican Perch: A Little Break, If You Please - (Articles - Jun. 18, 2004)
AVweb's resident Pelican takes a much-deserved break from his monthly columns.
John Deakin's Old Books & Publications - (Articles - May 15
AVweb's John Deakin has acquired quite a few gems in his reference library, and he has made photocopies available to the public. This is a list of a half-dozen reprints and how you can acquire them.
Pelican's Perch #79: The Air America Years (Part II) - (Articles - Mar 28, 2004)
AVweb's John Deakin did spend time in Southeast Asia as part of Air America, one of the "airlines" run by the CIA in the 1960s. Upon arriving in Asia, there was time for using old Link trainers, relaxing in hot springs, avoiding alcohol-pushers, and learning the reputation of The Company as John continues his story.
Pelican's Perch #78: Props Driving Engines - (Articles - Feb 29, 2004)
If your CFI (or mechanic) instructed you never to let the propeller drive the engine, or never to run the engine "oversquare," it's time for a reality check. AVweb's John Deakin addresses a few more of these engine myths that started back in the days of radial-engines.
Pelican's Perch #77: Startups & Runups - (Articles - Feb 1, 2004)
Even the apparently simple tasks of starting and running up a piston aircraft engine before takeoff should be done with the same concerns for engine life, reliability and safety as any other part of flight. AVweb's John Deakin steps us through the process, dispelling myths as he goes.
Pelican's Perch #76: Those Dreadful POHs (Part 2) - (Articles - Dec 7, 2003)
Last month, AVweb's John Deakin described some strange events from his airline days that were caused by too-strict reliance on "The Book." This month, the pelican gets on his perch to tackle a few GA POHs and finds (gasp!) inconsistencies, errors, and just plain dangerous recommendations.
Pelican's Perch #75: Those Dreadful POHs (Part 1) - (Articles - Nov 9, 2003)
Everything your POH says is correct, and anything it doesn't say you can do, you can't, right? Did you really think John Deakin -- AVweb's favorite contrarian -- could let that kind of gross generality continue unquestioned?
Pelican's Perch #74: Hurricane (Part 2) - (Articles - Oct 12, 2003)
AVweb's John Deakin concludes his two-part series on the Hawker Hurricane with this report of his first time flying it. As you'll see, it takes a lot of time just to get ready to go, but once it does, it does it in a Hurry!
Pelican's Perch #73: Hurricane (Part 1) - (Articles - Sep 14, 2003)
It still gets less press than its more-famous compatriot, the Spitfire, but the Hawker Hurricane was the mainstay of the British fighter squadrons in the European theater of World War II. AVweb's John Deakin considers it one of his favorites, and his two-part pilot report begins this month.
Pelican's Perch #72: The Legendary Zero (Part 2) - (Articles - Aug 17, 2003)
In this continuation of his checkout in a Japanese Zero, John Deakin does his preflight in the cockpit, fires it up and takes to the air in one of the very few flying examples of this famous WWII fighter.
Pelican's Perch #71: The Legendary Zero (Part 1) - (Articles - July 20, 2003)
The Japanese Zero of World War II was so light it could out-turn just about any American fighter, but that meant it had very little armor, so one good shot would take it down. Nowadays, there are maybe two flying examples in the entire world -- and AVweb's John Deakin is now a qualified pilot in one of them.
Pelican's Perch #70: Gulfstream IV Part 2 - (Articles - June 22, 2003)
Last month, AVweb's John Deakin told us what it was like to live the life of an itinerant Gulfstream IV pilot. This month he digs into the actual operations in the cockpit and, guess what? It's a good thing he likes computers and can read computer screens.
Pelican's Perch #69: Gulfstream IV - (Articles - May 25 2003)
Two years ago, AVweb's John Deakin wrote about taking Gulfstream IV training and the start of his move from airlines to bizjets. This month, John chronicles the long and challenging process that still hasn't quite settled down.
Pelican's Perch #68: The Human Borescope - (Articles - April 27 2003)
AVweb's resident Pelican talks of a different kind of borescope -- one that may well save your life.
Pelican's Perch #67: Analysis of an In-Flight Engine Failure - (Articles - March 30 2003)
GA engine failure captured digitally in full color! AVweb's John Deakin shows us engine-monitor data from an aircraft that lost power on takeoff just after an annual inspection. As you might expect, John disagrees with the engine manufacturer's post-mortem.
Pelican's Perch #66: Where Should I Run My Engine? (Part 4 -- Descent) - (Articles - March 3 2003)
After a short discussion about whether running engines "the factory way" or "the skydiving way" will hurt or help engines, AVweb's John Deakin settles in for the descent. And, yes, there are more old wives tales to be debunked, and better control settings to use.
Pelican's Perch #65: Where Should I Run My Engine? (Part 3 -- Cruise) - (Articles - Feb 2 2003)
Cruise -- Time to sit back and enjoy the flight. But wait ... did you leave the mixture set where it was during the climb? Or do you just set it where it "feels" right? You know AVweb's John Deakin is going to have something to say about that.
Pelican's Perch #64: Where Should I Run My Engine? (Part 2 The Climb) - (Articles - Jan 5 2003)
Last month, AVweb's John Deakin started a discussion of where to run an
engine during a typical flight. With so much detail needed, he ended the column
just as we took off! Now he's back to talk about the climb, and as usual he has
real-world data to back up his explanation.
Pelican's Perch #63: Where Should I Run My Engine? (Part 1) - (Articles - Dec 13 2002)
In his many columns about how to lean, whether to use full power after takeoff, oversquare operation and so on, AVweb's John Deakin has left many of the details up to the pilot/owner. Yet many readers would just as soon have him tell them exactly how to set up and run an engine. In this month's column he does just that, with a step-by-step guide to smarter engine operation. Fair warning: His advice may not always agree with the POH.
Pelican's Perch #62: The Air America Years - (Articles - Nov 10 2002)
AVweb's John Deakin has told us a little (in "Pelican's Perch #14"
and "PP #47") about his time with The Company. In this month's
Pelican's Perch, he tells ALL the secrets how he got in by the skin of his
teeth, finally learned how to execute the "radius of action from a moving
base" from an old Chinese ground instructor, and more and he won't even
have to kill you after he tells you!
Pelican's Perch #61: Test Pilot School - (Articles - Oct 13 2002)
After years of dreaming, AVweb's John Deakin became an instructor at the
famous Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB. Well, for a short time, anyway! Only
mildly intimidated by the idea of head-to-head "air combat," John's
greatest challenge turned out to be teaching young, hotshot test pilots how to
think and fly at the "slow" speed of a WWII trainer.
Pelican's Perch #61: Test Pilot School Supplemental Images - (Articles - Oct 13 2002)
A collection of images to accompany "Pelican's Perch #61: Test Pilot
Pelican's Perch #60: V-Tail at Flight Level 270 - (Articles - Sep 16 2002)
Practicing what he's been preaching, AVweb's John Deakin takes you along on
an ambitious nonstop 1,100-nm flight in his turbocharged but non-tip-tanked
Beech V35B. In the process, our favorite pelican nibbles at the very edges of
the Bonanza's envelope at one point climbing to FL270, and at another
leaning to a remarkable 250ºF lean-of-peak. Deakin was headed for Ada, Oklahoma
... and he almost made it!
Pelican's Perch #59: Fried Valves
- (Articles - Aug 18 2002)
A cylinder in your piston aircraft engine flunks its compression check, with
lots of leakage past the exhaust valve. The mechanic says you probably fried the
valve by leaning too aggressively. Wrong, says AVweb's John Deakin! Lean
mixtures don't cause burned valves lousy valve-to-seat geometry does. It's
probably the fault of the factory or overhaul shop, not the pilot.
Pelican's Perch #58: FLYING's Report on Whyalla - (Articles - Jul 20 2002)
The Australian Transport Safety Board's investigative report on the May 2000
crash of a Whyalla Airlines Chieftain was bad enough. Then Flying magazine
in its July 2002 issue ran a story based on the ATSB report that not only
spread the report's mistaken conclusions and Old Wives Tales to a huge audience,
but embroidered on them further. AVweb's John Deakin devotes this column to
discussing and correcting the numerous errors in Flying's article.
Pelican's Perch #57: The Whyalla Report Junk Science? - (Articles - Aug 17 2002)
On May 31, 2000, a Piper PA31-350 Chieftain operated by Whyalla Airlines
crashed in South Australia after suffering catastrophic in-flight failure of
both engines, killing the pilot and seven passengers. A year and a half later,
the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued their 150-page
investigation report and blamed the accident on buildup of "lead oxybromide
deposits" caused by Whyalla's aggressive leaning procedures. AVweb's John
Deakin has dissected the ATSB report, and concludes that while improper leaning
procedures may have been involved, the ATSB analysis is seriously flawed and
their lead-oxybromide theory is pure poppycock.
Pelican's Perch #56: Superfortress! - (Articles - Jun 4 2002)
AVweb's John Deakin was recently invited to join a small group of CAF pilots
who regularly fly the world's only remaining flyable B-29
"Superfortress." Deak talks about what it's like to fly (and taxi)
this awesome aircraft (he claims it gives him goosebumps), reviews some of its
quirkier systems, and serves up an assortment of colorful Superfort experiences.
Pelican's Perch #56 Supplement: Randy Sohn on the B-29 - (Articles - Dec 1 2000)
Read pilot Randy Sohn's first-person account of the B-29 recovery from China
Lake described in "Pelican's Perch #56."
Pelican's Perch #55: Lead in the Hogwash - (Articles - Apr 27 2002)
Tetraethyl lead has been gone from automobile gasoline for two decades, and
it's only a matter of time before leaded avgas goes away as well. Despite a huge
amount of industry research, nobody yet has a suitable replacement fuel, and
nobody's yet quite sure what will happen to today's piston-powered fleet when
the supply of 100LL dries up. AVweb's John Deakin dispels a bunch of myths about
TEL, explains what it does and why it's so indispensable in high-performance
recips, and talks about one solution to the coming unleaded-avgas crisis that
Pelican's Perch #54: Pitch, Power, and Pink Elephants - (Articles - Mar 31 2002)
Every primary student is taught that power controls altitude and pitch
controls airspeed or was that power controls airspeed and pitch controls
altitude? Truth is that pilots have been arguing about this since Orville and
Wilbur debated the question over a couple of beers at Kitty Hawk. AVweb's John
Deakin (who claims to have been there at the time) weighs in on this issue by
offering some real-world scenarios and taking a look at how modern autopilots
Pelican's Perch #53: Well, SIAP on You, Too! - (Articles - Mar 2 2002)
There's a lot more to flying a Standard Instrument Approach Procedure (SIAP)
than meets the eye. AVweb's John Deakin discusses what goes into the design of
an SIAP and how to shoot an approach legally and safety and tosses in some
tricks, some gotchas, and some interesting case studies.
Pelican's Perch #52: The C-131 Emergency Checklist - (Articles - Feb 3 2002)
John Deakins last column about the normal-procedures checklist he
developed for the CAFs C-131 (Convair 340) produced such an enthusiastic
response and so many good suggestions that John decided to devote this
month's column to the planes emergency checklist. If youve ever wondered
about what goes on in a complex radial-engine transport aircraft cockpit when
the kimshee hits the fan, wonder no longer.
Pelican's Perch #51: Our New C-131 Checklist - (Articles - Jan 27 2002)
For a transport-sized warbird with a host of complex and oddball systems,
creating a good checklist is a daunting task one that AVweb's resident
pelican has been spending a lot of time on lately. John Deakin offers a guided
tour of his new C-131 checklist, and explains some of the thinking and
human-factors considerations that went into it.
Pelican's Perch #50: Our New C-131 - (Articles - Dec 16 2001)
AVweb's John Deakin devotes this month's column (and next) to his favorite
charity, hobby, and passion: the just-renamed Commemorative Air Force. Deak
tells of the organization's need for pilots, mechanics and volunteers, and
discusses one of CAF's newest acquisitions, a beautifully restored C-131
(military version of the Convair 340 airliner).
Pelican's Perch #49: Starting an Airline - (Articles - Nov 12 2001)
Nowadays, starting a new airline requires tens of millions of dollars in
capital and nearly that many pages of FAA paperwork. But back in the 1950s, all
it took was a $10,000 WWII-surplus transport, a few hungry time-building pilots,
and a lot of chutzpah. AVweb's John Deakin was just starting his aviation career
back then, and he tells a first-person tale of such a venture that actually got
off the ground, albeit briefly.
Pelican's Perch #48: Safe ... or Free? - (Articles - Dec 6 2001)
We all remember where we were on September 11 as terrorists attacked the
World Trade Center in New York. AVweb's John Deakin was in an FBO in Amsterdam
when he saw the second impact on a TV set tuned to CNN. In this month's column,
Deak offers his unique perspective on that awful day as both a pilot and an
Pelican's Perch #47: The Old Commando - (Articles - Sep 16 2001)
AVweb's John Deakin has logged PIC time in everything from Beech V35s to
Boeing 747s and Grumman Bearcats to Gulfstream IVs. But the Pelican's favorite
airplane of all time is the Curtiss-Wright C-46 "Commando" a
WWII-vintage twin-radial-engined taildragger that looks a lot like a DC-3 on
steroids, but in truth is a different beast altogether. John's column this month
discusses the idiosyncrasies of this unique airplane and his memories of flying
it, first 40 years ago in Southeast Asia and more recently on the airshow
circuit. Lots of lovely photos, too.
Pelican's Perch #46: "But My Mechanic Says ..." - (Articles - Aug 20 2001)
Ever notice that whenever a piston aircraft engine has low compression or
some other cylinder problem, chances are the mechanic will blame it on
"running too lean"? Regular readers of John Deakin's AVweb columns
know better, of course: Lean-of-peak operation is cooler, cleaner, and kinder to
the engine. If you wonder why most A&Ps are so ill informed about modern
mixture management, just take a look at what the FAA requires them to be taught
in AMT school!
Pelican's Perch #45: Modern Flight Training ... Isn't - (Articles - Jul 22 2001)
AVweb's John Deakin just received his Gulfstream IV type rating after three
weeks of intensive ground school and sim training at Simuflite in Dallas. He'd
long admired the G-IV and had looked forward to the training. Much to his shock,
it turned out to be a miserable and frustrating experience one that left him
feeling far less than well-trained. John details what happened and pulls no
punches in assigning blame.
Pelican's Perch #44: Liberator! - (Articles - Jun 27 2001)
During WWII, the British RAF and the U.S. Eighth Air Force used the
Consolidated B-24 "Liberator" to pound the heck out of the Germans.
Ernest K. Gann flew a freighter version (the C-87) during the war, and hated it.
The plane even saw some service as a corporate executive transport back when
burning 200 GPH to go 200 knots was still affordable. Recently, AVweb's resident
warbird maven John Deakin had an opportunity to check out in the Confederate Air
Force's B-24, "Diamond 'Lil," and reports that the aircraft is both
quirky and fun.
#43: Detonation Myths - (Articles - May 27 2001)
We've all been taught about detonation in piston aircraft engines. It's what
occurs when combustion pressure and temperature get so high that the fuel/air
mixture to explodes violently instead of burning smoothly, and it can destroy an
engine in a matter of seconds. Right? Well, not exactly. AVweb's John Deakin
reviews the latest research, and demonstrates that detonation occurs in various
degrees much like icing and turbulence with the milder forms not being
particularly harmful. Heavy detonation is definitely destructive, and the
Pelican offers some concrete data on how to avoid it.
#41: Baby on the Runway! - (Articles - Apr 2 2001)
Coming from the mouth of your CFI, those words (or a close variant) let you
know that the instructor wants you to execute a go-around. According to AVweb's
John Deakin, this is a maneuver that is often botched by airline captains and
light plane pilots alike not because it's difficult, but because we don't
practice it enough and are sometimes not mentally ready for it. Deak offers a
thoughtful approach to go-arounds and missed approaches that works in anything
from a J-3 to a 747.
#40: Psssst! Wanna Trojan? - (Articles - Mar 4 2001)
We're talking of course, about the North American T-28 "Trojan."
(Why, what were you thinking?) You'll recall that last month, John Deakin
described his checkout in the Grumman F8F "Bearcat." This time,
AVweb's resident warbird maven invites you along as he qualifies for his FAA
Letter of Authorization in the T-28. Although the Trojan has only about half the
horsepower of the Bearcat, it's a considerably more complex airplane. Why, even
learning to operate the (hydraulically-actuated) canopy requires a groundschool
session. Deak takes you through the highlights of his 14 ground and ten flight
sessions with T-28 owner Mark Matye.
#39: Bearcat! - (Articles - Feb 11 2001)
Regular readers know that AVweb's John Deakin is active in the warbird
community a master at flying big radial-engine transports like the Lockheed
Constellation and C-46 Commando. Recently, however, John had the opportunity to
fly a very different breed of warbird: the Grumman F8F Bearcat. Deak explains
that when you take an 8,000-pound airframe and add a 2,200-hp radial engine,
what you get is an elevated pulse rate.
#38: AIRSHO 2000 The Agony and the Ecstasy - (Articles - Jan 13 2001)
What's it like to fly a 25-ton WWII-era round-engined twin to, from and in
the Confederate Air Force's big annual warbird airshow? It's a tough job, but
somebody's got to do it. AVweb's John Deakin was elected to shepherd one of
CAF's two flying C-46 "Commando" transports to the Midland show this
year. Unseasonable weather and mechanical problems made the task both
challenging and memorable, as John details in his latest column.
#37: Angry Pilots Are Bad News - (Articles - Dec 11 2000)
Ever gotten steamed at ATC for delaying you, or angry at another pilot who
cut you off in the pattern, or hosed at an FBO who forgot to fuel your airplane
when you needed to make a quick turn? AVweb's John Deakin points out that you
can't be "pilot in command" of an aircraft unless you can first
control your own emotions, and that overtly angry behavior usually makes you
come off looking like a jerk. Deak offers some thoughts on how to stay cool and
#36: Those Fire-Breathing Turbos (Part 6 and FINAL!) - (Articles - Nov 12
AVweb's John Deakin concludes his six-part powerplant management series with
a discussion of the procedures he uses during descent, approach (including
missed-approach), landing, and shutdown. In the process, he debunks some Old
Wives' Tales about "shock cooling" and turbocharger cooldowns.
#35: Those Fire-Breathing Turbos (Part 5) - (Articles - Oct 16 2000)
In his fifth column of this series, AVweb's John Deakin continues his
detailed discussion of powerplant management technique. This installment is
totally devoted to the all-important cruise phase of flight, and includes both
theory and hard numbers from the JPI data-logging engine monitor in John's
turbonormalized IO-550-powered V-35A Bonanza. (Descents, approaches, landings,
and shutdowns next month.)
#34: Those Fire-Breathing Turbos (Part 4) - (Articles - Sep 18 2000)
In his fourth column of this series, AVweb's John Deakin invites you along in
the right seat of his turbonormalized IO-550-powered V35B Bonanza, explaining
each step of his powerplant-management technique from engine start to taxi,
runup, takeoff and climb. (The Pelican promises to cover cruise, descent,
landing and shutdown next time.) To help illustrate why he does what he does,
John presents detailed CHT and EGT data on some actual flights, taken from the
Bonanza's JPI data-logging digital engine monitor, and explains exactly what
each squiggle on the graph means.
#33: Those Fire-Breathing Turbos (Part 3) - (Articles - Aug 28 2000)
In his third column about turbocharged piston engines, AVweb's John Deakin
delves into some of the little-understood subtleties of managing these
powerplants. Among other things, the Pelican explains how changing the MP and
RPM affects mixture, how changing mixture affects horsepower and combustion
timing, and why proper combustion timing is so darn important to the health and
efficiency of your engine.
#32: Those Fire-Breathing Turbos (Part 2) - (Articles - Jul 16 2000)
In this second in a series of columns on turbocharged piston engines, AVweb's
John Deakin offers a detailed walk-through of a typical turbo system from
intercooler to wastegate and everything in between. He then explains how the
various system components function during each phase of flight from engine start
through runup, takeoff, climb, cruise, and shutdown.
#31: Those Fire-Breathing Turbos (Part 1) - (Articles - Jul 18 2000)
By popular demand, AVweb's John Deakin kicks off a series of columns about
the care and feeding of turbocharged piston aircraft engines. This month's
article reviews the convoluted history of pumped-up engines from the earliest
gear-driven supercharged radials to the latest turbocharged flat engines found
in today's GA fleet.
#30: The 45-Degree Zealots - (Articles - May 19 2000)
There's not a syllable in the FARs about 45-degree traffic pattern entries.
Nor does the AIM require them. There exists, however, a small-but-vocal cadre of
pilots and even some FAA inspectors who consider any other type of
pattern entry (straight-in, crosswind, etc.) to be a felony. These "traffic
pattern nazis" are sometimes heard chewing out fellow pilots on CTAF for
their heinous transgressions. Rubbish, says AVweb's John Deakin, who explains
that sometimes the 45-degree entry is best and sometimes it isn't. Deakin
explains his approach to flying traffic patterns at non-towered airports, which
involves hard-to-legislate concepts like common sense and courtesy.
#29: They're Messing with Part 61 Again! - (Articles - Apr 25 2000)
Not quite three years ago, the FAA implemented a massive rewrite of the FARs
that govern certification of pilots and instructors. The result was a great deal
of confusion, a bunch of band-aid fixes, and issuance of an interpretive FAQ
that has now grown to three times the size of Part 61 itself! Well, at least the
dust is now settling, right? "Wrong," says AVweb's John Deakin, who
recently learned that those hard-working folks at 800 Indy are now putting the
finishing touches on yet another NPRM that would make a whole new round of
changes to these regs. Deakin details the proposed tweaks, and lets us know
precisely what he thinks of them.
#28: Sometimes There's Bad Air Out There - (Articles - Mar 28 2000)
Crop dusters call it "bad air." The weather guessers call it
"wind shear." But whatever you call it, abrupt changes in wind
velocity and/or direction have been responsible for a bunch of jet transport
crashes, and a bunch more non-crashes that must have caused the cockpit crew to
take up another line of work. AVweb's John Deakin relates some personal wind
shear experiences, dissects some wind shear-related jet crashes, and sheds light
on the phenomenon by going back to basics.
#27: AS261, the Media, and Pitch Control - (Articles - Mar 8 2000)
The recent crash of Alaska Flight 261 near Los Angeles triggered a torrent of
TV and newspaper reports that displayed profound ignorance of pitch control
systems not only among reporters (where it might be expected) but also in
the pilot community. After taking a few potshots at the media, AVweb's John
Deakin describes the three basic types of pitch control systems plus a bunch of
variations, and talks about what can go wrong and how pilots should react.
#26: No Pisco Sours for Me, Thanks! - (Articles - Jan 31 2000)
There are two kinds of pilots: those who sheepishly admit to having done some
incredibly dumb thing while flying, and those who are liars. AVweb's John
Deakin, who is decidedly in the first category, recounts the closest he ever
came to killing himself in an airplane (during a ferry flight in Peru nearly 40
years ago), and examines some of the lessons he learned the hard way from that
#25: How I Learned to Love CANPA - (Articles - Jan 2 2000)
John Deakin's prior column criticizing the use of VNAV during non-precision
approaches provoked a torrent of dissenting reader responses, much of it from
Airbus pilots and other glass-cockpit operators. Never one to take this sort of
thing lying down, AVweb's resident iconoclast fires back at these pinball
wizards and flying videogame players, then discusses the best way for real
pilots to fly various kinds of approaches (LOC, straight-in VOR/NDB, offset
VOR/NDB) in various kinds of airplanes (glass cockpit, steam gauge, flib).
#24: Sloppy, Sorry VNAV - (Articles - Dec 10 1999)
Flying a non-precision approach has traditionally been a "Dive and
Drive" affair in which the pilot descends rapidly to the MDA or step-down
altitude and then levels off. Recently, however, pilots of aircraft equipped
with glass cockpit FMS systems or VNAV-capable GPS receivers have been
encouraged to fly such approaches using a constant descent path. There's even a
buzzword for this: CANPA (constant-angle non-precision approach), and these
calculated pseudo-glideslopes are now starting to show up on Jeppesen approach
plates. AVweb's John Deakin thinks this is a bad idea, one that will result in a
lot more missed approaches and perhaps even some accidents. Deakin explains why,
and makes a compelling case for flying non-precision approaches the traditional,
old-fashioned way that God and Cap'n Jepp intended.
#23: Age Sixty And That Moron Quesada - (Articles - Nov 8 1999)
AVweb's John Deakin takes a whimsical look at his recent compulsory
retirement after 25 years in the left seat of a Boeing 747. But, his whimsy
turns to anger as he looks at the origin of the unfair, arbitrary, and illogical
rule that has clipped the wings of thousands of fine young 60-year-old airline
pilots at the peak of their game. Deakin has reserved a special place in hell
for the first FAA Administrator who enacted the mandatory retirement age, and
offers a couple of suggestions that might help get rid of this insane rule. If
you're a Deakin fan (and who isn't?), this is one of his best.
#22: Short- and Soft-Field Takeoffs FAA vs. Reality - (Articles - Oct 10
What's the best technique for taking off from a short or soft field?
According to John Deakin, there's the FAA way (as documented in the POH and the
FAA's Flight Training Handbook), and then there's the right way. The problem
with the FAA way, says Deakin, is that it's predicated on certification
requirements which are totally unrealistic. As usual, AVweb's resident pelican
shreds the conventional wisdom, then explains how it's really done.
#21: Connie, My Connie - (Articles - Sep 12 1999)
In aviation, as in life, the grass is always greener on the other side of the
fence. Want proof? While most pilots would gladly give up a major body part for
a single flight in the left seat of a Boeing 747, AVweb's John Deakin for
whom flying the "seven four" is (yawn) just another day at the office
has always lusted in his heart for the chance to fly the king of recips and
prince of props: the Lockheed Constellation. Recently, Deak had the chance to do
precisely that as PIC, no less and devotes his entire column to bragging
shamelessly about it.
#20: Ground All Bonanzas? - (Articles - Aug 15 1999)
[The raging controversy over the T-34 structural issues and the FAA's heavy-handed approach induced John Deakin to update this 1999 column in May 2005.] The crash of a Beech T-34A in simulated air combat at Sky Warriors near
Atlanta triggered an investigation involving the NTSB, the FAA, and Raytheon
Aircraft Company. AVweb's resident pelican, John Deakin who is current in
T-34s himself has been looking closely at this investigation, and believes
that it is taking a wrong and dangerous direction that could wind up putting a
lot of perfectly good airplanes on the ground ... not just T-34s, but also
Aerobatic Bonanzas, early-model Bonanzas that use the same wing spar design as
the T-34, and might ultimately have implications for all Bonanzas and perhaps
even other models as well. John explains why he thinks the NTSB may be on the
wrong track in looking for a probable cause, and why other participants in the
investigation may have ulterior motives.
#19: Putting It All Together - (Articles - Jun 30 1999)
In recent columns, John Deakin has explained all you need to know and
more than some of you wanted to know about the three engine controls:
throttle (MP), prop (RPM), and mixture. Now, AVweb's resident pelican puts all
that theory into practical perspective by taking you through each phase of a
flight start, taxi, runup, takeoff, climb, cruise, descent and landing
and offering specific tips for getting the most from your piston powerplant.
#18: Mixture Magic - (Articles - Jun 14 1999)
If you fly recips, what leaning procedure do you use? Chances are that almost
everything your CFI told you about using the red knob and most of what
you've read and heard since then is just plain hogwash! We suggest you
forget everything you thought you knew about the subject, and let AVweb's John
Deakin show you how to optimize engine efficiency and longevity through
enlightened mixture management.
#17: Strange Critters Pilots, Captains, and Chief Pilots - (Articles - May 17
AVweb columnist John Deakin whose commits his day job in the left front
seat of a Boeing 747 offers a riotous insider's look at the professional
pilot pecking order, and explains why he'd much rather be called
"John" than "Captain." If you enjoy Deakin's brand of wry,
this one is sure to have you ROFL.
#16: Those Marvelous Props - (Articles - Apr 19 1999)
In this month's column AVweb's John Deakin moves from the black knobs (MP) to
the blue ones (RPM). He starts with a history lesson about how we got from
windmills to fixed-pitch propellers, adjustable and controllable ones, and
ultimately to constant-speed props. John then explains how they work, why they
work the way they do, and how you can tell if they're working the way they're
supposed to. He even answers that age-old conundrum: how many times should you
cycle the prop at runup?
#15: Manifold Pressure Sucks! - (Articles - Mar 21 1999)
If you fly behind a piston engine with a controllable-pitch propeller, the
manifold pressure gauge plays an important part in the power settings you use.
Few pilots, however, have any real understanding of what the instrument actually
measures or what its readings truly signify. Pelican to the rescue! Read this
column by AVweb's John Deakin and you'll be able to teach your CFI and A&P a
thing or three about MP.
#14: Pigs Flew at Air America! - (Articles - Feb 21 1999)
For over 30 years, AVweb's John Deakin has been flying big iron for Japan
Airlines. But in a previous lifetime (mid-60s), John flew for Air America in
Southeast Asia. (Yes, THAT Air America.) As you might imagine, he's got a
zillion fabulous and funny flying stories from those days. This true tale of
livestock running amok aboard a C-46 is one of John's most entertaining.
Besides, aren't you just dying to see what Deakin looked like in 1965?
#13: Getting High on Welder's Oxygen - (Articles - Jan 24 1999)
Having problems finding Aviator's Breathing Oxygen to refill your bottle?
Upset about the rip-off prices some FBOs charge for an O2 fill? Don't put up
with it, says AVweb's John Deakin, who explains why it's perfectly safe and
perfectly legal to use cheap welder's oxygen, and tells you exactly what you
need to know to buy it in bulk and do your own refills.
#12: Warbird Crews Wanted! - (Articles - Dec 27 1998)
The last time you were at an airshow, did you wonder what it takes to keep
all those warbirds up and running? Ever wanted to get "up close and
personal" with the people and the machines themselves? So have we. In
response, AVweb's John Deakin takes readers on a mini-tour of what a
"warbird" is, discusses some of the considerations in getting involved
with a warbird group and even offers some suggestions on whom to contact to
learn more. Be sure to bring your ear plugs and your wallet!
#11: Using a Handheld GPS IFR! - (Articles - Nov 29 1998)
Never one to let a good idea, or safer method of flying, wither away for lack
of action or misunderstanding, AVweb's John Deakin takes on the subject of
flying IFR with your GPS handheld. "Not legal," you say? "Not
so," says John. Flying IFR with your handheld GPS is not only legal, it's a
godsend he says, and explains just how to get the most out of that handful of
#10: A Pox on Stabilized Approaches! - (Articles - Oct 31 1998)
But isn't a stabilized approach a "good thing"? AVweb's John Deakin
points out that a necessity in the jet transport world is a detriment to those
of us flying piston-engined props. Even the FAA distinguishes between the two,
though many CFIs and others are too busy trying to imitate the big boys to
realize the danger they place themselves in by doing so. A stabilized approach
in our GA aircraft is a far different animal than that flown by an airline
captain in his jet and you'd best recognize the difference before it bites.
#9: The Type Rating Checkride - (Articles - Oct 4 1998)
Anyone who likes checkrides has to be nuts, says AVweb's John Deakin. We
don't expect to find many who disagree. As an FAA Designated Examiner who must
also take checkrides himself, John gives pointers from both sides of the
cockpit. Join John as he wends his way through one of his C-46 checkrides,
explaining the ins and outs, and offering some relatively unknown, but important
information that could make your next checkride a lot easier.
Pelican's Perch #8: Go
Ahead, Abuse Your Engine! - (Articles - Sep 11 1998)
AVweb's John Deakin is asking you to abuse your engine, or so it might seem
to many until he sweeps a whole slew of old wives' tales (OWTs) off the cliff.
Using digital technology for data collection and simple graphs, John supports
his unorthodox engine operating suggestions with data that proves the old ways
may actually be worse for your engine. Wrong may well be right! If you've been
taught that you must always reduce MP before reducing RPM, you're going to be
forced to rethink that notion. If you think you're helping your engine live
longer by reducing MP to 25 inches after takeoff, boy are you going to be amazed
at how badly you've been abusing your engine. And, that's only for starters.
#7: Run That Fuel Tank Dry! - (Articles - Aug 9 1998)
AVweb's John Deakin takes aim at yet another OWT (Old Wive's Tale). While
running a fuel tank dry in your recip powered plane may serve to increase your
heart rate, John explains why it's not such a bad thing at all, and it is
probably a really good idea for most of us. In fact, John explains why it's one
of the first things you ought to do with a new plane and how it could save your
#6: There's a Good Side to the FAA! - (Articles - Jul 12 1998)
AVweb Columnist John Deakin writes his most shocking column yet. He's saying
good things about the FAA! Well, not the whole FAA, but still, it's quite a
shock to hear anyone, let alone John, compliment even a small part of the FAA.
Even he admits it does "feel very strange." What's he saying that's so
nice? Well, it has to do with flying some warbirds, but for the rest of the
story you'll have to read John's column. Just make sure you're sitting down
#5: Don't Time That ILS Approach! - (Articles - Jun 14 1998)
Don't you just love it when a FSDO starts making up its own rules, contrary
to the FARs? AVweb columnist John Deakin doesn't much like it at all and calls
the FAA down to the chief pilot's office for a rug dance. Seems there's a FSDO
out there busting IFR checkrides for not timing a full ILS. However, there's
nothing in the PTS that says you should, and AVweb's resident Pelican doesn't
think much of the idea in any case.
#4: Engine Failure! - (Articles - May 18 1998)
It ain't easy being contrary, but AVweb's John Deakin makes the effort
worthwhile. Engine failure in a piston twin is no time to be messing with
complicated procedures that some seem to favor. John lays out his
straightforward ideas on how to react to this critical emergency and
explains why in detail. There's more to it than just "identify, verify,
feather" or "dead foot, dead engine." Once again, the real world
requirements that could save your life may not be well served by some of
"the old ways."
#4: Engine Failure! Linked References - (Articles - May 18 1998)
This article is a companion to "Pelican's Perch #4: Engine
Failure!" by John Deakin. It contains additional notes, references, and
#3: What Really Counts - (Articles - Apr 24 1998)
John Deakin tears apart his own impressive flying bio (32,000 hours, 747
captain, designated pilot examiner, yadda yadda yadda) to make the point that
tens of thousands of hours, gray hair, advanced ratings and the rest don't
necessarily mean a pilot is worth listening to. He encourages pilots to think
about the advice they are given is it sage advice that could save you from a
lot of trouble some day, or just a bunch of nonsense from the local ABM (airport
big mouth)? Along the way, Deakin skewers a few OWTs (old wives' tales)
flying myths that just never seem to die.
#2: Checklists Redux - (Articles - Apr 4 1998)
John Deakin's first "Pelican's Perch" column, "Throw Away That
Stupid Checklist," generated considerable controversy. (There's nothing
wrong with that, it's why we asked John to write: to make us all think about
what we are doing.) Unfortunately, a good deal of that controversy appears to
stem from misunderstandings about what he wrote, generating more heat than light
on the subject. Others apparently agree with John's points, but for some reason
think he shouldn't say what he said. In this column, John clarifies some of the
points that appear to have been misunderstood by some readers and he then goes
on to expand upon the subject of checklist use.
#1: Throw Away That Stupid Checklist! - (Articles - Mar 3 1998)
Say again? You heard correct, just toss it. "Heresy!" some will
cry, but AVweb columnist John Deakin who's not only a 32,000-hour 747
captain, but also a Bonanza owner and FAA-designated pilot examiner explains
why written checklists are neither necessary or appropriate to single-pilot
operations. Deakin offers a viable alternative that could save your life.