Pelican's Perch #62:
The Air America Years (Part I)
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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! More

Pelican's Perch #61:
Test Pilot School
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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. More

Pelican's Perch #60:
V-Tail at Flight Level 270
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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 250F lean-of-peak. Deakin was headed for Ada, Oklahoma ... and he almost made it! More

Pelican's Perch #59:
Fried Valves
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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. More

Pelican's Perch #57:
The Whyalla Report — Junk Science?
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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. More

Pelican's Perch #58:
FLYING's Report on Whyalla
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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. More

Pelican's Perch #56:
Superfortress!
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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. More

Pelican's Perch #55:
Lead in the Hogwash
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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 actually works. More