"The Pilot's Lounge" Index

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In AVweb's virtual airport, Rick Durden hosts The Pilot's Lounge. Read any of his popular columns here -- we've provided links and brief descriptions to help you get started.

The Pilot's Lounge



The Pilot's Lounge #103: The FAA As Customer -- Good Business? - (Aug. 13, 2006)
Somebody has to rent planes to FAA personnel so they can maintain currency. And with the government backing them up, you shouldn't have to worry about collecting the fees, right? AVweb's Rick Durden has a cautionary tale from the Pilot's Lounge this month.


The Pilot's Lounge #102: The Last 10 Feet - (Jul. 16, 2006)
The dreaded 709 ride -- it's just the FAA "here to help you," but your ticket could be on the line. AVweb's Rick Durden helped one pilot brush up on his skills and remind himself the best way to land.


The Pilot's Lounge #101: Balloonatics - (Jun. 18, 2006)
A quiet evening with little wind may be good for students to practice landings, but it's even better for those who like a flight in a balloon. AVweb's Rick Durden went along for a slow, relaxing, wind-directed flight.


The Pilot's Lounge #100: Truth -- And Some Opinion - (May 21, 2006)
AVweb's Rick Durden has been writing "The Pilot's Lounge" column for eight years, and every one has tidbits of wisdom, advice, or just plane [sic] rumor. For his 100th column, Rick has assembled a bunch in one place.


The Pilot's Lounge #99: Turn Back? You Bet! - (Apr. 23, 2006)
Press on. Finish what you started. You're better than the rest. What do the voices in your head tell you when you're considering turning around in the middle of the flight? AVweb's Rick Durden had to fight those voices during a winter VFR flight, as he tells in this month's The Pilot's Lounge column.


The Pilot's Lounge #98: Quit Flying? Are You Nuts? - (Mar. 26, 2006)
"I'm just fine ... I don't need some doctor or FAA bureaucrat to tell me I can't fly any more." Sound like anyone you know? Sound like you? Yours may be the next NTSB accident report Rick Durden talks about in The Pilot's Lounge.


The Pilot's Lounge #97: Precautionary Landings - (Feb. 19, 2006)
You probably only flew an approach to an off-airport field as part of your "power-failure" training -- and you probably didn't actually land on that crop field (balloons and gliders excepted, of course). But if that's the only thing that will save your life when you get caught scud-running, shouldn't you practice?


The Pilot's Lounge #96: Bureaucrats Or Radium Dials -- Which Poses A Greater Danger? - (Jan. 22, 2006)
This is a tale of the big bully versus the little guy. It's a true tale. And the little guy is losing really badly. What's more, the big bully may come after your aiplane or your museum next. AVweb's Rick Durden has the story in The Pilot's Lounge.


The Pilot's Lounge #95: Amazing! There Are TFRs That Make Sense - (Dec. 25, 2005)
Turns out there is a procedure in place to allow general aviation aircraft to provide relief in disaster areas, and the folks who created and manage the procedure know what they are doing. AVweb's Rick Durden is already helping plan for the next disasters with this month's column from The Pilot's Lounge.


The Pilot's Lounge #94: It's The Medium, Manfred - (Nov. 27, 2005)
There's a new aviation myth running around the Internet. It involves a conveyer-belt runway and misuse of aerodynamics and ... well, it's better if AVweb's Rick Durden explains it all himself in The Pilot's Lounge.


The Pilot's Lounge #93: Pilgrimages - (Oct. 30, 2005)
Sometimes we need to refresh our interest in aviation. Sometimes we need reminders of why we love to fly. Sometimes, as AVweb's Rick Durden discovers, we can find ways -- maybe in flight, maybe not -- to recharge our flying soul.


The Pilot's Lounge #92: Hey, FEMA! GA Is An Asset ... Use Us - (Oct. 2, 2005)
So many pilots want to help in the hurricane relief -- but the national agency charged with coordinating relief doesn't seem to realize the power of volunteer pilots. AVweb's Rick Durden has some tough words for political appointees and some suggestions for frontline organizers.


The Pilot's Lounge #91: To Fly; Perchance To Starve - (Sep. 4, 2005)
In the minds of many of the "great unwashed," general aviation is the realm of the very rich. After looking into the cost of getting a Private Pilot certificate, some potential student pilots might tend to agree. AVweb's Rick Durden tries to bring those costs down in this month's column.


The Pilot's Lounge #90: State Aeronautics Commissions -- Fiddling While Airports Disappear? - (Aug. 7, 2005)
It'd be nice if the people in charge of airports at the state level helped fight airport closures, given the importance of airports to a state's economy. But AVweb's Rick Durden just hasn't seen it happen and, in fact, has seen such commissions act in ways that will cause even more closures.


The Pilot's Lounge #89: How We Scare Our Passengers Without Realizing It - (Jul. 10, 2005)
Sometimes it's obvious why our friends and relations enjoy -- or don't enjoy -- flying with us. But sometimes the reason they quit going is more subtle, and we may need to remember those things we felt back when we first learned how to fly. AVweb's Rick Durden reminds us to put ourselves in our passengers seats.


The Pilot's Lounge #88: The Air Care Alliance -- Helping Those Who Fly to Help Others - (Jun. 12, 2005)
Whether they go on flights for documenting environmental degradation or for transporting kids for medical treatment, hundreds of pilots in dozens of organizations work tirelessly to provide special aviation duties. AVweb's Rick Durden tells about the central source of information on all public-benefit flying in this month's The Pilot's Lounge column.


The Pilot's Lounge #87: Etiquette Isn't Just Raising Our Pinkies - (May 11, 2005)
Just because you can take a 3g turn and handle turbulence with hardly a butterfly doesn't mean you should make your passengers deal with all that. And we all know not to fly low over noise-sensitive areas. AVweb's Rick Durden points out a few more items to make flying more enjoyable for you, your passengers, and those anti-airport folks on the ground.


The Pilot's Lounge #86: Oh %$#@! -- I Think I Just Busted A Reg. - (Apr. 17, 2005)
Oops, now you've done it. You didn't mean to but you got distracted and then ... So now what? AVweb's Rick Durden, a practicing aviation attorney, has lots of suggestions for how to work with the FAA and, hopefully, make it much less of an issue.


The Pilot's Lounge #85: Some Blunt Talk About Aviation Insurance (or, What You Don't Know About Sublimits Can Hurt You) - (Mar. 20, 2005)
Insurance -- and talking about insurance -- can be one of the most tedious things to deal with when the sky is blue and beckoning for winged aviators. Yet even pilots who think they've got it covered can be rudely awakened after an accident, as AVweb's Rick Durden explains in this month's column.


The Pilot's Lounge #84: Arrogance, Etiquette And Big Fat Traffic Patterns - (Feb. 20, 2005)
"Are you going to land here or keep going on downwind into the next county?" It's painful to be in the pattern behind a pilot who thinks a stabilized final approach in a Cessna means a two-mile final. But just what are the rules and safe practices regarding the size of a traffic pattern? AVweb's Rick Durden looks into it this month in The Pilot's Lounge.


The Pilot's Lounge #83: Which Emergencies Should We Practice? - (Jan. 23, 2005)
The general-aviation accident record shows that we've been crashing (and sometimes dying) for the same reasons for many years now. But our training and checkrides don't seem to reflect those issues. AVweb's Rick Durden suggests ways to make sure we practice the most common emergencies, in this month's Pilot's Lounge column.


The Pilot's Lounge #82: Integrity, Responsibility And The Lack Thereof - (Dec. 26, 2004)
In a time of increasing challenges to general aviation, it is more vital than ever that pilots and lovers of flight stick together when threatened with yet one more airport closure or restriction. AVweb's Rick Durden recently dealt with pilots who didn't even support saving the very airport where they live.


The Pilot's Lounge #81: Emergencies -- What You Don't Practice Can Kill - (Nov. 28, 2004)
Seems like all we do in our training (and flight reviews) is practice for emergencies. Then why do pilots keep screwing up when a real emergency pops up? AVweb's Rick Durden wonders if we're really practicing the right kind of emergencies -- and whether we need to try some more realistic simulations -- this month in The Pilot's Lounge.


The Pilot's Lounge #80: The ILS -- That Last 400 Feet - (Oct. 31, 2004)
How fast should you fly an ILS? When should you switch from the "stabilized" approach and configure for landing? Instrument pilots may think they learned the answers back in IFR training, but AVweb's Rick Durden thinks you probably should change your procedures before you fly that ILS right into the dirt.


The Pilot's Lounge #79: Reno, Baby -- Go Fast, Fly Low, Turn Left - (Oct. 3, 2004)
AVweb's Rick Durden and his mates left the confines of The Pilot's Lounge to breathe the fire (and dust) and feel the thunder of the air races in Reno last month. Even the slowest planes makes drag racers look tame.


The Pilot's Lounge #78: In Praise Of Flight Breakfasts - (Sep. 5, 2004)
A day of perfect weather, perfect company, and perfect flying. AVweb's Rick Durden celebrates such a day he recently enjoyed, reminding us why we spend such efforts on this passion called aviation.


The Pilot's Lounge #77: FBO Professionalism; An Oxymoron? - (Aug. 8, 2004)
Who was it said you can't get good help anymore? With unemployment higher than usual, you'd think FBOs would be able to hire (and train and hold on to) professional, customer-service-oriented staff. AVweb's Rick Durden thinks any FBO that doesn't strive for professionalism will soon go out of business. Oh, wait a minute ...


The Pilot's Lounge #76: And Now For Something ... - (Jul. 11, 2004)
Got a lust for adventure? Tired of the status quo? Finished boring holes in the sky or getting $100 (let's be honest -- $200) hamburgers? AVweb's Rick Durden hasn't seriously thought about skydiving for many years, but recently he decided to take the plunge, and it has awakened his soul.


The Pilot's Lounge #75: Preflight? Who Cares? - (Jun. 13, 2004)
Recent AVweb columns have brought the question to the fore: Should a pilot perform a detailed pre-flight inspection, or is there such a thing as too much information? AVweb's Rick Durden has a thorough conversation about it this month in The Pilot's Lounge.


The Pilot's Lounge #74: Getting The Rust Off Without Declaring Bankruptcy - (May 16, 2004)
If it has a been a winter without much flying, you're probably itching to jump into the plane. But if you want to do it safely, you'd better do some work to get back in the game. AVweb's Rick Durden has found ways to keep the cost of refresher training down, and put fun back in your practice.


The Pilot's Lounge #73: A Test Pilot's Story - (Apr. 18, 2004)
As the WWII generation ages, we begin to lose details from the days when flying turned from novelty to a true industry. Among many recent books of dubious value, a gem is found in a self-published memoir by Al White, one of the most self-effacing test pilots of his time. Rick Durden reviews it from the Pilot's Lounge.


The Pilot's Lounge #72: PAMA -- A Maintenance Organization For Fixers And Flyers - (Mar. 21, 2004)
If Rick Durden's column last month got you nervous about finding a good mechanic, one solution is to look for the professional organization of those mechanics. PAMA supports, advocates, educates, and promotes our unsung heroes of aviation -- the Aviation Maintenance Technicians.


The Pilot's Lounge #71: "Fresh Annual" And Other Hooks For Suckers - (Feb. 22, 2004)
The combination of a challenging national economy and fast-paced (but not face-to-face) internet communication is causing more planes to be sold in very poor mechanical condition with questionable -- if not illegal -- documentation. AVweb's Rick Durden updates the old buyer-beware maxim in The Pilot's Lounge.


The Pilot's Lounge #70: Do Humans Create Those Written Tests? - (Jan. 25, 2004)
Every pilot has taken them -- and most have noticed strange or at least confusing questions on those FAA Knowledge Tests. Sometimes it seems like nobody official has even looked at those questions in decades to decide if the questions are relevant. AVweb's Rick Durden met the folks who actually are updating those old tests.


The Pilot's Lounge #69: In 2004, We Resolve - (Dec. 28, 2003)
2003 was, in some ways, a great year for aviation; and in other ways, it was pretty sad. But we're already thinking about 2004. AVweb's Rick Durden has assembled his quick list of things his fellow pilots in The Pilot's Lounge have resolved to accomplish in the next year.


The Pilot's Lounge #68:
Of Good, Evil And Little Airplanes
- (Articles - Nov 30 2003)

We don't often speak of evil in regards to anything that happens in aviation. But after dealing with people who seem to be intentionally malicious, it takes a strong dose of medicine -- hanging out with joyous pilots -- to get back in balance. AVweb's Rick Durden spent time with both kinds of people this month.

The Pilot's Lounge #67:
A Museum Rescues Its Aviation Collection
- (Articles - Nov 2 2003)

Celebrations of the 100th Anniversary of flight have some interesting side effects -- many aviation museums are sprucing up their old collections and making things more attractive, interactive, and interesting. AVweb's Rick Durden went back to visit the Henry Ford Museum and found an old/new friend.

The Pilot's Lounge #66:
What Is That Thing Inside The Cowling?
- (Articles - Oct 5 2003)

When you learned how to preflight an aircraft, you probably learned to check certain items for wear or breakage, but were you ever shown examples of what things looked like when they were worn too much? Or do you just guess? AVweb's Rick Durden found a class for pilots to learn enough so they don't have to guess.

The Pilot's Lounge #65:
One, Two, Three, Heave
- (Articles - Sep 7 2003)

Tired of touch-and-goes in the pattern and begging friends to go for a $100 hamburger? Need a challenge to re-energize your flying? Even private pilots can tow gliders, although a commercial certificate will let you do it for money. AVweb's Rick Durden lays out what it takes to help those engine-less soaring birds.

The Pilot's Lounge #64:
It's OK
- (Articles - Aug 10 2003)

New pilots (and old hands, for that matter) sometimes need permission to do what their gut tells them, rather than trusting old wives' tales told during hangar flying sessions. Other times, the gut instinct needs to be honed with a few well-placed stories. AVweb's Rick Durden has some of both.

The Pilot's Lounge #63:
It Takes A Village To Raise An Airport
- (Articles - July 13 2003)

AVweb's Rick Durden has gotten used to stories about airports losing money, support, and pilots. So when he heard about a place where the airport was increasing the support from the citizens, he had to find out more.

The Pilot's Lounge #62:
Project D.A.R.W.I.N.
- (Articles - Jun 15 2003)

AVweb's Rick Durden has a quick way to drop the accident rate in General Aviation to zero: Get all the incompetent, nincompoop pilots -- who are just going to have accidents eventually -- to follow those disproven old wive's tales and get their accidents over in one year. Every year after that -- no accidents.

The Pilot's Lounge #61:
So You Want To Go Into Professional Aviation
- (Articles - May 18 2003)

AVweb's Rick Durden recently taught a class in aviation law, and with the help of many in the Pilot's Lounge, presented the students with ideas on how to succeed, keep your sanity, and maintain your principles in the wilds of the aviation industry.

The Pilot's Lounge #60:
Daley, Meigs And The Tyranny Of Small Minds
- (Articles - Apr 20 2003)

Like others in The Pilot's Lounge, AVweb's Rick Durden was stunned by the violent, dictatorial act that took place on the western shore of Lake Michigan. This month, Rick bemoans the triumph of fear and manipulation, and presents a call to action.

The Pilot's Lounge #59:
"Any Traffic Please Advise" and Other UNICOM Moronisms
- (Articles - Mar 23 2003)

Spring is coming, and that means more congestion at small airports and on the Unicom frequencies. Things would be a lot less hectic (and a lot more safe) if pilots would listen and think before transmitting, and AVweb's Rick Durden has some suggestions for both.

The Pilot's Lounge #58:
An Aviation-Themed Hotel in the Heartland
- (Articles - Feb 23 2003)

There aren't a lot of places right next to an airport where those family members who are not obsessed with airplanes can have fun too. AVweb's Rick Durden took a trip away from The Pilot's Lounge and found a nice hotel with all the necessary family amenities, plus an aviation theme to boot.

The Pilot's Lounge #57:
Greg Gorak, The Teacher's Teacher
- (Articles - Jan 26 2003)

There are flight instructors, and then there are those who LOVE to teach instructors. And those who love something are usually pretty good at it. When it's time for AVweb's Rick Durden to renew his CFI certificate, he knows right where to go for the best refresher.

The Pilot's Lounge #56:
I Ain't Declaring No Steenkin' Emergency
- (Articles - Dec 29 2002)

Too many pilots are reluctant to declare an emergency, sometimes waiting until it is too late for help to be given. AVweb's Rick Durden knows that lots of resources and options open up to a pilot who does call "Mayday," and there are almost never negative repurcussions when they do, other than stick-in-the-mud second-guessers on the ground.

The Pilot's Lounge #55:
Hiperlight Has All the Good Stuff
- (Articles - Dec 2 2002)

In the ongoing quest to find fun, inexpensive airplanes, AVweb's Rick Durden happened upon an airplane that has his favorite combination of attributes: tailwheel, biplane and inexpensive. And with the advent of Sport Pilot regulations, this bird may become even more popular.

The Pilot's Lounge #54:
Tailwheels, Part III Full Stall or Wheel Landing?
- (Articles - Nov 2 2002)

Those of you following the series on tailwheel airplanes by AVweb's Rick's Durden have been waiting for it at last, he's done it. Rick put on his crash helmet (not to fly but to protect himself from flying objects) and entered The Pilot's Lounge to get opinions about tailwheel landings.

The Pilot's Lounge #53:
To Sell a Friend
- (Articles - Oct 6 2002)

It is a traumatic event to lose a member of the family; and for some pilots, an airplane is a member of the family. AVweb's Rick Durden is mourning in The Pilot's Lounge, trying to convince himself "it's only an airplane," and failing miserably.

The Pilot's Lounge #52:
Tailwheels, Part II The Checkout
- (Articles - Sep 12 2002)

In a previous column, AVweb's Rick Durden asked the question, "Why Not Fly Tailwheel?" If you've run out of reasons to avoid tailwheels and are ready for the challenge, Rick is in the Pilot's Lounge with some suggestions for the training you'll need. It isn't as simple as some other aircraft checkouts.

The Pilot's Lounge #51:
Getting Your Airplane Fixed Right
- (Articles - Aug 11 2002)

Pilots always seem to have it in for mechanics. Maybe it's a leftover from dealing with difficult car mechanics, but when a professional A&P is involved, you should work with your mechanic and not against him. As AVweb's Rick Durden discusses in The Pilot's Lounge this month, it will save you more than money.

The Pilot's Lounge #50:
Roll Your Own Flight Review
- (Articles - Jul 16 2002)

Time for your biennial flight review? The FAA isn't terribly specific about what you and your CFI should do during a BFR, so why not make it really worthwhile? AVweb's Rick Durden is back in The Pilot's Lounge, discussing why we need to do flight reviews more often and more personalized.

The Pilot's Lounge #49:
How Many Are Going to Die, Mr. President?
- (Articles - Jun 15 2002)

The idea of a private ATC system for the U.S. has been tossed around for decades. Usually, arguments revolve around whether it would cost more or less than the current FAA-operated system. But AVweb's Rick Durden believes there is a much more serious issue at stake: More people will die if users have to pay for ATC each time they use it.

The Pilot's Lounge #48:
Toss the FAA Deadwood
- (Articles - May 20 2002)

The word at the Pilot's Lounge is that the small segment of FAA personnel who are incompetent or irascible the FAA deadwood are contributing to the deaths of pilots and passengers. They are closing lines of communication that are essential to the success of the FAA's safety programs. The answer: toss 'em but is it that easy?

The Pilot's Lounge #47:
Learning to Fly Floats The View from the Back Seat
- (Articles - Apr 22 2002)

Spring has sprung at the virtual airport and the loons are calling from remote lakes accessible only by seaplane. AVweb's Rick Durden sat down with two of the best seaplane instructors in the business to discuss how they separate the boys from the buoys. If you're thinking about ever setting down on water, intentionally, you won't want to miss this month's edition of the "Pilot's Lounge."

The Pilot's Lounge #46:
In Defense of Precision
- (Articles - Mar 29 2002)

There's nothing quite like a sunset flight in a Cub with nowhere to go. You just let the plane have its head and journey where it may. But that doesn't mean we can fly that way day-in, day-out. There is a time and place for precision flying for example, on approach to a 1,700 foot, tree-guarded, peninsula runway in Belize. That's where the Pilot's Lounge convened this month, and AVweb's Rick Durden was there.

The Pilot's Lounge #45:
Road Rage on Unicom
- (Articles - Feb 25 2002)

There are those who sound off on the CTAF like New York cab drivers lay on their horns. Is it ever appropriate to use the air waves to communicate opinions about another pilot's actions? That was the topic of the day in The Pilot's Lounge. AVweb's Rick Durden was there and reports on their discussion.

The Pilot's Lounge #44:
The User-Friendly Airport
- (Articles - Jan 29 2002)

What makes a good airport the kind that satisfies pilots, lures locals, attracts out-of-town visitors, provides essential community services and promotes the economy? Well, that's what the good folks in the pilot's lounge have been hashing out. AVweb's Rick Durden was there and reports on their discussion in the latest issue of "The Pilot's Lounge."

The Pilot's Lounge #43:
Those Damned Little Airplanes
- (Articles - Jan 2 2002)

Every time a pilot buzzes the beach or tops the trees in a subdivision with the prop control jammed forward, General Aviation gains a new opponent, or perhaps a more strident one. According to the good folks in the pilot's lounge, we are confronting enough problems without adding to them ourselves. AVweb's Rick Durden was there and reports on their discussion in the latest issue of "The Pilot's Lounge."

The Pilot's Lounge #42:
Of Martinis, Ice, and Tailplane Stalls
- (Articles - Dec 2 2001)

Just when you thought you'd figured out the recipe for stalls, the good folks in the pilot's lounge have shaken (not stirred) all the ingredients. AVweb's Rick Durden was there and reports that you should recover in tried-and-true fashion if the wing stalls. If the tailplane stalls, however, the required control inputs will be just the opposite and the control forces may require more strength than you possess. If you're not sure that you could differentiate between these equally likely and potentially fatal events, you won't want to miss Rick's analysis in the latest issue of "The Pilot's Lounge."

The Pilot's Lounge #41:
The Blue Yonder Foundation Getting Sharp Kids into the Sky
- (Articles - Nov 4 2001)

Amid all the gloom and doom about general aviation's future comes the Blue Yonder Foundation, a nonprofit foundation that administers the Dreams of Flight Scholarship Fund. AVweb's Rick Durden met with and talked to a few of the program's participants. He came away with a new optimism for aviation's future. You will, too.

The Pilot's Lounge #40:
Of Pilots, Drivers, and the WTC
- (Articles - Oct 7 2001)

Even though one might be trained to fly an aircraft, it doesn't mean one is a "pilot." Indeed, one who simply performs the basic skills necessary to command an aircraft is more of a driver than a pilot. As AVweb's Rick Durden explains, it requires more than the mere ability to fly to become a pilot.

The Pilot's Lounge #39:
VFR Flight Training in Marginal Weather
- (Articles - Sep 9 2001)

During their primary training, pilots are often taught what marginal VFR weather looks like and why it's a hazard. Unfortunately, the lesson they often receive from that training is how to handle MVFR, not that they should avoid it. AVweb's Rick Durden takes a look at current research in this area and comes up with some tips for CFIs and students alike.

The Pilot's Lounge #38:
Yes, Pogo, the Enemy Is Us
- (Articles - Aug 13 2001)

Go-arounds. Too-wide patterns. Opposite-direction traffic. Stall-spin fatalities. Sound like an emergency procedure discussion? It's not it's what happened with frightening regularity this year at Oshkosh. With EAA AirVenture 2001 now but a recent memory, it's time to take a close look at how poorly prepared were some of the pilots flying into the busiest airport in the world. Sadly, this year's event brought out the worst in many of them. As AVweb's Rick Durden writes, we are our own worst enemy when it comes to flying to Oshkosh and if we don't shape up, this privilege could be taken away.

The Pilot's Lounge #37:
"Who, Me? Fly Upside Down?"
- (Articles - Jul 15 2001)

"Akro." The very thought of flying an airplane in any attitude other than straight and level can strike terror into the heart of even the most fearless pilot. Other pilots can't conceive of completing a flight without getting upside-down at least once. AVweb's Rick Durden takes a look at doing aerobatics in today's environment, including a look at the airplanes, the training, the rules and safety.

The Pilot's Lounge #36:
Letter from an Airport Kid
- (Articles - Jun 19 2001)

Last month, Rick Durden's touching column titled "Letter To An Airport Kid" obviously resonated with a great many AVweb readers. In this month's follow-up, Rick writes a long-overdue, heartfelt thank-you note to some of the generous and giving aviators who took him under their wings 32 years ago when he was a young airport kid just learning to fly.

The Pilot's Lounge #35:
Letter to an Airport Kid
- (Articles - May 20 2001)

Nowadays, the airport kid is an endangered species. We're talking about the teenager who rides his or her bike to the airport and leans against the fence just to watch the airplanes take off and land. When AVweb's Rick Durden spotted such a fence-leaning youngster recently and struck up a conversation, it conjured up memories of the days long ago when Rick was an airport kid himself. If your eyes don't mist up after reading Rick's column this month, it's probably time to tear up your medical certificate.

The Pilot's Lounge #34:
Of Ag-Planes, Fire Bombers, and Inventions
- (Articles - Apr 22 2001)

One of the most stressful and dangerous kinds of aviation operations is aerial application also known as crop-dusting or ag-aviation. When a younger man, AVweb's Rick Durden worked (hard) in this industry, eventually moving on to saner endeavors. Still, he kept up with his contacts in the industry and recently went back to his roots to check in with an old friend who now specializes in improving ag-planes and even turning them into fire bombers. Read all about it.

The Pilot's Lounge #33:
IFR Training in IMC What's the Big Deal?
- (Articles - Mar 26 2001)

Many newly-minted instrument pilots earn the rating without ever having seen the inside of a cloud or flown in "real" instrument conditions. While avoiding IMC during instrument training is completely legal according to the FAA's minimum standards, is it the best way to train? Do instructors have a moral obligation to expose their instrument students to actual IMC? AVweb's Rick Durden tackles these thorny questions and raises some others. What's your opinion?

The Pilot's Lounge #32:
What Pilots Think of FBOs (We Really Like You) and Some Modest Suggestions
- (Articles - Feb 26 2001)

FBOs are a constant topic of conversation among pilots and no less so in The Pilot's Lounge. While everyone has a horror story or two, everyone also has a tale about great, unexpected service. Ultimately, the FBO business is a service business and depends on repeat customers. Yet, some FBOs don't seem to understand this fundamental. AVweb's Rick Durden wraps up a two-part series begun last week by Howard Fried on FBOs: what they are, what they do and how they might think about doing it better.

The Pilot's Lounge #31:
Expanding Our Aviation Horizons
- (Articles - Jan 29 2001)

It's almost universally accepted that the Private Pilot certificate is really only a license to learn. Once we earn our private ticket, we then have to wrestle with the questions of what to learn, when and how to go about it. Some recent conversations in The Pilot's Lounge got AVweb's Rick Durden thinking about some of the many different opportunities for "continuing education" that exist at your local airport. Here are some suggestions to help keep you on top of your game.

The Pilot's Lounge #30:
Myths for the Last Millennium
- (Articles - Jan 4 2001)

As the last millennium ends and a new one begins, it's time to adopt a fresh outlook on the many things we "know" about aviation. What do you think you know about downwind turns, reduced-power takeoffs, military versus civilian training and a host of other topics handed down from hangar-flying session to hangar-flying session? AVweb's Rick Durden take on these myths and many more. Isn't the start of the new millennium time to straighten up and fly right?

The Pilot's Lounge #29:
Used Airplanes Buyer, Be Cynical
- (Articles - Dec 4 2000)

Thousands of used aircraft trade hands each year. Many owners do their homework and end up with an aircraft that will meet their needs. Others, perhaps in a hurry or hoping to save a few dollars, try to find a shortcut or two or accept an unscrupulous dealer's assurances about the aircraft they buy. AVweb's Rick Durden, an aviation attorney in real life, has seen way too many purchasers who went about this process all wrong. If you're thinking about buying an aircraft in the near future, you need to read what he has to say.

The Pilot's Lounge #28:
Recurrent Training Some Extra Insurance
- (Articles - Nov 5 2000)

The expense and limited availability of choices in the aviation insurance market of late has led many operators to re-evaluate their risks and find ways to minimize them. Since pilots who undergo recurrent training on a regular basis are far less likely to have accidents, making sure you get some formal training every six months or so can help. While regular training won't replace a good insurance policy, it can certainly increase your comfort level. AVweb's Rick Durden shows you how.

The Pilot's Lounge #27:
Radial Engines and Hydraulic Lock
- (Articles - Oct 9 2000)

Round engines are different than flat piston engines because, well, they're round. In addition, one of their characteristics is for oil to flow into a cylinder after shutdown. Unless the oil's presence is discovered and the cylinder drained before the engine is rotated, catastrophic damage can occur. AVweb's Rick Durden explains what hydraulic lock is, why it happens and what you can do about it.

The Pilot's Lounge #26:
Scud Running Discussing a Delicate Subject
- (Articles - Sep 11 2000)

There's a right way and a wrong way to do anything. So it is with scud running, that time-honored practice of scooting under weather to get to a destination. Lately, though, the practice has gotten much more dangerous, partly because it's not being properly taught any more. While that may be a good thing, people are still finding ways to bend sheet metal at low altitudes. AVweb's Rick Durden shows you how to scud run, then shows why you shouldn't.

The Pilot's Lounge #25:
Beyond the $100 Hamburger
- (Articles - Aug 19 2000)

What to do and where to go with your plane when you're tired of boring holes and have already visited all the interesting destinations within an hour or two of home plate? Why not expand your horizons a bit? Each weekend near you there are fly-ins, races and other events that offer good reasons to launch for a nearby airport. If that's not enough, why not start your own event? AVweb's Rick Durden shows you how.

The Pilot's Lounge #24:
Sleeping With Your Airplane
- (Articles - Jul 10 2000)

As EAA AirVenture Oshkosh 2000 approaches, literally thousands of pilots, co-pilots and passengers are preparing to camp with their airplanes at Wittman Field. But what about the other 51 weeks of the year? What should the well-equipped airplane carry and how should its occupants prepare for sleeping with it? And, how to find airports that allow camping? AVweb's Rick Durden takes on these questions, and more.

The Pilot's Lounge #23:
Crashworthiness Improving Your Chances When You Have to Put It Down
- (Articles - Jun 11 2000)

Crashing. It's not something pilots like to think about, much less experience. But surviving an abrupt, unplanned end to a flight is something for which a well-prepared pilot should consider and equip. A lot of research has been done over the years and the fruits of that work have been incorporated into modern aircraft. Still, as AVweb's Rick Durden explains, there's much that a pilot and aircraft owner can do to help improve the chances that he and his passengers will emerge unscathed from an unplanned landing.

The Pilot's Lounge #22:
AirVenture Get in the Middle of It
- (Articles - May 15 2000)

Although it's only May and EAA AirVenture 2000 is some two months away, preparations for this year's event have been underway since, well, last summer. One essential part of that planning is identifying and training the army of volunteers required to make AirVenture work so well year after year. Last year, AVweb's Rick Durden spent some time learning more about the aircraft parking areas and how organizers train and manage volunteers who work there. But that's not the only job available at AirVenture. Interested? Here's what you need to know.

The Pilot's Lounge #21:
The Man or Woman Just Down Your Street
- (Articles - Apr 17 2000)

It's been 55 years since World War II ended, and the men and women who served their country then changed everything. They flew what we now think of as primitive machines in unthinkable conditions. Many of them have deeply hidden memories of what they did and what they saw during those years; other memories are not so hidden but can be just as vivid and painful. These men and women live just down your street.

The Pilot's Lounge #20:
Taking Them for a Ride The First Timer and the Family Trip
- (Articles - Mar 19 2000)

Taking non-pilots up for their first flight in a light plane is one of the rites of passage for pilots. While we're eager to show them all the "neat stuff" we've learned and seen, they are probably expecting in-flight movies, a lavatory and a center aisle. As a result, more than one "first flight" has also been the last one for some people. And then there's the family's comfort to think about. AVweb's Rick Durden offers some tips on how to make these flights enjoyable for you and for the passengers.

The Pilot's Lounge #19:
Why Flight Instruct? Because You May Be Able to Make a Difference ... and a Living
- (Articles - Feb 13 2000)

Flight instructing can be one of the most frustrating and difficult roles in aviation. It can also be one of the most gratifying and rewarding. Those who work to impart their years of knowledge and experience to students at all levels are on the front lines of aviation safety and they shoulder great responsibilities. AVweb's Rick Durden takes a close look at the highs and lows of flight instructing. Have you got what it takes?

The Pilot's Lounge #18:
They Put Skis on People, Don't They?
- (Articles - Jan 23 2000)

Come winter, many pilots hang up their flight bags and wait for warmer, sunnier flying weather. That's a shame, because they could be participating in one of the season's best flying activities: Skiplanes. Flying a small plane on skis is one of the most enjoyable ways to keep flying once snow covers the ground. AVweb's Rick Durden tells how.

The Pilot's Lounge #17:
A Homebuilt Taste of Summer
- (Articles - Dec 28 1999)

As Old Man Winter settles in on the Lounge's residents, thoughts turn to warmer climes and times. One resident, though, is not letting the cold weather keep him from aviation. Instead, he's working steadily away on a homebuilt amphibian, a SeaRey, by Progressive Aerodyne. AVweb's Rick Durden has poked around the project and even made the pilgrimage to the company's factory.

The Pilot's Lounge #16:
An Aviation Gift for Your Family
- (Articles - Nov 28 1999)

Looking for an aviation-oriented way to spend some quality time with your kids? Want to have some fun and learn a few things in the bargain? EAA's Family Flight Camp might be just the thing. AVweb's Rick Durden just got back from a weekend there here's his report.

The Pilot's Lounge #15:
A First Solo
- (Articles - Oct 31 1999)

It's an exciting time at the Lounge: More and more people, young and old, are learning to fly. Watching students progress from pre-solo work to cross-countries is a lot like watching a child grow into an adult. In fact, says AVweb's Rick Durden, it transforms a person. Not just into a pilot, but into a different type of person altogether.

The Pilot's Lounge #14:
Kids in Aviation and Other Items of Interest
- (Articles - Oct 4 1999)

Autumn's colors are accompanied by cooler, cleaner air and more enjoyable flying all around. It's a great time to talk about paying your debt to aviation by introducing that kid at the airport fence to aviation the right way. AVweb's Rick Durden tells how. Plus, two aviators who shouldn't be forgotten.

The Pilot's Lounge #13:
An Instructor's Obligation
- (Articles - Sep 6 1999)

Flight instructors have the unique obligation both to teach students the skills for safe aircraft operation and to critique them when those skills need work. Too frequently, a student proves incapable of accepting criticism and goes off on his own, until the inevitable crash. AVweb's Rick Durden has a special nook of memories for two such students. It's a place you should know about one with too many residents already.

The Pilot's Lounge #12:
Is Good Enough Really Good Enough?
- (Articles - Aug 8 1999)

If you're like most pilots, it's probably been a while since your piloting skills were honed to "check-ride" standards or better. And, most of the time, that's fine. But, there are times that demand every bit of skill you can scrape up. To make sure the demand is not greater than the supply, a pilot should always be working to be the best possible, to have some skills in reserve. As AVweb's Rick Durden puts it, what have you got in your back pocket?

The Pilot's Lounge #11:
LAHSO's Double Secret Probation
- (Articles - Jul 5 1999)

The large print giveth but the small print taketh away. So it is with the FAA's policy on Land And Hold Short Operations, or LAHSO. AVweb's Rick Durden discovers an internal FAA bulletin saying that Part 91 operators cannot accept a LAHSO clearance unless they've received approved training. No, there is no new regulation, just an FAA internal pronouncement. As Joseph Heller wrote, "That's some catch, that Catch-22."

The Pilot's Lounge #10:
Readbacks and Remedial Redemption
- (Articles - Jun 10 1999)

The lounge is still abuzz about the FAA's bad-news "interpretive rule" on pilot readbacks and Atlanta Center's well-intentioned but seriously-flawed "Catch A Bad Altitude" program. About the only light AVweb's resident optimist Rick Durden can see for pilots at the end of this gloomy tunnel is that if you get nailed for an altitude bust or other deviation, you might be able to sweet-talk your way into the FAA's excellent but underused remedial training alternative to certificate action.

The Pilot's Lounge #9:
The FAA's Interpretive Rule on Readback Errors
- (Articles - May 11 1999)

Did you know that you could face an enforcement action even if you readback a misunderstood clearance to the controller and he doesn't correct you? It's the brave new world of the FAA's interpretive rule on readback errors, and AVweb's Rick Durden who is also an aviation attorney believes it's a major step backward for pilots, controllers and the agency. Trust us: If you're a pilot, you need to read this!

The Pilot's Lounge #8:
Flying for Conservation
- (Articles - Apr 12 1999)

When you mention public benefit flying, most pilots immediately think about volunteer pilot groups flying medical missions. But there are other facets, too. AVweb's Rick Durden just returned from two weeks in Belize, flying for LightHawk, a volunteer organization supporting environmental conservation. Rick talks about what this and similar groups are doing and how you can get involved.

The Pilot's Lounge #7:
Flying Antique and Classic Airplanes
- (Articles - Mar 15 1999)

Sooner or later, every pilot gets the chance to fly an antique or older airplane. And, just as inevitably, problems arise. In The Pilot Lounge, AVweb's Rick Durden explores the many considerations a successful transition to one of these older aircraft can require. Step into the Lounge for more on making your transition a successful one.

The Pilot's Lounge #6:A Pilot for All Time, More Cold Tips, and a Memorable Flight - (Articles - Feb 14 1999)

Winter's not over yet, not by a long shot. While waiting for the preheater to thaw out your airplane, have you ever wondered about the first pilots to brave cold-weather flying? AVweb's Rick Durden has, and he took the time to research the "The Patron Saint Of Cold-Weather Flying." Some follow-up from his recent column on winter flying, plus the story of his daughter's first aerobatic flight round out The Pilot Lounge this month. Don't miss it!

The Pilot's Lounge #5:
Yes, It's Winter
- (Articles - Jan 18 1999)

Brrr, it's cold out there. If recent storms in the U.S. weren't enough of a sign, be assured that winter has arrived. Should the change in season mean grounding your bird until the swallows fly home to Capistrano? Winter flying has its own set of challenges, but also brings with it many rewards as long as a pilot is properly prepared. AVweb's Rick Durden takes on the season's challenges in a detailed discussion of the many planning and operational considerations pilots should think about this time of year.

The Pilot's Lounge #4:
Why Not Use Those Flaps?
- (Articles - Dec 21 1998)

Which group do you fall into the flap crowd or the no-flap crowd? Do you know when it's best to use wing flaps for landing and when it's best to leave them stowed? This is one of general aviation's longest ongoing debates, especially with the lighter, smaller models in the fleet. After defusing an emotional "flap flap" in the local airport lounge, AVweb's Rick Durden takes readers on a detailed discussion of the pros and cons and the whys and why-nots of using those often misunderstood devices. Where do you stand?

The Pilot's Lounge #3:
Advertising General Aviation
- (Articles - Nov 23 1998)

What kind of advertising does General Aviation need to attract new pilots? AVweb's Rick Durden thinks he has at least part of the answer, and it may not be what you think. If you want to discover what motivates non-pilots to begin flying, a good place to start is some recently arrived aviators. Rick does just that and comes to some interesting conclusions about what it is we ought to be promoting and how we ought to be doing it.

The Pilot's Lounge #2:
Why Not Fly Tailwheel?
- (Articles - Oct 7 1998)

Does the thought of flying a tailwheel aircraft scare the you-know-what out of you? AVweb's Rick Durden says there's way too many myths out there about how difficult a tailwheel plane is to fly. Yes, you have to pay attention, but it's just a different set of skills, and a different attitude is required, but a tailwheel is not a demon ready to bite off your head. Rick provides us some easy to follow guidelines that will keep you out of trouble when you get checked out in your favorite tailwheel airplane.

The Pilot's Lounge #1:
Flying with Babies and Kids
- (Articles - Sep 27 1998)

Should you take your infant flying? AVweb's Rick Durden says "Sure you should." It's the best time to introduce them to aviation. He goes on to suggest ways to make it safe and enjoyable for all involved. Well, he really doesn't have a suggestion for making changing diapers in the air in a typical GA aircraft enjoyable, but the rest of the answers to your questions about flying with infants and kids are all here.