To Die For »

The December 1997 SilkAir 185 crash in Indonesia and the October 1999 Egypt Air 990 crash in the U.S. have both focused attention on an aviation safety question that most of us would really rather not discuss: pilot suicide. Could psychological testing of pilots help prevent this sort of tragedy? Does cockpit crew size (three vs. two) make a difference? Does the FAA's policy of grounding pilots who take antidepressant medication help or hurt? AVweb's Ken Cubbin examines these and other facets of the problem. More

HAZMAT in the Skies »

In the aftermath of the ValuJet 592 tragedy, carriage of hazardous materials HAZMAT aboard airliners has received a great deal of attention. But what about other operations? When you preflight your aircraft, do you consider what you and your passengers are bringing, along with the weight? AVweb's Kim Broadwell examines current regulations as well as several recent HAZMAT incidents aboard aircraft large and small. More

When Engine Instruments Lie »

Remember Air Florida Flight 90, the Boeing 737 that crashed into an icy Potomac River after takeoff from Washington National Airport in January1982, killing 74 of the 79 aboard? A contributing factor in that accident was anomalous engine instrument readings caused by ice-blocked EPR pickup tubes. Retired 737 captain and AVweb contributor John Laming tells of experiencing a similar problem, on takeoff from the tiny Pacific island of Nauru, which brought him to within seconds of disaster, saved by the actions of a quick-thinking pilot-in-command who was subsequently crucified by the airline whose airplane he saved. It's a fascinating story of technical intrigue and political injustice. More

And They Called the Wind ... Wind »

A gentle breeze rippling across a lake can help a seaplane pilot take off sooner but a stiff crosswind can give a student pilot fits or help groundloop a taildragger. No matter what you fly or when you fly it, one thing that always must be considered is wind. Not only does the wind's speed and direction help determine which runway to use, but it can also decide whether your next trip is non-stop, or if it's even possible. AVweb's Linda Pendleton takes on the wind and explains some of the basic and not-so-basic facts all pilots should consider. More

Ditching Old Wives' Tales »

Ditching the word alone can strike fear into pilots and passengers. A recent article in AOPA Pilot magazine claimed that ditching is a very hazardous emergency procedure that most do not survive. AVweb's Special Projects Editor Doug Ritter, also Editor of the "Equipped to Survive" web site, responds, "hogwash!" In truth, nine out of ten ditchings are successful and a few simple preventive measures can improve on even those excellent odds. Doug exposes numerous old wives' tales and explains how ditching is an eminently survivable experience. More

Winter Flying: Be Prepared — Or Else! »

Minnesota-based Carl Petersen, president of the Citabria Owners Group and a loyal AVweb reader, offers a short but insightful discussion of how to maximize your chances of surviving a wintertime flying mishap until help arrives. More

Yipes! No Green Light!!! »

A gear-up landing is no big deal...unless you turn it into one. Unfortunately, pilots often do exactly that, sometimes with truly tragic results. If you fly retractable gear aircraft, you're bound to face this situation sooner or later. Here's a commonsense guide. More

Close-Up: Fatal Crash of Piper Aztec at Carson City, Nevada »

In November 1997, reader Eric Gourley a 7000-hour corporate pilot and multiengine instructor sent AVweb his eyewitness account of a horrifying stall/spin/burn departure accident at the Carson City, Nev., airport that fatally injured the pilot and his three passengers. Gourley's impression at the time was that the crash was caused by a mishandled engine failure and ensuing Vmc roll. A year later, the NTSB issued its detailed final report on the accident, and attributed the tragedy to an unlatched nose baggage door. Here are both reports in their entirety. They make sobering reading. More