Top Letters And Comments, January 6, 2023


Ground Control

Energy management is not well taught in GA, if not well managed in the air, it will probably be less well managed on deck…brake fade/fires are the result. That extra throttle energy is getting dumped into brakes sized for aborted takeoffs not your morning commute.

Rudder is your friend, use it up before relying on differential braking for directional control.

Besides jet/prop wash in trail, be careful crossing behind…and be wary of hover taxiing helos, both for downwash and items kicked up.

Rich R.

I have been flying a Stearman for about 11 years now. It is very sensitive to proper ground handling. One advantage of a plane with a stick like a Stearman is you can keep the top of the stick in the same direction as the tail of the windsock. That always keeps your flight controls positioned correctly, if you keep your ground speed low and power setting low. If you don’t have windsocks where you fly, put a ribbon on the strut with about 12” free to flutter in the breeze and keep the stick going in the same direction as the tail of the ribbon.

Stephen T.

For aileron and elevator control on the ground, the best memory device I was ever taught – this was years ago when this was perhaps a more familiar thing – was the Pac Man rule. When Pac Man is chasing you (i.e. the wind is behind you) run away! Apply flight controls opposite the direction of the wind. When Pac Man is in front of you, chase him! Apply flight controls in the direction of the wind. Of course, you just have to kind of remember that it’s down elevator when the wind is behind you and neutral when it’s a headwind.

To this day, decades later, the Pac Man memory device helps me remember what to do without having to think much about it. Of course, it may not help anyone who didn’t waste hours of their youth running from (and chasing) little ghosts on a CRT screen.

David T.

Accident Probe: The Avionics Upgrade

Years ago, the FBO did a similar upgrade to the 182. I got minimal training in the GPS unit prior to a long-distance cross-country flight. As I approached my destination, the terrain avoidance alarm went off. I was flying low due to the western wildfires, smoke, and haze. I was right over the prop blades of the windmill generators. About 1-200 feet. The system didn’t like that. Not only did the alarm go off, but it blanked out my screen in turn. Not something to find out as one is on approach. This brings up a term I heard years ago at a safety meeting. Trust But Verify. Meaning, trust your instruments, but verify they are actually working, and working correctly. Did those upgrades include a terrain avoidance package? Was it turned on and functioning correctly? Did the pilot know how to use it, and the limitations of it? Those questions will never be answered. Sadly…


The importance of avionics user interface (UI) is underestimated by many pilots. The Garmin and Avidyne UIs are very different. The display may be similar but the button pushes have different results. It can be very confusing and requires additional attention units to interpret. Those additional attention units may not be available late at night when flying IMC. I recently was checked out in a Mooney M20K with Aspen, Garmin, Apollo and Bendix avionics that compromise 5 different UIs. Not to mention altitude preselect, transponder, lights and engine management. I will not fly that aircraft in IMC until all the UIs are second nature.

Dana N.

I really think that this analysis severely underestimates the results of poor ADM. A probable cause being that the pilot wasn’t familiar with new system (valid, of course) discounts the chain of events such as flying into the night (unknown if the pilot had napped during the day), with low time in the aircraft, and choosing to continue a flight into medium-to-hard IMC. The root cause should really be that the pilot (RIP) decided to go in the first place.

If we are going to use accident events to learn from some other’s unfortunate results, we should emphasize what’s really under our control and how to fly with minimal risk.

James F.

Poll: What’s Your Top Aviation Priority For 2023?

  • Mentor more new backcountry pilots.
  • Establish a maintenance shop in my local area.
  • Add to my A&P experience in anticipation of IA qualification.
  • Finish building my RV-7.
  • Becoming IFR current AND competent.
  • Support unleaded fuel, SAFs, and other ways to innovate our aging industry.
  • Keep current, fly as many hours as I did last year and enjoy the freedom that GA gives us.
  • Aviation safety.
  • Visit more ex RAF and RNAS aerodromes where possible.
  • Engine overhaul.
  • Break the 300km barrier for a soaring flight in my Pipistrel Sinus motorglider.
  • Getting my medical back.
  • Make more long-distance trips including overnight.
  • To continue to pass my 1st class medical so I can continue to fly at age 64.
  • Find a partner that will treat my Comanche as well as I do!
  • A minor miracle happens and I finally get my license.
  • Get a hangar in Texas!
  • I just did an engine overhaul and an autopilot install. Took a year, so my goal is to fly more.
  • Make good progress on my homebuilt.
  • Improve my aerobatics.
  • Start building an airplane.
  • Complete a type rating.
  • Unleaded fuel.
  • Finish my current restoration.
  • Return to flying after 20 years.
  • Be able to renew the insurance on my 67 Mooney.
  • Air racing.
  • Help my grandson get his Private and my daughter get her instrument rating.
  • Christmas in the Caribbean!
  • Trying to remember the joy of it, now that health issues and retirement finances keep me outside the fence.
  • Finish flight training.
  • Maintain my ability to continue flying.
  • Improve flight safety skill set to ensure outcomes for emergencies.
  • Quit flying. It just costs too much.
  • Staying safe.
  • Progress on my homebuilt.
  • Book airshows.
  • Keep flying my model airplanes.
  • Take air traffic out of the federal government and set up independent system.
  • Selling my airplane and retiring from flying.
  • Get my damn N3 Pup flying (simply bolt the wings on).
  • Sit back, relax, and be an armchair pilot at 87!!
  • Flying safer.
  • Traveling to a new destination.
  • Engine replacement and upgrade.
  • See Canada endorse basic med so I can return to the air.
  • Aged out. Getting an occasional ride.
  • More travel.
  • Get my FAA approved ppl & cpl, ifr licenses for single, multi engines.
  • Staying away from air travel!
  • Get current physical LOL.
  • Have FAA approval of the new build carry thru spar for the Cessna cardinals by Textron.
  • Protect a few more airstrips.
  • Buy a plane.
  • To be able to fly again.
  • Enjoy flying.
  • Wing-X STC and gross weight increase.
  • Sell one of my two airplanes.
  • Recover my class one medical.
  • Go to new places.
  • CSEL certification.
  • Hell, just staying current.
  • Survive.

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  1. I was taught to learn how to not use the brakes as much as possible because they do fail in GA planes. More then once I have pushed on the brake and have it go all the way with no results! I fly my Bonanza every week, usually at least two or more landings. My brakes last me about 500 hours or more, tires the same. It pays to not use the brakes.