“Pelican’s Perch” Index

A complete index to John Deakin's popular Pelican's Perch column on AVweb.

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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 152004)
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 anengine during a typical flight. With so much detail needed, he ended the columnjust as we took off! Now he’s back to talk about the climb, and as usual he hasreal-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’sPelican’s Perch, he tells ALL the secrets – how he got in by the skin of histeeth, finally learned how to execute the “radius of action from a movingbase” from an old Chinese ground instructor, and more – and he won’t evenhave 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 thefamous Test Pilot School at Edwards AFB. Well, for a short time, anyway! Onlymildly intimidated by the idea of head-to-head “air combat,” John’sgreatest challenge turned out to be teaching young, hotshot test pilots how tothink 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 PilotSchool.”

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 onan ambitious nonstop 1,100-nm flight in his turbocharged but non-tip-tankedBeech V35B. In the process, our favorite pelican nibbles at the very edges ofthe Bonanza’s envelope – at one point climbing to FL270, and at anotherleaning to a remarkable 250F 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, withlots of leakage past the exhaust valve. The mechanic says you probably fried thevalve by leaning too aggressively. Wrong, says AVweb’s John Deakin! Leanmixtures don’t cause burned valves – lousy valve-to-seat geometry does. It’sprobably 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 2000crash 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 onlyspread 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 todiscussing 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 Airlinescrashed in South Australia after suffering catastrophic in-flight failure ofboth engines, killing the pilot and seven passengers. A year and a half later,the Australian Transport Safety Bureau (ATSB) issued their 150-pageinvestigation report and blamed the accident on buildup of “lead oxybromidedeposits” caused by Whyalla’s aggressive leaning procedures. AVweb’s JohnDeakin has dissected the ATSB report, and concludes that while improper leaningprocedures may have been involved, the ATSB analysis is seriously flawed andtheir 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 pilotswho 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 itsquirkier 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 ChinaLake 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, andit’s only a matter of time before leaded avgas goes away as well. Despite a hugeamount of industry research, nobody yet has a suitable replacement fuel, andnobody’s yet quite sure what will happen to today’s piston-powered fleet whenthe supply of 100LL dries up. AVweb’s John Deakin dispels a bunch of myths aboutTEL, explains what it does and why it’s so indispensable in high-performancerecips, and talks about one solution to the coming unleaded-avgas crisis thatactually works.Pelican’s Perch #54: Pitch, Power, and Pink Elephants – (Articles – Mar 31 2002)
Every primary student is taught that power controls altitude and pitchcontrols airspeed – or was that power controls airspeed and pitch controlsaltitude? Truth is that pilots have been arguing about this since Orville andWilbur debated the question over a couple of beers at Kitty Hawk. AVweb’s JohnDeakin (who claims to have been there at the time) weighs in on this issue byoffering some real-world scenarios and taking a look at how modern autopilotswork.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 ofan SIAP and how to shoot an approach legally and safety – and tosses in sometricks, 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 hedeveloped for the CAFs C-131 (Convair 340) produced such an enthusiasticresponse – and so many good suggestions – that John decided to devote thismonth’s column to the planes emergency checklist. If youve ever wonderedabout what goes on in a complex radial-engine transport aircraft cockpit whenthe 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 residentpelican has been spending a lot of time on lately. John Deakin offers a guidedtour of his new C-131 checklist, and explains some of the thinking andhuman-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 favoritecharity, hobby, and passion: the just-renamed Commemorative Air Force. Deaktells of the organization’s need for pilots, mechanics and volunteers, anddiscusses 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 incapital and nearly that many pages of FAA paperwork. But back in the 1950s, allit 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 careerback then, and he tells a first-person tale of such a venture that actually gotoff 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 theWorld Trade Center in New York. AVweb’s John Deakin was in an FBO in Amsterdamwhen 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 anAmerican.Pelican’s Perch #47: The Old Commando – (Articles – Sep 16 2001)
AVweb’s John Deakin has logged PIC time in everything from Beech V35s toBoeing 747s and Grumman Bearcats to Gulfstream IVs. But the Pelican’s favoriteairplane of all time is the Curtiss-Wright C-46 “Commando” – aWWII-vintage twin-radial-engined taildragger that looks a lot like a DC-3 onsteroids, but in truth is a different beast altogether. John’s column this monthdiscusses the idiosyncrasies of this unique airplane and his memories of flyingit, first 40 years ago in Southeast Asia and more recently on the airshowcircuit. 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 orsome other cylinder problem, chances are the mechanic will blame it on”running too lean”? Regular readers of John Deakin’s AVweb columnsknow better, of course: Lean-of-peak operation is cooler, cleaner, and kinder tothe engine. If you wonder why most A&Ps are so ill informed about modernmixture management, just take a look at what the FAA requires them to be taughtin 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 threeweeks of intensive ground school and sim training at Simuflite in Dallas. He’dlong 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 himfeeling far less than well-trained. John details what happened – and pulls nopunches 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 theConsolidated 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 whenburning 200 GPH to go 200 knots was still affordable. Recently, AVweb’s residentwarbird maven John Deakin had an opportunity to check out in the Confederate AirForce’s B-24, “Diamond ‘Lil,” and reports that the aircraft is bothquirky and fun.Pelican’s Perch #43: Detonation Myths – (Articles – May 27 2001)
We’ve all been taught about detonation in piston aircraft engines. It’s whatoccurs when combustion pressure and temperature get so high that the fuel/airmixture to explodes violently instead of burning smoothly, and it can destroy anengine in a matter of seconds. Right? Well, not exactly. AVweb’s John Deakinreviews the latest research, and demonstrates that detonation occurs in variousdegrees – much like icing and turbulence – with the milder forms not beingparticularly harmful. Heavy detonation is definitely destructive, and thePelican offers some concrete data on how to avoid it.Pelican’s Perch #41: Baby on the Runway! – (Articles – Apr 2 2001)
Coming from the mouth of your CFI, those words (or a close variant) let youknow that the instructor wants you to execute a go-around. According to AVweb’sJohn Deakin, this is a maneuver that is often botched by airline captains andlight plane pilots alike – not because it’s difficult, but because we don’tpractice it enough and are sometimes not mentally ready for it. Deak offers athoughtful approach to go-arounds and missed approaches that works in anythingfrom a J-3 to a 747.Pelican’s Perch #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 Deakindescribed his checkout in the Grumman F8F “Bearcat.” This time,AVweb’s resident warbird maven invites you along as he qualifies for his FAALetter of Authorization in the T-28. Although the Trojan has only about half thehorsepower of the Bearcat, it’s a considerably more complex airplane. Why, evenlearning to operate the (hydraulically-actuated) canopy requires a groundschoolsession. Deak takes you through the highlights of his 14 ground and ten flightsessions with T-28 owner Mark Matye.Pelican’s Perch #39: Bearcat! – (Articles – Feb 11 2001)
Regular readers know that AVweb’s John Deakin is active in the warbirdcommunity – a master at flying big radial-engine transports like the LockheedConstellation and C-46 Commando. Recently, however, John had the opportunity tofly a very different breed of warbird: the Grumman F8F Bearcat. Deak explainsthat when you take an 8,000-pound airframe and add a 2,200-hp radial engine,what you get is an elevated pulse rate.Pelican’s Perch #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 inthe Confederate Air Force’s big annual warbird airshow? It’s a tough job, butsomebody’s got to do it. AVweb’s John Deakin was elected to shepherd one ofCAF’s two flying C-46 “Commando” transports to the Midland show thisyear. Unseasonable weather and mechanical problems made the task bothchallenging and memorable, as John details in his latest column.Pelican’s Perch #37: Angry Pilots Are Bad News – (Articles – Dec 11 2000)
Ever gotten steamed at ATC for delaying you, or angry at another pilot whocut you off in the pattern, or hosed at an FBO who forgot to fuel your airplanewhen you needed to make a quick turn? AVweb’s John Deakin points out that youcan’t be “pilot in command” of an aircraft unless you can firstcontrol your own emotions, and that overtly angry behavior usually makes youcome off looking like a jerk. Deak offers some thoughts on how to stay cool andact professional.Pelican’s Perch #36: Those Fire-Breathing Turbos (Part 6 – and FINAL!) – (Articles – Nov 122000)
AVweb’s John Deakin concludes his six-part powerplant management series witha discussion of the procedures he uses during descent, approach (includingmissed-approach), landing, and shutdown. In the process, he debunks some OldWives’ Tales about “shock cooling” and turbocharger cooldowns.Pelican’s Perch #35: Those Fire-Breathing Turbos (Part 5) – (Articles – Oct 16 2000)
In his fifth column of this series, AVweb’s John Deakin continues hisdetailed discussion of powerplant management technique. This installment istotally devoted to the all-important cruise phase of flight, and includes boththeory and hard numbers from the JPI data-logging engine monitor in John’sturbonormalized IO-550-powered V-35A Bonanza. (Descents, approaches, landings,and shutdowns next month.)Pelican’s Perch #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 inthe right seat of his turbonormalized IO-550-powered V35B Bonanza, explainingeach 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 theBonanza’s JPI data-logging digital engine monitor, and explains exactly whateach squiggle on the graph means.Pelican’s Perch #33: Those Fire-Breathing Turbos (Part 3) – (Articles – Aug 28 2000)
In his third column about turbocharged piston engines, AVweb’s John Deakindelves into some of the little-understood subtleties of managing thesepowerplants. Among other things, the Pelican explains how changing the MP andRPM affects mixture, how changing mixture affects horsepower and combustiontiming, and why proper combustion timing is so darn important to the health andefficiency of your engine.Pelican’s Perch #32: Those Fire-Breathing Turbos (Part 2) – (Articles – Jul 16 2000)
In this second in a series of columns on turbocharged piston engines, AVweb’sJohn Deakin offers a detailed walk-through of a typical turbo system – fromintercooler to wastegate and everything in between. He then explains how thevarious system components function during each phase of flight from engine startthrough runup, takeoff, climb, cruise, and shutdown.Pelican’s Perch #31: Those Fire-Breathing Turbos (Part 1) – (Articles – Jul 18 2000)
By popular demand, AVweb’s John Deakin kicks off a series of columns aboutthe care and feeding of turbocharged piston aircraft engines. This month’sarticle reviews the convoluted history of pumped-up engines from the earliestgear-driven supercharged radials to the latest turbocharged flat engines foundin today’s GA fleet.Pelican’s Perch #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 ofpilots – and even some FAA inspectors – who consider any other type ofpattern entry (straight-in, crosswind, etc.) to be a felony. These “trafficpattern nazis” are sometimes heard chewing out fellow pilots on CTAF fortheir heinous transgressions. Rubbish, says AVweb’s John Deakin, who explainsthat sometimes the 45-degree entry is best and sometimes it isn’t. Deakinexplains his approach to flying traffic patterns at non-towered airports, whichinvolves hard-to-legislate concepts like common sense and courtesy.Pelican’s Perch #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 FARsthat govern certification of pilots and instructors. The result was a great dealof confusion, a bunch of band-aid fixes, and issuance of an interpretive FAQthat has now grown to three times the size of Part 61 itself! Well, at least thedust is now settling, right? “Wrong,” says AVweb’s John Deakin, whorecently learned that those hard-working folks at 800 Indy are now putting thefinishing touches on yet another NPRM that would make a whole new round ofchanges to these regs. Deakin details the proposed tweaks, and lets us knowprecisely what he thinks of them.Pelican’s Perch #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 windvelocity and/or direction have been responsible for a bunch of jet transportcrashes, and a bunch more non-crashes that must have caused the cockpit crew totake up another line of work. AVweb’s John Deakin relates some personal windshear experiences, dissects some wind shear-related jet crashes, and sheds lighton the phenomenon by going back to basics.
Pelican’s Perch #27: AS261, the Media, and Pitch Control – (Articles – Mar 8 2000)The recent crash of Alaska Flight 261 near Los Angeles triggered a torrent ofTV and newspaper reports that displayed profound ignorance of pitch controlsystems – not only among reporters (where it might be expected) but also inthe pilot community. After taking a few potshots at the media, AVweb’s JohnDeakin describes the three basic types of pitch control systems plus a bunch ofvariations, and talks about what can go wrong and how pilots should react.Pelican’s Perch #26: No Pisco Sours for Me, Thanks! – (Articles – Jan 31 2000)
There are two kinds of pilots: those who sheepishly admit to having done someincredibly dumb thing while flying, and those who are liars. AVweb’s JohnDeakin, who is decidedly in the first category, recounts the closest he evercame to killing himself in an airplane (during a ferry flight in Peru nearly 40years ago), and examines some of the lessons he learned the hard way from thatexperience.Pelican’s Perch #25: How I Learned to Love CANPA – (Articles – Jan 2 2000)
John Deakin’s prior column criticizing the use of VNAV during non-precisionapproaches provoked a torrent of dissenting reader responses, much of it fromAirbus pilots and other glass-cockpit operators. Never one to take this sort ofthing lying down, AVweb’s resident iconoclast fires back at these pinballwizards and flying videogame players, then discusses the best way for realpilots to fly various kinds of approaches (LOC, straight-in VOR/NDB, offsetVOR/NDB) in various kinds of airplanes (glass cockpit, steam gauge, flib).Pelican’s Perch #24: Sloppy, Sorry VNAV – (Articles – Dec 10 1999)
Flying a non-precision approach has traditionally been a “Dive andDrive” affair in which the pilot descends rapidly to the MDA or step-downaltitude and then levels off. Recently, however, pilots of aircraft equippedwith glass cockpit FMS systems or VNAV-capable GPS receivers have beenencouraged to fly such approaches using a constant descent path. There’s even abuzzword for this: CANPA (constant-angle non-precision approach), and thesecalculated pseudo-glideslopes are now starting to show up on Jeppesen approachplates. AVweb’s John Deakin thinks this is a bad idea, one that will result in alot 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.Pelican’s Perch #23: Age Sixty And That Moron Quesada – (Articles – Nov 8 1999)
AVweb’s John Deakin takes a whimsical look at his recent compulsoryretirement after 25 years in the left seat of a Boeing 747. But, his whimsyturns to anger as he looks at the origin of the unfair, arbitrary, and illogicalrule that has clipped the wings of thousands of fine young 60-year-old airlinepilots at the peak of their game. Deakin has reserved a special place in hellfor the first FAA Administrator who enacted the mandatory retirement age, andoffers a couple of suggestions that might help get rid of this insane rule. Ifyou’re a Deakin fan (and who isn’t?), this is one of his best.Pelican’s Perch #22: Short- and Soft-Field Takeoffs FAA vs. Reality – (Articles – Oct 101999)
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 theFAA’s Flight Training Handbook), and then there’s the right way. The problemwith the FAA way, says Deakin, is that it’s predicated on certificationrequirements which are totally unrealistic. As usual, AVweb’s resident pelicanshreds the conventional wisdom, then explains how it’s really done.Pelican’s Perch #21: Connie, My Connie – (Articles – Sep 12 1999)
In aviation, as in life, the grass is always greener on the other side of thefence. Want proof? While most pilots would gladly give up a major body part fora single flight in the left seat of a Boeing 747, AVweb’s John Deakin – forwhom 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 andprince of props: the Lockheed Constellation. Recently, Deak had the chance to doprecisely that – as PIC, no less – and devotes his entire column to braggingshamelessly about it.Pelican’s Perch #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 nearAtlanta triggered an investigation involving the NTSB, the FAA, and RaytheonAircraft Company. AVweb’s resident pelican, John Deakin – who is current inT-34s himself – has been looking closely at this investigation, and believesthat it is taking a wrong and dangerous direction that could wind up putting alot of perfectly good airplanes on the ground … not just T-34s, but alsoAerobatic Bonanzas, early-model Bonanzas that use the same wing spar design asthe T-34, and might ultimately have implications for all Bonanzas and perhapseven other models as well. John explains why he thinks the NTSB may be on thewrong track in looking for a probable cause, and why other participants in theinvestigation may have ulterior motives.Pelican’s Perch #19: Putting It All Together – (Articles – Jun 30 1999)
In recent columns, John Deakin has explained all you need to know – andmore than some of you wanted to know – about the three engine controls:throttle (MP), prop (RPM), and mixture. Now, AVweb’s resident pelican puts allthat theory into practical perspective by taking you through each phase of aflight – start, taxi, runup, takeoff, climb, cruise, descent and landing -and offering specific tips for getting the most from your piston powerplant.Pelican’s Perch #18: Mixture Magic – (Articles – Jun 14 1999)
If you fly recips, what leaning procedure do you use? Chances are that almosteverything your CFI told you about using the red knob – and most of whatyou’ve read and heard since then – is just plain hogwash! We suggest youforget everything you thought you knew about the subject, and let AVweb’s JohnDeakin show you how to optimize engine efficiency and longevity throughenlightened mixture management.Pelican’s Perch #17: Strange Critters Pilots, Captains, and Chief Pilots – (Articles – May 171999)
AVweb columnist John Deakin – whose commits his day job in the left frontseat of a Boeing 747 – offers a riotous insider’s look at the professionalpilot 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.Pelican’s Perch #16: Those Marvelous Props – (Articles – Apr 19 1999)
In this month’s column AVweb’s John Deakin moves from the black knobs (MP) tothe blue ones (RPM). He starts with a history lesson about how we got fromwindmills to fixed-pitch propellers, adjustable and controllable ones, andultimately to constant-speed props. John then explains how they work, why theywork the way they do, and how you can tell if they’re working the way they’resupposed to. He even answers that age-old conundrum: how many times should youcycle the prop at runup?Pelican’s Perch #15: Manifold Pressure Sucks! – (Articles – Mar 21 1999)
If you fly behind a piston engine with a controllable-pitch propeller, themanifold pressure gauge plays an important part in the power settings you use.Few pilots, however, have any real understanding of what the instrument actuallymeasures or what its readings truly signify. Pelican to the rescue! Read thiscolumn by AVweb’s John Deakin and you’ll be able to teach your CFI and A&P athing or three about MP.Pelican’s Perch #14: Pigs Flew at Air America! – (Articles – Feb 21 1999)
For over 30 years, AVweb’s John Deakin has been flying big iron for JapanAirlines. But in a previous lifetime (mid-60s), John flew for Air America inSoutheast Asia. (Yes, THAT Air America.) As you might imagine, he’s got azillion fabulous and funny flying stories from those days. This true tale oflivestock 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?Pelican’s Perch #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 upwith it, says AVweb’s John Deakin, who explains why it’s perfectly safe – andperfectly legal – to use cheap welder’s oxygen, and tells you exactly what youneed to know to buy it in bulk and do your own refills.Pelican’s Perch #12: Warbird Crews Wanted! – (Articles – Dec 27 1998)
The last time you were at an airshow, did you wonder what it takes to keepall those warbirds up and running? Ever wanted to get “up close andpersonal” with the people and the machines themselves? So have we. Inresponse, AVweb’s John Deakin takes readers on a mini-tour of what a”warbird” is, discusses some of the considerations in getting involvedwith a warbird group and even offers some suggestions on whom to contact tolearn more. Be sure to bring your ear plugs – and your wallet!Pelican’s Perch #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 lackof action or misunderstanding, AVweb’s John Deakin takes on the subject offlying IFR with your GPS handheld. “Not legal,” you say? “Notso,” says John. Flying IFR with your handheld GPS is not only legal, it’s agodsend he says, and explains just how to get the most out of that handful ofnavigation wizardry.Pelican’s Perch #10: A Pox on Stabilized Approaches! – (Articles – Oct 31 1998)
But isn’t a stabilized approach a “good thing”? AVweb’s John Deakinpoints out that a necessity in the jet transport world is a detriment to thoseof 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 torealize the danger they place themselves in by doing so. A stabilized approachin our GA aircraft is a far different animal than that flown by an airlinecaptain in his jet and you’d best recognize the difference before it bites.Pelican’s Perch #9: The Type Rating Checkride – (Articles – Oct 4 1998)
Anyone who likes checkrides has to be nuts, says AVweb’s John Deakin. Wedon’t expect to find many who disagree. As an FAA Designated Examiner who mustalso take checkrides himself, John gives pointers from both sides of thecockpit. 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 importantinformation that could make your next checkride a lot easier.
Pelican’s Perch #8: GoAhead, Abuse Your Engine! – (Articles – Sep 11 1998)AVweb’s John Deakin is asking you to abuse your engine, or so it might seemto 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 supportshis unorthodox engine operating suggestions with data that proves the old waysmay actually be worse for your engine. Wrong may well be right! If you’ve beentaught that you must always reduce MP before reducing RPM, you’re going to beforced to rethink that notion. If you think you’re helping your engine livelonger by reducing MP to 25 inches after takeoff, boy are you going to be amazedat how badly you’ve been abusing your engine. And, that’s only for starters.Pelican’s Perch #7: Run That Fuel Tank Dry! – (Articles – Aug 9 1998)
AVweb’s John Deakin takes aim at yet another OWT (Old Wive’s Tale). Whilerunning a fuel tank dry in your recip powered plane may serve to increase yourheart rate, John explains why it’s not such a bad thing at all, and it isprobably a really good idea for most of us. In fact, John explains why it’s oneof the first things you ought to do with a new plane and how it could save yourlife someday.Pelican’s Perch #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 sayinggood things about the FAA! Well, not the whole FAA, but still, it’s quite ashock 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 sonice? Well, it has to do with flying some warbirds, but for the rest of thestory you’ll have to read John’s column. Just make sure you’re sitting downfirst.Pelican’s Perch #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, contraryto the FARs? AVweb columnist John Deakin doesn’t much like it at all and callsthe FAA down to the chief pilot’s office for a rug dance. Seems there’s a FSDOout there busting IFR checkrides for not timing a full ILS. However, there’snothing in the PTS that says you should, and AVweb’s resident Pelican doesn’tthink much of the idea in any case.Pelican’s Perch #4: Engine Failure! – (Articles – May 18 1998)
It ain’t easy being contrary, but AVweb’s John Deakin makes the effortworthwhile. Engine failure in a piston twin is no time to be messing withcomplicated procedures that some seem to favor. John lays out hisstraightforward ideas on how to react to this critical emergency – andexplains why in detail. There’s more to it than just “identify, verify,feather” or “dead foot, dead engine.” Once again, the real worldrequirements that could save your life may not be well served by some of”the old ways.”

Pelican’s Perch #4: Engine Failure! Linked References – (Articles – May 18 1998)
This article is a companion to “Pelican’s Perch #4: EngineFailure!” by John Deakin. It contains additional notes, references, andcomments.

Pelican’s Perch #3: What Really Counts – (Articles – Apr 24 1998)
John Deakin tears apart his own impressive flying bio (32,000 hours, 747captain, designated pilot examiner, yadda yadda yadda) to make the point thattens of thousands of hours, gray hair, advanced ratings and the rest don’tnecessarily mean a pilot is worth listening to. He encourages pilots to thinkabout the advice they are given – is it sage advice that could save you from alot of trouble some day, or just a bunch of nonsense from the local ABM (airportbig mouth)? Along the way, Deakin skewers a few OWTs (old wives’ tales) -flying myths that just never seem to die.Pelican’s Perch #2: Checklists Redux – (Articles – Apr 4 1998)
John Deakin’s first “Pelican’s Perch” column, “Throw Away ThatStupid Checklist,” generated considerable controversy. (There’s nothingwrong with that, it’s why we asked John to write: to make us all think aboutwhat we are doing.) Unfortunately, a good deal of that controversy appears tostem from misunderstandings about what he wrote, generating more heat than lighton the subject. Others apparently agree with John’s points, but for some reasonthink he shouldn’t say what he said. In this column, John clarifies some of thepoints that appear to have been misunderstood by some readers and he then goeson to expand upon the subject of checklist use.Pelican’s Perch #1: Throw Away That Stupid Checklist! – (Articles – Mar 3 1998)
Say again? You heard correct, just toss it. “Heresy!” some willcry, but AVweb columnist John Deakin – who’s not only a 32,000-hour 747captain, but also a Bonanza owner and FAA-designated pilot examiner – explainswhy written checklists are neither necessary or appropriate to single-pilotoperations. Deakin offers a viable alternative that could save your life.