The Day I Flew the F-16 »

Picture this: You're a retired high school teacher who flew jets in Vietnam and spent 51/2 years in a North Vietnamese POW camp after your F-105 was shot down. But that was thirty years ago. Then one day you get a letter inviting you to return to the cockpit and fly the F-16 "Fighting Falcon" for one day as part of the USAF 50th anniversary celebration. Well, that's exactly what happened to me, and here's an account of one of my most interesting military flights...probably my last. More

That Little Ercoupe »

The Ercoupe was an oddball airplane. With no rudder pedals, it could get "interesting" to fly in crosswinds. It was underpowered, cramped and slow. But this strange little machine sure was fun to fly...and cheap! Phil Rowe reminisces about some of his Ercouple experiences back in the '60s. More

Daddy, Why Are There Clouds? »

The question is deceptively simple, but as you'll see, the answer isn't. The author is an instrument-rated pilot who flies out of Gaithersburg, Maryland. He also holds a degree in meteorology. More

Class B Basics: The ABCs of Class B Airspace »

The regs allow private pilots and even student pilots under certain circumstances to operate at major airline hubs alongside the heavy iron. But before doing so, you'd be well advised to bone up on the requirements, procedures, and fees. Flight Training magazine's Robert N. Rossier offers a primer for the Class B first-timer. More

Taking the High Road »

It's amazing how many piston pilots shy away from using the high-altitude capabilities of their airplanes. That's a shame, says AVweb's Mike Busch, because whether you fly a pressurized twin or a humble straight-leg Skylane, up high is almost always the best way to fly eastbound...and often westbound, too! Using actual performance and winds aloft data, Busch makes a compelling case for high-altitude flight, and offers some handy rules-of-thumb for picking an optimum cruise altitude. More

Hold Entries Revisited »

Two almost foolproof methods and a test of some hold-entry gadgets, two of which actually work. More

Flying Real-World Weather »

G.A. pilots are taught to stay on the ground when the weather briefing doesn't look good. That advice may be Politically Correct, but it doesn't cut the mustard if you use your airplane as a serious long-range transportation tool. The author has flown dozens of coast-to-coast trips by lightplane in all sorts of weather, and offers one experienced instrument pilot's perspective on how to deal with real-world weather. More

Using GPS as Backup in IMC When Instruments Fail »

A 31,000-hour 747 captain, lightplane owner and CFI discusses how an inexpensive handheld GPS receiver can serve as an effective backup in case of failure of gyro instruments, airspeed indicator, or even altimeter. The author contends that as GPS quickly becomes ubiquitous throughout the fleet, pilots should be trained to use it in equipment failure scenarios. He also discusses the use of the magnetic compass and ADF as backup instruments in IMC. More

Don't "Hang Ten" in Your Airplane »

As winter grudgingly gives way to spring and icy runways become wet ones, a new hazard emerges: hydroplaning. It might be great for surfboards, but it's no fun at all when it happens to an airplane on the runway. Bruce Edston explains the three different forms of hydroplaning and offers some prevention strategies. More