Pelican's Perch #54:
Pitch, Power, and Pink Elephants

Every primary student is taught that power controls altitude and pitch controls airspeed — or was that power controls airspeed and pitch controls altitude? Truth is that pilots have been arguing about this since Orville and Wilbur debated the question over a couple of beers at Kitty Hawk. AVweb's John Deakin (who claims to have been there at the time) weighs in on this issue by offering some real-world scenarios and taking a look at how modern autopilots work. More

Pelican's Perch #53:
Well, SIAP on You, Too!

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 of an SIAP and how to shoot an approach legally and safety — and tosses in some tricks, some gotchas, and some interesting case studies. More

Pelican's Perch #52:
The C-131 Emergency Checklist

John Deakin’s last column about the normal-procedures checklist he developed for the CAF’s C-131 (Convair 340) produced such an enthusiastic response — and so many good suggestions — that John decided to devote this month's column to the plane’s emergency checklist. If you’ve ever wondered about what goes on in a complex radial-engine transport aircraft cockpit when the kimshee hits the fan, wonder no longer. More

Pelican's Perch #51:
Our New C-131 Checklist

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 resident pelican has been spending a lot of time on lately. John Deakin offers a guided tour of his new C-131 checklist, and explains some of the thinking and human-factors considerations that went into it. More

Pelican's Perch #50:
Our New C-131

AVweb's John Deakin devotes this month's column (and next) to his favorite charity, hobby, and passion: the just-renamed Commemorative Air Force. Deak tells of the organization's need for pilots, mechanics and volunteers, and discusses one of CAF's newest acquisitions, a beautifully restored C-131 (military version of the Convair 340 airliner). More

Pelican's Perch #48:
Safe ... or Free?

We all remember where we were on September 11 as terrorists attacked the World Trade Center in New York. AVweb's John Deakin was in an FBO in Amsterdam when 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 an American. More

Pelican's Perch #49:
Starting an Airline

Nowadays, starting a new airline requires tens of millions of dollars in capital and nearly that many pages of FAA paperwork. But back in the 1950s, all it 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 career back then, and he tells a first-person tale of such a venture that actually got off the ground, albeit briefly. More

Pelican's Perch #47:
The Old Commando

AVweb's John Deakin has logged PIC time in everything from Beech V35s to Boeing 747s and Grumman Bearcats to Gulfstream IVs. But the Pelican's favorite airplane of all time is the Curtiss-Wright C-46 "Commando" — a WWII-vintage twin-radial-engined taildragger that looks a lot like a DC-3 on steroids, but in truth is a different beast altogether. John's column this month discusses the idiosyncrasies of this unique airplane and his memories of flying it, first 40 years ago in Southeast Asia and more recently on the airshow circuit. Lots of lovely photos, too. More

Pelican's Perch #46:
"But My Mechanic Says ..."

Ever notice that whenever a piston aircraft engine has low compression or some other cylinder problem, chances are the mechanic will blame it on "running too lean"? Regular readers of John Deakin's AVweb columns know better, of course: Lean-of-peak operation is cooler, cleaner, and kinder to the engine. If you wonder why most A&Ps are so ill informed about modern mixture management, just take a look at what the FAA requires them to be taught in AMT school! More

Pelican's Perch #45:
Modern Flight Training ... Isn't

AVweb's John Deakin just received his Gulfstream IV type rating after three weeks of intensive ground school and sim training at Simuflite in Dallas. He'd long 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 him feeling far less than well-trained. John details what happened — and pulls no punches in assigning blame. More