Pelican's Perch #33:
Those Fire-Breathing Turbos (Part 3)

In his third column about turbocharged piston engines, AVweb's John Deakin delves into some of the little-understood subtleties of managing these powerplants. Among other things, the Pelican explains how changing the MP and RPM affects mixture, how changing mixture affects horsepower and combustion timing, and why proper combustion timing is so darn important to the health and efficiency of your engine. More

Pelican's Perch #31:
Those Fire-Breathing Turbos (Part 1)

By popular demand, AVweb's John Deakin kicks off a series of columns about the care and feeding of turbocharged piston aircraft engines. This month's article reviews the convoluted history of pumped-up engines from the earliest gear-driven supercharged radials to the latest turbocharged flat engines found in today's GA fleet. More

Pelican's Perch #32:
Those Fire-Breathing Turbos (Part 2)

In this second in a series of columns on turbocharged piston engines, AVweb's John Deakin offers a detailed walk-through of a typical turbo system from intercooler to wastegate and everything in between. He then explains how the various system components function during each phase of flight from engine start through runup, takeoff, climb, cruise, and shutdown. More

Pelican's Perch #30:
The 45-Degree Zealots

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 of pilots and even some FAA inspectors who consider any other type of pattern entry (straight-in, crosswind, etc.) to be a felony. These "traffic pattern nazis" are sometimes heard chewing out fellow pilots on CTAF for their heinous transgressions. Rubbish, says AVweb's John Deakin, who explains that sometimes the 45-degree entry is best and sometimes it isn't. Deakin explains his approach to flying traffic patterns at non-towered airports, which involves hard-to-legislate concepts like common sense and courtesy. More

Pelican's Perch #29:
They're Messing with Part 61 — Again!

Not quite three years ago, the FAA implemented a massive rewrite of the FARs that govern certification of pilots and instructors. The result was a great deal of confusion, a bunch of band-aid fixes, and issuance of an interpretive FAQ that has now grown to three times the size of Part 61 itself! Well, at least the dust is now settling, right? "Wrong," says AVweb's John Deakin, who recently learned that those hard-working folks at 800 Indy are now putting the finishing touches on yet another NPRM that would make a whole new round of changes to these regs. Deakin details the proposed tweaks, and lets us know precisely what he thinks of them. More

Pelican's Perch #28:
Sometimes There's Bad Air Out There

Crop dusters call it "bad air." The weather guessers call it "wind shear." But whatever you call it, abrupt changes in wind velocity and/or direction have been responsible for a bunch of jet transport crashes, and a bunch more non-crashes that must have caused the cockpit crew to take up another line of work. AVweb's John Deakin relates some personal wind shear experiences, dissects some wind shear-related jet crashes, and sheds light on the phenomenon by going back to basics. More

Pelican's Perch #27:
AS261, the Media, and Pitch Control

The recent crash of Alaska Flight 261 near Los Angeles triggered a torrent of TV and newspaper reports that displayed profound ignorance of pitch control systems not only among reporters (where it might be expected) but also in the pilot community. After taking a few potshots at the media, AVweb's John Deakin describes the three basic types of pitch control systems plus a bunch of variations, and talks about what can go wrong and how pilots should react. More

Pelican's Perch #26:
No Pisco Sours for Me, Thanks!

There are two kinds of pilots: those who sheepishly admit to having done some incredibly dumb thing while flying, and those who are liars. AVweb's John Deakin, who is decidedly in the first category, recounts the closest he ever came to killing himself in an airplane (during a ferry flight in Peru nearly 40 years ago), and examines some of the lessons he learned the hard way from that experience. More

Pelican's Perch #25:
How I Learned to Love CANPA

John Deakin's prior column criticizing the use of VNAV during non-precision approaches provoked a torrent of dissenting reader responses, much of it from Airbus pilots and other glass-cockpit operators. Never one to take this sort of thing lying down, AVweb's resident iconoclast fires back at these pinball wizards and flying videogame players, then discusses the best way for real pilots to fly various kinds of approaches (LOC, straight-in VOR/NDB, offset VOR/NDB) in various kinds of airplanes (glass cockpit, steam gauge, flib). More

Pelican's Perch #24:
Sloppy, Sorry VNAV

Flying a non-precision approach has traditionally been a "Dive and Drive" affair in which the pilot descends rapidly to the MDA or step-down altitude and then levels off. Recently, however, pilots of aircraft equipped with glass cockpit FMS systems or VNAV-capable GPS receivers have been encouraged to fly such approaches using a constant descent path. There's even a buzzword for this: CANPA (constant-angle non-precision approach), and these calculated pseudo-glideslopes are now starting to show up on Jeppesen approach plates. AVweb's John Deakin thinks this is a bad idea, one that will result in a lot 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. More