Pelican's Perch #23:
Age Sixty — And That Moron Quesada

AVweb's John Deakin takes a whimsical look at his recent compulsory retirement after 25 years in the left seat of a Boeing 747. But, his whimsy turns to anger as he looks at the origin of the unfair, arbitrary, and illogical rule that has clipped the wings of thousands of fine young 60-year-old airline pilots at the peak of their game. Deakin has reserved a special place in hell for the first FAA Administrator who enacted the mandatory retirement age, and offers a couple of suggestions that might help get rid of this insane rule. If you're a Deakin fan (and who isn't?), this is one of his best. More

Pelican's Perch #22:
Short- and Soft-Field Takeoffs — FAA vs. Reality

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 the FAA's Flight Training Handbook), and then there's the right way. The problem with the FAA way, says Deakin, is that it's predicated on certification requirements which are totally unrealistic. As usual, AVweb's resident pelican shreds the conventional wisdom, then explains how it's really done. More

Pelican's Perch #21:
Connie, My Connie

In aviation, as in life, the grass is always greener on the other side of the fence. Want proof? While most pilots would gladly give up a major body part for a single flight in the left seat of a Boeing 747, AVweb's John Deakin for whom 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 and prince of props: the Lockheed Constellation. Recently, Deak had the chance to do precisely that as PIC, no less and devotes his entire column to bragging shamelessly about it. More

Pelican's Perch #19:
Putting It All Together

In recent columns, John Deakin has explained all you need to know and more than some of you wanted to know about the three engine controls: throttle (MP), prop (RPM), and mixture. Now, AVweb's resident pelican puts all that theory into practical perspective by taking you through each phase of a flight start, taxi, runup, takeoff, climb, cruise, descent and landing and offering specific tips for getting the most from your piston powerplant. More

Pelican's Perch #18:
Mixture Magic

If you fly recips, what leaning procedure do you use? Chances are that almost everything your CFI told you about using the red knob and most of what you've read and heard since then is just plain hogwash! We suggest you forget everything you thought you knew about the subject, and let AVweb's John Deakin show you how to optimize engine efficiency and longevity through enlightened mixture management. More

Pelican's Perch #17:
Strange Critters — Pilots, Captains, and Chief Pilots

AVweb columnist John Deakin whose commits his day job in the left front seat of a Boeing 747 offers a riotous insider's look at the professional pilot 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. More

Pelican's Perch #16:
Those Marvelous Props

In this month's column AVweb's John Deakin moves from the black knobs (MP) to the blue ones (RPM). He starts with a history lesson about how we got from windmills to fixed-pitch propellers, adjustable and controllable ones, and ultimately to constant-speed props. John then explains how they work, why they work the way they do, and how you can tell if they're working the way they're supposed to. He even answers that age-old conundrum: how many times should you cycle the prop at runup? More

Pelican's Perch #15:
Manifold Pressure Sucks!

If you fly behind a piston engine with a controllable-pitch propeller, the manifold pressure gauge plays an important part in the power settings you use. Few pilots, however, have any real understanding of what the instrument actually measures or what its readings truly signify. Pelican to the rescue! Read this column by AVweb's John Deakin and you'll be able to teach your CFI and A&P a thing or three about MP. More

Pelican's Perch #14:
Pigs Flew at Air America!

For over 30 years, AVweb's John Deakin has been flying big iron for Japan Airlines. But in a previous lifetime (mid-60s), John flew for Air America in Southeast Asia. (Yes, THAT Air America.) As you might imagine, he's got a zillion fabulous and funny flying stories from those days. This true tale of livestock 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? More

Pelican's Perch #13:
Getting High on Welder's Oxygen

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 up with it, says AVweb's John Deakin, who explains why it's perfectly safe and perfectly legal to use cheap welder's oxygen, and tells you exactly what you need to know to buy it in bulk and do your own refills. More