The NTSB issued five safety alerts on Tuesday that aim to highlight the five most frequent errors that cause general aviation accidents. "We see the same types of accidents over and over again," said NTSB Chairman Deborah Hersman. "What's especially tragic is that so many of these accidents are entirely preventable." The alerts remind pilots to develop effective risk-management strategies, pay close attention to maintenance issues and always conduct a careful diagnostic flight after leaving the shop, be vigilant when flying at night or in reduced visibility, and be sure to understand stalls and how to prevent them. One alert, aimed at mechanics, reminds them to carefully follow procedures when conducting inspections and maintaining aircraft.
Popular aviation charts vendor Air Chart Systems has sent a notice to its subscribers that it's ceasing publication of the spiral-bound paper atlases that were its signature product for more than 50 years. In a note attached to the March 7 electronic update of en route charts and approach plates the company suggests it's out of the paper charts business. "Due to adverse business conditions and the increasing use of electronic charts, we will not be publishing our atlases or renewing next cycle," the note reads. The company says it will no longer mail hard copy updates either. The company has not responded to our repeated attempts to contact them for clarification of the note.
An old and often-used justification for owning a light General Aviation aircraft is the ability to bypass the automobile and the airlines in order to spend valuable time in a more productive manner. This rationalization focuses on the time savings created by flying oneself. Thus, according to the reasoning, it is possible to easily meet with clients in distant cities and be home for dinner. And as pilots, we also know it's always more fun to fly ourselves than it is to drive or to sit in the back of a crowded airliner.
Kick the tires, light the fires. So goes a popular, flippant saying about preflight inspections. Most of the time, that's what we and various accident reports would label an "inadequate preflight inspection." Sometimes-immediately after stopping long enough to drop off or load a passenger, for example-it might be adequate. After all, we just flew it in here-it's a perfectly good airplane; why bother risking burnt fingers to check the engine oil or soiling our clothes to check tire pressure? Indeed, we don't go to such trouble when getting in a car; why are we conducting an inspection at all?
One of the biggest reasons cylinders fail to go the distance is insufficient fuel flow at takeoff. Is yours set high enough?
Stabilized approaches aren't just for the Jet-A club. AVweb's Thomas P. Turner suggests ways to make them work for piston-pounders.