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Archive for the 'Safety' Category

ADSB and Mid-air Collisions

Thursday, August 6th, 2020

Juan Brown recently did a video on a mid-air on a lake near Coeur D’Alene Idaho and some of the things he said are not exactly correct. I’d like to correct the record here. Juan is a little loose in the way he is using the term “uncontrolled airspace”. What he means is that the […]

Survey instead of Checklist fro Takeoff and Landing

Monday, August 5th, 2019

An instructor I know prefers to use what he calls “Surveys” instead of checklists for takeoff and landing GA aircraft. Pre-Takeoff Survey Fuel Selector On ………………. Left or Right? Mixture Position ………………. Full Rich or Leaned? Propeller …………………….. Max RPM, Yes or No? Heading Index on Takeoff Runway …. Yes or No? Trim Setting ………………….. […]

Hazardous Attitudes

Thursday, February 9th, 2017

The FAA has been emphasizing recognition and the antidote to hazardous attitudes and asks about them on most of the knowledge tests. The Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25B) lists them. Being fit to fly depends on more than just a pilot’s physical condition and recent experience. For example, attitude affects the quality of decisions. […]

Causal Factors for General Aviation Accidents/Incidents

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

I just ran across this FAA publication investigating accidents due to mechanical issues from 1984 to 2004. 16,213 accidents/incidents (26%) are classified with an ATA code as the causal factor. An ATA code indicates a mechanical malfunction of the aircraft’s systems. The remaining accidents/incidents were attributable to non-mechanical factors, including pilot error, human factor related […]

Controls Free and Correct

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

We are taught to check that the controls are free and correct on every flight. Some pilots skip that step. Airplane Misrigging Lessons Learned From a Close Call What needs to be added to post-maintenance checklists is to check the operation of trim if any maintenance is done on the controls. The NTSB found that […]

Loss of Control

Tuesday, January 24th, 2017

We haven’t had a FAAST presentation in our town for a couple of years and I was looking forward to attending the recent on on loss of control. Unfortunately, it turned out to be one of the worst presentations I’ve ever attended. The presenter was fairly well-spoken, but the entire presentation consisted of reading slides […]

Stalling in the Traffic Pattern

Monday, January 23rd, 2017

From Plane and Pilot This is how it happens. The pilot turns base to final and notices a following wind is causing him to overshoot the centerline. He adds a little left uncoordinated rudder in an attempt to bring the nose of the aircraft back toward the runway. The aircraft rolls a bit to the […]

The Impossible Turn

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

Cessna 182 Engine Failure – Crash Landing The pilot of this Cessna carefully followed the checklist before takeoff and his engine quit shortly after liftoff. It’s not clear if he did anything to try to restart the engine, but he definitely did the right thing in landing straight ahead. The Impossible Turn – Engine Failure […]

Engine Out

Sunday, January 22nd, 2017

Engine Failure in a Single Engine Tip: Know your best glide speed. It varies by weight but at least get close. Tip: First establish best glide speed and trim the airplane. Then head toward the nearest airport (or a good landing site). Once you are trimmed and headed to a safe landing site, troubleshoot. Remember […]

Thoughts on Checklists

Thursday, August 4th, 2016

I recently showed a student pilot how to pre-flight the Cherokee. We talked about all the things to look for—bug nests on the pitot-static ports, loose screws, brake fluid on the ground, bird’s nests in the tail cone and engine compartment, etc. Then we did the pre-takeoff checks using a pre-printed checklist, taxied around the […]

Emergency Kit

Sunday, May 1st, 2016

Tylenol/Paracetamol (pain and fever reduction) Ibuprofen (pain and fever reducer, anti-inflammatory) Antihistamine (allergies, sleep aid) Pseudoephedrine (nasal decongestant, helps with “ear pop” from planes) Loperamide/Immodium (anti-diarrheal) Multi-tool (Macgyver always had his) Safety pins (quick fix for clothing, making an arm sling, emergency cloth) Sun screen (SPF 15 minimum, small bottle or packets Bandanna (sling for […]

Throttle operation

Tuesday, December 15th, 2015

The trainer you learned to fly in probably had a carbureted engine. when starting the engine you were told to never push in the throttle unless you were cranking the engine. When doing the annual we learned first-hand why you were told that. One of the things that we normally do is to lube the […]

The most important piece of safety equipment.

Tuesday, March 17th, 2015

You know what your most important piece of safety equipment is? Your credit card! With that, you can rent a car, get a hotel room, buy an airline ticket, or do whatever you need to do so you are not flying in conditions you shouldn’t be in.

Maneuvering Speed

Tuesday, January 28th, 2014

Maneuvering speed, Va, is defined (either normal or utility) as the maximum speed the airplane can fly and be able to stall before any structural damage occurs on the wings from excessive loads. It almost seems like a speed set for the airplane, like an amp limit for a breaker in an electrical circuit, before […]

Caution Wake Turbulence

Friday, April 26th, 2013

Runway Status Lights

Tuesday, August 30th, 2011

The FAA publishes lots of interesting info, but sometimes it’s hard to find. So I’m reposting this email for your edification. Runway Status Lights Are Coming to an Airport Near You Notice Number: NOTC3171 Runway Status Lights What Are Runway Status Lights? Runway Status Lights (RWSL) are a series of red in-pavement lights that warn […]

Runway Crossing Rules

Friday, April 23rd, 2010

The runway crossing instructions were changed in 2010 to emphasize that give and pilots must read back instructions to hold short of crossing runways. Order JO 7110.65, Air Traffic Control Paragraph 3-7-2, Taxi and Ground Movement Operations 4. Explanation of Policy Change. This change establishes the requirement that an explicit runway crossing clearance be issued […]


Sunday, March 28th, 2010

Great article on flutter and why it is a problem for pilots. Breakups in flight because of flutter are rare because of the extensive testing that is done by manufacturers. This is the video of the Commanche flutter test. And one of a Boeing 747. And a longish one on what went into testing the […]

Carbon Monoxide

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009

Carbon monoxide isn’t usually a problem with well-maintained aircraft, however, it’s enough of a risk that many people use CO monitors to detect concentrations while flying. Most sound an alarm at a preset level and many read the concentration in parts per million (PPM). One of the students brought his monitor and we used it […]

EMAS – Engineered Material Arresting System

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

I was listening to the tower at JFK and pulled up the airport diagram to follow along. I noticed the notation EMAS and 392 × 226 at the approach end of Rwy 22L. The Google Maps image below shows what it looks like from the air. It turns out that there are many airports that […]

Why I dislike GUMPS

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

The use of the GUMPS check has never made any sense to me. It is usually taught to students flying simple trainers and doesn’t really apply. I’ll describe an alternative after I dissect the current practice. GUMPS usually stands for Gas, Undercarriage, Mixture, Prop, Safety. Sometimes GUMPRS, adds Radios to the list and C-GUMPS for […]

IFR for VFR pilots – around the pattern

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

If you listen to the tower and traffic at a local airport you’ll get a feel for the landmarks that the tower uses for incoming traffic. At SBP for example, traffic that is straight in is asked to report abeam the landfill. Sometimes it is phrased as “report four-mile final”. If you are in the […]

Aircraft in the Pattern

Thursday, November 29th, 2007

The pilot of an aircraft in VFR conditions is always responsible for seeing and avoiding other aircraft. This list is a quick shortcut to help you identify aircraft in the pattern. You can find pictures and info on all of these planes at Airliners.net. When identifying your aircraft while approaching the pattern it helps others […]

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