February 2018

Download the Full February 2018 Issue PDF

Subscribers Only - Long-time readers may recall my earlier screeds about the threat of privatizing the nation’s air traffic control system. The most serious attempt to privatize ATC is found in legislation pending before the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 2997, the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act, or simply the 21st Century AIRR Act. In addition to privatizing the U.S. ATC system, the bill funds FAA programs for a multiyear period.

Get Out The Fork

Long-time readers may recall my earlier screeds about the threat of privatizing the nation’s air traffic control system. The most serious attempt to privatize ATC is found in legislation pending before the U.S. House of Representatives, H.R. 2997, the 21st Century Aviation Innovation, Reform, and Reauthorization Act, or simply the 21st Century AIRR Act. In addition to privatizing the U.S. ATC system, the bill funds FAA programs for a multiyear period.

Circling Notes

If I could only subscribe to a single aviation magazine, it would have to be Aviation Safety. It’s that good. In the December 2017 article, “Say Approach Request,” while discussing the RNAV (GPS) Runway 35 approach at the Asheville, N.C., Regional Airport (KAVL), you say that circling west of the runway is not authorized at night. Then you say that circling west is legal in daytime, but not recommended because of the brown bits on the chart.

Lessons From A Veteran Cargo Dog

Subscribers Only - After a half-century of experience in the cargo flying sector, long-time pilot Stan DeLong has seen it all. He claims to be semi-retired, but he still flies a Piper Navajo Chieftain during United Parcel Service’s peak season, and is chief pilot and check airman for Gem Air, LLC. If you make the mistake of assuming his experience is geographically limited, he also is check airman for Côte d’Ivoire (formerly the Ivory Coast) in Africa... but…

Smoke In The Cockpit!

Subscribers Only - I had an eventful flight the other night. The day before, I had picked up my Beech Model 58P Pressurized Baron from its annual inspection and some extensive panel work at a facility in Massachusetts. After the paperwork was complete, I did my usual careful post-maintenance inspection and then test-flew it around the pattern several times before putting it away in my hangar back at its base

Which Airspeed?

Subscribers Only - One of the most important bits of information pilots can glean from our instrument panels is airspeed. It’s used on takeoff to gauge when to apply backpressure for liftoff, it’s used when landing to ensure we’re neither too slow or too fast, and we use it in cruise to help verify performance (and establish bragging rights). Depending on the airplane and the day’s mission, we may also use it to ensure we’re at or below an appropriate speed before penetrating turbulence or conducting various maneuvers.

Choosing An Alternate

Subscribers Only - Most IFR operations don’t require an alternate airport. That’s because the advertised weather often is better than required to select one and list it in a flight plan. That doesn’t mean we shouldn’t at least have something in mind as an alternative place to land if, say, some nummy lands gear-up at your destination or, as we saw in December 2017, an entire major airport finds itself without power.

The Two-Pilot Problem

Problems arise when both pilots are trying to fly the same airplane at the same time. The result often can be no one is flying. That’s when hijinks ensue and both pilots become passengers. While the FARs make it clear there can be only one pilot in command, the reality is we often split duties while airborne with two. It usually works out, but clear delineation of responsibilities is a must.

FAA Highlights Runway Collision Risks

Subscribers Only - According to the SAFO, the following paragraph will be added to the ATC Order: “Crossing of active runway(s) by aircraft/vehicle(s): 1. During departure operations, ensure that aircraft/vehicles intending to cross a runway do not cross the runway holding position markings until the controller visually observes the departure aircraft in a turn, or the departure aircraft has passed the point where the crossing aircraft/vehicle is located, regardless of altitude, unless authorized in FAA Order JO 7110.65, 3-10-10, Altitude Restricted Low Approach.”

Low, Slow, And Heavy

Subscribers Only - A pilot friend of mine once described a trip he and I flew in my airplane as “boring.” It was a one-stopper from Wichita to Florida, mostly done in or above IMC and at 11,000 feet msl. It was a smooth flight without any drama, but my passenger found it unsatisfactory because he couldn’t see the ground for most of it. He would have preferred more opportunities to look out the windows as the world slid past, something only possible if we had flown lower and slower, both of which would have made the trip longer and less efficient. He was okay with that, however. I wasn’t.

NTSB Reports

Subscribers Only - At about 1735 Pacific time, the airplane sustained substantial damage during a forced landing after a reported loss of engine power. The flight instructor and commercial pilot sustained minor injuries. Visual conditions prevailed. According to the pilot, on final approach, one of the airplane’s two engines began to surge and lost power. Unable to make the airport, he decided to land on a nearby field located on a golf course. During the landing, the airplane’s right wing struck an obstacle, resulting in substantial damage to the wing. The airplane came to rest in a pond, submerged in water.

Downdraft Dual

Subscribers Only - I am a lapsed pilot who last flew 47 years ago. I’ve recently gotten back into the left seat and have picked up about 10 new hours flying with a CFI. The first few hours were intimidating, but confidence is returning every. Until, that is, a few days ago.

Landing Gear Issues

Aircraft experienced a right main landing gear unsafe indication on gear extension at destination. After following emergency procedures, the crew was not able to obtain a safe indication. The aircraft landed and, on coming to a stop, the right main gear collapsed. Significant damage to the right main landing gear actuator support structure was discovered. The actuator was observed in the extended position.