January 2018

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Subscribers Only - Despite all the gloom and doom about piston-powered general aviation’s future you’ve probably heard lately around the FBO’s coffee pot, the industry actually isn’t doing too badly. Three data points that became available late in 2017 bear this out.

Holiday Gifts

Despite all the gloom and doom about piston-powered general aviation’s future you’ve probably heard lately around the FBO’s coffee pot, the industry actually isn’t doing too badly. Three data points that became available late in 2017 bear this out.

Where’s It Say That?

I read Jeb Burnside’s article about ILS and LPV approaches, (“Say Approach Request,” December 2017) and therein was a comment that had me doing internet searches: “I’m sure all of us are completing that paperwork every 30 days, right along with logging when we update the GPS navigator’s database.”

Transitioning To Different Aircraft

Most pilots look forward to the challenge involved in qualifying to fly a new make or model aircraft. They anticipate the ritual involved in the “checkout” and are understandably proud when they receive a signoff from a flight instructor. That ritual may involve one flight and three touch-and-goes, or multiple flights and several instrument approaches, among other operations. Regardless, managing the risks of introducing yourself to a new aircraft is at the core of this…

A Renter’s Lament

Subscribers Only - Pilots wanting to fly but who don’t have the resources to own and operate their own airplane usually find themselves renting from an FBO or training organization, joining a flying club or entering into some kind of shared ownership arrangement. Renting or sharing airplanes often can be a good choice for someone with varying needs, but experiences can vary and your operational priorities, to put it gently, may not be shared by the organization supplying the aircraft.

One Pilot’s Progression

Subscribers Only - Like most pilots, my primary training started at the local FBO. After a few months of the usual plateaus and valleys, I was progressing well and nearing the private checkride. But within a matter of a few weeks, all the instructors left for greener pastures and there was no one available to finish me off. In the meantime, the Cessna 150 and Cherokee 140 I had been flying were sold; there was nothing to fly…

How Will They Know?

Subscribers Only - Many years ago, I happened to overhear one pilot ask another, “How did they find out?” The question revolved around a situation resulting from an error in judgment concerning operation of an unairworthy (out-of-annual-inspection) aircraft. While there was no accident, a somewhat unusual event occurred that was traced to a mouse nest in the carburetor heater duct, which caused a rough-running engine. After a precautionary landing, mechanics discovered the problem and thought it was hilarious.

Confronting The Ice Queen

Years ago, when a good friend and airline captain heard I had earned my IFR rating, he congratulated me: “You’ll be a much safer pilot.” And then he startled me by adding, “Just don’t ever use it here in the West.” He went on to explain that since IFR often means thunderstorms or icing, “You have no business in either of them.” To a large degree, he was absolutely right.

BasicMed Update

Subscribers Only - According to AOPA, approximately 25,000 pilots have taken advantage of BasicMed since its official rollout on May 1, 2017. Because the FAA does not track this, we don’t know whether one of BasicMed’s hoped-for outcomes is a reality: Did the new process encourage dormant pilots to start flying again? Thus, we don’t know the percentage of pilots who did not have a current medical after a multiyear hiatus from flying and decided to get back into flying with BasicMed, as opposed to pilots with medicals who renewed expiring medicals with BasicMed.

A Bad Time For Circling

Subscribers Only - When we’re en route and encounter airframe icing, we have some options, even if they’re not all good ones. In addition to using all the de- and anti-icing equipment available, they can include changing altitude, turning around, or diverting. But those options only work when good weather for a climb or descent near the airport is a given. When you have to climb or descend through likely icing conditions, things get more interesting, and options change.

NTSB Reports

Subscribers Only - October 1, 2017, Klamath Falls, Ore. Cirrus Design SR22 At about 1043 Pacific time, the airplane was destroyed when it impacted terrain while maneuvering in a remote mountainous area. The private pilot and the passenger received fatal injuries. Instrument conditions were reported in the area at the time of the accident.

Three Green, Please

Subscribers Only - The mission was to transport myself and my wife from the Northeast U.S. to Florida for the holidays. My chosen platform was a well-worn Piper Arrow II rented from a local flying club. This particular airplane wasn’t my first choice, but it beat walking or taking the airlines. After a long week of work and travel planning, we launched late in the afternoon on a Friday and I put the heading indicator on “S.”

ELT Issues

Beech Model 200 Super King Air Waterlogged ELT ATC advised crew the ELT may be inadvertently transmitting. Inspection revealed the ELT was filled with water, possibly due to a heavy rainstorm the previous day. The ELT was replaced and the aircraft returned to service.