A pilot reported hearing a Mayday call from another airplane, stating that the engine had failed and he was attempting to land on the east side of a canal. No further communications were received from the accident airplanes pilot.
Its that time of year again in the Northern Hemisphere, when in-flight icing can be a threat. Depending on where you are and where youre going, icing may be a rare possibility during the upcoming season. It also can be a sure thing. Evaluating the possibility of in-flight icing is part of the equation-its potential impact is another. A pilot might completely overlook icings impact on other aircraft systems, including the powerplant(s). Carburetor icing should be a topic familiar to most pilots, but induction system icing can be an afterthought. And while there are systems we can activate to minimize icings impact on the induction system, we must remember they exist and know how to activate them.
Whenever two or more pilots get together in the same place, the conversation eventually gets around to which of them has the greatest number of flight hours. The yardstick of how much time youve spent aloft is more than just small-scale bragging rights, of course-it also can determine whether youre eligible for a subsequent certificate, or even legal to carry passengers. And then theres the matter of insurance coverage.The simple fact is that most of the aviation world measures how competent we are in the cockpit by how much time we may have spent there. The inference is that high-time pilots are safer, and that low-time pilots are less safe. The fallacy is highlighted if we put someone with 20,000 hours as PIC of a 747 into a piston single and ask him or her to perform an engine-out approach from downwind: Without some practice-i.e., some experience with that particular operation-its not likely to turn out well. What is experience? How to measure it? Most important: If its so valuable, how can we get more of it?
Readers give their feedback on past Aviation Safety stories. A pilot breaks down the aerodynamics of loading extra weight in the aft of your aircraft. The auothors of The Limits of Expertise send their love, and the subjectivity of student experience is called into question. Find your center of gravity with this insightful commentary from our valued subscribers.