A Spinning Yarn

Buzzing and hot-dogging are the leading spin scenarios, often by highly qualified pilots who ought to know better.

New Breed of Sims

The next generation of training devices look and feel more like real simulators. Thats a big improvement, but theyre still not perfect.

From Big to Little

When slumming down from a heavier airplane to a lighter one, watch the V-speeds and dont count on the automation; there isnt any.

Unwanted Push

[IMGCAP(1)]One of the most basic tenets in aviation is that an airplane ought to take off and land into the wind. Yet each year the accident statistics show that some pilots refuse to follow this basic rule. And each year the tailwind factor results in bent aluminum, injured passengers, or worse.

Right off well acknowledge that there are occasions when a downwind departure is necessary. For example it is quite common due to ATC traffic flow and airport congestion at large terminals such as JFK, LaGuardia, Teterboro or Washingtons Reagan National. Then there are airports such as Aspen, Colo., with a mandatory downhill departure on runway 33 - often with tailwinds - due to surrounding t...

Tighten That Pattern

In a little airplane, a final longer than a half-mile is a gross waste of national resources. Tighter patterns are better and more fun.

Chasing Ratings

Advancing your ratings makes you a better/safer pilot. Weve probably all heard that statement more times than we can count, and most pilots probably accept it as an empirical truth. However, others feel that their lack of advanced ratings does not make them any less safe or competent to fly the planes they do, the way they do.

At the risk of sounding like a lawyer, the truth, I think, is that whether advanced ratings makes you a better/safer pilot depends a lot on what you mean by better and safer. Many folks equate the type of flying a pilot does or the certificates/ratings he holds with some sort of rank ordering of pilot skill/safety/proficiency.

Few people would argue that...

Spring Polish

Pilot skills quickly rust when it comes to stalls, go-arounds, landings and crosswinds. Then theres the airplane to worry about

Airshow or Bust

Fly-in preparation should include honing skills, planning well and learning the arrival procedures cold

Pick Your Potion

Everyone knows finding the right flight instructor is a crap shoot, so whats that say about the state of the industry?