Home Airmanship stick_rudder


ADS-B Shenanigans?

Thank you for printing in Augusts magazine the short letter I wrote, highlighting an issue I encountered just south of the Albany, N.Y., Class C airspace-a Cub showing an ADS-B altitude of 500 feet below sea level. (By the way, I passed the same Cub today at very close range. This time he wasnt showing up at all on ADS-B). In your response, you asked readers to report other anomalies, so heres one from a week or so ago.

NTSB Reports

During the landing roll, three deer ran from right to left across the runway. The pilot felt a hard strike on the inboard section of the right wing, observed a deer roll over the right wing and felt a sensation of the right landing gear running over a second deer. Although the airplane sustained substantial damage to its right wing, the pilot was able to maintain control and taxied to the ramp without further incident. The pilot and passenger had to egress through the rear baggage door due to damage to the cabin door.

Our Airplanes Are Aging

The event perhaps most demonstrative of what can happen as an aircraft ages occurred on April 28, 1988, over Hawaii. Thats when an Aloha Airlines Boeing 737-200 operating in scheduled passenger service as Flight 243 between Hilo and Honolulu lost part of its cabin roof while in cruise at FL240. The crew successfully landed the airplane after diverting to Maui. Of the 89 passengers and six crewmembers aboard, there was one fatality-a flight attendant who was swept overboard during the decompression event.

Laters And Waiters

In the decade-plus since the coming ADS-B mandate became a thing for U.S. aviation, those whose operations will be affected have fallen mainly into two camps: early adopters and those who put it off as long as possible. In this binary world, I freely admit to being something of an early adopter. And despite some cool-and less expensive-new gear on the market, Im happy with my choice to equip with ADS-B in 2016. Its likely those who have taken a wait-and-see attitude also are happy.

Behind The Curve

The only time Ive performed what I consider to have been a for-real high-altitude takeoff, it went fine. I was at Albuquerque, N.M.s Double Eagle II airport, elevation some 5800 feet. It wasnt the middle of summer, but it was a warm, sunny fall afternoon. I dont recall which runway I used, but it offered more than enough length for my Debonair, which carried only me, some gear and full fuel. As Id been trained, I leaned the engine before the takeoff and let the airplane fly itself off the runway. I handled it gently until gaining enough airspeed to establish a proper climb and I had some altitude.

Catching Up

By the time you read this, Ill be getting my Debonair out of its annual inspection. Its been a lengthy one, in part because of some items I had deferred from previous inspections and in part because the airplane was new to the shop doing the work. Basically, I decided it was time to catch up on a few wear-and-tear items that pop up with any kind of machine, from a Roomba vacuum cleaner to a personal airplane.

NTSB Reports

After a low pass over the field, the pilot returned to land. On final approach, he was blinded by [the] sun and the tailwheel hit vines growing near the airstrip, causing the airplane to stall. The left wing, left main landing gear and propeller were damaged during the hard landing. According to the NTSB, [b]ecause the pilot did not hold a current pilot certificate, nor did he meet the medical certification requirements, he was not legally authorized to act as pilot-in-command of the airplane at the time of the accident.

Other Airplanes

For example, a large flying club I was in a few years back had a pair of Cessna Cardinal RGs. They were getting a bit long in the tooth, but were roomy and relatively fast, and they were good cross-country airplanes. They also were configured basically the same, with two nav/comms but little else: no autopilot, for example, GPS or DME. After getting to know them both, I came to prefer the blue-and-white one over the orange version, since it was a bit younger and cleaner. Neither let me down, but one was sold to someone outside the club and, shortly thereafter, another pilot landed the remaining Cardinal RG gear-up.


While carrying out Canadian AD CF90-03-R2, large leaks were found in the area surrounding the muffler tail pipe area under the structure for supporting the heat muff shroud. No defects were noticed in a visual inspection of this area. No data tag was on the muffler, so its assumed it is an original unit. The operators logs dont show it ever being changed.

Your Flight Service User Guide

One way to deal with this torrent of poorly presented information is to call Flight Service, ask for an abbreviated briefing and query the briefer about Notams for your proposed flight, and especially if theres any new FDC Notam affecting the airspace or procedures you anticipate. Listen to the briefer; there might be some nuggets you didnt know about. And at least youll be on the record when FAAs enforcement apparatus asks you about a TFR bust. -J.B.

Flying Your Propeller

Remember that propeller blades are airfoils moving in a plane different from and usually perpendicular to the direction of flight. As an airfoil, the amount of lift the blade creates when moving through the air depends on its angle of attack, and its angle of attack-plus drag-can depend on a variety of factors, including the airplanes pitch attitude. Remember, too, that the outer portions of long prop blades move faster-they cover greater distance in the same amount of time-than shorter ones.

Flying On The Ground

Your primary training probably included a diagram explaining where the elevator and aileron controls should be positioned based on where the wind is coming from while taxiing. When we have such wind conditions-and even when we dont, if we want to be honest- we can and should use the ailerons to help control the airplane on the ground. Alas, we dont always have that diagram available, and its easy to forget whether the upwind wings aileron should be down or up. (Hint: It depends.) Lets try to come up with a one-size-fits-all understanding of when and how to use ailerons on the ground.