If you’re reading these words in the dead-tree version of this magazine, you may have already realized it’s a bit thinner than previous issues. That’s because we’ve been forced to reduce the number of pages each month, from 32 to 24, thanks to high paper prices. We’re not the first magazine to face this reality and we won’t be the last.

Put simply, the economic realities of publishing simply aren’t what they used to be. Back in the 1990s, when I first got into aviation writing and editing, it was much different. Yes, the Internet and its free content is at least partially to blame, but profit-taking among producers and suppliers of basic commodities like eggs, petroleum, paper and even postage has downstream effects on all of us. (As an aside, I can’t seem to give away a stand of pine timber on property I own in Georgia. Go figure.) It seems the economic trauma resulting from the Covid pandemic will continue in unforeseen ways.

Yes, there also will be changes going forward in the ways we put together this magazine. For one, we’ll be reducing the length of most articles and more closely balancing the ratio of text to graphics. The number of NTSB preliminary reports we summarize will change from month to month. We’ll also be making revisions to the design and graphics. Look for these ongoing changes in future issues.

We’ll still strive to bring you the best and most relevant “how to fly your airplane” and “do this, not that” aviation-related content available. In the meantime, thank you for being a subscriber. We’ll continue to make it worth both your while and expense to support this magazine.


Meanwhile, you should know the NTSB recently published a new Safety Alert, “Circling Approaches: Know The Risks!” As NTSB SA084 rightly points out, “Circling approaches can be riskier than other types of approaches because they often require maneuvering at low altitude and low airspeed during the final segment of the approach…in marginal or reduced visibility….” Further, “…circling approaches [often] do not allow for stabilized approach criteria to be met.”

One of the Safety Alert’s key takeaways is that pilots typically have the option of requesting an  approach other than one requiring circling. Another is that we probably don’t practice circling approaches enough. Doing so will “increase your proficiency and make you more comfortable performing them when needed.” Finally, remember to remain at or above the circling minima altitude until the descent to landing can be made “at a normal rate using normal maneuvers” and monitor your altitude even when in visual conditions.

— Jeb Burnside


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