Proficient Pilot

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Proficient Pilot

Article | Sep 01, 1997

There is only one way to fly an airplane: as well as it can be flown. This is especially true with respect to instrument flying.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Aug 01, 1997

Last December I used this page to stir a pot of controversy that originated in the July/August 1996 issue of FAA Aviation News. This is when the FAA's official magazine stated, in part, that the use of database equipment (such as a GPS) without a current database violates FAR 91.103, the regulation that requires pilots to become familiar with all available information concerning a flight.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Jul 01, 1997

The heat on the ramp was intense, and I was chug-a-lugging my second diet cola in Fresno Jet Center's lounge during a fuel stop in California's broad San Joaquin Valley. A Diamond Katana purred to a stop in front of the lounge, and its propeller ticked to a halt.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Jun 01, 1997

We were undulating above and below Flight Level 370 like a ship at sea riding heavy swells. On one side of a crest the Boeing 707 gained altitude, while on the other it descended.

Proficient Pilot

Article | May 01, 1997

Last month we discussed how lightplane pilots can take advantage of rising air to improve climb and cruise performance. These techniques include operating on the windward sides of hills, slowing in updrafts, and capitalizing on the benefits offered by thermals.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Apr 01, 1997

While in East Africa in 1970, I had the pleasure of sharing a cockpit with F.W. (Bill) Woodley, the chief game warden for Kenya's mountain national parks.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Mar 01, 1997

June 22, 1972. I moved the throttle toward the nose and held the stick of the Piper Super Cub fully aft.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Feb 01, 1997

Have you ever tried to explain to others why you fly, what it is that makes entering the sky so magical? Most of us have, but we usually fall short in trying to put our passion for flight into words. Authors like Richard Bach, Ernest Gann, John Gillespie Magee, and Antoine de Saint-Exupéry have come close to capturing the essence of flight in their prose, but even these masterful poets do not necessarily describe what we feel in our hearts.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Jan 01, 1997

As I write this, it has been only a few hours since I left my local airport. The windsock there was as erect as the barrel of a howitzer and swung jerkily, as if being aimed by an inebriated artillery officer.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Dec 01, 1996

In the July/August issue of FAA Aviation News, the FAA responded to a letter from a reader who wanted to know whether it was illegal to fly with an outdated chart during a VFR flight. The FAA responded predictably.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Nov 01, 1996

Last August, I used this page to discuss the point that it often is easier to make good landings with flaps only partially deployed than when they are fully extended. The reason is that using only partial flaps enables a pilot to hold the nose higher during the landing flare and touchdown than when full flaps are used.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Oct 01, 1996

When they gather in ramp and dispatch offices, airline pilots frequently pass the time hangar flying. A favorite subject involves unusual and challenging airports into which they have flown.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Sep 01, 1996

The touch-and-go landing has its roots in the military training programs of World War II, when pilots had to be trained and placed into service in minimal time. This practice became popular in civilian training for economic reasons.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Aug 01, 1996

One of my most enjoyable activities is checking out in new or unusual airplanes. So it was about 20 years ago when I was turning onto base leg at a general aviation airport near Rome, Italy.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Jul 01, 1996

Safety is a tough sell. Ask anyone who manufactures or markets fire extinguishers, survival equipment, first-aid kits, life jackets, and so forth.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Jun 01, 1996

On September 25, 1978, a Pacific Southwest Airlines Boeing 727 was on a visual approach to San Diego's Lindbergh Field, when it collided with a Cessna 172. The cockpit voice recorder recovered from the wreckage of PSA Flight 182 revealed that there had been substantial nonessential conversation on the flight deck among the three crewmembers and a deadheading PSA captain during critical moments preceding the accident.

Proficient Pilot

Article | May 01, 1996

For those who subscribe to an airport directory, the periodic ritual of replacing pages has become a depressing chore. Deleted pages signal that public airports are closing at an alarming rate, and it is rare for a new page to be added.

Topics Pilots, Women

Proficient Pilot

Article | Apr 01, 1996

When taking off in a general aviation airplane, the pilot typically pushes the throttle as far forward as it can go and takes advantage of all available horsepower (within allowable limits). It used to be that way when flying jetliners, too, but operating economics have changed that.

Topics Pilots

Proficient Pilot

Article | Mar 01, 1996

A few of my friends accuse me of being a glutton for punishment, a public masochist. They cite my occasional writing about the myth of downwind turns as but one example.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Feb 01, 1996

My first flight instructor drummed it into me, and I have passed it along to all of my students ever since: "There is absolutely no excuse for running out of fuel." But during a general aviation flight in southern Africa, my determination to avoid fuel exhaustion was put to the test. We had spent a few days photographing white rhino and were preflighting the Beech Baron at an unattended strip, which was identifiable as an airport only by the tattered and faded windsock.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Jan 01, 1996

Year after year, stall/spin accidents occur with alarming regularity and are responsible for almost half of all fatal accidents. One reason for this is that the very training designed to prevent such accidents actually contributes to them.

Proficient Pilot

Article | Feb 01, 1994

My first exposure to aerobatics was in 1956. That is when I was checking out in a Ryan STA, a low-wing monoplane with tandem, open cockpits.