Waypoints

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Waypoints: Polishing the fleet

Pilot Magazine | Jun 03, 2015

The enormous number of airplanes manufactured in the 1960s and 1970s continues to serve us well, even all these decades later.

Waypoints: Not one thing can be done

Pilot Magazine | May 06, 2015

News Flash: The general aviation pilot population is in decline.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Apr 03, 2015

In talking with Cessna Caravan owners about how they use their airplanes (see “Winnebago on the Water,” page 84), I was reminded of the importance of friendship and camaraderie in aviation.

Russ is my co-pilot

Pilot Magazine | Mar 09, 2015

One might assume that two pilots onboard are better than one, but many of us have seen examples where two heads are not necessarily better than one.

Not so alone

Pilot Magazine | Feb 03, 2015

Slogging through the murk fearing a two-degree temperature drop may lead to an icing encounter, darkness setting in, facing a low approach at an unfamiliar airport with terrain around.

Automation: A balanced approach

Pilot Magazine | Jan 08, 2015

The debate about the proper role of automation in the cockpit probably started the day that Sperry Corporation developed the first autopilot in 1912.

Waypoints: Flying versus the Kardashians

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2014

Recent headlines noting gasoline prices dipping below $3 a gallon have caused many pilots to wonder why avgas prices—which stubbornly remain above $6 a gallon in many locations.

Collect your reward

Pilot Magazine | Nov 07, 2014

The rewarding return to formation flying reminded me how important it is to continually challenge ourselves to expand our aviation horizons, both to increase proficiency and to increase aviation’s value equation.

High hopes

Pilot Magazine | Oct 02, 2014

The headline on the press release caught my eye for two reasons: “Textron Aviation Independence facility delivers 10,000th single-engine aircraft.”

Waypoints: New again

Pilot Magazine | Sep 04, 2014

By the time you read this, some lucky pilot will be contemplating a future flying our Debonair Sweepstakes airplane, the twentieth such sweepstakes airplane we have delivered to a member since 1993.

Waypoints: Get out of jail free

Pilot Magazine | Aug 05, 2014

ASRS is a partnership between the FAA and NASA whereby pilots, controllers, flight attendants, mechanics, ground personnel, and just about anyone who has anything to do with aviation safety can report a safety situation without fear of retribution.

Waypoints: Thanks for the service

Pilot Magazine | Jul 31, 2014

The controller’s request seems odd: Asking an airliner to hold over the Orange County, Virginia, airport.

Waypoints: First Flight reflection

Pilot Magazine | Jun 04, 2014

Time seems to stand still and we can reflect on how far aviation has come in such a short time.

Waypoints: Traffic dead ahead?

Pilot Magazine | May 12, 2014

The callout jolted me from a zone of concentration while intercepting a radial off of the Westminster, Maryland, VOR. “Traffic. 12 o’clock. Same altitude. One mile,” came the loud voice in the headset.

Waypoints: Bring it on

Pilot Magazine | Apr 04, 2014

Messy, this learning to fly business. I was 15 years old and completely lost and overwhelmed by ground school.

Waypoints: Before the magenta line

Pilot Magazine | Mar 06, 2014

An important anniversary passed in mid-February without fanfare.

Waypoints: Learned along the way

Pilot Magazine | Feb 12, 2014

One of the opportunities that comes with being the editor in chief of the world’s largest aviation magazine is the chance to fly with some really smart and experienced pilots.

Waypoints: Toward an unleaded fuel

Pilot Magazine | Jan 17, 2014

Shell Aviation’s December announcement that it is entering an unleaded avgas for FAA testing was perhaps the biggest general aviation news of 2013.

Waypoints: Last day to fly

Pilot Magazine | Dec 18, 2013

Today there’s a pilot flying his Piper Super Cub low over a farm field, enjoying the view.

Waypoints: A blank, but not ageless canvas

Pilot Magazine | Nov 21, 2013

To those of you who bought new airplanes this year, thank you!

Waypoints: Coming to terms

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2013

It’s a simple Sunday afternoon flight on a very VFR day, and yet I feel anxious and uncertain.

Waypoints: An AirVenture unlike any other

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2013

This summer I attended what is now called EAA AirVenture for the twenty-fourth time—20 in a row.

Waypoints: Probability of success

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2013

“Decision height,” I said out loud, as the altimeter pointer passed through 700 feet msl and just as the voice in the right seat shouted, “Go around!”

Waypoints: Diversity

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2013

We are a diverse lot, we AOPA members. From student pilots to astronauts, our skills, interests, and political leanings are all over the map. Two recent trends involving the federal government highlight how philosophically diverse we are. Unable to make the hard decisions necessary to reduce an out-of-control federal budget deficit, Congress and the White House crafted, approved, and ultimately allowed to go live sequestration legislation that forced small to sometimes dramatic cuts to the budgets of various agencies.

Waypoints: All in the family

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2013

Just as it's important to check in with those whacky relatives in your extended family from time to time, it's good that general aviation keeps tabs on what is happening in our extended aviation family. What crazy Aunt Mary says to Cousin Suzie can sometimes have widespread consequences in the family.

Waypoints: Running on hope

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2013

Would you ever continue an instrument approach below legal minimums without seeing the runway environment?

Waypoints: Logging asterisks

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2013

This summer marks the thirty-sixth year since I first soloed an airplane. Twenty more months would pass before I would stumble through a checkride with an FAA designated examiner squeezed next to me in a snug Cessna 150.

Waypoints: A colorful life

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2013

Plug sparks a search through history

Waypoints: Throttling George

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2013

The life and times of the new Beechcraft

Waypoints: MEMS and more to the rescue

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2012

From the creative minds at Aspen

Waypoints: Cub encounters

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2012

First time flying the iconic Piper airplane.

Waypoints: On wet wings

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2012

Green doesn't always mean go. I thought of this as I looked at the solid green - and occasional yellow patches - on the Garmin GNS 530W display before me.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2012

We swapped Bonanza-owner stories in the back seat of the Lincoln Town Car, just as any two pilots might when they meet on a ramp somewhere. But I was pinching myself as Apollo 11 astronaut Neil Armstrong described his decision to move from a Bonanza to a Cessna 310, which he only recently sold and is now planning his next airplane purchase.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2012

Of all the technological changes that have impacted our lives over the past decade or so, the most dramatic have been in the way we consume information.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2012

With the Adam A500 twin established on final to Lakeland Linder Regional's Runway 9R, I selected gear down and surveyed the airport complex before me. Normally Runway 9R is simply Runway 9, but during the Sun 'n Fun Fly-In the parallel taxiway becomes Runway 9L.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2012

A scorecard seems necessary to keep track of who's who in aviation today as globalization of company ownership continues. And while foreign ownership of traditionally U.S.-owned companies causes consternation among some American pilots, we have no one except ourselves to blame because it is the lack of U.S. investment that is, for the most part, driving the sale of these companies.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2012

As the gear thunks into the wheel wells I crank the old Bonanza onto left crosswind—a bit more aggressively than usual, just because it feels right.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2012

The three of us on board the Beechcraft A36 Bonanza lapsed into a comfortable quiet as we watched the Mid-Atlantic states scroll by on the life-sized moving map out the window. Connecticut turned into New York and then New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and finally Maryland as we slipped into the pattern at Frederick Municipal on that fall Sunday morning for an arrival home after nearly a week at AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford. With two of the six seats removed, we had gear stacked nearly floor to ceiling in every nook and cranny. Even then, the old Bonanza, a product of the Nixon era, sprinted upward at 1,000 feet per minute right after takeoff, still more than 100 pounds short of its maximum gross weight. With our full load of fuel, we could have continued on to Chicago, Louisville, Atlanta, or Charlotte.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2012

The three of us on board the Beechcraft A36 Bonanza lapsed into a comfortable quiet as we watched the Mid-Atlantic states scroll by on the life-sized moving map out the window. Connecticut turned into New York and then New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and finally Maryland as we slipped into the pattern at Frederick Municipal on that fall Sunday morning for an arrival home after nearly a week at AOPA Aviation Summit in Hartford. With two of the six seats removed, we had gear stacked nearly floor to ceiling in every nook and cranny. Even then, the old Bonanza, a product of the Nixon era, sprinted upward at 1,000 feet per minute right after takeoff, still more than 100 pounds short of its maximum gross weight. With our full load of fuel, we could have continued on to Chicago, Louisville, Atlanta, or Charlotte.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2011

General aviation provides a visual perspective not possible by any other means. We all know that at a certain cerebral level. However, when we experience it in a tangible way, it's almost like learning it anew. A recent example: Through the miracle of general aviation flight I was able to experience the lowest point in North America and the highest point in the Lower 48 states all within about an hour of each other -- and that was only half the day!

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2011

Since the economic collapse of 2008, business aviation has been a lightning rod of controversy. Thoughtless auto executives who individually flew their corporate jets to Washington, D.C., to ask for corporate handouts turned tail and sulked home rather than stand and defend the role business aviation plays in the success of a company.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2011

My aha moment occurred while flying northeast between Baltimore and Philadelphia.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2011

As New York City's Verrazano-Narrows Bridge slides under my Bonanza's wing and I see the Statute of Liberty, the Hudson and East river corridors, and all of Manhattan laid out before me, I feel a sense of accomplishment, completing a mission planned a decade earlier.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2011

Forty-five nautical miles—about a 15-minute flight in the Piper Meridian I was flying. Night, good VFR weather.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2011

The majesty of Denali’s north slope filled the Turbine Otter’s windscreen. Thin, wispy clouds obscured the summit of North America’s highest peak, making it appear even more majestic among nearby competing mountains, Mount Foraker and Mount Hunter.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2011

In reviewing accident reports I’m often frustrated by the repeating patterns. Some accident trends are skill- related—crosswind landing accidents, for example.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2011

The B–17’s four cranky Wright engines coughed and barked to life one by one, each leaving a trail of gray exhaust until all nine of the cylinders could agree that, yes, we’re going flying today. The staccato of the big radials broke the early morning’s quiet, commanding attention from everyone in the Sun ’n Fun Fly-In’s warbird area.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2011

West Virginia farm fields fill the windscreen as we plummet earthward. Pressed against the shoulder harnesses, I crank the yoke over to enter a 45-degree left turn, causing the vertical speed indicator to slash farther toward the 3 o’clock position—nearly 4,000 feet per minute in the descent.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2011

By the time I leveled off at 11,000 feet, a quick glance at the Garmin 530 showed that I was only 20 minutes from Freeport, Bahamas—20 more minutes of deep blue Caribbean below me. My Bonanza is a headwind magnet, but today we were tooling along with about 20 knots on the tail, so the miles to dry land were ticking by quickly.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2011

This is not a feel-good, warm-and-fuzzy column about the philosophical meaning of aviation. Nope, this is about how “mean” aviation has become.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2011

I signed off the e-mail by writing, “I have never regretted buying a Bonanza. It’s been a joy to own.” The comments were in response to a member’s question about Bonanzas.

Waypoints

Article | Dec 01, 2010

In this challenging downturn, economic forecasting makes weather forecasting look like a piece of cake. At least in meteorology you have physical properties that can’t be changed.

Waypoints

Article | Nov 01, 2010

Plowing southwestward into a slight headwind, carving a path through the steaming August air, my mind drifted back nearly a decade to a similar mission. Except then it was a crisp and clear January day with a tailwind as we headed northeast.

Waypoints

Article | Oct 01, 2010

From 1,000 feet above, I watched the Cessna 182 line up for Meadow Creek’s Runway 35—the brilliant white wings a stark contrast to the dark green forest surrounding the grass strip. Minutes later we touched down on the same turf in an equally pristine Cessna 180.

Waypoints: Why your next engine may be a turboprop

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2010

Dateline: 1990—Citing the product liability crisis in aviation and related dearth of piston-aircraft manufacturing, aircraft manufacturers consol- idate product lines and focus on the more lucrative business jet market. Turboprops, despite the recent success of the Cessna Caravan, are projected to be the next market segment eviscerated.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2010

With the nighttime curfew for Colorado’s Aspen-Pitkin County Airport looming, the crew of the Gulfstream III undoubtedly felt pressure to make the landing into the terrain-challenged field. A domineering passenger on the charter flight, as well as his dozen guests on board, were heading from Los Angeles to a party in Aspen.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2010

The 16-year-old boy trundled the well-seasoned Cessna 150 across the paved runway and to the end of the grass runway. Plenty of rain that northwestern Pennsylvania summer kept the grass green and dense.

Waypoints:

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2010

St. Patrick’s Day—aloft over the Appalachian Mountains.

Waypoints: Top of the stack

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2010

Most pilots stroll around the ramp peering in airplane windows to admire multifunction displays, GPSs, or the latest all-glass cockpit, but Mark Scheuer’s eyes go right to the top of the stack. His mission: Find out whose audio panel is in there.

Waypoints: Finessing those final seconds

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2010

February’s column on flying a low approach in South Carolina (“Waypoints: No Rush”) sparked several requests for more details on dealing with the risks of flying in weather. Chris Burns, a former airline pilot and occasional contributor to these pages, chastised me for not using the opportunity to discuss personal minimums.

Waypoints:

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2010

A recent glimpse into the Experimental aircraft world reminded me of the richness of this experience we broadly call “general aviation.” Given that word “general,” it should be no surprise that this branch of aviation covers such a broad spectrum. As has often been quipped, no wonder we always seem to feel so trodden upon when we only describe ourselves by what we are not: all aviation except military and airline.

Waypoints:

Article | Feb 01, 2010

I have never liked the unrealistic nature of most flight training experiences. Whether training for the instrument rating more than 20 years ago in a Piper Warrior or more recently getting a jet type rating in a multi-million-dollar high-resolution Level D flight simulator, the pace of the flights never felt right or very realistic.

Waypoints:

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2010

The controller at Connecticut’s Hartford-Brainard Airport delivered the clearance like a tsunami: “Meridian Six-One-Zero-One-Golf, cleared to Martin State Airport via direct Hartford, Thumb, Yoder, Calverton, Gedic transition J174, Zizzi to the Waterloo 085-degree radial to V308, Nottingham, direct.” The usual altitude, frequency, and transponder info followed. I actually got that part.

Waypoints:

Article | Dec 08, 2009

One of the primary benefits of an electronic ignition system for airplanes is the ability to optimize the firing of the spark plugs based on the ambient conditions, type of fuel being burned, and other variables. In today’s ignition systems, the magnetos are set to fire the spark plugs at only a fixed time in the compression stroke.

Waypoints: 50 before 50

Article | Nov 02, 2009

The newspaper columnist noted with glee in his column that he had finally visited North Dakota, the last stop on his journey to visit all 50 states. With the last state long illusive, he finally just took a trip to North Dakota because he didn’t see how he would ever otherwise get there.

Waypoints: One pilot's influence

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2009

Harrison Ford strode in through his open hangar doors, stopping along the way to introduce himself to the busy crew transforming his hangar into a mini-movie set. “You look familiar.

Waypoints:

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2009

For probably the hundredth time, somebody mumbled the lame joke about how someone should do something about all that airplane noise and questioned how we were supposed to get any work done with all the distractions. This time, though, rather than your average gaggle of P–51s, T–28s, or F–16s, the distraction was big—really big.

Waypoints:

Article | Aug 03, 2009

Tom Haines flying the Bell JetRanger. “Well, this isn’t so difficult,” I thought to myself as the Bell JetRanger tooled along a few hundred feet above the thinning Nashville suburbs.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2009

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines flies his A36 Bonanza from Frederick Municipal Airport (FDK).

Waypoints: Then and now.

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2009

With 47 knots of headwind on the nose during a recent cross-country flight I had plenty of time to contemplate things learned as the twentieth anniversary of my instrument checkride approached. The checkride occurred on my birthday.

Waypoints: From highway to airway

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2009

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines owns and flies (but does not drive) a Beechcraft A36 Bonanza.

Waypoints: Lean of peak savings quantified

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2009

Editor in Chief Tom Haines uses his Beechcraft A36 Bonanza for business and pleasure flights. The controversy around lean-of-peak engine operations continues to fascinate me.

Waypoints: The owner-hindered annual inspection

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2009

Editor in Chief Tom Haines owns a Beechcraft Bonanza A36, hangared in Frederick, Maryland. The regulations are rather clear about what a pilot who is not a certificated maintenance technician can do to maintain and repair his airplane.

Waypoints: Share the power

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2009

Tom Haines uses his Beechcraft A36 Bonanza for business and pleasure flights. What if you had the power to change people’s lives? What if you could help them take their minds off of everyday problems, at least for a little while? What if you could help them to feel a sense of accomplishment and give them a means to live a more fulfilling life, to go places they never imagined? Helping them would cost you very little, maybe nothing.

Waypoints: Will electrons rule your next flight?

Article | Jan 01, 2009

Editor in Chief Tom Haines owns a 1972 Beechcraft Bonanza with panel gear from four different decades. One of the big issues with updating the electronics in our “legacy” airplanes (that’s PR-speak for “old”) with modern systems is the uncertainty of what you’ll find not just behind the panel but throughout the airplane when you start the installation.

Waypoints: No place for brash

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2008

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines has flown more than 100 types of aircraft.

Waypoints: The 200-hour challenge

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2008

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines recently completed a type rating in the Eclipse 500.

Waypoints: Three-hour circle--tested

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2008

Thomas B. Haines owns a Beechcraft Bonanza A36.

Waypoints: The places you can go

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2008

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines has been an aircraft owner for more than a decade and has been involved in the purchase of nearly 20 airplanes.

Waypoints: Saving $4,000 in fuel

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2008

Thirty-one years ago this month I first flew an airplane by myself. Little did I know then that I had launched a lifelong learning journey.

Waypoints: Welcome aboard

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2008

Thomas B. Haines recently celebrated his twentieth anniversary with AOPA Pilot.

Waypoints: Ready for the Eclipse 500?

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2008

When not flipping about in an L-39, Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines flies an A36 Bonanza.

Waypoints: An all-aviation weekend

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2008

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines is the captain of a Bonanza A36 based in Frederick, Maryland (FDK).

Waypoints: Ahead of the storm

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2008

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines pilots his Beechcraft Bonanza A36 for business and pleasure.

Waypoints: In search of the perfect ride

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2008

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines pilots a Bonanza A36 from Frederick, Maryland (FDK).

Waypoints: Thank you, ATC

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2008

Martinsburg. As I heard the clearance, my pencil stood motionless a fraction of an inch above the kneeboard.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2007

AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines often takes his wife and two daughters on flying adventures.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2007

Editor in chief Thomas B. Haines owns a well-tuned Beechcraft Bonanza A36.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2007

AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines pilots a Beechcraft Bonanza A36 for business and pleasure — and first flights.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2007

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines owns a Beechcraft Bonanza A36 — with a straight tail.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2007

AOPA Pilot Editor in Chief Tom Haines owns a Beechcraft Bonanza A36. Five hundred dollars versus $15,000.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2007

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines has flown FTDs and simulators for many models of aircraft over the past 20 years.

Waypoints

Article | Jun 01, 2007

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines spends considerably more time thinking about aviation than actually committing it.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2007

Like many GA pilots, Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines sometimes wonders: How might an airline career have worked out? When the lumbering, fully loaded Boeing 767 deftly touched down at Los Angeles International Airport on February 28, you might not have known that anything unusual occurred, were it not for the cheering and applause from the flight deck all the way to the aft bulkhead seat.

Waypoints

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2007

Editor in Chief Thomas B. Haines has been covering the general aviation industry for more than 20 years.