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Flying Seasons

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2007

Learning from the stats Lectures and texts on the dangers of icing are certainly edifying, but nothing beats a look at the accident record to make a more visceral impression. It's one thing to discuss icing from a theoretical standpoint, but quite another to contemplate the wreckage.

Wx Watch: Icing, the Win a Six, and Expo

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2007

As I write this, I'm stuck in Birmingham, Alabama, trying to fly AOPA's Win a Six in '06 Piper Cherokee Six back to its home base at AOPA headquarters in Frederick, Maryland. The lowering ceilings and freezing temperatures attending last night's ILS approach into Birmingham foreshadowed today's troubles.

Flying Seasons

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2006

What looks pretty from the air can be a problem when you land This article launches a 13-part series highlighting the types of accidents that occur in a particular season of the year. Each month we'll look at a primary accident cause, examine the reasons for the accidents, and provide tips and advice on how to avoid those accidents.

Member Guide

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2006

New AOPA member discount The cost of aircraft renters insurance has just been reduced for AOPA members, thanks to the efforts of AOPA and the AOPA Insurance Agency. "AOPA members will now receive a 5-percent discount on new renters insurance policies," says Greg Sterling, the insurance agency's executive vice president and general manager.

Wx Watch: Common-Sense Separation

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2006

Does compliance with the federal aviation regulations VFR cloud separation rules guarantee safe flying? If you stick to the letter of the law, the answer is an emphatic "no way!" In dynamic weather conditions, especially when terrain and/or obstacles are factors, strict adherence to the words in FAR 91.155 ("Basic VFR Weather Minimums") can put you in deep, deep trouble. And for instrument-rated pilots, the same can be said of FAR Part 91.175 — where the rules for taking off and landing under instrument flight rules (IFR) are published.

Wx Watch: Ice Surprises

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2006

We all do the best we can when it comes to preparing for winter flying weather, right? We check with flight service, check Internet sources of weather information, and double-check any mention of icing airmets or sigmets. (Forecasts or reports of "run of the mill" clear, rime, or mixed icing conditions will generate an airmet.

Rocky Mountain Low

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2006

I was the new guy flying for a charter company based out of Teterboro, New Jersey. I had just 70.7 hours of jet time, and the ink was barely dry on my Challenger type rating.

Hangar Talk

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2006

One of the first things most newly certificated pilots want to do is take a friend, loved one, or co-worker for an airplane ride. Such a flight, well flown, can have the magical effect of inspiring another new aviator to pursue the flight-training track.

Wx Watch: A Fright-Free Fall

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2006

Weather educators are forever scaring us with doomsday scenarios, and at times I've been one of them. But let's keep things in perspective.

Wx Watch: Datalink Lowdown

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2006

Datalink weather has changed cockpit decision making in ways no one could have envisioned a few short years ago. Where before we struggled along in instrument or marginal VFR weather conditions, full of doubt, and unable to make educated tactical weather decisions, now we have a flood of data.

Wx Watch: Convection Countdown

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2006

When it comes to a pilot's primal fears, an inadvertent thunderstorm penetration must certainly rank at the top of the list. That's why we need to develop a comprehensive thunderstorm forecasting and tracking strategy.

Wx Watch: ASOS Basics

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2006

Since its introduction in the 1980s, automated weather observing stations have become standard equipment at many airports around the world. These include the federally funded ASOS (automated surface observation system) and the federal- and/or state-funded AWOS (automated weather observation system) instrument suites.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2006

I was halfway there, delivering a Cirrus SR20 to its new owner, cross-country from Sioux Falls, South Dakota, all the way to Boston. I had just completed a planned stop in rural southwest Chicago, where the aircraft was subject to a pre-buy inspection.

Never Again

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2006

In early April 2003, I flew a Cessna 182 from Omaha to Nashville, a trip I had made several dozen times before. Prior to departure, I had gleaned from The Weather Channel that rain or snow was expected to move across my route in a few days.

Wx Watch: A Perfect Ice Flight

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2006

With a title like this, you're certainly wondering if anything to do with flying around ice can be called "perfect." And strictly speaking, you'd be right. A safety-conscious pilot would never knowingly fly in icing conditions, and we all know why: Even small ice accretions can cause significant decreases in lift, compromised handling characteristics, and increases in stall speed, as well as ruin your ability to climb.

Guide to Member Services

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2006

AOPA ONLINE Aircraft icing Winter flying can be some of the most beautiful. That cold, crisp air makes for smooth flying conditions and the sky is a brilliant, clear blue.

Wx Watch: The Trouble With Zero

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2005

From the earliest days of ground school we've all learned about the temperature ranges associated with icing conditions. Clear icing — that slick, tenacious, transparent coating associated with cumulus clouds — happens most often in the zero-to-minus-10-degree-Celsius range.

Wx Watch: Ice Fighters

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2005

Pilots fortunate enough to have ice-protection systems can become blasé about icing encounters. Brother, is that a mistake! The subject of ice-protection equipment, its capabilities, and correct use is a complicated one — and one that's often neglected in conventional training materials.

Never Again Online: Caught off guard

Article | Oct 01, 2005

We had been trying to make this flight for three weeks now. There was always something that caused us to cancel the trip — an hour-long jaunt from my home airport in New Jersey to Reading Regional/Carl A.

Wx Watch: ADDS Upgrades

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2005

Faithful readers of "Wx Watch" will recall that I've referred to the Aviation Weather Center's (AWC) Aviation Digital Data Service (ADDS) Web site many times in the past. ADDS provides many valuable briefing products, and the AWC is constantly improving the site to make it more valuable and cutting edge.

Wx Watch: Radar Revolution

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2005

Datalink weather information has revolutionized the way many of us think about weather and deal with in-flight weather decisions. With datalink information such as METARs and TAFs can be called up for studied review — there's no struggling with trying to write as fast as a flight-watch briefer speaks (though flight watch is still the official source for late-breaking weather updates and the sole source of such information for the thousands of us who aren't lucky enough to have datalink service).

Pilot Counsel

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2005

AOPA's legal counsel, attorney John S. Yodice, flies a Cessna 310.

Never Again Online: Framing the problem

Article | Jul 01, 2005

My family had begun to enjoy the advantages of general aviation as we used our Cessna 182A for trips to visit relatives away from our home base in Indiana. On this particular weekend in July, we had planned a trip to Michigan to attend a wedding.

Wx Watch: The Eyes Have It

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2005

Now that thunderstorm season is upon us, it's time to recall the prime directive for guaranteed storm-cell avoidance. It's a very important rule, and one that should be kept firmly in every general aviation pilot's mind, whether he or she is a neophyte or a grizzled high-timer with a logbook bulging with actual instrument time.

Wx Watch: Windwise

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2005

I once did a study of general aviation weather accidents for the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. It had many goals, but one objective was determining which weather phenomenon caused the most accidents.