If you've been flying in to AirVenture since it was still just called "Oshkosh," you probably have the arrival and departure procedures down cold. There are minor changes or additions to the NOTAM each year of course - but I can't really recall a major change to the procedures themselves in years. Every year we hear suggestions for improvement, but overall, they tend to work pretty well, and I think the powers that be figure more people would mess up if they were changed than if they leave them as they are and just deal with the occasional deviation. Thats' just a guess of course - I have no inside knowledge of how the procedures or book are created. Continue reading "Reviewing the NOTAM"
I am often amazed at just how big our margins can be in aviation. Engineering margins, that is - operational margins are as big (or as small) as pilots want to make them. Here is a good case in point. This is the right tank-to-selector fuel line off of a very early two-seat RV. It's been flying for probably well over 30 years. See that crimp? Look more closely - inside the crimp are three very sharp depressions that look like they were made with teeth from a tool of some sort. If you look inside the end of the tube with a bright light, you can actually see each individual tooth mark! Continue reading "Nope, no, no way... flying 30+ years!"
Garmin announced the inReach Mini, a smaller and more compact satellite communicator with available two-way messaging and a 24/7 SOS function when combined with an inReach subscription to access the Iridium® satellite network. Measuring just under 4 inches tall by 2 inches wide, and weighing 3.5 ounces, the inReach Mini can easily be carried in a backpack, boat, plane, or glovebox. No more worrying about spotty coverage or being within range of a cell tower - the inReach Mini works anywhere when using the Iridium satellite network. Continue reading "Garmin's new inReach mini two-way satellite communicator"
Flying through the holiday season has its challenges - climatically, winter is blowing in and that means fast-moving systems with lots of cold. In the summer, we worry about heat energetic in the atmosphere kicking up connective activity. When cold, high pressure moves in it brings high winds and all the mechanical issues associated with low temperatures - cold engines, cold tires, cracking plastic and frosted up windows. Some of these are nuisances, some are hard on aircraft, and some - icing - can make flying hazardous. Continue reading "The Tundra in Winter"
Fatal accidents in experimental category aircraft, particularly amateur-built aircraft, continued their decline during the Federal Aviation Administration's 2017 fiscal year that ended September 30, falling to historic lows.
For the 12-month period from October 1, 2016, to September 30, 2017, fatal accident totals in amateur-built aircraft were down 18 percent to just 27, compared with 33 during the 2016 fiscal year. That continues a four-year trend that has seen a total drop of 47 percent in fatal accidents, despite an increasing amount of flight hours each year over that period. The specific totals compare to 40 amateur-built aircraft fatal accidents during the 2015 fiscal year and 51 in the 2014 fiscal year. Continue reading "E/AB Accident Rate Drops to Historic Lows"
Take a look at these beautiful pictures, taken over the town of Truckee (CA), just north of Lake Tahoe, at the northern edge of the Sierra Nevada. It's mid-November, and snow is beginning to fill in the high country. The large granite crags at the western edge of Donner Lake (the approach to Donner Pass) are visible - but already showing their winter coat. To the east, we can look into the Great Basin of North America. At the foot of the hills in which we find ourselves, the city of Reno - planted in a valley known as the Truckee Meadows. These pictures were taken out of opposite sides of my RV-8, and the flying time from Truckee Meadows to the Donner Pass is about ten minutes. Continue reading "Perspective"