Turbulence – How Much Is Too Much?

Airspeed IndicatorRemember primary training when you were talking with your instructor about the Airspeed Indicator and the color-coded ranges on it?  How the death-card got played when discussing flight in turbulence while in the caution range?

Ridden along with someone who chops power and slows down at even the slightest hint of bumps?  They’re wrong.  And forget what your instructor said – here’s the real deal.

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The Run Up – Not That Hard

Today I rode along with a student and his instructor and I saw firsthand why it is that there’s always that one guy just sitting in the run up area with his engine running full bore for 20 minutes.

Apparently doing a run up is hard.  And when you’re a student trying to get in meaningful flight time, pissing away 0.3hr in aircraft rental charges and several gallons of AvGas even before you leave the ground is going to add up, and make people like me go “Ohhhh… right in the wallet.”

Lets quickly go over a typical run up procedure to try and make this less difficult.

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Why I think Drones are a Crappy Idea

If you own a television or follow the video game culture, chances are you’ll either have seen or will very soon be seeing adverts for Call of Duty: Black Ops 2.

Like this one right here:

But how realistic is this scenario?  After all, it’s just a game, right?

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The All-Important PTS – Changes for June 2012

AGH!  The Practical Test Standards have changed!   I sure am glad someone let me know about it…  FOUR DAYS AFTER THE CHANGES WENT INTO EFFECT.  *mutters under his breath about an alternate meaning for FAA*

So far as I know, only the PTS for the Private Pilot License has been changed (significantly, anyway, all of them have had SOME changes), so lets briefly look at what’s what. Continue reading

The Idiocy Behind Old Panels

You lot (my readers) may have noticed that I’ve been going a bit panel crazy for the past few days/weeks – the catalyst for which is the terrible organization of the panels in the airplanes I want that I’ve seen for sale.  Is it a function of the individual model of airplane we’re looking at?  Well, no.  The one we want is the PA24 Comanche, manufactured between 1956 and 1972, but this problem is present in every airplane we’ve looked at that was built before 1966 (and even some after).  So what’s the deal?

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What the Manufacturers Need Us to Know

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time, and now that I’ve gotten my family back into aviation (to the point where they’re looking at getting their BFRs and possibly adding new ratings) we’re in the market for a plane.

Doing some price checking for what we want, we’ve found that we’re definitely in the market for something used – you’d expect used stuff to be cheaper, but why is a new airplane so ridiculously expensive?

At first I thought it was something to do with option packages, but I soon found out that it was much more than that.

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Victorian Gauges

Well ok, maybe our gauges aren’t actually from the Victorian era, but the analog gauges are sometimes referred to as “Steam Gauges,” and steam power was prevalent back then, so I figured, “Why not?  I need a catchy title anyway.”

The basic gist of this gripe is going to be about how new pilots who have only learned on glass panels actually have no idea what they’re doing.

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Danger and learning curve pitch

Crash Iminent

They're about to learn a LOT.

It might just be me, but I’ve noticed that the amount of stuff you learn (and that sticks with you) is directly and logarithmically proportional to the feeling that it’s highly likely you’re about to die (how’s that for a hook?).

I think that there’s also potential for the curve to increase under other circumstances, but lets not get carried away and make this into a dissertation on human development…

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