A single-engine accident in Florida recently in which two people died shortly after takeoff reminded me of another high-performance single-engine airplane accident that happened at Santa Monica airport in 2009. A SIAI-Marchetti SF-260C crashed onto the runway shortly after taking off, killing two people onboard. I’m not suggesting that the cause of the accidents were the same, but nonetheless, they both happened immediately after the airplanes departed.
Sitting in the jump seat of a corporate Gulfstream G450 on approach to Morristown Municipal Airport’s Runway 5, I saw the tiny starlings a fraction of a second before the copilot called out, matter-of-factly, “Birds.” We flew through an entire flock of the little creatures and, although I was pretty sure we’d hit more than one, I didn’t feel or even hear their impact. The bloody stains we discovered on the Gulfstream’s nose and right wing once the airplane was pulled into the hangar, however, confirmed we’d struck two of the unfortunate animals.
Winter is rapidly approaching, bringing with it more challenging flying conditions. According to the AOPA Air Safety Institute’s annual Nall Report, one factor that causes about a quarter of weather-related accidents is ice. While you are not immune to icing conditions in the summer, you will more likely encounter this phenomenon in the winter. As the air gets colder, freezing temperatures are more likely to exist at the altitude at which you fly.
The apprentice system made a lot of sense in its day, though apprentices, from Ben Franklin on down through the generations, have had a less charitable view of the process. They felt a bit abused by the system, suffering through poor wages, difficult working conditions, long commitments and uncertain job prospects once they'd done their time. Sound familiar?
Wow, what an eye opener! Last night I completed 1.4 hours of my 3-hour night flight-training requirement for the private certificate, single-engine rating, with First Landings Aviation CFI Chris Esposito. I shot 8 full-stop landings in the Remos GX, leaving the last two of the 10 required for my dual cross-country night flight. All I can say is: What a different world than day VFR flight. That should seem obvious to anyone, but until I actually experienced it, I didn’t realize how different it would be and that reading about it in the prep books doesn’t do it justice.
None of the pilots I’ve talked to were surprised by Garmin’s decision to discontinue production of its ubiquitous GNS 530W and GNS 430W all-in-one GPS/navcoms (production of the 530 ends this month and the 430 sometime next year). Really, who could be? These hugely successful units have been in production for well over a decade. Could you imagine Apple selling the same iPhone for more than 10 years? Or even two years?
Sunday morning got off to an absurd start with my email inbox filling up with forwarded messages that a high-profile person in aviation (I'll leave it at that) had called Burt Rutan a "failure," though why anyone would utter such nonsense is beyond me. Knowing just this, a reasonable person would have to conclude that it simply wasn't true, so enough said on that count.
But still, the question was raised, and so here goes.
While Rutan's golf game gets mixed reviews, his impact as an airplane designer is the very pinnacle of success.
Laser pointers are fun, aren’t they? We’ve all held or at least seen these pen-sized gadgets. They're useful for highlighting particularly interesting parts of PowerPoint slides or mounting to rifles and pistols for improved long-distance targeting. I personally am guilty of making cats do burnouts across the kitchen floor with a red laser pen.
I was watching a commercial for Apple's new iPhone 4S between innings of the World Series last night and it occurred to me to wonder, "What if Siri," the new virtual assistant you get with the Apple iPhone 4S, "was a pilot?" That would change everything.
Rescue crews of two airplanes, one a military Hercules, the other a Cessna 172 Skyhawk, went on a search for a downed airplane near Regina, Saskatchewan, Canada last week that is sure to stay in their memories for a while and will also serve as a good lesson in ELT operations. The airplanes were dispatched by the Joint Rescue Coordination Center in Trenton, Ontario in response to an emergency locator transmitter signal, according to Frank Schuurmans, the president of Civil Air Search and Rescue Association (CASARA) of Saskatchewan.