Top 10 Flying Blogs of 2014

A look back at our 10 most popular Flying blog posts of the year.

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Over the past year there has been plenty of aviation news for us to report on, much of it ranging from horrifying to concerning — from the tragic, baffling and as yet unsolved disappearance of Malaysia Flight 370 to an FAA challenged by a changing landscape, the need for regulatory reform and challenges with ambitious programs run amok, to the economic, bureaucratic and demographic challenges that we in personal and business aviation face in our shared quest to keep flying free of undue hardship. There have been high-profile accidents, big mergers, remarkable new airplanes and other technologies and, increasingly, challenges to our flying freedoms from new technologies, from the proliferation of drones to the FAA's increasingly invasive and often unwarranted oversight of our personal flying. Increasingly, Flying is making news and influencing opinion. For the first time in our 87-year history, we hosted our first major aviation event, the Flying Aviation Expo in Palm Springs, California. Our calls for action on issues ranging from knowledge testing to smarter certification to aggressively scaled down medical certification have moved member organizations and the FAA alike to rethink their positions on a number of these key provisions. We plan to continue to take a lead role in influencing opinion in 2015 and beyond. Flying has long spoken for pilots and aircraft owners with an independent and bold voice. With this as backdrop, we proudly present the top online opinion pieces of 2014, as voted by you by the simple act of reading them and responding. Enjoy, and as always, we invite you to weigh in on these and other issues facing us pilots as we pursue this greatest personal activity in the world. Blue Skies for 2015, Robert Goyer _Editor-in-Chief, Flying _ _**
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Flying
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10. Solution to NORAD's TFR Problems Earlier in the year, North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) stressed that military jets were scrambling on average more than once a week to intercept general aviation pilots who strayed into restricted airspace. And that, on top of the potential danger involved in such intercepts, the incursions cost tax payers millions of dollars. In his Going Direct blog, Robert Goyer offered his take on an solution, which lied in spreading the TFR word, not education. He suggested that getting rid of the majority of TFRs would save hundreds of millions of dollars but would cost nothing in terms of lost security. Read Robert Goyer's full blog post here. Get online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.Flying
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9. Confronting the UAV Menace Concern about personal unmanned aircraft has been a growing hot topic over the recent months. In November, a report from the Associated Press revealed that drone sightings were increasing dramatically and that the FAA receives nearly daily reports of drones flying close to airplanes or helicopters near airports in violation of regulations. The problem, as Stephen Pope talks about in his blog, is regulation doesn't exactly exist. In fact, Pope recalls witnessing a quadracopter flying low and in a busy area near a heliport and outlines his concern about the lack of clear guidance on flying UAVs. Read Stephen Pope's full blog post here. Get online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.Flying
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8. ALPA's Message for Aspiring Aviators: The Looming Pilot Shortage Is a Myth Over the years there has been talk of an imminent pilot shortage, but back in February the Air Line Pilot Association came out and said what many in aviation already suspected: The looming pilot shortage is a myth. It was created by airlines unwilling to offer better pay. In his blog, Stephen Pope pointed out the data ALPA presented certainly backed that up. What ALPA did agree on was that there might be a shortage of pilots willing to work for poverty wages. The fact was that thousands of qualified and experienced U.S. airline pilots were currently on furlough or working overseas and eager to return to U.S. cockpits under the right conditions. Pope urged those to rethink how airline business are run and to pay pilots what they deserve. Read Stephen Pope's full blog post here. Get online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.Flying
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7. Introducing the Cessna Bonanza 2014 started off on a big note with news coming from general aviation's most iconic brands. Cessna parent company Textron confirmed buying Beechcraft for $1.4 billion. The merger raised more questions than answers about what it would mean for the companies involved. Robert Goyer tackled the question head-on in his blog. His prediction was simple: the Beechcraft brand will survive. Cessna will be Cessna, Beechcraft will be Beechcraft. Goyer expressed that other brands that have seen tough times survived, most likely because people who love aviation have long memories. And if it weren’t for memory and the associations created through it, brands would be meaningless. Read Robert Goyer's full blog post here. Get online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.Flying
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6. FAA Oversteps in Ride-Sharing Decision When the FAA issued letters to ride-sharing sites, Flytenow and AirPooler, the agency was effectively pulling the plug on services that allowed pilots to accept a share of the costs of the flight in return for giving rides to people headed for the same destination. The companies argued their services should be considered perfectly legal under FAA rules that allow private pilots and passengers to share flight-related costs. However, the FAA's problem seemed to lie in using a website to arrange these flights. While it might have appeared to be a minor issue, the FAA was overstepping their power and no longer making decisions based on safety or law. Get online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.Flying
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5. TBM 900 Crash: Rethinking Inflight Emergencies When a well-known TBM pilot succomed to hypoxia on a flight to Florida in September, lost consciousness and crashed, killing himself and his wife, the accident drew the attention of the general aviation community and the wider public alike. Critics zeroed in on the fact that although the pilot repeatedly asked for a lower altitude, he never declared an emergency. But the audio of the incident shows he was already suffering from the effects of hypoxia and slurring his speech during communications with ATC, raising the question of whether the controller should have picked up on the fact that he was in a dire situation. And thus raising the even larger question: How can pilots and controllers be better trained so their interactions prevent fatal accidents? Read Stephen Pope's full blog post here. Get online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.Flying
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4. How a Ghost Doomed the Cessna Skycatcher When Cessna removed all traces of the Skycatcher LSA from its website in February of this year, it was a move that indicated what most of us already knew: The Skycatcher was gone for good. Despite receiving some 850 orders for the airplane when it first launched in 2006, Cessna ended up delivering only 200 of the side-by-side two-seaters. Coming from a company that set the bar for two-seat trainers, the Skycatcher seemed destined for greatness in the burgeoning realm of light-sport aircraft. But, ultimately, it was the airplane’s inability to bring to the table what its renowned forebearer did that doomed it from the beginning. Read Robert Goyer's full blog post here. Get online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.Flying
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3. Missing: What We Can Learn from Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 When Malaysia Airlines Flight MH370 went missing earlier this year, experts from around the world weighed in on what could have possibly happened to the Boeing 777 that never made it to its intended destination. Months after its disappearance, numerous theories still abound, and families of the 239 individuals on board are left to wonder and the aviation community left to speculate on what went wrong, unable to learn important lessons from the tragedy. We won’t know those details unless the airplane is found, but the one lesson that can be gleaned from MH370 now is clear: The airlines need to make the investment to equip their airplanes with automatic satellite reporting devices, which are currently available on the market today and could ensure vital information during future aviation calamities. Get online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.Flying
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2. AMA Vote Reveals Dirty Secret of 3rd Class Medical Ever since the FAA granted sport pilots the right to use a driver’s license in lieu of a third-class medical, general aviation groups have pushed for a broader adoption of the policy that would extend to noncommercial VFR flights in airplanes weighing up to 6,000 pounds. Despite the broad support among pilots, however, the proposal has strong opponents. At a meeting of the American Medical Association earlier this year, the group voted to direct lobbying efforts against the proposal, citing a variety of reasons why the driver’s license medical is “unsafe.” One reason not cited, yet underlying the decision, is the financial interest physicians have in perpetuating the health care burden of pilots. Get online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.Flying
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1. FAA: Stop That, It's Legal! When Flying set out to shoot the brand new TBM 900 earlier this year, South Florida was selected as the locale, providing the perfect backdrop for a beautiful airplane. The shoot went off without a hitch, that is until the FAA called saying it had received complaints from those on the ground about two airplanes flying close together on the beach. Despite the fact that the FAA inspector acknowledged the flight was perfectly legal, he asked that the type of flight not be done anyway, at least not over populated areas. Our response? Sorry, but no. Get online content like this delivered straight to your inbox by signing up for our free enewsletter.Flying