Watch Those Turns – PART 1 – When Wings Meet Hangars

YOU’D THINK PILOTS WOULD BE SMART ENOUGH TO STAY CLEAR OF HANGARS. I would think so, since when I’m the pilot in command, I’ve managed to slip past any number of obstacles in my life, and have never bumped a parked airplane, person, or hangar with my airplane while taxiing. I guess I always thought of this as my job – you know, to SEE AND AVOID things both on the ground, and of course, while in the air.

Engine Starting 101 – When Flames Appear

Yep, you read that right, flames, as in FIRE (which is never a good word around an airplane fueled with any kind of AvGas) around your airplane when you are trying to start the engine. If you haven't seen this yet, be wary, because all it will take are the right circumstances, and you not only can see this type of event, YOU WILL.

Bad Altitude — A Formula for Disaster

While talking once with avionics professionals at the Aircraft Electronics Association show I learned some problems they found over the course of the years -- one of which was so serious I nearly dropped my flight bag.  The issue involved “paper” altimeter static checks, or the routine check that allows ATC to be sure that your plane is at the altitude it says it is.

The Nights Can Still Be Cold: The Avionics Warm-up

You've probably already read my call to watch your tires and preheat your engine when the temperature gets cold. Now I'm going to remind you about another important part of your flying that needs a little time to warm up on those spring mornings (and most any other day) - namely, your Avionics! The key here is to remember that aircraft are generally built for transportation over large distances. (Translation: just because the nights are warm where you came from, that doesn't mean they'll be warm where you're going.) As a pilot you must be very aware of your surroundings -- more so than you are attached to your expectations.

When Cylinders Fail

Believe it or not, the cylinders in aircraft engines have been known to fail. While this doesn't happen every day (thank goodness!) it certainly can't hurt to know what you need to do, or to understand the telltale signs that will tell you your cylinder may not be a "cylinder" anymore.

Cold Weather Tip: Check Your Tires

Cold weather has arrived -- rather brutally this year for many of us. Whether that cold weather translates to life in the mid-50's (as it often does in the southern climes), or in the sub-zero's (for northerners), cold weather means we need to keep an eye on our aircraft's tires, to make sure they stay properly inflated.

My Last Near Miss

I happened to remember the other day while I was driving this experience from my life as a pilot. I was on my way back from an American Bonanza Society (ABS) Service Clinic, where experts on the Beech aircraft line went over my plane with a fine-tooth comb, looking for problems. They poked and prodded, did a retraction test of the landing gear, and found a few problems that needed to be resolved.