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You might have heard the old adage, “The flight cannot be cleared for departure until the gross weight of the paperwork exceeds that of the aircraft.” While cynical, this reference to all the required processes, rules, and regulations makes a good point. Regulations and procedures for pilots largely mirror those of ATC, but these might […]
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ATC Versus Pilot Regs

You might have heard the old adage, “The flight cannot be cleared for departure until the gross weight of the paperwork exceeds that of the aircraft.” While cynical, this reference to all the required processes, rules, and regulations makes a good point. Regulations and procedures for pilots largely mirror those of ATC, but these might […]
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Legal? Or Safe?

Recently, a subscriber sent me a note to ask about the legality of departures into bad weather. At first, this seemed like a rather simplistic question, but as I dug, the back story made it a reasonable discussion. That pilot had a career in the military. As with most large bureaucracies, its operations were rather […]
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Safety Management

Kemper Aviation, a now-defunct flight school in Lantana, FL, was once clogged with over 100 young students. Some showed a lack of selfcontrol extending from their youthfully turbulent private lives on the ground upward to the skies of South Florida. Youngsters may think they are invulnerable. Most had yet to learn that invulnerability is a […]
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Readback: January 2021

Cleared … How? Regarding “Cutting You Loose” in the July issue, I’ve never actually been cleared by ATC with “Proceed on course,” after an off-route vector. When faced with this situation, I either got cleared present position to next waypoint or a vector back to the airway I’d left. As you said, anything vague or […]
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Briefing: January 2021

ELECTRIC WINGSUIT FLOWN Electric propulsion is showing up in every corner of aviation and an Austrian skydiver has launched an electrically boosted wingsuit. Peter Salzmann and BMW collaborated on the contraption that will allow a wingsuit pilot to climb briefly and reach speeds of up to 186 mph. Salzmann leapt from a helicopter at 10,000 […]
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Remarks: How’s That Look?

Sometimes we stretch the regulations, or worse, common sense. Some examples include VFR weather minimums (scud running), night currency, or even logging. Don’t get me wrong; I’m not advocating that. But who among us hasn’t occasionally stretched the speed limit on a lonely country highway or even a busy urban commute, or committed some equally […]
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On The Air: January 2021

I fly a Cessna Conquest and when I announce myself to air traffic control, sometimes they hear Citation, and I usually correct them so they know I can’t cruise at FL 430. The other day I was doing practice approaches at my home airport, and a student was on the tower frequency with me. Me: […]
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Keep Up the Good Fight

The clock read a few minutes past noon when I pulled through my control tower’s entry gate. As always on my way into work, I took in the weather conditions, mentally prepping for the day ahead. A scattered cloud deck mottled the blue above. What drew my eye most, though, was a pocket of cumulus […]
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December 2020 Quiz

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Understanding Fronts

Often, the word “front” raises anxiety and apprehension in aviation meteorology. It carries the possibility of showers and thunderstorms, signals a change in the weather regime, and means the distinct possibility of a busted forecast. Thankfully there’s nothing to fear. Fronts are now well understood— computer models have become excellent at handling the underlying air masses […]
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One After Another

A long-awaited family reunion is finally happening in Buffalo, New York, just over two-hours’ flight time from your home in Elkhart, Indiana. Two hours, that is, going direct, 331 miles, KEKM-KBUF. You’ve never flown to Buffalo, but you already know direct won’t be possible thanks to some busy airspace up ahead. So you’ve set aside […]
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Safest Word In Flying

With a new private ticket in his wallet, the now-instrument student finished his preflight. No supervision needed, right? Out strode his CFII, who walked around the airplane, checking critical items. He glanced up and spotted a missing inspection cover under the wing. Pointing out this omission, the student asked, “We can still go, right?” The […]
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