A pre-takeoff briefing exists to remove hesitation and doubt from split-second emergency decisions after takeoff. The problem is that most real-world departures present several opportunities to go off script. Some of those improvisations could turn an off-field crash into an uneventful runway landing—or a disaster.
The saying is that when in doubt, you should go around. Does that include after the airplane is on the runway? What about when the runway is a sheet of ice, with the airplane sliding sideways towards a snowbank and nearly certain damage?
After an unplanned overnight at a small Nebraska airport, you start a takeoff run for the remaining trip in clear skies and cold air. The airplane doesn’t seem to have its normal vigor at rotation speed and wallows into the air. Then it climbs normally—while the airspeed goes to zero. Is this a big deal […]
You’ve read about stall/spin accidents where people try to cheat a turn. But aren’t you safe bending the rules a bit when you’re well above stall speed and descending? Especially in a spin-resistant airplane?
What’s so hard about a little formation flying? Does it matter if there’s also air-to-air photography? A request that started simply has ever-growing implications for airspace complications and collision hazards. Is there a way to dial back the expectations or build up the required skill to make a flyable mission or is this simply too […]
Going with the flow has advantages, but an acceptable risk for one pilot can push the envelope for another. However, standing up for your needs might add risk for someone else. Do you try to fit in and see how it goes, simply do your own thing despite the crowd, or create a maneuver on […]
Practicing for emergencies is core to aviation training. Creating realistic preparation for a potentially deadly event sounds like a great idea. But is it worth it when the risk of the event may be lower than the risk of an insurance claim from the practice itself? Maybe sticking with more conventional training is better?
You’ve got the whole family on board for a great weekend by the ocean. However, the landing attempt on a runway that’s short and obstructed didn’t go so well. Now you have only a second to decide if an attempted go-around will safely clear the trees—or result in a catastrophe.
One risk of retractable-gear aircraft is that the wheels might not come down no matter what you do. Now you’re faced with picking the kind of gear-up landing you prefer: two wheels or none, grass or pavement? Don’t think this one is just for retract pilots. Gear issues happen in all airplanes.
Sport planes and a Sport Pilot Certificate can be tools for real travel by air, with a few limitations. There’s no night flight, usually no instrument flight, and light wing loading can make turbulence challenging. That means creativity might be required to complete the mission—or sometimes just to get back on the ground.