Spatial disorientation kills four

Aircraft: Piper Matrix. Injuries: 4 Fatal. Location: Greensburg, Ind. Aircraft damage: Destroyed.

What reportedly happened: The instrument-rated private pilot was executing a non-precision instrument approach procedure at night in deteriorating weather conditions. According to GPS track data, he executed the approach as published, but descended below the missed approach point’s minimum altitude before executing a climbing right turn.

[Read more…]

Pilot reports: The beginnings

the 1938 Luscombe 8 (N22013) is courtesy of Ty Sundstrom and was taken at Tehachapi, CA.

“After running the motor a few minutes to heat it up, I released the wire that held the machine to the track, and the machine started forward into the wind,” reported Orville Wright in the December 1913 issue of Flying magazine.

Though possibly not the first pilot report in an aviation journal, it sure is a pilot report about the oldest aircraft.

Though flight test articles became a common feature of general aviation magazines in the 1960s and on, these pilot reports on performance and handling of aircraft were rare before World War II. The emergence of flight test articles on new private aircraft owe their origins to two magazines: The Sportsman Pilot and Air Facts. [Read more…]

2015 and beyond: Defining years for general aviation

Flying magazine’s Robert Goyer predicts that the next few years will be “pivotal” ones for general aviation. “From time to time in history, for reasons that are hard to understand even in hindsight, a short period of years becomes the confluence for a number of critical events that one might have seen coming but the conclusion of which no one can reliably predict,” he says in his latest blog post. “It seems to me that the second half of the 2010s will be a time of such change, much of it focused on the economics, sustainability and safety of flight.” Read the full post here.

FAA deputy administrator new pilot

FAA Deputy Administrator Michael Whitaker, who is responsible for helping to ensure the safe and efficient operation of the National Airspace System, recently took his private pilot checkride — and told officials with the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association that he “felt the pressure,” noting it “wouldn’t be acceptable” not to pass. In a blog post at AOPA.org, Whitaker relates that he was motivated to learn to fly for his own edification and because of his job — so he could understand technologies beyond the intellectual level and so he could better understand general aviation issues. Read the full report here.