Poor go-around for Piper pilot

Aircraft: Piper Comanche. Injuries: None. Location: Lake Tahoe, Calif. Aircraft damage: Substantial.

What reportedly happened: The pilot aborted a landing due to traffic on the active runway. As part of the go-around he retracted the landing gear.

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Drugs and the GA pilot

Drugs

FAR 91.17 prohibits flying after the use of “any drug that affects the person’s faculties in any way contrary to safety.” Yet every year pilots crash, killing themselves and their passengers, often because the pilot is chemically compromised by over the counter medications.

That’s the big message from a recent study by the National Transportation Safety Board on the use of drugs in the pilot population and how it contributes to accidents. The study concluded that drug use of all types, including prescription medications, is on the rise and, therefore, the risk of impairment from drugs is also increasing.

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Bearhawk receives FAA approval for transition training

Bearhawk

Flying an airplane you’ve never flown before is a lot like cooking in someone else’s kitchen. Although you know how to work a stove, the microwave can present a challenge and finding the most basic of implements can be time consuming and frustrating.

Now add the dimension of being at 3,000 feet above the earth and hurtling through space at 120 knots. Before you attempt to go it alone, it’s a good idea to get some training in that “kitchen.”

Most pilots — and their insurance companies — recognize the value of transition training when moving from one model of aircraft to another. However, it can be a challenge to find someone who can legally provide that training, especially when you intend to fly an experimental aircraft.

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Two airplanes (almost) anyone can afford

Aerolite

“Everything you need and not much else,” is the catchy tagline from aviation entrepreneur Chip Erwin.

With those words, he described the Italian Zigolo, which is based on a design by American Mike Sandlin. (In a sign of our global times, Erwin imports it to both USA and China.) One look at the aircraft and you can see what he is describing. Zigolo has everything you need to go aloft to have some aerial fun and, well … not much else.

A similarly simple but well packaged design is made here in the US of A but has recently made its way overseas to Germany and the European Union. Florida’s Aerolite 103 (Aerolite 120 in Europe to conform to its “120 Class”) also has all a pilot needs to see the countryside.

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Answering a kid’s question

Richmond meets pro pilot and CFI Ray de Haan

“How can you fly visually, just looking out the window?”

So asked our smart-beyond-his-years 13-year-old friend back home in Virginia. The question really set me off. In his devotion to computer flight sims, he was starting at the top and working his way down! Sure, he could “land” a virtual 757, but was clueless about basic realities.

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