New study finds that expert pilots see differently

An experienced pilot will make a better decision about whether to attempt a marginal landing while showing only about half as much brain activity as less experienced pilots, according to a recent study completed by scientists at Stanford University. A report on AVweb quotes the study’s lead author, Maheen Adamson: “The data show that the expert pilot seems to just know what to look for, where to look and when to look.”

Teen celebrates 16th birthday with 14 solo flights

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Forget a Sweet Sixteen party. Wyatt Angel of Mount Airy, N.C., spent his 16th birthday doing something way more fun — flying 11 airplanes solo at the Mount Airy-Surry County Airport (KMWK), then making his way to the Piedmont Soaring Society in nearby Farmington, where he soloed three gliders.

He hopes his birthday celebration will win him a spot in the world record books.

Soloing 14 aircraft on the first day he was legally allowed to solo was something Wyatt had been planning for a long time.
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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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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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Would you hesitate to declare an emergency?

The fact that all three of my passengers were throwing up simultaneously left me three options: Tough it out and press on to our destination; join them in their nauseous state; or declare an emergency and get the hell on the ground.

My right seat passenger was a Horizon Air first officer. She thought she was used to bumpy rides. I was flying her to her domicile. She was supposed to report for work there within four hours of our scheduled arrival time.

To top it off, it was only the 11th month of her 12-month probation period. Missing her show time could be reason enough to fire her. I wanted to press on…believe me. I wanted to impress her with my weather flying skills in hard IMC. I wanted to be her hero. But mostly I wanted her to walk my resumé in to her chief pilot the next time a hiring window opened.

Everything in me said, “continue.” Even my front seatmate pleaded for me to gut it out, so I hesitated.
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Sharing your wings

For many frugal pilots, sharing their wings makes a lot of sense. Most private pilots fly less than 1% of the available hours in a year, often not enough time to keep their aircraft from suffering from inactivity. Add another pilot or two and the plane actually stays in better condition —and the costs go down.

But the big question isn’t so much should you share your wings, but how?

Obviously, it’s not a thorough analogy, but sharing wings is somewhat like sharing a life in marriage: The partnership can either be twice as good or twice as bad as going it alone.

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ASA debuts Learn to Fly blog

New from ASA is the Learn to Fly Blog, a place for current pilots, students, and future pilots to learn, explore, and share insights on the foundations of flight and flight training. Find out what it takes to become a pilot, learn the fundamental principles behind the wonder of flight, get test-taking tips, share training experiences with your peers, and learn about careers in aviation.

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Third-class medical reform caught in government maze

WASHINGTON, D.C. — It started two-and-a-half years ago and there is still no clear end in sight. It’s another example of apparent government slow — or no — action.

In March 2012, the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA) and Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) petitioned the FAA to reduce the requirements for a third-class medical certificate and permit certain types of flying with a valid automobile drivers’ license, much like the Sport Pilot license.

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