Flying May 2020


The sharp wit and experienced judgment of Flying’s experts cover all the challenges and rewards that aviation offers to all flying enthusiasts. From industry news updates, regulations, trends, air shows and events to carefully researched reports on all categories of airplanes, helicopters, avionics, products, technology, accessories and equipment to pilot technique, flight training, safety, weather, operations and maintenance.

United States
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making connections

It’s the close of a week in early March, and I’ve just finished a string of visits within the bounds of Central Florida. The state’s connections to aviation run deep, but mostly, they seem to lie in the sheer quantity of infrastructure that beckons retired pilots of all stripes (along with its no-state-income-tax deal, to be sure). When a Florida-born colleague mentioned to me that Lakeland was one of his favorite spots because there were actual hills, I noted them on our route from Orlando to Tampa—but they are subtle. It’s flat. The weather’s generally great. It’s the perfect place to build a lot of runways. The state has attracted a lot of aerospace business as well—the most obvious being the complex around Cape Canaveral that has recently transitioned from government…


QUESTION FOR CHART WISE I am a 500-hour VFR pilot working on my [instrument rating], so I am striving to fully understand the approach plates. The Chart Wise section in the March 2020 issue has me wondering if there is an error in the article or if I am not understanding this properly. “A. Sidestep Minimums” indicates that in sidestepping the ILS Y Runway 10R to Runway 10L, the minimums would be 376 feet higher for the approach from 10R to 10L. Isn’t the correct height actually 184 feet higher (from 3,036 feet msl to 3,220 feet msl), while the height above ground is 176 feet higher because [the] touchdown-zone elevation [is 8 feet higher]? I appreciate the Chart Wise section in each of your magazines. I find it a learning challenge each…

general aviation copes with coronavirus

The general aviation industry has always harnessed a sense of optimism toward the future—the completed first-solo flight, the new aircraft brought to production, the historic milestone crossed. So it was with a collective heavy heart that organizations across its breadth elected to cancel the first round of shows for 2020, with the most recent ones including the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association Fly-In at San Marcos, Texas, and the National Business Aviation Association’s—along with its partner, the European Business Aviation Association—cancellation of the European Business Aviation Convention and Exhibition. The novel coronavirus pandemic caused these unprecedented moves. On March 13, Sun ’n Fun Fly-In made the decision to at least postpone its spring kickoff held annually in Lakeland, Florida, working with city officials to propose new dates from May 5 to…

olive branch ils rwy 18

Olive Branch—in Mississippi—might not be a city that easily rolls off the tongue of pilots everywhere, but as the crow flies, Olive Branch Airport (KOLV) is just 26 miles from Memphis International (KMEM), home base to package-delivery giant FedEx. That airline alone adds some 450 daily operations to KMEM. But KMEM’s nearly 230,000 annual operations include plenty of traditional airlines bringing people to listen to soul, blues, rock ’n’ roll, and maybe even visit the Graceland palace that was once home to the King, Elvis Presley. Each year, about 65,000 aircraft arrive and depart at Olive Branch, many just to avoid the traffic chaos at KMEM. While this month’s ILS appears very straight forward on the surface, it contains a number of notes that could confuse any pilot who skips over…

test pilot

I bought N4875D in fall 2012. It’s the first and only airplane I’ve owned, a Mooney M20F. As with any vintage vehicle, it’s been an adventure tracking down the various nits, bugs and deferred maintenance items. We’d been through the hydraulics, engine, prop and fuel system. When I took it in for an annual this past October, we’d mostly come to the end of the list of things to fix, so I went ahead and had the generator swapped out for a new Plane-Power alternator kit. When the airplane was almost finished, I flew commercial to where it was, rented a car and helped put the electrical system back together. When it was all done, we ran the engine on the ground a couple times to make sure the alternator and…

mountain, cloud, highway

Twenty-five years ago, a Seattle-area pilot tried to do his mother a favor. He would take her to visit a friend on the other side of the Cascades. Their route would go through the Snoqualmie Pass, which, on the day of the trip, was unfortunately beset by fog and low-lying clouds. The pilot was instrument-rated, but the rented Cessna 152 he was flying was not instrument-equipped. He followed Interstate 90. At a certain point, fog blocked the way, and the pilot decided to turn back. In the turn, he inadvertently flew into cloud, clipped a tree and crashed. Mother and son died together. While sifting through the National Transportation Safety Board’s reports for this column, I happened upon that obscure accident, and it jumped out at me because of its superficial…