Flying December 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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managing risk

I’ve long been a believer in regular, periodic proficiency training. A basic flight review every two years does little to ensure our readiness for the challenges that flying presents when we least expect it. When I worked at the Cessna Aircraft Company a decade ago, I flew according to the parameters set by the flight operations department, which included an annual instrument proficiency check, as well as an annual flight review for the flying-club aircraft. Each syllabus incorporated scenario-based training. Cessna implemented a detailed single-engine-piston flight manual in 2008 in response to a fatal accident that killed a well-respected demo pilot and a dealer representative in a Cessna Caravan. Outlining risk management at its core, the manual accompanied other policies that—among them—required better annual flight checks. The FAA/Industry Training Standards (FITS) had…


Looking for Amelia I congratulate Peter Garrison on the excellent analysis of Amelia Earhart’s doomed flight [in October’s “Earhart and Range”]. It never made sense to me that they would arrive in the vicinity of Howland Island and, having failed to find it, embark on a dead-reckoning gamble to yet another island with only an hour of fuel remaining. How could one even dead-reckon without knowing the starting position? I would rather stay on the current target and maximize the search time. Michael Jastrzebskivia email Blackhawk Notes I just received my October 2020 Flying and immediately read the article about the Blackhawk upgrade for the King Air 350. I have a special interest because I own and fly a 350 exactly (for all practical purposes) like the one in the article, and our two…

garmin d2 air

If the term “Swiss Army knife” means nothing to you, imagine a compact, fits-in-your hand tool chest that solves a host of little problems, such as opening a bottle away from the kitchen, tightening a loose screw, cutting some string, sawing a small piece of wood, or plucking a rose thorn out of a dog’s paw. These are tools you never think you’d need—until the moment you do. Garmin’s D2 Air GPS touchscreen smartwatch, the latest addition to the D2 aviator series, is a like a Swiss Army knife for pilots. It’s a wrist-worn timepiece, but it’s also chock-full of useful apps, including a pulse oximeter for flights into the higher altitudes, a quick point-out to the nearest airport, or the ability to check an updated terminal forecast. The D2 Air…

diamond da20-c1 and da50 rg

The single-engine-piston side of the house at Diamond Aircraft has made forward progress through the third quarter of 2020, with the restart of production of its two-seat training airplane, the DA20-C1, and debut of its retractable-gear single, the DA50 RG. This time around, new DA20-C1s are equipped with a G500 TXi avionics suite. The aircraft is still powered by a 125 hp Continental IO-240 engine. The DA20—originally introduced in 1992 and created in two variants—is certified as a utility-category aircraft and is popularly used for primary training with its capacity for spin training. With 7 million flight hours logged across the DA20 fleet in the world, the airplane sees high utilization, with an unlimited lifetime on the airframe. The first brand-new 2020 DA20-C1s were delivered in August 2020, and the company…

pipistrel panthera

After flying the Pipstrel Panthera’s first US flight on August 25, Right Rudder Aviation in Inverness, Florida, announced that they are now the exclusive dealer for Pipistrel’s slick new composite four-seat airplane in North, Central and South America. Andrew Chan, Right Rudder Aviation’s chief operating officer, made the first US flight of the Panthera, departing Inverness Airport (KINF) for a 2½-hour flight to test the entire flight envelope of the aircraft, check all systems and verify performance figures. “Currently, the Panthera is available as either self-built experimental or factory-built certified [aircraft],” Chan says. “Experimental airframes will be available in nine to 12 months, with certified deliveries slated to begin in 2022. So far in our testing [as of September], we have seen a maximum cruise speed of 194 ktas, with economy…

how is it possible to back the b-17 flying fortress into a parking space from within the cockpit?

The Boeing B-17 bomber is a four-engine taildragger that doesn’t have reversible-pitch propellers. So, is it possible to back the Flying Fortress into a parking space from inside the cockpit? Yes. The No. 1 and No. 4 engines are outboard of the respective left and right main landing-gear wheels. So, the pilot locks the left brake and applies power to the left outboard engine, causing the airplane to pivot on the left tire and forcing the right tire to roll aft. The pilot then applies right brake and adds power to the right outboard engine, which causes the left tire to roll aft. By alternating No. 1 and No. 4 engine power, and left and right wheel brakes, the pilot can “walk” the entire airplane backward. Martha Lunken is a lifelong pilot,…