Flying March 2021


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
Bonnier Corporation


spring training

As a runner, when the days get longer again I have to ask the question: What race will I train for this spring? It’s not about speed or glory—you know this if you’ve seen me run—it’s about having a goal. I need one in order to get myself going during the early months of the year—when the holiday lights have been packed away but the sunlight hasn’t yet returned to my home in the northern hemisphere. A date on the calendar spurs me to action in a way that a vague resolution rarely does. Still, it’s hard to put in the miles when the wind howls out of the northwest and spins snow out of the clouds. Likewise, it takes a little more effort to go to the airport and pull an…


VFR into IMC Rob Mark’s article on marginal VFR flying [“When the Music Dies,” Jan/Feb] fully covers the modern thinking of the subject. But I think there are a couple of points missed that are useful and come from an earlier era: 1. Landing in a field immediately below you, if trapped, has a higher probability of a livable outcome than punching into the clouds unprepared. 2. Watching the weather behind you is just as important as watching the weather ahead. It can often close in from behind. Certainly these points are subject to the variables of terrain, weather and airplane types. Stephen Phoenix via email Flying in the B-29 Martha Lunken’s B-29 adventure [in “‘Doc,’ David, Herb and the Cops,” Jan/Feb] evoked a few old memories. My father worked for Douglas Aircraft Company in Long Beach,…

editors’ choice awards 2021

Collaboration. Maybe the term gets thrown around enough to wear thin, but our best efforts rarely derive from flying solo. Even Chuck Yeager would remind you: He was not alone in the cockpit of Glamorous Glennis, in any true sense. During a year marked by lives upended, working together saw us through to 2021. Efforts began long before 2020 in order to achieve the goals met by the teams that we highlight in our Editors’ Choice Awards this year. To manage workload and increase safety, to return a US crew to space, and to land a light airplane autonomously—all of these things took collaborative effort, and that’s why we’ve called them out for our recognition. One of these teams will be selected for our highest award, the Flying Innovation Award, but for…

foreflight’s 2020 updates

Since Flying’s spring 2020 update about the app, ForeFlight has continued to act like an R2-D2-style assistant to pilots operating anywhere in the world, assuming they’re connected to the right peripherals. In the most recent update as of press time, ForeFlight now includes a robust 10-day hourly forecast feature offering users globally-supported forecast weather for any airport in the world. The forecasts are broken down into daily and hourly reports, as well as graphic depictions of flight categories such as VFR, marginal-VFR, IFR and low-IFR conditions. Users of the ForeFlight Performance plan will find that these forecasts improve the accuracy of takeoff- and landing-performance calculations. Earlier ForeFlight updates to some subscription plans included interactive icing and turbulence forecast layers in the 3D preview mode. With the Traffic Procedure Advisor, pilots can specify…

ask flying

If departing an airport with a relatively high density altitude on a gusty day, what climb speed should you use and when? "The principle of adding a few knots—say 10, or half the gust speed—to approach speed applies to takeoff and initial climb as well as landing. It’s simply a matter of putting as much distance as possible between you and an inadvertent stall. But the takeoff case is potentially more troublesome. When approaching to land, you’re slowing down from a speed with wide safety margins, and you can keep up your speed if the airspeed fluctuations caused by gusts make you uneasy. Taking off, you have to fly through the band of speeds you avoid on landing; and you don’t know what you’ll encounter until you’re in the air. In strong gusts,…

hawaii lessons

I learned about flying from that NO.958 In 1948, living in New Jersey, I wanted very much to get into flying. My inquiries led me to Secaucus (now a metropolis in its own right, 10 minutes from New York City), where I found the Dawn Patrol seaplane base located on the Hackensack River. The owner-operator was a veteran Navy pilot, who just a few years earlier had engaged in combat flying a torpedo bomber. His name was Cliff Umschied, and the fleet consisted of two Luscombes on floats. I was a kid and didn’t have much money at the time, but it was the beginning of a long and wonderful love affair with aviation. The lessons that my own flight training taught me stayed with me over the years until I eventually…