January 24, 2005
William Shatner's Nightmare
No, not a man on the wing. The Rocky's Ann Imse discusses the NTSB's frustration with trying to get the FAA to adopt new rules for airplane icing. Apparently, the Cessna Caravan is a particular problem, with something like 2% of all Caravans sold since 1984 involved in ice-related crashes. This is an enormous percentage for a particular cause of accidents.
Ice has been a problem forever, with St. Exupery, Langewiesche, and Robert Buck all writing about it. As a VFR pilot I rarely encountered it, except to make sure it was cleared off before I took off. Even then, a very light frost on a sunny but cold day wasn't a problem, which leads me to think it really is a problem with the Caravan's wing.
Ironically, local pilots who should be in a position to know didn't. Alaskan Caravan pilots didn't seem aware of the plane's problems, so despite all the merits of local knowledge, sometimes there really is merit to a centralized database.
December 28, 2004
You don't hear about this too often, small planes losing power and safely landing in fields. That's because they don't actually just lose power too often. Nowhere does the article mention that this is completely, 100%, entirely, the correct thing for the pilot to do. Look for a soft farmer's field and set down. Not a road, because they're too bumpy, too narrow, and you're liable to get turned into a pinwheel by a telephone pole or a power line.
Anyway, someday those small prop planes will be a thing of the past.
December 14, 2004
Views From a Height
One of the things I miss most is flying. Taking pictures and flying. Some of you may recognize this city. As for the monolith, I didn't see any evidence of aliens. Yes, I was flying the plane at the time. Yes, I took my hands off the wheel to take the picture. Click to enlarge.