FAA WINGS program, Marvel Comics, Non-towered airport pattern entry, More ADS-B products, Flight Design Sold + GA News


We talk about the benefits of participating in the FAA WINGS program in lieu of doing a Flight Review (formerly called a BFR), which pilots in the U.S. must do every two years. Instead of spending an hour on the ground reviewing Part 91 rules and regulations, the FAA WINGS program lets you can take free online courses instead, which may be a better use of your time, if you choose courses that help keep you safer when you fly.

We had lots of feedback on entering the traffic at non-Towered Airports. Not everyone likes the FAA preferred entry for crossing over the field at 500 feet above pattern altitude and then turning to enter on the 45. But we don’t get to pick which rules to follow and not follow, just because we don’t like them!

Plus an Air Canada flight 759 near miss update. Oddly, that aircraft was not visible on SFO’s surface radar for 12 seconds, and we explain why. Plus listener questions. An instrument pilots asks about how to activate an instrument approach on his Garmin GPS.

Click here for the survey. Tell us what flight planning tools you use when planning a longer flight. Please visit my new Patreon page and help me with my goal of funding the creation of two apps for my show, one for Apple and one for Google Play, so that non-techie pilots can find the show in the app store.

You can Dictate a listener question from your phone and I’ll try to answer it on a future show, or send an email.

News Stories

Private Pilot Tips for Non-Towered Airports, Free Cirrus Training, ATC Privatization, and Air Canada Near Miss Update + GA News


We talk about flying at non-Towered Airports, including how to enter on the 45, when on the opposite side of the airport. The preferred method of entry from the opposite side of the pattern is to announce your intentions and cross over midfield at least 500 feet above pattern altitude; here in Northern California, pilot examiners look for pilots on checkrides to cross at 1,000 feet above the traffic pattern altitude. When well clear of the pattern—approximately 2 miles—scan carefully for traffic, descend to pattern altitude, then turn right to enter at 45° to the downwind leg at midfield.

Air Canada flight 759 had a near miss last week, and a retired Air Canada captain told me that their procedures require pilots to back up visual approaches with electronic navigation. But apparently this pilot didn’t follow that procedure, and he nearly landed on top of several airliners on a taxiway. Plus listener questions how to legally exit an airport under a TFR, and an instrument pilots asks about whether to load an instrument approach with vectors or an IAF.

Click here for the survey. Tell us which plane you fly most often. Please visit my new Patreon page and help me with my goal of funding the creation of two apps for my show, one for Apple and one for Google Play, so that non-techie pilots can find the show in the app store.

You can Dictate a listener question from your phone and I’ll try to answer it on a future show, or send an email.

News Stories

Private Pilot Tips for Traffic Patterns, Cirrus Crash, ATC Privatization, and Air Canada Near Miss Update + GA News


We talk about flying the traffic pattern, and talk in detail about flying a Cessna 172 in the traffic pattern. For example, many people don’t know the exact meaning of “Make Right Traffic.” It means, fly to a position where you can enter the traffic pattern on the 45, then turn to downwind and fly the traffic pattern. It doesn’t mean to enter on the downwind. And of course you should be at pattern altitude when you’re on the 45. We also talk about doing a forward slip in a Cessna 172 and use of flaps during crosswind landings.

Air Canada flight 759 had a near miss last week, when it inadvertently lined up to land on a taxiway instead of on the runway. We talk about how confirmation bias may have contributed to the lack of awareness that the Air Canada pilots had about their situation.

We also talk about a recent fatal Cirrus SR22 crash in Sonoma, California, and the importance of never pulling the parachute below 400 feet, as it will most likely make things worse! I give details about a recent flight I took from El Paso, Texas to Concord, CA with the new owner of a Cessna 206. We postponed the trip because of a heat wave 3 weeks ago.

Plus listener questions about using flaps during crosswind landings and whether you can fly if you’re legally using medical marijuana.

Click here for the survey. Tell us which plane you fly most often. Please visit my new Patreon page and help me with my goal of funding the creation of two apps for my show, one for Apple and one for Google Play, so that non-techie pilots can find the show in the app store.

You can Dictate a listener question from your phone and I’ll try to answer it on a future show, or send an email.

News Stories

Air Canada News Near Miss at SFO, Private Pilot Tips on Squelch and Audio Panels, ATC Privatization + GA News


Air Canada flight 759 had a near miss last week, when it inadvertently lined up to land on a taxiway instead of on the runway. The FlightAware online tracking service showed the Air Canada Airbus 320 dropping to as low as 175 feet before increasing altitude above Taxiway C, flying over three fully loaded United Airlines and one Philippine Airlines airliners. At 11:55 p.m., the time of the incident, Runway 28L was closed with its lights dark, according to the FAA. It’s possible that shifted the Air Canada pilot’s orientation to the right, leading him to think that Taxiway C was actually runway 28R. We talk about the key reason that a disaster was narrowly averted, and how that applies to pilots flying general aviation aircraft.

We also talk about the poorly understood squelch controls on radios and intercoms and how to set them properly. And about how to operate the switches on older audio panels found in 1960s through 1980s Cessnas and Pipers. Plus listener questions: Should you Dive and Drive on an instrument approach? How should a future CFI learn to land from the right seat? What should you do if you violate the minimum altitudes over a wildlife or marine sanctuary?

Click here for the survey. Tell us which plane you fly most often. Please visit my new Patreon page and help me with my goal of funding the creation of two apps for my show, one for Apple and one for Google Play, so that non-techie pilots can find the show in the app store.

You can Dictate a listener question from your phone and I’ll try to answer it on a future show, or send an email.

News Stories

Air Traffic Control (ATC) Government Privatization Explained – Call to Action for General Aviation Private and Instrument Pilots and People Planning to Learn to Fly to Contact Congress



ATC Privatization
On June 22, 2017, the U.S. House of Representatives released H.R. 2997, the AIRR Act, calling for the privatization of Air Traffic Control in the U.S. Later, both EAA, the Experimental Aircraft Association, and NBAA, the National Business Aviation Association, issued an urgent call for members to contact their representatives in Congress to oppose ATC privatization. AOPA, the Aircraft Owner and Pilots Association, also sent a call for their members to contact their representations just before we published this show, which is why we weren’t able to mention them in the podcast. Please take action by going to govt.eaa.org to generate a letter to your representatives in Congress.

Please support my show by checking out my new Patreon Page. You will ultimately find lots of free posts on the page. To kick things off, I just posted a pdf of the Delta Airlines study on privatization, which you can download and read for free now. I’ve also posted results of an ATC Privatization survey of US pilots conducted of Airplane Geeks podcast listeners in February 2017.

Please consider supporting my show with contributions of as little as $2 per month, also at my Patreon page.

Today, I’m devoting this entire episode to privatization. I’ll be playing audio clips from the President, members of Congress, Airline CEOs, EAA CEO Jack Pelton, and from pilots in other countries that have privatized their air traffic control system. I’ll also share results of a survey of pilot podcast listeners on privatizing ATC. And to help me, I’m joined by Senior Editor of Flying Magazine, Rob Mark.

You can Dictate a listener question from your phone and I’ll try to answer it on a future show, or send an email.

Audio Clip sources

  • Review of Air Traffic Control Reform Proposals – Hearing Before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure House of Representatives. February 10, 2016. Video   Hearing Transcript
  • Building a 21st Century Infrastructure for America: Federal Aviation Administration Authorization – Hearing Before the Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure House of Representatives June 8, 2017. Video
  • Full Committee Markup –  Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure House of Representatives. June 27, 2017. Video