Cheap charts

It’s getting harder to find paper charts locally, whether VFR charts like sectionals and terminal area charts or instrument en route charts and instrument approach procedures. The reason is that many (most?) pilots are moving to charts on a tablet device.

Google Nexus 7 (2nd generation) with app

Google Nexus 7 (2nd generation) with app

For my primary (VFR) students, I require them to get a paper TAC and Sectional for their training, but most of my IFR students are going the tablet route.

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For the second time in my flying career I had flaps fail Friday (in the same airplane in which they failed about 12 years ago). The flaps failed in the up position when preparing to land… my student went to put the flaps down and nothing happened; checked the circuit breakers.. no dice.  So, time to land without flaps. In terms of severity of equipment failures, this really isn’t a big deal. All private pilots are required to demonstrate their ability to deal with this failure. My recounting of the failure, prompted a question about flap failure and slips. Let’s work through the what and why

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The Cost of Flying and the Diminishing Pilot Population

I’ve read a number of articles recently on the dwindling and aging pilot population. A few statistics help to illustrate the problem facing us as we try to grow the pilot population…

Median income: $12,050
Average car: $3,650
Cessna 172 (new): $18,440

Median income: $51,300
Average car: $31,250
Cessna 172 (new): $360,000

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Engine Out

On Monday, September 9, 2013, I experienced a total loss of power when flying my Cessna 172. I had just executed a touch and go on Long Beach (KLGB) runway 25L and was climbing out, when the engine sputtered and went quiet. At the time, I was near the departure end of the runway around 100′ – 200′ AGL. To give you the most important part of the story, I came out unscathed, but my airplane did not.

N42EP post-incident at LGB Continue reading

Left Turning Tendencies

One last topic today, triggered by a reader question

Q: The things I’ve seen indicate that rotating to climb (applying an upward force on the clockwise-spinning propeller) causes the airplane to yaw left.  But the right-hand rule says
Angular momentum (forward) X force (upward) = torque (to the right)
i.e., this results in a yaw to the right.  What have I got wrong?  Continue reading

Stall Speeds and Center of Gravity (C.G.)

Here’s another topic triggered by a reader question:

Q: Some stall speeds are specified with the occupants in the full forward CG position. This does not seem like it’s a conservative specification, i.e., if the occupants move rearward, that would tilt the plane backward, causing an increase  in angle of attack, causing a higher stall speed. What am I missing here? Continue reading

Airspace Overflight

A reader recently sent me the following question.

Q: If you fly over an airspace (e.g., EMT), is it customary to call in to the EMT tower just to make your intentions clear that you don’t intend to enter the airspace?  Does it depend on whether you have flight following (by SoCal Approach, for example)? Continue reading

Rose Bowl TFRs are coming – 2013

Rose Bowl

Rose Bowl

A reminder to all local pilots that the UCLA football season is starting soon. That means games at the Rose Bowl and the TFRs that go along with the games. The first Rose Bowl game will be on Saturday, August 31. You can find the schedule online, but here’s a quick summary of home games – some times have not been set and are subject to change. Continue reading

Monterey (KMRY) Trip Report

If you followed the planning and preparation for our Monterey trip, thank you! It’s always instructive to see how a flight goes relative to what you expected, so here’s our trip report.

Summary: the trip went about as planned, requiring a mixture of VFR and IFR to keep to a schedule, but could probably have been accomplished VFR if we were more flexible on time.

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X-Cntry Plan/Prep (KMRY: T-1 day)

Evening update

Looking at KMRY, it never did clear off today (per forecast). The best was OVC016, so an instrument approach does seem likely tomorrow. Nearby KSNS cleared off to SCT018 at 2015Z, but that wouldn’t have really helped. That means a possible IFR departure back out of MRY too.

KEMT went to marginal VFR around 1000 local, but a special VFR departure [not recommended in most cases for new VFR pilots] would have been possible. The TAFs for BUR and ONT indicated a similar pattern tomorrow, so it will be a morning evaluation as to whether VFR, special VFR or IFR is the right answer on departure.

The only AIRMET that looks to affect us so far (though they don’t yet extend far enough out) would be for IFR conditions along the coast (as already discussed above).

No TFR or NOTAM changes that will impact us. Winds seem to be turning a little more out of the south, so tailwinds on the way there seem likely (and headwind back)


I awoke this morning to cloudy gray skies. At home, we have what I would call an indefinite ceiling – hard to tell if it is actual clouds or just poor visibility. A quick check of METARs shows a mixture of overcast skies and poor visibility in the LA Basin:

KFUL 051353Z 00000KT 10SM OVC012 21/16 A2982
KPOC 051347Z 00000KT 1SM BR CLR 17/15 A2986
KBUR 051353Z 16004KT 3SM HZ OVC007
KLGB 051400Z 12003KT 10SM OVC010

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