Know thy airplane

An airplane departs with all three static ports blocked, and the pilots quickly become confused. The altimeters appear consistent, but the computer is flashing contradictory automation warnings, and the pilots can’t understand. Eventually the stall warning alarms, at the same time their airspeed looks to be excessive. The pilots crash their airplane into the ocean, killing 70 people, all because the static ports were taped over by a maintenance worker.

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Are you the pilot in command of your life?

Every single aircraft in flight right now has a person on board that’s known as the “pilot in command.” Whether the aircraft is carrying one person or one hundred, there is a single pilot in command for each and every flight. This person is responsible for the airplane, and the passengers, and the safety of those on the ground. The Federal Aviation Regulations describe their role as follows:

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The most valuable rating

Last weekend, Debbie and I traveled to Maine to visit a friend. Two days before, I had headed up to Vermont to give a talk to the Burlington PHP group. Both of these flights had something in common: the flight conditions made visual flight alone impossible. My instrument rating was the most important difference in each of those trips.

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