New Edition of Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge

The FAA recently issued a new edition of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25A). This is the "private pilot handbook," but it contains much useful information, including an overview of basic aerodynamics, and it’s one of the core references for FAA knowledge and practical tests.

The link above takes you to the FAA Web site, where you can download the 19 PDF documents that comprise the book.

To make the volume a little easier to read and search, I’ve merged the files into three parts and posted them in one of my SkyDrive folders (alas, SkyDrive doesn’t allow single files larger than 50MB; when combined, all of the new files total about 110MB).

Fascinating Account of a Mid-Air Collision Over Brazil

William Langewiesche (son of Wolfgang of Stick-and-Rudder fame) has written a feature for the January 2009 issue of Vanity Fair about the mid-air collision between a Boeing 737 and a business jet over Brazil in December 2006.

The story of the mid-air is in the news again following the release of an official report (pdf) from the Brazilian air force and a rebuttal from the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board.

Langewiesche has published a series of informative reports and books that touch on aviation, including his account of the Columbia Shuttle accident (for the Atlantic) and Inside the Sky: A Meditation on Flight, a book that includes his reflections on being a pilot and thoughts about other flyers.

Update: Joe Sharkey, a freelance travel writer and columnist for the NY Times, isn’t happy with Langewiesche’s account. Sharkey was on board the business jet involved in the collision, and Langewiesche describes him in unflattering terms in his Vanity Fair article. To read Sharkey’s reactions to the magazine article and other events related to the accident, see his blog, High Anxiety.

NASA Aviation Safety Reporting System

I was reminded the other day that the Aviation Safety Reporting System run by NASA publishes an excellent free monthly online newsletter, Callback. I’ve put details about where to find current and back issues of this publication and information about ASRS on the Aviation Resources page of my Web site.

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Aerobatic and Formation Videos

I’ve created videos from several flights in my Extra 300L last week at Boulder City, NV (61B)chart here. The videos show aerobatics and some formation flying, including rejoins, formation changes, close trail, and extended trail.

All videos are in Windows Media format (free download for PCs and Macs), and they’re available in one of my SkyDrive folders. You can browse around to your heart’s content, but here are links to some of the latest movies:

A compilation of aerobatics and formation flying.

Extended trail (follow-the-leader) practice. The wide-angle lens on the tail distorts distances. I was trying to stay 300-500 ft in trail of the airplane immediately ahead of me. In extended trail, you adjust spacing by moving within a cone and playing the angles, maneuvering inside and outside the turns of the airplane you’re following. You don’t usually adjust power. You may notice a couple of encounters with the mighty wake generated by an RV-6…

More extended trail practice and a rejoin to fingertip formation. Watch for those wake-turbulence encounters here, too.

Close-trail practice. Transition from fingertip to close trail (I’m tail-end-Charlie, number 3, behind an RV-7A and an RV-8).

Photos of Formation Flying

I joined some of my flying colleagues yesterday (December 2) for a four-ship formation practice flight in skies south of Boulder City, NV (61B), southeast of Las Vegas. Click the image to view the gallery of photos.

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The photos were taken by Pat DuLaney, the wife of Mark DuLaney, our usual lead pilot, from their RV-6A. The airplanes visible in the photos are an RV-7A (Air Force markings), an RV-8 (red), and my Extra 300L (N105MM).

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