The General Aviation Pilots Flying Resource

All posts in Learned From That


The FAA this week issued a final rule (BasicMed) that allows GA pilots to fly without holding an FAA medical certificate, as long as they meet certain requirements.

Until now, the FAA has required private, recreational, and student pilots, as well as flight instructors, to meet the requirements of and hold a third class medical certificate. They are required to complete an online application and undergo a physical examination with an FAA-designated Aviation Medical Examiner.

Starting May 1, pilots may take advantage of the regulatory relief in the BasicMed rule or opt to continue to use their FAA medical certificate. Under BasicMed, a pilot will be required to complete a medical education course, undergo a medical examination every four years, and comply with aircraft and operating restrictions. For example, pilots using BasicMed cannot operate an aircraft with more than six people onboard, and the aircraft must not weigh more than 6,000 pounds. See the FAA’s BasicMed web page and AC 68-1 for more information.

Basic Med FAQ

My Garmin Android Pilot

Took a VFR flight recently with my 32GB Nexus 7 (2nd Gen) tablet loaded with Garmin Pilot along with a couple other pilots using their iPads, Foreflight and the Stratus 2. I am always pleased with my android tablet and the built in GPS along with cellular modem for 4G reception. Only one piece of modest priced equipment at $349, as opposed to two with a 32GB iPad mini WiFi at $459 + the Stratus 2 at $899. The iPad mini with cellular modem and GPS is about $599. If you wish the addition of active weather and traffic for your android, the Garmin GDL 39 sells for $899 like the Stratus. I know it’s not always about money when you are a GA flyer, but then I’m a bit of an Android fan. Okay, yes, I know the iPad/Stratus 2/Foreflight combo has ADS-B traffic plus WAAS GPS and my single android setup doesn’t, but for VFR, the Garmin Pilot+Android tablet has become quite capable for what I needed on the flight.

To Compare Specs:
Garmin Pilot –
Garmin GDL 39 –

Foreflight –
Stratus 2 –

So, back to the flight. Besides the charts and course info, I would hear “I can get fuel price information and I have airport information”, but then so could I. Now we get to the ADS-B addition that I didn’t have on my android. Certainly was helpful with the active information until we got to a high traffic airport.

Quick tutorial:
ADS-B receiver only – Displays only ADS-B Out equipped aircraft (Not a lot of GA aircraft in that category “yet”).

**HOWEVER, if a nearby ADS-B Out aircraft is connected to a ground station, it will be receiving a traffic picture in a cylindrical shape with a 30 mile diameter and ±3500ft high around that aircraft. This traffic picture is “specific” to their location. If you are located somewhere within that 30 mile cylinder, your receiver will show the same picture of both ADS-B traffic “and” any Mode C traffic within that cylinder. Fine if you are in the center, but not so if located on the outer portion.


So here’s a problem. If you are approaching a busy airport area for landing, like the Oshkosh AirVenture, and there is and ADS-B Out aircraft nearby connected to a ground station, you get all the active ADS-B & Mode C traffic within a ±3500ft altitude. So far sounds good, but then one of my pilot passengers began to get “Information Overload” from his tablet displaying many traffic targets all around us. Problem is, that in spite of all the displayed targets, the tablet will still not display traffic that could be passing right in front of you if that traffic not ADS-B Out or Mode C equipped.

I feel that the tablets with all the aviation information are great, but sometimes no substitute for simply looking out the windscreen and flying the airplane. My comment in the airport traffic area was to please look outside and help me spot “all” the close traffic.

Okay, so bottom line. Do I like the iPad combo? Definitely yes, but then my Android Tablet is perfectly acceptable with loads of information for VFR flying and at a modest price.

Some ADS-B detailed tutorial links:

*Under current FCC regulations, the use cellular devices is prohibited while airborne. BUT, there are some changes in the wind… stay tuned.

End of LSA? Been thinking about the Cessna Skycatcher LSA (162) aircraft ending production and some saying the LSA movement is over. Well, probably not. Especially not simply because Cessna decided to be out of that market. There are scores of active LSA manufacturers that have aircraft flying in many parts of the world including the US and many of those are at FBO’s for training. It did seem as though everyone was expecting the 162 to be the next 152. However, the lower purchase costs and rental rates of the 152 vs 162, has kept the 152 a very popular trainer. The greater useful load for the 152 is also a positive factor. People don’t seem to be getting smaller these days.

Piper CubPersonally I think that light sport aircraft have more limited use than I had previously thought. Not to mention higher prices that were originally hoped for. One does have to admire the early days of civil aviation where the Piper Cubs and Champs along with others were the mainstay of flying. The fact is, like the earlier aircraft, there is not much weight vs wing surface in a typical LSA to ride comfortably in light/mod turbulence or climb power to get above. We are talking gross weights of only 1100lbs to the LSA of 1320lbs and wing loading in the 9-11 lbs/ ft² range.  Common wing loadings for a GA single engine aircraft are at 14-17 lbs/ft² and twins-26 lbs/ft². (birds-5 lbs/ ft² – airliners-@120 lbs/ ft²)

So how does wing loading affect aircraft performance? A larger wing area relative to mass (wing loading) creates more lift. It also will have lower stall speeds, shorter takeoff & landing distances, better climb performance (for the power available) and better maneuvering/turning performance. Sounds great except for the bumpy ride as the wing is more sensitive to gusts and turbulence.

When I think back to my early days in flight training, I started in a Piper Tomahawk or “tummy-ache” as some of us called it. The main issue was the light wing loading and the squirrely nature in the more turbulent summer air. And we are talking a gross weight that was several hundred pounds heavier than the cubs/champs or today’s LSA’s. Of course there are other factors that contribute to an aircraft’s’ ride in unsettled air, but weight is part of the equation.I recall coming in for my lesson one day to find that it had to be cancelled because the Tomahawk was down for some repair. Rather than cancel, there was a Piper Cruiser 4 seater sitting on the tarmac and I said, how about we take that instead? We did and I never went back to the Tomahawk. Why? Because this Cruiser had another 300 lbs of GW and another 25hp. All seemed more stable handling in rough air and the extra power was great.


Next, I tried a Cherokee Warrior with even more hp, gross weight and higher wing loading. Now I’m hooked on this even as my training costs continue to rise with each new airplane. Wasn’t done yet. Finally went to the Archer with even more weight and power and this was the one! Loved it and oh yeah, there were all the great avionics because it was the instrument trainer too. Finally got my Private in the Archer and went on to fly many airplanes in the years to follow.

Rans S7-S
How does all this relate to LSA? Well, with the advent of the new category and license, I began getting involved with light sport and it thrust me back to the Tomahawk days of training and the somewhat under powered planes with the bumpy ride. Now don’t get me wrong, I like these light sport aircraft and even own one. They are great fun to fly down low and slow on those nice summer days. The view is terrific compared to climbing up to 7-8-9k and just heading to the destination as fast as you can. But, if I want to travel somewhere over a couple hours or so, the bumps and lack of horsepower to get above the turbulence, all make the travel less comfortable. I think a lot of the older pilots like me that are moving to the LSA are finding some of the same truths. If you’re not, great!

AOPA and EAA submitted a request in March 2012 to the FAA for those flying recreationally and has completed the recurrent aeromedical course, to use the driver’s license as the baseline of health as an option to obtaining a 3rd class FAA medical. This would be limited to day vfr, two on board in aircraft with max of 4 seats and up to 180hp. This would be a good alternative for those that may want to transition to light-sport / recreational category-class-type aircraft or someone who is only interested in these aircraft. Personally I’m not interested in the super light ac for travel.

Now, we also have the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act (GAPPA) designated S. 2103 in the Senate and H.R. 3708 in the House of Representatives. This legislation would apply medical certification standards similar to the decade-old and successful Sport Pilot rule to most general aviation aircraft when flown for personal flights under visual flight rules at or below 14,000 feet MSL and under 250 knots.

Please support this initiative and sign the petition though this url at EAA:



Most of the aviation world has seen/heard the story of the Boeing 747 Dreamlifter that landed at the wrong Wichita-area airport a bit ago. Is it really that unusual? Probably unusual yes for 747’s, but one has to wonder if it doesn’t happen occasionally to smaller GA aircraft. I recall several years ago and incident here in Minneapolis that created a similar stir. Not so much with the general public, but with the local aviation community.

The incident occurred when a GA aircraft was inbound from the southwestern U.S.  to MIC (Minneapolis Crystal) a city reliever airport. As I recall, the pilot was on a vfr flight plan and he had told Flight Service that he had the airport in sight, cancelled the flight plan and proceeded to contact the Crystal tower. MIC has parallel runways 14-32 with a cross runway of 06-24. MSPMSP (Minneapolis International) a few miles to the southeast has parallel runways 12-30 and a cross runway of 04-22. And of course, MSP was all lit up with evening rush hour air traffic. So here’s where the fun began. The pilot was talking to the reliever airport tower, but was on a visual course to the International.  The reliever tower kept saying that they did not have visual contact with his aircraft, so please turn on landing lights. We can easily assume that the MSP Int’l folks were seeing a small plane approaching its airport on radar and no radio contact with the plane. Apparently many airliners had to be vectored from approaches into holding patterns and takeoffs were held. The GA plane did land at International and was likely met very quickly by authorities. This was before 9-11 so you could imagine the problems to be faced today.

These errant landings probably don’t often happen at major international airports, but I’ll bet they occur at smaller non-towered ones. Just nobody but the pilot knows it. You can expect most airports in a local area to have similar wind patterns and thus similar runway directions. My best guess is that when a pilot has that nearby look-alike “airport in sight” and begins a visual approach, the mental focus becomes the airport in sight and not the instruments that are saying wrong airport. Sometimes it can be confusing and especially at night. The word “verify” comes to mind.

DreamlifterWhat surprises me is that the Wichita reliever airport runway was able to handle the weight of that Dreamlifter that can be in the 800k lbs range. Years ago I had an opportunity to fly a 747-400 full motion simulator at one of the airline sim centers and talked the instructor pilot into letting me attempt a landing at a local reliever airport. Very fun and made it in although my instructor pilot commented that in real life the runway may not be able to handle the load. That particular airport is one of our larger reliever airports has a runway single wheel load limit of 30k lbs, while MSP Int’l handles 100k lbs per single wheel. The Dreamlifter looks to have 18 wheels or over  40k lbs per wheel. The Wichita look-alike Colonel James Jabara airport has a single wheel load limit of 40k lbs. I guess with some fuel burned off during flight and likely a margin for error on the runway limit, they managed to be spared another major problem.

My learning thoughts on these episodes still turn back to always check your instruments and “verify”, especially in an unfamiliar location…

NTSB The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) has released its accident statistics for 2012 and it shows little progress in the General Aviation sector. Sad to note that in most fatal GA accidents, all aboard perish.

GAAccidents ______ Fatalaties ________ Flt HrsAccidents/100,000 FltHrs

In response to these statistics and to help pilots address the most common accident causes, the NTSB has produced five general aviation safety alert videos that were released just a few weeks ago. These videos concentrate on risk management, loss of control at low altitude, inflight emergencies and maintenance, and flight into low visibility. We all know that these are mostly problems that we DO have control over, but often neglect re-currant training to keep fresh on the procedures. When is the last time you practiced engine out emergency landing procedures or approach to landing stalls? How about the in-flight engine fire procedure? Do you ever skip over checklists because you know them so well? Are you up to snuff on your flight by reference to instruments? What about maintenance? Do you make sure that the lower than usual oil pressure or a cylinder running hotter than normal gets looked into promptly? These videos are a good reminder of what we GA pilots should be up-to-snuff on and not just at bi-annual time….

Pilots: Manage Risks to Ensure Safety

Prevent Aerodynamic Stalls at Low Altitude

Is Your Aircraft Talking To You? Listen!

Reduced Visual References Require Vigilance

Mechanics: Manage Risks to Ensure Safety

Class Ground & Class Everywhere else Airspace

For some reason, Class E and the underlying Class G seem to be challenging for a lot of students to wrap their head around. Basically Class E is everything that is not A, B, C, D or G. I know, a pretty obvious statement. I believe one of the problems in understanding is diagrams that squeeze all the different airspaces into one small place like the one here.


Unless you live in a large metro area, the airspace will not be jammed together like this. It would be more common to have many smaller airports spread out with an occasional Class D towered airport. To begin with, Class G (Ground) is the uncontrolled (by ATC) layer of airspace that covers the surface and whose ceiling generally goes up to 1200ft in open areas.  Around airports can drop to 700ft and even the surface. Way out in the rural unpopulated areas, the ceiling goes up to 14,500ft. Daytime requirements for Class G are 1 statute mile visibility and clear of clouds to 1200ft. Above 1200ft, stays at 1sm visibility but then for cloud clearance you must be 1000ft above, 500ft below and 2000ft horizontal.

Above the Class G (ground) is Class E (everywhere else) and is controlled airspace. Here VFR aircraft must maintain higher visibility and cloud clearance requirements to allow for visual separation from aircraft on IFR flight plans. VFR in Class E must have at least 3 statute miles visibility along with the 1000↑-500↓-2000ft↔ cloud clearance. So why would someone even bother to file IFR in VFR conditions? Well, VFR you must stay away from any clouds and areas of low visibility and with an IFR clearance you do not have to deviate to avoid the clouds or lower visibilities, you just keep on flying. Class E becomes more pertinent when in the vicinity of airports.

Classes E & G

Airports on your charts:

– A Class G airport simply has the airport/runway symbol.

– A busier IFR Class G airport often has the Class G ceiling drop to below 700ft and is depicted by a wide magenta circle around the airspace.  The circle can also be elongated to allow for IFR traffic to flow more smoothly to the primary runways.

– The even busier Class E airports have an outer dashed magenta circle (sometimes with elongations) to indicate that class E airspace drops down to the surface.

– A Class D towered airport with a blue airport/runway symbol and an outer dashed blue circle (sometimes with elongations) that indicates Class D airspace down to the surface. You will note that the Class D is usually surrounded by Class E transition airspace. The Class D can also become Class E and rarely Class G should the tower be closed. In other words, if the tower is closed and you remove the Class D, the airport becomes the class of the surrounding airspace.

– Class C airports have the two tiered solid magenta rings surrounding blue runway symbols.

– Class B airports have the three tiered solid blue rings surrounding blue runway symbols.

Now, to make it even more interesting –> several airports in a large metro area can be mixed with Class B on top of Class C on top of Class D and E etc. etc.  For more chart reading help, download the FAA Chart Users Guide PDF here… 23MB

MIAMI INTL (MIA) with a bit of everything….

Mixed Classes


A Dangerous Turn to Downwind?

Recently there has been a bit of conversation in the aviation community about a NTSB Report wherein the NTSB states, the airplane a progressively increasing downwind condition during the turn as a probable cause of the accident.

Here is the report:
 NTSB Identification: CEN12LA324
14 CFR Part 91: General Aviation
Accident occurred Monday, May 28, 2012 in Perry, MI
Probable Cause Approval Date: 12/19/2012
Aircraft: NORTH AMERICAN T-6G, registration: N3753G
Injuries: 1 Fatal,1 Serious.
NTSB investigators may not have traveled in support of this investigation and used data provided by various sources to prepare this aircraft accident report.

The pilot stated that the run-up and takeoff were normal. After takeoff to the south, he was planning to overfly the runway for a “photo pass.” He reported that he executed a slight right turn, followed by a left turn. He noted that the engine was running normally. However, he did not recall any subsequent events regarding the accident sequence. A witness reported that once airborne, the airplane turned right and then started a left turn above the trees. He noted that during the left turn, the airplane bank angle steepened and the descent rate increased. The engine sounded normal until impact with a barn. A postaccident examination did not reveal any anomalies consistent with a preimpact malfunction or failure. The pilot reported the wind was from the southwest, gusting to 20 knots with light turbulence, at the time of the accident. Based on the reported prevailing wind, a left turn after takeoff resulted in the airplane encountering a progressively increasing downwind condition during the turn.

The National Transportation Safety Board determines the probable cause(s) of this accident to be: The pilot’s failure to maintain control while maneuvering at low altitude after takeoff, resulting in a collision with a barn.

So is it true that if you turn downwind quickly your airplane will stall and fall from the sky? Possibly, if your airspeed is slow enough that a stall will occur because of a steep turn. But certainly not as a result of a prevailing wind and an “increasing downwind condition during the turn”.

What’s really going on? If you are standing on the ground, there definitely is a direction for an upwind condition blowing in your face or a downwind blowing at your back, but remember the wind is really a result of an air mass moving in a particular direction over the earth. Sort of like a large container or box of air moving at say 20 Kts. Once you are flying, you are part of that big container and moving within it.

Let’s think about flying a rectangular course:Rectangular Course
As we fly in the air mass box at a constant airspeed, the obvious external reference is the ground. If we are flying in the same direction in the air mass box that it is moving, our ground speed would be the sum of air mass speed and our true airspeed within and so on.
Rectangular Course
Wind (or movement of air mass)  20 Kts

True Airspeed (in air mass) 100 Kts
Ground Speed Downwind 100+20= 120 Kts
Ground Speed Upwind 100-20= 80Kts
Ground Speed Crosswind 100-10= 90 Kts
(assuming a ±30° correction angle)


A good way I have heard it described:
You’re in a bus that is going 55 MPH. If you stand up, you don’t shoot out the back of the bus at 55 MPH. If walk forward at 1 MPH, your speed relative to the ground outside is 56 MPH, but still 1 MPH relative to the bus floor. So, the bus is like the air mass in which your airplane travels, the ground is the earth that you fly your airplane over. No matter how fast you turn when you reach the front of the bus and begin walking back, you will still be moving at 1 MPH. The same is true with you and your airplane in that downwind turn.

So, how might an accident occur on a downwind turn?Extended Crosswind
If you were to become distracted and see that your
normal downwind position relative to the runway is
passing by, one might overbank their turn to compensate.
A steeper bank causes a stall speed increase and if it
exceeds the true airspeed, a stall can occur close to the
ground and be difficult to recover.

Certainly there are other factors in an air mass such
as small and random wind accelerations inside the
the air mass. Turbulence from thermals, trees
buildings etc. Maintaining a proper airspeed for
the conditions and good situational awareness are
always a necessity for positive outcomes in the
airport pattern. Bottom line, any steep turn flying
low at slow air speeds is risky unless you are an
aerobatic pilot with a powerful aircraft.

Ready to Buy an Airplane?
Over the years I have bought a few airplanes and here are some thoughts and information that should be helpful for those who have not had the experience yet.

What Do I Want and How Much?
Assuming you already have some type of aircraft in mind, you should begin your research by going to the main for-sale sites. Barnstormers, Trade-a-Plane and the Controller would be good sites to start with. Look carefully at the listings for the type you are interested in and pay close attention to not only the features listed but the implications of things that are not mentioned.

Here’s some common classified abbreviations:
0SFRM – Zero time since factory remanufacture
0SMOH – Zero time since major engine overhaul
COMP – Compression : CSPD – Constant speed propeller
FWF – Firewall forward : DH – Major damage history
NDH – No damage history : SCMOH – Since chromed cylinder major overhaul
SFRM – Since factory remanufacture : SMOH – Since major engine overhaul
SOH – Since engine overhaul : SPOH – Since prop overhaul
STOH – Since top overhaul (cylinders, pistons & valves)
TBO – Time between engine overhauls : TT – Total time
TTA – Total time airframe : TTAE – Total time airframe and engine
TTE – Total time, engine : TTSN – Total time since new

If it’s an older classic type airplane and there is no mention of fabric age/condition or corrosion, you might want to be asking questions in those areas. Expect to see included in the ad Information total times on airframe, engine and prop. any damage history, listing of all the avionics, any autopilot and interior/exterior condition. Other items included could be new battery or tires and recent annual or pitot/static xponder certification dates.

Now you can begin to compare prices for a plane equipped as you would like and see what falls into your price range. Aircraft are not selling very quickly as of late and motivated sellers prices can be a bargain. Not sure how long the bargain prices will remain, but beware if an unusually low price is listed. I recall going to look at a “super bargain” once. The pictures looked good, low time engine, you name it and when I traveled to see the airplane with my trusted A&P, he would not even let it fly with a ferry permit. If I wanted to buy it, the plane would need to be disassembled and put on a flatbed truck for transport. Yeah, I passed on that one…

To help get a better handle on pricing, go to the AOPA website and do a VREF (Aircraft Value Reference) to see what the specific plane is estimated to be worth. You need to be an AOPA member to use the VREF, but being an AOPA member is definitely worthwhile for pilots considering all the membership benefits. VREF prices will probably be lower than the listed price, but then everyone always thinks their stuff is worth more than the market. A seller will usually have a price in mind lower than the listed price so don’t be afraid to ask if that is the best price. I have gone to complete a purchase with a percentage of the price in a cashiers check and the balance in cash. Sometimes there are problems not discovered from the conversations, photos, and specs and it turns out to be worth less when you are there looking at the aircraft.

When figuring out your total purchase costs, you will need to know what state sales or use tax might apply to your purchase. There often is a state registration fee as well. All are likely found on your State Department of Revenue and Department of Transportation / Aeronautics websites.

Things To Ask
When you call or email the owner, see how they respond to why are they selling the plane? A big pause might tell you something. Other good questions are how long have they owned it, are they the first owner, any liens on the aircraft, how many other owners, what were their locations, what is the useful load, empty weight, fuel capacity, typical fuel burn, typical airspeed at normal cruise altitude and 75% power, cylinder compression, date of last annual, any damage history, and do they have digital copies of the log books or the last annual…

If you are seriously considering a particular aircraft it is wise to get an aircraft title search done. Current cost of the service is $160.00 with a discount for AOPA members. You can find out about any liens on the aircraft as well as previous owners, complete aircraft records and any accident/incident reports. These services are available through Aircraft Title and Escrow Service. Bottom line is that it’s money well spent to avoid problems on tens of thousands being spent.

Plan on talking with an aviation insurance agent about cost, pilot requirements and how you can quickly bind a policy for the particular aircraft you are interested in purchasing. Depending on your hours and time in type, you may not be able to fly the aircraft home without some sort of check ride or additional flight time in type. I have taken an instructor friend along to not only help me evaluate the aircraft pre-purchase, but to also do any necessary check outs/dual flight time required by insurance. Make certain the instructor will be covered by your insurance and has proper time in type. It is not unusual these days that the sellers insurance policy will not allow you to actually fly the aircraft. Possibly not even with the sellers CFI unless his policy specifically includes instruction in the plane. It is common that only named pilots and instructors are covered by a policy. If you have not flown the type before, you may want to find an FBO that has the type on the line and get an instructor to take you flying. At least you will know the characteristics of the type…

Pre-Purchase Inspection
Most of us are not aviation mechanics, so my first recommendation would be to either bring a trusted mechanic with you or arrange for a local mechanic to meet you at the aircraft location and do a thorough mechanical inspection. You could also arrange for a mechanic to inspect the aircraft prior to making the journey and send you a written report. I would also be inclined to choose a mechanic other than the one regularly doing the annuals.

A simple walk around will tell you quickly how the owner has cared for the aircraft. Was the aircraft something special or simply something to fly as cheaply as possible? Scratches, hangar rash, fuel stains, torn/dirty upholstery, all for future bargaining and a clue to overall care. It can be amazing how much better an airplane can look in the ad pictures.

The aircraft engine, airframe and propeller logbooks should be studied in-depth for inspections, major repairs, AD compliance and status of manufacturer service bulletins. Check for missing pages or entries. Do your ARROW check for the airworthiness certificate, registration, radio station license (not req. in U.S.), pilot operating handbook and the current weight and balance. Missing items can cause some real problems for you.

Finally, take a test flight/ride. See that all avionics, autopilot and systems work properly. Study the manuals a bit beforehand if some of them are unfamiliar to you. Then just look, listen and sense for an overall impression.

The Paperwork
Okay, now time to make it happen. The price is agreed to and you should have some sort of written agreement. The agreement does not need to be complicated but is a good idea to involve an attorney and make certain that it is enforceable. Here is a link for a sample agreement. Sample Agreement

An FAA Bill of Sale AC Form 8050-2 is needed with original signatures on both copies. (both copies go to buyer) Seller name should be EXACTLY as it is on the current registration. The actual moment of aircraft transfer occurs when the Bill of Sale is signed.

The purchaser then needs to fill in the Aircraft Registration Form AC Form 8050-1 and the name should match the purchaser information exactly from the Bill of Sale. This form is NOT available online, cannot be a copy and must be obtained from the Aircraft Registration Branch or your local FAA Flight Standards District Office (FSDO). Purchaser(s) must also print or type name in addition to signature(s). Don’t count on the seller to automatically have these forms unless they are a dealer and say they will supply all the necessary forms. If you are unsure, go and get a couple of the forms from the FSDO yourself to make certain the transaction can be completed.

You the purchaser submits the Aircraft Registration Application, FAA Form 8050-1, along with the Bill of Sale AC Form 8050-2 and recording fee, to the FAA. Be sure to send any state registration forms and fees to your appropriate state offices.

Seller removes the original aircraft registration certificate, from the aircraft, completes the sale information on the back side of that certificate and mails it back to the FAA registry in Oklahoma City.

The pink copy of the Registration Application is placed in the aircraft as the temporary registration certificate and valid for flight within the United States for 90 days.

Final thoughts
Well, the plane has been purchased and the money spent. Always exciting, and now begins your new adventure with the perfect airplane. If you have any questions about this process, feel free to email me.

And oh, by-the-way, if you would like to put up a FREE For-Sale or Wanted ad in the MyFlyingStuff Classifieds, pictures and all, Who knows, you might just have a buyer/seller lurking here.

Air Density & Humidity

I can remember the early days of my flight instruction and the written test materials all talking about the 3 H’s, Hot, High & Humid, relating to air density. We all know that as air heats up it expands and becomes less dense. Sort of the can’t catch my breath feeling on the really hot days. We also have been told and learned that as we climb in our airplanes gaining altitude, the air also becomes less dense and the carbureted engine needs to be leaned to accommodate. Makes sense. If you stand atop Pikes Peak at 14,110ft, the air is pretty thin and people will even develop altitude sickness.

Now we come to humidity. I think that I may have just accepted the fact that air density decreased with humidity and never really spent much time thinking about why. Sure, I would calculate Density Altitude to determine takeoff and landing performance on those hot humid days and it was obvious that the data showed decreased performance. I could parrot the necessary answers to pass a written regarding humidity, but once in a while I would ponder on how humid air could be less dense when water weighs a lot more than air? Maybe if I had taken chemistry in school it would been more clear.

One day a student put the question point blank to me and I found it difficult to say that I didn’t really know the exact reason, but for now, just know that it was true and I would find the complete answer. So here goes:

In the early 1800s Italian physicist Amadeo Avogadro discovered that a fixed volume of gas, at the same temperature and pressure, would always have the same number of molecules no matter what gas is in the container. If we take fixed amount of perfectly dry air, it has around 78% of nitrogen molecules,  21% oxygen molecules and 1% of inert gases.  Nitrogen has a molecular weight (u) of 28 u comprised of 2 atoms 14 u each. Oxygen has a molecular weight of 32 u or 2 atoms 16 u each.

Now remember that Avogadro said that a fixed volume of gas has the same number of molecules no matter what the gas. So, lets take some water vapor molecules (H2O). Two hydrogen atoms with an atomic weight of 1 u each and one oxygen atom at 16 u for a total molecular weight of 18 u. Now replace some of the nitrogen and oxygen molecules weighing 28 u and 32 u respectively. Since each water vapor molecule is lighter, the density decreases.

Still say water is heavier than air? Yes, liquid water is, but we are talking water vapor when it comes to humidity!

Okay, maybe more than you wanted to know…


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