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United States

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English


Episodes

#35: Transoceanic crossings, part 6

4/13/2019
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This is part 6 of a 6-part series on transoceanic flights. Transoceanic flights date back to Charles Lindbergh’s famous Spirit of St. Louis flight in 1927, but today the world is quite different, with numerous procedures and rules to keep us safe as we fly across the ocean. In part 6, I cover gross navigational errors (GNEs), some of the procedures used in the cockpit to mitigate risk, and strategic lateral offsets, or SLOP.

Duration:00:07:50

#34: Transoceanic crossings, part 5

4/12/2019
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This is part 5 of a 6-part series on transoceanic flights. Transoceanic flights date back to Charles Lindbergh’s famous Spirit of St. Louis flight in 1927, but today the world is quite different, with numerous procedures and rules to keep us safe as we fly across the ocean. In part 5, I cover performance-based requirements, including required navigation, communication, and surveillance performance; and some of the technologies we use to achieve those requirements.

Duration:00:16:54

#33: Transoceanic crossings, part 4

4/11/2019
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This is part 4 of a 6-part series on transoceanic flights. Transoceanic flights date back to Charles Lindbergh’s famous Spirit of St. Louis flight in 1927, but today the world is quite different, with numerous procedures and rules to keep us safe as we fly across the ocean. In part 4, I cover extended operations, or ETOPS, and how pilots plan flights with the ability to divert to airports halfway across the ocean.

Duration:00:12:31

#32: Transoceanic crossings, part 3

4/10/2019
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This is part 3 of a 6-part series on transoceanic flights. Transoceanic flights date back to Charles Lindbergh’s famous Spirit of St. Louis flight in 1927, but today the world is quite different, with numerous procedures and rules to keep us safe as we fly across the ocean. In part 3, I cover organized track systems, including the busiest oceanic airspace in the world, the North Atlantic, and its North Atlantic Tracks (NATs).

Duration:00:13:17

#31: Transoceanic crossings, part 2

4/9/2019
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This is part 2 of a 6-part series on transoceanic flights. Transoceanic flights date back to Charles Lindbergh’s famous Spirit of St. Louis flight in 1927, but today the world is quite different, with numerous procedures and rules to keep us safe as we fly across the ocean. In part 2, I cover high-frequency radio, and how it’s used to send messages over the horizon, and selective calling, or SELCAL.

Duration:00:10:53

#30: Transoceanic crossings, part 1

4/8/2019
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This is part 1 of a 6-part series on transoceanic flights. Transoceanic flights date back to Charles Lindbergh’s famous Spirit of St. Louis flight in 1927, but today the world is quite different, with numerous procedures and rules to keep us safe as we fly across the ocean. In part 1, I cover oceanic flight plans, including how they're received; and voice position reporting.

Duration:00:10:01

#29: Cross-country gliding and MacCready theory

3/12/2019
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The most important number in cross-country gliding is “speed to fly.” Speed to fly is a complex topic, that involves thermals, headwinds and tailwinds, glider performance, and much more. On this episode I cover the basics of cross-country flying and racing in gliders, and introduce you to Paul MacReady’s theory of efficient glider flight.

Duration:00:09:57

#28: Aerial refueling

2/7/2019
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Primitive forms of aerial refueling have been around since the 1920s; since then, it has matured into a complex but effective procedure for getting gas from one aircraft to another. In this episode, I look at the different kinds of aerial refueling, when it’s used, and some things pilots have to be aware of to do it successfully.

Duration:00:14:53

#27: The national airspace redesign

1/15/2019
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The US airspace system is undergoing massive changes in the wake of RNAV and GPS. Learn about the high-altitude redesign (HAR), non-restrictive routing (NRR), RNAV routes, and other projects underway to redesign the highways in the sky.

Duration:00:10:47

#26: Hypoxia and oxygen delivery systems

12/14/2018
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One of the symptoms of hypoxia is decreased judgment and decision-making ability — not good for pilots. It can sneak up on you slowly, and by the time you realize it’s happening, you're too impaired to do anything about it. So pilots have a lot of different ways to ensure their brain is getting the oxygen it needs, even at high altitudes. Today I talk about hypoxia, the different types of hypoxia and its signs and symptoms, and the different ways pilots have of receiving supplemental oxygen.

Duration:00:16:06

#25: Missile defense, part I: Geometry and radar

10/5/2018
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This is the first of a series covering how pilots defend against incoming missiles. In this episode, I will discuss how pilots use geometry and the limitations of radar to defend against radar-guided missiles. In the next part, we’ll look at countermeasures (chaff and flares).

Duration:00:08:52

#24: Noise Abatement Departure Procedures

9/18/2018
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Noise is one of the most persistent issues in aviation. People want to fly, but when it comes to noise, they want to pretend flying doesn’t exist. I’ll be doing multiple episodes on noise abatement in the future, but for starters, in this episode I’m talking noise abatement departure procedures (NADPs): what they are, how they’re flown, and how they’re used to reduce the environmental impact of airliners on noise-sensitive communities.

Duration:00:06:42

#23: Air Traffic Control Technology: Past, Present, and Future

8/22/2018
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There are many technologies pilots and ATC use to locate aircraft and avoid mid-air collisions. The most important is the pilot’s own eyeballs. But beyond that, many other technologies work together to keep aircraft separated. Today I’m going to be discussing primary and secondary radar, traffic collision avoidance systems (TCAS), and automatic dependent surveillance-broadcast (ADS-B).

Duration:00:12:31

#22: Turn Circles and One/Two-Circle Fights

7/24/2018
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Turn circles are a fundamental concept in basic fighter maneuvers, or BFM -- the skill of dogfighting. In this episode I will cover the mechanics of turn circles, including rate and radius. I’ll also cover entry windows, and the basics of the one-circle and two-circle fight.

Duration:00:10:15

#21: RVSM Airspace

7/14/2018
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Altimeters get less accurate the higher you go. For the longest time, the rules required that airplanes flying above 29,000 feet have 2,000 feet of separation between them, instead of the usual 1,000 feet. But with more and more airliners flying, we needed a way to double the capacity of the flight levels. Enter reduced vertical separation minima, or RVSM: The rules and restrictions that allow us to pack them in even in thinner air.

Duration:00:09:40

#20: Carrier Departures and Recoveries

6/26/2018
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There are multiple ways for Navy and Marine aircraft to launch and recover to an aircraft carrier, and it all depends on the weather and visibility. In this episode, I discuss the different ways that carrier aircraft are launched and recovered.

Duration:00:10:07

#19: Private Pilots and Ride-Sharing

6/2/2018
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The private pilot certificate is the first license that many pilots get. It’s a handy certificate that allows the pilot to fly their friends and family around, but they can’t take money. There are only a few very limited exceptions in which a pilot can take money or other consideration for a flight. In this episode, I’ll talk about these exceptions, and why a pilot can’t just go on Craigslist looking for a passenger.

Duration:00:12:32

#18: Do Airlines Weigh Passengers?

5/16/2018
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Do airlines weigh passengers? Nope. There are no hidden scales on jetways. Instead, airlines must estimate the weight of their precious cargo, to ensure they don't take off overweight or out of balance. In today’s episode, I’ll talk about how this works, and how it’s led to some unfortunate accidents when it isn’t done right.

Duration:00:09:26

#17: Electronic Countermeasures

4/28/2018
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Electronic countermeasures (ECM) includes radio and radar jamming — it’s the techniques we use to deny an adversary the use of their electronic equipment. ECM is a cat-and-mouse game. Radar jamming started as simple noise jamming, but as radars became more sophisticated, ECM techniques have had to increase in sophistication too. Learn about the origins of ECM and how modern ECM works.

Duration:00:14:46

#16: Angle of Attack and the Stall

4/16/2018
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Angle of attack is the single most important number in aeronautics. It literally means the difference between flying and falling. Let it get too high, and your airplane can enter a stall, where the wings are no longer able to effectively generate lift. In today’s episode, I talk about what angle of attack is, why it matters, what a stall is, and how we get into and out of them.

Duration:00:12:07