October 2004 Issue

First Word: 10/04

Kerosene Dreams
If you have any airline pilot friends, you’ve probably had this conversation: “What? You really fly IFR in a single-engine airplane? Are you nuts?” Some airline pilots own little airplanes and don’t think twice about flying IMC in them but many others believe the very notion of it is insane. Without triple-redundant electrical systems, enough bleed air to heat Indiana in January and dual flight instruments, your back-up is skin deep in a piston single. Unfortunately, they’re right. If you fly serious IMC in piston airplanes, there’s real risk. You may believe—as I do—that the risk is tolerable, but any warm feeling you get from analyzing the risk intellectuall...

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