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Know it or Do it

By Ed Downs

We have seen a real shift in FAA safety thinking over the years. For many old timers, flight safety meant having strong “stick and rudder” skills, meaning the ability to handle the machine in a skilled and precise manner. But as we moved into our current age of technology, aviation accidents have taken on a different look. To be sure, hitting something hard with too much velocity (a crash) is still the end result of most recent accidents, but the perception as to why an accident occurred has changed. 

The FAA decided that there is more to a flying accident than just an inability to handle the aircraft. Poor judgment, when used use in conjunction with critical circumstances, has also have been noted as the underlying cause of many accidents. This writer agrees, poor judgment can, and does, often open the door for events that weak flying skills cannot overcome. 

The FAA’s response to this dilemma of skill versus judgment has been to fundamentally change training. The Practical Test Standard (PTS) was modified over the years, dropping many “stick and rudder” skills in favor of knowledge that would prevent one from needed the “stick and rudder” ability that was common years ago. In other words, why worry about stalls and spins if you are smart enough to never get close to doing either. Why even bother to train one in the recognition of an event that can result in loss of control if one’s judgment and knowledge are so great that our very smart pilot will simply never get close to the risk in question. 

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Kansas Aviation’s Past, Present & Future 

By Carl Chance, Editor/Consultant/Writer/Kansas Aviation History
and Frank Rowe, Writer/Brave New World & Manager-Design/Textron Aviation


It is prudent to start by looking back and reviewing the unique history of what birthed the beginning of Wichita, The “Air Capital of the World.” This article features the various stages and paths that the founders created that has led us to where Wichita has found itself today. Featured will be outstanding aircraft built by Boeing, Learjet, Cessna Aircraft and Beechcraft. Finally, we’ll look into our crystal ball in an effort to forecast the future of flight.

“Kansas sometimes seems to have more sky than ground. So much sky that people walk outside and naturally look up. So much sky that it seems to overtake the ground. So much sky that it almost seems to invite dreamers and explorers to test the limits.” – Anonymous

Kansas Aviation On Standby

Kansas’s aviation history dates back to the early 1900s when Carl Dryden Browne began promoting commercial airplane manufacturing out of Freedom, Kansas. While Browne failed to ever fly his aircraft and closed his factory just two years after its opening, other Kansans were getting ready to see successful take-offs on the Kansas prairies.

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