Takeoff Briefings for Singles

baron-off-airport

I wonder why takeoff briefings are not typically taught or performed in single-engine airplanes. I think they should be, because they’re as important — if not more so — in a single than the multi-engine airplanes where they’ve long been standard procedure.

Air Safety Institute data show that regardless of category and class, the takeoff and landing phases are where most accidents occur. It’s true of the light GA airplanes you and I are so passionate about, and even more so for the Gulfstream IV I fly at work. In fact, since the G-IV went into service in 1987, there have only been four fatal accidents, but all of them were during takeoff or landing.

While thinking through the particulars of a low-altitude emergency prior to takeoff won’t help in every scenario, it certainly underscores the hazards inherent in flying close to the ground. A thoughtful takeoff briefing is important because emergencies and mechanical failures are as common and dangerous in singles as in twins. Things happen quickly when the engine quits at low altitude. Doesn’t it makes sense that the time to prepare for emergent situations is well before venturing into situations where they might occur?

I fly a wide variety of aircraft, and that provides additional rationale for a takeoff briefing because proper procedures vary from from one airplane (and situation) to another. For example, when flying a Cirrus, the ballistic recovery parachute is an option and a briefing helps reinforce when and where it will be used. On the other hand, if I’m flying a multi-engine recip, I’d probably want to keep flying if an engine quit after lift-off. But even in a typical GA single, there are still lots of decisions to make: where to land, which way to turn, when you can safety make a turnaround, etc. An intelligent pilot will consider the wind direction & velocity, runways in use, traffic conflicts, and more.

So why aren’t single engine pilots exposed to this during training? For one thing, today’s teaching methodology is based on material that’s been in use for half a century. Anyone who’s taken an FAA knowledge test can tell you that. Back then, airspace was simple, open fields were everywhere, and it was assumed you’d just glide down to landing. Today? It ain’t necessarily so.

Consider my neighborhood. At Santa Monica, you practically touch the roof of a gas station before reaching the numbers for runway 21. At Compton, homes are built so close to the field that residents can count the rivets dotting the underbelly of a landing aircraft’s fuselage. Airports like Hawthorne and Fullerton? Good luck. Obstacles in every direction, including some of the most densely populated parts of Southern California.

You might be thinking “Ah, my airport is nothing like that!”. Maybe so, but even if you’re based at a rural field, you probably fly to urban or mountainous airports from time to time. Something else to consider: if I’ve learned one thing from my seventeen years of flying, it’s that real world failures don’t always mimic our training. I’ve had several emergency situations, but not one of them was anything like the standard training scenarios.

The most common simulated emergency is a total engine failure. In reality, powerplant failures are often partial. You’ll lose one cylinder, but the rest still function. The decision making process is more complex in those cases. You have a partial power loss, but it’s entirely possible that amidst the vibration you’ll have enough power to maintain level flight. Do you fly around the pattern? Nurse it up high enough to turn around? Pull the power and land on the remaining runway? You’ve only got one chance to get it right. The pilot most likely to do that is the one who has thought these things through.

Because they’ve been around for half a century, you’d imagine the takeoff briefing would be pretty much set in stone, but even today they undergo frequent modification. Gulfstream recently changed it’s philosophy on this and emphatically states that “there is no such thing as a standard briefing”. I wholeheartedly agree with that approach. Aircraft weight, wind, weather conditions, alternate options, and many other variables are always changing. Note that none of those factors are limited to multi-engine transport-cateogry jets — they are equally applicable to a single engine trainer.

What we’re really talking about here is the role of a pilot. Those who know me can attest to my affinity for high quality stick-and-rudder skills. But anyone can learn to physically maneuver an airplane. The safest pilots are the ones who manage risk effectively. That means having a contingency plan for as many “what-ifs” as possible before shoving the throttle forward for takeoff.

We Don’t Train For That

Gulfstream G550 simulator

The tragic Gulfstream IV accident in Boston has been on my mind lately, partly because I fly that aircraft, but also because the facts of the case are disquieting.

While I’m not interested in speculating about the cause, I don’t mind discussing factual information that the NTSB has already released to the public. And one of the initial details they provided was that the airplane reached takeoff speed but the pilot flying was not able to raise the nose (or “rotate”, in jet parlance).

My first thought after hearing this? “We don’t train for that.” Every scenario covered during initial and recurrent training — whether in the simulator or the classroom — is based on one of two sequences: a malfunction prior to V1, in which case we stop, or a malfunction after V1, in which case we continue the takeoff and deal with the problem in the air. As far as I know, every multi-engine jet is operated the same way.

But nowhere is there any discussion or training on what to do if you reach the takeoff decision speed (V1), elect to continue, reach Vr, and are then unable to make the airplane fly. You’re forced into doing something that years of training has taught you to never do: blow past V1, Vr, V2, and then attempt an abort.

In this case, the airplane reached 165 knots — about 45 knots beyond the takeoff/abort decision speed. To call that uncharted territory would be generous. Meanwhile, thirty tons of metal and fuel is hurtling down the runway at nearly a football field per second.

We just don’t train for it. But maybe we should. Perhaps instead of focusing on simple engine failures we ought to look at the things that are causing accidents and add them to a database of training scenarios which can be enacted in the simulator without prior notice. Of course, this would have to be a no-jeopardy situation for the pilots. This wouldn’t be a test, it would be a learning experience based on real-world situations encountered by pilots flying actual airplanes. In some cases there’s no good solution, but even then I believe there are valuable things to be learned.

In the case of the Gulfstream IV, there have been four fatal accidents since the aircraft went into service more than a quarter of a century ago. As many news publications have noted, that’s not a bad record. But all four have something in common: each occurred on the ground.

  • October 30, 1996: a Gulfstream IV crashed during takeoff after the pilots lose control during a gusting crosswind.
  • February 12, 2012: a Gulfstream IV overran the 2,000 meter long runway at Bukavu-Kamenbe
  • July 13, 2012: a G-IV on a repositioning flight in southern France departs the runway during landing and broke apart after hitting a stand of trees.
  • May 31, 2014: the Gulfstream accident in Boston

In the few years that I’ve been flying this outstanding aircraft, I’ve seen a variety of odd things happen, from preflight brake system anomalies to flaps that wouldn’t deploy when the airplane was cold-soaked to a “main entry door” annunciation at 45,000 feet (believe me, that gets your attention!).

This isn’t to say the G-IV is an unsafe airplane. Far from it. But like most aircraft, it’s a highly complex piece of machinery with tens of thousands of individual parts. All sorts of tribal knowledge comes from instructors and line pilots during recurrent training. With each anomaly related to us in class, I always end up thinking to myself “we should run that scenario in the simulator”.

Cases like United 232, Apollo 13, Air France 447, and US Air 1549 prove time and time again that not every failure is covered by training or checklists. Corporate/charter aviation is already pretty safe… but perhaps we can do even better.


This article first appeared on the AOPA Opinion Leaders blog.

Fueling the GA Economy

The Million Air fixed base operator at San Bernardino, CA

Whether you’re operating a plane, train, or automobile, your fuel price undoubtedly varies somewhat from place to place. But in aviation, the difference can be staggering. At one airport, avgas might be in the $5 range, while a stone’s throw away it’s $8.

Mac McClellan recently opined that this has more to do with the retailer’s operating costs than anything else.

Consider at one extreme the airport that offers only self service fuel. The airport, if it is staffed at all, almost certainly has only one person there and only for at most eight hours a day. The operating costs that must be added to set the retail fuel price at an airport like that are small.

At the other end is a full service FBO that is fully staffed by several people for probably 16 or more hours a day. That FBO has a comfortable waiting room, pilot briefing services, food vending or more options, regularly cleaned restrooms, quickly available ground transportation and on and on. Since the only significant income left for FBOs is from fuel sales it’s easy to see how the cost of all of the staff and services must be added into the final retail price of fuel.

Neither type of fuel/FBO operation is intrinsically good or bad. It drives me crazy when I hear pilots blasting the fuel price at a big full service FBO without for a moment considering who pays the cost of the many services included in the fuel price. If you don’t want to pay for the FBO services, land at one of the thousands of airports that don’t offer those services.

Mac’s article interested me because on any given day I’m as likely to be flying a Cub or RV-6 as I am a Gulfstream or King Air. I regularly visit full-service FBOs and unattended rural airports in wide variety of airplanes, and to me his thesis just doesn’t ring true.

While I understand how more services result in higher prices, it doesn’t fully explain why the fuel price is three dollars per gallon higher in some airports than it is at another field just a few miles away. A company that provides more services should also have more sources of revenue. Isn’t that the whole reason they’re providing those services in the first place? McClellan’s big-city operator has higher ramp fees and service charges in order to help cover the cost of providing clean restrooms and waiting rooms.

In fact, I’d argue that the big FBO’s prices should actually be lower not higher. These retailers tend to see turbine airplanes which buy large quantities of fuel. The G-IV, for example, frequently takes on thousands of gallons in a single purchase. The cost of labor on a per-gallon basis is quite low when compared to airplanes that only take a few gallons at a time. While the Gulfstream take Jet-A rather than avgas, it’s all profit for the fixed base operator. Turbine aircraft pay for lav cleaning, potable water service, catering, deicing, dish washing, dry cleaning, and many other things. The hangar fees for both transient and based tenants are also sources of revenue — consistent ones at that.

Mac sees those as justification for higher fuel prices. I see the aircraft owner or operator paying the full cost of providing those services, and then some.

My point is that FBOs with many services also have many sources of revenue beyond fuel, and since large chain FBOs can leverage their buying power the same way any billion-dollar corporation does, you’d expect their prices to be lower, not higher. By McClellan’s logic, a WalMart Superstore should be sporting the highest prices in town since they provide far more products and services than a simple grocery store.

If the fuel price variations aren’t due to service level, then what’s behind it? Perhaps part of the problem is that airports with only one service provider have a monopoly on the market and can charge whatever they want, knowing pilots have no choice but to pay it. It’s like a remote desert town with only one gas station. The price is going to be high — and you will fork over the dough because there is simply no alternative.

The aforementioned WalMart Superstore has to compete with Target, Sam’s Club, countless grocery stores, and many other businesses. Sadly, airports don’t work that way, and as a result we all pay the price.

Even with two FBOs, some markets are saturated enough that the fixed base operator doesn’t really face competition in the normal sense. John Wayne Airport is like that. There are two places you can find fuel, service, and parking at SNA: Atlantic Aviation and Signature Flight Support. Neither one of them could possibly handle all the business traffic in and out of the airport alone, so is there really much of a sense of competition between them? Perhaps for the highest margin customer: frequent visitors with large thirsty airplanes like a Global Express or Gulfstream, or high volume operators like JetSuite or NetJets. But for the other 80% of general aviation? No.

I don’t begrudge retailers profiting from their significant investment. Running an FBO requires major capital infusions and serves a small market even in the best of times. But I still don’t see how it justifies a 60% difference in the price of fuel. Inordinately high fuel prices damage the entire aviation ecosystem by discouraging light general aviation customers, decreasing GA’s utility, and driving prices upward for those who remain.

Look around. We’re turning into Europe — and where GA is concerned, that’s not a good thing.

World Cup Trip

This heat map shows the most frequently photographed locales.

It’s interesting to observe travel patterns of the flying public. The ebb and flow in a heat map of the most popular destinations would be fascinating to observe over time. Despite a half hour of searching, I found no such data on the internet. The closest thing I came across was the featured image for this post, a heat map of the most frequently photographed locales courtesy of sitesmap.com.

A couple of years ago, the hot spot for charter travel seemed to be London. The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee, the 2012 Summer Olympics, and the Paralympic Games all took place in London within the span of just a few months. As a result, I was in England almost as much as the United States. Or so it seemed.

In the charter world, you see this smaller versions of this phenomenon occur all the time. Whether it’s the World Economic Forum, the Superbowl, or the State of the Union, large numbers of private aircraft congregate at these events. It’s not uncommon to find friends and co-workers both past and present showing up at the same places over and over again. It goes a long way toward making the world feel like a smaller place.

Bem-Vindo ao Brasil!

If my sought-after heat map existed, 2014 would see a scorching red area around the eastern coast of South America. The world’s attention has been focused there because of the FIFA World Cup, and it will shortly return to Brazil for the 2016 Summer Olympics in Rio de Janeiro. Beyond those events, the whole Latin American area has been on an economic upswing while Europe and North America still grapple with the lingering effects of the 2008 financial crisis.

Years of growth have spawned a thriving middle class. The World Bank estimates that between 2003 and 2009, the percentage of Latin Americans living in poverty fell from 44% to 30% while the number of middle class Latin Americans rose from 103 million to 152 million.

That expanding middle class has more disposable income than ever before. Robust domestic demand has been key to helping Latin America weather the global economic turbulence of recent years.

This trip was similar to the one I made to Salvador last year: the same airplane, crew, passengers, and destination. And just like last time, the overnight trip down from New York took a while to recover from. The other pilot said overnight flights are tough even when you’re on a regular schedule of night flying. “You can feel it sucking the life out of you,” he said.

After a day of rest, there was plenty of time to explore a different part of the city. Last time our hotel was in the middle of town, whereas this time the resort was further away, located inside a gated community with expensive homes and a miles-wide private beach. I didn’t mind the trade-off at all.

The jungle gave way to a beautiful expanse of private beach just across a small bridge from our hotel.

The jungle gave way to a beautiful expanse of private beach just across a small bridge from our hotel.

Papers, Please

One major difference from the last trip was the added complexity associated with flying during the World Cup. If you think the Superbowl generates a lot of air traffic, consider the month-long duration of this soccer tournament and the fact that it takes place at cities all over the country. A team might play in Brasilia one day and Salvador on another. As they move about the country, so do their legion of fans. It’s like the Olympics on steroids.

In fact, I queried Brazilian citizens throughout the trip about which of the two events they felt would be “bigger”, and every one of them thought the World Cup would easily outshine the Olympics. That probably says more about their passion for football than anything else. Brazil is always a World Cup contender, whereas they’re not a particular powerhouse in either the summer or winter Olympics.

This giant banner welcomes you to an official World Cup game in Salvador

This giant banner welcomes you to an official World Cup game in Salvador

A few days after we arrived in country, we had a quick trip to drop off a passenger in Sao Paulo and return to Salvador empty. Because of the limited slots available, we had to stick around in Sao Paulo for nearly eight hours before our departure slot time came up. The handler offered to run out and get us some food since we couldn’t get a cab to come pick us up. When the handler returned, he said there were tons of cabs all around the airport — and they were all empty! As soon as the Brazil game started, people abandoned their jobs, cars, and whatever else to watch the match. He said cars were just sitting there as though the people had vanished off the earth.

We watched the game from the FBO lounge at Congonhas Airport, and every time Brazil would make a good play, you’d hear mortars, firecrackers, and other explosions going on around the city. It was like a happy war zone. And the airport? Congonhas is one of the major commercial airports in Sao Paulo, a city of more than twelve million people. The game lasted nearly two hours, and I don’t think a single airplane came or went during that time. It was really weird.

AeroStar to the Rescue

Flying to Brazil always involves permits, but the World Cup added takeoff and landing slot reservations, parking hassles, and general administrative largesse to the mix. Taxes are levied for every leg, and flight plans are not accepted until those taxes have been paid. The company we used for those services dropped the ball on a couple of occasions, but thankfully FBO in Salvador was probably one of the best on the planet, and they managed to save the day for us every time.

That FBO is AeroStar. I can’t say enough good things about these folks. When we couldn’t get a clearance because taxes hadn’t been remitted by Universal, the FBO manager personally went to the tower to straighten things out. It wasn’t even their responsibility to pay those taxes, but they did it.

When we needed to replenish our potable water supply and didn’t want to risk using local water sources, they obtained large quantities of bottled water and manually filled the tanks with a hose and funnel through a tiny gap between the top of the tank at the enclosure surrounding it.

When our vacuum cleaner died, they assembled a ridiculously long extension cord and insisted on cleaning every inch of the airplane for us with their own shopvac. They spot-cleaned leather seats. They made sure we had the best parking space on a very crowded ramp, and were always there to help with fueling, staging, and somehow had whatever we required before we even knew we needed it. We had brought down a towbar for the Gulfstream on the advice of our flight planning company, but AeroStar had a brand new tow bar and head for the G-IV on site, so we never had to fish ours out of the hell hole and cargo compartment.

They even insisted on taking us out to dinner while we were in town. They knew us and we were always greeted by name with a smile. I wish every FBO was like this.

Bahian Dining

Speaking of food, you’re probably aware of Brazilian BBQ restaurants — there are plenty of them scattered throughout the United States — but the AeroStar staff took us to a Brazilian cross between a churrascaria and pizza parlor. Skewers of meat are replaced by pizza pans filled with two categories of pie: savory and sweet. There are even little flags built into the table to communicate which pizza style you’re interested in. When you’re ready for a break, you just take down your little flag and they stop inundating you with pizza queries for a while. I felt like John Snow retiring Castle Black’s colors ever time I did that.

It's not really my thing, but some people love this chocolate pizza.

It’s not really my thing, but some people love this chocolate pizza.

Many of the toppings were familiar, but some really threw me for a loop. Have you ever had a chocolate pizza? I wasn’t a fan, but the locals seemed to love it. Their take on Hawaiian pizza is also quite different from ours. Instead of pineapple chunks, their iteration was topped with a vaguely spicy, gelatinous pineapple substance.

No visit to Brazil would be complete without a meal at an authentic Brazilian churrascaria, and our flight attendant (who’s made something like a half-dozen trips to Salvador in the past year) insisted we try a place called Boi Preto. I’m proud to say I didn’t over-indulge, despite the fact that we were there for about three hours and got sucked into the Ivory Coast / Japan match.

What would a trip to Brazil be without at least one visit to a churrascaria?

What would a trip to Brazil be without at least one visit to a churrascaria?

The Big Game

The brass ring for any World Cup trip is, of course, going to see a game. We watched at least a dozen of them on TV at the hotel bar, but it’s not the same as being there.

You’d think tickets would be hard to come by, but they are frequently re-sold on the secondary market. You can find them on line, at hotel concierge desks, and even the FIFA web site. But trying to find three tickets that are next to each other? That’s a little harder. Our flight attendant worked overtime and managed to get three seats at decent prices for the Switzerland/France match in Salvador. Later on, we learned that nobody cares where you sit anyway. That would explain how huge blocks of fans always seemed to be sitting together.

I should say a word about the tickets because they’re pretty high-tech. Beyond the beautiful four-color imagery emblazoned across the front, these large-format documents also featured holograms, electronics, and the purchaser’s name imprinted on them. Big ticket for a big event, I guess!

There are no bad seats in the Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova.

There are no bad seats in the Itaipava Arena Fonte Nova.

This was the first soccer game I’d ever attended. For whatever reason, I just didn’t grow up with the sport. I don’t remember ever playing or watching it as a kid. In fact, I’d go so far as to say I knew less about the game than any of the 53,000 people who were in the stadium that day. I know there’s a round ball, and a net you’re supposed to put the ball into. Beyond that, I’m clueless.

Still, it was a great experience. Just getting to the stadium was an adventure. A 30 minute taxi ride got us to a shopping mall on the north end of town. From there, we had to find a FIFA kiosk to obtain wristbands which would get us onto a train to cover the last few miles to the stadium. The train was clean and modern, but the areas it traversed enroute to the arena were some of the most depressed I’d ever seen. Known as favelas, these slums seemed to surround the stadium on all sides. Most of them were missing windows, walls, ceilings, or some combination thereof. Crowded together and clearly built without any planning or adherence to building standards, they looked like images of Berlin after World War II.

I heard that some visitors were actually renting these favelas because they couldn’t find a place to stay during the World Cup. According to Wikipedia, one in three favelas has no sanitation service.

We spent some time trying to decide who to root for. Since we were pretty neutral on both teams, it made sense to cheer for the Swiss, as they’re the poster child for neutrality. Unfortunately, “our team” ended up losing 5-2.
Despite Switzerland’s crushing defeat, everyone was in good spirits both during and after the game. The streets were filled with people just happy to be there. Bands were playing, dancers were moving, and French fans waved large flags from atop walls in what looked like a barricade scene rehearsal from Les Miserables.

French fans celebrate their victory over Switzerland.  Or maybe it's a scene from Les Mis.  Who knows....

French fans celebrate their victory over Switzerland. Or maybe it’s a scene from Les Mis. Who knows….

The arena itself is very well designed. There are literally no bad seats in the entire stadium. We had category 1 tickets but sat in a category 4 seat and didn’t mind it a bit. I also noticed that there was no scoreboard or clock anywhere to be seen. I can’t think of any other sporting event without at least one of those two items.

I’ll Be Back

This trip was even more fun that the first one! I really enjoyed the Bahia Resort, and since we’d been to Salvador previously, we were more at home with everything from the airports to the language. Though I’m not much of a soccer fan, the excitement and camaraderie of World Cup attendees is infectious. With the Summer Olympics less than two years away, I’m sure this isn’t the last time a Brazil trip will land on my plate.

Trust Us — We’re Professionals

ipad-flight-deck

I’ve seen some ill-conceived policies emanate from the FAA over the course of my professional flying career. Some diktats are just busy work, while others fail to achieve an otherwise admirable end. But the worst are those that create the very hazard they are supposed to prevent.

Case in point: the recent adoption of 14 CFR 121.542(d), which prohibits the use of any personal electronic devices in flight. According to the FAA, this rule is “intended to ensure that non-essential activities do not affect flight deck task management or cause a loss of situational awareness during aircraft operation.”

Sounds great on the surface, doesn’t it? I mean, who could possibly oppose a rule which the Feds ostensibly see as the aeronautical equivalent of a ban on texting while driving? Keeping distractions at bay and pilots focused on flying has got to be a wonderful enhancement for safety.

But it’s not. The flight profiles of airlines, cargo haulers, charter companies, fractionals, corporate flight departments, and even private GA operators often dictate long stretches of straight-and-level flight with the autopilot on. Surely the FAA is aware of this. Now add in circadian rhythm issues associated with overnight flights, a dark cockpit with minimal radio traffic, and a flight crew pairing who have run out of things to talk about. There’s nothing to do but stare off into the inky darkness for hour upon hour. It’s a recipe for falling asleep.

Say what you will about distractions on the flight deck, but I’d much rather see a pilot peruse an issue of AOPA Pilot while in cruise than to have that individual zoned out or inadvertently napping. For one thing, the process of waking up takes time, whereas an alert human need only change focus. We already do that dozens of times on every flight anyway. Check in on the engine instruments, then answer a question from a passenger, then look out the window, then consult a chart. We do this all day long.

Is there much difference between reading a magazine and delving into the minutia of some random page of the Jeppesen manual when they’re both a form of busy work to keep the mind engaged during slow periods in cruise? I sincerely doubt a roundtable of experts in automation and human factors would have come up with a PED ban.

I can understand prohibiting them below, say, 10,000′ when the sterile cockpit rule is in effect. That’s a busy time for pilots, and non-essential items are naturally stowed at that point anyway. But electronic devices in and of themselves can be helpful in staving off the ultimate distraction. “Flight to Safety” author and Airbus pilot Karlene Petitt said it best:

Numerous studies have shown that one of the tips to help fall to sleep is to NOT watch television or work on your computer at a minimum of an hour before bedtime. The light suppresses melatonin production and stimulates brain activity. I’m not sure about you, but I want my pilots alert with stimulated brains. Give them something to do to keep them awake.

As many of you have probably noted, this rule is located in Part 121 and therefore only applies to scheduled airlines. From maintenance requirements to medical certification, their regs are the strictest around, so perhaps this seems much ado about nothing for a general aviation audience. But the FAA is of the opinion that this limitation should reach a lot further than United and Delta:

Recommended Actions: This prohibition on personal use of electronic devices on the flight deck in the final rule is applicable only to operations under part 121. However, Directors of Safety and training managers for all operators under parts 135 and 125, as well as part 91K, are encouraged to include operating procedures in their manuals and crewmember training programs prohibiting flightcrew members from using such devices for personal use during aircraft operation.

Will this eventually reach down to Part 91? Who knows. Even if it doesn’t, the real problem is that the FAA is spoon-feeding each and every individual action and prohibition to us without making allowances for the differences inherent in each type of operation. One-size-fits-all is wonderful for tube socks and scarves, but when it comes to flight safety, it’s just bad policy.

The smart way to go about this would be to leave it to the individual company, flight department and/or individual to determine what PED policy best serves the cause of safety. If you’re Southwest Airlines or a charter operator company flying VLJs, you probably aren’t flying long-haul trips and might be fine with reasonable PED limitations. Certainly using them below 10,000′ could be prohibited. But if you’re flying international cargo in a jumbo jet or hopping continents in a Global 5000 on legs of twelve or thirteen hours? That personal electronic device could be incredibly helpful in maintaining alertness.

Whether it’s a vocation or an avocation, pilots are a professional lot who can be trusted to make their own decisions about portable electronic devices.


This article first appeared on the AOPA Opinion Leaders blog.