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93 votes
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Why isn't the Presidential 747 "Air Force One Heavy"?

Practically speaking, the 'heavy' designator ('super' for A380 and An225) is to help enforce separation requirements due to wake turbulence. In case of AF1, it is not as if other aircraft are going to ...
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56 votes
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Who has final authority over Air Force One?

The pilot in command has final authority over Air Force One Air Force Instruction 11-202, Volume 3 says the following in Chapter 1, part 1.1.1 (as in, the very first thing in the document): 1.1.1. ...
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48 votes
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What is significant about the number 8069 ft?

Apparently you aren't the only person who wondered this; the FAA actually has it in an FAQ: What is the significance of a runway 8069 feet in length and why are two different aerodrome symbols used ...
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46 votes
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Why are special aircraft used for the carriers in the United States Navy?

It's technical, not political The F-35 was an attempt to do exactly what you propose, lowering costs by planned sharing of 80% of parts across variants, but it turns out that the USN's F-35C costs ...
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  • 25.1k
45 votes

What is typical ATC procedure when a non-pilot calls from a commercial flight for help?

There is absolutely nothing "typical" about such a situation, which is also why - as is the case for most abnormal situations and emergencies - there are no detailed and specific standard ...
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41 votes

Can you fly a light GA airplane into a major hub? What operational considerations are there if you do?

My favourite entry in my logbook is 2013-08-02 KOSH-KORD 1.5 hrs – from Air Venture in Oshkosh straight into Chicago O'Hare, in a Cessna 172 :-) A friend of mine and I have flown into SFO (with our ...
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  • 830
41 votes

How quickly can someone learn to fly?

I did it in 17 days - start to finish. Did flight school in Arizona. Before I went, I got the PPL study guide, MS Flight Simulator complete with a yoke, pedals, and throttle quadrant... and put in ...
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  • 411
41 votes

Why aren't there direct flights connecting Honolulu, Hawaii and London, UK?

Simply, because no airline has determined the route makes economic sense. A poll doesn't necessarily translate into a ready market of passengers. Sure, lots of people might check a box on a survey ...
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41 votes
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Is it possible to own an F-14 Tomcat?

I’ve chatted with a few F-14 pilots who are members of the Tomcat Association, aviation museum curators, as well as former NFWS Topgun instructor Dave “Bio” Baranak about the possibility of getting ...
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35 votes

In the rare event that the U.S. DOD shuts off the GPS, what's the alternative?

If the GPS is unavailable, it will be quite an impact to the aviation industry. All airliners in-flight will experience degraded RNAV performance, but they would make it to the destination using VORs,...
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  • 39.2k
35 votes

What prevents someone from hijacking a radio frequency mid-air?

This sounds like a “people problem”. That kind of problems is best solved with enforcement. Source of radio broadcast can be localized and it is not particularly difficult. There are techniques for ...
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35 votes
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At a non-towered airport in the US, what should I do if I hear a medevac flight waiting to take off while I'm turning base?

The most obvious thing to me would be to just talk to them: Medevac 123, this is the Diamond on base for 31, do you need to expedite your departure? If they say no, then just continue and land as ...
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32 votes
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How much does a typical private pilot pay for a non-training flight?

It depends on your location. It will vary based on cost for tie-down or hangar space, fuel costs, maintenance costs, etc. In order to compare apples to apples, let’s boil it down to a wet-Hobbs-rate. ...
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32 votes
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What are the pros and cons of buying a kit aircraft vs. a factory-built one?

The objective is very important. You don't build an airplane because you want one faster or cheaper. Neither is the case. The kit won't be cheaper, and it'll take 1 to 2 thousand manhours, minimum, ...
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  • 104k
32 votes

Why was the second runway at Sea-Tac Airport built so close to the first?

TL;DR/Abstract - Political, financial, and social expedience are often the dominant forces in the development of infrastructure projects - Sea-Tac is no exception. The history of Sea-Tac is messy, as ...
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30 votes

How can I find my grandmother's OLD instrument rating documentation?

The FAA has an airmen inquiry search portal. I put Nathalie Brown and came up with Nathalie Myrtle Brown with the following details: Certificate: PRIVATE PILOT Date of Issue: 11/25/1968 Ratings: ...
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  • 49.1k
28 votes

What is the proper air strip closure procedure with the FAA?

It looks to me like you need to file FAA Form 7480-1, Notice of Landing Area Proposal. There is a checkbox for "Deactivation or Abandonment". The form explains that you have to give 90 days advance ...
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27 votes
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What is a TRACON?

What is a TRACON (Terminal Radar Approach CONtrol)? A TRACON is a term used in the US for what is elsewhere known as the Terminal Control (ICAO terminology), the control in charge of operations around ...
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  • 67.6k
27 votes

What happens to US military demo teams following unexpected pilot turnover?

I can't answer for the Blue Angels or the Thunderbirds, but I can for the UK equivalent, the Red Arrows. The Red Arrows have no spare pilots (or 'B team'). The nine pilots on the team fly every ...
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  • 2,618
26 votes
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What makes an airport "international"?

There is no US regulation about whether an airport can be called "international." The Secretary of the Treasury designates the official list of international airports of entry. But not all airports on ...
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  • 69.7k
24 votes
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What keeps certified GA aircraft from being affordable?

Low volume, high liability, and the overhead of certification all contribute to the high price of factory-new aircraft. Certification The process to design, build, and test an aircraft to receive a ...
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  • 67.2k
23 votes

Why isn't the Presidential 747 "Air Force One Heavy"?

The purpose of the "heavy" designator is create situational awareness because of its wake turbulence. There are also different separation requirements when following a heavy aircraft. Since all air ...
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22 votes
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What is the purpose of a Victor Airway?

An airway (Victor or otherwise) is just a standard route for aircraft to fly on in the national airspace system - for all practical purposes they are literally highways in the sky (with the lanes ...
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  • 67.2k
22 votes

How does a U.S. military air traffic controller become a civilian air traffic controller?

Wasabi's answer is not correct, or at least not fully correct. You actually ask two questions: does a military controller need to take additional tests and training to get hired, and do they need ...
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  • 9,535
21 votes
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Where did the "K" identifier prefix for US airports come from?

The letter K was simply assigned to the contiguous US by ICAO, in order to have a system with unique identifiers for world-wide use, instead of trying to adapt ...
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  • 15.5k
20 votes
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What would they call the US President's personal plane?

I'd expect Executive One: Executive One is the call sign designated for any United States civil aircraft when the President of the United States is on board.
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  • 31.5k
20 votes

Why are civilians not allowed to fly demilitarized US fighter jets?

That's because US military is particularly concerned about chopping up its assets before civilians can lay their hands on them. The procedures are covered in US DoD Manual 4160.28 Defense ...
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