Articles written by Dan Mcdowel

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 By Dan McDowell    News    May 1, 2020

From the Archives - June 2000

Most aviators recognize the power of lightning, but few understand this unique natural phenomenon. Take time to review a few facts about lightning. 1. A typical thunderstorm lasts about 30 minutes.... Full story

 By Dan McDowell    News    May 1, 2020

From the Archives - March 2000

When we think about how far air travel and space travel have come since the first drawings of da Vinci to the most recent flight of the space shuttle, we are truly amazed. Now imagine what can be coming in the next century or even just in the next te... Full story

 By Dan McDowell    News    February 1, 2020

Spatial Disorientation Basics

Spatial disorientation can be defined quite simply as the inability to correctly orient oneself with respect to the earth’s surface. It is caused by a variety of sensory illusions. Pilots are especially vulnerable at night and in certain weather... Full story

 By Dan McDowell    News    February 1, 2020

Normalcy Bias - When Normal Isn't

This past year we have had the unfortunate opportunity to read about a number of aircraft accidents. Far too many of these accidents were pilot error. Worse yet, a number of these accidents ranging from GA, to corporate, military, and the airlines... Full story


Flying through a MOA

One of the greatest perks of flying is being able to see and enjoy the beauty of the earth below. But while casually enjoying these sights, especially at lower altitudes, pilots must maintain... Full story


What can we do?

To be a good pilot... The leading causes of general aviation (GA) accidents may come as a surprise to most GA pilots. In a June, 2019 article by Janice Wood, published in the General Aviation News, Wood said: “from 2008 to 2017, fatal accidents... Full story


Winter is coming, "are you ready?"

The first question you should ask yourself is, if I am this cold now and I haven’t even left the ramp, how cold would I be if I had to execute an emergency landing when miles from a town or even just a mile from a farm house, for instance. Am I... Full story


Before it Becomes an Emergency

Those who truly love flying find that aviation is one of the things that actually defines them. It is their love and in fact their passion for aviation, that sets them apart from most others. People like this are easy to spot. If they hear the sound... Full story


Opening the door to the future

Nearly every child has a dream or dreams of what they want to do for a career in the future. Many have a dream to fly fighters, airliners or airshow aerobatic aircraft for instance. Once they have tasted the excitement and freedom of aviation, it... Full story


GA and Gun Safety

Flying in the cool, crisp air of fall can be absolutely spectacular as mile after mile of brilliant color passes beneath your wings. The variety of changing hues and distinct colors is quite simply awe-inspiring. It is in fact one of the great joys o... Full story


Trust and Verify

We all have likely heard the old axiom, "trust, but verify!" It holds true today in many facets of our lives, especially in aviation. With all the "gee-whiz" technology that is available in today's... Full story


Making the right call

Imagine you are a new pilot and live in an area where you don't have an air traffic control tower (ATC) at your community airport. Perhaps you can fly from point A to a number of point B's and C's... Full story


One of summers challenges

Minnesota is strikingly beautiful no matter which season, but summer is quite simply amazing. With brilliant blue skies, diamond sparkles on the lakes, and a patchwork quilt of rolling prairie as far as the eyes can see, the beauty is seemingly... Full story


The Violent Winds

Spring brings about changes in nature, the landscape, the weather, and even in people. The warmth of the strong sunshine and more daylight hours are welcomed with open arms. Even the early spring flowers and plants open their buds and spread their... Full story


Just because spring is in sight...

Flying during any season in Minnesota can be stunningly beautiful. It can also present some really unique challenges. One of those unique challenges is icing. Yes, the days are getting longer and... Full story

 By Dan McDowell    News    March 1, 2019


“Approximately 75% of tactical decision errors that led to accidents investigated by the National Transportation and Safety Board (NTSB) were identified as plan continuation errors. These errors occur when a pilot inappropriately continues with a... Full story


Their Dreams Took Flight

This is an inspiring story of three forward-thinking Minnesota high school students. They are neighbors and best friends in life, and are now about to launch themselves into building their respective... Full story


Plan to be an ACE

Students in the 10 through 12th grades have an opportunity to experience more aviation than they probably thought exists. They can do that by attending the one of the 2019 Aviation Education Careers... Full story


Your Winter Checklist

Most pilots who have flown for a year or more have likely experienced flying in cold weather. Some may actually prefer to fly in the winter months because there are few threats of thunderstorms (at... Full story


Your Favorite Airport

Every aviator has a unique fondness in their heart for an airport that holds special memories for them. Those memories will forever remain with them. The picture of that airport, in their mind, will... Full story


Five Things You Should Know About PIREPs:*

A pilot report or PIREP is a pilot’s report of actual weather conditions encountered while airborne. A PIREP’s main purpose is safety — it helps weather forecasters update their data and improve quality of forecast A PIREP filed to report good... Full story


Into the Blue

These days it is common practice for nearly everyone to spend large amounts of time staring at electronic screens. Whether for work or for fun, our electronic devices have been deeply embedded in our... Full story


Business aviation is essential to thousands of companies competing in a global marketplace

Business aviation is defined as the use of a general aviation airplane for a business purpose. It is essential to tens of thousands of companies of all types and sizes in the U.S. that are trying to... Full story


The Important Role of Your Community Airport

An airport can be many things to many people. It can be a place of magnificent solitude, like during an early summer's morning, just as the sun rises and the stillness is punctuated only by the chirp... Full story


In the Rhythm of Flight

Flight operations for military, airline, cargo flight crews, and even corporate/business flight crews are often disruptive to the normal cycle of human physiology. With frequent changes in flight... Full story


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