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Saturday, January 4, 2014

Top 5 posts of 2013

The year 2013 was a great year for Keyboard & Rudder. It has picked up quite a few new readers (welcome!) and all of the five most popular posts have been from this year. In case you missed some, here is a quick rundown of the five most read posts of 2013:

A Symphony in the Sky: The beautiful complexity of a day's worth of air traffic

Some of this post's popularity comes from it being mentioned on StumbleUpon, which brings it a steady trickle of views. This one has two videos that show a day's worth of airplanes crossing the skies around the world. You don't realize just how incredibly many there are until you see all of them at once. When you do, it's a wonder that the ATC system works at all, much less works as well as it does.


Ten for 110: Ten things you might not know about the Wright brothers

Apparently this idea was good enough that the History Channel's website posted something with exactly the same title on the same day. Fortunately, I beat them by several minutes and our posts are quite different (mine focuses on basic aviation whereas theirs is for history buffs), so there's no doubt that that is just a coincidence.


U.S. Weather Patterns: The really big picture

In April, I had to have my gall bladder taken out, which means I had to miss a week of teaching my private pilot ground school class at Lorain County Community College, so I wrote this post to substitute for what I would have covered on one of those days. It turned out better than I'd hoped (both the surgery and the post).

The weather may seem like magic, but it operates on basic principles that are easy to grasp if you don't try to get into every little detail at once. That's what this post does: it takes a big picture view of the big picture so you can see just the most basic weather makers (fronts and high/low pressure centers) do their thing.

To make the post clearer and easier to understand, I created an animated surface depiction chart, since surprisingly no one had ever thought to do that before. It has turned out to be the most popular video on my YouTube channel, which was also something new for 2013. My next post will run down my top 5 there.


Subtropical Storm Andrea: A curiously clear look at the atmosphere at work

This started from stumbling across an incredible animated GIF from a Wikipedia article. Andrea wasn't a notable storm by any means, as she did little damage and stayed rather disorganized during her rather short lifetime, but her formation was a bit out of the ordinary, and the wave of dry air that spiraled around her and ended up compacting her into a minor storm was so curious that it deserved some attention. What Andrea lacked in punch she made up for in impressive photogenics.


How does a plane land at the wrong airport?

This was my first "real-time" post; from the time that 747 landed at the wrong airport in Kansas to the time I clicked "publish" was less than 8 hours. It ended up being one of the very first detailed explanations of how it may have happened on the entire Internet, and the very first one that was written by a professional pilot.

It was mentioned on CNN, which gave it a bump in views, but as with most news stories, the view count dropped off dramatically once the news cycle moved on. Nonetheless, it was read so much on the first day it was out that it made it into the top 5 for the entire year despite being from late November.

That was what you thought were the best of 2013 based on the number of page views. My own personal top five favorites are U.S. Weather Patterns: The really big picture, Flight training in 76 seconds, Hidden weather secrets, literally, Altitude and Airspeed: Money in the bank, and They don't build airports like this anymore.

What did you like the most? Leave a comment and let me know so I can try to do more of that for you. After all, Keyboard & Rudder is designed to be useful for you, so your input on what you like, what you didn't care for, what you'd like to see, etc. is important for bringing you the best content for you!

The author is an airline pilot, flight instructor, and adjunct college professor teaching aviation ground schools. He holds an ATP certificate with a DHC-8 type rating, as well as CFI, CFII, MEI, AGI, and IGI certificates, and is a FAASafety Team representative and Master-level participant in the FAA's WINGS program. He is on Facebook as Larry the Flying Guy, has a Larry the Flying Guy YouTube channel, and is on Twitter as @Lairspeed.

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