SW Aviator Magazine - June/July 1999 issue
Web Pilot:
Aviation on the Web
by Don Mickey
So, you’ve broken down and joined the rest of the world. You did all the research, talked to your colleagues, read the latest articles, and even called your eight year old nephew to get his point of view on the best methods for joining the millions who are on the Web. So, now that you’re connected, where do you go?

With the endless amount of information available at your fingertips, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed. And, after a few days of aimless surfing, many people begin to wonder what all the excitement is about. It sometimes seems that it would be easier just to drive down to the library, thumb through index cards, climb a ladder, look through shelves of out-of-order books, and find what you’re looking for in just a few short hours.

Don’t be so easily discouraged. Just like any other new tool, the Internet can be harnessed and become truly useful. You just need to learn the basics and be directed to a good starting point.

Because this is an aviation magazine, we’ll discuss some of the more useful ways that the Web can be employed as it pertains to a pilot’s needs. There are several methods of finding information on the Web, and—depending on the resulting information you wish to find—each has its place.

General Search Engines
Search engines utilize indexing software programmed to constantly "crawl" the Web in search of new or updated pages. The software basically goes from location to location until it has visited every website on the Internet. When visiting a website, it will record the full text of every page within the site and then continue on to visit all of the other sites linked to each page. Following these external links, it will eventually locate all sites through external links. Sites are revisited periodically to refresh the recorded information and look for pages which no longer exist.

The principal difference between a search engine and a general directory is that a directory will not list a site if it has not been specifically registered be the site’s creator. They do not make use of indexing software and so have no way of knowing what's out there unless they have been contacted by the host. Directories are usually subdivided into categories, and sites are submitted under the most appropriate heading.

Specific-Interest Searches
In a specific-interest directory, information is usually searchable as in a search engine, but it has been manually entered into a database of specific websites. Sites are either selected by the directory or have been submitted by the host.

Web Rings
A Web ring is a group of specific interest sites whose creators have all agreed to link to one another. This can be a great way for finding sites you normally wouldn’t find, but can prove challenging when you’re looking for very specific information.

Most sites have a list of links to related sites. This can often times be the most useful way to find information once a relative site has been located.

These methods are not mutually exclusive. A search engine, for example, may take advantage of a directory in its searches. A directory, on the other hand, may utilize a search engine if it does not have the requested information available.

Knowing how the specific tool you are using affects the outcome of the task at hand is essential in being as efficient as possible. And, with the ever-changing information of the Web, these tools are especially useful if used properly. Remember, the Web is a fluid source of information, changing as quickly as those who use it. Be patient and resourceful, and you will find what you’re looking for.

Here are some of the more popular general search engines and directories. They have access to a wide range of sites, but your search may bring up many non-aviation-related subjects.














Aviation related search engines and directories
This site allows key word searches of its database or a categorized directory of sites.

Aviation-oriented search engine and directory neatly organized into over 20 categories for easy browsing.

A searchable directory of aviation sites.

This site allows key word searches of its database or a categorized directory of sites.

This site allows key word searches of its database or a categorized directory of sites

A direct link to the aviation section of dmoz, a searchable directory.

A categorized directory of sites.

This site allows key word searches of its database or a categorized directory of sites.

An aviation information resource database. Search for aviation-related businesses.

Type in a key word, such as ‘aviation,’ and get a list of linked sites within that category.

Indexed and categorized aviation links. Many banners, but a large number of links.

A huge list of aviation links, broadly categorized.

Embry-Riddle University’s virtual library of online resources.

A personal page with a variety of categorized links.

A set of categorized links with a flight training focus and a fairly extensive links page.

Categorized links to aviation related Web pages.


“Thirty Thousand Feet”—An extensive list of well categorized links.

“Visual Approach”—A great categorized listing of links.

Online aviation magazines
This online magazine is a great source for information, providing news, links and database searches related to all areas of aviation.

This online magazine is a great source for information, providing news, links and database searches related to all areas of aviation.

Informational sites
The “Aviation Resouce Center”, an aviation guide with information regarding aeronautics, aviation, aerodynamics, and more

A great source for information about aircraft.

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The material in this publication is for advisory information only and should not be relied upon for navigation, maintenance or flight techniques. SW Regional Publications and the staff neither assume any responsibilty for the accuracy of this publication's content nor any liability arising out of it. Fly safe.