Our pilot training articles are designed to help you improve your flying proficiency. Bone up on beneficial skills as well as the biggest mistakes to avoid as a pilot. Fly right with articles on topics such as dealing with ice and the most dangerous things you can do as a pilot.
For plenty of pilots, learning to fly an airplane doesn’t come naturally
On an introductory flight, the gray-haired man who would eventually become my CFI, Paul, coached me through gentle turns on the western banks of the Chesapeake Bay and assured me that if he could learn to fly, anybody could. He was jovial and enthusiastic about everything the flying life had to offer. All that stood more »
Planning a departure alternate before leaving the ground can make all the difference in an emergency
I’m paranoid about emergencies on IFR departures. Maybe it’s because I’ve had four attitude indicator (AI) failures in flight, twice in IMC. One of those was even a certified primary flight display (PFD) from a major manufacturer, so don’t assume glass panels are immune. Indulge me in the retelling of one of those to illustrate more »
When I first heard about Redbird’s Guided Independent Flight Training (GIFT), I was curious. So many recent advances in transportation technology have been moving us toward increased automation and computer-driven decision making. That has its good points and its bad ones, but how does that trend extend to teaching someone to fly? GIFT—a series of more »
The question is, should you modify your OEM checklist in any way? Here’s why it’s not an easy call.
In safety bulletin published earlier this week, the FAA is warning pilots about using an aftermarket checklist instead of the one published in the airplane’s POH. In its letter, the agency discussed a non-injury landing accident in which the pilot in command was using an aftermarket checklist to troubleshoot a problem with a gear extension more »
Flying low and VFR is fun and freeing—as long as you don’t hit anything while you’re doing it
When it comes to sheer volume of accidents, running into man-made obstacles, radio transmission towers, power lines and tall buildings and bridges is not a common way that pilots come to harm. Yet every year it seems a few pilots fly their perfectly functional airplanes into man-made obstructions at relatively low level. Sometimes the accident more »
Learning how to train yourself to relax in the face of danger
You read the accident reports, hoping to learn something from someone else’s troubles. Often, I imagine, you’re left with a nagging sense that things just don’t add up. Why did the highly experienced pilot do that? Why didn’t the CFI grab the controls and take over? The answers might lie in a kind of stall more »
From airfactsjournal.com. Ask a native English speaker what method he uses for constructing a sentence and you’ll probably get a blank stare. After all, most of us don’t read a textbook and come up with a formal approach to grammar before we write an email; we just write what sounds good. So why do we insist on a robotic approach when it more »
“Brace, brace, brace!” I repeated in my head. Knowing impact was imminent, I crossed my arms, gripped my hands neck-level to the top of my belt straps and dug my chin deep into my chest. I only managed one small, shallow breath before the plane flipped and rushing waters overtook me. My initial reaction was more »
This high school aviation competition is life-changing for students
Before he entered the GAMA/Build A Plane Aviation Design Challenge in 2013, Lee Luckhardt knew he wanted to pursue engineering, but had never thought much about aviation. Growing up in Saline, Michigan, about an hour from Detroit, much of the area’s attention was focused on cars, not airplanes. So when Luckhardt’s teacher registered Luke and more »
[NOTE: Since its original printing in the May 2017 issue of Plane & Pilot, this article has been edited to reflect recent FAA updates.] After a long wait and quite a lot of work, BasicMed is here. As of May 1, the new regulations regarding pilot medical certification are in effect. BasicMed isn’t for everyone, more »
High-quality lubricants play an important role in ensuring your aircraft has a long, healthy life
The cost of owning and operating an aircraft can be high. Whether you’re a frequent flier, fly occasionally for pleasure or someone whose day-to-day job is flying an aircraft, having a reliable oil to protect against engine wear and prolong engine life is paramount. The protection high-quality engine oils provide can help to reach or more »
Unexpected circumstances will always be part of flying. From minor inconveniences to full blown emergencies, there is absolutely no way to plan everything well enough to keep out of trouble forever. That said, back when I began flying I had no idea how many complications could be avoided with a more comprehensive approach to flight more »
Aviate, navigate, communicate? Well, yes, but if you plan to penetrate a Presidential TFR, those happen only after find, phone, copy, file.
Find the NOTAM. Phone TSA at least 24 hours in advance. Copy your confirmation number. File a flight plan, possibly with an intermediate stop. The milk run for Mrs. Levinson and me is between KBED, in the Boston suburbs where we live most of the year, and KMVY on the island of Martha’s Vineyard, where more »
How to keep task saturation from turning into disaster
If you’re a pilot, you’ve probably been there. A busy flight suddenly gets too busy for you to keep up with. At first it’s annoying, but at some point it can become a crisis, or worse. Task saturation happens in many arenas. By definition, it’s the mental bind we find ourselves in when we have more »
Do you want to save hundreds or even thousands of dollars on your flight training? Listen to these four simple words: Look out the window. That is all there is to it. By simply keeping your eyes outside a majority of the time, you will fly better, perfect maneuvers and landings in less time, and more »
From airfactsjournal.com. At its most basic, flying an airplane is a never-ending series of decisions. Is the airplane airworthy? What’s the weather like? Where’s that other airplane going? When should I turn base? Failing to ask these questions and make timely decisions is a serious mistake—one that will earn you a place in an NTSB more »
It’s not a fad. Meditation can help situational awareness, flexible thinking and staying calm in the face of multiple demands for those of us who fly.
It is impossible to get from the bedroom to the bathroom in my house without stumbling across the word “mindfulness” on some book or magazine cover, which is an extraordinary feat because the bedroom and bathroom are connected. It seems as though you can do anything from making your bed to flying an airplane with more »
Soaring gets more people involved in flying and turns out pilots with outstanding stick-and-rudder skills.
Hands on, or hands off? That’s a looming question facing general aviation. The NTSB and the FAA are taking increasing notice of the category of stupid pilot tricks called departure from controlled flight, or loss of control, a type of accident that more often than not has fatal results. While the safety of light aircraft more »