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.
[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 »
Don’t automatically lock your airplane in its hangar this winter. The cold months can be some of the best times to fly.
Defining winter by the severity of cold weather on the North American continent can be a difficult task. In most years, anything south of a line through Atlanta, Little Rock, Oklahoma City, Santa Fe and Los Angeles has a good chance of a modest winter. Any location above 35 degrees north latitude can reasonably expect more »
Move over Google and Tesla. Global aircraft manufacturers are testing fully autonomous passenger planes and the results are nothing short of groundbreaking.
There is the dream: You summon a personal aircraft with your smartphone, select a destination and off you go to the airport. The pilotless plane picks you up, flies you autonomously to your chosen airport, then drops you off and buzzes away toward its next passenger. That dream is a lot closer to reality than more »
If you fly above 10,000 feet, be aware of the warning signs of hypoxemia. Learn how to avoid it and what steps to take if it happens to you.
Climbing through 16,000 for 23,000 feet, it dawned on me that I was feeling weird. It wasn’t sudden or severe, but once it had my attention, hypoxemia was my first thought. Hypo is low or below. A hypodermic needle goes below the dermis, the skin. Ox is oxygen, of course, and emia refers to blood. more »
Not every CFI has been instructing for ages, and that’s a good thing. Here’s why a freshly minted instructor could be the best choice for you.
Would you want a surgeon to operate on you if he or she had never performed the procedure before? Most people would say not only “No”, but, “Heck, no!” So why would you want to get flight training from someone who’s a new instructor? While there are some limitations of “newbie” instructors, much like a more »
Loss of control is the number-one cause of aircraft accidents, even in jets, but Upset Prevention and Recovery Training can help prevent you from becoming a statistic
It can be upsetting, but the attitude of most people, even smart ones (maybe especially smart ones), is that we’re stubbornly resistant to alteration, by the evidence. So here’s a fact about aircraft accidents that’s upsetting and that alters not only some cherished attitudes, but also airman certification standards, some aircraft airworthiness certification standards and more »
The future is not only coming, it might be here already
Pulleys. Pushrods. Electrical connectors swabbed with stabilant goo. Aircraft have untold connecting points that translate an input to an action. And, as those long-ago games of elementary school “telephone” demonstrated, every time a command moves from one node to the next, there’s potential for corruption or failure. Of all these connection types, one holds an more »
In August the FAA broadly liberalized the rules governing the operation of Unmanned Aerial Systems (UAS) in the National Airspace System (NAS). The changes are fundamental ones, representing an about-face for the agency, which has abruptly dropped both the requirements for small drones to be certificated and for their operators to be licensed pilots. How more »
The pilot of a JetPROP-converted Piper Malibu tried to thread his way through severe weather without airborne radar
It happened on June 18, 2014: With thunderstorms popping, the pilot of a turbine-powered Piper Malibu PA46-310P JetPROP conversion seemed to be doing a good job of weather avoidance, but then made a turn and flew into a monstrous cell. The airplane crashed at Lehman, Texas, killing the pilot and both passengers. It took two more »
Sponsored: The Gleim X-Plane Flight Training Course will change the way you think about learning to fly.
When learning to fly a plane, visits to the local airport spending many hours with a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI) has been the successful formula in the past. Student pilots are advised to find a CFI with a good attitude and personality that they mesh with. Spending about an hour with a CFI during an more »