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.
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 »
It’s easy to fix a bad approach; it’s a lot harder to salvage one
The concept of a stabilized approach has been around since powered flight began, and likewise, the concept of a non-stabilized approach, as well. The term “stabilized approach” has been common in the airline and commuter worlds, and has eased its way into general aviation language. Once we have a label, we naturally spend two or more »
While it’s uncommon in pilots, anxiety is an affliction that doesn’t have to ground you. There are a variety of treatments that can keep you in the cockpit.
On a typically clear New England October day in 2006, my friend, Fred, who’s a wonderful pilot but at that point didn’t own an airplane, asked if I could fly his wife to Teterboro from the suburban Boston area where we all live. He would join us. I was a relatively new pilot, and beyond more »
How’s the ride up there? Follow these 5 simple steps for smoother flying
They say the three most useless things to a pilot are runway behind you, fuel not in your tanks, and altitude above you. So when you’re choosing your VFR cruise altitude for your next cross-country, is higher really better? It could be, but you have a lot to consider. Here are five things to think more »
How sharing real-world experiences in the cockpit can engage student pilots
As I stood in front of 15 excited and anxious student pilots in the first meeting of my private pilot ground school class last fall, I started to lose their attention as I kicked off a discussion on navigation tips, tools and techniques. The majority of them didn’t have one hour of flight instruction in more »
Already being tested in F-16s with application for GA aircraft, a new ground collision avoidance system may help pilots avert a date with dirt
It sounds like the setup to a bad aviation joke: What do an F-16 and a Cirrus have in common? Let me think: One shoots and the other chutes? Except, in this case, the real punch line isn’t funny. It’s tragic. The answer is that, in both cases, a leading cause of fatalities is controlled more »
New-gen devices rock transition and recurrency training.
We had departed Runway 34 at Westchester County Airport (HPN) for a cruise down the Hudson and were abeam midtown Manhattan at 3,500 feet when the Piper Mirage’s Lycoming TIO-540-AE2A began sputtering and the prop froze upright in the windscreen. In the right seat, Bill Inglis, with more time in these cockpits than just about more »
As pilots, we’re obligated to take steps to mitigate risks and embrace a safety-minded culture with checks and double-checks.
Ever forget? Me, too—in fact, frequently. It’s probably not improving with age, either. Already this week I’ve forgotten to set out the trash, pick up the dry cleaning and a couple of other things I’m too embarrassed to admit (hopefully, my daughter forgives me). Every day, we overlook a variety of little things, because forgetting more »
Pilots typically wear their skepticism like a badge of honor. Diesel engines are more fuel efficient? I’ll believe it when I see it… Airplane parachutes? It’s a fad! That’s what makes the iPad revolution so surprising. For all their cynicism, pilots have adopted tablets and apps like eager teenagers. Just five years ago, no one more »
Lots can go wrong on takeoff and initial climb. Here’s how to prevent that from happening.
In some respects, takeoffs can’t get no respect. It seems there are a myriad of mistakes pilots can make on departures, and studies show that nearly one of every five general aviation accidents are directly, or indirectly, related to a poor decision or omission during takeoff. Yet, pilots rarely practice aborted takeoffs, preferring instead to more »