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Sport-Pilot Training

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.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

WAAS


GPS Approaches for Every Airport?



waasThe benefits of transitioning from pilotage to dead reckoning, four course ranges, ADF, VORs, Loran and then to GPS have been nothing short of spectacular.
Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A New License To Learn


Advanced training leads to more than just proficiency; it can also save lives



new licenseA few weeks ago, my friend Ray recounted a scary experience he’d had in his high-performance single while on a trip with his wife and daughter in IMC and at night.
Tuesday, May 12, 2009

First 500 Feet, Part I: Engine Failure!


What to do when the worst thing happens at the worst moment



500 ftEngine failure on takeoff is every pilot’s worst nightmare, but there’s one basic rule that applies to all in-flight emergencies, regardless of the situation: Keep your cool (easier said than done) and fly the airplane. Having said that, the most important aspects of survival can be summed up in two words: mental preparation and training/practice. Okay, that’s four words, but you get the point.
Monday, May 11, 2009

Ticket To Ride II


Part II: Practice, practice, practice, home study, and what? Time to solo already? Gulp.



ticket to rideIn our April 2009 issue, Jim Lawrence launched the first in his series of articles about LSA training in a Flight Design CTLS. This month, he takes us through solo.
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

From Cirrus To Citation


JetAviva puts its clients into the left seat of light jets



From Cirrus To CitationThrough my Lightspeed Zulu headset, I hear a confident voice: “Denver Center, Citation One Three Zulu Mike, vacating flight level 390 for 240, smooth ride.”
Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Looking For 200 Knots


Forty years ago, the goal was 200 mph. Today, it’s 200 knots.



knottsFast feels good. For those of us obsessed with clocking along at the velocity of a Lamborghini, speed is the kinesthetic equivalent of beauty.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Right Way To The Left Seat


How to realize your dream of becoming a professional pilot



the right way to the left seatFlying is in the blood of certain individuals. Some of us plan a career in the cockpit from an early age, and we pursue it to the exclusion of everything else. Others keep their aviation goals quietly smoldering, always on a back burner ready to emerge at the right time. For various reasons, they may alight in a different direction, attain career goals outside of aviation and pursue vocational paths that seem far detached from flying. But many of them come back.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Weather In The Cockpit


XM Weather provides real-time information in the cockpit for pilots who are serious about their weather decisions



weather in the cockpitAsk most pilots what subject in aviation they wish they knew more about, and a majority will answer, “weather.” Indeed, while forecasters do occasionally still get it wrong, and even the best meteorologists acknowledge that we still have much to learn, the science of weather prognostication improves each year.
Tuesday, April 7, 2009

TransPac Aviation Academy


Drawing from its Pan Am training heritage, TransPac positions itself for the future



transpac academyTradition goes a long way in aviation. A rich history aloft is respected and admired, whether it applies to pilots, aircraft or—in the world of ab initio training—flight academies. With its legacy steeped in the fabled lore of one of the greatest airlines in history, Pan Am International Flight Academy is long on tradition and legacy.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009

The Last 50 ft.


Making it all come together



the last 50 ftWhen you’re on short final and descending through 50 feet, it really doesn’t make much difference how good you are at centering airways, whether you can spout FARs or if you scored 100% on the written: The only thing that counts is how well you actually fly. Everything else is superfluous because every single thing you know about actually flying the airplane is compressed into a 10-second time span and an ever-decreasing sliver of altitude. This is literally where the rubber meets the road and where every one of your moves has measurable consequences.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Ticket To Ride


Earning a sport pilot license: Part I



ticket to rideEnough trash already. This endless washboard-road turbulence promises to reintroduce me to the hot dog and greasy fries I just ate. Note to self: Next time, have an avocado salad.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Cell Phone To The Rescue


In the air or on the ground, it could save your life



cell phoneI was doing my first solo out to the practice area north of the airport. I was doing some ground reference maneuvers and noticed that the GPS and NAV lights were on. I thought that was strange, then noticed the annunciator flash, “low fuel.” I knew the fuel tanks were full because I checked them during preflight.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Sport Pilot Daze


What’s up with the light-sport ticket, and what/where/when can I fly with it?



sport pilot dazeBehold the rapidly beating heart of light-sport aviation: A YouTube video chronicles a pilot’s dead-stick takeoff. Not landing...takeoff. He points his engine-off LSA down a 35-degree mountain slope, rolls into a hang glider–style launch and lands—still dead stick—on a sandbar 1,500 feet below and two miles away.
Tuesday, February 24, 2009

Controlling Control Pressure


On becoming one of the “smooth ones”



controllingWe’ve all seen super-pilots, such as Patty Wagstaff and Sean Tucker, who seem so in control of their airplanes that they’re never where they’re not supposed to be. Their airplanes flow from one position to another in a seamless rendition of flight that we know, for a fact, we can’t come close to duplicating. Or can we?
Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Learn To Fly: Fun Things You Can Do With Your Certificate


Flying an airplane is an unmatched experience, and you can do some amazing things once you earn your certificate



learn to flyAh, if only you knew how to fly! You could escape the shackles of your humdrum life and soar above its stresses. You could wake up in Nebraska, eat a cheeseburger for lunch in Colorado and settle in for the night on a crystal lake in Idaho. You could fly biplanes or jets or spiffy little yellow Cubs with smiling bears painted on their tails. But how much will it cost, how long will it take and how safe is it? What can you do with a pilot’s license?
Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Going The Distance


Tips for planning a long cross-country



going the distanceAs pilots, we’re used to flight planning. Flights are usually straightforward and easy to plan, but occasionally, they involve multiple legs and traversing congested or complicated airspace. Longer flights require more-than-normal flight planning. I recently completed a 1,600-mile flight in my Garmin G1000–equipped Columbia across seven western and midwestern states and three time zones. It was apparent to me that, to do it right, longer flights entail more than just sitting longer en route and making additional fuel stops, particularly when the flight is more than 1,000 miles.
Saturday, November 1, 2008

Flight Planning In The Real World


Realistic flight-planning requires far more than simply measuring the distance, figuring the book speed and fuel burn and then launching



flight planning My first airplane, a 1947 Globe Swift, purchased in 1966 for $3,700 when I had a whopping 80 hours in my logbook, was a cute little devil. It offered quick handling and was a ball to fling around the sky, but it obviously hadn’t read its own press releases. The stock Globe GC-1B came up short in virtually every performance parameter—it wasn’t nearly as fast as advertised, didn’t climb as it was supposed to, burned more fuel than the POH suggested and couldn’t carry nearly as much weight as it “should” have. I learned the airplane’s true nature by trial and error, probably not the best method in any aeronautical pursuit.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

The Go/No-Go Decision In Winter


The rules change when the weather turns cold



It had been a long day. It was January 2003, and I’d departed Reykjavik, Iceland, in a 58 Baron; destination Iqaluit, Nunavit, Canada, with stops in Greenland, where it was clear and cold—in this case, minus-20 degrees C. I’d landed on the gravel runway at Kulusuk in the dark of noon, refueled as quickly as possible to avoid having the engines cool down, and leaped back off across the ice cap for the old U.S. air base at Sondre Strom Fjord, well above the Arctic Circle. The weather remained perfect as I spanned the cap at 14,000 feet in smooth, frigid air.
Tuesday, October 21, 2008

True Confessions


NASA reports are good for your certificate, as well as the air safety system



If aviation in the United States was a religion, its confessional would be the Aviation Safety Reporting System (ASRS). Pilots, air traffic controllers and other people involved in aviation are encouraged to send reports to ASRS when they’re involved in, or observe, a situation in which aviation safety might have been compromised. These reports are often called NASA reports because they’re submitted to the National Aeronautics and Space Administration.
Wednesday, October 1, 2008

Telling The Truth On Your Medical


What You Need To Know



telling the truthA few days ago, I received a call from a pilot who was being seen by a physician in the emergency room. Did he want a second opinion? No, he wanted to know if the condition affected his medical certificate!
Monday, September 1, 2008

Crosswind Survival


Does your adrenaline level skyrocket on gusty days?



We can all admit that, at some point, we’ve scared ourselves in a crosswind. Sure enough, most flying accidents occur during landing, and most of those are in crosswinds. Almost all crosswind-related accidents happen due to loss of control after touchdown; only a tiny portion involve a crash on approach or on a go-around. To stay safe, we should examine the true risks we face when landing in a crosswind, and the big risks come after touching down.
Monday, June 23, 2008

Wingipedia, Part III


In our final installment, we conclude with “Alberto Santos-Dumont” through “Zulu time”



WingipediaWe’ve finally reached the end, my friends. In “Wingipedia, Part I” [March 2008], we covered “acrobatics through “induced drag.” And in “Part II” [May 2008], we took care of “Jenny” through “roll.” It has been fun, but our aviation version of Wikipedia has reached the end of its line. Wikipedia, which asserts that its name is “a portmanteau of the words wiki (a type of collaborative website) and encyclopedia,” is an online encyclopedia that’s written and edited by its visitors, i.e., people like you and me.