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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, May 1, 2008

Understanding RPM


Whether you fly behind a fixed-pitch or constant-speed prop, a little knowledge definitely is not a dangerous thing



rpmIt was just after 6 p.m. when I turned final for runway 4R at Honolulu International Airport. My 2,160 nm crossing from Santa Barbara, Calif., into the wind had required 13 hours and 15 minutes, yielding an average speed of 163 knots. I’d maintained 8,000 feet in the new Mooney Ovation for most of the trip, climbing up to 10,000 feet for the last 500 nm into Hawaii to take max advantage of the standard trade winds.
Thursday, May 1, 2008

Wingipedia, Part II


In this edition, “Jenny” through “roll”



wingipediaLast month, we brought you the first installment (“acrobatics” through “induced drag”) of Wingipedia, our aviation-based encyclopedia. Here, we present the second installment. If you think that something’s missing, log on to planeandpilotmag.com to contribute your own additions.
Thursday, May 1, 2008

Human Factors In Light Jet Aircraft


Are your mind and body ready?



human factorsThe schedule was tight. Following a day on the slopes and an evening watching the Super Bowl, the pilot was a bit tired, but still had to contend with a 45-minute drive to the airport, a snowy instrument departure and a night flight to North Las Vegas Airport. He landed at VGT after the tower had closed and arrived at the hotel around 1 a.m. No rest for the wicked, however, as wake-up calls jolted him from bed in time for 7:30 meetings and a full day of walking through exhibit hall aisles. Then, after dinner at 6:30 p.m., he flew home, touching down on home turf at 3 a.m.
Tuesday, April 1, 2008

The Ugly Side Of Spring


Winter hasn’t released its icy grip yet



springWhether Punxsutawney Phil sees his own shadow or not, winter is losing its death grip. But it isn’t dead yet. Widespread icing still exists during the transition months of March and April. Gulf moisture, warmer temperatures and an overactive jet stream guarantees that convective SIGMETs will begin to spring out of hibernation. With temperatures slowly on the rise, you need to tailor your briefings to focus on key weather products that track the vernal transition.
Saturday, March 1, 2008

Learn To Fly: March 2008


Becoming a pilot is a dream for many. Here we present the basics to help you make that dream a reality.



learn to flyTo learn to fly is to step off the precipice of the ordinary and mundane. It’s a step into a new world that challenges your mind and senses, and rewards you like nothing you’ve ever dreamed of. To become a pilot is to see the face of our planet from the vantage point of angels.
Saturday, March 1, 2008

Wingipedia


In this edition, "acrobatics" through "induced drag"



wingipediaThe computer generation has come to depend on digital explanations for everything courtesy of Wikipedia (and, no, we don’t know where the name came from). That being the case, we thought we’d come up with our own, more common sense, aviation-based encyclopedia, hence “Wingipedia.” If you think something’s missing, add your two cents through the link at the end of this article.
Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Time To Get Typed


Earning a Citation Mustang rating



A few months ago, a friend who’s getting a Citation Mustang called and asked if I’d be willing to do the type rating with him. The answer was pretty simple: “Uh, yes!” Twelve months prior to the phone call, I’d been selling Flying the G1000 IFR Like the Pros! CDs and teaching single-pilot ops on the Citation 525 series (CJ1/CJ2/CJ3), so I jumped at the chance to fly this new Citation with the Garmin G1000–integrated flight deck.
Friday, February 1, 2008

New Instrument Rating?


Now what?



instrumentCongratulations! I heard that you called from the municipal airport to say that you passed your instrument checkride. Plus, I understand that your instructor made sure you got time in the clouds during your training and you shot some real approaches to minimums. You received good training and now you have the thinking pilot’s rating. Well done.
Friday, February 1, 2008

When The Propeller Stops Propelling


Engine-out emergencies: Planning and training are your best defense



propeller openerThere aren’t many mechanical contrivances that are more reliable than an aircraft engine. At the same time, there aren’t too many mechanical contrivances upon which our physical well-being is so clearly dependent. The good news is that engine failures almost never happen. The operative word being “almost,” it has to happen only once to ruin your day. If you keep your wits about you, however, and you plan for the possibility of an engine failure, you greatly increase the probability that you’ll survive the unscheduled reunion of airplane with earth.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008

VMC Vs. VFR


What’s technically legal isn’t necessarily safe



vmc cs vfrIn basic flight training, student pilots memorize the cloud clearance and visibility criteria for operation under visual flight rules and instrument flight rules (VFR and IFR). Flight schools and instructors drill into students the cloud clearance and visibility requirements for VFR operations in various categories of airspace, all the while neglecting to mention that none of this has much to do with the ability to keep an airplane upright during periods of restricted visibility and/or lack of terrain definition.
Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Winter Flying: A Strategic Approach


Tips for staying safe in a cold season



winter flyingWinter presents many complications for those who live in northern latitudes. Residents of warmer states like Florida and Arizona probably consider us northerners to be their somewhat slow-witted (and perhaps crazy) cousins, but winter offers its own set of pleasures—and challenges.
Saturday, December 1, 2007

Icing Folklore


Avoid flying by rules of thumb



icing folkloreIcing is already a terribly complex topic without the many old wives’ tales and rules of thumb making it even more difficult. Rules of thumb generally plead ignorance. Ignorance often leads to bad decisions. When the weather is on its worst behavior, rules of thumb rarely apply and can actually be dangerous. Here are a few of my pet peeves when it comes to icing folklore.
Monday, October 1, 2007

Myth Bustin'


Exploring 20 aviation myths



myth bustinRight up front I should post a very clear caveat: Myths within any technological field almost always have a grain of, if not truth, at least enough fact that they have some ardent supporters who swear by them. (They “know” it’s true and can prove it because a friend of an uncle knew someone who had it happen to a cousin.)
Monday, October 1, 2007

Get The Balance Right


If you think weight and balance are boring and unimportant, you need to read the following



get the balance rightIt was 1985, and I was refueling a Cessna 425 Conquest I at Tenerife in the Canary Islands on my way to Johannesburg, South Africa. I’d instructed the fueler to fill the wing tanks first, then begin topping the three 110-gallon internal ferry tanks starting with the front tank. I turned away to fill out the necessary paperwork, heard the pump running for a few minutes and as I finished the fuel request, heard a sickening crunch behind me.
Saturday, September 1, 2007

Back In The Saddle


Returning to the cockpit can be exhilarating and difficult, but worth every frustrating minute



Back In The SaddleThe first thing I did was introduce myself to her. I did it quietly as I touched her spinner and as my flight instructor ambled off to untie the right wing. The last thing I needed was my instructor thinking I was crazy for talking to a machine. This was, after all, a machine—a complex assembly of aluminum, cables, spars and wires. There could be no life in this 2,000-pound craft of the air, but I knew better.

Saturday, September 1, 2007

Synthetic Vision


Beyond Today’s Glass Cockpit



synthetic visionFor instrument flight, the glass panels that are increasingly common in today’s general aviation fleet may be a huge improvement over old-fashioned round “steam gauges”—but if the weather closes in, you’re still depending on instruments to provide an artificial substitute for a view of the terrain and runway environment. The primary flight display (PFD) in a typical glass panel combines the functions of yesterday’s attitude indicator, airspeed indicator, altimeter and course/deviation indicator on a single screen.
Wednesday, August 1, 2007

The Lazy Pilot’s Guide To Single-Pilot IFR Success


It’s all about managing your workload



The Lazy Pilot's Guide To Single-Pilot IFR SuccessYou can be proud of the hard work you’ve put into reaching pilot status—especially if you’ve gone the extra mile to become instrument rated. Our aviation culture admires and encourages people to keep busy and work hard. We have checklists for checking everything—often more than once. We’re told to tune and identify VORs along our route of flight, even if we’re navigating with GPS, just because we might need them. We’re often reluctant to use the autopilot for fear that we’ll lose our flying skills. The work ethic is alive and well in general aviation.
Sunday, July 1, 2007

Deciphering Accident Statistics


Digging beyond the numbers for the complete story



Deciphering Accident StatisticsThe aviation industry sure loves its statistics—there’s an X% chance of this, and one aircraft is Y times safer than Z. But what if you were told that just about everything you’ve heard about aviation accident statistics isn’t true? Most pilots feel pretty good about the commonly published statistics claiming that all types of air travel are safer than driving. But if the numbers are presented in a certain way, general aviation flying can appear more dangerous than driving.

Sunday, July 1, 2007

What’s RVSM?


A great idea that allows ATC to fit more airplanes into smaller, radar-less airspace



The problem was simple: too many airplanes and too little sky. This flies in the face of traditional wisdom that suggests it’s a very big sky. While that’s unquestionably true above places such as Chad, Antarctica and the Gobi Desert, there are other places where there’s an uncomfortable amount of aluminum vying for roughly the same airspace.
Sunday, July 1, 2007

WAAS Up?!


Can GPS replace ILS?



waas upLately, several new acronyms have entered the GPS field; most notable among them is WAAS, which stands for Wide Area Augmentation System. To VFR pilots, WAAS is just a new level of GPS that’s more accurate and reliable, but to IFR pilots, it brings a confusing array of new options. Look at one of the new RNAV (GPS) approach plates, and you’ll see unfamiliar terms, especially in the minimums: LPV, LNAV and LNAV/VNAV. It’s enough to leave a pilot scratching his or her head, but in the next few pages, I’ll try to make sense of it for you.
Friday, June 1, 2007

Flight Level Fliers


How to stay safe at high altitudes



Flight Level FliersWe live in the best of times and the worst of times. Imagine flying with glass panels that allow you to visualize terrain, position, weather and traffic all at the same time. Fly coast-to-coast with only a nod to weather. Anytime, anywhere, faster than ever before.

 

Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Best Aviation Careers!


Which one will you choose?



Best Aviation CareersDo you catch yourself gazing skyward when you hear an airplane flying overhead? If you find yourself irresistibly drawn toward aviation, then why not consider making it your career?