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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.

Wednesday, June 1, 2005

The Stigma Of Mayday


As reluctant as we all can be to declare an emergency, there are times when nothing else makes sense



The Stigma Of MaydayFace it, no one likes to admit mistakes. Probably because of the Superman syndrome, pilots are especially reluctant to acknowledge errors to authority figures. Aviators are even more reticent to confess to dangerous mistakes if they have passengers on board.
Sunday, May 1, 2005

Don't Be Dense About Density Altitude


As the warm weather arrives, your airplane’s performance can really suffer



Don't Be Dense About Density AltitudeIt can prevent you from taking off from the same runway you did the day before. It will sap power from your engine. It can eliminate any chance of a climb rate on departure. It can drastically increase your takeoff and landing rolls. What aviation phenomenon has this much power over your flying? Density altitude. And if you fly without paying it due attention, you may find yourself staring down the end of a runway without hope of stopping or taking off. Even if you do make it in the air, high-density altitudes can cause you to quickly meet up with terrain that has a gradient superior to your ascent.
Tuesday, March 1, 2005

The FAA’s Capstone Project


Phase II brings this remarkable high-tech situational awareness a step closer to the Lower 48 states



capstoneGeneral aviation in Alaska is different. Changeable weather and difficult terrain create an environment where you’d expect most flying to be done on instruments, but an antiquated route structure and limited navaids make this impossible in many places. Yet many towns and villages depend on aircraft to a degree that’s almost unknown in the rest of the country.
Tuesday, February 1, 2005

The 10 Commandments Of Aviation Safety


There are some things you should absolutely positively know about any airplane you’re flying before you even start the engine



The 10 Commandments Of Aviation SafetySafety has always been a tough sell. Ask Bruce Landsburg of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation. Landsburg has been in the safety business for 25 years, having worked for FlightSafety in Wichita, Kan., before moving to AOPA. “The sad thing is,” says Landsburg, “much of the time, safety consciousness is a direct result of an accident post-mortem.”
Tuesday, February 1, 2005

Why Every Pilot Should Take Acro


Learning the basic maneuvers is more important than you think



Why Every Pilot Should Take AcroYou may wonder about the benefits of aerobatics to general-aviation pilots, especially when most pilots’ main mission primarily consists of pleasure flights to try another $100 hamburger. After all, why bother with inverted loops when you can merely enjoy the view and have a pleasant flight? The answer is simple: Anyone who practices aerobatics becomes a better, safer pilot, and the skills you learn from a professional aerobatics instructor not only can be applied to your general-aviation flights, but also to saving your life one day.
Wednesday, December 1, 2004

University of North Dakota/Aerospace


Training helicopter pilots for the U.S. Army



Most aviation insiders feel that the University of North Dakota (UND)/Aerospace is to aviation what Harvard is to law and business, partly because of its technologically advanced complex for collegiate aviation. And just like Harvard Law School, UND/Aerospace, which offers seven aviation majors, is a big part of a quite highly respected, four-year liberal arts university.
Friday, October 1, 2004

The New Sport-Pilot License Is Here!


Landmark changes from the FAA have just made Flying cheaper and easier



The New Sport-Pilot License Is Here!It took more than 2 ½ years to review the more than 4,700 comments on the Federal Aviation Administration’s (FAA) 2002 proposal to simplify pilot training and make the sport more affordable and accessible. After a tremendous amount of debate, research and consideration (and a certain amount of suspense), the FAA made its announcement on September 1, 2004: The new sport-pilot license became official, and with it came an entirely new category of planes, the light-sport aircraft (LSA).
Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Taking On Extreme Runways


Flying into backcountry strips makes you a better pilot and can be a welcome relief to your flying routine



Taking On Extreme RunwaysHave you ever wanted more from lightplane recreational flying than driving from point A to point B for the $200 hamburger? (Well, there’s aerobatics, but that’s another story.) So, instead of thinking of flying from A to Burger, how about A to Backcountry? Before you dismiss this with a “Hey, my airship is a 172, not a Super Cub,” read on.
Wednesday, September 1, 2004

Mastering The Panel-Mounted GPS Part 2


Last month, we explored the commonality of the Bendix/King KLN94 and Garmin’s CNX80, and 430 or 530 for VFR operations. This month, we’ll discuss how to use these units during instrument procedures.



Mastering The Panel-Mounted GPS Part 2The Honeywell Bendix/King KLN94 and Garmin’s CNX80 and GNS 430 or 530 are representative of IFR-approved GPS units, and their commonality extends to IFR operations, in which flight plans are modified in very interesting ways as IFR procedures are added. So, we’ll explore the addition of IFR procedures, which can complicate a simple VFR flight plan.
Sunday, August 1, 2004

The Last Spin


Why do experienced and inexperienced pilots alike fall victim to this all-too-common traffic-pattern accident?



The Last SpinThis is how it happens. The pilot turns base to final and notices a following wind is causing him to overshoot the centerline. He adds a little left uncoordinated rudder in an attempt to bring the nose of the aircraft back toward the runway. The aircraft rolls a bit to the left and he compensates by adding some right aileron to hold the 30-degree bank angle.
Thursday, July 1, 2004

Challenge Yourself


There are lots of ways to have more flying fun. But if you sign up for advanced ratings, you’ll also end up being a better pilot.



Challenge YourselfNo question about it—earning the private license is a major accomplishment. Some pilots will never need to seek additional ratings. The private allows pilots to operate in a wide variety of conditions, and many aviators content themselves with the entry-level ticket.
Thursday, July 1, 2004

Crosswind Landings FAQs


Maintain and expand your skills by unraveling some frequently asked questions about this intricate technique



Crosswind Landings FAQsThe crosswind landing is a complex maneuver to understand and execute. There are many changing forces to evaluate and juggle simultaneously, and the high degree of control coordination and timing required is seldom matched by any other maneuver of a normal flight. This means that a pilot must use the technique frequently to remain proficient.
Thursday, July 1, 2004

Cockpit Career Update Part 3: The Future Of Pilot Careers


Last month, we covered the technological changes occurring in the industry today. In this final installment of our three-part series, we’ll discuss what you can expect in years to come.



Cockpit Career Update Part 3: The Future Of Pilot CareersNo one has the luxury of peering into a crystal ball, especially when it comes to predicting the future of the aviation industry. Technological developments continue to change the face of aviation, and the result of this progress is anyone’s guess. There are, however, certain factors that help foretell what may happen to this ever evolving industry.
Tuesday, June 1, 2004

Cockpit Career Update Part 2: Changes In Pilot Careers


Last month, we discussed how today may be the best time to prepare for an airline job. In this second part of our three-part series, we’ll show you the technological developments currently happening in the industry.



Cockpit Career Update Part 2: Changes In Pilot CareersUnited Air Lines recently put 100 aircraft on hold. But this isn’t an indication of pilot careers going down the tubes. On the contrary, it’s only indicative of the changes that are currently going on in the industry. While the major airlines are cutting down, the regional airlines are in full bloom. The routes that are run by major airlines with large airplanes and low load factors are being taken over by low-cost regional operators whose airplanes are almost always full.
Tuesday, June 1, 2004

The 10 Dumbest Things Pilots Do


Although pilots continue to try to find new ways to screw up, there’s an amazing similarity to accident scenarios from today and from 75 years ago. Here’s a list of the most common stupid pilot tricks.



The 10 Dumbest Things Pilots DoAsk any pilot about the danger zones of pilot experience and most will give you a blank stare. Ask Bruce Landsburg of the AOPA Air Safety Foundation or veteran instructor/aviation journalist Rod Machado and you’ll receive intelligent, informed answers.
Saturday, May 1, 2004

Worst-Case Weather Scenarios


If you find yourself in hazardous situations, nothing helps you more than having a plan



worst weather scenariosThere is absolutely no excuse for beginning or continuing a flight into known hazardous weather—“hazardous” being defined as any weather condition that exceeds the limitations of your pilot ratings and currency and/or those of the airplane as it’s certified, equipped, maintained and inspected. Our responsibility as pilots in command is painstakingly clear when it comes to weather planning and flight in adverse conditions.
Saturday, May 1, 2004

Aviation Careers Outside The Cockpit


Very few people realize that there’s a broad spectrum of job opportunities residing on the ground



Aviation Careers Outside The CockpitNot everyone who loves airplanes wants to be a pilot. Obviously, there’s much more to aviation than flying. The spectrum of service to the aircraft industry is as wide as a rainbow that is arcing the sky—there’s something for everybody. And here’s just a small sampling.
Saturday, May 1, 2004

Cockpit Career Update Part 1: Is Now The Time To Prepare For An Airline Job?


We invited leading industry representatives to our offices in Los Angeles for a conversation about the future of cockpit careers. Here’s what they had to say.



Cockpit Career Update Part 1: Is Now The Time To Prepare For An Airline Job?After September 11, pilot careers in 2001 looked bleak. Newspaper articles confirmed the airlines were hemorrhaging red ink, thousands of pilots had been furloughed and new hires appeared to be a thing of the past. While the media continues to talk about the tough times in the commercial air-travel industry, many insiders think the tide has turned.