• Print
  • Email

Pilot Skills

Hone your pilot skills with the articles and advice below. Our sport-pilot articles cover topics of interest to novice and advanced general aviation pilots. Trust our ongoing training articles to improve your piloting skills.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Pilots Versus Aviators


Do you pressure the controls or move them?



Pilots Versus AviatorsEveryone reading these words has flown with a lot of other pilots.
Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Over Water, Under Canopy!


Saved by the BRS parachute



Over Water, Under Canopy!Cylinder-head temp gauges are creeping noticeably toward the red lines. Not good. No, this isn't looking good at all.
Tuesday, November 8, 2011

The Dangers Of Noise Fatigue


Noise fatigue may be an often-overlooked cause of aircraft accidents in general aviation



The Dangers Of Noise FatigueI was tired. No, beyond tired. I was fairly well-whipped. There are no legal limits imposed on flight hours associated with ferry flying, and stupidly.
Tuesday, September 6, 2011

When Airplanes Collide: Avoiding The Unexpected


With midair collisions showing no sign of decreasing, “See and Avoid” is more important than ever



When Airplanes Collide: Avoiding The UnexpectedIt’s ironic that most general aviation pilots consider a possible engine failure as their greatest fear.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011

IFR Communications: Serious Business


What you say and what you hear on the radio are more than mere words



IFR Communications: Serious BusinessI listened carefully to the clearance on the first go-around, shook my head in exasperation, and wondered if the controller had been a trumpet player in a previous life.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Fear Of Dunking


The airplane doesn’t know if it’s flying over water or land. The pilot does.



Fear Of DunkingFrom two miles up, big water looks pretty much the same all over the world.
Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Save On Avgas


American avgas is becoming almost as expensive as European petrol. Here’s how to use less of it.



Save On AvgasIt barely matters what you fly these days— avgas is starting to comprise a greater percentage of an airplane's total operating cost.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Greasing It On: 20 Tips To Get ’Er Done


It’s all in the details. And in the pilot’s attitude.



Greasing It On: 20 Tips To Get ’Er DoneWe all know "those" kinds of pilots: They never bounce, are always down in the first few hundred feet, and put it on slicker’n a squashed gopher (I dare you).
Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Challenging Runways


How to handle tough landings



Challenging RunwaysWhat makes some runways more challenging than others? The length? The wind? What you had for breakfast that morning? What?
Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Demystifying ATC


How to work better with “the voice” in your headset



Demystifying ATCIt seems we all have a story, some event in our lives that brought us into the aviation trade.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010

Uphill/Downhill Landings


Making sense of tricky landings



Uphill/Downhill LandingsWhat are the best conditions for landing uphill/downwind or downhill/upwind? It may seem dangerous to land into the wind but downslope on a snowy runway; yet landing upslope with a tailwind seems equally precarious.
Tuesday, February 9, 2010

From Tailwheel To Turbine


Total transition training, the Gauntlet way



From Tailwheel To TurbineBill Stewart, until recently a lapsed pilot, sounds like something between a fighter jock and a kid in a candy store as he recounts his latest aerial exploits on the ramp at Chicago’s Aurora Municipal Airport (ARR).
Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Be A Great Pilot!


Top tips for all aspects of flight



Be A Great Pilot!The sheer enormity of the subject is a little intimidating. You probably could name several thousand characteristics of a “good pilot.”
Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Staying Centered


If you’re a pilot, there’s more to staying centered than transcendental meditation



Staying Centered It was 1984, and I was ferrying one of the last of the Cessna 207s to South America. It was a midsummer afternoon in South Texas, and the mushroom cumuli were climbing high into the stratosphere all along the border and south toward the Gulf of Mexico.
Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Flying The Corridors


VFR flight corridors serve a useful purpose in congested and some not-so-congested airspace



Flying The CorridorsV­FR corridors have served an important function in U.S. airspace since the creation of the old TCAs (Terminal Control Areas) and TRSAs (Terminal Radar Service Areas), now less telegraphically renamed Class B and Class C airspace, respectively.
Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Formation Flying! Part II


The cognitive challenges of flying lead



Formation Flying! Part IIFormation flying is a dangerous and, for me, compellingly beautiful and engaging experience.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009

You Spin Me Round!


Tutima Academy of Aviation Safety takes the unusual out of unusual attitudes



You Spin Me Round!When I was a student pilot and my instructor would send me on solo flights to practice maneuvers, stalls were always last on my list.
Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Lowest To Highest


From below sea level to a Colorado high in a light jet



Lowest To HighestI spent over a year making the transition from piloting a TBM 700 turboprop to becoming a jet pilot; a process that has taken me through an ATP rating, two type ratings, a lot of simulator time, a jet trip to Paris, a bit of mentoring, one or two scary moments, some frustration and piles of cash
Tuesday, July 7, 2009

10 Signs Of A Great Pilot


Observations from around the patch



10 Signs Of A Great PilotAll of us have spent considerable time observing our fellow aviators’ takeoffs, landings, radio communications, preflight inspections and general behavior at (and away from) the airport.
Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Formation Flying


The risks and rewards of flying wing



I’ve seen few things in my lifetime as beautiful as looking down on other planes in flight while on the top of a wingover. Multiple airplanes acting as one require a significant amount of discipline, dedication and practice. Even after more than 3,000 hours of flying within 20 feet of other airplanes, I know that this is an extremely risky activity that should never be attempted without considerable ground and flight training.
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.