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, May 26, 2009
A New License To Learn
Advanced training leads to more than just proficiency; it can also save lives
|A 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
|Engine 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. |
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
The Last 50 ft.
Making it all come together
|When 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
Cell Phone To The Rescue
In the air or on the ground, it could save your life
|I 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
Controlling Control Pressure
On becoming one of the “smooth ones”
|We’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
Going The Distance
Tips for planning a long cross-country
As 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
| 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
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
|A 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
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.||
Get 11 Issues of Plane & Pilot for only $14.97! That's 77% off the cover price!