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.
A seemingly academic exercise to figure out why radar is required on an odd approach leads to an understanding of how approaches are designed and why that can matter.
One of my roles in life seems to be “The IFR Answer Guy.” Sometimes, I can toss off the answer as a one-liner between sips of morning coffee. Other times, I’m left scratching my head until I delve deep into the IFR minutia. That’s what happened with what seemed like a simple question about the more »
The home stretch of the quest for a helicopter rating add-on to my airplane commercial was the most intensely challenging and rewarding aeronautical experience I have ever had. Fifty-plus years and several thousand hours of flight experience—time that included crop dusting, bush flying in Africa, King Air charter work in the Northeast, advanced glider aerobatics, more »
The joy of flying low is no secret, but the risks are real. Arm yourself with the tools to stay safe.
“If you’re going to fly low,” said my first flight instructor, “you had better know how to do it right.” We then cranked up the old Aeronca Champion and went out for a low-level dual excursion around the countryside. As I found out during his pre-planned route, things looked different from a traffic-pattern perspective. We more »
The safest kind of flying, statistically at least, has its own hazards. Here’s how to wrap your head around the risk and keep your sunny side up.
When it comes to high-risk flight, we usually think VFR into IMC, low-level maneuvering or run-ins with thunderstorms. Rightly so, too. Those scenarios, along with the ever-present villain “loss of control” lurking nearby, are the riskiest in flying. Training, on the other hand, is, statistically speaking, the safest aviating you can do this side of more »
An airplane rating would make learning this machine a breeze. Or so it seemed on the first date
There is a subtle yet profound difference between the learning of something and the knowing of that thing. You can learn by reading, but you don’t begin to know until you begin to try to do. Part One of this three-part series ended with my first sustained “controlled” hover—nothing steady or rock solid about it, more »
There’s no difference between flying in daylight and flying at night—except you can’t see anything.
There’s no difference between flying in daylight and flying at night—except you can’t see anything. So goes the sage advice from my old flight instructor, and he’s essentially right. The airplane doesn’t know or care that its pilot is visually impaired during the hours of darkness. It performs and responds just as it does in more »
The first step in learning to fly helicopters, a lifelong dream of one pilot, was learning to hover. But would that first step also be his last?
I was bewildered during preflight and startup—vaguely familiar but with way more steps that I didn’t fully understand—couldn’t yet correlate. I was sure that once we got going—got airborne—I’d be at home. After all, I’d been flying airplanes for many years. This was my introductory flight lesson for the rotor wing add-on rating to my more »
Developing good habits is critical for our flying. So why is it that so few of us are any good at it?
It’s often said that habits get started early in life and stick with us. Unfortunately, that’s true for habits both good and bad. So it’s important to develop good habits early and nurture them while learning how to keep from picking up bad habits along the way. If you’re a pilot, you understand how fundamental more »
Crosswinds can be tricky, so take some time to arm yourself with the knowledge you need.
Subscribe today to Plane & Pilot magazine for industry news, reviews and much more delivered straight to you! Land being the valuable commodity that it is, it’s becoming more and more difficult to find an airport offering a choice of runway directions—other than the two alternate ends of a single strip of pavement. And so, more more »
Flying in the high country provides its own set of challenges to pilots. Here are a few basics to know.
Subscribe today to Plane & Pilot magazine for industry news, reviews and much more delivered straight to you! My home is located on a public use airport in a Colorado mountain valley at an elevation of 8,300 feet. When I step out my front door, I can count seven peaks within seven miles that top 14,000 more »
The need for airline pilots is reshaping how new pilots are learning to fly
Are you an aviation enthusiast or pilot? Sign up for our newsletter, full of tips, reviews and more! Not too long ago, there wasn’t much hiring going on at the airlines. Many pilots interested in airline jobs took flight instructing positions and kept them for a while, building hours well beyond the 1,500 hours total time more »
Take maximum advantage of this low-risk chance to sharpen your skills.
Are you an aviation enthusiast or pilot? Sign up for our newsletter, full of tips, reviews and much more! Flight reviews come to all of us every couple of years, if not supplanted by an equally rigorous evaluation and training requirement. Under Federal Aviation Regulation 61.56(c), no person may act as pilot in command unless a more »
Five things the tower tells you to do that don't seem to make much sense, and why they say them.
Are you an aviation enthusiast or pilot? Sign up for our newsletter, full of tips, reviews and more! It’s a given that air traffic controllers like to talk. I mean, why else would we have chosen this career? I like to talk, and to my credit, most pilots hear what I say. But the question is, more »
Know what loss of control looks like and how to stop it before it ruins your day.
Are you an aviation enthusiast or pilot? Sign up for our newsletter, full of tips, reviews and more! Even though they might be technically correct, when an NTSB report cites loss of control as the cause of a crash, it’s really not much help. It’s only slightly more informative than saying that colliding with terrain was more »