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.
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 »
"Pilot's discretion" gives us some really useful options if we know how to use it.
Are you an aviation enthusiast or pilot? Sign up for our newsletter, full of tips, reviews and much more! “Descend and maintain” is such a staple of IFR communications, it might as well be a single word. Yet there are times when that’s the last thing you want to do. Maybe those clouds are bumpy, and more »
Sometimes the things in life that give us joy take work. Bring it on.
Subscribe today to Plane & Pilot magazine for industry news, reviews and much more! Like most pilots, my first few lessons in pursuit of a Private Pilot Certificate were memorable. I wish I could report that this was because of the exhilaration of sailing into the wild blue yonder or cavorting among the clouds. With apologies more »
Instrument pilots have a thing for regulatory minutia. An information morsel you’ll often hear repeated is “being able to descend to 100 feet AGL when you can see only the approach lights.” That’s too bad, because it belittles a beautiful piece of information design by turning it into a gouge for aviation trivia night. It’s more »
From airfactsjournal.com. Disruption is a hot topic these days, but the 16th century had plenty of it, too. In the span of a generation, the printing press (and the Protestant Reformation) fundamentally changed the way many Christians practiced their religion. Instead of listening to a priest interpret the Bible, the average churchgoer could read it more »
Exploring the intersection of risk, age and experience
It was one of those days, a long one, replete with delays and crabby passengers and thunderstorms. After 12 hours on duty, five legs, and three different airplanes, my crew welcomed the approach of the jetway at the Huntsville International Airport like a marathon runner rejoices at the sight of the banner. On such days, more »
Some tips to cut risk when you descend on an approach
Back in the day, vertical guidance on final approach was reserved for the Cadillac approaches, which almost always meant an ILS. Airports whose tax base or FAA grant status didn’t cut it were stuck with non-precision approaches. Without vertical guidance, we’d cross a fix and step down to the next altitude, fix after fix, until more »
A longtime pilot discovers the joys of backcountry flying
“Sometimes, you find yourself in the middle of nowhere, and, sometimes, in the middle of nowhere you find yourself.” — Author Unknown Running parallel to and between two sharp turns in the Deschutes River—deep in a narrow canyon—Bull Run is barely discernable as a landing strip. The tan summer grass blends into the reddish beige more »
For plenty of pilots, learning to fly an airplane doesn’t come naturally
On an introductory flight, the gray-haired man who would eventually become my CFI, Paul, coached me through gentle turns on the western banks of the Chesapeake Bay and assured me that if he could learn to fly, anybody could. He was jovial and enthusiastic about everything the flying life had to offer. All that stood more »
Planning a departure alternate before leaving the ground can make all the difference in an emergency
I’m paranoid about emergencies on IFR departures. Maybe it’s because I’ve had four attitude indicator (AI) failures in flight, twice in IMC. One of those was even a certified primary flight display (PFD) from a major manufacturer, so don’t assume glass panels are immune. Indulge me in the retelling of one of those to illustrate more »
When I first heard about Redbird’s Guided Independent Flight Training (GIFT), I was curious. So many recent advances in transportation technology have been moving us toward increased automation and computer-driven decision making. That has its good points and its bad ones, but how does that trend extend to teaching someone to fly? GIFT—a series of more »
The question is, should you modify your OEM checklist in any way? Here’s why it’s not an easy call.
In safety bulletin published earlier this week, the FAA is warning pilots about using an aftermarket checklist instead of the one published in the airplane’s POH. In its letter, the agency discussed a non-injury landing accident in which the pilot in command was using an aftermarket checklist to troubleshoot a problem with a gear extension more »
Flying low and VFR is fun and freeing—as long as you don’t hit anything while you’re doing it
When it comes to sheer volume of accidents, running into man-made obstacles, radio transmission towers, power lines and tall buildings and bridges is not a common way that pilots come to harm. Yet every year it seems a few pilots fly their perfectly functional airplanes into man-made obstructions at relatively low level. Sometimes the accident more »
Learning how to train yourself to relax in the face of danger
You read the accident reports, hoping to learn something from someone else’s troubles. Often, I imagine, you’re left with a nagging sense that things just don’t add up. Why did the highly experienced pilot do that? Why didn’t the CFI grab the controls and take over? The answers might lie in a kind of stall more »
From airfactsjournal.com. Ask a native English speaker what method he uses for constructing a sentence and you’ll probably get a blank stare. After all, most of us don’t read a textbook and come up with a formal approach to grammar before we write an email; we just write what sounds good. So why do we insist on a robotic approach when it more »