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Recurrent Training

FAA Wings

The FAA requires pilots to do regular recurrent training to keep flying. The minimum requirement is a flight review consisting of one hour of ground training and one hour of flight training every two years, but why settle for just the minimum? The FAA Wings Program is a better way to go in my opinion. Read more »

Navigation

Tim’s Air Navigation Simulator is a great way to practice VOR, ADF, HSI and RMI navigation right on your computer. Try hiding the airplane and see if you can get yourself un-lost. Try it »

Communication

  • Radio Communications Guide – scripts for operating at Class C & D airports, non-towered airports, and getting flight following. This is a handout I give to all my students, so it’s focused on the Boise Class C airspace, but it will work anywhere.
  • Live ATC Feeds
    • Atlanta Macey Arrival – This is probably the coolest of the live ATC feeds I’ve seen because it lets you see the radar screen so you can visualize the traffic being controlled.
    • Dallas/Fort Worth – requires Real Player
    • JFK, Chicago, and SoCal ATC

Flight Planning

  • Free Flight Planning and Weather Forms from Dauntless Software. I like these because they have a place for everything you need when planning and executing a VFR or IFR flight.
  • Graphical TFRs (temporary flight restrictions) are available from the FAA directly.
  • AirNav is required reading before traveling to a new airport. It has information about airports, FBOs, current fuel prices. There’s also a place where you can read and submit comments about all the above. The comments from other pilots have been helpful to me when choosing an FBO at a new airport.

Chopper 101 - a guide for fixed-wing pilots

posted in Flying · Oct 07, 2007

There are a lot of helicopter operations at our local airports, and as a fixed-wing pilot I found this article called Chopper 101 extremely helpful.

It explains why helicopters do things like fly right traffic when airplanes are flying left traffic, what a helicopter traffic pattern looks like (and therefore where to look for a helicopter in the pattern), and what an autorotation is.

That article should be required reading for all non-helicopter pilots.

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Sunrise Flight

posted in Flying · Sep 08, 2007

Sunrise flight

We’re still in the process of breaking in the new engine. It’s got about 15 hours on it and still running as smooth as silk. Today’s plan was to get up early and get in the air right around sunrise. The air would be nice and cool, plus the early start would help us avoid the flurry of activity that is typical for a beautiful Saturday morning like this one.

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New Engine: First Test Flight

posted in Flying · Aug 29, 2007 · Comments: 2

Mooney with new engine and overhauled prop

After what seemed like forever, the Lycoming factory rebuilt engine is finally on the Mooney and the first test flight went off without a hitch on August 13th. Well, that’s not 100% true. There was a hitch, but not with the engine.

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Engine Update

posted in Flying · Jul 14, 2007

New engine ready for installation

The good news is the factory rebuilt engine arrived on schedule, and in great condition. The other good news is the propeller and governor came back from overhaul with no problems. There’s always a chance that the propeller overhaul shop will find a crack or corrosion in the blades that requires replacing the entire propeller.

The bad news is when the mechanics pulled the old engine off, and they inspected the engine mount they found one of the lower U-shaped brackets on the mount was weak and it actually broke off in the mechanic’s hand as he inspected it.

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Weather Radar: Check the Fine Print

posted in Flying · Jun 18, 2007 · Comments: 1

Boise radar image in clear air mode

On one particularly beautiful Saturday morning, in preparation for a local flight with a student, I obtained most of my weather information by just looking out the window. The sun had risen above the peaks to the east and the sky was bright blue canvas devoid of clouds. The large American flag that I use for my visual wind check was relaxing against the flag pole. Today would be a great morning to fly, and perfect conditions for my soon-to-solo student. When I checked the weather radar image on ADDS, I was surprised to find lots of activity on the display. That couldn’t be right — radar only shows precipitation, and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky. What was going on?

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Why Don't You Write?

posted in Flying · May 28, 2007 · Comments: 5

Mooney awaiting engine replacement

You haven’t seen any flying stories here for a while because we’ve been dealing with some maintenance issues with the Mooney. Here’s a quick update for those who have been wondering what we’ve been up to.

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Jet Man

posted in Flying · Dec 29, 2006 · Comments: 1

Jet Man

Yves Rossy always wanted to fly just like a bird. As a former military fighter pilot, and currently an Airbus jet captain, he certainly knows quite a bit about how airplanes fly. But Yves wanted to fly like a bird, so he designed a set of wings and attached miniature jet engines to them. There are no control surfaces—he controls the wing by moving his body.

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Now That Takes Guts

posted in Flying · Apr 09, 2006

Sean Tucker performs in front of the Golden Gate Bridge

Airshow pilot Sean Tucker recently had a serious in-flight emergency. At about 100 feet of the ground, he heard a snap as his control stick broke free. Without elevator or aileron control, Sean managed to use just his trim and rudder to get the airplane climbed up to a safe altitude where he could try to troubleshoot the problem.

I took the picture on the left when we watched Sean Tucker perform during the 2005 San Francisco Airshow.

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The Big Game

posted in Flying · Feb 02, 2006

Would you think about competing in an important sports event without doing some practicing beforehand? Would you give an important speech without rehearsing it a few times? Of course not. Just like any skill, piloting an aircraft is something you’ve got to practice on a regular basis. If your piloting skills are a little rusty, the consequences can be much worse than a losing a game or stumbling on your words during a speech.

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Did You Really Pre-Flight?

posted in Flying · Nov 23, 2005

With all the talk of Temporary Flight Restrictions, and recent last-minute closures at our local airport I still find some pilots aren’t getting an official briefing before flying. These pilots are just asking for problems when they blunder into temporarily restricted airspace, find the airport closed, discover a published radio frequency has changed, or any of the other things they would have discovered if they took a few minutes to get a briefing.

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