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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.

Lighten Up!

posted in Flying · Oct 17, 2005

Here’s a quick tip to make your flying a lot smoother: lighten your grip on the controls. I find a lot of pilots I fly with have a death grip on the yoke, and that has a couple of negative effects. The most noticable thing is that their control of the airplane tends to be pretty abrupt and jerky. They even sometimes move the ailerons and elevator when they turn their head or shift in their seat. Another side effect of having a tight grip on the controls is that it tends to make the pilot a bit more tense. I’ve seen the tension from the hand on the controls transfer up to the shoulders, neck and sometimes it seems even to the brain.

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Hitting the Spot

posted in Flying · Sep 22, 2005

From watching airplanes land on a typical Saturday at the airport it’s clear that some pilots are able to land on a predetermined spot consistently, while others are not quite up to that standard. I think we all strive to make our landings better and one way to do that is working on being consistent as to where you touch down. Not only does this help you fly more precisely, but it’s something that could really save your bacon in the event you are forced to make a landing somewhere other than a hard-surface runway. You might not have an obstruction-free mile of asphalt to land on in an emergency, or when flying to some of the back country airports.

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Beyond the $100 Hamburger

posted in Flying · Jul 25, 2005

Getting tired of the same old routine flights to familiar destinations? One thing you can do is to change your routine. After a few trips to our regular fly-in breakfast or lunch destinations, I think many pilots don’t go through all the steps of planning out the flight, selecting checkpoints, estimating times, etc. We know how to get there and about how long it will take, so it’s easy to get complacent and just take off in the general direction of our destination without formal plan in hand.

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FAA Wings Program

posted in Flying · May 23, 2003

FAA Wings

I highly encourage pilots to participate in the FAA Wings program, which is also called the “Pilot Proficiency Awards Program.” This is a better alternative to a Flight Review to stay current. Here’s why:

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Tim's Air Navigation Simulator

posted in Flying · Jan 29, 2000

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.

Read More »

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