Stall Training

There has been a lot of talk recently about stalls. For example, the recent reports about the Airbus A-330 that crashed in the Atlantic between Brazil and Paris. Here apparently we had an airplane inadvertently flown into a deep stall by the pilot and for whatever reason he continued nose up inputs until the airplane crashed. Then there is the …

Air Force One Go Around!

As my good friend Bob Martens is fond of saying, the Go Around is the least practiced maneuver in Aviation. During initial training as student pilots, the instructor teaches us the Go Around.  The Practical Test Standards (PTS) require us to demonstrate the Go Around/Rejected Landing maneuver.  The FAA objective for the task is “Makes a timely decision to discontinue …

Airplane Taxi Tips

The recent taxi accident between an Airbus A-380 and a regional jet at JFK serves as a reminder that taxiing our aircraft can be a dangerous endeavor. Just think about the potential of all that fuel in the wing of the A-380 had it been ruptured. Now I don’t know where the A-380 was in relation to the center line …

App Review: Notify NTSB for NTSB Part 830

NTSB Part 830 regulations cover reporting requirements for aircraft accidents and incidents. Every pilot has had to answer a few questions on a FAA written test about the various requirements and time frames. Studying these regulations can cause the same glassing over of the eyes as ADF relative bearings or calculating time to station by VOR bearing change. In practice, …

Let’s fly like the Professionals

It is no secret that the airlines, corporate and military aviation have a much better safety record than general aviation. And it is also no secret how they do that. They fly by the book, use standard procedures, do gobs of training and have flight dispatchers to provide planning and enroute support. That’s great you say, but they also spend …

Photo Pilot Certificate Proposal

A lot of pilots I talked to recently seem excited to hear that they will soon get a pilot certificate that has their picture on it. I am sorry to hear this as getting a new pilot certificate with my picture on it is somewhere around the last thing I need. My certificate already has my name, address and description …

Aviation Check List

GUMPS is not enough! Yesterday, I read about another general aviation inadvertent gear up landing. I wonder if the pilot used a written check list for landing? While doing flight tests or training in complex aircraft, I often see the pilot use the printed check list religiously for pre flight, starting and run up. Then off we go. After completing …

Should I Have Said Something?

World English Dictionary hindsight— noun “The ability to understand, after something has happened, what should have been done or what caused the event” Hindsight is great. 20-20 hindsight is even better. Have you ever had the feeling that you should have said something in a situation – any situation – and didn’t? Do we, as aviation professionals, have a greater …

Wind Sense

Brian Riis recently wrote about situational awareness and provided many good suggestions. One of the items he mentioned was to be “wind aware”. I would like to offer some additional ideas to improve one’s wind awareness. I often fly with pilots who seem oblivious to the wind until it starts to give them a problem.  Developing wind awareness will help …

Emergency Procedures

OK pilots, this is one where we have a clear choice. Would you rather conduct your first ever engine out landing in a field with trees on both ends with all of your loved ones on board, OR prepare yourself for this same event with a CFI in the next seat? Tough one, huh? The good news is that engine …

Directional Gyro: Don’t Set It Here

How many of us have been told to always be sure and set the directional gyro (DG) when we are in position on the take off runway? Why there? Well, the instructor would say, because we are now on a known heading and therefore the DG will be accurate right after takeoff. This procedure worked fine in the days before …

Emergencies and ATC (part 4)

OK, the emergency is over. Let’s assume, for this discussion, that everyone is on the ground and safe. What happens after the emergency? Well, FAR 91.3 doesn’t say much. It only says that we must submit a report to the Administrator but only if requested and only if we deviated from any rule (any FAR). Does that mean if we …

Pilot Attitude Check

We all know that proper aircraft attitude is important for getting our aircraft to do what we want it to. But it is our mental attitude that plays a major role in the type of pilot that we become. A proper mental attitude can do more for your flying ability than almost any kind of training available. This is true …

Practical Test Standards

As we continually build upon the foundation that supports our aviation activities, I fear that many of us are neglecting a very important cornerstone. The Practical Test Standards (PTS) are the basis for all training and evaluation in the US, yet few know where they are, what they say, or most importantly, how they can save lives. The great news …

Professionalism – On Being a Cockpit Skeptic

Professionalism in aviation has been in the news a lot recently. FAA Administrator Randy Babbit has spoken on the need in light of several recent high profile events such as the Colgan crash in Buffalo and the NWA overshoot of its destination. One of the hallmarks of a professional aviator is being a skeptic – a healthy skeptic. Or in …

“Hold Short of Runway 23!”

How many times as a pilot, have we heard that phrase? Well, as of June 30th we will be hearing it a lot more. The FAA instituted a change to the Air Traffic Controller’s handbook (the 7110.65) that changes the way taxi instructions are issued. Previously, a taxi clearance (as we all know from the FAA written test questions) allowed …

Engine Failure

Last week, two of my Civil Air Patrol (CAP) comrades were out on a training mission in the vicinity of the Laconia, NH Airport in our CE 182. About five miles from the airport at 3000ft MSL they experience severe engine vibration and a loss in power. They had just reduced power to 19in manifold pressure after level off. They …

Malfunction & Defect Reports

I think we all like stories with a happy ending, so here goes….. I received an email message recently from a very nice couple who attended my monthly FAA safety seminars in Danbury, CT. They owned their own single engine aircraft and flew it regularly. Several weeks back they experienced a very real inflight engine failure and successfully landed the …

Emergencies and ATC Part 2

Last week, we talked about an Air Carrier incident during which an emergency was declared. Shortly after that, we learned of another Air Carrier that had a fire in the cockpit and declared an emergency while at cruise altitude. Details can be found on the NTSB web site.  This incident is a near textbook example of how to handle an …

Emergencies and ATC

Declaring an emergency is one of the easiest actions a pilot can take. FAR 91.3 spells it out very clearly. “The pilot-in-command of an aircraft is directly responsible for and is the final authority as to the operation of that aircraft. In an emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot-in-command may deviate from any rule in 14 CFR Part 91, to …

Personal Aviation Stories and Lessons Learned

A few weeks ago we had our expert flight instructors in to record some new Pilot Tips. After we finished the recording session, they were sitting around telling some of their personal aviation stories. We decided to keep the microphones open, figuring we would capture some really good stuff. I asked their permission to share this recording with you, which …

Professionalism in the Cockpit

Professionalism in the cockpit is a big topic with the airline industry these days. Just this week, the FAA  reminded airline pilots to “evaluate their personal practices” regarding use of devices such as lap top computers and cell phones while on duty. In addition they said operators need to create a “safety culture” that reinforces the importance of controlling cockpit …