Archive for April, 2013

Photo of the Day: The best CFI in the world

Monday, April 8th, 2013

Senior StudentWe often repurpose the photos our photographers take for Flight Training and AOPA Pilot stories so as to get the most bang for the buck. So the guys you see here might have appeared in an article about older students and younger flight instructors; or flying fathers and sons; or just flying for the pure fun of flying.

I used the photo last week to ask the Flight Training Facebook crew to say something nice about their flight instructors, and I didn’t have to ask twice. More than 50 of you responded. Here are some of my favorites:

  • Dan Simonds: William Bowen at Airwolf in Greenville SC figured out how to push me hard and get out of the way. He didn’t teach me to fly. He made a pilot of me. Many thanks!
  • Ken Gardner: I have had several instructors throughout my flying time, two stand out the most and for the same reason, both love to fly for the sake of flying, neither was using being a CFI as a means to an end. Ed Martinez out of KSBD and Flabob in Southern CA.and Drew Kemp of Oakland both pass this love onto their students in the most thoughtful and joyful way. Thank you both!
  • LeeAnn Lloyd Bailey: Patrick J-y Nuytten with San Angelo Flying Enterprise helped not only me, but my husband, brother & nephew earn our tickets! Our motto became Instructor for 40 hours, Friends for Life!
    KSJT – Mathis Field Airport, San Angelo, Texas

So there you go, flight instructors; if your earns were burning on Friday, now you know why. Kudos to all the great flight instructors who are changing lives by helping others to realize the dream of flying.—Jill W. Tallman

Going to Sun ‘n’ Fun?

Friday, April 5th, 2013

Sun_n_funIf you’re headed to Sun ‘n’ Fun next week, we invite you to join AOPA staff who will be talking about a variety of topics close to your heart—namely flying, how to fly a little cheaper, and how to get started learning to fly.

 

 

  • Wednesday, April 10, 9-11 a.m. Flying Clubs Meet-up and Information Sharing—Forum Room #1

The Flying Club meet-up and information sharing session will be an opportunity for startups and clubs to discuss ways to improve their clubs.  Coffee and snacks will be served, and we plan to run a series of short breakout sessions on topics like insurance, marketing, financing, maintenance and starting a new flying club.  Adam Smith, Woody Cahall, and Chris Lawler will be moderating the event.   

  • Thursday, April 11, 10-11 a.m.: Adventures Beyond the Pattern—Room #4

You’ve earned your pilot certificate… now what? Join AOPA’s Shannon Yeager for a discussion on creating flying adventures beyond the flight training environment. Learn about things to consider, where to go, and what to do next now that you’re officially the pilot in command.

  •  Thursday, April 11, 11 a.m. to 12 noon: Reduce Your Cost of Flying… the “New” News.—Room #7. Speaker: Woody Cahall

Over the years you have no doubt heard about or attended a seminar about how to reduce the cost of flying. I’ve conducted many of those seminars over the years and those techniques to save a few dollars here and there still work. But, this is a new era and the ability for every pilot to dramatically decrease their cost of flying is at hand. Stop over to the “Reduce Your cost of Flying… the “New” News” Forum and learn what AOPA and individuals are doing to reduce the cost of flying throughout the country.

  •  Saturday, April 13,  11 a.m. to 12 noon: Your Path to Pilothood  Learn to Fly!—Room #1. Speaker: Brittney Miculka

Don’t miss this opportunity to get answers to prospective pilots’ most frequently asked questions. Find out how to save time and money, overcome common obstacles, and get access to free student support resources.

Hope to see you there!—AOPA staff

The long way down

Thursday, April 4th, 2013

Earlier this week, news broke of a pilot who had fallen out of his airplane last Friday in Tennessee while on a training flight. Unfortunately, the pilot was a few thousand feet in the air at the time, and the fall resulted in his death.

The facts go like this. The pilot was being checked out in his Zenith Zodiac 601, when the instructor on board said the student had trouble controlling the airplane, the canopy opened, and out he went. They found his body the next day. Critically, it appears he wasn’t wearing his seatbelt.

The idea of falling from such a great height is downright scary. There’s a reason our stomachs sink when we peer over a tall bridge or stand on the edge of a big drop. Falling happens in nightmares, and it’s not something that we signed up for when we began learning to fly.

I remember vividly the uneasiness I felt when I was learning to fly in a Cessna 152, my thigh pressed against the door. I was sure that if the door opened, there would be nothing holding me back from certain death other than a thin strip of nylon. Over time that feeling has faded—thankfully. I’ve since flown open-cockpit biplanes, Trikes, and even an AirCam, all without feeling like I was about to make international headlines.

Actually, the fact this particular story made international headlines is significant. It speaks to the rarity of it. That’s not to say it never happens. On a surprisingly regular basis, someone will willfully throw themselves out of an airplane to commit suicide. And no, I’m not talking about skydiving. But the accident variety, which this seems to have been, is so rare it could be probably be considered an anomaly. It happens, at most, once every few years.

The lesson to take away from this tragic accident is that seatbelts should be worn at all times. I’ve never flown with someone who didn’t wear a seatbelt, nor have I had to remind a student to do so, as this instructor should have done. Knowing that a seatbelt would have likely produced a different outcome in this flight–and the fact that this is rare to begin with–should help quiet any nightmares of the same randomly happening to you.—Ian J. Twombly

Acing the oral

Tuesday, April 2nd, 2013

pass_fail1Pilots generally tend to dislike sitting through an oral exam. It doesn’t matter if it’s for the private pilot certificate, the instrument rating, or the airline transport pilot certificate. Orals are often viewed with trepidation and fear, because it seems like everything is open season. Throw on top of that an oral that is specific to a given airplane, and it is easy to understand why it can be so overwhelming.

Here’s something that you need to remember: if you are going for a new level on your certificate, such as private to commercial or commercial to ATP, then yes, everything can be fair game. This is especially true when you are being evaluated as an ATP. The FAA rightfully views the ATP as the Ph.D. of flying. You are supposed to be a true expert, and because you can be held accountable in any accident—even if you are not technically the PIC—you are expected to know your stuff. The Aeronautical Information Manual, weather, the federal aviation regulations, your airplane…you name, you need to know it.

However, if you are going for a new rating, such as an instrument rating or multiengine rating, then you are only supposed to be evaluated on the material that pertains to the rating. This does ratchet up the pressure if you are combining the two, such as the candidate who is going from single engine private to multiengine commercial with an instrument rating.

At the airlines, the oral takes on a new dimension because you can expect to be asked about applicable company procedures, policies, and the FARs. However, you can expect to spend most of your time discussing the systems of the airplane you will be flying (especially as a new hire or as a pilot learning new equipment). So, how do you prepare?

One of the most effective ways to study is to learn to teach each system to someone else, such as a spouse or a parent. If the person is a nonpilot, it may even be better, because if forces you to break the material into chunks that they can understand. If they understand the system after you explain it, then you know that you understand the system.

Another way to really master new material is to study with your class as a group, asking each other questions and dreaming up various scenarios along the lines of, “If this breaks, then how does it affect that?” Every class usually has someone who needs a little extra help, and there will probably be a system or two that you do not understand as well as you’d like. If you can spend time with the person that needs help and get them up to par, you know you understand the system. Likewise, if you are weak on, say, pressurization, try to explain what you do comprehend to another student who is comfortable with it, and see if you can’t fill in the gaps.

When you take the oral, approach it as though you are teaching the examiner. If you can break the meat-and-potatoes down into a few sentences, then you will probably make the impression that you want to make. Be assertive, and be confidant. Answering with the tone of voice that sounds like a question will only invite more scrutiny.

An oral is often what you make it. It is difficult to properly convey just how important the oral is, and it is difficult to bring across how much preparation time is involved, especially at the airlines. But, if you the student can become the teacher, you are well on your way to a successful exam.—Chip Wright

Photo of the Day: Ford Tri-Motor

Monday, April 1st, 2013

Ford Tri-Motor

Not only can you get a type rating in a Ford Tri-Motor (assuming you already have a private pilot certificate), but you can get a type rating in the very airplane shown in this photo. Barry Schiff did just that, and wrote about it in the May 2010 AOPA Pilot (“Tin Goose”).

The company, Ford Type Ratings, is located at Valle Airport near Flagstaff, Ariz. The full three-day type rating costs $10,900, not including the examiner’s fee. A second-in-command type rating is available for $2,900. Schiff called the experience “like flying the pages of history,” and I have to admit it looks like it would be a blast. Of course, you could always purchase a ride in a Tri-Motor at EAA AirVenture and sometimes at airshows. I’ve done that, and it’s a 15-minute slice of fun.—Jill W. Tallman