Your connection with the sky

DOING A GOOD PREFLIGHT REALLY PAYS OFF

, June 7th, 2011

Today’s weather was made for flying. Slightly overcast and absolutely no wind. So I decided to skip my chores and head for the airport. I’m trying to get in all the flying time I can before I leave for Oshkosh on July 19. I want to practice one-wheel landings, short-field landings and takeoffs, dead-stick landings, etc., etc., etc.

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I pulled the Talon out of the hangar and refueled, then began my preflight. I have a set order for doing the preflight; I begin at the left- front and work my way back, around the tail feathers, and then forward to the right-front. I didn’t get very far today. Read More >>

First Things First

, January 25th, 2011

by Chris Findley, CFI, CFII
blog.myflightcoach.com
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When you first begin flying you may feel overwhelmed with the amount of information you encounter.  It seems like there is so much to learn and much of it sounds like a foreign language!  You'll hear your instructor and other pilots talk about things like: Class B, ATC, VSI, Static Port, Asymmetrical Thrust, Nimbus, ATIS, and the Pattern.   In the air the radio will crackle with odd sounding phrases that seem only vaguely related to English.  A lot of students feel overwhelmed early on.  That's why we must keep "First things first." Read More >>

Up In The Air Again…Sort of

, January 21st, 2011

I went up to the barn this morning at 0-dark-thirty, to check if we’d had any new lambs born. The moon was full, and so bright that I didn’t need a flashlight. After weeks of rain, seeing the moon and stars was delightful. “Stay clear, stay clear,” I said, promising myself a flight once the sun came up.

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By 8:00 a.m. the sun was up and it was COLD: 29° outside. But the sky was crystal clear blue! By the time I got to the airport there were a few clouds on the horizon, and by the time I took my gas cans to the gas station, got back to the hangar and fueled up, the sky had grayed up completely. Read More >>

Learning to Fly: What Will I Fly?

, August 10th, 2010

by Chris Findley, CFI

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What is available at your local airport might vary, but it will likely be one of about four airplanes.  Probably the most common is the Cessna series of trainers, particularly the 152 and the 172.  These high-wing, single engine planes are among the most popular entry-level aircraft ever built.  Their proven design dates back to the 1940s and the Cessna 172 continues to be in production today.  The 172 is a 4 seat aircraft that flies at about 120 miles per hour.  It’s little brother is the 152, which is a smaller 2-seat version.  Both of these trainers are very forgiving and easy to fly.  More pilots have learned to fly on the 152/172 combination than any other plane in the world. Read More >>

What to Expect on Your First Flight

, July 19th, 2010

by Chris Findley, CFI,  www.myFlightCoach.com

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You're going to take your first flight in a light airplane!  First things first, be sure to bring a camera!  This is an exciting day for you and for those of us who teach and encourage people to learn to fly.  This might well be a much bigger day than you imagine.  These first flights are where many of us catch the "flying bug" and begin a journey that literally lasts a lifetime.

But what can you expect?  While experiences vary from flight school to flight school, here's are some thoughts on what a great first flight should be. Read More >>

Preparing for Your Solo Cross Countries

, July 1st, 2010

by Chris Findley, CFI

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GoOne of the great milestones in your flight training, after your initial solo, will be your solo Cross Country.  Don't let the name intimidate you, you'll only be going 50 nautical miles, but it is nonetheless a huge step in your flying.  One of the things that makes your solo XCs so exciting is that you'll actually be going somewhere!  It will be the first time you use the plane and your training to do what flying does so well-- travel!

As you get ready for this flight, you'll have a million things to think about.  The good news is that it gets easier the more you do it and you'll get faster and more proficient as you do more of these trips.  Your instructor is required to review your route and planning with you and you'll receive an endorsement from him/her for each solo XC you make as a student.  Remember, the fact that your instructor is kicking you out of the practice area indicates that you have progressed in your knowledge and training and are ready!  Let that fact alone give you confidence!  Here are a few things to remember as you prepare for this historic event:. Read More >>

FAA Ends "Taxi To" Instruction, What Should Go Next?

, July 1st, 2010

In part of its on-going effort to reduce runway incursion incidents, the FAA will officially change the way tower controllers give taxi instructions. As of June 30, gone will be the "Taxi to" instruction to be replaced with a lot more words.

For example, if you fly out of Republic-Farmingdale (FRG) on Long Island, a standard taxi instruction from Ground is currently "(call sign) taxi to Runway 1". That instruction allows you to pretty much taxi on any taxiway and allows you to cross any runway- in this case Runway 32-14- to get to Runway 1. However, now the instruction will likely read "(call sign), Runway 1 via Gulf. Hold short of 32." Controllers will give specific taxi instructions and are required, generally, to issue an additional taxi instruction before you cross an intersecting runway. Read More >>

Getting Back into the Cockpit Again

, June 23rd, 2010

by Chris Findley, CFI

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What do you do when you look up and realize that its been 2 years or 10 years since you last flew?  Getting back into the plane can seem a little intimidating.  As I often work with people who are getting back into flying after a break, I've found that the longer the break, the more apprehensive the pilot is about their ability to recoup their knowledge and skills.  I know, I was in that position myself.

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I had a 15 year break from flying.  After earning my degree in Aviation Management and my Commercial, Multi, Instrument and CFI ratings from Auburn University, I was commissioned a 2nd Lieutenant in the U.S. Army and entered active duty.   Between getting my feet on the ground with the military and shortly thereafter getting engaged and married, I just slipped away from flying.  It was never a conscious decision, but just something that happened.  After a couple of career shifts over 15 years, an almost comical turn of events got me back in the pilot's seat.  It was mis-handled mail.

I went to my office mailbox one morning to find a single piece of mail-- Plane & Pilot's Annual Guide to Aviation Careers.  I thought it ironic as no one at my office knew my background in aviation.  Why was this in my box?  I kept it and over my lunch break began leafing through it.  Something within me awakened, a long-lost passion for flying and a hunger to feel the response of the flight controls in my hands once again.  But I was nervous.  Would I remember everything (or anything) a decade-and-a-half later?  Would my skills in the air be miserable or would they return? Read More >>

FAA to LSA Industry: Time for Adult Supervision

, June 14th, 2010

As a supporter of the light sport effort, and as someone who flies an LSA (the Sportcruiser), the recent audit report from the FAA on the LSA manufacturing industry should set off alarm bells.   You can find the report on avweb’s website here.

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Dan Johnson, chairman of the Light Aircraft Manufacturers Association, says the report is “tough love’– but we think it’s a bit more ominous than that.

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The FAA audited 30 LSA facilities to determine if they are complying with ASTM. standards.  For those not familiar with how light sport aircraft are marketed and sold, here’s a brief overview.  The FAA created the LSA sector to foster technological developments and bring aircraft to market without the costs associated with government certification.  As such, aircraft that meet LSA standards for weight, size, and speed can be ’self-certified’ by the manufacturer, providing they meet the standards set forth by the ASTM.  (ASTM is an independent group that industries use to set standards for products.)  If the aircraft meets the standard, it can then be sold to the American public without government certifications.  This has no doubt lead to lower cost products, but now there’s a question as to whether it’s also lead to lower-quality products. Read More >>

Airplanes and the Human Factor

, March 18th, 2010

It is a fact that, no matter how advanced today’s aircraft have become, there is still the human side of the equation to think about. Humans control the technology, but we're not as advanced as the machinery that we're operating.
Human Factors
Human factor is crucial to aviation, this is because humans remained the same throughout the improvements in the technology for aircraft. Thus, aeronautical companies like Cessna and Boeing are considering the human factor in designing aircraft. This way, an aircraft still advances to a level with new technology, but can still be tailored to fit the limitations of its human pilots. For one, they can avoid the occurrences of accidents that are commonly associated with human error.

One area to concentrate in is the cockpit. The cockpit is the most important part of any aircraft that is human controlled. Accidents can actually occur at the onset of an error that causes a pilot to panic, and confusing panels can make it hard for the pilot to react quickly. Read More >>