License to Learn

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License to learn: Natural hazards

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2012

Many moons ago, on a dual flight to a rustic little airport, my student (we'll call him Bob) was about to begin his landing flare when things got a little squirrely. A squirrel popped up, periscope-like, near the VASI and then made a mad dash across the runway. Thump! The squirrel had failed to hide his hide.

License to learn

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2012

I knew my article in the April 2012 issue of AOPA Pilot ("License to Learn: In Defense of Stick-and-Rudder Training") was a hot topic, but I didn’t know how sizzling it was until the letters rolled in. Every letter I received--except one--supported emphasizing stick-and-rudder basics during primary flight training.

License to learn

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2012

Our story begins in Tulsa, Oklahoma, on a sunny spring morning. The pilot of a Beech Baron prepared to depart on a cargo flight at 9:30 a.m. After starting his engines, he did something each of us does on most flights. He reached for his radio switch and turned it on. This time, however, his right wing exploded. Kaboom!

License to learn

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2012

Everyone believes in a myth at one time or another. This is especially true for those convinced that the world will expire on December 21, 2012, because the Mayan calendar abruptly ends on that date.

License to learn

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2012

It happened in the early 1990s. That was the time we saw the diminishing influence of World War II-era flight instructors (and their instructional progeny). Our pilots didn't fly jets, they flew airplanes that demanded exceptional stick-and-rudder skills.

License to learn

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2012

I remember sitting on a runway with a flight review student, years ago, waiting for a takeoff clearance. The crosswind was exceptionally gusty

License to learn

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2012

I remember sitting on a runway with a flight review student, years ago, waiting for a takeoff clearance. The crosswind was exceptionally gusty

License to learn

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2012

Reasonable people can disagree about how to fly an instrument approach, with both sides of the argument having some merit. This applies to a discussion I had with an experienced instrument flight instructor about how to descend to the minimum descent altitude (MDA) on a nonprecision instrument approach. We disagreed over two approaches to approaches. The constant airspeed technique (my recommendation) has a pilot making a descent to the MDA, leveling off, and flying to the missed approach point (MAP). If the pilot has the required visibility and identifiable runway environment, he descends and lands, but only after reaching the visual descent point (VDP).

License to learn

Pilot Magazine | Dec 01, 2011

An FAA-designated pilot examiner once told me about the most anxious private pilot candidate he ever experienced on a checkride. Aside from sweating and mumbling during the oral exam (the applicant, not the examiner), the ultimate demonstration of in-flight nerves began when the examiner requested a steep turn.

Predict the future for pleasure

Pilot Magazine | Nov 01, 2011

Aviation is an enterprise whose front end is loaded with warnings, caveats, regulation, and a dizzying supply of do's and don'ts (mostly don'ts). Not even a Houdini can escape this saturation of safety information. Don't get me wrong. Safety information is good, but too much good can be bad.