License to Learn

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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.

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2011

Electric airplanes, synthetic vision, and iPad accessories these things, abundant at this year's EAA AirVenture.

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2011

Albert Einstein gave us E=MC2, one of the most venerable of physics equations. It's an equation that allows us to understand the relationship between mass and energy. Aviation also has its venerable equations, and one of my favorites involves no math at all. This equation expresses the relationship between attitude, power, and performance. It's to be taken seriously, but not literally. It reads: Attitude + Power = Performance (A+P=P).

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2011

There are only three things that can get me to run out of the house and gaze skyward. The first is a UFO mother ship.

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2011

Do you know what magic is? It’s pretty simple. It’s the exact opposite of what a (good) teacher does.

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2011

Several months ago, I wrote “License to Learn: The Limited Flight Instructor Certificate” (February 2011 AOPA Pilot). The article produced many positive comments, but one fellow wrote to express his dismay about permitting private pilots to become limited flight instructors (or sport pilots to become sport pilot instructors).

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2011

Every few years, I find my way to Reno, Nevada, to attend some aviation function. This year I was there for the Women in Aviation International (WAI) conference.

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2011

At a recent aviation seminar, I listened to a fellow lament the substantial cost of learning to fly. He confessed to spending upwards of $14,500 to obtain his private pilot certificate.

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2011

Riddle me this: When is an airplane not an airliner? Answer: When it’s not an airliner. But that reality hasn’t dampened the enthusiasm of many to fly their small, single-engine airplanes as if they’re operating a jumbo jet.

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Feb 01, 2011

A Polish immigrant visited his local flight surgeon to take a third class medical exam. The doctor had him stand in a specific spot, then pulled down a chart showing the letters: CVOKPTNXZYKV.

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Jan 01, 2011

When Randy stepped into his Piper Warrior on a recent Sunday morning, he had no idea how difficult it would be to apply power for takeoff. His airplane was fine; his anxiety level wasn’t.

License to Learn

Article | Dec 01, 2010

When country and western singers lament long enough, they’re often inspired to sing songs with snappy titles such as, “I’m So Miserable Without You It’s Almost Like Having You Here.” While I’m not about to make my thoughts go airborne, I do lament that student pilots seem to be taking longer to solo than they did many years ago. Perhaps this explains why some of them are singing, “I’m Feelin’ So Low Cause I Ain’t Nearin’ Solo.” In Barrett Studley’s 1936 issue of Practical Flight Training, he states: “Ten hours of dual instruction is considered the requisite amount to enable a student of average aptitude to solo safely.” Studley’s assertion assumes that students trained an hour a day or every other day (but no more than an hour at a time).

License to Learn

Article | Nov 01, 2010

Are you nervous about stall practice? You have copious company. One student I inherited from another instructor became so nervous during the stall sequence that he developed a peculiar habit of humming along with the stall horn.

License to Learn

Article | Oct 01, 2010

In 1998, Sen. John Glenn returned to space at 77 years of age on shuttle mission STS-95.

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2010

With a serious face, I tell my safety seminar audiences about my successful career transition—from Chippendale dancer to flight instructor. They always burst out laughing at this tall tale, which is of course totally humiliating.

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Aug 01, 2010

Without examining my logbook I know I have at least 2,000 hours of flight time in the Cessna 150, of which about 1,950 were spent climbing (at least it seems that way). My jest is only a reflection of my fondness of this wonderful little machine.

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Jul 01, 2010

At some time or another we’re all quitters. Take, for example, an acquaintance of mine who began piano lessons because he’d always dreamed of tickling the ivories.

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Jun 01, 2010

Anyone who has flown behind a panel full of glass in a technologically advanced aircraft knows how easy it is to be overwhelmed by information. Yet many pilots seem to handle the data and their cockpit chores with grace and aplomb—and all without having extraordinary levels of brain-processing power.

Topics Pilots

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | May 01, 2010

Over the years, I’ve seen my grandfather do a number of strange things. One time, while watching football on TV, he sat there yelling at the players.

Topics Pilots

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Apr 01, 2010

Recently, I was having a difficult time seeing things that were in plain view. I was even thinking about visiting the “Our Lady of Fatima Optometry Center,” which has the motto, “If we can’t correct your vision, at least you can have one.” My problem began with placing a candy bar on the first shelf of the kitchen pantry (I hide my chocolate there because my wife, Princess Buttercup, goes cuckoo for cocoa).

Topics Events

License to Learn

Pilot Magazine | Mar 01, 2010

“Too much of nothin’ can make a man feel ill at ease, One man’s temper might rise, while the other man’s temper might freeze. In the days of long confessions, we cannot mock a soul, When there’s too much of nothin’, no one has control.” —“Too Much of Nothing”, Peter, Paul, and Mary And sometimes too much of something isn’t such a good deal, either.