License to Learn

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License to learn: Steppin' in it

Pilot Magazine | Oct 01, 2012

Everyone makes mistakes on the radio now and then.

License to learn: Free to choose

Pilot Magazine | Sep 01, 2012

So how many is too many?

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.

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).