In 2017 thousands of pilots ramped up to go flying again when BasicMed took effect on May 1. By year’s end, nearly 25,000 pilots had returned to the skies under the new rule. AOPA has many online resources, including the medical self-assessment course, frequently asked questions, and more. Meanwhile, the pilot shortage drove hiring at a brisk page, leaving flight schools scrambling for CFIs. On the regulatory front, the FAA released commercial pilot airman certification standards, as well as updates to the private pilot-airplane ACS that tweaked the evaluation of slow flight and stall recovery. Pilots were quick to weigh in on the idea of a continuous turning approach or “circular pattern” as an alternative to the traditional box pattern, with some well-known aviation educators objecting to the idea as being unsafe. American Flyers departed California’s Santa Monica Municipal Airport (SMO) in April after 50 years at that location. A controversial agreement to close the airport in 2028 was part of the deciding factor. Finally, the Aug. 21 total eclipse gave thousands of pilots a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to view the event as only pilots can—flying to one of more than 240 airports in the path of totality.
BEST OF 2017
These are the stories that caught your attention in 2017.
Down the rabbit hole
All eyes are on your flight school in the aftermath of an accident, and it’s tempting to go on the defensive. But there are solid reasons why you should not yield to temptation when talking to the media. READ MORE ›
Here comes third class medical reform: What does it mean for your flight school?
Under BasicMed, most pilots who have held a valid medical certificate any time in the decade prior to July 15, 2016, need not take another medical exam, but can continue to fly so long as they meet some additional requirements. What does it mean for you and your flight school? We break down BasicMed as it applies to your customers and CFIs. READ MORE ›
Are you struggling to hire flight instructors? Are your current flight instructors eying the door? CFI recruitment must be a critical function of flight school management. William Woodbury shows you how to approach recruitment and explore creative ideas to find CFIs in your own backyard. READ MORE ›
Great website! What does it do?
The fanciest website in the world—or the simplest one—won’t do what it’s meant to do if you treat it like a passive brochure that hangs out on the Internet hoping to get noticed. How can your website benefit your aviation business—and how can you measure those benefits? Colin Jordan explains. READ MORE ›
Get your social media cooking: 10 killer ideas to keep your content crisp and on course
Has your social media program stalled because you can’t think of ways to keep fresh content coming? William Woodbury gives you 10 ideas to get your social media cooking once again. This is your best strategy for creating an audience that thinks of your flight school as the go-to place for training, rental, and community. READ MORE ›
CFIs behaving badly
Pattern work and even stall recoveries and crosswind landings can become humdrum for some flight instructors. Most find suitable ways to handle the tedium, but a few deal with it in ways that end up in NTSB accident reports. READ MORE ›
Aviation has its share of conventional wisdom—beliefs that are so deeply ingrained for so long that nobody questions their validity any more. But maybe it’s time to revisit some aviation-related conventional wisdom. How about the early first solo? Or stall avoidance versus stall recovery? Or the VMC demonstration? READ MORE ›