Monthly Archives: June 2015

Regulations: Medical Certificates

The first step in becoming a pilot is selecting an aircraft (whether it’s airplanes, gyroplanes, weight-shift, helicopters, powered parachutes, gliders, balloons, or even airships). The second step is obtaining a medical certificate and Student Pilot’s Certificate if the choice of aircraft is an airplane, helicopter, gyroplane, or airship. Today, with help from the Pilot’s Handbook […]

CFI Brief: Magnetic Compass

However controversial, it is said that the magnetic compass first originated in China during the Qin Dynasty sometime between 212 and 206 B.C. as a Chinese fortune telling device. It wasn’t until the 13th Century that the magnetic compass began to be widely used as a directive aid during maritime and terrestrial navigation. But don’t […]

Flight Instruments: The Altimeter and Altitudes

Today we’re taking another look at flight instruments, specifically the altimeter. Understanding the instrument and altitudes is critical in learning to fly. This post comes from on of our favorite textbooks, Bob Gardner‘s The Complete Private Pilot. Aircraft altimeters are aneroid (dry) barometers calibrated to read in feet above sea level. The altimeter gets its […]

CFI Brief: Summertime!

The official start to summer is just right around the corner, an exciting time particularly up here in the Pacific Northwest. With summer upon us we tend to see an increase in temperatures and more VFR weather, resulting in an increase in air traffic at and around airports. Changing seasons means a changing environment and […]

Aircraft Systems: Fuel Induction Systems

In March we looked at the basics of how an internal combustion works. Your airplane’s engine is a four-cycle engine: on the intake stroke, a fuel/air mixture is drawn into the cylinder as the piston moves down; the mixture is then compressed on an upward piston stroke; a spark ignites the mixture driving the piston […]

CFI Brief: Confidence on the Radios

Let me quote §61.103(b), “Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language…”. This here is one of the eligibility requirements for Private Pilots and every other Pilot Certificate for that matter. Throughout training, however, it seems as if we are learning an entirely new language consisting of proper ATC phraseology and technique […]

Aerodynamics: Spins

This post on spins is derived from the FAA Airplane Flying Handbook, available from ASA in print and in PDF format. A spin may be defined as an aggravated stall that results in what is termed “autorotation” wherein the airplane follows a downward corkscrew path. As the airplane rotates around a vertical axis, the rising […]

CFI Brief: UPS Flight 1354 Crash, Lessons Learned

You may remember back in 2013 a UPS Airbus A300-600 crashed while on final approach to Birmingham International Airport, both pilots were fatally injured. The National Transportation Safety Board has just wrapped up a nearly two year investigation into the accident and on Monday released the first ever video companion to an accident report. The […]

Communication Procedures: Airport Traffic Area Communications and Light Signals

Things can happen, and part of being a good aviator is competently handling adverse situations when they arise. It is possible that a pilot might experience a malfunction of the radio. This might cause the transmitter, receiver, or both to become inoperative. Here’s how to handle landing at a towered airport in this scenario, as […]

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