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I finally flew the other day -- it had been over a year since my last flight, and I was seriously out of currency!! Thankfully, I have a friend who is also a flight instructor, so we rented a Cessna 150 together at the flight school where I had done my training a few years earlier, and took off along the shoreline of Lake Ontario for a little refresher flight.
After finishing my PPL in 2013, I had sort of thought I'd rent a plane once a month or so, and go flying alone or with my kids... even with friends who wanted to get the perspective of being in a small airplane. But without a concrete plan in place, those ideas soon turned into "busy with work and family", and suddenly, several months had passed without any PIC hours in my logbook!
Today's post is contributed by Vera C. Teschow, who earned her PPL in Toronto in 2013, and blogged about her flight training experiences at CYTZ and CYYG throughout the process. (Visit her flight training journal online here.) This post is aimed at student pilots pursuing a PPL.
Choosing your first aviation headset is a big decision! It signifies that you've truly committed to this whole flight training thing. It can be a serious financial investment too, depending on the type of headset you wind up buying.
In this day and age, we are all well familiar with the wonderful array of aviation services that can be found online. All manner of information, from aviation weather to aeronautical regulations is at our fingertips as long as we have internet access. While many of those services are well loved and well used, there are a few other resources floating around the world wide web that pilots are generally not that well aware of. Today we'll look at some of the lesser known gems available on the Nav Canada web site -- the people who bring you ATC, air traffic services, aviation charts and weather resources.
Whenever you travel on an airline, your flight always begins with a safety briefing by the flight attendants.
Needless to say, in a little Cessna, Piper or a similar GA airplane, a passenger briefing is even more critical due to the cabin's small size and the passenger's proximity to flight controls -- not to mention required by law (CAR 602.89).
Unfortunately, you probably do not have a flight attendant in your four-seater, so you'll have to provide the briefing yourself.
John Erickson, CFI, has just over 8000 hours of flight training time and over 16,000 hours of varied types of flying and aircraft, including time accumulated on power line and pipeline patrol. He's been running his company (Sunrise Aviation in Saskatchewan) for 22 years. John's website proclaims "the most dangerous part of flight training is the drive to the airport". We talked to John recently about how driving can interfere with flight training, and how he -- as a flight instructor -- deals with some of the quirks of thos who drive and want to learn to fly.
OFTM: John, your website jokes about the drive to the airport, but I know you feel strongly about how driving can interfere with learning to fly an airplane. Tell us more about that.
JESA: I've found that the biggest challenge in flight training is with rudder pedals on take off and landing, and students using the yoke like a steering wheel. People that we train have been driving for many years and they have a difficult time steering with their feet when they have a steering wheel in their hands. That's usually why they have problems in a cross wind. It's much easier teaching in an airplane with a stick.
OFTM: How do you help students understand the effect of crosswind on landings?
All flight instructors worth their salt have a few tricks up their sleeve to check just how well you actually know your stuff. In this post, we'll let you in on a few of those secrets of the trade, along with the antidotes, so when this troublemaker in the right seat tries to throw you off track, you'll be prepared.
One of the first things we learn as pilots is to use “feel” in controlling the airplane. That is, to listen to and control how hard we have to push or pull on the yoke to make the airplane fly the way we want. Thank you to Alec Myers (owner of Alec Myers Flight Training) for contributing these notes, intended to help you make a bit more sense of what you’re feeling, especially in the first few hours of flight.
You’ve probably already been taught that you should use the yoke to position the nose to get the airspeed you want, and then trim the airplane so there’s no force required on the yoke. So the first two yoke force factors are airspeed and trim-tab position.
In fact we often talk about trim tab position in terms of trim-speed - for a given trim tab position the speed at which the aircraft flies straight and level hands-off (i.e. zero yoke force). Once you’re past trimmed for a particular airspeed it takes a push or pull to fly the airplane at a different airspeed. In other words it’s how far from trim speed that you’re flying that determines the force.
Today's blog post is contributed by T.Kachira, a flight instructor with Toronto's Island Air Flight School and Charters.Photo by skuenti
Imagine a scenario: You're on a routine cross-country flight. Then something happens that requires to change plans. That could happen for any number of reasons: weather unexpectedly closing in on you; the headwind is far stronger than you realize and you can't make it to the original destination; your passenger suddenly falls ill and you need to land and seek some help for him ASAP. Time for a diversion!
No doubt you've covered (or about to cover) the procedure for executing a diversion in the course of your flight training. But have you internalized its purpose?
Sometimes new students concentrate so much on the procedure taught, they find themselves getting lost in minor details, to the detriment of the overall purpose of the exercise.
It is always useful to hear a perspective of an experience instructor/pilot on an exercise, and I recently had the privilege to sit on a PPL flight test debrief with a very experienced and enthusiastic examiner, who, among other things, shared his insights into this exercise with us.
This blog post is -- admittedly -- a bit of a sales pitch. But what can I say? I am so impressed with the quality of our product, I felt it necessary to sing our praises just a little bit.
I'm a student pilot, and one of the masterminds behind Online FTM.
When I started my PPL nearly three years ago, I desperately wished for a clear, easy-to-follow online version of the flight training manual. Nothing existed, and anything that came even close was well out of my price range. Finally, I convinced some of the pilots and flight instructors I have come to know over the past few years to share their expertise in developing this online resource.