Taxiing for Takeoff

Then to make things a bit more intimidating, your instructor tunes the radio and listens to a monotonous broadcast delivered by a bored air traffic controller. “Information lima, altimeter two niner niner two, winds from two eight five at 10, gusts to 15, use runway two eight…” Before you can ask what did all that…

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How to Avoid Wingtip Strikes Taxiing in a Strong Wind

Then to make things a bit more intimidating, your instructor tunes the radio and listens to a monotonous broadcast delivered by a bored air traffic controller. “Information lima, altimeter two niner niner two, winds from two eight five at 10, gusts to 15, use runway two eight…” Before you can ask what did all that…

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How to stay on Altitude without Concentrating Intently

Now your instructor decides to introduce one more control – a control you’ll learn to appreciate and use frequently: the elevator trim. During your walk-around you noticed a small hinged flap on the trailing edge of the elevator that your instructor called a ‘trim tab.’ And in the cockpit below the throttle, mixture and carburetor…

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How to Takeoff and Climb without Chasing the Airspeed Needle

You realize that she was right. Airspeed is controlled by the elevator control because pilots adjust pitch attitude with the elevator control. Here’s how you come to that realization: It’s your turn to fly. Focusing on the airspeed indicator, you push your nose down until it points at the right airspeed. Good… not so good.…

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How to Avoid Missing Critical Items (and Other Learning to Fly Tips)

This is it. You’re gonna fly. You’re belted into the left seat with the headset on – ready to fly! Your instructor pulls the wheel backward and forward and says, “This is your airspeed.” She touches the throttle saying, “This is your altitude.” You think, “It’s a bit early in the morning. She’s got it…

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Slow flight and Stalls can be very Exciting

Once you’re at 3,000 MSL in the practice area and have made the necessary clearing turns, she says, “We’re going to kill two birds with one stone. I want you to enter straight ahead slow flight at constant altitude, but slow it until you can feel the elevator shudder. Then smoothly apply full power, push…

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Adverse Yaw and Coordinated Turns

She explains, “We’re going to do coordinated turns. That means that you coordinate your rudder and ailerons. “We turn by banking in the direction we want to turn. “Let’s say we’re going to turn left. We bank left by rolling the wheel left. That raises the left aileron and lower the right aileron. When the…

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Flying Through Thunderstorms

I didn’t know how dangerous the situation was. The air had been smooth but was starting to get bumpy. We had been in solid clouds since before Clovis, New Mexico. Center handed me off to Lubbock Approach Control who had given me vectors to intercept the localizer for the ILS approach. Then they cleared me…

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How to land any Plane

This simple three step procedure is widely endorsed by both Air Force and Navy fighter pilots, by most airline pilots and almost all crop dusters. Unfortunately few flight schools teach it because it is not required on a check ride. That’s a shame. When I started teaching it, my students began to solo a full…

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Spins, Flat Spins, and Stalls

The field below us was spinning like Auntie Em’s house in the Wizard of Oz. The Cessna 152 spun in an almost vertical, nose-not-quite-straight-down attitude. By sitting up in our seats we could see the point that the world was spinning around. We had finished our third or fourth rotation when that point started to disappear…

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