56 search results for: what it takes to be one sharp pilot


What STOL everybody’s attention?

If you keep tabs on current aviation news and social media, you’ve noticed this thing called “STOL” has become popular. Not a day goes by that you don’t see a reference to STOL, a reminder of an upcoming STOL event, or even an image or video of a STOL airplane approaching a gravel bar or a makeshift dirt strip. What is STOL, why is it growing like a wildfire, and how can you learn more about it?

Being sick never felt so good—a whimsical tale of a Viking owner

It was an epiphany for me. As though smacked upside the head, I realized I am more than a pilot; more than someone who makes a living operating aircraft. All things aeronautical are part of my DNA. As a kid, I used to fly my fork at the dinner table and plan cross-countries by laying charts out on my bed. I am an aviator!
Stewart Mountain Dam, AZ

Breaking news—and breaking the rules

The visibility forward decreased gradually, but you could still see the ground. We were able to see Granite Reef, a small diversion dam and the point where the Verde and Salt rivers merge, but continuing further east was becoming a problem. Yet my urge to get the on-air reporter to the news site was strong. After all, that’s what I was getting paid to do.
Max Conrad by airplane

From the archives: long distance pilot Max Conrad

In this trip through the archives, we're republishing an article from the November 1965 edition of Air Facts. Here, regular contributor Neil Armstrong profiles "the Maestro of Flight—Max Conrad." If the name sounds familiar it's because he set numerous flying records in the 1950s and 1960s, most of them in general aviation airplanes. 
Light rain

The right pilot mindset: realistic, not conservative

You’ve heard the cliche: flying isn’t dangerous, it’s just unforgiving. The unforgiving nature of aviation has serious consequences, which we should remember every time we sit in the left seat. The stakes are simply higher than in almost any other part of life, so our day-to-day risk management tools are not enough.
AF cover, 8-70

Wolfgang Langewiesche on pilot proficiency

We're diving into the Air Facts archives for another thought-provoking article from legendary pilot and author Wolfgang Langewiesche. In "A Ladder to Climb," which first appeared in the August 1970 edition of Air Facts, he argues that pilots need to step up their game and offers a suggestion for how they might do that—with a nod to the world of gliders. Might this be easier with modern technology?

Grayout at 17,000 feet

On Monday, August 13, 2012, I came as close to dying in an airplane as I ever want to. Accidents typically don’t stem from one cause or event. There is usually a series or chain of events that occur where if even one of the links were broken, disaster might have been averted. My case was no different. Looking back on it, I was lucky in spite of a series of events and decisions that contributed to my situation and could have ended very badly.

Flying old school

I am an Old School pilot. I don’t have a sophisticated, built-in navigational system, nor even an autopilot in our plane. That does not mean I do not know how to fly a 530, but I learned to fly on a float plane on Lake Union in Seattle when I was 19 and the experience formed much of my view of flying.
On final

Pilot-induced oscillations: are you a sinner or a victim?

You have probably seen this before: a GoPro video showing a pilot struggling with large inputs on the yoke, giving the throttle a hard time with either high thrust or idle power, and after a fair amount of time focused on that demanding approach, a smooth touchdown followed by a reassuring smile. On the title of the video, something mentioning a high crosswind component, and below, the comments saying that the pilot nailed it like a boss. Did he or she?
Valley in CO

High mountain flying course: it takes more than a pilot license and a plane

Our first stop of the day would be Granby, Colorado (GNB) to visit the headwaters of the mighty Colorado River. This was the first leg of a flight that would demonstrate what I had learned in an eight-hour ground school at Western Air Flight Academy as part of a High Mountain Flying Course.
Clouds in sky

What it takes to be one sharp pilot: pragmatic

Pragmatic. That does sound like a pretty good flying plan for private aviation. I say that because our flying is unscripted and flexible as opposed to, for example, airline flying which is anything but unscripted and flexible and is not always based on practical considerations.
Cirrus SR22

What it takes to be one sharp pilot, part four: realistic

In this off-again on-again series I have touched on awareness, intelligence and coordination. Those are all important. Being realistic also sounds like part of a plan for flying. The first thing that comes to mind is the extremely tired old saw about knowing your (or your airplane’s) limitations. In fact, that has been said with evangelical zeal so many times that, with this mention, I am going to leave it behind.

What it takes to be one sharp pilot, part three: coordination

Operating a private airplane has come to require more and more coordination as time has passed. In the good old days, coordination was thought of mainly in relation to the use of the elevator, ailerons, rudder and power. Now it has become a matter of getting all your stuff together before a flight and keeping it together until the airplane is secured after the flight. Multitasking might be a better word for that.

Top 10 articles of 2015 at Air Facts

We had 76 different pilots write for Air Facts over the past 12 months. Almost all of these were just regular pilots who had a story, tip or opinion to share, but they brought an incredibly diverse range of experiences and perspectives. In closing out the year, we thought readers might enjoy a look back at our top 10 most popular articles.

Is coordinating the use of gizmos to control stick, rudder, pitch and power really flying?

Before you accuse me of throwing gasoline on a fire, I’ll say up front that is exactly what I am doing. The airplane, it seems, has become almost secondary. It is this that has sparked the debate. Is the tail wagging the dog?

What it takes to be one sharp pilot, part two: intelligence

When contemplating a smoking hole made by an airplane, “That was a dumb mistake” is a frequent pronouncement. I think that is misleading because I am not aware of any smart mistakes, especially in airplanes. It just takes a relatively high level of native (as opposed to educated on things other than flying) intelligence to perform well as a pilot.

What it takes to be one sharp pilot – start with awareness

Here is a list of the things that I think define a sharp pilot. This is based on well over 50 years of studying general aviation accidents, the theory being that sharp pilots don’t crash. I put "aware" first.

An evening alone

“Lights, camera, action!” I recite to no one but me. It’s my final mantra before takeoff in my Cavalier. Nav and strobe lights on, transponder to ALT, and power up to go. Gladys, my instructor, taught me that.

This is why you became a pilot

OK, so after a year or so of lessons, studying, agonizing over the written, sweating during the oral and dreading the practical, you’ve done it! You are a pilot! Now what? What do you do with this very rare right and privilege?

I really felt like a pilot when…

The 172 touched down at I69, just another Cessna making a landing at this busy flight training airport. But this flight was different, and this Cessna hadn't come from the practice area. In fact, as I taxied N51766 to the ramp, I felt a sense of accomplishment I had never experienced before. This was the end of a 1600 mile journey from California to Cincinnati--and I really felt like a pilot.