Stop chasing the needles!

A very common problem with new pilots is over-controlling the airplane, or “chasing the needles.” For example, cruising at 5,000 feet, a new pilot might notice the altitude increases a little bit, so he abruptly pushes the yoke forward in an effort to correct the deviation. He pushes a little bit too much, and the aircraft, previously climbing, starts descending. What does our pilot do? He over corrects again, in the other direction, and the aircraft climbs again.
Continue Reading

New First Officer & ATP Rules Explained

The Congress and FAA recently made some big changes to the minimum requirements for First Officers in part 121 airlines and for the way pilots get their Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) licenses. These changes will affect you if you’re dreaming of an airline pilot career. In this post I’ll explain the new rules and how they may affect you.

Continue Reading

Wildland Firefighting Aircraft – Guest Post

p3-OrionAlan Carr explores the world of fire-fighting aircraft.

If you’re flying anywhere around the Western United States, you can probably navigate from state to state using nothing more than the plumes of smoke from the massive forest fires consuming the west. On the average, more than 100,000 wildland fires scorch between 4 million and 5 million acres in the U.S. every year. In more recent years, with an increase in drought conditions throughout the west, fires have torched upwards of 9 million acres a year.

Continue Reading

Guest post: Understanding Flying Book Review

Understanding FlyingChris Oquist reviews Understanding Flying, by Richard Tylor

If you’re about to head off to pilot school or you’re simply interested in the matter, Understanding Flying by Richard Taylor is a great aviation book and one you should not miss. In this book intended to reach beginning aviators, Taylor gives a great understanding of the subject matter from the ground up. The information provided in the work is an achievement in and of itself, but Taylor keeps from digging a hole of dense vocabulary. What is left is a thorough yet entertaining read of which all ages are sure to enjoy.

Continue Reading

Top 6 ways to building your flight time

Building flight time is one of the major challenges you’ll face during your pilot’s career. In this article, I’ll cover some of the top ways to build your flight experience.

Continue Reading

Highlights of New FAA Runway Taxi Clearances

The new FAA runway taxi phraseology went into effect on June 30th, 2010. This article highlights the changes. Visit for more information.

FAA ATC taxi instructions changes

The FAA announced today the following changes to standard taxi instruction phraseology:

Effective June 30, 2010, air traffic controllers will no longer use the term “taxi to” when authorizing aircraft to taxi to an assigned takeoff runway. With the change, controllers must issue explicit clearances to pilots crossing any runway (active/inactive or closed) along the taxi route. In addition, pilots crossing multiple runways must be past the first runway they are cleared to cross before controllers can issue the next runway-crossing clearance. One exception to the new rule is at airports where taxi routes between runway centerlines are fewer than 1,000 feet apart. In this case, multiple runway crossings may be issued if approved by the FAA Terminal Services Director of Operations. The elimination of the “taxi to” phrase will apply only to departing aircraft. Arriving aircraft will still hear the phrase “taxi to” when instructed to taxi to the gate or ramp. However, controllers in these situations still will be required to issue specific crossing instructions for each runway encountered on the taxi route. For more information on the change, refer to FAA Order N JO 7110.528, which can be found at:

Pilots will visit the M.D less often

Effective July 24, 2008, the FAA extended the validity period of pilot medical certificates. This change will allow some pilots to visit the aviation medical doctor less often.

The extension applies only to first and third class medical certificates issued to pilots under the age of 40. Under the old rule, a third class medical certificate, required for the operation as a private pilot, issued to a pilot under the age of 40 was valid for 36 calendar months (3 years). The new rule extends that period to 60 calendar months (5 years)

Continue Reading

Flight training in the 21st century


21st Century Flight training

Just a couple of years ago, the typical flight school airplane was using technologies that have changed very little since the 1950s. Even newly manufactured airplanes still had the standard six pack mechanical instruments. However, this changed dramatically when systems such as the Garmin 1000 and Avidyne Entegra quickly took over the General Aviation market. Today, you can find Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA) with sophisticated glass cockpit avionics almost everywhere.

Continue Reading

First Fuel Cell Powered Piloted Aircraft Flies


Antares DLR-H2, the first manned aircraft able to takeoff and fly powered by fuel cells took its first flight this week on July 7 in Hamburg, Germany.

The Antares is a motor glider with a very low noise footprint and zero CO2 emissions. It was developed as a testbed for fuel cell technologies by the DLR Institute for Technical Thermodynamics (Stuttgart, Germany) in collaboration with Lange Aviation, BASF Fuel Cells and Serenergy (Denmark).

Continue Reading