At some stage, you begin to shop for airplanes, and the choices are many. Trainer planes, sport planes, fast planes, STOL planes. But do you have the flying skills to fly the plane you buy? Often I see individuals that have bought a plane prior to holding the license to fly it. It occurs often. Their response is, “you can teach me to fly with it right”? My response is “perhaps”. The plane you buy after you obtain a Private Pilot License will be quite different than the plane you choose, before you learn to fly. Quite often people who buy planes before getting licensees get airplanes that are outside of the skill set that they have. This leads to an airplane that scares them or is more performance than necessary. Never buy an airplane that is beyond your current skill set. Now one has to do an inventory of their flying skills and habits so that they know better what airplane suits their needs.
Flying experience will be the defining factor in what airplane you buy. A 300 hour total time Private pilot might be ready for a Piper Arrow with retractable gear and a constant speed prop.
Likely not a 300 Mile Per Hour 2 seat Questair Venture that has a 300 Horsepower engine though. It takes good training in each airplane that you buy, to learn to fly it well. And this is the point of my discussion. Like the airplane shown above, you will need someone competent on the type to help you learn to fly it well. A 65 hour private pilot will find some of these higher performance airplanes appealing but very challenging to fly, especially if there are mechanical problems. Over time, you will trade up that Piper Cherokee 140 for that Piper Arrow, and then one day sometime later trade that Arrow up to a Piper Comanche 400.
The adventure in airplane ownership is part of the game. Airplanes are holding prices and in some cases rise in price, your initial investment in the right airplane at the right time will pay dividend in experience and perhaps profit. Provided one is competent to fly each model and not get into trouble with it. In any case, and at all stages, nothing pays more than good effective flight training in the airplanes you buy at the right time you buy them.
Wondering if Flying at the age of 5o is even possible? Well it is and you can do it. The private pilot license is something you can do and there is a website available that can begin to guide the way. Just for Us old guys who want to learn to fly and don’t think it’s possible, well it is and you can. It’s a process and here to help that process is a website pplaviation.com that can help you with a good deal of answers.
Many people who wanted to fly their whole life, can and do by looking into how to get started. Swing on over to pplaviation.com and read all about how easy it is. Terry is over there to help…
I am a member of the Canadian Aviation Museum in Windsor Ontario and on this fine day I had the opportunity to view a fine example RV-14 that lives in this great museum. This aircraft was out working on some pilot upgrading. The weather was superb as you can see in this image so this crew was taking advantage of the skies. More can be found about this plane and the pilots activities surrounding it at flightchops.com
Canadian Aviation Museum at Windsor is a super place to learn about our aviation heritage with a superb display of aircraft dating back many decades. Please visit this great venue on a fine Saturday.
Some resources exist for those interested in model aircraft construction. Long fuselage, large wing area, simple plan form and generous moments. Aerodynamic features that give the impression that is would be a reasonable flying aircraft.
Single seat aircraft for closed course racing or even perhaps some sprint type cross country events of the post war era. I would suspect those interested in Flight Simulator Aircraft Design like X-plane 11 or X-plane 12 would be able to model easily.
In April of 2022, I walked into my local flying club to go for a scheduled introductory flight. This is a repeat of something that I did about 25 years earlier. At 55 years old, I had set my goal of becoming a Commercial Pilot.
I had booked the introductory flight about two weeks earlier after doing a significant amount of research. There were two flight schools in my area:
One flight school flew the more traditional Cessna 172s and Tomahawks as their training aircraft while the other flew the modern Diamond DA20, DA40, and DA42 aircraft as their training aircraft. I jumped all over the opportunity of flying the modern, sleek Diamond aircraft for my training. These aircraft came with a partial or full glass cockpit. Modern training and aircraft for a modern aviation career. My hopes were dashed as the school that I wanted to fly with was affiliated with a university aviation program and they would be too busy to accept “off-the-street”, walk-in private pilot training.
So, I had the choice now to do my introductory flight in a Tomahawk or a Cessna. After careful consideration and research, I chose the Tomahawk. I have read all about the infamous “Tramahawk”, but also read that it would make me a better pilot.
It was a windy, gusty day.
Remember I said that I was repeating something that I had done about 25 years earlier? 25 years earlier I walked into another flying club for an introductory flight. It was wonderful. I flew a few more hours until an accident sidelined me for over a year. Life and all other things took over and I could just never get back to it.
I have had aviation in my blood back as far as I could remember. I read books, built models, and flew remote control aircraft (The Spitfire was and still is my favorite aircraft). I have flown every version of Microsoft Flight Simulator including flying on VATSIM to get the realism of ATC (I still do today). I did Aircrew selection for the Canadian Armed forces as a Pilot and was excepted. The military aviator career didn’t work out for me, but I still knew that all I wanted to do was fly.
So, back to my introduction flight in the Tomahawk.
We did the walk-around, weight and balance, and briefing. The flight instructor was very thorough with her explanations as we walked around the aircraft. She explained why we were doing all the things that we were doing. It was pilot education and learning right from the get-go. We then proceeded to go back into the club and into a briefing room where she then proceeded to explain what we would be doing on the flight. This sounded all very familiar to me as I had already done this once before. She told me that I would be sitting in the left seat and would be flying the aircraft after takeoff. After the briefing was completed, we headed back to the aircraft. She handed me the keys and the checklists and had me go through the prestart checklist. After all checklists were completed, I did the so familiar “CLEAR PROP” out the window and started the engine. My flight instructor completed all the radio calls and then we taxied out to the apron in front of the club where we completed the run-up. After we completed all the necessary checks and received ATC clearance we proceeded to the designated runway. We were cleared for takeoff. Smooth full throttle on a count of 1, 2, 3.
We rolled down the runway until we were in the air. I realize I left out a lot of detail there but be assured that all proper checks and checklists were completed throughout the process. My flight instructor was extremely thorough and talked me through every step. Even if I wasn’t controlling, she was telling me exactly what and why she was doing things. I have to say that I was extremely impressed with this young flight instructor. I felt very comfortable.
I want to end each part of these articles here with a key takeaway. Something that I just alluded to is extremely important. I just mentioned that I was very impressed with the instructor and felt comfortable. Remember, this is “YOUR” Education as a new pilot. While you are overwhelmed with everything that is going on, you must make sure you take the time to ensure that you can be comfortable with the person that you will be sitting beside for possibly many months. You also must ensure that the aircraft you are in is giving you the experience you want. You should be mentally interviewing both things as well as trying to enjoy the flight. This will be harder than you think because you are so busy soaking up all the information that you are receiving that your head will feel like it is swimming.
Maybe because I am older and I wanted to make sure that I was getting a great experience and value for my money, I knew that this was going to be a part of my introduction flight. I didn’t do that the first time and I paid for it with a couple of bad experiences.
I did complete my interview during the flight and after. I decided to make some changes, but it may not be what you think.
Most aviators will have a near miss with another aircraft sooner or later in their career. This begs the question. Why do they happen? What can be done to prevent them in the future? My story comes during the hour building portion of my flight training, so naturally I was a very inexperienced pilot just starting to gain confidence. Thankfully for me the situation was not fatal, however, it could have been. So, what went wrong?
This story is set in the North of England at an airfield called “Sherburn”. Sherburn is an uncontrolled airfield, this means there is no ATC and no one who has authority to control aircraft traffic. Sherburn is a fairly quiet airport with a variety of visiting aircraft. This includes old WW2 training aircraft like the “Tiger Moth” which are not equipped with radios or transponders. The significance of this will become apparent later on.
In aviation, many pilots dread the experience of an emergency in flight. In my early years I also disliked working on emergencies. But it doesn’t have to be that way. Done correctly, emergencies are as simple as a 4 legged chair.
First Leg. Maintain Aircraft Control.
A situation occurs, the engine runs weird, some change in rpm that seems unusual. An RPM change from 2450 down to 2100 and then back up again in an instant. You and your flying partner look at each other. The RPM then drops again to 2000 RPM…
You have likely heard others say, “Fly The Plane” or “Maintain Aircraft Control”. Well in this case, just fly straight and level. No turns, trim the plane to get level flight at the power setting that you are experiencing. If that means reducing speed to best endurance then do so and get it trimmed. This may stabilize the rough engine or power loss.
Then Wait… well 15 seconds wait, to do the next Leg in the chair.
Second Leg Analyze The Situation
Like really look at the aircraft, it’s indications, it’s running habits and analyze what is happening, don’t jump on a fix. wait another 15 seconds. Keep flying the plane! Try to discover what is going on, or going wrong.
Third Leg Take Appropriate Action
It’s at this point you make a plan to rectify the situation, Red Page? Yellow Page? (what are those?) See if a change in what the checklist says for the situation makes a difference to the flight condition. Get the airplane operating safely, even if it’s a reduced speed and power setting. Don’t forget Leg One.
Fourth Leg Logical Conclusion Bring the situation to a logical conclusion. “think like Spock” be realistic, logical, the correct answer to these situations is a four letter word. “LAND” Land now or Land later, you will land. Make a plan to fly the plane to a normal landing. Don’t panic, be reasonable, make a simple plan. Use in the plan the basic flying skills that you were shown in your training, don’t get complicated. Use airspeeds just above approach. Trim your plane. Find a way home or to the nearest suitable aerodrome or private airstrip. Normal rejoin to the traffic pattern, normal circuit, normal landing. Do what you know. Be prompt but don’t rush. Remember, you want to be logical with the choices that you make are safe and effective.
Taxi free of the landing strip. Shut down, get out of the plane and walk away from it. You Are walking away…
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Piloting is a work in progress, and often you find yourself doing routine tasks over and over. But, there is a pace of task that has to be recognized in order to get tasks done in a prompt and routine manner.
When standing still, tasks halt. In flying there is no halt, the tasks keep going because you are not standing still. One of the challenges for new pilots to grasp is the sense of routine and its associated pace. If there is a challenge to flight performance and degraded pace of learning, it’s because students or new student pilots are not developing the sense of expectation and task application. Continue Reading….
Canada has been increasingly becoming the go-to choice for most international students. Be it graduate courses, undergraduate programs, diplomas, or post-doctoral programs, students have been increasingly seen drawn to the country. In fact, according to the Professional Flight Centre, 50% of the business they get is from abroad. Continue Reading…
The day started normal enough, light winds from the North, high overcast, and fine temperatures. April is a good time to get a checkout in a new airplane and I had been looking forward to learning to fly a new design. The Light Sport Aircraft category of aircraft and are becoming popular all over the world. As a flight instructor, this makes new opportunities to check out some new pilots in these sport airplanes. The airplane that I was invited to fly was a TL-2000 Sting Sport Aircraft. Continue Reading…
Is there a case for picking the low wing over the high wing in flight training? I certainly have my preferences and perhaps you may as well. People tend to pick the airplane style that they trained on but in the long run they fly the plane that they feel is the easiest for them to fly. In fact, learn to fly everything you get a to operate. The flying characteristics of an aircraft really come down to it’s wing area and overall weight. Wing Loading is the term, and just because the wing is up or down has little bearing on Wing Loading. Some aircraft have wings in the middle.
I recommend that in your flight training you try both the high wing and the low wing airplanes to see what you like, if that is an option. Bottom line is that in your flying experience, fly as many different types of airplanes as you can. At some point you will find airplanes that you like to fly and ones that you don’t. Over time you will form your own preferences. As your experience develops so will your choice in airplanes.
Everything’s connected. Your landings are a direct result of how well you fly your circuit pattern. Recently I have been reviewing procedures for various aircraft and I have completed a procedure for the Alon A2 Air coupe that was presented earlier on my website.
It’s a small 2 seat classic aircraft with a long history over the decades. In this case I have outlined the circuit and approach plan for this airplane in an effort to create a Checkout Notes program.
Below is a quick sketch and I will include the write up for this on a separate page. Continue reading.
So you get into your airplane and your instructor says to you,
“Hey where is your Kneeboard, your desk? What are you going to write on and fly at the same time”?
“I did not think I needed one of those.”
“Well look what’s on my knee! I am a professional, I use the Pro tools, If you were a pro golfer you would want the pro golf clubs right, you want to be a Pro Pilot one day don’t you”?
“Well, Yes, but I am trying to save money for flying”?
“Ya, Crappy flying”…
It’s just a tin plate, but in the aircraft, this thing is your second brain. You are so busy flying you don’t have time to think because you are already reasoning about the size of your circuit, and the speed you need to be at before you turn to base. ATC calls the Cessna in front of you that is on final and gives him some new winds, you write that info down on your kneeboard because you don’t need that info just yet but can use it. So, on final you are trying to sort out your crosswind and since you wrote the wind info down on your kneeboard it’s there, right there. Your Runway is RW 26 and the winds are 280/22Kts and you think, “can I handle that crosswind”? Because you had a desk, you used it when you had the chance and later the info was there when you needed it. However, Prior to flight, your instructor got you to prepare the details of the flight on a piece of paper that just so happens to be just the size to fit on a kneeboard. That’s by design. Up and Down times, Departure plan, Radio frequencies, Altitudes and distance restrictions. Notes, Notes.
Over the years I have found it an indispensable tool. It holds the pen, is solid surface, and clips my mission cards and flight notes, navigation logs to something rigid, like your leg.
I have always used the thin aluminum plate, It does not get in the way of the controls. It’s light and easy to attach to your leg. And best of all it’s Under $25 bucks. The last tin plate kneeboard lasted 25 years, I worked it out, that’s $1.00 a year, for a highly Under Rated aviation tool. You will use a kneeboard for your whole career in one form or another.
The Image above is linked to a location for you to purchase one. Great tool in the airplane that serves as a platform for your second brain.
Knowledge is the cornerstone to being the best aviator you can be. Without reasonable knowledge about your flying education, your ability to operate successfully is compromised.
So how do you get educated? Transport Canada with the Private Pilot and the Commercial Pilot Flight Training programs require particular lengths of ground training outlined in each section of the requirements for Pilot Training. Continue Reading here….
Simulators for aviation have been around a long time, certainly since I began using my home PC in 1989. I wanted my home PC to work flight sims since I was a new commercial pilot. I could see advantages to my aviation experience through the early flight sim software like Microsoft Flight Sim. Things have come a long way for sims from that time.
As an aspiring Private Pilot, how are these types of simulators an advantage?
Flight sim work in aviation training can be credited if the simulator is Accredited or Certified. These types of sims are attached to Flight Training Schools and serve to build skills necessary for the Private Pilot License and The Commercial Pilot License. Some flight time in these simulators is credited to the Instrument Flying portions of each license. The alternative is doing this same work in the aircraft at twice the price. In some cases savings can be considerable. This sim time is allowed to be logged in your personal Logbook or Training record. However, nothing beats a real plane. Continue Reading….
Free you say? I have to shell out big bucks for every flight for the airplane and the instructor. Yup you do, but just remember that education is all the time, in the plane or out.
The moment you put a booking onto the flight sheet for the next flight, is when the education for that flight begins. You are committing to a future event that you know will make you a better pilot. Perhaps its getting to solo, perhaps it’s a practice flight prior to your commercial flight test. So now that the mission is booked what do you do? Many people do very little, perhaps read a bit of assigned material that their instructor told them. Perhaps some people do more. So you get to your flight session and your instructor asks, “did you read that section on landings yet?” and you say “ah, no, not really”. Just then, you experience your flying account money get drained out sooner because now your instructor has to review more extensively the things he wants to cover in the flight, in the pre-flight briefing. Had you read that material beforehand then he would have skipped or skimmed over the material recognizing that you have a reasonable grasp of the things he wants to show you in the plane. Pre-Flight prep saves you big time in the briefing room and the airplane time.
The Aircraft is a horrible environment to learn something new, with the stress, noise, movements, yacking instructor. So you want to make the most of the things you do with the airplane while flying. It’s the place to practice the things that you have already learned. It’s a place to do stuff with your hands, feet and brain. Sure at times, your instructor will demonstrate new things, or fly the plane for you and do things with the plane that you would not have seen or done before. “hey, I have control, let me show you something that we are going to be doing next, or soon”… But at that point you will have many questions
So you go through your flying lesson and you do the aircraft handling that your instructor asks, and all is OK. You land, and complete the flight, fill out the papers and go away from the flight school. The rest of the day, or early evening, you review what the flying day was like and you go Hmmm. Why did my instructor do the landing the way he did? How does he do that? Why can’t I do that?
So you now realize that this is the opportunity to do some homework and review the mission of the day. “Just Because The Flight Is Over” does not mean that the learning has stopped. Many people go on with the rest of the week not giving more review thought to what went on during the last flight. They just barely do some minor review of what is to go on for the next flight. But some magic occurs in that reviewing the previous flight and getting your understanding of what you did wrong or what you did not like are clues that you can use to do some more homework.
Make a list of questions for the Instructor.
Practice the procedure routines for the different flight exercises that you have already completed. Commit these routines to memory. How you do Slow Flight, How you enter, and recover from a spin. How you set up your circuit, approach and landing.
Look up education, videos, anything on the internet to help you learn about your flying.
Read the manuals that your flying institutions provide, they are the backbone to what your flight instructor is going to do and show you.
Remember, the time you spend after each flight and before each flight is free flight training, you will not work so hard in the airplane and the briefing room with the pilot instructor that costs you big money.
The time you spend reviewing what you have done in the airplane that day, is a big deal that saves you good money. What if, as you sit there, with your coffee, you remember that demonstration of the approach your instructor did, but you were too distracted at the time being in the plane. Now, you review and remember just what he did and what he said at the time things were happening, just what was happening. AND Click… “I get why he did that”.
So you just taught yourself some flying and saved at least another circuit at, at dual rates. So next flight you remember, “I am going to try that, what he did on last flight” and so you do and it works.
The power of pre-flight and post flight preparation is a game changer, we all need to be working more, out of the plane, in our resting times, reviewing more and reading often.
The words your instructor says in the plane are words that come out of the textbooks. The last thing you need to be doing in the plane is not knowing a important word.
Take the time, do the homework read and review things you do and you will be a better pilot and save money for the future dream plane that you want, for real.
New addition to this website is a modest presentation of the repairing a 1966 Alon A2 Aircoupe. These are popular airplanes of the period and it’s nice to see another one getting improvements to make it work better. They are a fun airplane, sturdy, and forgiving. A fantastic conversation piece at fly ins and gatherings. Please have a look at the link on the home page for more details.
This website is going to be presenting a Rebuild thread on the very popular Alon A2 Aircoupe. It is a 1966 model in good condition and worthy of its progress being presented for those with an interest in Alon A2 Aircoupe to follow along and compare. This aircoupe in question is from BC. Canada and has recently changed hands to a new owner that has taken on the task of making much needed changes to bring this airplane up to Snuff.
Now is not the time to give up on your flight training just because the industry is on hold due to restricted travel. If you are in Private, Commercial, or Flight Instructor training phase, Keep Going. The industry is not in a demand downturn, its just on pause. Demand for travel will snap back and the industry will resume quickly. This may be a good time to focus on your flight training in order to be ready for the industry when it happens. Some flying job opportunities will remain around, like flight instruction, water operations up north and feeder airline flight activity. Find a flight school that is operating, they are deemed an essential service and are not closed. Find a way to fly every day, or at a minimum 3 times a week to keep pace. Remember that frequency of missions is the only way to save money, by not stretching times between flights. Flight schools will be happy to accommodate you as they need the business to keep the doors open. Stay on track, don’t let the health restrictions slow you down. Find a way.
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