All posts tagged 'aviation' - Page 4

How to Overcome Plateaus in Student Training

Students reach plateaus during flight training for all different types of reasons. 

  • - Money
  • - Time
  • - Opportunity
  • - Studying
  • - Negative training

... and the list goes on. There are multiple factors that can have a negative effect on flight training. Let's talk about how to overcome them.

Pictured above is one of our students James that recently passed a check ride. James is one of the common examples of reaching a learning plateau. He actually had all the ground knowledge he needed, studied at home, had the finances to fly...but he just didn't have the time. 

Just a small insight into him, his full time job requires him to leave the country for extended periods of time (aka no flight training while he's gone). 

This meant lessons had to be redone after forgetting what was previously learned, solo endorsements had to be reissued constantly etc. 

BUT he persevered! The timing finally lined up, endorsements stayed current, and the check ride was passed like a breeze on his first try.

Now let's talk about some other examples of why students reach plateaus. One of the most common that we (as instructors) see is they study at home like they're supposed to, have the time opportunity and finances to fly....and then just keep struggling to get a maneuver down in flight. The actual performance of something is where the plateau occurs.

Here's what's not to do: we always hear the famous saying "if you don't succeed try and try again." Well, this is true but not in this case. Take a break from trying it and go do something else for a change. 

Let's say for example as a commercial student you're struggling with chandelles. Don't spend 5 flight lessons in a row trying to get them down! For the next 2-3 lessons go do literally anything else BUT chandelles, and then go back to try them again. Most of the time you're just overthinking the maneuver and can't get past the barrier that's unconsciously stopping you. Taking a break from it and then coming back to try it again will 99% of the time help accomplish the goal. 

The next common barrier....finances. Let's be honest, flight training is not cheap no matter how you look at it. Having to try and pay for each lesson as you go can slow down training a lot...especially if you can only afford one lesson each week or two. The learning curve best happens when you fly 2-3 times a week. So if you reach a learning plateau, one of the reasons could be you're just not flying often enough. The solution to this: SAVE UP. Save up to where you can get through multiple lessons at a time without having to take a break and you'll see a world of a difference. 

To add to the fact that you should fly often, let's keep flying as much as we can during this pandemic! If you can afford it, help out your FBOs by stopping by and buying some fuel on your trips. Aviation is struggling during the virus right now so little things like this help make a big difference. 

To conclude, there are various situations that can cause a learning plateau and the solution depends on what's causing it. If you're experiencing this right now feel free to comment and let's come up with a game plan to overcome it! 

Happy landings to everyone,

-Addi

8 Tips to Pass a Check Ride That Your CFI May Forget to Tell You

We've all been there before....sitting down thinking about an upcoming check ride and feeling the "checkriditis" (as we call it) set in. It's a mix of stress, anxiety and excitement all at once and you can't decide whether you just wanna cancel it forever or get it over with and get your license. 

Have no fear though, you're not the first person to go through this and you definitely won't be the last. 

The worse that can happen is you get disapproved. What you don't want to do is get disapproved and take it and never fly again. Get up and get back at it to go get your approval the second time.

Aside from knowing how to fly to meet ACS standards, here's some tips to help out in case your CFI forgets to tell you:

1) Know your examiner 

It's always best to test with an examiner that you have an idea of who they are and how they test. Not that you're setting yourself up for failure by testing with someone you don't know, but it definitely helps to do your research. Talk to other pilots who have used that DPE before and find out which maneuvers, procedures etc. they're really big on and typical questions they tend to ask. 

An example of this would be a DPE who is famous for blocking the navigation screen when shooting an approach so you have to strictly fly it "by the needles" so to speak and not be able to see the magenta line plotted on the screen. That's a good thing to know beforehand so if it happens during the flight it doesn't catch you off guard. 

2) Vocalize everything you're doing

This is seriously some of the best advice I can give. I was given this advice and have taken check rides barely saying anything and taken some talking myself through everything I did. The ones where I stay vocal have always ended with a pass and with positive comments from the DPE. 

The reason I say to vocalize everything is if you talk yourself through everything you're doing, the examiner knows what you're thinking and can see that you're a confident pilot who knows what they're doing.

An example would be a soft field takeoff:

"Okay I'm holding the nosewheel up until rotation, now I'll reduce the pitch and hold my ground effect and bring the nose up at Vy."

This also reminds you of what you're doing and keeps your flying at its best. It helps you catch yourself if you start to make a mistake and fix it before they notice it.

3) Memorize the ACS

Know your standards! Don't get out there ready to do a maneuver and just hope that it's within standard. Know the altitude, heading allowance, speed etc. everything about what the examiner will be expecting!

 

4) Have an airport diagram in your lap-even if you fly out of that airport every day

THIS.

As a CFI this is such a struggle is creating the habit to make students taxi with an airport diagram even if they have everything about that airport memorized. If you create this habit at your home airport, flying into or out of an unfamiliar airport will be easier because you'll already know to keep a diagram on hand and plan out your taxi clearance before you start taxiing. This stops the trend of taxiing with barely any idea of where you're going and then possible creating a runway incursion. 

5) Don't test unless you're ready

It doesn't matter if you instructor says you're ready, your dad who is an airline pilot, your grandma just because she believes in you.....the list goes on. YOU know when you're ready. Maybe someone will sign you off and start getting your ride scheduled, but until you feel 100% confident that you're ready to go test then push that test date back. 

6) Get a good rest and meal beforehand

Make sure the night before that you get a good nights rest and eat breakfast or a good meal before you meet with your examiner. It's the oldest trick in the book. You can't think on an empty stomach or with a tired brain, and you're already nervous enough as it is. Don't add to that stress for yourself. Make sure you're hydrated and fully ready to go that day of your ride! 

7) Take your time

In case no one else tells you this, you don't have to rush through everything to impress your examiner. As you're going from one task to another, especially maneuvers, take your time. Set the plane up for it, make sure your altitude and heading and everything is how you want it. The more you rush yourself, the more likely you are to forget something and fly outside of the standard. 

This doesn't necessarily mean to take 10 minutes to set up the plane, but take an extra 5 seconds to breathe and double check yourself. 

8) Don't suck!

 Best advice an instructor ever gave me before a check ride: don't suck. This is all in good humor! You've prepared for this day so much, you know how to fly, now just....don't suck today ;)

 

Should I Become a Pilot?

Well, the very short answer is yes. Yes 1,000 times.

Becoming a pilot is the most fun, insightful journey and deciding to extend that to making it a career makes that the journey of a lifetime (see what I did there ;) ).

But the harsh truth is not everyone is meant to be a pilot. Flight training isn't easy and can become very time consuming. Those who make it through have to be dedicated, motivated and self-disciplined. Even then, someone can have all the dedication it takes and just not have the skills needed to safely fly an aircraft. These skills are partly developed over time and partly come from the abilities you carry as a person. Let's talk about them:

1. Can you multi task?

Being a safe pilot means you have to be able to handle multiple things at once. Takeoff is a perfect example, especially on an IFR flight when you're single-pilot. Power settings are in, gear comes up, you're having to monitor all the engine instruments have good readings, ATC comes in with new instructions that you have to repeat back and then comply with, and throughout all this you're still having to fly the plane and be ready for any emergency. Imagine doing this in a jet...all that happens in about less than 20 seconds. 

Even as a VFR only pilot in a small fixed-gear plane it's still busy. During the takeoff you're ready to abort it or do an emergency landing at any time, respond back to ATC and comply, then don't forget after takeoff checklists. This sounds simple but in the air it can be a lot to handle. I find students struggle the most with remembering their after takeoff checklist and on a cross country keeping up with their checkpoints as soon as we're off the ground. It's like as soon as you rotate, everything is forgotten and you get tunnel vision.

2. Can you work under pressure?

With everything I just described on multi tasking, this doesn't come without a drop of sweat or two. As you're keeping up with all of your tasks you can feel the pressure sitting on your shoulders to get everything done and keep flying the plane safely. During flight training, you'll feel the pressure of your instructor sitting next to you watching everything you do and being ready to point out the first mistake you make (it's literally our job, that's how you learn!). You can have an instructor who points them out nicely, or not so nice one.....but at some point you have to learn to be able to do it all yourself. The same pressure is there when you carry passengers. They may not know as much of what's going on as your instructor did, but sometimes you can still feel them watching and listening to everything you do. They don't know how to fly, so they're relying on you to get them somewhere safely!

Now imagine if an emergency occurs, the pressure is REALLY on there. This isn't being said to scare you, but a good pilot always expects the unexpected and handles it without panic. They go through their checklists with ease, keep everyone onboard calm and then neutralize the situation as much as possible in order to land safely. Remember that story about Captain Tammie Jo Shults who lost an engine on a Southwest flight? Here is the article link of her story and an attached audio link. Listen to how calm her voice is. If she didn't say there was an emergency, you would've never guessed what had been going on. 

3. Are you motivated and self-disciplined? 

This one is most important when it comes to flight training. I see time and time again students who come in and say "I want to be a pilot" and then 6 months later they have like 2 flight lessons under their belt. Let's be honest, flight lessons aren't cheap. If you're going to pay out of pocket try and save up a lot first and apply for as many scholarships as possible, this way you don't have to slow down training and only be able to pay for one lesson at a time. Second is when you have the finances available, schedule flight lessons for at least several times a week and show up to each one prepared! It will do you no good to rarely fly (like once a month for example) and to never study. Don't show up to each lesson and depend on your instructor to teach you everything. Teach yourself as much as you can at home and let them fill in the gaps. This helps you progress much faster and also save money if finances are tight. 

Being able to multi task, work under pressure, be motivated and be self-disciplined are some of the most important factors that create a good pilot. Of course there's a few others that could fall into desired aspects, but without these you'll never "lift off the ground."

Think you meet these though and want to become a pilot? Go for it and don't let anything stop you. If you need some help paying for lessons go to Globalair.com/scholarships/ and apply for ours! Applications accepted until August 15th this year. 

Have anymore questions about if being a pilot is right for you? Maybe some tips to add? Comment below! 

3 Ways to Counteract Your Fear of Stalls

We've all likely been there before. You're working on stalls with either an instructor as a student, testing out a new plane's stall characteristics, or maybe you are the instructor. You set up for it and work to initiate the buffet and look down to realize you have a death grip on the controls and are HIGHLY uncomfortable. 

Have no fear, you are definitely not the first nor will you be the last pilot to go through this. 

Critical AOA by AOPA
  1. The first step to counteract this fear is go up with someone you trust/is trustworthy. Go up with someone who feels comfortable with these like another instructor or a test pilot. In fact, I struggled with this during CFI training (the thought of letting another student do these) so I went up with my instructor who also flies aerobatics. He was able to show me how hard it can actually be to put a Cessna in a spin and taught me how to do a falling leaf stall which helped TONS. BoldMethod.com describes this stall in good detail of what that is and how to execute it. Like I said, go up with someone who can help with this and fly them MULTIPLE times. Ensure you get to a point where it is consistently JUST you at the controls without them having to do anything. 
    Gleim Fear of Stalls
  2. Stay relaxed and don't panic. As you're setting up for it look down and make sure you have a loose grip on the controls and ensure your breathing is controlled. If you start off in panic mode how can you overcome your fear? Know that you are in control the whole time, not the plane. 
  3. Something that helped me overcome my fear as well is watching the instruments. I kept my eyes 75% inside and 25% outside. The reason I did this is to ensure I was coordinated by watching the turn coordinator, wings level until there was a need to initiate a turn, and at a good pitch up (especially on a power-on stall) to bring on the buffet (by good pitch up this means something aggressive enough yet not overly aggressive). What makes most people nervous is looking outside and seeing the nose above the horizon (aka not straight and level), so keep your eyes moving from the instruments back to outside. 

The best tip overall though is the good old "practice makes perfect." So back to the first point, go practice them multiple times until you feel comfortable. Stalls are NOT a natural maneuver so it's normal to not like them. They can be dangerous if not executed correctly though so just ensure to always take safe measures before going up.

Have any tips to add? Comment below!

In the meantime, our scholarship window is back open for the 2020 year! Need some help paying for flight training? Check out https://www.globalair.com/scholarships/ and apply! 

Happy Landings,

-Addi

First Solo Preparation

Hey Hey everyone! Happy February! 

Let's talk about some "first solo preparation" today from both the student and instructor side.

As of yesterday, I soloed my first student and let me just say it was the most fun, yet most nerve-wracking thing EVER. I crossed all the t's and dotted all the i's making sure he was ready and yet, when I hopped out of the plane and gave him a thumbs-up, I think I was more nervous than him! It went well though because I made sure he was prepared and that he felt confident in flying the plane. Here's how:

First: we went thoroughly through everything that 14 CFR 61.87 requires us to do. Remember the FAR AIM is the pilot's bible! I obviously studied that section during CFI training but I didn't memorize it, so as it was getting closer to solo time and I wanted to be sure we were covering everything, I looked at the regs to double-check I was doing this the right way. 

I didn't just do the bare minimum either when covering those maneuvers, like power off and on stalls for example. We went out to practice them multiple times and while I didn't make sure they were "check ride material", I did make him talk me through them every time and perform a proper recognition and recovery consistently. 

We did the same thing for landings as well. We practiced normal landings but also emergency scenarios including how to abort a takeoff, engine failure after takeoff, engine failure and electrical failure in the traffic pattern, slips, and crosswind techniques. While it's scary to think about and rarely ever happens, the pilot in command should always be ready for these scenarios and react quickly to keep the flight safe. 

Okay, that's how to prepare for a solo. But when you actually go out to solo, there are several things to consider there as well.

Number one: is the person who's about to solo comfortable with that airport? If you, the student, aren't comfortable with the runway length, airspace, etc. then tell your instructor! Most instructors will ask their students 500 times that day if they're sure they're ready to solo and won't pressure them into it until the time is right. However, we know it does happen here and there so just remember from the student side, as the pilot in command, you have every right to turn something down. 

Number two: as the instructor, where are you going to go once you hop out of the plane? As you can see in the picture above, I just hopped out and stood on the side of the runway where I could get some good pictures and videos. Somewhere a safe distance away but close is normally good.

Number three: for both students and instructors here, how will you communicate once you're no longer in the plane together? Easy, invest in a handheld mic! Seriously the best invention ever. I had one and it came in handy because the student accidentally leaned his mixture too much for taxi and shut the plane down (it happens, mixture sometimes gets the best of us). So, I was able to talk to him and keep his nerves down while he restarted it on the taxiway. CFI's, you know what I'm talking about when I say we're the momma ducks and these are our ducklings. I would've hated not to have that mic and know that I couldn't talk to him from the ground! 

Remember, if you're looking for a good airport nearby to go solo at, Globalair.com has an awesome Airport Search and Information Tool to help you get prepared!

I hope everyone has blue skies and tailwinds this month and for anyone about to solo/solo a student feel free to leave comments or questions to add to this post! We always appreciate everyone's input. 

Happy Landings!

-Addi

 

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