Sunday, March 26, 2017

Pet Peeves

I did a flight review for a friend of my husband, Jeff, yesterday and Jeff said the friend asked if I have any pet peeves. When I first thought about it I didn't think I have any... but then, when I thought more, I realized I do.

  1. Centerline, centerline, centerline. Taxi, take off and land on the centerline!! Why? because if you can't stay on the centerline how will you stay in the middle of a narrow runway when there's a strong crosswind. Not to mention you just look much more professional. Our airport had a plane crash at night one night, he landed ok but, as far as I can tell, he failed to maintain directional control, let one wheel drop off the runway and ended up cartwheeling down the runway. Fortunately the pilot and passengers survived. But if he had landed on the centerline, there's a much lower chance of that happening.
  2. Taxi speed. Taxiing is not a race. There's no reason to taxi at 20 knots or with full power while dragging the breaks. Seriously people. Take it easy, these planes aren't designed to handle well on the ground.
  3. Coordinated flight. I'm sorry, I don't care how much right rudder it takes that you aren't used to using. Fly coordinated. For one thing it feels almost sickening when you fly uncoordinated. Who wants to feel like they're slipping or skidding sideways all the time? More import if you want to kill yourself, fly uncoordinated and stall a plane. Instant spin. And I'll bet money if you're a pilot who routinely flies uncoordinated you will not be able to recover from a spin quickly. 
  4. "Pinching the runway" a very common issue, the pilot is flying a distance from the runway and reduces power to start the landing process. Immediately the plane starts veering towards the runway... after which the pilot turns base and overshoots final. 
  5. Don't call in over a waypoint when you are nowhere near it. This happened to me today. My student and I were directly a waypoint at an altitude. Another plane called in over the same waypoint and at the same altitude. In this case I knew that plane was well behind us because I knew where it took off from, when, and we were flying a much faster plane. Fortunately the tower realized there was a faster and slower plane and which was which. 
  6. Probably my biggest pet peeve. For Christ's sake, fly a heading! Pick one. I don't care what it is... just pick a heading and fly that way. It drives me nuts when private pilots just cannot maintain a heading. They flop all over the sky!

Yeah, I have my pet peeves. I'm sure every pilot and CFI does. What are yours?

Pilots do/say the funniest things

I've decided to keep my blog going and share more of the funny / amusing things my students do. These are private pilots, student pilots and more experienced pilots. Our funnier moments prove we are all, always, learning. Here are some recent funny moments.

Turnabout is Fair Play

I was working with a pilot on his complex endorsement. Complex endorsements are needed for aircraft with retractable gear. A large part of complex training is designed to imbue the pilot with a healthy paranoia about landing gear. There are many ways for Arrow landing gear to fail, or appear to fail. I use them all when training people for complex to make sure they are consciously and constantly checking the gear before landing.

On this particular flight the gear was "failing" often for my student. And he was, indeed, getting paranoid. During the flight I also demonstrated some specialty take offs and landings for him. After we finished the flight he said he had a confession to make.... he had "failed" one of the landing gear on me by pulling out the gear light bulb, but it didn't work because I was also paranoid about the gear (where do you think I got the idea to make my students paranoid?), so I pushed the bulb in as a matter of course on final. We both had a good laugh on that one. And I was very glad that I practice what I preach!

Flashlights at 5500 Feet

Flying with a student on a night cross country. I pointed out an airport and the airport beacon for him to know he was getting close to his waypoint. He took his handheld flashlight and pointed it out the windscreen so he could better see the airport. After a second he looked at the flashlight and said, "That won't work. Will it?" "Nope," I said. We laughed hard about that one.

Where's the Door?

Working with a pilot on his complex endorsement. He's spent his whole flying career flying Cessnas which are blessed with pilot and co-pilot doors. The complex aircraft we were flying was a Piper Arrow. Pipers only have one door on the co-pilot side. This was his first flight in the Arrow. After our flight we shut down and I got out of the plane. There was a sudden laugh from inside the aircraft. The pilot said, "I was trying to figure out how to open *my* door!"

Friday, December 30, 2016

Whee!

Is that something a CFI is supposed to say? "Whee!" ?  Is a CFI supposed to high five their student when they land on the centerline or fly a heading perfectly or land on the mains instead of flat or handle an un-stabilized approach with style?

I don't know I "should" be doing such things, as a CFI... mine certainly didn't. But I've found myself doing that recently. Celebrating with my students as much, or sometimes, more than they do, when they do something really well. Or when they recover from a botched approach and learn something in the process?

I solo'd my second student today. It was awesome.... the best part was watching him learn and adjust his performance on his own. On his first landing he floated most of the way down the runway. The second approach as about half way down the runway before touchdown. Last approach he was off on Charlie, a wonderful touchdown. Light on the mains, nose gear high. Beautiful to behold. I was practically dancing with happiness.

How cool it is. To be able to teach others how to fly and take joy from their accomplishments!

Whee!!!!!