Understanding the fundamentals of altitudes and altitude reporting systems (altimeters) is important for flight planning, performance calculations, regulatory compliance, and in-flight problem solving. This subject is covered early in training for the Private Pilot Certificate, but I found it often needs review even up to the Certified Flight Instructor Certificate training level, thanks primarily to disuse.
Test preparation software and/or books exist for almost every test imaginable, including the required pilot knowledge tests for certificates and ratings. Their formula is simple: provide all of the known questions on the test and their answers. With this data provided, pilots can choose the “easy” way of preparing for the knowledge test or the “hard” way. What are we talking about, and which way is better?
It is commonly taught that there are three definitions of “night” that pilots need to be concerned with. They involve logging flight time, carrying passengers, and periods for required illumination of aircraft lighting. There aren’t three definitions: there is only one. Let’s take a three-minute trip through the wonderful world of Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).
For many decades, students, pilots, and flight instructors have been debating a very important flight training industry question: Should I use an electronic or mechanical flight computer? Well, it isn’t THAT important, but this question was debated even back in the 1990s when I first started flying, and still is with today’s generation of pilots. What’s all the debate about? I’ll give you my opinion in less than 600 words (a two-minute read).
“How do I best setup my pilot logbook?” Unfortunately, I hear this question rarely. Every new student pilot should ask it. Federal Aviation Regulations specify the required events to log in a pilot logbook, and the endorsements required for various pilot certificates and operations. However, there is little guidance for helicopter pilots discussing what other categories of flight time should be logged in order to meet actual employer requirements for helicopter pilot jobs.
Flight students can get complacent. They have a Certified Flight Instructor (CFI) sitting next to them—able to save the helicopter, have the correct frequencies, and keep the flight legal. Sometimes instructors can get complacent themselves and not realize that they are actually enabling their student pilot during flight training. For example, we might find ourselves constantly taking over the radio in a specific area to “make things easy” for the flight, when we should suffer with the student to have them become proficient enough to handle it. In this article, we will address the student as the one needing attention with regards to combating complacency.