I saw this quote (with no source listed) regarding in-flight weather decision-making posted on a wall the other day and thought it was well said: “The least experienced pilots press on, while the more experienced turn back to join the most experienced who never left the ground in the first place.“
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.
This past week the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) published a report about the July 3, 2015 crash of an Airbus AS350B3e conducting Helicopter Air Ambulance (HAA) operations in Colorado. As seen in video at the base helipad, the aircraft yaws left while skids are on the ground and then continues to yaw left as the helicopter becomes airborne and goes out of camera view. The helicopter reappears as it crashes behind the site, and a post-crash fire develops almost instantly. What happened? What actions could the pilot have taken?
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).