Thursday, 23 July 2015


(Acknowledgements: John Zimmerman; AIR FACTS)


Don’t be afraid to say “I don’t know”:
Especially early on, this will be hard to do, since you want to fit in with the old pros. But there’s so much to learn, and a little humility will go a long way. Some of those old pros have a lot to share, if only you’ll listen to them.

Slow down on your first solo and enjoy the moment:

Perhaps the weather won’t cooperate for that solo date you planned, but the big day will come soon enough. You won’t feel ready for it, but nobody ever does. And while some people describe it as thrilling, surreal is probably a better description.

Try to step back for a second and take in the scene. After you land, don’t be so anxious to rush on to the next milestone – this is a red letter day, and you’ll be surprised how little you remember.

When will you become a “real pilot”? :  
Never. You may assume there’s some light switch moment when people go from kid to adult, or from anxious expecting mother to wise parent. But life doesn’t work that way, and neither does aviation.

There is no sudden upgrade to expert, no morning you wake up with all the answers. Instead, you just age into experience. When you pass 1000 hours and still feel like you have so much to learn, it’s because you do. But relax – the guy who just passed 10,000 hours feels the same way.

So have fun, work hard and try to tuck away a few memories along the way. It’s a wild ride but the ups will far outnumber the downs. Learning to fly definitely wasn’t what I thought it would be like - not even close.

It was much, much better!



(Acknowledgements: Chris Tarbell; AIR FACTS)

Not strictly safety, but worth mentioning as a reminder anyway!

“Many of us who fly don’t have our own planes. We fly planes that belong to share groups, FBOs, or flying clubs. When we’re paying by the hour, it’s easy to cut corners, be a little careless, or not bother with something that we would never omit to do on our own airplane. However, if we treat the rental plane as our own, every renter or club member benefits. Examples:

One day, while I was waiting to fly, I watched as a ham-fisted pilot gunned the throttle and swung the Skyhawk out of its parking spot, carrying much more throttle than was needed, and without allowing much time for the engine to warm up. Be gentle! For many of us, these planes are older than we are! Take your time and play nice. It keeps things from breaking, and thus keeps the plane out of the repair shop.

Make sure you check the airplane’s usage timetable properly before you fly. I have been guilty of once taking an airplane for a cross country while someone else had a lesson scheduled! Always check the schedule.

After you fly, be sure to leave the airplane in good shape. Close the vents to keep insects out of the cockpit, make sure the master switch is off, lock the controls, put the appropriate covers on, make sure you don’t leave any trash in the cockpit, and tie it down. Little things make a big difference for the next person. Leave it the way you would want to find it.

In short, if we all treat the rental plane and our fellow pilots with respect, we’ll all be flying in a better place. None of the items I mentioned take that much time or trouble, and people do notice”.