A good pilot is always learning -- how many times have you heard
this old standard throughout your flying career? There is no truer
statement in all of flying (well, with the possible exception of
"there are no old, bold pilots.")
Aero-News has called upon the expertise of Thomas P. Turner,
master CFI and all-around-good-guy, to bring our readers -- and us
-- daily tips to improve our skills as aviators. Some of them, you
may have heard before... but for each of us, there will also be
something we might never have considered before, or something that
didn't "stick" the way it should have the first time we memorized
it for the practical test.
Look for our daily Aero-Tips segments, coming each day to you
through the Aero-News Network.
I have a phrase I've used at the end of presentations and
correspondence for several years: "Fly safe, and have fun™."
I think this simple phrase pretty much sums up what I want readers
and listeners to know about flying.
Safety should be the primary focus of your approach to flying.
Route, altitude and time of flight is optional unless you're on a
military combat mission (you have options even then, in most
cases). Most times it's the pilot who forgets that he/she has
control over these three variables that winds up in the mishap
reports. Give yourself the time to be flexible with your
Know your airplane... and its avionics. Get
very familiar with both before launching on anything other than a
local, day-visual flight. Don't fly with inoperative equipment
unless it's not required for your intended flight, and only then
after considering the operational impact of doing without. Stay
within the limitations of your aircraft.
Know your own limitations. Be strict about
medical self-certification before each flight. Don't discount the
effects of fatigue, and acknowledge that your physical state and
tolerances will likely change as you age. Pursue continuing
education. Learning to fly does not consist of passing a checkride.
Professional pilots as a whole have a safe flying record because
they approach flying professionally-and that includes practicing
maneuvers and procedures beyond just what they experience in
day-to-day operations. Map out a continuing education program for
yourself, and stick to it to be safe.
Follow the rules. Almost all flight regulations
exist because there's a strong potential for disaster otherwise.
Consider the rules of safe flying to be the legacy of those who
have come before. Study mishap reports and use these accident
scenarios to hone your own technique.
...and have fun
Most of all, enjoy flying. Very few of us
became pilots for purely objective reasons. We could have found
other occupations, arranged other ways to get around, or employed
someone else to do the flying. Almost all these options would have
been less expensive in the long run, especially if you own an
airplane. So whatever you do, do it to have fun in your aircraft.
Fly to fun places. Learn to do new, fun things. Take time to look
around while you're flying-to enjoy the view that got you up there
in the first place. Introduce others to the beauty of flight.
Keep it safe, because if it's safe it's usually fun -- and if
it's not safe, it usually isn't fun!
Aero-tip of the day: Fly safe, and have