04.01.06 'Special' Edition: 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.") It's part of what makes aviation so exciting for all
of us... just when you think you've seen it all, along comes a
scenario you've never imagined.
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, and as
representatives of the flying community. 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.
HOWEVER, Tom was unavailable this time around due to, as
he put it, "an unforeseen circumstance involving a heavily armed
Bonanza and an SR22" -- so ANN Associate Editor Rob Finfrock
offered to step in and proffer a bit of the wisdom he's gathered
from his, well, 50+ hours as a student pilot.
Look for our daily Aero-Tips segments, coming each day to you
through the Aero-News Network. Suggestions for future Aero-Tips are
always welcome, as are additions or discussion of each day's tips.
Remember... when it comes to being better pilots, we're all in this
Ah, the dream of
flight. Attempted by many, mastered by few, rubbed in our
noses by a select handful (Fossett, I'm looking at you.) Hardly a
person exists that hasn't dreamed of soaring among the birds and
the clouds, throwing off earth's surly bonds and all that
Many have already fallen victim to this sensation's siren song,
spending untold amounts of money, time, and tears in hopes of
obtaining some valuable training, a credit-card sized piece of
plastic that could be replicated at any Kinko's worth its salt for
about six bucks, and maybe, just maybe, even an airplane to call
their own... whether it flies (yet!) or not.
There are many questions pilots regularly ask themselves. Only a
handful are shown below... but perhaps you've experienced a few of
- Why did I ever get involved in all this?
- What the heck was I thinking when I first thought "gee, it
would be kinda neat to learn how to fly?"
- Why did I spend my daughter's college fund on a Cessna 150 that
needs a little paint... and, oh, ailerons?
- When did I stop fantasizing about marrying a supermodel, and
start having nightmares about Lycoming Airworthiness Directives?
And don't get me started on the recurring "Help! The ADIZ is
chasing me!" dreams...
- Why don't my friends think its cool I can spot the difference
between a PA-28-180 and a PA-28-235 from 50 yards?
- Where is my significant other going with that
briefcase and the family dog? And, most important, are
they going to take my plane, too?
So... Are You Nuts?
This is also a question we must constantly ask ourselves as
pilots, if only to validate that no, we are not crazy. The mark of
a sane person is the ability to ask themselves if they might be
insane, after all.
When you're a pilot, you need to ask yourself that question A
LOT. Like, about two to three times per day, plus at every fuel
Aero-tip of the day: Get professional help now.
Or, go flying. Pretty much the same thing, really.