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.
We've been discussing what you can do to ensure a safe
AirVenture arrival. Another task to master before your trip:
short-field spot landings.
Call the ball, er, dot
Getting so many airplanes into the same airport in such a short
time calls for unusual procedures. One is that there are multiple
touchdown zones-the normal end of the runway, and the "white,"
"orange", "pink" and "green" dots farther on down (the specific
color depends on the runway in use-they're painted on beforehand).
You will likely be directed to land at a specific dot in your
Here then is another lesson: be well-practiced at "spot"
landings before flying to Oshkosh. Hit your spot in a
short-field technique, too, to avoid rolling into the touchdown
zone of an airplane aiming for the dot ahead of yours. Use a high
angle obstacle clearing technique (not the Practical Test
Standards' incorrect method of driving level over an obstacle then
chopping power for the last 50 feet) because you may be overflying
another airplane aiming at a spot closer to the arrival
Make your approach as tight as safely
possible... nothing throws a wrench in the arrival works
like an airplane that extends for a three-mile final. Practice with
a short-field, steep angle of descent technique will help here
As the NOTAM describes, you'll need to land, stop, and taxi
clear of the runway (usually into the well-rolled grass between
runway lights) to minimize your time on the runway, and maximize
the number of AirVenture arrivals.
Maybe this is why we have spot-landing contests at local fly-ins
all spring and summer-to get us ready for the Big Show at
Aero-tip of the day: Practice short-field
landings to a designated spot plus or minus 100 feet (Commercial
Pilot standards) so you can pull one off without a hitch at
Oshkosh. For more tips on flying to EAA AirVenture read tomorrow's
Aero-Tips, and listen to the Aero-Cast
podcast on flying to AirVenture.