Using Microsoft flight simulator to gain experience for your IFR rating

Hello everyone, just a few words on the amazing ability of common pc based flight sims to help you get your IFR rating and maintain proficiency afterwards. Of course you will not be able to log any pc based sim activity towards anything whatsoever but it does help tremendously in acquiring and keeping a good instrument scan, situational awareness and other things you will be encountering in the instrument environment. I highly recommend that anybody interested in getting an IFR rating get and install any version of the Microsoft flight sim on their pc then have your instructor come over for two hours or so to instruct you on all the ins and outs of the system so that you can fly approaches down to minimums, develop a good instrument scan and be able to recognize instrument failures as quickly as possible. The map datum used in ms flight sim is the exact same as as the real world so you can use charts that you have of your area and you can fly approaches to airports before you do it in real life. You can use it to help you figure out how to enter and maintain a holding pattern and check your ground track after the fact to ensure that you have drawn a pretty little line to the navaid on the map afterwards (it logs your ground track until you erase it). It’s also tons of fun too and will save you thousands in your training! There is a lot more to the sim than I can mention here so be sure to find a CFI who knows the ins and outs of the particular sim that you will be using. Have a great new year and I will talk to you soon!

What equipment is required to be operational for flight?

Hello! Just a reminder as to what equipment needs to be operational (if applicable) if your aircaft is not operating under a minimum equipment list. The acronym is TOMATO FLAMES…

Oil pressure indicator
Manifold pressure gauge
Airspeed indicator
Temperature gauge for every liquid cooled engine
Oil temp gauge
Fuel quantity indicator
Landing gear position indicator
Anti collision light
Magnetic compass
ELT (if going more than 50nm from departure airport)
Seat belts

There it is, additionally any equipment not on this list not crucial to flight that is inoperative must be placarded as such to remain airworthy. Bye for now!

My first rule of flying

Hello! So if your primary job is to ensure that people stay safe on their future aviation endeavors, it’s important to be able to break down virtually every every aircraft accident/incident to its absolute lowest common denominator. If I am teaching a large group of people and I ask the class the rhetorical question about the number reason that planes crash, most of the students will offer the explanation about how a pilot did this or a mechanic did that and so on. I have read tons of crash reports over the years and I can tell you that the main reason that planes crash is because they run into shit! So, the first rule of flying? Don’t run into shit! And by shit, I mean planes, mountains, weather, restricted areas, airspace or anything else that might ruin your day. Do not trust anybody other than yourself to keep you clear of other aircraft, clear of terrain and especially clear of weather! A lot of mid air collisions occurred on clear days where both aircraft were under ATC control. Most all of the mountain collisions in my region involved pilots who were under control of ATC as well. Under IFR conditions, ATC will vector you into the worst weather imaginable while vfr conditions might dominate the area so it is sometimes better to cancel IFR in flight to avoid these areas if possible.
I always teach my students to take what ATC says with a grain of salt and treat them as if they were a disinterested party in our affairs. After all, they are in a nice air conditioned room on the ground far removed from your situation and will not treat you with the same urgency that you would expect.
Keep your eyes moving at all times! Look for traffic, terrain, weather, airspace, drones, UFOs, engine gauges and any thing else that might conspire against you to end your flight early! Remember, stay alert stay alive!
Til next time, safe flying!

Breaking in a new aircraft engine

Hello everyone! Just a few thoughts on how to break in a new, rebuilt, top overhauled or otherwise rebuilt engine. I’m no engine expert but I have broken in many engines whom have gone on to live long healthy lives with compressions up in the high seventies! I work with my maintenance staff closely before and after every break in to ensure everything goes smoothly and there are no major issues arising from the new parts. Keep in mind that others in the aviation industry may have differing opinions from mine and that the views on this blog are strictly my own.
First off, you are going to have your mech start the engine to ensure that nothing is leaking and that every thing is running smoothly. After the cowl is put back on, you are going to need to fly a few patterns at about 2000′ with the engine power at no less than %75 for about 30 to 45 minutes then park the plane and inspect for leaks again. You’re going to run mineral oil for the first 25 hours and some prefer to change the oil at 15 hours (mineral) for good measure. For the next ten to fifteen hours, you will want to fly cross country with no pattern work or other types of training that will cause you to very the power settings drastically from cruise settings. You will want to avoid aerobatics as well.
For the first few hours you will notice that the oil temps will be a bit high and the oil consumption will be high as well. This is normal and is no cause for concern unless it gets worse or doesn’t go away after 20 hours or so. It should start returning to normal after ten hours or so in most cases. You will also want to avoid making any drastic power changes in the first ten to fifteen hours as well.
If you break in your engine how I recommended, your engine should last well past tbo and perform well for many years to come. Til next time!

Cross country scenario based training

Hello Eveyone, just a few random thoughts on why I think cross country scenario based training is far superior to the type of your training that you normally receive while obtaining your private pilots license or instrument rating. Typically, when you get your training for the two above mentioned courses, your training stays very near the home airport and doesn’t get you out into the raw elements that will give you trouble in the real world. Furthermore, that training does not incorporate many of the flight planning elements that are important to learn before you get into the real world (post flight training flying). The only way to prepare you for flying yourself in your own (or rented) aircraft from point A to point B is to undergo training that puts you into the real world while you are doing your training! Training that forces you to check your POH for runway distance data, training that forces you to do every calculation imaginable to ensure that your aircraft is guaranteed the performance necessary to depart the challenging airports that we visit during our training. Some of the airports include Catalina island, Sedona, aspen and San Diego intl. as we are always looking for a challenge! The weather we encounter along the way is an invaluable tool for training as well, the more the better! There are countless other reasons (too numerous to list here) to do most all of your PPL or IFR in our scenario based based training format. If you would like to discuss this more in detail, feel free to call me directly on my cell at 702-504-6376. Talk to you soon!


How pilots should talk on the radio

Hello again! Just a few words about the right way and the wrong way to talk on the radio as a pilot. You can pretty much break down your radio procedures using just a few simple rules that I have been preaching for many years to all of my students. The first rule is to keep it simple! Air traffic control just has a simple list of info they need from you upon initial call up, so just say exactly what they need to hear and it will make things much simpler. Here is an example of the wrong way- North las Vegas tower, this is Cherokee N2885kilo at the south shades, have information kilo and we’d like to go northwest bound… Way too many words added onto that, here’s an example on how I teach my students to do it- North las Vegas tower, Cherokee n2885kilo south shades kilo northwest. This is just a simple example of filling in the blanks, saying the least amount possible and freeing up the radio as quickly as possible. It’s also better because it’s less words to confuse you in the middle of your transmission as well.
Remember to say who you are, where you are, what you want and give the current atis upon initial call up as well. Sometimes it really helps to have everything written down before you key up if you are new to flying or you are in an unfamiliar area. Be sure to have a pen and paper ready in case ATC gives you special instructions after your initial call up. Also be sure to read back all runway assignments and hold short instructions as well!
There is quite a bit of stuff that goes into talking on the radios but if you keep it simple, you shouldn’t have too many issues learning how to use them properly. I have an extensive ground course in my accelerated program dedicated to using the radios that we cover before our first flight and it’s not uncommon for my students to be fully up to speed and conducting 100% of all radio traffic after the first day of training! That’s all for now, talk to you soon!

What it takes to become a pilot

Hello All! Just a brief post on what it takes to become a private pilot…
Becoming a pilot is no easy task and ironically the hardest part about any of it is just getting your private pilots license. Yes, it’s the most difficult training you will undergo as a pilot because of the simple fact that everything will be new to you as opposed to a regurgitation of other subjects you will encounter in your commercial or instrument rating. There’s also a lot of unusual elements involved with learning how to fly in your PPL training that just do not come naturally to people who have never flown before such as LANDINGS! You can reasonably sure that at least half of your training during the PPL will be just learning how to get the darn thing on the ground without injuring yourself or the airplane. Landing is not something that comes naturally to ANYBODY period! A lot of people out there tell me that they think they would be a good pilot because of X Y and Z and that they would learn how to land quick because they’re the top 1% of the population in intelligence or something like that but I’m here to tell you that nothing will make you learn to land the darn thing any faster than going out and doing a million landings!
So that’s one of the few things that will trip you up on your way to becoming a pilot, then there’s the issue of the radios… Don’t get me started on that one today. In my opinion, 90% of all the radio transmissions within class D airspace are incorrect anyway so maybe il use that for my next blog post. Brilliant!
So these are a couple of the many issues that will stand between you and becoming a pilot, there’s many more issues beyond that but to break it down in simple terms, you will need lots of hard work, dedication, a little bit of brains and lots of study time to accomplish your objective. My ten day courses are not a magic bullet for those who do not like to prepare for stuff and put in their dues so just be prepared for lots of hard work and you will be rewarded with your license and you will finally be able to call yourself a “pilot” along with all the others who paid their dues! So long for now!