Tips and tricks of an old flight instructor

Hello! So as a background to this blog topic, keep in mind that about 65% of my students have started their flight training somewhere else and have come to me to finish up their training. There are many reasons that these students would come to me part way through their training. Some of the reasons include the pace of their former training, instructor/aircraft availability, instructor leaving for airlines and the student not catching on to certain tasks to name just a few.
The latter part of the last paragraph is where I earn a lot of my new students due to my extensive experience in this field! I have been teaching flight for many many years and have over twelve thousand hours doing this so tips, tricks and different approach for every student has been serving me well throughout my career. I have been doing a lot of research into the inner workings of the brain when it comes to learning how to fly an airplane and the biggest thing I have learned so far is that rarely will the same approach to a learning impediment be met the same from person to person. That is where all the “tricks” I have up my sleeve that I have learned over the years have worked wonders for my students and I thus far.
Of course most of these blocks to learning stem from the landing phase of flight (as this is the most difficult aspect of flying) but are not limited to this particular segment. A lot of times, a change of perspective, aircraft and scenery is all it takes for the light bulb to come on but not always. Sometimes it takes great attitudes by the student and the instructor to make this light buld come on also. Whatever it takes however, I am a master at turning on lightbulbs! Please feel free to call me on my cell to discuss your current situation and see if I might be able to help you through them at 702-504-6376 and I will talk to you soon!

All about dust devils and surface generated convective turbulence

Hello all! So if some of you have noticed after a batch of much relatively cooler air rolls in to an area, the air will seem to have much more turbulent energy built in to it. If you have high surface radiation (no clouds), you will have a high surface temp relative to the air temperature. This will cause small areas (pockets) of air to rise up to equalize the temperature of the air from the surface warming up. These pockets of rising air are what your airplane collide with to cause all of that pesky turbulence you encounter.
You will also feel this when coming in for landing on a relatively cold day as well. The warm runway surface acts like a boiler plate in that it constantly sends air upwards relative to the air around the runway. This will cause you to pop up higher than normal when you go to round out for your flare, cause you to float farther down the runway and can even cause you to lift back off the runway after you get the plane on the ground. The lifting of the air often manifests itself into a small tornado like phenomenon called a dust devil. If you see a dust devil close to the runway on landing, go around! They will not hurt you in most cases but they will disturb your airplane to the point that a safe landing isn’t as sure of a bet. Dust devils can be a bit frightening for a pilot at times but if you’re airborne, you have nothing to worry about due to fact that they only flow upwards. They will shake the plane around a bit but at least they wont push you down into the ground. So in short, if you’re airborne, they are all bark and no bite.
If you are on the ground however, it is another matter entirely. Dust devils can flip your plane upside down in certain circumstances. This type of incident is almost exclusive to cessnas and other high wing aircraft though. The only way to negate this from happening is to position the controls correctly, mostly by pushing forward on the controls to keep the elevator down and tilting your ailerons away from the direction of the wind.
I hope this helps somebody survive a dust devil! Talk to you again soon!

How can a rotary wing pilot get their fixed wing private pilots license?

Hello everyone! So I have been getting a number of calls lately on what the regulatory requirements are to get your private pilots license in an airplane single engine land if you already have a rotary wing license. According to ยง61.109, you are going to need 20 hours of dual training in an airplane and 10 hours of solo time in an airplane. You will still need to do all of the requirements of a normal private pilots course such as the three hours hood, three hours of night, three hours cross country and five of your solo hours cross country with the long one in there (150 nm). This can be done in about a week through my accelerated course with the check ride included. Please reference the following link

Feel free to call me anytime at 702-504-6376, talk to you soon!


Finishing up your private pilots license or instrument rating

Hello everyone! I get lots of email and calls from people who have started their private pilots license or instrument rating somewhere else but for many different reasons were unable or unwilling to finish off their training where they started. Many people think that it’s a bit odd to start training somewhere else then finish at another school. The truth of the matter is that upwards of 65% of my students have started their training prior to calling on me to finish them up. The average flight time that each student has accumulated prior to starting up with me is around the 20 to 30 range as well. Keep in mind that you have the right to go anywhere you want to complete your training if you do not feel like things are going the way at any time! Most flight training endeavors will lead to an average of six months, 65 to 75 hours of flight and a 96% drop out rate where as my program is a 95% completion rate, ten days and a 43 hour average time til completion. I even have a 95% first time pass rate to boot! If you would like to discuss your training options with me, please feel free to call me on my cell at 702-504-6376. Hope to talk to you soon!

Jamie Clabaugh

Accelerated flight training in southern California

Hello everyone!
Just a few thoughts on getting your private pilots license or instrument rating in the busy southern California airspace.
I get more than a few people calling me from SoCal asking if I can do the accelerated ten day pilot courses from one of the many airports located there. The answer to that is yes but there are going to be a number of factors that could conspire against us in getting your license there. Those issues include weather (mostly the marine layer), high density traffic, and finding an examiner when the time is right. So these are some of the negative factors working against us there but there are some positives that come from doing your training in SoCal…
The fact that it’s busy is a good thing if you plan on flying in busy areas such as SoCal. No matter where you fly after flying there, everything else will seem slow by comparison. The weather issue is good for teaching things like aeronautical decision making and to help teach you how to best deal with other than perfect weather conditions but doesn’t serve much good beyond that. The examiner issue is nothing but bad but we can always fly to a different area if need be.
If you plan on flying mostly in the southern California basin, there is no better place to learn than where you plan to fly. Please feel free to call me on my cell anytime at 702-504-6376 and we can further discuss your flight training options. Talk to you soon!

Jamie Clabaugh

Does accelerated flight training really work?

Hello everyone! I’m going to use this post today to address a lot of concerns that I hear from perspective clients on the effectiveness of MY accelerated flight training program. First off, I cannot speak for every accelerated program out there because we are different in our own little ways but I can address concerns about how I conduct my courses as well as the completion rates and the pass fail rates. I will also address my personal safety rates as well (knock on wood)!
So let’s start with the completion rate and discuss all the factors that make this completion rate attainable. For all the students who start their training through my program, about 90-95% of them will get on the airplane back home with their certificate in hand. In order to make this happen, a lot of preparation must be completed before prior to you showing up for your first day of training. First off, you will need to study for and complete the FAA knowledge test (written test). This can be completed without any instructor input whatsoever by studying from the sportys private pilot study buddy . Use the study buddy section until you have a good grasp on what’s going on then start to take practice tests from the study buddy until you score into the 80% to 90% consistently. Once you have that down and are ready to take the test, get a hold of me for an endorsement to take the test. The test can be done in just about every city across America that has a cats testing center and costs anywhere from $100 to $150.
In conjunction with the written test, you can schedule your third class medical examination at any time also by going to Its good to know if you’re medically disqualified for the ppl before you start your training!
After your written test is out of the way, we will need you to study from my private pilot study guide by visiting Please get to know this section quite well as this is the information that will be important to us for the most part.
You should also download foreflight onto your iPad or iPad mini as this is where we we will primarily be getting most all of our pre flight as well as inflight planning and weather.
If you complete these four steps, you will have upwards of a 95% completion rate and over a 95% first time pass rate on your first try. If you happen to not pass on your first time for some reason or another, you can usually retake the practical test that day and still leave with your certificate in hand.
As far as safety goes, we have only had one minor incident throughout my whole career conducting these accelerated courses (or any of my training for that matter). I had a student run off the runway and collapse a landing gear but nobody was injured and the plane was repaired a few days later at minimal cost.
I am only able to achieve the above completion rates due to a number of factors in addition to the aforementioned such as: maintenance- I have a top notch maintenance team whom i have been using for nearly ten years now and all of my aircraft are maintained to impeccable standards that are unusual in the aviation industry. If anything does happen to any of my planes, our team is on top of them immediately and returns them to service as quickly as humanly possible. Weather- flying out of las Vegas definitely has its perks, like the best flying weather in all of the united states! We can pretty much fly 364 days a year here for the most part so it’s usually not an issue at all! Experience- I have been conducting flight training for over ten year and have been doing primarily accelerated training for most of that time. I have amassed nearly 12,000 hours of time in the air!! So I know a little bit:) Examiners- I have been using the same examiners for years now and have a good working relationship with them so that we may schedule my students on very short notice (very important!).
All in all, it’s a very streamlined process when you use us for your accelerated flight training. With the proper preparation and a little bit of effort, you too can get back on the plane home with your license in hand in about ten days or less. Please feel free to call me on my cell at 702-504-6376 if you would like to discuss your options or set up a training date. Hope to talk to you soon!

Rebuilding my archers engine

Hello all! Just a few words on the status of our main training aircraft, the piper archer…
After a few good years of service and a few thousand hours or flight time, our archer is ready for an engine overhaul. It goes in the shop tomorrow to get taken apart and boxed up to be sent to the engine people so they can perform their magic. All of our compressions were mid seventies and only burned 1 quart every twenty hours! The oil stayed light brown for about thirty five hours after the oil change and runs strong but at the recommendation of our maintenance chief, we will overhaul her anyway due to concerns of time on the lower end of the motor. She should be up and running in the first part of may and we have a G-1000 diamond star available in the mean time for our accelerated courses. Talk to you soon!

Use foreflight for preflight planning and inflight navigation.

Hello! Just a few words to talk about the benefits of using Foreflight for preflight planning and navigational purposes. Everyone from commercial pilots, corporate pilots, military and general aviation pilots are using foreflight on their iPads or iPad mini for many of the tasks involved with the operation of aircraft. It can be used for checking the weather, TFRs, terrain, and anything else before your flight and also can be used for the same inflight. It can also be coupled with an ADS-B system for around a thousand bucks for traffic awareness and can also get synthetic vision with an upgraded subscription. It will give you the same airport information that you would get from an AFD and meets the requirement of having an up to date chart in the aircraft as well. It meets the criteria of an official weather briefing (even though that requirement doesn’t exist anymore) and can log that you received a brief if required to show proof after an accident or incident. You can even use foreflight for planning purposes, weather info and airport diagrams during your PPL or IFR check rides as well. This is why I am mandating that new students utilize foreflight during their training with me now. It actually saves money in having to buy all the paper charts and weighs a lot less as well. Once you get your subscription, the updates are downloaded automatically every so often so that you don’t need to keep buying paper charts every couple months. You can also calculate your weight and balance, use the E6B, and get phone numbers of FBOs and hotels at your airport of intended landing. It’s easy to use and pretty much tells you everything you need to know, what else could you possibly need?

Every time a new system comes out (HSI, Garmin 250xl, garmin 430/530, G1000 and now foreflight), I always think to myself how could they possibly top this? Well this time it’s for real, how could they possibly top this now? Bye for now!

Where is the best weather for flight training in the united states?

Hello everyone! So I am often asked why I chose the las Vegas area to do my accelerated flight training courses. Well besides the proximity to a nice large city, my maintenance crew of nearly ten years and all my airplanes being based here, I would have to say the biggest reason is the weather! I have flown in many cities and states in the course of my training for students who live away from my location but it is very difficult to catch a break weather wise in most of these places depending on the time of year. I also get a lot of students who will come visit me in Vegas to finish up their license due to the fact that the weather in their area is just not good enough to get the job done. There are a few different regions within the US that are typically considered to have the best weather for accelerated flight training or otherwise such as Florida, Phoenix and southern California but lets talk about these places in detail shall we…
First off, let’s talk about california. I got my private and IFR rating here and I fly in here about twice a month or so so I have a bit of experience here. Most of the airports that you will utilize for flight training will be subject to the marine layer for a large part of the year. This can ruin your day if you’re going for your ppl but shouldn’t matter for your IFR rating. There is also the smog which can lower visibility to below what is needed to maintain vfr. For this reason, it is very difficult to complete an accelerated ten day course in southern California.
Next up, we have Phoenix. Phoenix has great flying weather most of the year but the monsoons make it next to unbearable for months at a time. The moist air moves in from the gulf of Mexico and rises above the entire Arizona area causing severe thunderstorms that will prevent any training from occurring for large periods of time. Florida is worse when it comes to the thunderstorms not to mention the unbearable heat and humidity.
As far as Vegas goes, we have great temperatures in the winter, maybe a couple days out of the year will be rainy and non fly able but that is very rare, thunderstorm season really doesn’t affect us and the heat is dry so it’s really not a factor (dry heat does matter!). There is no better weather for accelerated flight training than in Vegas, guaranteed!
Talk to you soon!

Accelerated flight training vacation?

Hello, so I get a lot of people calling me every day asking if we can integrate their flight training into a vacation type of trip to make it a little more appealing to their significant other. I know that’s not the easiest thing to take ten days off in a row while the wife or husband hangs out back in the room all by themselves while we’re out training all day. So my answer to this is of course yes unless the student is working on solo time in which nobody but the student is allowed in the plane during those flights. There is good training value in bringing a passenger with us on our flights such as finding out how the plane will perform when close to or at max gross weight and other circumstances that only flying with passengers will be able to teach us. It sweetens the deal when trying to sell your partner on this whole accelerated flight training business as well. And if you’re looking for talking points in your discussion as to the entertainment value of our training, let them know what airports we can possibly hit up: Catalina island, San Diego, Los Angeles, San Francisco, salt lake city, Sedona, saint George, grand canyon, Laughlin, aspen, telluride and many many more. Feel free to call me on my cell anytime at 702-504-6376 if you would like more ideas to pitch or talk about your training in greater detail. Talk to you soon!