Airport safety

When walking or driving a car around an airport, airplanes should always be given the right-of-way. Remember that you can more easily see the airplane than they can see you.

Even if an airplane’s engine is not running, you should pay attention. Any aircraft with people inside of it or any lights illuminated should be treated with extreme caution and an extra wide berth. Don’t count on the pilot noticing you.

I’ve had several cases recently of people coming very close to an airplane on foot and on a bicycle, just as we were about to start the airplane. In both cases, the airplane’s beacon was flashing and we had yelled “CLEAR” in preparation for starting. Even with those precautions they came much closer than I felt was safe.

2014 Flight Instructor Honor Roll

I’m proud2014 Flight Training Honor Roll to announce that for the second year in a row, I’ve been selected to the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association’s (AOPA) Flight Training Excellence Awards Honor Roll, a title given to high scoring flight instructors from AOPA’s 2014 Flight Training Poll. This honor was awarded to 75 instructors in the US.

The Flight Training Excellence Awards were created to highlight the best the flight training industry has to offer. “We feel it’s important to recognize flight training providers, like David, who create a quality customer experience and instill a lifelong passion for aviation among their students.” said Brittney Miculka, director of pilot community development for AOPA.

To select the award winners, AOPA invited those who have taken flight training within the last 24 months to complete the Flight Training Excellence Poll.  Each individual could nominate up to one flight school and one flight instructor. The online poll was conducted from June 3 to August 23, using a process that contains several safeguards designed to ensure fair competition. AOPA’s poll had more than 3,600 respondents.

More information about David’s flight training can be found at http://WingsByWerntz.com

Safe AND Legal

Safe AND Legal - Operate There

During my pilot ground school, I always draw a diagram like the one above as we start to discuss regulations. I do this to reinforce the concept that being safe is not necessarily the same as being legal and being legal is not always the same as being safe. As pilots, we are likely to have a longer flying career if we restrict ourselves to operations that meet both criteria and stay away from the edges. Continue reading

Cheap charts

It’s getting harder to find paper charts locally, whether VFR charts like sectionals and terminal area charts or instrument en route charts and instrument approach procedures. The reason is that many (most?) pilots are moving to charts on a tablet device.

Google Nexus 7 (2nd generation) with FltPlan.com app

Google Nexus 7 (2nd generation) with FltPlan.com app

For my primary (VFR) students, I require them to get a paper TAC and Sectional for their training, but most of my IFR students are going the tablet route.

Continue reading

Slips

For the second time in my flying career I had flaps fail Friday (in the same airplane in which they failed about 12 years ago). The flaps failed in the up position when preparing to land… my student went to put the flaps down and nothing happened; checked the circuit breakers.. no dice.  So, time to land without flaps. In terms of severity of equipment failures, this really isn’t a big deal. All private pilots are required to demonstrate their ability to deal with this failure. My recounting of the failure, prompted a question about flap failure and slips. Let’s work through the what and why

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The Cost of Flying and the Diminishing Pilot Population

I’ve read a number of articles recently on the dwindling and aging pilot population. A few statistics help to illustrate the problem facing us as we try to grow the pilot population…

1973:
Median income: $12,050
Average car: $3,650
Cessna 172 (new): $18,440

Today:
Median income: $51,300
Average car: $31,250
Cessna 172 (new): $360,000

Continue reading

Engine Out

On Monday, September 9, 2013, I experienced a total loss of power when flying my Cessna 172. I had just executed a touch and go on Long Beach (KLGB) runway 25L and was climbing out, when the engine sputtered and went quiet. At the time, I was near the departure end of the runway around 100′ – 200′ AGL. To give you the most important part of the story, I came out unscathed, but my airplane did not.

N42EP post-incident at LGB Continue reading

Left Turning Tendencies

One last topic today, triggered by a reader question

Q: The things I’ve seen indicate that rotating to climb (applying an upward force on the clockwise-spinning propeller) causes the airplane to yaw left.  But the right-hand rule says
Angular momentum (forward) X force (upward) = torque (to the right)
i.e., this results in a yaw to the right.  What have I got wrong?  Continue reading

Stall Speeds and Center of Gravity (C.G.)

Here’s another topic triggered by a reader question:

Q: Some stall speeds are specified with the occupants in the full forward CG position. This does not seem like it’s a conservative specification, i.e., if the occupants move rearward, that would tilt the plane backward, causing an increase  in angle of attack, causing a higher stall speed. What am I missing here? Continue reading

Airspace Overflight

A reader recently sent me the following question.

Q: If you fly over an airspace (e.g., EMT), is it customary to call in to the EMT tower just to make your intentions clear that you don’t intend to enter the airspace?  Does it depend on whether you have flight following (by SoCal Approach, for example)? Continue reading