My Favorite Online Aviation Tools and Apps – I still do most of my weather “quick looks” here. I keep booked marked links that will give me common lists of METARs and TAFs. I can get a quick Aviation Weather Overview Mapcheck of PIREPs, METARs, SIGMET/AIRMETs, and radar right off the front page (ensure you have the right things checkmarked) or I can bookmark a version that will show me my local area. With the movable maps, I have to be careful where my cursor or finger is to avoid unexpected scrolling or zooming, but I’ve learned to work around it. Continue reading



We spend a lot time preparing for solo flight. Now let’s talk about actually soloing – flying on your own, prior to earning your private pilot certificate. Solo flight is a key difference in how we approach learning to fly versus learning to drive. In most cases I’m aware of, drivers are unable to drive by themselves until they have earned their drivers license; not so with flying! Continue reading

Quick instrument workout

Though I log a lot of PIC during instrument training flights, I frequently have to go out with an instructor or safety pilot in order to keep up my currency. Over the years, I’ve come up with a “workout” that can get my necessary hold, intercept, tracking, and 6 approaches, while flying a variety of approach types. If you are lucky with vectoring, get prepared quickly in the air, and do missed approaches, this can be completed in much less than 2 hours. I’ve mapped out the rough line I typically end up flying (minus the necessary hold at PDZ). If you are rusty, this may not be the workout for you or you may at least need to ask for delaying vectors or extra holds


SoCal Instrument Workout

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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

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 app

Google Nexus 7 (2nd generation) with 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.

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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…

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

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

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