Teaching Effectively With Zoom!

Life is a series of “learning opportunities.” Usually, we don’t choose these challenges but – especially as pilots – we must step up and “make magic happen” despite the circumstances. And so it is with COVID and our sudden global pandemic. Social distancing, it seems, requires every educator to become capable with Zoom and virtual presentations.

This modern platform is super easy and very capable in terms of usability and dependability. And fortunately, just about everyone now has some exposure already. With a little effort on the part of the presenter (and the audience),  Zoom can move from a clumsy chat room for bridge ladies (and online comedy memes) to a pretty capable educational tool. Zoom is especially good with latency – the killer of online interaction – and usability. A little effort goes a long way toward optimizing this experience. The books shown here are available free or at minor cost (Kindle) and highly recommended for more details and optimization.

The obvious and immediate deficit of all online education is the emotionally distant nature of the medium. Instead of teaching people directly, we are connected by wires, with little chance of casually discovering the cues we often navigate by in front of a class. Online teaching is initially frustrating, interacting with tiny virtual images, But pretty soon your mind adjusts and everyone gets the rhythm. Ultimately, Zoom is just another technological tool and the time spent to make it less “obvious” as a medium makes the educational experience much more enjoyable and effective. Your control of the medium will also give you better control of the educational experience.

These three elements, latency, tiny-people dynamic, and conversing in an unfamiliar space, add up to create those awkward stutters in conversation students mention as the critical challenge to trying to learn in this environment.

Consequently, we have to teach differently in this space. It’s like the difference between teaching in a small classroom and teaching in a large auditorium. In the auditorium, we have to project our voice, perhaps exaggerate our expressions, and move about the stage to address different segments of the audience. Different spaces demand different approaches. The primary solution for this clumsiness that comes with the videoconference classroom is to become more assertive in how we lead our students.

Starting with the basics; you need a strong, stable internet connection, so test your internet connection with fast.com and assure a minimum 10Mbps download and 5 Mbps upload. Consider a wired connection if you are in a busy environment (or your kids are gamers blasting your modem). Test your actual connection with a Zoom Test Session and take time to optimize your audio and video settings. Use a headset and a good camera set at eye level. There is nothing more frustrating for students than struggling to hear the presenter or spending the whole session looking up your nose holes. Assure good lighting and an environment free from distractions. A virtual background is easily enabled if you have a cluttered office and no one will ever know. Take a read through the Zoom Best Practices pdf is here. Digital Trends also has a good primer on best practices and common problems and best practices.

Definitely start your session with everyone muted (enabled in settings) and selectively open up the conversations to eliminate the annoying background noise issues. This technique also allows you to discover where the problems are. The “waiting room” and ‘chat’ features are great tools to filter entries and also set the expectations for your session. You can transfer documents directly to attendees using chat if you enable this feature.

Once you have spent some time to set-up your session correctly and tested it,  play with all the controls, practice and record your session. The vital part of Zoom is enabling any feature you want in the settings BEFORE the show. Screen sharing is easy but it has to be switched on in settings (and practiced). The optimal set-up uses a second monitor to cue up your presentation panels if you have a lot of documents. If you are using powerpoint, that runs great full screen and is just screen shared. But please don’t overdo the powerpoint – we all have suffered “death by powerpoint,” and Zoom has the capability to be lively and interactive. If things are not working right, try the extensive Zoom Help Center. The cheat sheet on keyboard shortcuts is here.

This is just a taster, and I hope that helps – log in and start pressing the buttons and experimenting. The “record” feature is great for practice (and built-in). This allows you to see “the audience view” – which you never get this opportunity see with a live talk! Become a “Zoom Professional.” We all hope to get back to in-person events at some point soon when it is again safe to interact in bigger groups. Fly safely out there (and often)!

Get the SAFE Toolkit App  (FREE). This also has all the new ACS codes plus required pilot endorsements and required experience right on your smartphone. Join SAFE and receive other get great benefits (1/3 off ForeFlight!) Flying Mag.

Our CFI insurance was developed by SAFE specifically for CFIs (and is the best value in the business). Bind online or call/visit AIR-PROS.COM

Self-Promote (Without Being a Jerk)

With COVID we have a record number of CFIs looking for work. But many CFIs have not learned to “market themselves” since times have been so good for the last 3-5 years. Additionally, many honest educators find self-promotion awkward and distasteful (good for you). Our industry has an epidemic of egos and YouTube experts (only exceeded by the fitness/diet supplement “egosphere“).

But we need to get aviation back flying (and we all need to eat) so every CFI “business” has to learn to promote (tastefully). This blog title is from Bruce Kasanoff’s book (and it is available free online). Here are some ideas on self-promoting (honestly) and getting paid to fly again.

To be successful in any business you have to be noticed – and in some sense, all business is show business. There are, after all, 7.5 billion other humans roaming our planet now. But getting the self-promotion message correct is critical. Totally self-absorbed promotion is not only personally embarrassing and annoying to others, the educational content is also poisoned with ego. The key to promoting successfully and non-offensively is to focus on other people with a solid product that meets their needs. If your business mission is honestly aimed at finding and helping other aviators, you will succeed (and also sleep better at night).

Adam Grant shook the business world in 2013 with his best selling book Give and Take. Grant pointed out (and repeatedly proved in peer-reviewed studies) that those who”give” (wisely) rather than “take,” consistently end up better off in life both financially and in terms of satisfaction and happiness. This may seem non-intuitive but is well supported by research.  There are important qualifications and nuances to avoid burn-out with this strategy – but it opens the door to some interesting points about doing business.

To sell anything, there has to be a “need” – some disparity in capability or resources. Next, that need or disparity must be made known to others with some kind of marketing or publicity (we are assuming an honest business here and not a “manufactured need” that plagues commerce in our culture).  This proposition can be particularly difficult and uncomfortable to frame when the product is you or your services. How do we promote without appearing self-serving and egotistical? If you are performing an honest service, “sales” can occur – with a little help – through testimonials and industry reputation. If you are honest and effective the word spreads pretty fast – but yes, it does take some “encouragement” or promotion.

As an honest CFI, you can feel better about “sales” by understanding that every relationship is at some level a “sales proposition” – but only if by “sales” you mean an honest and potentially mutually beneficial relationship (as in “To Sell is Human“).  As aviation educators, if there is a need – and we indeed sell our time and expertise to fill a gap in skill. knowledge and judgment –  there also must be a stated endpoint where your client reaches the desired proficiency and independence. Ultimately, our goal as an instructor must be to become superfluous or we are fostering dependence and endless need.  We have not succeeded in creating a confident, independent pilots-in-command if we are “always necessary.” We do, unfortunately, see this a lot in aviation; the sage in the right seat, all-knowing and always present. Our job is to get out of the plane!

So there is an incredible paradox built into the educational “sales” paradigm; filling a specific need but the client must grow and transcend the relationship. To solve this enigma, it is essential to have an initial honest agreement between every CFI and every client – lawyers call this a “letter of intent.” This should state clearly in objective terms;  the scope, duration, financial and physical terms of the relationship and the objective standards for success or completion. Otherwise, a CFI can become a lifetime “right-seat-fuzzy forever” to assist on every flight and the learner only achieves “half-baked helper.” The focus should be on your client’s success and independent achievement; make it about them. This is the honest heart of educational self-promotion;  “serve don’t sell.

Many aviation relationships fail precisely because there was no initial honest agreement or intention. Just consider how many students drop out because their training was harder, longer, or more costly than they were initially told  (or not told). Another big fail is when an aviation educator overstates their experience or capabilities instead of honestly referring a client to a better match. If your specialty is not “glass panel” or “tailwheel” (fill in the blank)” another instructor might be a better match if we are honest. The almighty dollar always interferes with accurate self-knowledge (and referrals) here.

There are also in aviation, like in every business, the CFI “snake oil salesperson” promoting their unique techniques or magic safety propositions (misinformation is human). Educators “selling” creative techniques with no support from SOPSs or official industry best practices are a clear warning sign of trouble. Their “magic method” is no different than the “secret supplement” sold by online health promoters. At best they are expensive distractions but at worst they can be clearly dangerous conveying bad habits that are hard to shake later. Our lives as pilots depend on sound knowledge and technique. In aviation (as in life) success requires the same things; time, hard work, and money. And if it is “too good to be true,” in our business, it can get you dead quick.

So watch out for shortcuts, magic methods, and “mandatory strange procedures” – this is self-promotion at it’s worst.  If you encounter an instructor with some highly promoted level of gravitas (lots of experience or hours) “selling” a unique method – and its “my way,  the only right way” – keep walking (or run). Airplanes fly on physics, not hope. Everybody wants your eyeballs ($$) and has a Patreon promotion site. Fly safely out there (and often!)

Get the FREE SAFE Toolkit App  (FREE). This also has all the new ACS codes plus required pilot endorsements and required experience right on your smartphone. Join SAFE and receive other get great benefits (1/3 off ForeFlight!) Flying Mag.

Our CFI insurance was developed by SAFE specifically for CFIs (and is the best value in the business). Bind online or call/visit AIR-PROS.COM

New “Checkride Ready!™” On The SAFE App.

Every good DPE wants the applicant for a flight test to be successful. Examiners are all long-time flight instructors and are totally invested in the success of the aviation system. Their worst day is when they have to disappoint an eager applicant with bad news (but sometimes “more training” is required). From the other side of the table, it often seems applicants go out of their way to create their own problems or never “got the script.” (See “20 Ways to Fail Your Flight Test“) That is why the SAFE CFI Toolkit App was originally created; to make the testing process easier – providing CFIs and applicants all the necessary endorsements, hour requirements and testing codes. Now “Checkride Ready!™” takes this process a step further aiming directly at the applicant and revealing specific stumbling blocks DPEs mention continuously. Once you learn the “rules of engagement”  your evaluation experience can be much easier (I hesitate to say “even enjoyable?)

True, every applicant hopefully glanced through the ACS a few times, and if they were lucky they had a talented educator ask solid scenario-based questions that got the applicant really thinking (and preparing) like a pilot-in-command. But very simple and avoidable problems can make the whole process difficult (like the common problem of not having your IACRA Login/PW so you can sign the FAA application online?) How about never having ever done (much less practiced) a turning stall (it is in the private pilot ACS). This leads to the unhappy admonition “I guess this will be your first one.” “Checkride Ready!™” prevents these surprises.

Every applicant starts an FAA evaluation with 100% (you are *already* a pilot when you submit the IACRA application and start an evaluation!). All errors (and there will be errors: allowed and expected) are a “mark down” from 100%. Though a 70% is ugly and undesirable, it is still a “pass.” Your DPE is required to emphasize: perfection is not the standard So don’t psych yourself out with self-critical “over-thinking.” Be a confident PIC; you got this!

“Checkride Ready!™” is a new resource from SAFE and it is embedded in the (free) SAFE Toolkit App. This new resource reveals key problem areas seen by DPEs that result in nervousness, aggravation and maybe even an unsuccessful outcome. The new material is broken down by certificate and rating (private and instrument rating are currently complete), and the include the popular VFR and IFR “pink slip” suggestions for improvement. The checklist in the ACS is very thorough (and every applicant should read it). But also available on the ACS website is a pdf for the examiner (and available to applicants) of sample scenario questions for evaluators (DPE) and the structure of the evaluation. Use these resources and make flight testing easier.

Fly safely out there (and often).

Get the FREE SAFE Toolkit App  (FREE). This contains all the new ACS codes plus required pilot endorsements and experience right on your smartphone. Join SAFE and receive other great benefits (1/3 off ForeFlight!) Flying Mag

Our CFI insurance was developed by SAFE specifically for CFIs (and is the best value in the business). Bind online or call/visit AIR-PROS.COM And get discounts by rating your flying with CloudAhoy on the Starrgate App.


Please Be An “Aviation Ambassador!”

Screen Shot 2020-07-18 at 8.37.44 AMAs aviation educators, we are not only the front-line troops that mold all future pilots. We are also the most visible ambassadors for any growth in the aviation community. Some new person is going to show up at your local airport and they will be directed to the flight instructor. And that meeting and experience is our key opportunity to either grow (or squash) someone’s dreams and the future in aviation. Your enthusiasm and opinion matter greatly to how the public views aviation. Pilots are an incredibly small part of our population -less than 1%! The CFI is often the critical influencer and  “point of contact” that opens the door to a world of adventure. Aviation needs more participants to remain a viable industry.

With COVID, the huge regional aviation events like Sun ‘N Fun and Airventure/Oshkosh have been canceled and being delivered virtually. Please spread the word (and this link) to all your friends and contacts and make this next week a widely distributed, exciting event. Please use every social media channel at your disposal to get this event to as big an audience as possible; aviation needs your help! Please do it now – share these links to your FB/Instagram and Twitter accounts.

The training and safety initiative will have a special channel that will be of spcial interest pilots and educators. The Pilot Proficiency Center will be virtualized and delivering training via remote tech talks and training. You can participate online and earn FAA WINGS. You can also fly with a “virtual instructor” on your local simulator with a remote hookup! Please spread this link to your local pilot community:

Another exciting future opportunity for aviation is the impending release of the newest version of Microsoft Flight Simulator. Thousands of pilots owe their first exposure to aviation through the first release of the first primitive program. The newest, highly acclaimed, version promises intense terrain and force modeling and should bring a whole new generation of eager learners to aviation ready to experience the real thing. Get ready for growth!


Fly safely out there (and often).

Get the FREE SAFE Toolkit App  (FREE). This also has all the new ACS codes plus required pilot endorsements and required experience right on your smartphone. Join SAFE and receive other get great benefits (1/3 off ForeFlight!) Flying Mag.

Our CFI insurance was developed by SAFE specifically for CFIs (and is the best value in the business). Bind online or call/visit AIR-PROS.COM


Remote CFI – New Opportunities In Aviation

I know what you are thinking. “Will these remote CFI hours count toward my 1500 for the airlines? Not likely, but this new technology provides great opportunities for “remote learners.” The challenge will be balancing the acquisition of basic piloting skills with scenario-based judgment to create an effective learning experiences. And all this is a perfect extension of the original Pilot Proficiency model.

Mainstream GA was introduced to scenarios in 2010 with the Pilot Proficiency Project. This initiative, launched over 10 years ago with the then-brand-new Redbird simulator, built a new awareness and excitement in the aviation industry (and FAA literature – esp. the FAA Aviation News) for a new way of teaching.  At that time, mainstream aviation education had not changed much since the WWII pilot training; based largely on rote repetition and a behavioral model of learning (good dog/bad dog). Suddenly general aviation had TAA aircraft with glass panels displays, GPS  point to point navigation and full-motion simulators; a whole new world.

At the same time as all this new technology arrived,  aviation education was also discovering cognitive psychology and there was a crazy over-emphasis on scenario training and “learner-centered experiential flight training.” Aviation became in some places “fantasy flight training” with every lesson a fun Disney-like adventure; no struggle or work necessary! Training courses and books made *everything* from lesson one into a fun/discovery scenario. Educators were introducing repeated cross-country dual experiences from lesson #1 with the mistaken idea that flight students would acquire fundamental skills through some kind of osmosis. This method failed. Not only did this method often double the cost of a pilot certificate, but savvy educators also discovered a serious lack of fundamental skills in pilots trained with these methods. The Loss of Control-InFlight epidemic is probably partly a result.

Let’s remember what history says about our noble endeavors to deemphasize the basics in hopes of accelerating a student’s development. The Whole Language vs. Phonics reading debacle is a good example. At one time, educators tried to accelerate reading development in young people by forgoing sounding out phonemes, the basic parts of a word (phonics). Instead, they had them decode whole words and phrases (whole language) as they were encountered in the meaningful context of a text. While the intentions were noble, millions of young people failed to learn how to read properly. We can’t expect students to learn efficiently if we fail to emphasize the basic skills first.

Rod Machado

Though scenarios have a very important role to play in later flight training and especially testing, (ACS in 2016) fundamentals still need to be taught with effective drill and repetition to build the basic skills and understanding (see “why Johnny can’t turn“). Just like all motor-skill activities from learning piano to motorcycle racing, a learner has to work on and develop some basic fundamentals through drill and repetition before the more elaborate and complex scenarios have value – learning scales and building implicit knowledge before attempting Mozart. Incremental mastery can blend scenarios with repetitive skill-building to create the most powerful progress.

Technology has amazingly useful applications when deployed by talented, creative educators. Mike McCurdy at CHS Flight School has revisioned the Redbird for use in drill and repetition training for super-efficient early learning. In his primary flight training method, you do not get near an airplane (wasting time and $$) until you have achieved a basic level of proficiency on every maneuver first in a Redbird. His program is the perfect expression of The Talent Code. The Redbird GIFT (Guided Independent Flight Training) program is a similar focus but delivering high-quality remote training directly to the learner in a Redbird. Cloud Ahoy’s “CFI Assistant” provides a creative flight tool that recognizes and rates your live aircraft performance from GPS tracking data. This program will even assign a grade to your maneuvers (if you want it). You can even get an insurance discount through our SAFE insurance program with Starr Insurance (see new StarrGate App) for proficiency.

We are at another crossroads now with COVID quarantine and the widespread use of remote conferencing technologies. There is a huge push to effectively leverage these technological tools for valid remote educational experiences. With the new Redbird Connect, every pilot can now log on with a remote educator and fly a flight lesson in an advanced simulator (and even receive FAA WINGS credit). Billy Winburn is at the center of this initiative with Community Aviation and EAA Proficiency 365. He presented a demonstration of these tools at our SAFE CFI-PRO™ in KFDK last fall. Remote instruction provides a personalized educational experience utilizing the same scenarios (and more) developed in the original Pilot Proficiency Project. This is now EAA Proficiency 365. Remote one-on-one training has great potential to provide access to training and safety. As in all personalized instruction, the effectiveness depends on the skill and creativity of the presenter.

For better or worse, aviation is very honest and unforgiving when it comes to deciding who is truly capable and skilled. It weeds out the weak pilots in a merciless fashion. Since flying charter, I have come to respect and appreciate good simulator training and all the valuable experiences technology makes available for less money and with less danger. Whether remote technologies will achieve this level of excellence and true learning will be the challenge of the next few years. Fly safe out there (and often)- safety favors the conscientious and current pilot!

Get the FREE SAFE Toolkit App  (FREE). This also has all the new ACS codes plus required pilot endorsements and required experience right on your smartphone. Join SAFE and receive other get great benefits (1/3 off ForeFlight!) Flying Mag.

Our CFI insurance was developed by SAFE specifically for CFIs (and is the best value in the business). Bind online or call/visit AIR-PROS.COM


“Pink Slip” Problems (IFR)

This blog examines common IFR knowledge deficiencies that lead to “pink slips” on check rides – insufficient understanding. Every pilot can benefit from improving their full comprehension of these weak areas. Last week we looked at VFR pink slips, but the knowledge component for IFR is even more critical since accidents in this environment are usually not “fender benders” but fatal. Also, most DPEs are less “forgiving” at this more professional level since an IFR rating will transfer directly to the commercial pilot certificate and into the professional world with passengers in the back. The IFR test is a tough evaluation and the details are perishable; always worth a solid review.

Understand The Approach Charts: Applying chart information to a specific flight operation (what does this mean?) and “connecting the dots” between the IFR enroute chart and the approach plate are the most common deficiencies for IFR applicants. “If we are approaching KBGM from the south to fly the ILS  16 can we transition into the approach from the Binghamton VOR on the R-041 radial?” Radar goes away 5PM due to COVID (early tower closing list) and NY Center runs this approach (sort of..) Explain how I would legally transition if I were cleared to CFB at 5,ooo ft (#2 on the chart) then “cleared for the approach.” How would this differ from being similarly cleared to ITH VOR (#1) and cleared for the approach? Can I descend on the transition if “cleared for the approach” to ITH at 5,000?

If an applicant does not understand that R-041 is a “formulation radial” and not for navigation, they are unprepared to go (safely) flying in the clouds. This radial is only a method for identifying AUREY (if no RNAV or marker). R-041 is definitely not a legal route to fly. Execute CFR 91.3 and say “no” to NYC if they offer this (“vectors to final would be fine…”) Notice the absence of any altitude or distance guidance – and notice the arrow on the chart is thinner. Many applicants invent an acceptable altitude by invoking the MSA and flying “GPS direct” in the terminal area. But these pilots are essentially creating their own instrument approach with no testing. MSA is only for emergency terrain avoidance (escape altitude), not for navigation. (The other lesson embedded here; controllers can be in error also. And every pilot – esp. IFR – must be “PIC” and fully in charge of their flight! Examiners are looking for “command authority.” The meek may “inherit the earth” but they do not make safe instrument pilots – don’t be a “sheep!”)

ITH is an IAF (initial approach fix) for this approach and where the approach may begin (darker arrow and altitude/distance defined). A great resource to understand this level of detail is the Aeronautical Chart Users’ Guide for Terminal Procedures. (and this is so basic I cannot understand why CFIIs send applicants for an IFR test without this essential knowledge.)

Understanding RNAV/RAIM/RNP: Let’s go “modern” (PBN?) – there are lots of technical requirements here (every new plate as a potential “minefield” hiding some essential problem) e.g. “what is the ‘Z’ in the title?” ” Is the “Y” plate better?” What kind of equipment is necessary to fly this (installation, inspections, database, required manual onboard, potential RAIM warnings).  What is RNP .03? Do I have the capability on board the plane today? These are all questions an examiner might ask but usually in a scenario format.

But more basically, if I am transitioning from the north, can I be vectored to TIFZY and transition into this approach legally starting from the IF? See AIM section 5-4-7, it previously had very specific guidance, the “rules” here seem to change frequently…careful!

“Radar vectors” are increasingly the superglue of the IFR system (along with “GPS direct”- “Going Perfectly Straight”) It is critical in IFR to know what is legal and what is unsafe and stupid (OROCA?)If not sure of procedure or clearance, always ASK for clarification. Especially if you want a straight-in approach when aligned from the enroute system, just solicit “cleared for a straight-in approach.”

Understanding Approach and Minimums: This is a big fail and it seems that many applicants for IFR flight tests have never read CFR 91.175 or AIM 2-4-5 carefully (The AIM is very readable and essential for IFR). Ignorance here s is often “game over” for IFR flight tests (because it will lead directly to an accident).  Can we take-off (or shoot an approach) if the ATIS is saying we have 1/8 mile visibility? If “yes” for a take-off, how does that sync with our risk management plan P-A-V-E (ACS IR.I.C.R1-7)? So yes, a part 91 operation can fly a departure or shoot an approach “zero/zero” legally (but remember legal vs safe from last week?) and we still need “Minimum visibility” to land (ceilings are not limiting). “How do I proceed if I get to decision altitude and I only see the sequenced flashing lead-in lights? “(no looking this one up in the regs) Hopefully, an applicant has internalized CFR 91.175 – “you can continue to 100 feet above the touchdown zone” But then if I see the green terminating lights, how do I know if I have the required 1/2 mile required visibility?

Ever notice the light bars on most approach lighting systems are 2400-3000 feet long? This is not a coincidence. If we are at the end of light bars with green runway end lights in sight, we have 1/2 mile viz. (if you see to the VASI you have 3/4sm) Can an applicant find their chart legend and discover this on their iPad? And do I now fully satisfy CFR 91.175 for a landing? What else is required?

Non-precision approaches with no vertical guidance are increasingly rare (and that is a great safety aid for IFR safety; no “chop and drop” anymore). Depending on what equipment is on board my clapped-out Piper product, how do I fly this approach? Can I legally fly it with what I have in the plane (and identify step downs)? Can I use ForeFlight (or other EFB) to identify these fixes? For extra credit “what in the heck does ‘fly visual 238degrees’ mean on the plate below?” I thought at minimums I either see the “runway environment” and land and go missed? Why is the FAA telling me to “scud run” to the airport? (BTW, this FAA procedure does not meet the CFR 91.175 reg, and a waiver had to be issued).

Know your enroute chart details too: This is an excerpt from the FAA Aeronautical Chart User’s Guide for Low Altitude Charts: There should be no big mysteries here since these charts tell us where and how to fly IFR (there will be questions…)

Understand STARS: Most pilots in training have never actually flown a STAR  but need to know what they are and how to select, activate and fly one. If you are cleared for the NOBBI FIVE headed into KHPN can we descend to the depicted altitudes along the route on the chart? (NOPE!) This is kind of an “ambush” because it looks just like an approach plate and “cleared” sounds “good to go.” Just remember they “cleared” you for an *arrival route* but *NOT* the altitudes. These are only advisory until cleared by the controller to “descend via.” This mistake probably represents about half of the ASRS Reports filed every month and is commonly misunderstood by pilots at all levels (even in jets).

Incidentally, I have heard the argument that “I will never fly a STAR” or “I am a piston, low altitude pilot” or “I would never fly to minimums” But I have had successful pilots immediately buy a TBM or get hired and be flying jets within a few months of their flight test. All the privileges being conferred must be tested (Instrument ACS)

Weather knowledge applied to Approach and Alternates: This area is HUGE, but one essential question I never miss is “how far can we stretch a TAF.” (it is critical to know the resolution and legal limits of every weather product – what does it mean to me?) “If I file IFR to KFRG on Long Island, can I use the KISP TAF (it comes up automagically in ForeFlight) to determine if I need an alternate?” “Can I file IFR to a grass runway?” What are the implications for alternates?” “Once I file an alternate do I have to go there if I miss?” BTW, remember the 1-2-3 rule as “it has to be “pretty good VFR” or I need an alternate. I have heard 1= 1000 ft ceiling, 2 miles viz (we all get confused under stress).

Required Equipment for IFR Flight: Last week’s blog covered some VFR equipment questions (91.205 and 91.213) This same reg. covers IFR the equipment necessary for IFR operations. But this will be contextual (based on your individual situation) and possible failures can occur (can we stil file and fly IFR?). A RAIM failure would be a possible question, as would the required navigational performance (RNP) for various approaches (see Chart Guide)

Known Icing: This was covered in detail in a previous blog (and is usually not what applicants think it is). There is a surprisingly big focus on this in the current Instrument ACS: IR.II.A.K.1 (IFR Area of Operation 2Knowledge) and IR.II.A.R1&2 (Risk 1 and 2). Icing is a very real hazard that every IFR pilot must understand, respect and mitigate. The ACS codes you see are now in the SAFE Toolkit App for easy reference (every CFI has to sign off training on these – CFR 61.39). Fly safe out there (and often)!

The FREE SAFE Toolkit App This also has all the new ACS codes plus required pilot endorsements and required experience right on your smartphone. Join SAFE and receive other get great benefits (1/3 off ForeFlight!) free Flying Mag. etc.

Our CFI insurance was developed by SAFE specifically for CFIs (and is the best value in the business). Bind online or call/visit AIR-PROS.COM

VFR “Pink Slip” Problems!

Many critical pilot deficiencies uncovered during FAA “oral evaluations” are also weak knowledge areas for ALL pilots.  Every pilot needs to thoroughly understand these problem areas for greater safety. So here is a radical idea; the FAA ACS can be a wonderful tool for improvement even for certificated pilots. Maybe you “passed” your pilot test years ago (and missed some sections- or used the older PTS)? Here is a crib sheet for pilot improvement based on the Airman Certification Standard (ACS). It is also perfect for CFIs conducting flight reviews or preparing candidates for a test!

The items below are “pink slip items” – critical knowledge – from DPE evaluations of VFR candidates.  Dig into these areas and test your own understanding for future flight safety. And please add your own personal “aviation pain points” below in the comments.

Risk management is a central structural component of the ACS (and aviation safety). Evaluating pilot judgment was the major change transitioning from the PTS to ACS. The core understanding here is that FAA minimums in every area are *not* “flight recommendations” but regulatory boundaries. The classic bare-bones “one statute mile visibility and clear of clouds” in Class G airspace is a perfect example. This minimum condition might be utilized safely in rare cases by a very experienced pilot but it is certainly inappropriate for a newly certificated pilot. Proper risk management requires “personal minimums” at a much higher (safer) level – creating a “margin of safety!” Risk management is also systematic, objectively separating what might be barely “legal” from a “safe and smart” operation! This same logic carries all through the FAA regulations and operations: e.g. night flight requires only control guidance from a compass, airspeed and altimeter (no AI required). As another example, a pilot can *legally* fly solo day/night for 23 months and 29 days after a flight test or flight review with no subsequent training or experience; just don’t take innocent passengers – get three TO/L first. This is technically “legal” but we can all agree it sucks for safety!

Airspace limitations – required equipment and pilot actions: All pilots seem to be weak on airspace – and this even includes proficient IFR fliers for whom most airspace disappears! The confusion is especially obvious decoding Class E and G airspace boundaries and limitations.  Just yesterday, I had a PPL applicant claim a magenta airport with a dotted magenta dashed line around it was a “Class Delta (towered?)” airport – nope! The magenta dashed line is where controlled (Echo) airspace extends down to the surface, and the higher viz of 3 sm is required with additional separation from clouds. Most pilots do not understand this provides a safety margin for IFR inbound traffic. A “surface Echo” is often an indication that the non-towered field has lots of IFR flights or an ILS approach. (Interestingly, the FAA has not kept up with LPV approaches to the surface by protecting the airspace in a similar fashion). If a Delta airport goes IFR, can we fly VFR in the surrounding Class E surface area (much larger than the Delta)? It is not uncommon for pilot applicants with over 100 hours at their home field to not even know what airspace they are flying in during all their flight training.

System knowledge and required instruments: What instruments are required to be installed and work for legal VFR flight? Many applicants happily quote the “A TOMATO FLAMES” acronym but then cannot remember or apply this rote formula to  real conditions! When asked what the three required flight instruments for VFR flight are (91.205) very few applicants can come up with the altimeter, airspeed and compass. Many will insist an attitude indicator is required for day (or night) VFR or that a leaking and inoperative compass is not a problem for their flight. My advice to my students to build a lasting and useful mental model is to “visualize the most simple plane like a J-3 or Champ” and think of what is in this plane. I call those very few required instruments the “sacred seven.” Just add required instruments and indicators as the plane becomes more complex.

Inoperative equipment: If something is broken in the plane, can we legally fly (91.213)? IF it is legal is it “safe” and does it meet the requirements of a specific “kind of operation.” What actions are necessary to make this plane legal to fly? The FAA guidance is that every airworthy plane has to meet the requirements of the original type certificate data sheet (TCDS) – as new. If *anything* is inoperative, the plane is immediately unairworthy until a pilot analysis is made to determine if the inop. equip. is legally necessary and/or essential for safety.  Can a pilot “properly alter” the plane so it is legal for flight (91.213)? Is a mechanic required? Is a maintenance sign-off necessary? e.g. every pilot (and most CFIs) will tell you if your ELT is inoperative (scenario: the ELT antenna has snapped off) the plane has to be grounded (check 91.207 carefully…)

Failure to calculate the required data: Despite pre-test discussion and recommendations, few pilots effectively analyze the weather or calculate their performance (W&B, take-off landing distances). It is not uncommon for a pilot to not have a taxi diagram or even know the length of their home field runway where they have done hundreds of take-offs and landings.  91.103  – “all available information” is often criticized as too broad, but also names specific calculated data on the five primary causal factors of fatal accidents: “the killers.” How long is the runway and what is the aircraft performance today? Do I have enough fuel and is the weather checked and satisfactory (see personal minimums above)? Have I investigated and planned alternates and looked at delays (NOTAMS)?

Human Factors: I am feeling headachy and nauseous in flight, what is the probable cause and pilot action? WIll O2 provide immediate improvement?  When does a pilot need o2? Does everyone get hypoxic at 12,500 after 30 minutes? A growing number of pilots involved in fatal accidents have illegal drugs in their bloodstream (28%) My passenger is suddenly looking excessively nervous – pasty white and incoherent. What might they be suffering from?

Preventative Maintenance: There is a common joke that one of the most dangerous hazards in aviation is an airplane owner with a toolbox. What can a pilot legally accomplish as “preventative maintenance” and how do we do this? Can a pilot replace a wing nav bulb? Are logbook entries required? Is a maintenance manual (or previous training) required?

Privileges and limitations: Can a newly certificated pilot who has only flown a Cessna 150 legally rent and fly a Grumman Tiger? Again the FAA is pretty permissive, but personal cautions should be in place to keep a pilot safe. In all aviation operations, what is legal and what is safe or smart are often quite different and distinct standards. What logbook inspections must a pilot know and verify to assure an airplane is “airworthy?”

Risk mitigation plan: While planning a cross-country flight, what are the major risk factor areas the FAA recommends a pilot investigate and mitigate (P-A V-E) The ACS requires a risk management plan that specifically addresses these items. “Being cautions” is always good but having an actual defined plan with objective standards is essential. All the other scenario questions from maintenance to equipment and airspace hinge on risk management. How can a private pilot applicant show up at a test and have not heard about P-A-V-E? Some flight instructor badly failed this person.

Systems knowledge is a weak area for most pilots at all levels. Almost any question about “pieces and parts” or technical information seems to often be deadly on check rides. Scenario: “I am flying along on that assigned cross-country and the red ‘low voltage’ light comes on (or other ‘non-charge’ indication). What are the pilot’s immediate actions? How long do I have and what will fail? How will a pilot bring this flight to a safe conclusion?” Answers to questions like these often reveal limited knowledge and a lack of both command authority and the use of resources. If it wasn’t so sad, some of the explanations on how planes work would be very funny. My personal favorite is how the fan belt drives the propeller for thrust.

Preparation for safe piloting requires a lot of imaginative “what if” thinking (and then research of questions discovered). Applying knowledge and creating a plan is essential for safe execution. The ACS-focused knowledge areas where pilots often struggle during flight tests are great review topics for every pilot. Be creative in your imaginative “problem creation” because mother nature sure can be. Fly safe out there (and often)!


Join SAFE and get great benefits (1/3 off ForeFlight!) This supports our mission of increasing aviation safety by promoting excellence in education.  Our FREE SAFE Toolkit App puts required pilot endorsements and experience requirements right on your smartphone and facilitates CFI+DPE teamwork. Our CFI insurance was developed by SAFE specifically for CFIs (and is the best value in the business)

Effective Educator = Learning/Growing!

Student progress and learning are primarily determined by the quality of the educator. Though 50% of the variance in educational effectiveness is the “raw material” that students bring to the table, fully 30% of variance is determined by the skills and attitude of the educator. Environment and equipment figure in at less than 10%

But unfortunately, lack of student progress is often dismissed with all kinds of incriminating accusations pointed at the learner when too often the real cause is the skill and motivation of the teacher. As my mentor would say “if the student has not learned, the CFI has not taught.”  And the best way to improve and keep the motivation going for an educator is to continue to grow and learn; experiencing humility in the face of a new challenge. Most CFIs embrace the role of “expert” readily but this can unfortunately easily segue into the pompous and annoying “know-it-all.”

The critical difference is that an expert retains a “growth mindset.” This worldview leaves open the door to continue growing and learning. Microsoft’s new CEO Satya Nadella transformed their viciously competitive workplace into a collaborative team dramatically increasing their effectiveness and profitability – he calls in a “learn-it-all.” The change is all about “Growth Mindset” (Carol Dweck). Remaining an eager learner with open possibilities requires a degree of curiosity and humility that fosters a better relationship with the student; “partners on the road to greater excellence.”

Humility seems especially rare in aviation. If the standard 70% of drivers claim to be “above average,” (Lake Wobegon effect) probably 95% of pilots think they are “better than average” (and in charge). Though it takes a lot of confidence and strong personal belief to pilot successfully, it is essential to dial this back to be effective as an educator (two very different roles in aviation). We close the door on learning when we are so self-sure! Arrogance and impatience are toxic to a learning relationship. Educators need to willingly accept student experimentation, fumbling, and self-correction by staying in touch with their own personal learning adventures. Fly safe out there (and often).

Join SAFE and get great benefits (1/3 off ForeFlight!) This supports our mission of increasing aviation safety by promoting excellence in education.  Our FREE SAFE Toolkit App puts required pilot endorsements and experience requirements right on your smartphone and facilitates CFI+DPE teamwork. Our CFI insurance was developed by SAFE specifically for CFIs (and is the best value in the business).



Human Factors: Maintaining Control!

This week’s blog is by Hobie Tomlinson (see bio below). With 40K hours and 9 type ratings, Hobie developed much of what we now call CRM when he was a 747 captain at TWA. Here is an excerpt from our SAFE resource library (free to members )…enjoy!

Crew Resource Management (CRM) and Single-Pilot Resource Management (SRM) are the abilitis of the crew (or pilot) to manage all available resources effectively in order to ensure that the outcome of the flight is successful.

Single-Pilot Resource Management (SRM) is most often used in general aviation and it is focused on single-pilot operation. SRM recognizes the need for pilots to seek adequate information from many available sources in order to make valid choices. Pilots must continue seeking this knowledge until they have obtained the proper information to make the best possible decisions under the existing circumstances.  Once a pilot has gathered all pertinent information and made the required decisions, the pilot must then continually assess the actions taken in order to ensure that they continually yield the desired outcomes.

Single-Pilot Resource Management (SRM) integrates the following disciplines:

Situational Awareness (SA) is the accurate perception of operational and environmental factors that affect the flight. It is a logical analysis based upon the aircraft, available external support, the operational environment, and the pilot. In plain language, it simply means ~ “knowing what is going on.”

Proper Situational Awareness is not simply just having a mental picture of the aircraft’s location; but rather, it is the continual mental maintenance of an overall assessment of all the elements which comprise the current flight environment and how each affects the flight. A pilot who maintains good situational awareness is knowledgeable of all aspects of the flight and consequently is able to be proactive in his decision-making process.

Conversely, a pilot who has poor situational awareness is typically missing several important pieces of information and is thus forced to regress into a reactive style of decision-making. A pilot with poor situational awareness lacks a vision of potential future events and is thus forced into making decisions quickly when unexpected events occur, often with very limited options. An example of poor situational awareness and reactive decision-making would be a pilot who does not adequately keep track of his flight’s progress (or the destination weather) and suddenly finds himself faced with destination weather which is below landing weather minimums and inadequate fuel to reach his filed destination alternate! (This accident actually happened to a Cessna Citation crew in Wilmington, NC.)

During a Typical IFR Flight, a pilot usually operates at several levels of situational awareness. For example, a pilot may be in cruise toward his destination with a high level of situational awareness when air traffic control (ATC) issues a revised routing consisting of an unexpected Standard Terminal Arrival Route (STAR) due to traffic volume. Because the pilot was not expecting that particular STAR and is not familiar with it, situational awareness is temporarily reduced. However, after becoming familiar with the STAR and resuming normal navigation on the new routing, the pilot again returns to a high level of situational awareness.

Factors which Reduce SA include the following:

        • Distractions
        • Unusual or Unexpected events
        • Complacency
        • High Workload
        • Unfamiliar Situations
        • Inoperative Equipment
        • Fatigue

Lack of Situational Awareness (SA) is almost always a precursor to an aircraft accident. The lack of situational awareness can be identified by the occurrence of one or more of the following events:

        • Failure to Stay Ahead of the operation by anticipating upcoming events.
        • Ambiguity ~ when two or more independent sources of information do not agree.
        • Fixation or Preoccupation ~ when the focus of attention is only one item at the exclusion of all others.
        • Confusion ~ the feeling of uncertainly, anxiety, or puzzlement about
        • No One Overseeing the task
        • Uncertainty about the current state of the task
        • Use of Undocumented Procedures (i.e. Shortcuts)
        • Departure from Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) ~ either intentional or unintentional.
        • Violating Task Limitations (or Standards)
        • Failure to Meet Task Targets (or Goals)
        • Unresolved Discrepancy
        • Incomplete Communication

In some situations, loss of situational awareness may be beyond the pilot’s control. As an example, a vacuum pump failure (or Primary Flight Display – PFD- screen failure for you technically advanced aircraft – TAA – types out there) and the associated initial loss of the heading and attitude indicators could cause a pilot to suddenly find his aircraft in an unusual attitude. If this situation occurs, established and trained procedures must be immediately used to reestablish aircraft control and restore situational awareness.

Pilots should be aware of the loss (or reduction) in situational awareness anytime they find themselves in a reactive mindset. To regain situational awareness, immediately reassess your flight situation by seeking additional information from other sources such as your flight and navigation instruments, air traffic control, uplinked weather data or flight service.

Flight Deck Resource Management (CRM or SRM) is the effective use of all available resources which include the following:

        • Human
        • Equipment
        • Information

Flight Deck Resource Management focuses on communication skills, teamwork, task allocation, and decision-making. While Crew Resource Management (CRM) usually concentrates on pilots who operate in crew environments, the elements and concepts also apply to pilots who operate in single-pilot environments (Single-Pilot Resource Management ~ SRM).

Human Resources include all personnel routinely working with the pilot(s) to ensure the safety of the flight. These people include, but are not limited to, the following: dispatchers, schedulers, weather briefers, flight line personnel, fuelers, maintenance and/or avionics technicians, pilots and other crew members, and air traffic control personnel. Pilots need to effectively communicate with all of these people. This communication is best accomplished by using the three key components of the communication process. These three key components are as follows:

        • Inquiry
        • Advocacy
        • Assertion

Pilots must recognize the need to seek enough information from the above resources to make valid decisions. Once the necessary information has been acquired, the resultant decisions of the pilot must be passed on to the individuals who are affected by those decisions. These individuals may include air traffic controllers, passengers, other crew members, fixed base operators and/or people awaiting the arrival of the flight. The pilot may need to request assistance from others in implementing these decisions and in some situations, this may even require assertiveness for all issues to be safely resolved.

Equipment Resources in many of today’s Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA) include automated flight and navigations systems. While these automated systems provide relief from many of the routine flight deck tasks, they present another set of problems for pilots. The extensive programming required by automated systems tends to increase pilot workload during the least “structured” (and often rushed) preflight phase of the flight operation. It is imperative that pilots allow adequate time to correctly program their autoflight systems before beginning to taxi the aircraft and avoid any “heads down” time while taxiing. This is one of the most important steps for preventing runway incursions and/or other taxi deviations.

While Flying Enroute the automation, which is intended to reduce pilot workload, essentially removes the pilot from the task of managing the aircraft, thereby reducing the pilot’s situational awareness and promoting complacency. It is important for pilots to continually monitor the information provided by the flight, navigation and weather displays of Technically Advanced Aircraft (TAA) in order to assure that they maintain proper situational awareness. Pilots must be thoroughly familiar with the operation of; information presented by, and correct management of, all systems used (automated or otherwise). It is essential that pilots remain fully aware of both their equipment’s full capabilities and all its limitations in order to manage these systems effectively and safely.

Information Workload and automated systems (such as autopilots) need proper management to ensure the safety of the flight. A pilot flying in Instrument Meteorological Conditions (IMC) is often faced with multiple, simultaneous tasks, each with a different level of importance in ensuring a safe outcome to the flight operation. A high workload example of this occurs during the initial stages of an instrument approach to an airport. The pilot must be able to obtain the Automatic Terminal Information System (ATIS) or Automatic Weather Observing System (AWOS) weather, review the applicable approach plate, properly plan his descent in order to be able to slow and reconfigure the aircraft by the Final Approach Fix, correctly program the communication and navigation radios – including all required automation systems – communicate with Air Traffic Control and complete all the required checklists.

The Pilot who is able to effectively manage his workload will be able to complete as many of these tasks as early as feasible in order to eliminate the possibility of task saturation (becoming overloaded) caused by last-minute ATC changes and communication priorities during a later and more critical stage of the approach.

Figure 1-11 (above) shows that the margins of safety are at their lowest point during this stage of the flight operation. This is where the majority of accidents occur. A large part of the reason for the high accident rate during this portion of the flight is that when a pilot delays (or forgets) routine tasks until the last minute, there is a large possibility of the pilot becoming task saturated and stressed. This task saturated condition will result in a large erosion of the pilot’s performance capabilities and probably even produce a negative safety margin!

Proper Task Management is a requirement for performing safe flight operations. Because humans have a finite (i.e. limited) capacity to absorb information, once the data stream exceeds the pilot’s ability to mentally absorb and process all the required information, task saturation results. When this data stream (information flow) exceeds a pilot’s ability to mentally process the information, any additional information will become unattended and/or displace other tasks and information already being processed. Once a pilot’s task saturation (officially called “channel capacity”) level is reached only the following two alternatives exist:

        • Shed the unimportant tasks
        • Perform all tasks at a less than optimal level

Automatic Task Shedding is a natural event during which the brain rejects incoming data in order to reduce its processing load. This prevents the brain from “locking up” as a computer will do when its processing capacity is exceeded. Because the brain is trying to reduce incoming data during “automatic task shedding,” it will always reject (dump) the most complex task first. The problem with allowing automatic task shedding to occur is that the most complex task which the brain automatically deletes will also be the most important task! This is why a pilot experiencing automatic task shedding will start “majoring in minors.” This is evidenced by the pilot performing some totally irrelevant minor task while a critically important, major task is being completely ignored.

New Flight Instructors are taught to identify task saturation in situations such as when observing a task saturated student concentrating on a minor task (such as resorting their approach plates) while a major event (such as the aircraft rapidly departing controlled flight and entering the very unusual attitude phase) goes completely unnoticed. (Another sure sign is the “glazed over” eyes.) A task-saturated pilot will also be relatively unresponsive to instructional input until his task load is significantly reduced. Just as in an overloaded electrical circuit, either the (information) consumption must be reduced or a circuit failure (automatic task shedding) will be experienced. During flight instructor training, they are taught to remember that a student-in-training is like a violin string ~ “They can only produce good music when they are kept under the proper tension!”

Circuit Failure (Automatic Task Shedding) is prevented by learning to always prioritize tasks (from most important to least important) and to recognize the signs of impending task saturation (an apparent sense of “time compression” accompanied by elevated stress levels). When these signs of impending “task saturation” appear, the pilot needs to implement “manual task shedding” to prevent automatic task shedding from occurring.

This is done by working the prioritized task list from the top down (most important to least important) while simultaneously discarding tasks from the bottom up (least important to most important). This process is continued until the task list is completed or the available time expires. Sometimes it is possible to increase the available time (i.e. requesting a delaying vector from ATC) when vital tasks (such as abnormal or emergency checklists) require additional time to complete before attempting a landing.

The pilot who is able to effectively manage his tasks and properly prioritize them will have a successful flight. (For example, do not become distracted and fixate on some minor problem – such as an irrelevant system malfunction.) This unnecessary focus is a sign of impending task saturation and any irrelevant focus further displaces a pilot’s capability, thus preventing his ability to undertake tasks of greater importance. By planning ahead and properly managing cockpit workload, pilots can effectively reduce their workload during the critical phases of flight.

Join SAFE and get great benefits (1/3 off ForeFlight!) This supports our mission of increasing aviation safety by promoting excellence in education.  Our FREE SAFE Toolkit App puts required pilot endorsements and experience requirements right on your smartphone and facilitates CFI+DPE teamwork. Our CFI insurance was developed by SAFE specifically for CFIs (and is the best value in the business).

Misinformation is Human! (in Flying Too!)

Among all the great lessons of the last few weeks, one should be abundantly clear; we humans eagerly embrace and hold passionately to half-truths and misinformation, and we love to be “right.” And as a species, we tend toward self-surety and obstinate, over-confidence – the dreaded “know it all!” This is a genetic, evolutionary adaptation that makes us fast to react and adapt – but humans are consequently weak on self-doubt, nuance, and verification. This tendency to act assertively on partial information and heuristics has allowed us as a species to conquer the globe, adapting and living from the arctic to the equator. But we have seen this tendency in politics, fueled by social media, can also make us all passionate enemies and cause great harm.

Unfortunately, in flying if we do not curb half-truths and haste and carefully verify our information, it can make us dead (Darwin award?) Hope and intuition do not work well with the aerodynamic of control, this game requires science. Gravity works all day, all night, all year long.

Misinformation (and associated mishandling of the controls) is a leading cause of Loss of Control-Inflight. It is essential for pilots and educators to foster and retain a flexible, self-questioning attitude. We must always be ready to check and refine our closely held theories and techniques, continually improving and learning. Misinformation can come from the “internet buffet of YouTube misinformation” but many errors and misconceptions are even deeper than that – built into our human operating system – 200K years of walking not flying.

It ain’t what you don’t know that gets you into trouble. It’s what you know for sure that just ain’t so. – Mark Twain

As educators, it is our critical professional responsibility to study, verify and transmit only true facts regarding aerodynamics and control. We must dig deep into our learner’s understanding (questions/discussion/performance) and root out deeply embedded misinformation; we all drive cars and have embedded two-dimensional habits.  Our human “naive rendition” of what makes planes fly and turn IS WRONG! Daily driving habits need to be identified and isolated from our flying skills. Safe flying requires different skills and continuous educationnot intuition.

Many SAFE presenters have repeatedly reported from public presentations seeing the pervasive misunderstanding of turning flight among pilots and even CFIs. Usually, of attendees polled, >70% believe the rudder or ailerons create and sustain a turn. And like all humans, they are passionately committed to their misinformation. I was tracking a FaceBook post on this subject, where the poster was very gently trying to convince misguided pilots and CFIs that the elevator really controls the turn. Many pilots have never transitioned fully from the 2-dimensional world of driving and misunderstand the basic turn; the aileron application supplies the desired bank angle and rudder cancels the yaw the elevator is supplying the force that creates the turn.

A great tool to illustrate the forces in a turn is the Bold Method CFI java tool you can load and run on your tablet. This simple demonstration should precede the first introduction to turning flight (or we are reinforcing an error!) Rich Stowell’s excellent presentation on “Learn To Turn” is FREE in the SAFE public resource center and covers this topic thoroughly.

Educators have to irradicate misinformation and help a new learner grasp the true forces at work in flight if we are to make safer pilots. Regarding long-time pilots laboring under misconceptions, good luck with changing those entrenched minds, we all know that is harder than building skyscrapers in our current climate of  “I’m right/your wrong (and stupid)” Fly safe out there (and I recommend some self-doubt and humility in everything!) Have fun.

Join SAFE and get great benefits (1/3 off ForeFlight!) This supports our mission of increasing aviation safety by promoting excellence in education.  Our FREE SAFE Toolkit App puts required pilot endorsements and experience requirements right on your smartphone and facilitates CFI+DPE teamwork. Our CFI insurance was developed by SAFE specifically for CFIs (and is the best value in the business).