How to Study

How to Study to Become a Pilot

Recipe for Success: How to Study to Become a Pilot Coordinating my hands and feet while manipulating the flight controls, rudder pedals, and at the same time focusing on flying the airplane was a big challenge. Forty years of life experiences had not prepared me for the intense focus and dexterity required while learning to fly.  My first training airplane was a tired Cessna 150 with basic analog instruments. In fact, we navigated with a magnetic compass and heading indicator. The communication radio was an old tube-style with a hand-held microphone. Headsets were not an option. The instructor had to yell guidance over the loud engine noise.  Math was not my strength. Cross-country flying was a nightmare. I was alway … Read more

Love at First Flight

Grumman AA1A maneuvers

Above: Maneuverability and handling characteristics vary from aircraft to aircraft. Pictured here is Captain Judy Rice in her AA1A. Captain Judy’s Corner: Love at First Flight – Handling Characteristics Make Every Aircraft Unique Aircraft handling characteristics are important. I initially trained in a docile Cessna 150 (C150) and a spunky Piper Tomahawk. I appreciated the C150’s stability and enjoyed the Tomahawk’s maneuverable handling characteristics. Shortly after completing my private pilot check ride, I noticed a cute little airplane practicing take-offs and landings. Looking to increase my experience, this looked to be a fun airplane to fly. I inquired at the airport office regarding this mysterious airplane. Three pilots owned the Grumman AA1A. One of the owners offered a flight and mentioned it was … Read more

Once Upon a Time: Filing a Flight Plan

Captain Judy Rice

Captain Judy Rice found the ICAO International Flight Plan form beneficial during her world flight. Captain Judy’s Corner: Once Upon a Time… Filing a Flight Plan This fairy tale began long before the FAA announcement for change to the form used by United States pilots when filing a flight plan. The purpose of a flight plan might be compared to going on a long drive to visit a relative. You let your relative know the overall anticipated travel arrangements, and you include approximate time of arrival. An overdue arrival would likely cause concern, and your relative will likely call you to make sure you’re alright. A flight plan is much like having your relative on the other end of your … Read more

Density Altitude

Density Altitude Article

Captain Judy’s Corner: Density Altitude After all, airplanes don’t feel. Or, do they? How does hot, humid air affect flying? The cockpit felt like a sauna in the Arizona heat. Not only was I enduring the summer heat, but so was the airplane. How might an airplane suffer from heat? After all, airplanes do not feel? Or do they? Flying on a cool Florida morning or evening, you will notice ample runway remaining before lift-off and how eager the airplane climbs. Fly on a hot, muggy afternoon, and the runway remaining before lift-off will be far less. The airplane would climb much slower, as well. Temperature, pressure, and moisture (dewpoint) in the air affects our airplanes’ performance: an increase required … Read more

Aviation Movies

Aviation Films: Can Watching Movies Help You Learn to Fly? Wouldn’t it be great if you could sit down and watch a long list of entertaining aviation movies starring your favorite actors, and, as a bonus, you would learn how to fly? Well, we can’t say that will happen, but if you’re a flight student who is learning English, you just might want to check out this list of aviation movies. Although the movies were not made to teach you how to fly, they can definitely help you improve your English listening and comprehension skills, especially if you watch the film in English with English captions. (That way, you can hear a word and see it on the screen, which … Read more

Favorite Aviation Books

Our Top 5 Aviation Books When you can’t climb into the cockpit and experience the thrill of flying, read about it! After all, you can still curl up with a good book and live vicariously through the exploits and adventures of other aviators. There are so many great aviation books that it’s impossible to choose a favorite. However, here are five works that stand the test of time. Furthermore, they meet our criteria for excellence. Four are memoirs and one is biography. If you’ve already read them, you’ll likely agree they are worth reading again. If this is your first time to read them, we know you’ll enjoy them. These historic accounts of the thrills and challenges only happen when … Read more