View Full Version : New Year's Pilot Resolutions

Bill Greenwood
01-20-2020, 11:26 AM
I saw a survey that says most people give up on their resolutions about the 20 th of the month. What are the flying tactics we need resolve on?
Flying safely is at least 3 broad items. 1. Basic flying skills, and we know when we are sharp or not, stalls, tailwheel landings, go arounds, pattern precision, etc. If we are not there, say at least an 8 out of 10, we can go practices especially with a fiend or take a flight review with a CFI. I also like to check out in a new plane, or a new CFI.
2. Weather, this is such a large subject,not really going to cover it here, but to say it is vital. You can fly just so-so and if its a CAVU day probably be safe. The worse the weather is, the more is demanded of us. And there are now lots of new and high tech ways to gather weather. One caution, you can get so wrapped up in a fancy gadget on your panel that you are blind to all else. I just flew with a pilot and we are 10 miles from our home airport and he wants to go over the highest ridges with large ifr traffic rather than up the valley with low and open terrain cause that;s what his Garmin says. He refuses to carry a sectional and most often has to ask me the tower freq when we get to a new airport.
3. Tactics and habits: By that I mean form good habits that will stay with you. One thing every plane needs to takeoff is fuel, I prefer to refuel when I land from the current flight. Then you know that gas is in there and it doesn't depend on the lineman being free or the pump in working order or 5 G5 in the waiting que ahead of you. I do a lot of 1 hour flights, and post flight I put that 20 gal or so back in, so Ive got 3 hours when I next walk out to the plane. If I am going to Osh or weather is borderline I may carry 4 hours.
4. Three ways to minimize a gear up landing, are as you approach the pattern, your first checklist item should be gear down and green lights. Go look at the printed items in the landing checklist, is there anything that takes precedence over "gear down" ? You can taxi real well without pitot heat or flaps down, but not well at all if you land gear up.
Next, have an alarm in the back of your mind, anytime you fly an abnormal pattern like long straight in final or do a go around or have the tower interrupt your thought process.
Finally check that gear at least twice, once on entering the pattern and once last but vital check on short final for the green lights.