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Thread: Things I've learned about piloting...

  1. #1

    Join Date
    Aug 2011

    Things I've learned about piloting...

    As a very low hour Sport Pilot, I've learned a few things that I have taken to heart:

    Personal minimums:

    If I wouldn't pull a cart for 18 on the golf course I won't fly over it.


    There are no missed approaches, just practice ones, and they're free.
    Always factor practice approaches in your fuel calculations.
    Whenever two windsocks shall be placed on opposite ends of a runway they will disagree.
    Smoke from trash fires trump windsocks.
    In Alabama in the summer, remember that reported gusting is to be applied vertically as well as horizontally.
    The only difference between a touch-and-go and a bounce-and-go on a creative wheel landing is entertainment value for the people watching.
    If they didn't expect the landing lights to get hit occasionally they wouldn't make them frangible.
    Trikes can ground loop; it's just almost impossible to drag a wing.
    Pilots doing IFR approaches don't mind when you make them translate named positions into something meaningful.
    Never assume others understand the difference between uncontrolled airspace and a post-apocalyptic world of anarchy where any pattern or approach is okay. Keep your head on a swivel.
    Slipping is good for the soul.


    Whether or not one is truly lost on a cross country is directly related to how much fuel is in the tank. If you have plenty, you're just exploring alternate routes to your destination.
    The sound of one's engine is directly related to the number of emergency field options.
    Birds have the right of way.
    If you've finally spotted the airport and there are cars driving on it, keep looking.
    A tailwind enroute is Mother Nature's way of apologizing for the nasty crosswind awaiting you at your destination.
    Corrolary: a headwind is her way of giving fair warning of the same.


    Never approach an aircraft without visiting the bathroom first.
    Asking passengers not to scream (as it is distracting while flying) during the pre-brief does not instill confidence.
    Never trust air pressure in the mains from appearance.
    If you didn't touch it you didn't inspect it (okay, that's an old Army thing I was taught).
    If crouched, taked three steps backwards at a 45 degree angle towards the front of the aircraft before standing up.
    If reported, find out which direction the wind is calming from before selecting a runway.
    A loose sectional on the knee board on pre-flight is going to be collected from the floor on post flight.
    The carb heat knob has a label spelled C-A-R-B. Pulling the one spelled C-A-B-I-N will fail the RPM drop test every time.
    Never write a freq or other information on the inside of the hand that holds the stick.

    Post flight:

    Never retract a fuel hose while holding it with a bare hand unless there is a bar of Lava soap available.
    Never leave a plane unchalked unless you can run three times faster than a four knot gust.
    The likelihood of a four knot gust suddenly happening on a "calm" day is directly related to your distance from the aircraft.
    Never get irritated by the questions from the old guys hanging around the lobby - think of it as Down Home-land Security. Besides, you can get them to take you around the patch about a third of the time in their plane if you engage them.
    If you can't remember if you turned the fuel off or not, you didn't. Go back.

    What other gems are out there?
    Last edited by Frank Giger; 08-26-2011 at 02:34 PM.
    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  2. #2
    steveinindy's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Below 10,000 feet with me at the controls, there are few exceptions to the sterile cockpit rule. "Hey, is that other plane supposed to be that close?" is one of them.

    Never trust a mechanic who won't go along with you on the test flight after a repair.

    Just because you can under the FAR, does not mean you should. This applies to design, construction, maintenance, operations and all other aspects of flight.

    Never design something in aviation for the best pilot you know.

    Redundancy is your friend.

    If you have the thought "I wonder if that's going to be a problem", it is and you already should have started taking corrective action.
    Last edited by steveinindy; 08-26-2011 at 02:38 PM.

  3. #3
    EAA Staff / Moderator Hal Bryan's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Oshkosh, Wisconsin, United States
    Something my dad taught me when I was just starting my flight training ages ago:

    "Accidents almost never have one big cause, but several small ones. If two small things go wrong, it's best to land before the third."

    The one that I've taught myself a few times over the years:

    "It can happen to me."

    Hal Bryan
    EAA Lifetime #638979
    Senior Editor
    EAA—The Spirit of Aviation

  4. #4
    Adam Smith's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Jefferson, Maryland, United States
    The amount of water below you is directly proportional to the propensity of an engine to start running rough.

  5. #5

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Trussville, Alabama, United States
    A true pilot never misses a chance to eat, nap or take a tinkle.

    Never call home from the beach.

    Never whistle while you pack your bag.

    If you take a flight attendant home and put her in curlers and a flannel bathrobe she looks just like your wife.

  6. #6
    Matt Gonitzke's Avatar
    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    Wichita, KS
    On my last flight with my instructor before my first solo in a C152 a few years ago, he said, "Now remember, this plane has a lot of go-arounds, but just one 'Oh sh*t'"

  7. #7

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    St. Louis/Omaha
    One of mine is my signature line below.

    I posted this on another site as SUS_pilot's laws of aviation instruction:

    "The probability of the weather being VMC is inversely proportional to my private (or commercial) students' desire and availability to fly."

    "The probability of decent IFR weather is inversely proportional to my IFR students' desire and availability to fly."

    "The odds that I can swap a VFR student and an IFR student to trump the first two laws are roughly the same as hitting the Powerball."
    Last edited by Bob Meder; 08-26-2011 at 11:00 PM.
    Anxiety is nature's way of telling you that you've already goofed up.

  8. #8

    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Frederick, MD
    If you take a flight attendant home and put her in curlers and a flannel bathrobe she looks just like your wife
    I'm going to tell your wife you said that next time I see her....

  9. #9

    Join Date
    Aug 2011
    He's right, though. I had a flight attendant wear curlers in her hair and a bathrobe and dang if she didn't look just like his wife!

    The opinions and statements of this poster are largely based on facts and portray a possible version of the actual events.

  10. #10
    rosiejerryrosie's Avatar
    Join Date
    Jul 2011
    Carlisle, PA
    This is absolutely the best thread I've read on this forum in some time! Frank, when are you going to publish your book?

    65LA out of 07N Pennsylvania

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