PilotWorkshops.com Acquires ZD Publishing and their Pilot-Friendly GPS Manuals

Here’s a copy of a press release regarding our recent acquisition of ZD Publishing: PilotWorkshops.com Acquires ZD Publishing and their Pilot-Friendly GPS Manuals Nashua, NH – Feb 5, 2013 – PilotWorkshops.com LLC has purchased the assets of ZD Publishing including copyrights and inventory of ZD’s 21 different Pilot-Friendly GPS Manuals. Written by ZD Publishing founder […]

Flying to Sun-n-Fun with Wally

Each week, I review our Pilot Tips before we publish them on the internet. I always appreciate the advice that our instructors have to offer, as I know our subscribers do as well. Whenever I have a chance to fly with one of these expert aviators, I jump at it. So when Wally Moran asked […]

VSI – Use a fortune teller to improve your flying

Most of our instruments tell us where we are – not where we are going to be.  For example, the altimeter tells us we are at 7000 feet or the airspeed indicator tells us we are at 120 knots.  However, one of our instruments can see into the future. No, this is not a fancy […]

Air Force One Go Around!

As my good friend Bob Martens is fond of saying, the Go Around is the least practiced maneuver in Aviation. During initial training as student pilots, the instructor teaches us the Go Around.  The Practical Test Standards (PTS) require us to demonstrate the Go Around/Rejected Landing maneuver.  The FAA objective for the task is “Makes […]

App Review: Notify NTSB for NTSB Part 830

NTSB Part 830 regulations cover reporting requirements for aircraft accidents and incidents. Every pilot has had to answer a few questions on a FAA written test about the various requirements and time frames. Studying these regulations can cause the same glassing over of the eyes as ADF relative bearings or calculating time to station by […]

Let’s fly like the Professionals

It is no secret that the airlines, corporate and military aviation have a much better safety record than general aviation. And it is also no secret how they do that. They fly by the book, use standard procedures, do gobs of training and have flight dispatchers to provide planning and enroute support. That’s great you […]

Bring Back FAM Trips 2

Last time, I talked about the FAA program that allowed Controllers to ride in cockpit jumpseats for Familiarization Flights – FAM Flights. Each airline had its own procedures and customs for access to the jump seat.  Generally, all one had to do was present yourself in dispatch with an FAA ID and a form signed […]

FAM trips – Bring them back!

Many years ago when I first started with the FAA, one of the benefits that I had heard from the older Controllers was the legendary FAM Trip. For those of you not familiar with the term, this FAA program allowed Controllers to ride in the cockpit jump seat on airliners. The program was conceived as […]

Photo Pilot Certificate Proposal

A lot of pilots I talked to recently seem excited to hear that they will soon get a pilot certificate that has their picture on it. I am sorry to hear this as getting a new pilot certificate with my picture on it is somewhere around the last thing I need. My certificate already has […]

Aviation Check List

GUMPS is not enough! Yesterday, I read about another general aviation inadvertent gear up landing. I wonder if the pilot used a written check list for landing? While doing flight tests or training in complex aircraft, I often see the pilot use the printed check list religiously for pre flight, starting and run up. Then […]

Should I Have Said Something?

World English Dictionary hindsight— noun “The ability to understand, after something has happened, what should have been done or what caused the event” Hindsight is great. 20-20 hindsight is even better. Have you ever had the feeling that you should have said something in a situation – any situation – and didn’t? Do we, as […]

New IFR Mastery Series Provides Online, Scenario-Based Training for IFR Pilots

Here’s the text of our recent press release on our new IFR Mastery Series: PilotWorkshops.com has introduced a new product for IFR pilots that provides online, scenario-based training. The IFR Mastery Series is designed to improve technique, knowledge and overall safety for the IFR pilot. FAA WINGS credit is available for completing the training, which […]

Student Controllers and Student Pilots – Part 3

Last time, we talked about the common factors that a both a Student pilot and a Student Controller face during the process of learning to fly or control traffic. After the classroom (and simulator portion), On-The-Job (OJT) training starts for both of our Students. A certain number of hours of OJT are assigned to Developmentals […]

Student Controllers and Student Pilots – Part 2

Last time, we talked about the similarities of training Student Pilots and Student Controllers. For the purpose of this discussion, we will only discuss the facility portion of the training. Prior to assignment to a facility, a Developmental will go through the FAA Academy in Oklahoma City and possibly a college level program known as […]

Student Controllers and Student Pilots Part 1

Did you ever wonder where and how Student Controllers learn their trade? Well, the process has many parallels to the way most of us learned to fly. That is not surprising considering the same agency oversees both processes. Controllers and pilots (except Sport Pilots and certain others) are both required to obtain Medical Certificates; all […]

PilotWorkshops Launches IFR Mastery Series

PilotWorkshops.com has introduced a new product for IFR pilots that provides online, scenario-based training. The IFR Mastery Series is designed to improve technique, knowledge and overall safety for the IFR pilot. FAA  WINGS credit is available for completing the training. Each month, new topics are explored in depth.  The pilot is placed in a realistic […]

Directional Gyro: Don’t Set It Here

How many of us have been told to always be sure and set the directional gyro (DG) when we are in position on the take off runway? Why there? Well, the instructor would say, because we are now on a known heading and therefore the DG will be accurate right after takeoff. This procedure worked […]

Emergencies and ATC (part 4)

OK, the emergency is over. Let’s assume, for this discussion, that everyone is on the ground and safe. What happens after the emergency? Well, FAR 91.3 doesn’t say much. It only says that we must submit a report to the Administrator but only if requested and only if we deviated from any rule (any FAR). […]

Emergencies and ATC (part 3)

Last time, we talked about an emergency involving an Air Carrier that was handled in a near textbook manner. Several people asked about what actually happens during and after an Emergency is declared. The Controller’s Handbook – the 7110.65 – devotes a whole chapter to guidance on Emergencies. It gives the following guidance to ATC […]


Recently a Cirrus crashed while attempting to execute a go around. In another accident, a Grumman Tiger overshot a four thousand foot runway and crashed into a lumber mill beyond the end of the runway. In both of these situations, the airplane was clearly capable of doing what the pilot wanted it to do but […]

My personal story and PilotWorkshops.com

For those who have been receiving our weekly pilot tips, you may recognize my name from the bottom of the emails. I wanted to take this opportunity to introduce myself and thank you for being part of our online community. I founded PilotWorkshops.com in May of 2005. It’s hard to believe it’s been that long, […]

Practical Test Standards

As we continually build upon the foundation that supports our aviation activities, I fear that many of us are neglecting a very important cornerstone. The Practical Test Standards (PTS) are the basis for all training and evaluation in the US, yet few know where they are, what they say, or most importantly, how they can […]

Professionalism – On Being a Cockpit Skeptic

Professionalism in aviation has been in the news a lot recently. FAA Administrator Randy Babbit has spoken on the need in light of several recent high profile events such as the Colgan crash in Buffalo and the NWA overshoot of its destination. One of the hallmarks of a professional aviator is being a skeptic – […]

“Hold Short of Runway 23!”

How many times as a pilot, have we heard that phrase? Well, as of June 30th we will be hearing it a lot more. The FAA instituted a change to the Air Traffic Controller’s handbook (the 7110.65) that changes the way taxi instructions are issued. Previously, a taxi clearance (as we all know from the […]

Engine Failure

Last week, two of my Civil Air Patrol (CAP) comrades were out on a training mission in the vicinity of the Laconia, NH Airport in our CE 182. About five miles from the airport at 3000ft MSL they experience severe engine vibration and a loss in power. They had just reduced power to 19in manifold […]

Proper use of CTAF (Common Traffic Advisory Frequency)

CAN WE TALK? Can we ever! Just tune in 122.8 on a nice weekend and you will hear lots of pilots talking, but many of them are not communicating very well. The use of the common traffic advisory frequency (CTAF) for traffic information is a great tool when it is used correctly. Sadly it too […]

Malfunction & Defect Reports

I think we all like stories with a happy ending, so here goes….. I received an email message recently from a very nice couple who attended my monthly FAA safety seminars in Danbury, CT. They owned their own single engine aircraft and flew it regularly. Several weeks back they experienced a very real inflight engine […]

Want to be a better pilot?

Bob Martens has recently written about maintaining proficiency through the use of more frequent training and I strongly agree with his thoughts. Nothing is better than practicing maneuvers and procedures to keep us sharp,  I would like to offer another route to broadening you flying skills beyond the usual flight review maneuvers by suggesting you […]

California adds major fees to CFIs and schools

Max Trescott posted this on his blog. If you are in California, check this out: California Regulations From Max’s blog: “To quote a story by EAA, “Each instructor would be charged an initial application fee of $5000 and a $3500 renewal fee every three years. If the instructor has a second location an additional fee […]

Minimum Descent Altitude and How to Get There

In the Pilotworkshops.com IFR Proficiency series, titled “Descending on a non precision approach” respected flight instructor Rod Machado explains the benefit of descending to MDA early on non precision approaches. Rod makes the point that getting to the minimum descent altitude (MDA) prior to the visual descent point (VDP) allows the pilot a greater opportunity […]

Emergencies and ATC

Declaring an emergency is one of the easiest actions a pilot can take. FAR 91.3 spells it out very clearly. “The pilot-in-command of an aircraft is directly responsible for and is the final authority as to the operation of that aircraft. In an emergency requiring immediate action, the pilot-in-command may deviate from any rule in […]

Grounding and Bonding Your Airplane

In a perfect world, anytime we have an aviation related question or concern, we simply call up our friends at the Federal Aviation Administration to help us out. Well, we must be getting close, because that’s exactly how this issue worked itself out. We received an excellent question from a pilot and I knew exactly […]

Recurrent Training. Are You Getting Yours?

OK, everyone open up your log books.  Everyone that would like to show off all their recent training flights take a step toward the front of the class. How come no one is moving? How long has it been?  Weeks, months?  Longer?? The truth of the matter is, few us get nearly enough training.  When […]

Personal Aviation Stories and Lessons Learned

A few weeks ago we had our expert flight instructors in to record some new Pilot Tips. After we finished the recording session, they were sitting around telling some of their personal aviation stories. We decided to keep the microphones open, figuring we would capture some really good stuff. I asked their permission to share […]

Professionalism in the Cockpit

Professionalism in the cockpit is a big topic with the airline industry these days. Just this week, the FAA  reminded airline pilots to “evaluate their personal practices” regarding use of devices such as lap top computers and cell phones while on duty. In addition they said operators need to create a “safety culture” that reinforces […]