Logging Safety Pilot Time

Jeff: “Logging time as a safety pilot is a tried-and-true way of two pilots building pilot-in-command, or PIC time on one flight. To do it legitimately, however, you two must agree beforehand that the safety pilot will be acting PIC for the flight. The relevant FAR is 61.51, and the relevant sections are (e) (i) […]

Quick Pre-Takeoff Briefing

Jeff: “Having a plan for an emergency immediately after takeoff could save your life, so it’s worth doing. I hear you about times when there’s a line of aircraft, so you end up being rushed. To deal with this, I’ve taken to doing the briefing on the ramp just before climbing in the airplane. Take […]

Building IFR Skills in VFR

Jeff: “Here are things you can do under VFR that build skills for IFR: Use flight following, maintain exact altitudes and courses, and fly standard profiles. No VFR action will help you more in your comfort in communications and a feel for the IFR system than flight following. You’ll get used to moving from controller […]

Quick Crosswind Calculation

Jeff: “Yes there is, and it’s easy enough to do in your head. First, determine how many degrees off the runway heading the reported wind is. So if you’re landing Runway 18 and the wind is 160 at 10, the wind is 20 degrees off the runway (180-160=20). Now picture an analog clock face. How […]

Finding Traffic

Jeff: “The best advice really comes down to angles. Suppose traffic is called out to us at 12 o’clock, five miles, same altitude. Instinctively, we look to the horizon because we’re terrestrial beings most of the time and that’s where we think we are. However, that’s not quite correct due to the curvature of the […]

Alternator Failure at Night

Jeff: “No alternator at night should be considered an emergency, and you should land as soon as practical. If you’re IMC on an IFR flight plan, it’s even more critical. Don’t hesitate to declare an emergency, if you’re talking with ATC, and get guidance to the nearest, well-lit airport. How much battery time you have […]
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