Flight School

March 24, 2009

Four Great Products for Glass Cockpit Pilots

g1000_poster.jpgAll of my 2009 flight experiences have been in the G1000 enabled Cessna 172SP. I took a few introductory flights with an instructor then most recently flew a short solo cross country to continue to build both confidence and proficiency in the Glass Cockpit.

I have had the privilege of checking out several products that have been designed to help pilots transition into the glass cockpit and wanted to share my reviews with you.

Garmin G1000 Cockpit Poster
Sporty's offers a free Garmin G1000 Cockpit Poster with an order over $4.50. If you are already planning on placing an order with Sporty's add this to our shopping cart before checking out. I found it to be a valuable reference while trying to memorize the location of the G1000 knobs and keys. I kept it laid out on a table while referencing many of the materials listed below.

g1000_maxtrescott_handbook.jpgMax Trescott's G1000 Glass Cockpit Handbook
I know several pilots that have transitioned into the glass cockpit and nearly all of them used and highly recommended Max Trescott's line of products. Max is a Master CFI and Master Ground Instructor that was named the 2008 National CFI of the Year. He did an excellent job of cataloging his knowledge on the G1000 in the Max Trescott's G1000 Glass Cockpit Handbook. I found it to be a quick and easy read that provided many valuable tips for getting the most out of the G1000. Many of the tips Max provided where either overlooked by my CFI in my introductory flights and things I am glad I learned before bad habits formed. I think the G1000 Glass Cockpit is a must own manual for G1000 pilots. Read it once then keep it on your bookshelf or in your flightbag for future reference. The book can be purchased on Max Trescott's website for $34.95.

g1000_maxtrescott_cdrom.jpgMax Trescott's VFR+IFR Garmin G1000 CD-Rom Course
I also checked out the complimentary CD-Rom course that Max Trescott developed for G1000 pilots. Much of the content that is on the CD-Rom is duplicated from the book but presented with narration and interactive imagery. If you are on a limited training budget you might be able to get by with either the handbook or the CD-Rom. Choose which is most appropriate for the way you prefer to learn. Personally, I enjoy having both options in my arsenal. I liked that the The CD-Rom did a good job of showing all the softkeys and how they interact with the different screens of the PFD and MFD. As, I have not gone through Instrument training yet I have not checked out the IFR CD-Rom. Priced at $99.95 this is the most expensive of the products I checked out.

g1000_4.jpgSporty's Air Facts: Flying Glass Cockpits
The Sporty's Air Facts: Flying Glass Cockpits video download is another great resource for the G1000 bound pilot. The advantage of the video is it shows the G1000 in action, not through screen captures and still images but through live motion video. You can see how the G1000 is likely to appear when you are behind the yoke. I liked the portability that allowed me to bring this along via my iPhone for viewing at my convenience. The one downside to a video compared to a manual or CD-Rom is it is harder to jump to a specific spot for reference purposes. It is a great product for getting an overview and introduction to the G1000 and the Avidyne FlightMax Entegra. The video can be downloaded directly from Sporty's for $9.95.

If you plan to fly the Glass Cockpit I highly recommend all of these great products. Safe flying!

May 26, 2008

Private Pilots License - A License to Learn

Every pilot has heard it at some point that a Private Pilot's License is just a license to learn. Although the statement is a bit of a cliché, it is a very valuable statement. Paul Craig's book "The Killing Zone: How and Why Pilots Die" speaks to how the hours of flying between earning a private pilots license and hitting the 500 hour mark are the most dangerous hours for a pilot. It turns out a pilot is often a safer pilot while actively working towards earning his or her license then he or she is in the next 400 - 500 hours of flying. I think that is because to many pilots are actively involved in training and learning before earning their license and many do not continue to stay proficient in their knowledge and continue to learn about flying after earning their Pilots license.

I continually enjoy going back to my Sporty's Private Pilot Flight Training DVD Course for refresher training. I also enjoy reading aviation blogs and listening to aviation podcasts like The Finer Points to keep aviation topics and best practices top of mind.

I have found that learn best when I have a combination of clear explanations and also great visual references. My interest in seeing something visualized drew me to Rod Machado's Private Pilot Handbook that boasts over 1,200 illustrations and photos that help visualize aviation concepts.

I recently enjoyed coming across a website that uses flash animations to animate aviation concepts, FirstFlight.com. The site is managed by Trevor Saxty, a Gold Seal Flight Instructor with single, multi-engine and instrument ratings. The site is sure to point out that "the online lessons are not a substitute for study of the Pilots Operating Handbook/Airplane Flight Manual for the airplane you intend to fly."

The lessons available on the site, which range from how to perform a pre-flight of an airplane to flying a cross-country flight using radio navigation, are a great complimentary resource for aviation education. What makes the site unique to the many websites and books focusing on aviation education are the animations that help visualize some of the aviation concepts. For $49.99 a pilot can access the site for six months and have unlimited access to the content during that time frame. Interested in checking out the site? Trevor allows free access to Flight #7 Advanced Takeoff and Landing Techniques. Click on the image below to visit Flight Seven and check out some of the animations.


July 29, 2004

FAA Written Exam - Passed with an 87%

pass_faa.jpgSo I am another step closer to earning my Private Pilot's License. Over lunch today I drove out to Sporty's at the Clermont County Airport to take the written exam. I spent about ten minutes with the test administrator filling out paperwork and reviewing the computer training system before starting the test.

Although I knew I was prepared, I was still a bit nervous. Even more so when the first question was an obscure question about whether a motorboat or a floatplane has the right of way on a lake. I no longer felt so well prepared. But after answering that question incorrectly, I moved on and the questions became much more familiar.

Although you are allotted over two hours for the exam it took me a little over 30 minutes to finish. When I completed the test there was no drumroll or a long wait for the results from the test administrator. Instead it quickly displayed on screen - Pass 87% - 52 of 60 questions answered correctly. I should be happy with that score but I keep thinking if I had not been asked the bogus floatplane question and answered one other question right, I would have scored a 90%. But I should stop thinking about the written exam and start focusing on the the flight exam.

Posted at 10:46 PM | Post Category: Flight School | Comments (1) | Save & Share This Story

July 26, 2004

Cramming for The Written Exam

written.jpgI have passed the FAA written exam twice in my life, both times over 10 years ago. Unfortunately, I was unable to take the flight training at that time. But having completed formal aviation ground school training once before I elected to home study for the written exam this time around.

I feel like I am back in college cramming for a final that I will likely take on Wednesday or Thursday. I have used a few different resources to help me prepare including the Jeppesen Private Pilot textbook, Jeppesen Private Pilot FAA Airmen Knowledge Test Guide and the Sporty's Private Pilot Flight Training DVD Course. Additionally, my CFI has given me about 8 hours of formal ground training in addition to all that I have learned from her while flying.

The exam will consist of 60 questions pulled from a database of 600 possible questions. The 600 questions are not closely guarded as you might think. In fact, they are readily available, for example, my test guide has all 600 questions to review.

Sporty's has a great FAA Practice Test on their site. It randomly selects 60 questions from the database each time you take the exam. When you complete the exam it displays your final score and provides analysis of your answers and even breaking down your score by subject area. It is a really great resource for preparing for the written exam. Tonight I scored 84% on my first attempt and an 89% on my second attempt. I plan to take the exam a few more times to ensure I am ready but am feeling good about it.

Posted at 10:18 PM | Post Category: Flight School | Comments (1) | Save & Share This Story

May 18, 2004

Flight School Grounded - Queen City Flight Training Closed

I was disappointed to learn today that my flight school has been temporarily closed due to some problems with airport permits after changing business entities. From what I have learned thus far Queen City Flight Training was in the process of changing its name to Queen City Aviation, LLC. and had to reapply for the necessary permits to manage a flight school at Lunken Airport in Cincinnati. The closure is expected to last until mid or late June.

This puts me in a difficult situation as I do not want to postpone my training by waiting for the appropriate permits to be approved. There is no guarantee the permits will be approved before the end of June.

I was not satisfied with the other two flight schools at Lunken (Cincinnati Flight Training or Franklin Aviation). So, at this point I am thinking of looking at other flight school options at Blue Ash airport (view aerial shot from Terra Server), a single strip, uncontrolled airport in the northern suburbs of Cincinnati. I think in the coming days I will be talking to Blue Ash Aviation and Co-op Aircraft Services also based at Blue Ash.

I am sure this will be just a bit of turbulence along my path to completing the Private Pilot requirements so I will journey on...

Posted at 10:43 PM | Post Category: Flight School | Comments (6) | Save & Share This Story

April 30, 2004

Go, No Go?

Today I decided to make the decision whether to start flight training or not. I think I knew that the answer would be to go for it but having been raised a Boy Scout I know the importance of being prepared. So I went through my pre-flight training checklist: Do I have the time, the dedication, finances, support, a good school, and an instructor I think I will like?

Today, I answered all the questions in my head. I went through the go, no go systems check. I must admit it was not nearly as dramatic as those done by Gene Kranz of NASA preparing for the Apollo missions. For the most part I think I am ready.

So, I called up Queen City Flight Training and talked to the Flight Instructor I met on Thursday evening and signed up for my first two lessons. My first lesson will be two hours on Sunday afternoon. I will follow it up with a night lesson Wednesday night.

Posted at 8:56 PM | Post Category: Flight School | Comments (3) | Save & Share This Story

April 29, 2004

And then there were two schools...

...but the two included a school I originally had scratched from my list. Over the past two days I have visited: Blue Ash Aviation, Franklin Aviation, Cincinnati Flight Training and Queen City Flight Training.

I visited Blue Ash Aviation and enjoyed my visit and really liked the instructor. The school is located at Blue Ash Airport an uncontrolled airport. I think that is my only real concern with Blue Ash Aviation is missing out on the controlled atmosphere each time out.

Today, I visited Franklin Aviation, a Part 141 flight school. I was not impressed with their staff. Although their equipment is top of the line that comes at a steep price. I was equally unimpressed with Cincinnati Flight Training who came in cheapest of the four.

I was pleasantly surprised with Queen City Flight Training. Their website did not impress me but I am not hoping to learn HTML so I got past that. The three staff members I met were all very nice. The flight instructor I met with offered to take me up in one of their Cessna 152's for an introductory flight. The flight was great and I felt comfortable with the instructor. Flying out of an airport in controlled airspace and with a busy schedule of business travel did not seem to slow down the lesson.

So, I think in the coming days I will need to make the tough decision between Queen City Flight Training and Blue Ash Aviation.

Check back soon...

Posted at 10:06 PM | Post Category: Flight School | Comments (1) | Save & Share This Story

April 28, 2004

Choosing a Flight School

I figure one of my first tasks now that I have decided I want to earn my private pilot's license is picking a flight school. This is a harder decision than I thought it might be. It is kind of like buying a car since it is an expensive decision and a long term one.

I found a couple of resources helpful in researching how to make this decision. The first was How to Choose the Right Flight School by StudentPilot.com. I also found this article from the Americn School of Aviation helpful.

Based on these articles I have narrowed my search down to two schools:
Blue Ash Aviation - at an uncontrolled airport
Franklin Aviation - at a busy controlled airport

In the coming days I plan on visiting both facilities and determing which is a better fit. I will keep you posted.

Posted at 12:05 AM | Post Category: Flight School | Comments (10) | Save & Share This Story