In an effort to reduce flight training cost, some flight school come up with some money saving ideas. Some of them seem simple and others are pretty complex. Some of these money saving just wont work because they conflict with the regulations. For example:
Fly your private pilot solo cross country to commercial requirements and it will count towards both the private and commercial requirements. BAD IDEA! Why? because according to the FAA legal department its not legal. A pilot must fly a cross country for the private and then a second, longer, cross country while working towards the commercial.
Fly your long instrument cross country with a safety pilot. Another bad idea. The instrument rating regs state that this X-C must be with a CFI-Instrument (airplane or helicopter as appropriate).
Combine your commercial single and multi engine with one check ride. Unfortunately, this isn't allowed either. Combined checkrides (other than the private and instrument) are not allowed by FAA legal and by policy.
Those are some examples. If someone comes up with an idea to save training time or money, question it and run it by your local FSDO and the DPE conducting the check ride. You rally don't want to find out on check ride day you don't meet the requirements for the rating sought.
If it seems to good to be true, it usually is. There's no free lunch, especially in aviation.
One common weakness on both private and commercial check ride is the lack of precision control of the aircraft. I've noticed with both airplane and helicopter applicants. What it all boils down to is not knowing what aircraft attitude and power results in the desired outcome and/or not looking out the window.
Watch a pilot on take off. Does he establish a pitch attitude that establishes Vy or does he chase airspeed. If you take away the attitude indicator and ask for a steep turn, does the pilot have a problems holding bank and/or altitude. If you watch the pilot eyes, how much time does he spend looking inside the aircraft vs. outside. I would argue for VFR maneuvers the pilots eyes should be outside 85 to 90 percent of the time.
What about coordination? Does the airplanes nose slide inside or outside of the turn? Does the helicopter pilot make trim adjustments as power changes occur or after?
All these issues can be easily solved with the aid of the instructor. Show the pilot the correct attitudes and power settings. Use coordination exercises. How does each maneuver feel? It should be comfortable!
In the last 2 weeks, I've had the same problem twice. In 2011 the FAA issued a new seat rail AD on the pre-restart Cessna airplanes. This new AD replaced the old seat rail AD and adds more inspection criteria. The AD is also required to be repeated every 100 hours and annual inspection (regardless of how the airplane is used).
Light Sport Aircraft. Another issue. Light Sport Aircraft are issued with a Special Airworthiness Certificate and get "Conditional Inspections" NOT "Annual Inspections". This may seem trivial but there are differences and if you look at the requirements of the Special Airworthiness Certificate, there is special wording that is required to be used in the log entry.
Also note LSA manufacturers will issue Safety Directives to correct unsafe conditions on their aircraft. To keep the SLSA airworthiness certificate valid, owners/operators MUST comply with all Safety Directives applicable to their aircraft as required by 14 CFR § 91.327(b)(4)
At uncontrolled airports follow 91.126……….When approaching to land at an airport without an operating control tower in Class G airspace—Each pilot of an airplane must make all turns of that airplane to the left unless the airport displays approved light signals or visual markings indicating that turns should be made to the right, in which case the pilot must make all turns to the right.
At Controlled airports follow 91.129 and do what the controller tells you to do, unless that clearance doesn’t make sense. For Example, you are approaching DuPage (DPA) Airport from the west and the controller tells you to enter left traffic for runway 20R. This clearance doesn’t make sense. Why would a controller ask you to fly over two active runways. It would make more sense to make right traffic to 20R. In a case like this, I would confirm that this indeed is what the controller wants. Its’ a very rare situation where you would need to fly over the assigned runway. Most likely someone is confused.
Landing accident are our leading causes of accidents. Its been a problem even for the airlines.
Lately I’ve seen pilots come in way too fast or way to slow. The airplane POH has the correct speeds to follow. If for some reason the speeds aren’t there the final approach speed should be 1.3 Vso with additives for gusting conditions. The PTS state for the private pilot check ride the speed should be held within plus 10 knots to minus 5 knots. Commercial Standards are +/- 5 knots.
Stabilized Approach. This means the airplane is established on final approach in the landing configuration (gear & flaps down) on the required speed, on the correct glide slope to land on the desired point, aligned with the runway with no crosswind drift with the power stabilized. 40% of all landing accident are the result of an unstablizied approach. If the approach is not stabilized, GO-AROUND!
Make a timely decision to go around. If the approach doesn’t look or feel right, go around and do it again.
When you do Go-Around follow the procedure in the POH. The biggest problem I see is the retraction of the flaps during the go-around. If the POH procedure is not followed, a dangerous situation could happen. For example a stall, high sink rates, failure to accelerate or climb could occur.
A cabin or engine fire are bad news! Get the airplane on the ground NOW! It’s not appropriate to fly to an airport 5 miles away. Follow the procedure in the POH if there is one. If not, use one of the procedures in the Airplane Flying Handbook.