Archive for June, 2010

What You Learn About Flying in Thunderstorms at Flight Training School

ThunderstormsDuring flight training, you will learn why it is important toavoid thunderstorms during flight. There are several dangers involved,each of which can have a different effect on aircrafts. Flighttraining will educate you about the dangers of thunderstorms, aswell as teach you precautionary maneuvers.

Thunderstorm dangers

Thunderstorms are common, noticeable, and dangerous. The are a part of our atmosphere all over the globe. With deadly lightning, hurricanes, and high winds that can even result in tornadoes, thunderstorms can be the biggest weather-related danger known to mankind. So what dangers do pilots know to avoid when flying aircrafts during thunderstorms?

Here are a few of the known dangers that accompany thunderstorms.

Updrafts and Downdrafts

Updrafts and Downdrafts are the vertical movements of air due to difference in temperature. If a pocket of air is warmer than the surrounding air, it will move up to find air warmer or less dense. Cold air will move down to find balance as well. Movement of large volumes of air can create large thunderstorm causing clouds.


Turbulence can be invisible, so pilots must use their instruments, radars, and intuition to be able to detect levels of turbulence. By using their radars, they can detect the levels of moisture in the air. Generally, pilots choose to go for the gap in between storm clouds. It is even more dangerous at night because you can’t see clouds at all.

Wind shear

Wind shear is defined as short quick changes in wind direction. This phenomenon can significantly affect take-off and landing of an aircraft by causing loss of control of the aircraft. Wind shear has caused many accidents involving fatalities in the US.


Hailstones can heavily damage airplanes. Hailstones are capable of breaking windshields and damaging turbine blades in jet engines.

On April 4, 1977, a Southern Airways DC-9 crashed in New Hope, GA. Both engines of the plane ingested hail and lost thrust (forward movement powered by the engine). The plane crashed into a road and caught on fire. 62 of 85 people on board were killed as well as eight people on the ground.


Rain has been known to be heavy enough to drown jet engines. Once an engine fails, pilots have been trained during flight training on how to make an emergency landing. The plane will glide for miles before the pilot is forced to touch ground.


Lightning can temporarily blind pilots, or even hit airplanes. However, aircrafts are mostly protected from electrical damage because the majority of aircrafts are made of aluminum, which can be a good electrical conductor.

The only crash in the last 50 years known to happen because of lightning was on December 8, 1963. A lightning bolt hit the Pan Am Flight 214, a Boeing 707 that was holding over Elkton, Md. The lightning caused a spark that ignited fuel vapor, causing an explosion that caused the plane to crash, killing all 81 people aboard.

In addition to all your aviation curriculum, you will learn basic weather formations and aeronautics. This is important information you will carry with you for the rest of your life. This is what makes flight training school an experience you’ll never forget.


What Flight Training Teaches You About the Four Forces

four forces of flightEvery pilot will learn the basics of aerodynamics during flight training. It is important to have a clear understanding as a pilot of the fundamentals of air travel. Here are a few basic definitions to get you started.

Total Aerodynamic Force

Total aerodynamic force is the sum of the drag and lift. The amount of force generated is dependent on the orientation of the wind, engine, and gravity.

lift and drag

1. Thrust

Thrust is the force that moves the airplane forward. The thrust is produced by the power of the engine. It is directed forward along the axis of the engine.

2. Drag 

Drag holds the airplane back, it is considered to be the air resistance opposing the motion of the aircraft, running parallel and opposite to the oncoming flow of air. Since thrust is the force that moves the airplane forward, drag is the motion directly opposite of thrust.

four forces

3. Weight

Weight is the force directed downward from the center of mass of the aircraft towards the center of the earth. It is proportional to the mass of the airplane times the strength of the gravitational field.

4. Lift

Lift is what keeps the airplane airborne. The force that is perpendicular to the direction of the oncoming flow of air.
Can be explained by three theories:

  • Bernoulli’s principle – the pressure of a moving gas decreases as its velocity increases. The air flows faster over the curved upper surface of the wing than the flat lower surface, so the greatest pressure is enforced upward
  • Coanda effect – which moving air is attracted to and flows along the surface of the wing, and the tilt of the wing, called the angle of attack, causing the air to flow downward as it leaves the wing.
  • Newton’s third law of motion – the greater the angle of attack, the greater the downward flow, abides to an equal and opposite reaction, so the aircraft is deflected upward.

These are just a few of the most basic definitions you will learn during flight training. It will be beneficial to you to get a head start on your research before heading off to flight training school as some of the technical material can be a little overwhelming.

Flight Training for your Career – Be a Pilot for Life

PilotThere are so many career opportunities out there. However, if your dream is to become a pilot, you have chosen a career path in aviation that will continue to be rewarding for the rest of your life.

Begin with flight training

Further your education and experience by attending a flight training school that will prepare you for a life as a pilot. A life of flying will give you freedom, privileges, and experiences you’ll never forget. There are five important steps to take when choosing the right flight training school:

  • Location – Choose your location with discretion, be aware of how far you will be from home and what kind of area the flight training school is located in
  • Financing – Inquire about payment, financing, Federal Student Loans, or Private Educational Loans
  • Facilities – Take a visit to the school and see what the campus is like, what the instructors are like, and what the other flight training students have to say about their program
  • Instructors – Ask to meet with an instructor and ask him about his credentials, experience, and anything else you might be unsure of
  • Training – learn about their training methods, how many flying hours are required and how they’re logged, and what kind of flight training programs they have

Structure of Certificates and Licenses

Flying a plane is no cake walk. You must pass a series of tests, log a designated number of flying hours, and obtain a series of certificates over a period of time in order to have the most freedom and usefulness as a pilot.

  • Medical Certificate – pass a physical examination administered by an FAA-authorized aviation medical examiner
  • Recreational Pilot’s Certificate – fly an aircraft for pleasure, up to 180 horsepower, 4 seats, daytime
  • Private Pilot’s Certificate – fly an aircraft for pleasure or business
  • Instrument Rating – to fly an aircraft under IFR conditions solely by using instruments
  • Multi-Engine Rating – fly an aircraft with more than one engine
  • Commercial Pilot’s License – fly an aircraft for compensation or hire

Different options

Pilots responsibilities vary greatly. They are highly trained and skilled aviation professionals who fly airplanes and are responsible for several different aspects of aviation. These include:

  • Airline Pilots carry an average of 200 passengers plus cargo for major or regional airlines.
  • Flight Engineers assist pilots, monitor and operate instruments and systems, conduct minor in-flight repairs, and assist with air traffic control and cabin crew communications.
  • Military Pilots fly under government contract, it involves combat and non-combat operations. 
  • Commercial Pilots can do many things like dusting crops, spreading seed, testing aircraft, flying passengers to cargo areas, firefighting, tracking criminals, monitoring traffic, rescuing and evacuating.
  • Air Cargo Carriers are air freight carriers, they carry cargo and equipment to designated destinations.
  • Business, Commuter, and Corporate Air-Taxi Travel are chartered aircraft services that operate on-demand.
  • Flight Instructors teach students in ground-school classes, simulators, and in planes.

Employment of aircraft pilots and flight engineers is projected to grow12 percent from 2008 to 2018. Job opportunities are more readilyavailable for experienced pilots with the regional airlines and low-costcarriers, which are expected to grow faster than the major airlines.


The retirement age for pilots is 65. After retirement, as long as you continue to pass your medical examination, you can continue to fly. Many retired pilots enjoy recreational flying just to feel the exhilaration of flying without many obligations or responsibilities.

Consider a career as a pilot. Get your flight training now and be a pilot for life.

Why is the “Doctor Killer” Airplane So Dangerous?

Beech BonanzaDuring flight training, you will learn fly several different types of aircrafts. However, on your way to becoming a pilot, you must learn to respect the various types of aircrafts you are allowed the opportunity to fly.

Model 35

The “Doctor Killer” got it’s reputation from being too much aircraft for an amateur pilot. The Beechcraft Bonanza is a radical design, low-wing, fixed landing gear aircraft with a signature V-tail introduced in 1947 by the Beech Aircraft Corporation of Wichita, Kansas. It is currently still in production by Hawker Beechcraft. It is one of the most influential aircrafts in history. More than 17,000 Bonanzas of all types have been produced.

The V-35 Beech Bonanza is the first truly modern high-performance personal aircraft. The signature V-tail is unconventional structuring of the tail. By replacing the horizontal design of the tail with a V-shaped configuration made up of two hinged pieces, the tail now combine the tasks of rudders and elevators – now affectionately called “ruddervators.”

Why the “Doctor Killer”

It earned the nickname “Doctor Killer” due to a series of fatal accidents. The V-35 Bonanza is expensive, high performance, and a very popular personal plane among high class professionals, such as doctors. However, it is extremely difficult to fly due to its high speed flutter, and inexperienced pilots with low hours are more susceptible to making an error resulting in a crash.
The tails have been known to shed so the early Bonanza’s have actually added cuffs to the base of the ruddervators to strengthen the structure. The aircraft is known for being faster than most personal planes due to the effort in decreasing the dampened area of the airframe to increase speed.

A lot of accidents occur due to error in judgment on the pilot’s part. Pilots have been known to take off into snowstorms, thunderstorms, or just any conditions in general that warrant danger.

Famous Accidents

On February 3, 1959, Buddy Holly died in a V-35 Beech Bonanza crash shortly after takeoff. The plane took off at night in poor weather condition. This famous day has been named “The Day the Music Died.”

What Exactly Does Air Traffic Control Do?

plane landingDuring flight training, you will learn a lot about the dynamics of Air Traffic Control. Air Traffic Control is a regulation service who direct aircraft from the ground by radio and GPS communication. ATC’s main priority is to prevent aircraft collision.

ATC directs and regulates the flow of aircraft traffic and provides information and assistance for pilots when needed. However, ATC is directed by people and can occasionally succumb to human error. To counterpart this, aircrafts now have collision avoidance systems installed to act as a security precaution against ATC observation.

The word of ATC is not necessarily set in stone. Pilots are able to deviate from ATC instructions in the event of an emergency.

Airport Traffic

Traffic tends to build up around airports because in order for an aircraft to land, the runway must be totally clear. This means that whatever aircraft before must have already touched down, slowed, and exited the runway before the waiting aircraft can cross the beginning of the runway.

Landing takes about one to four minutes depending on the aircraft. Airports have time allotted for 30 arrivals per hour. Unless the airport is built with two different arrival runways, then it would have time for 60 arrivals every hour.

If there is congestion on the arrival runway, the aircraft may be delayed. The pilot would be forced to remain holding over a location until given permission to land. Holding can be avoided with the growth of today’s technology. Now that pilots can predict the traffic at their arrival destination, they may choose do delay takeoff from their departure destination or even fly slower.


Weather conditions can be a major factor in aircraft traffic. Rain or snow on the runway can cause everything to slow down and require more time in between arrivals.

Thunderstorms can be a big factor because aircraft are guided to go around them. However if there are several thunderstorm cells in one area, all aircrafts will be attempting to fit through the same open area between them, causing serious traffic danger.

By training to be a pilot at flight training school, you will learn about regulations, safety, how to operate an aircraft, as well as the importance of Air Traffic Control.

What Flight Training Teaches You About Night Flying

Night FlyingDuring flight training, you will learn everything from flying under VFR conditions to IFR conditions, and even night flying. Night flying can be jarring, so it is important to have a clear understanding of the rules and regulations of night flying that you learn in flight training school.

Physiologically, human beings are designed to operate at maximum capacity during daylight hours. Night flying can be a trying experience that requires the perfection of a set of skills that aren’t necessarily required during the day.

Almost all flight time logged by the average pilot occurs during the daytime. Due to this fact, revisiting night flying techniques is an important part of safety precautions.


Most pilots know the basic fundamental physiological requirements of night flying. The most important part is to adapt our eyes for darkness. Anatomically, we have photopic vision for daytime and scotopic vision for nighttime. As for the cones and rods in our retinas, 7 million thicker cones are used for daytime vision and 120 million thinner rods are used for night vision.

Your eyes literally need to change their physiological makeup to adjust for the lack of lighting. Dark adaptation refers to the adjustment your eyes are experiencing that makes them more sensitive to light. Generally, dark adaptation takes 30 minutes in total darkness. However, dim red cockpit lighting can help you achieve dark adaptation in 20 minutes.

Several factors can impair or influence your vision. Some of these may include cabin altitude pressure above 5,000 ft, smoking, exhaust fumes, temperature, humidity, and even a vitamin A deficiency.

*TIP – if a light is being used in the cockpit (a flashlight), close one eye to preserve some level of night vision.


Every pilot should carry at least two flashlights, extra batteries, and a penlight for his or her pocket.

Pilots should be sure that all required aircraft lights for night flying are functioning normally. Be sure to double check these during your walk-around.

The position lights (or navigation lights) must be on at all times if operating anytime from sunset to sunrise. These lights include the left wing which is red, the right wing which is green, and the aft or tail which is white. Anti-collision lights (strobe-lighting) are also required for night and day operations both.

Flight training

In order to prepare and learn the skills necessary for night flying, you must work hard during flight training to understand all of the fundamentals. Generally flight simulators are the best supplement to training for night flying. By learning with the night simulation at your flight training school, you will be efficiently equipped for night flying.

How to prepare for a solo flight during flight training

LearnToFlyBefore you are able to fly as solo pilot, you must have developed and perfected a set of skills involving the aircraft. These skills should be mastered and turned into second nature. You will experience all of these tasks by learning to fly under favorable weather conditions at your chosen flight training school.

According to Federal Aviation Regulations mandate 61.87,

Maneuvers and procedures for pre-solo flight training in a single-engine aircraft. A student pilot who is receiving training for a single-engine airplane rating must receive and log flight training for the following maneuvers and procedures with the assistance from you flight instructor:

  • Proper flight preparation procedures, including pre-flight planning and preparation, powerplant operation, and aircraft systems
  • Taxiing or surface operations, including runups
  • Takeoffs and landings, including normal and crosswind
  • Straight and level flight, and turns in both direction
  • Climbs and climbing turns
  • Airport traffic patterns, including entry and departure procedures
  • Collision avoidance, windshear avoidance, and wake turbulence avoidance
  • Descents, with and without turns, using high and low drag configurations
  • Flight at various airspeeds from cruise to slow flight
  • Stall entries from various flight attitudes and power combinations with recovery initiated at the first indication of a stall, and recovery from a full stall
  • Emergency procedures and equipment malfunctions
  • Ground reference maneuvers
  • Approaches to a landing area with simulated engine malfunctions
  • Slips to a landing
  • Go-arounds

Many flight training students become frustrated in anticipation for their first flight. They must wait for suitable weather conditions and favorable circumstances. It can be draining to schedule your first solo flight and then be unable to go through with it because of changes in the weather. One student on The Student Pilot Forum describes his wait:

I flew with our chief instructor about a week ago and he said I had some great approaches followed by just about the worst landings he’d ever seen. But I know that the throttle make you go up and pulling back on the yoke makes the plane slow down, so he judged I was safe enough to be able to fly by myself at least a little.

Now if we could just get rid of the TSRA [thunderstorms] from the forecast. Cancelled yesterday and later saw a thunderstorm less than 5 miles from the airport, winds on the AWOS [Aviation Weather System] were 15G25. I know I’d rather be down here wishing I was up there, but that doesn’t make being down here easy. I wish the clouds would dry up.

Hoping really hard for no rain tomorrow…or Sunday…or next Wednesday…”