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Some of the things i learned my first year as a student pilot!


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Things I learned my first year of flying helos

 

Another topic we should start: sayings to help you remember stuff, like: aviate, navigate, and communicate!

 

I learned many of these the hard way, maybe some of you new students can avoid the “oh sh*t” moments that I went thru.

 

Please post some of yours as well, I think this will be a lot of fun.

 

These are not in any order of importance, I am not an instructor so you should always discuss some of the obvious stuff with your instructor before you use it.

 

BE NICE TO EVERYBODY!! BE PROFESSIONAL ALL THE TIME!! This is a small industry, it’s almost inevitable that the person you are talking with, or flying with, will one day be your copilot, or your boss…. (or the one to give you a reference, be it good or bad) !!!!

 

Use VerticalReference.com as the great tool that it is. This is an amazing resource, both for instant news from around the world about helos, and for helo information of all kinds. Become a member, and search the archives for tons of info. (lurk a while and search topics before you start asking questions, as most likely it has been covered to some degree in the past).

 

Use your checklists!! If you forget your laminated one there is one in the POH in the helo. Use these for preflights, run-ups and shut downs every single time!!

 

Don’t think that you can do stupid stuff and get away with it… one, you can kill your self and others, two EVERYONE is watching; from the tower, to other pilots sitting in their aircraft, even people driving below you in cars, the list is endless! Now days everyone has videophones so you might even be on U-tube before you get back home. And one stupid minute could cost you all credibility at the school, and potentially industry wide (remember, it’s a small group).

 

The rules and procedures set down by the school are there for a reason. You may not understand what the reasoning is until you get some time logged, or have a close call, or worse. KNOW that they are there to protect you and others and respect them. On that note, to learn WHY many of the limits are set upon new pilots, read the book FATAL TRAPS by Whyte. This is an amazing book about helicopter incidents and why they happened.. EVERY HELO PILOT SHOULD READ THIS BOOK AT LEAST ONCE!! That being said, I would wait until you are soloing or right after private to read it as you will understand the stuff better and it might not scare the hell out of you!! ☺

 

This is a VR post I made on the issue last July:

 

When i started training i had to sign an agreement that said i would not do a lot of things that i started training to do: off airport landings, formation flying... the list goes on and on.. i was dismayed that what i could do after or during training was limited to safe practices (funny huh?). But then someone gave me "Fatal Traps", i devoured it, and things came to light, it was an "oh yeah" moment at every turn of the page, "this is why they don't want me, a low time pilot, doing things that killed a high time pilot". As i fly i see things that i read in the book, and i thank everyone involved for putting it out there....

 

if you have not read this book... do so... if you think you know so much that you don't have to read this book... stop flying.

 

 

Learn to do a post flight inspection and do it every time.

There are different types of instructors and you can pick the one you want.. If you can’t, then find another school. People are different, and have different goals.. find the instructor that fits you… you ARE paying the bill!!

 

No parts or puddles. Upon liftoff, move to one side and look below the helo, if there are no parts or puddles you are good to go.

 

Use a flash lite to do your prefilghts. Especially on the larger more complex birds, you simply cannot do a proper preflight with out a flashlite to look over the stuff under the cowlings. Very important tho, keep a good grip on the lite, you don’t want to drop it inside and have to call an A&P to fetch it!! ☺

 

ALWAYS ESTABLISH WHO IS PIC BEFORE YOU TAKE OFF, no matter WHO you are flying with!

That being said; don’t assume that a higher time pilot is a better pilot, is current, or can handle emergency procedures in the helo you are flying. If you are indeed the PIC let them know that if something goes wrong YOU WILL BE THE ONE HANDLELING THE EMERGENCY! This goes for aircraft owners too, just because they own a helo doesn’t mean they are current or the one that should handle emergencies… make that all clear before you get airborne. For the reasons above; right after you get your private, you should fly for some time before you fly with another new pilot or a student pilot. Build some skills and get comfortable. If you are uncomfortable with the issue remove the controls!

 

Rw is a perishable skill, keep current or fly with an instructor before you go back up solo.

 

Put the tower phone number on your speed dial, if your radio fails you can contact them on the way home. Yeah, you should know the light signal procedures, but the phone is a great safety measure.

 

Learn and keep current on your emergency procedures. Once again, RW is a perishable skill, especially emergency procedures like autos!!

When you get to the point where “all I have to do is my autos before I can solo”, you’re not talking about going out and doing one flight.. it will take you a few to dial them in. DON’T GET IN A HURRY OR PUT DEADLINES ON YOUR SELF… most of the time this will just put undue pressure on you and your instructor… relax and enjoy the ride.

 

When you order fuel, watch it being put in, and look at the meter on the truck or ask the person how much they put in. Don’t assume that they will get it right!! Remember, you probably called one person and requested the fuel, they told someone else to do the fueling, probably over the radio.. it can easily get mixed up. Don’t forget to check the fuel caps after, sometimes they don’t put them back on correctly, or not at all!

 

The Alternator going out is not that big a deal, you can fly for 20 more minutes in most cases… so when that light pops on, just deal with it.

 

Check the schedule before you drive in, if you can’t do this on line, call your instructor! Check the weather and winds BEFORE you drive to the airport, if in doubt call your instructor, if you can’t get in touch with your instructor on a regular basis, find another instructor (there is no excuse for this, you are paying up to $500 an hour for this training, you deserve professionalism!!!!)

 

Learn how to check the weather on line, there are many resources! You could, and should, spend an hour of ground on this subject alone.

 

If your instructor doesn’t like to do ground, find one that does.

 

Put the numbers of AWOS and ATIS in your cell phone and check them before you leave the house. This will save you some frustrating times, driving in only to sit and watch the wind blow at the airport! ☺ AWOS is updated more often than ATIS, but is just a computer, either can be more reliable at different times so check them both.

 

Having trouble hovering, try putting your right foot on the floor, (with your instructors permission).

 

Always re-buckle your seat belts when you do your post flight, DO NOT ALLOW THE BUCKLES TO FLOP OUT OF THE CABIN, IT DAMAGES THE HELO’S PAINT! Also, if missed on a solo preflight the belt buckle can block the collective and cause some serious issues.

 

When you check the oil, if you have to add, wipe the dipstick and then put it IN the helo on the floor, not on the skids… if you forget to replace it and it is lost, it can cost up to $700 to replace… (or, heaven forbid, could even end up in the tail rotor or on someone’s head). DO NOT WIPE YOUR HANDS ON THE CARPET OF THE $400.000.00 HELICOPTER!!! Take a rag out to do your preflight!

 

When you fly with doors off, check everything in the helo and on the occupants, even your instructor, if something flies out the door bad things can happen. Don’t assume people will pay attention to what you tell them preflight… check and double check.

 

Turbulence is an issue, but your helo can take tons of it… learn the correct procedure (mainly slow down) and don’t worry about it.. fly the helo. Dennis Kenyon used to do acrobatics in unmodified 300s, they took the stress just fine. (I don’t recommend trying this, just that the ships can take large amounts of turbulence).

 

Aviate, navigate, then communicate. Use this to remember what is most important; you have to FLY the helo first… then navigate, then communicate.

 

Don’t assume the guy flying directly at you has a radio, or is current, or even knows you are there… at smaller airports some of the aircraft may not even HAVE radios in them.. so pay attention. Also there are many people out there flying that are marginally current, maybe they have an old cub and only fly it once or twice a year. Always expect the worst and you may not be caught off guard.

 

Take maps and photos of the airports with you when on cross-country flights or on flights to unfamiliar airports. The look of the Terrain can change just by flying 200’ lower on approach. And what if your GPS fails.

 

Practice GPS failure, it can happen, don’t so get so used to it that you can’t find your way home if it pops a cork.

 

On night flights, the light in your GPS might automatically dim… fix this BEFORE you get in the air. You can go into settings and shut this feature off. If you forget and it dims unexpectedly you can point a white light at the GPS it will go back to bright while the light is on it.

 

Carry extra batteries, for your headset and flash lites.

 

BEFORE you solo, take an hour of ground with the instructor that knows the GPS you fly best, IN THE HELO ON THE GROUND (most likely a CFII). Simply hook up a gpu (battery pack) to the helo and go thru the many features, YOU WILL NEED TO KNOW THEM IN THE AIR AND ON YOUR CHECK RIDE!! Also do this the day of or the day before your check ride.

 

If possible record some of your first training flights (I took my Bose apart and installed a mic in one of the ear muffs, if anyone is interested I put a post on how to build it here:

 

http://helicopterforum.verticalreference.c...showtopic=10905

 

it might void your warranty tho), I did this with a small digital recorder that I put in my shirt pocket, I downloaded the flights to my computer and burned CD’s of the flights. I could then listen to them in my car on the way to the airport. IT IS SIMPLY AMAZING WHAT YOU CAN LEARN ABOUT YOURSELF AND YOUR SKILLS BY REPLAYING THE FLIGHT. And it’s cool to play it back for your family and friends.

 

During one flight I told the instructor to be more clear in his instructions, when I played the tape back (on the way home, you can also just use a set of ear buds and hit play) the instructor had told me very clearly what to do THREE TIMES!!! I had been so task-loaded I had missed all three of them (pinnacle landing).

 

Flying at high-density altitude is much different than at sea level.. to be a better pilot plan on training in both environments.

 

Record vocabulary, and even the test questions on a CD and listen to them on the way to the airport, you can do this with your computer or a small digital recorder that you can down load and burn to a CD.

 

Don’t be too intimidated by all the stuff you have to learn, just take it in small steps and you’ll do fine. Much of the stuff in the higher-level ratings is a recap of what you learned in the previous one, so you will already know much of it. EVERYONE, (well most everyone), but most everyone forgets stuff and has to refresh on subjects. One Saturday I was at a flight school and one of their best instrument instructors was reading the beginning rotorcraft manual, I ask him why he was studying that book, surely he knew it.. his answer was that he had taught instrument for the past year and wanted to brush up on the basics… that gave me extra respect for him and me hope that I just might make it thru all the training. ☺ (yard-by-yard it may be hard, but inch-by-inch it’s a cinch).

 

Mast Bump on the Robinson helicopter is an issue, but it’s not as bad as we have been led to believe over the years by uneducated pilots. If you are worried about this get some up-to-date, correct information on the subject, you may be surprised.

 

Don’t assume that everyone has been trained the way you have!! Don’t assume anything about them, they may forget something or not even know about it. Don’t assume they did the preflight, or that they checked the oil or checked the weather… do not assume anything!!!

 

 

whew, and that's just the things that popped in my head while on vacation... hope you all can add stuff too..

 

aloha,

 

dp

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Man Dennis!!! Some of the best advice I've seen in a long long time. I was trying to think of stuff while reading and you pretty much hit everything I thought of. A couple I can think of that I've had first hand experience with, and STRONGLY advocate...

 

 

Put the tower phone number on your speed dial, if your radio fails you can contact them on the way home. Yeah, you should know the light procedures, but the phone is a great safety measure.

 

Light signals might be good, but I've had two radio failures in my life, both in Class C airspace and not once did I get light signals! The first time resulted in a discussion with the FAA, the second didn't because I had the number in my phone and gave them a call.

 

BE NICE TO EVERYBODY!! BE PROFESSIONAL ALL THE TIME!! This is a small industry, it’s almost inevitable that the person you are talking with, or flying with, will one day be your copilot, or your boss….

 

Just last week, I got on an airliner to go visit some friends for New Years. As I was boarding, a voice from the cockpit called my name. Turned out, the first officer was one of my old Fixed wing instructors. I've also ran into the owner of a flight school, my current AME, A Chief Pilot at Air Methods, and others while in random locations and doing random things.

 

When you order fuel, watch it being put in...

 

I know a guy that ordered fuel, got out, tried to start up and come to find out, the fueling guy put Jet A in instead of 100LL. Very very very costly!!! I've also had a guy try to put 100LL in a King Air I was flying...

 

Practice GPS failure, it can happen, don’t so get so used to it that you can’t find your way home if it pops a cork.

 

I personally will not let my students use the GPS at first, until I know they can navigate without it.

 

Flying at high-density altitude is much different than at sea level.. to be a better pilot plan on training in both environments.

 

Very very different!!!! I was shocked at how you guys at Rotors do autos when I first went there. I would recomend to anyone get training in high DA and at sea level. You'll be a much much better pilot in the end.

 

 

Now some of my own...

 

If the little guy/girl inside of you is saying, "Ummmm, I don't know about this...." Then you probably shouldn't be doing it. If you have to, make a precautionary landing and wait it out. If you don't think you should fly, then don't. If you have to second guess the decision, then it's probably not the right one. It's better to be on the ground wishing you were up there, then to be up there wishing you were on the ground.

 

DO NOT BE SCARED TO SAY "Unable" The controllers are human, and can make mistakes. They are not God, if they tell you to do something and you don't think you can, or it's a bad idea then say "Unable." Most are not pilots, they are not in your seat, they don't know the limitations on your particular aircraft.

 

Bad weather need I say more? Speaking from someone that used to fly through thunderstorms and icing conditions for research. Don't fly in weather you wouldn't want to take your grandmother in. Thunderstorms are nasty nasty beast! and so is Icing. Trust me, don't chance it, if it looks ok, and you might be able to but it's iffy, DON'T do it. It only takes once to kill you! One simple little puff of condensed water, doesn't sound to harmful but it could be.

 

I'm sure I can think of more, I'll add as I go!

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Things I learned my first year of flying helos

 

 

No parts or puddles. Upon liftoff, move to one side and look below the helo, if there are no parts or puddles you are good to go.

 

Damn, I have NEVER taken off in the 47 without one large puddle and several smaller ones. Parts.....now thats a different subject !!

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My number one - RELAX! As soon as I learned to not stiff leg the pedals and white knuckle the controls my skill level increased immensly.

 

Think basketball - magnetic compass turning errors - NBA - North Before After south is the lead and lag. Lot easier to remember then NOSANDS or general shermans army...... or whatever some places teach.

 

Black square you're there! runway location signs, stolen from King schools.

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Angel,

 

thanks for the good words and the additions.

 

it's awesome to get real world accounts of my points from other pilots.

 

I wanted to touch on the "unable" topic and you have covered it well. Most people in the towers deal mostly with fixed wing and don't really know the performance issues of rw (especially at high density altitude)... they can also get busy and simply forget what they just told you.. on one night flight i had requested an approach directly TO the runway so i could keep it in sight the whole approach from two miles out. The tower cleared me to land at 5 miles since there were no other aircraft in the airspace. when i reported one mile she changed my approach to a 90 degree entry (one that we use a lot), the winds were nil so i just accepted... as i came around the corner i was already lower than normal expecting the direct approach and lost sight of the whole airport due to all the buildings. Made me nervous for just a second, but that second is all it takes sometimes to throw someone off. When i landed the controller said "oh sorry HL, you asked for direct didn't you, i forgot". The other approach was the best for all reasons, in sight, easy out, no buildings, no fixed wing to fly over on final.... it would have been totally better to just politely say "unable, on final for 20".

 

Now, i brought that up to say:

 

if you operate in a control tower environment, go meet the people in the tower.. see what their job is like, see what you look like on their screens, you can see the computer where they get the AWOS info, what a ship looks like with a transponder and without or when it idents. One of the things that really helped us was to find out that the tower has an intermittent blind spot on their screens when the helos are in one narrow area, now we know why they vector us away from that area at times. You will find that the controllers are just people like us, and that their job can be very frustrating at times, especially when they ask a student pilot to fly one direction and he or she goes the opposite!! From our tower there are two wind soxs, they frequently point in different directions due to our awesome Colorado winds. So we learned that WE have to pick our approach when this is happening as they may be looking at the wrong sox. That being said, it is common for a student solo pilot to pick the wrong approach due to wind changes, so it's nice to have the tower there watching over them.

 

schools; invite the controllers to your safety meetings, (i know you all have regular safety meetings, right?). let them meet your instructors and students, and discuss how you all can work together. If you are an instructor there and it's not happening, make it happen... it will be better for everyone.

 

keep 'em coming!!

 

dp

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Dennis- great post by the way.

 

As a student the two BEST words to remember are "STUDENT" and "UNFAMILIAR"

 

When flying into an area for the first or second time the tower might reference things like "Turn downwind before the water tower" or the best one at VNY is "report Greek Church"...well, if you have flown in the area for a few months we all know where it is....but if you're a bit new....well...its like talking in Greek !

 

So, don't be embarassed to tell the tower either of these two words, or both if they apply.

 

Flying into WHP the other day a 300 was approaching from the east, he called in and the tower gave him the usual instructions of where to land...a bit confusing if you have never seen it before, and just trying to digest information while holding on to a cyclic thingy that makes the world turn upside down when I sneeze...well, it probably seemed overwhelming at the time. I think we all look back on our first solo, or first cross country with a smile....

 

Anyway, this pilot then reported that he was a student and unfamiliar with the airport. The tower thanked him, and gave him turn by turn directions to the runway, taxiway and onto the transient pad....guys you just have to ask. If you dont ask, the tower assumes you are a 20,000 hour pilot and this field is your home base.

 

As far as near misses in a helo, it's not if....it's when. Keep your eyes open wide and your head on a swivel. Teach your passengers to point out anything they see as well.

 

Goldy

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Anyway, this pilot then reported that he was a student and unfamiliar with the airport. The tower thanked him, and gave him turn by turn directions to the runway, taxiway and onto the transient pad....guys you just have to ask. If you dont ask, the tower assumes you are a 20,000 hour pilot and this field is your home base.

Goldy

 

Good advice! Controllers don't want to clutter the airwaves unnecessarily, but they are more than willing to elaborate if asked.

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"No parts or puddles. Upon lift off, move to one side and look below the helo, if there are no parts or puddles you are good to go".

Puddles!! Especially on a 300 if you don't get the dip stick back in correctly

 

Not only the belt buckles can jam things up, keys on your belt can produce Scary moments as well, mine did, :wub: collective seemed to have a mind of its own key had got into collective lock slot on the 500

Thats not in the POH Goldy

The other thing I was told " if it can go wrong it will" & "things go wrong you aint even thought of"

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Cool post, great work dp!

 

Difficult to think of many others, but here's a few of the things I've learned over the last few years...

 

Don't allow anyone to pressure you to fly, especially if the wx is looking like it could take a turn for the worst (I've even heard of examiners screwing up wx decisions.)

 

Don't implicitly trust anyone - I've had everything from a marshaller try to back me into a wire fence in the Bahamas to approach controllers trying to send me into TFRs - remember that controllers will tend to forget about us because we usually fly lower than everyone else.

 

Plan ahead - 10 miles from the field think about the wind direction, what runway is in use and roughly plan your approach, don't allow yourself to be rushed at the last moment, those decisions are usually bad. Same applies before you even fly - look at the windsock as you walk out to the aircraft, start thinking about what departure profile you will fly.

 

Rest your arm on your leg to stop it moving too much in the hover

 

Maintain Situational Awareness - "where did that Cessna 172 go that was on final", etc

 

Scan the instruments at least every 5 minutes, definitely scan the instruments before beginning your approach - and verbalise it "No caution or warning lights, T's and P's in the green, carb heat on (if required), xx gallons of fuel, landing area is clear (if landing)"

 

Don't get tunnel vision - when flying into a confined area, have a "go around" frame of mind, if you have ANY doubts abort before you lose ETL and go around rather than pushing on with a bad approach.

 

Monitor power and RPM on approach, especially at high DA, if the RPM is decreasing you're losing the potential to create lift. If you're heavy, it's hot outside and you have a crosswind from the right then it could go south quicker than you can react to it. We are taught about the dangers of left crosswinds but rarely have I heard anyone talk about power-sapping properties of right crosswinds.

 

Definitely listen to the little voice saying "are you sure about this?"

 

And finally, the main cause of helicopter crashes - wirestrikes - there's a simple way to avoid these - don't fly at low level. A guy I knew was killed last year in a wirestrike. As is often the case though there wasn't a single cause - he flew into bad wx and descended and continued flying at low level instead of landing...

 

Stay safe,

 

K

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Great stuff folks, keep it coming!!

 

Another thing that i remembered when i read Kris' stuff. (btw Kris, i loved your whole post, i want to say "especially the part about...." , but it's all good stuff).

 

anyway, something i learned after about 40 hours in an R44 that i wish i would have learned my first five hours in a 300; the 44 is quite touchy on lift off, and it changes dramatically with different weights and different passenger loads. I was flying with Garin one day and noticed that as we were getting light and just about to lift off he gently rotated the cyclic in a 360 degree circle... then back the other way... he was feeling for the CG. It's quite remarkable how well this works and I have used it on every liftoff since, to test the ship and "feel" where it is before liftoff.. works every time.

 

dp

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Lets see here... Just a few that come to mind-

 

While listening to ATC, listen to what they're telling other A/C too, not just you. If you listen to everything, you'll know where they are at all times.

 

If your school does Mx, watch your mechanics do a 100hr, or a track and balance, etc. The more you know about how a helicopter works, the better pilot you'll be. You'll understand why its doing what its doing.

 

If you plan on going Private thru CFII, its much easier to do your CFII written the same day as your instrument written. They're pretty much the same questions.

 

As tedious as training may seem at times, enjoy it! No matter how long it takes to go through, it seems like it happened in a flash. Sometimes I wish I would have enjoyed my training more rather than wishing I was done.

 

The best pilots think one step ahead... with everything. Don't change radio freq's without putting the next one you'll need in backup. Don't change plates without putting the next one you'll need under the current one. When you're done listening to AWOS at your departing airport, put ATIS in for your arrival airport. You get the point... just always think of what you need to do next, rather than right now.

 

Remember, the first job (instructing) is the hardest to get, and next to impossible right now. It may seem like a lot of work spending 1/2 hour after each lesson washing windshields, or mopping the floor, but that will put you ahead of an equally knowledgeable and skilled pilot, and you will get that job at your school. That 1/2 hour is well worth not wondering if you'll ever find a job when you're done.

 

I'll add more if I think of any...

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really good stuff Freeplay,

 

Lets see here... Just a few that come to mind-

 

While listening to ATC, listen to what they're telling other A/C too, not just you. If you listen to everything, you'll know where they are at all times.

 

A hard lesson i learned in Hawaii, many of the controllers there speak a type of english slang called "pidgin", add that with their local or other accent and it's pretty difficult to understand them at times. Get a handheld, you will need it when you teach anyway, and listen all the time to the tower and ground.. you can probably listen at your home when you're studying. I constantly listen to the EMS and ENG over Denver, you can learn a ton about the area as well.

Instructors, get a hand held to keep in touch with your students when they are on their first few solos at uncontrolled airports.. makes us much more comfortable.

 

If your school does Mx, watch your mechanics do a 100hr, or a track and balance, etc. The more you know about how a helicopter works, the better pilot you'll be. You'll understand why its doing what its doing.

 

Really good point, also if you are planning to teach and/or fly Robbies, sign up for the Robbie course, do it now! Best deal in town and you learn so much.

 

If you plan on going Private thru CFII, its much easier to do your CFII written the same day as your instrument written. They're pretty much the same questions.

 

Great point, why have to restudy..

 

As tedious as training may seem at times, enjoy it! No matter how long it takes to go through, it seems like it happened in a flash. Sometimes I wish I would have enjoyed my training more rather than wishing I was done.

 

The best pilots think one step ahead... with everything. Don't change radio freq's without putting the next one you'll need in backup. Don't change plates without putting the next one you'll need under the current one. When you're done listening to AWOS at your departing airport, put ATIS in for your arrival airport. You get the point... just always think of what you need to do next, rather than right now.

 

New students, while on cross countries, if it is possible, find a taxi way to sit down on and set your radios & GPS up for the next airport, you have enough to do in the air. Don't be in a hurry, take your time and enjoy the flight. I always looked up my destination airports, printed out photos and layouts and took all the info i could find with me. On the way to the next airport i would review the info getting ready for approach.

 

 

Remember, the first job (instructing) is the hardest to get, and next to impossible right now. It may seem like a lot of work spending 1/2 hour after each lesson washing windshields, or mopping the floor, but that will put you ahead of an equally knowledgeable and skilled pilot, and you will get that job at your school. That 1/2 hour is well worth not wondering if you'll ever find a job when you're done.

 

Best part of this post!! Keep in mind that you are on a year long job interview. The school wants to hire all of it's students, but that is just not possible, and this may get worse before it gets better. Show the school's principals that you WANT to work for them, that you expect to work there and respect the opportunity. Being an employee doesn't always mean getting only the good jobs; clean the bathrooms, pick up the parking lot, and CONSTANTLY ask your instructors and the owners if there is anything you can do for them. I am amazed at the number of new instructors that seem to think "i've made it now, i can cruise and wait for the students to line up". I know you have done a lot, and have made sacrifices, but you are only part way there. The hard part may be behind you, but you have another year of busting butt to get a real job, and how you spend this year makes a huge difference on that future.

 

That being said, always clear what ever you are going to do around the hangar FIRST! The window screens are very easily scratched and you could used the wrong cleaning product and do some serious damage in an instant.

 

When deciding on which school to give your money to make sure that you find out how many of the past students are actually teaching there now, and how many of their instructors have moved on to real world jobs. If the instructors are not moving on, you will have a harder time securing a job at that school.

 

 

 

Keep 'em coming folks,

 

dp

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New Instructors;

 

when you get that coveted spot and start training, keep in mind that in the beginning, EVERYTHING you do will be scrutinized. The other instructors, the students, the chief pilots, the owners, they will all be watching to see what kind of a professional pilot you really are. EXPECT THIS, and actually welcome it. You have just begun one of the most important parts of your training.. Remember on a daily basis that ONE MISJUDGMENT, ONE MISTAKE, can take months to recover from.. some you may never get past. Even the minor ones that may not seem too bad, the owners may always remember that issue or question wether you have moved past that time. Do not fly when ANYTHING is questionable, you will get your time, and that one flight that is marginally safe will do much more damage to your future than the benefit of one flight hour in your log book.

 

That goes for minor mishaps in the air, pay attention all the time, in the beginning keep your hands on those controls, even if the student doesn't like it... YOUR ASS is on the line, not theirs, and getting behind them for one second can cause an issue what will stifle your career at the least.

 

Now the most important part of this post; if, in the unlikely event, you do have an issue, any issue, go to the chief pilot immediately and tell them about it... do not let them hear it from someone else like the student, the tower or another instructor. These things happen, and they want to know that you are professional enough to deal with all aspects of it.

 

dp

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When flying solo, talk to yourself. Call out your actions loudly and clearly as if your instructor was still playing ballast in the other seat - it'll help you feel more organized and you'll second-guess yourself a lot less.

 

Let the tower folks know you're a student, especially if you're solo - and remember that a quick "thank you" at the conclusion of your flight will go a long way toward getting assistance on your next flight.

 

Organize your kneeboard. Go to airnav.com and print the PDF files of each of the major airports in your area and get them into the clear plastic holders. Create a single sheet of all the common radio frequencies in your area in Excel, make the print LARGE and BOLD and space them to take up the entire sheet so you don't have to fart around trying to get the right one at the worst time. Take note of what works in the air and what doesn't, and re-visit your cockpit organization strategies after each flight.

 

Know your GPS. The full user guide is available online from, say, Garmin - get it, print it, take it out to the helicopter and sit on the ground for an hour getting to know the features. Most of the guides cover multiple models, so highlight the portions that pertain to a) the model you fly with and B) the modes of operation you're likely to use most often. This is especially true for the models that also happen to carry your COM freqs. Good pilotage and stick skills are essential, but the GPS is like your stand-in instructor the first couple of solo flights.

 

Find out what beer your mechanic likes and get him a six-pack of it. Become a hangar rat. Ask questions (at appropriate times) and get as involved as possible in the normal and unscheduled maintenance of as many ships in your fleet as possible.

 

Sell everything you own that isn't related to flying.

 

Live out of your car.

 

Pic n Save has monthly sales on both peanut butter AND jelly.

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Organize your kneeboard. Go to airnav.com and print the PDF files of each of the major airports in your area and get them into the clear plastic holders. Create a single sheet of all the common radio frequencies in your area in Excel, make the print LARGE and BOLD and space them to take up the entire sheet so you don't have to fart around trying to get the right one at the worst time. Take note of what works in the air and what doesn't, and re-visit your cockpit organization strategies after each flight.

 

You beat me to it! I was going to say the same thing about creating a list of the radio frequencies you will need for a flight, using large print. I do that for every cross country flight, listing the com, atis/asos and navaid frequencies in the order that they will be required. I have another sheet with the same information for all the airports within about a half hour flight, it stays on my kneeboard and gets used for all my local flights.

 

That airnav.com website looks great, I hadn't seen that before, thanks for the link!

 

The other thing I did was print out a small Excel spreadsheet that shows flight time according to distance and ground speed. It's just a basic table, but it really helps with diversions. All you do is calculate the distance from your terminal, figure out your groundspeed, then using those two numbers you can quickly see how long it should take to arrive at your new destination. It saves you the stress of doing the math in your head, in check rides, when the DPE throws a diversion at you.

 

I also used to practice the phonetic alphabet while I was driving, by reading out license plates and signs using the phonetic alphabet. A Coors truck would drive by and read out "charlie, oscar, oscar, romeo, sierra" etc, sounds crazy, but it helped me.

 

Someone mentioned getting a handheld and listening to ATC. This is a great suggestion. You can listen online too, at liveatc.net. They stream live feeds from centers, approaches, towers etc from all over the country. I used to listen for hours when I was working on my instrument rating, and it really helped me to get familiar with the terminology. When you're new to the IFR radio environment it can be pretty overwhelming, and I found that listening online really helped me learn the new "language".

 

One last thing - always do clearing turns! Before you take off, clear your tail, then pedal turn and visually clear the area before you take off. When you are up flying, before you make that sharp turn, do a thorough scan of the area - it must just save you from turning into that little plane that's at your 4 o'clock!

 

Great thread!

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Before doing solo cross-country flights, Google Earth is a great way to "fly" the approaches to unfamiliar airports and other destinations. Very handy in dense areas.

 

It great for off airport ops too - so you can see the surrounding area. I've landed in a friends and families backyards, and always use google earth to get an aerial view of what to expect when I am up in the air. I print the page and take it with me. Looking at it on google earth also gives you the lat/long to plug into your GPS too, if you like.

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Create a single sheet of all the common radio frequencies in your area in Excel, make the print LARGE and BOLD and space them to take up the entire sheet so you don't have to fart around trying to get the right one at the worst time.

 

 

Oh , you mean like this?

 

 

I fold this in half, frequencies on the front, and phone numbers on the back....cause I dont make phone calls in the air, so I can live with the smaller print.

 

Feel free to download this as a template and just plug in your local freq's....or if you're in the LA area, just print it and go !

 

Goldy

 

 

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Yessir, that's what I'm talking about. And thanks for that, I'll put it to good use when I get back next week :D

 

Just for fun I'll throw up the Excel version of my 300Cbi checklist and the two pages of PDF output I generated from it. Early on I realized that re-typing the whole thing helped me commit the order to memory - not that I wasn't using the list, but the little single-page lists most schools hand out can be hard (for me) to use because I stumble trying to find my place again when I move to the next item. Splitting it across two pages on my kneeboard and increasing the font size made me feel a bit more organized.

Revised_Page_1.pdf

Revised_Page_2.pdf

Checklist.xls.zip

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Oh , you mean like this?

 

 

I fold this in half, frequencies on the front, and phone numbers on the back....cause I dont make phone calls in the air, so I can live with the smaller print.

 

OK, I should know this by now, but where do you get the phone number for the tower? All I found in the A/FD was the noise abatement office and radio frequencies. Didn't see one on AirNav either. Where do you get the phone numbers for the tower?

 

HVG

 

Oh, and if you, as a student, haven't heard "Eyes outside!" a gazillion times, here's one more for you. Don't chase the gages! Eyes outside!

 

Great thread!

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Dial 411 for information :D . Air traffic control facility phone numbers are listed in the AOPA airport directory and flight service will probably have them for you.

 

 

There is a link on the FAA.gov site that lists EVERY single FAA tower in the US. I also find them on one of the web services..maybe airnav ?

 

I'll look for the FAA link and post it later.

 

Goldy

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