Authors Posts by Bret Koebbe

Bret Koebbe

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Bret is a graduate of the University of Cincinnati’s professional pilot program, and has been a flight instructor for over 10 years. During his time as a check airman for Sporty’s Academy, he has earned FAA Gold Seal and NAFI Master Instructor accreditations. Bret specializes in advanced avionics training, and especially enjoys working with students learning glass cockpit systems, WAAS GPS units, and iPad and Android tablets in the cockpit. He currently flies both professionally and for fun in a variety of aircraft, from Cessna Skycatchers to a Cessna Citation. Bret is also a Vice President at Sporty’s Academy, where he develops innovative new aviation training products in video, online and mobile app formats.

Video tip: how to calculate weight and balance

Take the time to compute the total weight of the airplane and center of gravity (CG) before every flight, based on the number of occupants, baggage and fuel and where each item is positioned in the airplane. This week's tip takes a look at how to compute a typical weight and balance calculation and how to verify the results are within limits.

Video tip: takeoff and landing techniques from a short runway

You'll need to modify your takeoff and landing procedures when operating from shorter runways to obtain the maximum performance from the airplane. These techniques will allow you to shorten the ground roll and also provide additional clearance over obstacles if they are present near the runway.

Video tip: aircraft inspections and ELT requirements

Airplanes are held to high standards when it comes to maintenance and inspection requirements. This week's tip takes a look the reason behind each inspection, how to verify they've been completed and the required paperwork to be on the airplane. It also takes a look at why digital 406 MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELT) incorporate GPS to improve their performance.

Video tip: get a “big picture” weather briefing

Checking the weather is one of the few constants in aviation. All pilots do it, whether it’s a trip around the pattern in a Cub or a trip across the Atlantic in a Gulfstream. But merely getting a weather briefing isn’t enough; it has to be a good weather briefing to make the flight safer. So what exactly does a “good briefing” involve?

Flight maneuver spotlight: crosswind takeoff

Welcome to the latest edition of the Flight Maneuver Spotlight series. Here we'll highlight the various maneuvers you'll practice during your flight training and be expected to demonstrate during your private pilot checkride. Each maneuver includes step-by-step instructions, performance standards and common errors. Study them while on the ground or print them for quick reference in the airplane.

Flight maneuver spotlight: forward slips

This week's flight maneuver spotlight focuses on the forward slip, a procedure you can use to increase the descent rate during the landing approach without increasing airspeed.

Flight maneuver spotlight: steep turns

Welcome to our newest addition to Student Pilot News, the Flight Maneuver Spotlight series. Here we'll highlight the various maneuvers you'll practice during your flight training and be expected to demonstrate during your private pilot checkride. We're going to kick things off with Steep Turns this week.

Runway braking action reports finally make sense

The FAA recently implemented a new system to help pilots better understand how snow and ice affect will affect braking on runways and taxiways, allowing both airport operators and pilots to use a standardized method to identify both the contamination type and how it will affect deceleration, braking and directional control.
nearby traffic collision avoidance quiz

How to spot nearby traffic like a pro

During the early stages of flight training you'll learn that keeping an eye out the window looking for traffic is a big priority as you learn to fly the airplane. Here are 7 tips to boost your collision avoidance skills and make sure you don't mix aluminum with another airplane in the sky.
iPad Screenshot

What not to miss when flight planning on the iPad

As your logbook starts to fill up and you gain experience as a pilot, you’ll soon develop a personal routine for how you plan...