Video tip: get to know your altimeter

The altimeter is a flight instrument that provides accurate altitude information to pilots and relies solely on outside air pressure. This week's tip explores how the altimeter works, the various types of altitudes you need to know about and potential errors you may encounter while referencing the altimeter.

Video tip: how do VORs work?

In the age of GPS and iPad it can be tempting to look past the traditional forms of ground-based radio navigation like VOR and ADF in favor of direct-to navigation and moving map displays. It's important you still take the time to understand how to use these systems, since VORs serve an important role in the national airspace system and can provide a reliable source of backup navigation.

Video tip: pilot’s guide to airport services

Most of your flight training will focus on the essentials of flying like stick and rudder skills, navigation and communicating on the radio. One item that's often overlooked is what to do after landing on a cross-country flight and taxi up to the airport parking area. This week's tip takes a look at the resources available to you at the FBO and some advice on how to take advantage of them.

Video tip: the pilot’s operating handbook (POH)

You'll find a "how-to" manual on every airplane that describes how to operate that particular model, called the pilot's operating handbook, or POH. This week's tip takes...

Video tip: cross-country flights using pilotage and dead reckoning

The cross-country phase of private pilot training is an exciting time where you'll learn the flight planning steps and flying techniques required to fly longer trips between two airports. While it might be tempting to navigate directly to the destination airport using GPS, it's important that you first learn how to fly the trip first using the fundamental navigation techniques of pilotage and dead reckoning.

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: Convective outlook charts

The week's tip looks at the Convective Outlook chart, which provides both short and long-term planning guidance for determining the location and intensity of thunderstorm activity.

Video tip: magnetic compass errors

The magnetic compass is the only "self-powered", north-seeking instrument in the panel and you'll find one in just about every airplane. It's not a perfect instrument though and has some inherent errors due to its design and construction. This week's tip takes a look at when you're most likely to experience these errors and how to compensate for them should you ever need to rely on the compass for primary navigation guidance.

Video tip: what kind of cloud is that?

Clouds are often referred to as "sign posts in the sky", and for good reason since they are one of the best visual indicators of what mother nature has planned for the weather. This week's tip takes a look at the various types of clouds, when and where they form and what kind of flying conditions pilots can expect when flying in and around them.

Video tip: how to calculate takeoff and landing distances

Just about every airplane includes performance data in the Pilot's Operating Handbook to calculate the runway length required for takeoff and landing under various conditions. The FARs require you to determine these distances as part of your preflight responsibilities, but fortunately the charts published for today's modern airplanes make this task a breeze. This week's tip takes a look at how perform this calculation using the common "chase-around" style charts.