Video Tip: Cessna 172 exterior preflight

One of the first things you'll learn as a student pilot is how to perform an aircraft preflight inspection. This week's video tip looks at the step-by-step procedures for the exterior preflight of a Cessna 172.

Video tip: how to recover from unusual flight attitudes

There are 2 unusual attitude maneuvers you'll practice during your private pilot training, simulating the scenario of inadvertently flying into IFR conditions and ending up in a nose low descending or nose high climbing pitch attitude. This week's tip shows how to recognize either condition and use the flight instruments to recover to straight and level flight.

Video tip: engine detonation and pre-ignition

What happens when the spark plugs in your engine aren't working properly? Some pretty bad stuff. In our latest video tip, we explain what detonation and pre-ignition are all about, how they happen, and what you can do to prevent them from happening.

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 of the week: airplane engine operation

A great pilot takes care of his or her engine, especially when flying with bigger engines found on more advanced airplanes. This means a lot more than just "keeping the needle in the green." In this week's tip, we offer some time-tested tips for making sure your engine is smooth, cool and happy.

Video tip: how to take off in an airplane

Taking off is one of the most exciting moments of every flight, where you get to swiftly accelerate down the runway and lift off to leave the world below. This week's tips takes a look at the step by step procedure to accomplish this task in a Cessna 172, showing each control input necessary to fly a smooth takeoff on your next flight.

Video tip: inadvertent flight into instrument conditions (and how to get out)

Taking the time to thoroughly brief the weather before every flight will significantly decrease the odds that you'll inadvertently fly into instrument conditions as a VFR pilot. This week's tip takes a look at the actions to take though if you do stumble into the clouds or an area of reduced visibility, to help you safely return to VFR conditions.

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?

Video tip: How to use ADS-B in-flight weather

Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B) is an integral part of the FAA's Next Generation Air Traffic Control system, and includes a free datalink weather component. This week's tip looks at the free in-flight ADS-B weather products available to pilots and the portable equipment needed to receive and display the data.

Video Tip: VFR communications

Talking on the radio can be intimidating for new pilots, but with a few tips in mind it doesn't have to be hard. In our latest video tip, we give you a few basics to remember so you can sound like a pro when you talk to tower or on the CTAF. If you know what to expect, you'll be a lot more confident.