5 most popular articles from 2018

Please enjoy our five most popular articles from 2018. On behalf of the Student Pilot News team, Happy New Year and best wishes for safe flying in 2019. Ed.

5) What’s in my flight bag

The flight bag should evolve with the pilot.

I recently decided to treat myself to a brand spankin’ new flight bag because the old one had seen better days. It was, after all, about five years old and the time had come to say out with the old and in with the new. So, as I’m transferring the contents of the old bag to the new bag, along with a rash of memorable flights, I couldn’t help but notice that this bag is quite different than the one I carried during my flight training. At some point before the bag got renewed, all my gear got renewed too. It happens little by little (that’s the best way to not raise any red flags with my wife) but eventually, hardly anything had remained the same since my training days.

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4) How to survive checkride day

It’s here! It’s finally here. Checkride day. The opportunity to shine. The end of a chapter in your aviation journey filled with triumphs, yet fraught with the challenges unique to flight training including the angst often associated with checkride day.

But on the other side a new adventure and the ticket to freedom await. The much-anticipated dividend from your significant investment of time and money made possible by your hard-work and determination – not to mention the many sacrifices you may have made along the way. Only the satisfaction of putting your knowledge, skill and decision-making ability you’ve accumulated into the checkride remain.

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3) How to improve your pilot communication skills

Being a good communicator starts with listening.

Learning how to talk on the radio is important, but many pilots spend far too much time stressing about it. It’s right up there with crosswind landings on the list of most uncomfortable parts of flight training, but it doesn’t have to be. For a start, remember that most communications mistakes are not fatal – you can almost always try again if something isn’t clear – so the fear is really public embarrassment more than a critical safety issue. That means improving your communication skills is mostly about feeling comfortable and confident.

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2) How to master steep turns

Steep turns were my nemesis. While I didn’t fail an exam as a result, it was clearly a weak maneuver within my repertoire. Never as clean and crisp as I would like. Never something I enjoyed. As I advanced with certifications, training and experience, my disdain for the perennial exam and proficiency requirement only grew. And then I stopped fighting and started flying.

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1) FAA announces complex aircraft changes

Complex aircraft are no longer required for Commercial and CFI.

As you may have heard, earlier this week the FAA announced a policy change that went into effect on Tuesday, 4/26/2018, which eliminates the mandate to use a complex airplane on the single-engine commercial and CFI airplane practical exams. The official notice and the revised Commercial ACS & CFI PTS are linked below.

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It was his first airplane trip at age seven that made Eric decide to become a pilot. "While boarding the airplane, a flight attendant noticed my interest in the flight deck and urged me to go talk to the pilot. I give a lot of credit to that pilot for my career choice." He earned a bachelor’s degree in finance and went on to an airline career. Eric now heads Sporty’s flight school and directs the University of Cincinnati’s Professional Pilot Training Program. In addition, Eric serves as a Captain in Sporty’s corporate flight department.