Authors Posts by Bret Koebbe

Bret Koebbe

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Bret is vice president and senior flight instructor for Sporty's Academy. In addition to Bret's teaching responsibilities, Bret leads Sporty's video production and app development team and serves as editor of the popular iPad Pilot News online journal. As an airline transport pilot, Bret is a senior captain in Sporty's corporate flight department.

Flight maneuver spotlight: slow flight

Flying an airplane just above the stall speed in the slow flight configuration will teach you a lot about the handling characteristics and controllability at low speeds, which is a critical step in the development of your flying skills during flight training.

Video Tip: Starting the airplane engine

Starting the airplane engine is one of the first hands-on procedures you'll learn when starting your flight training. In our latest video tip, we'll show you step-by-step the procedure for starting the Cessna 172S fuel-injected engine.

Video tip: how to determine the wind speed aloft

As you begin to plan flights away from your home airport it's important to know the wind speed and direction at higher altitudes to help compute headings to fly and an estimated groundspeed for fuel planning. This week's tip takes a look at several online resources you can use to determine the upper level winds and how to interpret the textual winds aloft forecast.

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: explore the differences in airplane cockpits

While the good ol' Cessna 172 is still the most popular training airplane used by flight schools today, there are hundreds of other aircraft types that are also well-suited for flight training. This week's tip takes a look at some of the variations you'll find in these airplanes, including engine controls, switches, flight controls and flight instruments.

Video tip: How to avoid turbulence and find a smoother ride

During your preflight briefing, you observe that the air is clear and there are no storms in sight – does this mean you're in store for a smooth, enjoyable flight? Possibly, but you should also consider another weather factor that can have a big impact on the comfort of the flight on VFR days: turbulence. This week's tip takes a look at ways to avoid rough air and find a smoother ride on your next flight.

Use your iPhone or iPad to file, open and close VFR Flight Plans

Did you know you can file, open and close VFR Flight Plans through Flight Service right from your iPhone or iPad? Here's how to do it from 4 of aviation's top EFB apps.

Use your iPad to simplify taxiing at large airports

Learning to move around on the ground at large airports with complex runway and taxiway layouts can at first be intimidating, but with proper preparation and some help from the mobile apps like ForeFlight, you'll find that it's really not that difficult to monitor your position and find your way to the runway or parking.

Video tip: Fit for Flight

A big part of the go/no-go decision relates to your health and well-being as a pilot. This week's tip takes a look at various personal factors, including illness, fatigue and the effects that medication and alcohol can have on your decision-making before and during a flight.

The first and last time I skipped the preflight checklist

"Lunken tower, this is Cessna Eight Eight Uniform, our windshield is covered with oil, we're returning for immediate landing." I'll never forget making that radio call 14 years ago, and today I can still visualize the oil-soaked windshield as vividly as the day it happened. Even more memorable is how one small, easily-preventable oversight led to this in-flight emergency.