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.

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 at 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?

Slow Flight – HD Flight Maneuver Spotlight

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: How pilots and ATC can benefit from ADS-B

The FAA is in the process of implementing a new system called Automatic Dependent Surveillance-Broadcast (ADS-B for short), which is designed to replace the ground-based radar system used by ATC to track air traffic throughout the US. This week's tips explains how the ADS-B system works and how you can also benefit from in-flight traffic and weather services offered by the system.

Snow on the runway? Here’s how to interpret runway condition codes

An important consideration when planning a flight to an airport at below freezing temperatures is the possibility of snow or ice on the runway and whether the conditions are suitable for your particular airplane and operation. Here's what to look for when checking field condition NOTAMs and the meaning of each runway condition code.

Video tip: practicing power-on stalls

This week we go flying to see what power-on stalls are all about. Some pilots are nervous about this maneuver, which can require a nose high attitude. But with a good understanding of the aerodynamics and a preview from outside the airplane, you'll have the confidence to perform these stalls smoothly - and hopefully avoid an inadvertent one on takeoff.

Video tip: Flying with a constant-speed propeller

Airplanes with a high-performance engine typically contain a constant-speed propeller for greater efficiency. Learn all about their operation with our latest tip, including how to properly use the throttle, prop control, manifold pressure gauge and tachometer in each phase of flight.

Video tip: Faulty approach and landing recoveries

Not every approach and landing will be by the book during your training, and you'll inevitably encounter situations when you round out too high, overshoot the touchdown point or bounce after the initial touchdown. This is perfectly normal and learning how to recover from these scenarios will improve your confidence and help you make better landings in the long run. 

Video tip: How to handle crosswinds during takeoff

When planning for takeoff, it's best to choose a runway at the departure airport that is most aligned with the wind. Unfortunately, the winds rarely blow right down the runway, so you must learn how to accomplish takeoffs and landings under crosswind conditions. This week's tip looks at the control inputs required and performance implications when performing a crosswind takeoff.

Video tip: Flying airplanes with retractable landing gear

Many high-performance airplanes feature retractable landing gear that allows them to fly at higher speeds thanks to the reduced drag (and they look cool too). There are new operational considerations to learn when transitioning to this type of airplane, including the best time to raise the gear after takeoff and lower the gear before landing.