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: 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.

Soft Field Takeoff – HD Flight Maneuver Spotlight

The soft-field takeoff technique will be required when departing from runway surfaces made of grass or dirt and will allow you to keep as much weight off the nose wheel as possible during the takeoff roll.

Video tip: turns around a point

Flying in circles over an open field won't get you to your destination any faster, but it will teach you a lot about how the wind affects the airplane in flight. In our latest Video Tip of the Week, we walk through how to fly the Turns Around a Point maneuver, with in-cockpit video and 3D animations. Even if you're already an experienced pilot, this maneuver is a great way to keep your stick and rudder skills sharp.

Ask a CFI: Tips for Checkride Success from an FAA Designated Pilot Examiner (DPE)

Today we're talking with Todd Ritchey, a senior CFI at Sporty's Academy and FAA Designated Pilot Examiner. Todd shares his tips for how to prepare for the oral exam and practical flight test during the checkride and how to ensure you walk away with a successful outcome.

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.

Emergency Approach and Landing – HD Flight Maneuver Spotlight

You need to react thoughtfully and quickly in the event the engine quits or you experience an unexpected loss of power. This week's tip covers a series of memory items to complete to try to restart the engine, and then what to do if a forced landing becomes necessary.

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.

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.