FAA System Safety Handbook

August 11, 2009

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) recently updated The System Safety Handbook (SSH.) It was developed for the internal use of the FAA to establish “a formal, disciplined, and documented decision making process to address safety risks in relation to high-consequence decisions impacting the complete life cycle.” I think it gives good guidance to anyone thinking about how to manage systemic risk.

You can use the links below to get a copy. Read the rest of this entry »

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Weather to Fly

July 17, 2008

The aviation weather reporting system can be confusing.  This article from the FAA gives tips on How to Obtain a Good Weather Briefing.  To it I add, my advice:

  • If you are calling for a weather briefing, back that up by using the Duats site. It is easier for me to look at a report in writing than to hear a briefer ramble on about it. Check weather online first and then you can ask your briefer for trends and clarification on the phone rather than trying to get everything from them. If you can only call, listen closely.
  • Learning WX codes can be difficult.  Duats will give you long text and WX codes if you specify – so use both for learning. You can also download a short training pamphlet that covers the codes HERE.  A more thorough guide comes with our Airplane Pilot Training Kit and many of the other kits.  
  • My best advice is that it gets easier with time so keep working on it.  Eventually, codes will become faster and easier than reading long text description of conditions.

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Don’t Get Intercepted

July 9, 2008

With TFRs becoming more and more common, the FAA wanting to expand their use and violations making the news, you should become familiar with how to avoid and respond. Would you know what to do if intercepted? AOPA offers great complementary courses to keep you up to date in today’s ever increasingly difficult airspace.

Take the course…


Bogus Publications from the FAA?

June 12, 2008

Pilot's Encyclopedia of Aeronautical KnowledgeToday, in my Amazon recommendations, was a version of the Instrument Flying Handbook which claims to be published by the FAA on April 8, 2008. I was unaware that the FAA had published a new instrument handbook so recently after just doing a major update last year and was curious. I also found a Pilot’s Encyclopedia of Aeronautical Knowledge which I was not even aware was an FAA title. Amazon had the ‘search inside’ feature for both books, so I took a look. Both showed Sky Horse Publishing as the copyright holder. Despite the new covers and newer copyright claims, the content of both books was exactly what the FAA had published earlier.

Don’t be fooled. The FAA last published the Instrument Flying Handbook in 2007 and the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge in 2003. Only the FAA can update these publications. What Sky Horse is publishing is the same content that all other hard copy book sellers publish and the same offered on by ClearBlueYonder. Both are current with pilot kits from this site at a fraction of the cost of even one of these hard copy manuals. And if it really is updated, we’ll let you know and provide the new documents.


Where to go, What to do with a Pilot License

May 28, 2008

Things to do with a Pilot LicenseFlying opens up so many opportunities that some new pilots seem to have difficulty deciding where to fly once they earn their license.  Here are some ideas to get you up: 

  • Practice a new skill.  Even if you are not formally studying for a new certification, you can practice new techniques.  Ever flown into class B or the holding pattern around a neighboring airport VOR? 
  • Touch up some old skills.  See how close you can get to your exact touchdown aim point.  Visit a grass strip and put that soft field training to use.  Sharpen self-evaluation and judgment skills.  Upgrade your ability to judge and fly in four seasons weather.
  • Make it a date.  Take up your significant other just before dark and watch the beautiful sunset from the best place possible. If you are a morning person, the sunrise is just as spectacular. It is very romantic to see the sun’s colors in the sky.
  • Read the rest of this entry »


Keep Your Pilot License Current with the FAA

May 19, 2008

Did you know pilots, are required to update their address with the FAA within 30 days after you move – know how to advise them of a change? 

You are required to carry your license any time you fly – what would you do if you lost it?  This article covers all the details.

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How to get a Private Pilot’s License

May 19, 2008

This basic license allows you to fly single-engine aircraft and carry passengers; it is the foundation for more advanced instrument, commercial and professional pilot licenses. Many people do not know all the steps or realize that that they have options to fit many different approaches, learning styles and goals.

You must be at least 17 years old and read, speak and understand English. Meet these criteria, and you´re ready to start.

Beyond that, follow these 10 easy steps to a Private Pilot License:

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