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  • Checklists: Why do I Need To Use Them?

    Paul Van Brunt CFI CFII MEI, FAASTeam Representative|Aug 1, 2022

    As you go through your flying career, whatever flying from GA to Part 121, there is always the checklist! Some pilots have said "I've owned my plane for years and have everything memorized." Or the Part 135 pilot that had a great career with a major and now flies smaller planes and feels they don't really need a check list every time. What if you are at a busy airport and there are planes lined up behind you? You just flew last week, you feel like you remember it well. Yes, you do, but how do...

  • Flying Requires Continuous 'License to Learn'

    Trudi Amundson, FAASTeam Representative|Jul 1, 2022

    Often, as pilots, we hear that upon earning our Private Pilot License (PPL) we now have a license to “learn.” We are, hopefully, always learning. Every experience teaches us something. There’s an excellent website https://www.boldmethod.com/ which has numerous six question quizzes to test your knowledge on various subjects related to aviation. One idea might be to set a goal to access the website on the first day of every month and get your training hat on. Just like doing “Wordle...

  • Taking Responsibility For Engine-Out Proficiency

    Jim Zurales, MN FAASTeam Representative|Jun 1, 2022

    Think back to the last time you practiced engine failure procedures. Was it your most recent FAA checkride or Flight Review? Then ask yourself how PROFICIENTLY you'd perform today if your engine suddenly stopped making that wonderful growling noise. As aviators, we have a responsibility to our passengers, the aircraft owner, and ourselves to be skilled in the art of handling an engine failure. Establishing this ability in training is one thing. MAINTAINING this ability requires regular...

  • Picking Up Your Aircraft After Maintenance

    Heather McNevin, FAASTeam Safety Representative|May 1, 2022

    Not all aircraft owners have had anyone teach them about owning an airplane. I always tried to pass on some of that knowledge as I instructed, but many pilots lack a mentor in that area. One of the bigger issues I see is how people treat their aircraft after maintenance. It doesn't matter if it was in the shop for engine work or avionics, the return to service should be methodical and thorough. So many folks show up, grab the logbooks, and off they go into the wild blue without a second...

  • Pilot Report Can Aid Fellow Pilots

    Heather McNevin, FAASTeam Safety Representative|Apr 1, 2022

    The pilot report, or PIREP, is an often appreciated bit of information, but how often do you actually submit one? PIREPs are, generally, only useful in a given area and for a small amount of time. Knowing this information, it is important to send them in often to aid your fellow pilots. It also helps ATC, meteorologists, accident investigators, and more. The next time you find cloud layers or turbulence, or some lovely smooth air in an otherwise sea of turbulent sky, consider filing a PIREP....

  • Flight Controls in Four Phases

    Al Alwin, FAASTeam Safety Representative, Wright Brothers Master Pilot|Mar 1, 2022

    It's no wonder that students become frustrated with controlling an aircraft when there doesn't seem to be consistency between flight control inputs and aircraft response creating thoughts and comments such as, "I'm never going to get this." Learning to fly might be less onerous if students understood that flight controls have a unique purpose in each phase of flight. Applying the same inputs to ailerons, rudder and elevator, no matter which "Phase" an aircraft is in is where things become...

  • Don't Bounce On Porpoise!

    Jim Zurales, FAASTeam Safety Representative|Feb 1, 2022

    Inappropriate bounced landing responses can lead to spectacular (and pricey) landings! You must avoid stalling and avoid a porpoise. (No, Flipper is not on the runway!) First, if you bounce EXCESSIVELY or you’re just not comfortable, execute an immediate go-around. Good pilot judgement is required when deciding whether or not to continue landing after bouncing. Porpoising can occur if you continue the landing and you relax back pressure after bouncing. The immediate loss of lift will rapidly plummet you toward the runway. You then counter...

  • Under Pressure: Don't Forget Tire Maintenance

    Jason Jensen, FAASTeam Safety Representative|Jan 1, 2022

    One of the simplest tasks in aviation can also be one of the most overlooked…tire care. Our tires spend most of their time not turning, whether sitting on the ground or flying in the air. One would assume that they should require very little attention or maintenance because of this fact. Well, there is a hint of truth to this thought process. However, when you think of the times when the tire is needed during flight ops (taxiing, takeoff and landing), we realize that we really need those tires to do their job well. There are many sources of...

  • Information Is Best Shared In Both Directions

    Heather McNevin, FAASTeam Safety Representative|Dec 1, 2021

    With the new ADS-B mandate taking effect last year, many people have recently upgraded their aircraft to include ADS-B Out. This meets the requirement but may not be the absolute best outcome when trying to increase your safety. As with many things, aiming for the minimum often leaves valuable resources on the table. This summer I did a few cross-country flights around Minnesota. There was a lot of smoke and haze, and the visibility was terrible. It’s still easily VFR but not great visibility and adds a layer of complexity to spotting...

  • Four Steps To Master Safety Risk Management

    Carl Anderson, FAASTeam Safety Representative|Nov 1, 2021

    Among my many tools is a 12-pound splitting maul (half sledgehammer/half axe). Many of my larger tools hang on the garage wall next to my car. Except for the splitting maul. Why is that? I occasionally bump into one of the tools and it falls down. Usually, the worst thing that happens is it lands on floor or hits the car doing very little damage. If the splitting maul falls on the car, it's going to do serious damage. If, worse yet, it lands on something harder than the car (like my head), it might get broken! The maul sits, with 99% of its...

  • Avoid 'Expectation Bias' In Critical Situations

    Jim Zurales, MN FAASTeam Safety Representative|Oct 1, 2021

    “Money is the the root of all evil.” Did you notice the extra “the” in that sentence? Expectation Bias led us to expect the same familiar phrase. This concept can apply in many aviation situations such as the following: Coming in from the south and landing east at Flying Cloud, you would expect to land on the long SOUTH parallel, 10R. However, tower clears you to land on 10L, the NORTH parallel. You read back “Cleared to land 10L” but then proceed to land on 10R. This has actually happened and the pilot was even aware of the...

  • 'The Perfect Pilot' Requires An Honest Appraisal

    Jim Zurales, MN FAASTeam Representative|Sep 1, 2021

    Although we can dream, there is no such animal as a perfect pilot. It’s a myth, much like strong tailwinds roundtrip! Consider this, though: if you STRIVE for perfection and fall short, you land in a very good, safe place making you a more competent, safe, and efficient aviator. Years ago, the Northwest Airlines training department promoted this Perfect Pilot concept to its pilot group. They strongly encouraged us to develop a mindset that sought perfection rather than adequacy. Think of a flight as a perfect square hunk of granite. If you...

  • Fire Resistant Clothing: A Pilot Tool With Function

    Heather McNevin, FAASTeam Safety Representative|Aug 1, 2021

    Everyone likes having their little toys. I feel, as pilots, we are especially attracted to new toys. The latest iPad mount for the cockpit, new avionics, a better headset, the list goes on. I am guilty of this as well. I have so many books and headsets and flight bags and kneeboards. However, I did recently add something to my pilot tools that I am oddly excited about: fire resistant clothes. Let me explain my reasoning. My flying attire has always favored the functional. No sandals, no synthetic fabric, nothing that restricts movement. But...

  • Well-Executed Takeoffs Require Planning

    Al Alwin, FAASTeam Safety Representative|Jul 1, 2021

    “Nice landing.” We sometimes hear that from passengers or fellow pilots after we greased it in with a gusty cross-wind, or pasted the mains on the numbers and made the first turnoff. However, when is the last time someone complimented you on your takeoff? Probably never. Like Rodney Dangerfield, takeoffs “get no respect.” This is unfortunate, because a well-executed takeoff requires good planning and technique to gracefully transition an aircraft from a gangly ground machine to a graceful air vehicle. When comparing the effect the wind...

  • Handy Calculations While Flying

    Al Alwin, FAASTeam Safety Rep.|Jun 1, 2021

    If we wish to navigate through space with a level of precision, it is necessary to determine numbers such as: Top of Descent, Required Rate of Descent, and other information we usually have to look up or plug into our EFB or E6B. For some situations a “That-Looks-About-Right” calculation will help to determine if our decision process is on the right track or needs further scrutiny for safety or regulatory compliance. For example, if you’re at the airport and would like to get an idea how strong the wind is, a wind of 8-10 knots will...

  • Use of a Checklist

    Paul Van Brunt, FAASTeam Representative, CFI CFII MEI AGI IGI A&P|May 1, 2021

    In my years of flying, I have either done or instructed people that have done just about anything that can happen to a GA plane. One of the highest things that pilots don’t do or forget is the use of checklists. There is a checklist for everything. Just ask the airline guys! GA pilots, or even advanced pilots flying GA aircraft, seem to think at times they know how to do a run-up or maneuvers without a checklist. Believe me, after years of instruction I need and use the checklist. My first...

  • Owner Preventive Maintenance?

    Kurt F. Bromschwig, FAASTeam Member ATP, CFI, A&P, IA|Apr 1, 2021

    “Hey Kurt, can you come over and sign off the new wing bolts I installed in my Bonanza?” or similar is a much too often request made of me as an A&P. But I will say God bless the owner for even asking for another set of “licensed” eyes to look at the work performed. Much of owner maintenance never gets a second look. 14 CFR Part 43, Appendix A, Subpart C, lists the 31 tasks that may be performed by a pilot/owner as preventive maintenance, but I’ll not reprint them here. First note of interest is that you can perform preventive...

  • Hazards Of Non-Towered Operations

    Al Alwin, FAASTeam Safety Rep|Mar 1, 2021

    It was a warm fall afternoon. Pilots were enjoying the last nice flying weather until winter made its appearance. An incoming aircraft was arriving at an uncontrolled airport from the opposite side of the traffic pattern. In the process of joining the downwind from a mid-field crosswind, and unbeknownst to him, another aircraft was also turning downwind from a prescribed crosswind. Suddenly, there was an audible gasp from the observers in the FBO, as the two aircraft executed evasive maneuvers to prevent an unpleasant outcome. The...

  • KCFM Saturday Morning Seminars Move Online

    Laura Herrmann|Feb 1, 2021

    Looking for some aviation education, a Wings credit or two, or maybe just something to do while enjoying your Saturday morning coffee? Look no further than the KFCM Saturday Morning Webinar Series. We've moved our popular Saturday morning seminars online using the GoToWebinar platform. It is the same great content, presented in a convenient online offering. Seminars are held every Saturday morning, other than holiday weekends, from 0900-1000. These seminars are all free of charge. There are a...

  • Do You Like Your Checklist?

    Nick Modders, FAASTeam Safety Representative|Feb 1, 2021

    Is your checklist doing everything it should for you? If not, how can you make it better? Checklists are wonderful things. They turn us from forgetful mortals to clear minded creatures that get every step in the operation of a complex machine exactly right. Is your checklist up to date? Out of date would mean that it does not reflect the changes in transponder operations that have occured in the past five years. Does your checklist have you changing to ALT just before taking off? If so, bad checklist. The AIM calls for the transponder to be in...

  • Prep for Cold Weather Flying

    Heather McNevin, Faastema Lead Safety Rep|Dec 1, 2020

    With the unseasonably warm weather, many of you likely took advantage to get in some flying. With cold weather on the forecast, we now have to prep for flying in cold. That might include making sure we have adequate cold weather gear in the aircraft in the event of mechanical problems. That can include an off airport landing or an issue on the ground during taxi. Murphys law states it will happen on the furthest taxiway from the nice warm FBO. Do you have enough warm clothing to safely walk to where you can get assistance? In addition to...

  • Control Tower vs Non-Towered

    Paul Van Brunt, CFII MEI FAAST Team Representative|Nov 1, 2020

    Whether you fly in a towered environment or non-towered, the two are very different and require you to be aware of other traffic. While the towered environment is much more controlled, you still have to observe and avoid. Non-towered does not have someone setting things up for you or giving you advisories of who, what, and where there are other planes. Non-towered have lots of complaints from pilots about people landing in the opposite direction during calmer winds or even with light tail...

  • Weather Flying Again

    Paul Van Brunt, CFI MEI IGI Faast Team Rep|Oct 1, 2020

    The summer is fading fast and the weather change is inevitable; no more high clouds and light rain, its low clouds, fog, and yes snow for the general aviation flying. If you have an instrument rating are you prepared? Remember all the acronyms that are used? Things can get intimidating fast if you have not flown in the weather in a while, and without using the auto pilot. With new technology we have auto pilot approaches that are becoming common in GA aircraft, but what happens if the auto pilot...

  • When do you cancel IFR?

    Heather McNevin, FAAST Team Lead Safety Rep|Sep 1, 2020

    When do you cancel IFR? How do you make that determination? Lets examine a little about what your IFR clearance actually does for you. It means you have a cylinder of protected airspace around you where no other IFR traffic should be. What about VFR traffic? They are still allowed in your “personal bubble.” IFR and VFR traffic are altitude separated by 500 feet vertically. At least, as long as the VFR pilot is actually following the rules (and its shocking how often they don’t!) and assuming they are on a good altimeter so their altitude...

  • Taking Advantage of Webinars

    Heather McNevin, FAAST Team Leader|Aug 1, 2020

    Taking Advantage of Webinars It is likely that your flying has been impacted somehow by the unusual reality that we find ourselves in. Perhaps you haven’t been able to fly much and find your currency slipping. The gatherings at the airport, complete with all the usual hangar flying, haven’t been occurring. The aviation industry has been severely impacted. This is a good time to ensure you take your safety standards into consideration. While in person safety seminars are likely not occurring, there are a myriad of online options available....

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