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    Paul Van Brunt, FaasTeam Rep CFII MEI AP|Jul 1, 2020

    You have just had your old airplane updated with some new electronics. The availability is endless for general aviation airplanes, as is the cost. You want to update and expect it will make your life easy when you are flying VFR or IFR right? How much training are you going to get before you jump in and take off? If you are going IFR, you could get into trouble if you are not comfortable with the new equipment and how to set it up. As a CFII, I see people get the latest updates and normally a fe... Full story


    Laura Herrmann, FAAST Team Lead Rep|Jun 1, 2020

    Recent changes in travel brought about by COVID-19 had put a damper on my planned aviation adventures. A trip to Hawaii in my attempt to land a Cessna in all 50 states canceled. A friend and I were going to fly to Wyoming with a stop in Idaho so I could complete my 50th state was also canceled. An opportunity to fly a rescued dog to Greeley, Colorado in my C182 became a fun chance to aviate under COVID restrictions. As I contemplated the trip, I had a crazy idea. Why not land at KDEN? (Denver... Full story


    Al Alwin, CFI, Wright Brothers Master Pilot|May 1, 2020

    Groucho Marx once said; “Age is not a particularly interesting subject. Anyone can get old. All you have to do is live long enough”. It shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone that we are not going to live forever. However, while we’re here, we want to enjoy the trip and “squeeze the last bit of juice out of the orange.” Age sneaks up on us while we’re busy living life, but taps us on the shoulder when we attempt to taxi over chocks, forget frequencies, or miss radio calls. Growing older doesn’t have to result in becoming an unsafe pilot. W... Full story

  • Runway Selection

    Mark Cook, FAAST safety team rep|Apr 1, 2020

    We like to think at a non-towered airport, choosing the best runway for takeoff/landing is a simple matter of picking the runway best aligned with the wind. However, for many pilots a multitude of additional factors influence their decision. Runway length is perhaps the most obvious reason for choosing a runway not favored by the wind. High performance aircraft often need more runway to meet their takeoff performance requirements and are more likely to accept a crosswind than be limited by runway length. Traffic flow at uncontrolled airports... Full story


    Jason Jensen, Fast Team Rep.|Mar 1, 2020

    In addition to regular helicopter traffic including medical transport, law enforcement, military, and pipeline patrol, there are seasonal periods where you’ll find an increase in helicopter operations, such as wildfire, pesticide application and construction. Some pilots are more comfortable operating around helicopters than others. A towered airport will assist in aircraft spacing, wake turbulence avoidance and general traffic flow between fixed wing and rotary wing aircraft. As many Minnesota airports are non-towered, what can we expect f... Full story


    Paul Van Brunt, FaasTeam Safety Rep|Feb 1, 2020

    Landing a plane can be an issue if you don’t consider all the variables and understand the airplane characteristics that you are flying. Landing is by far the hardest part to learn when training and the part that causes the most accidents. Most CFIs fly different planes on a regular basis but most pilots fly only their airplane. Do they stay proficient in their plane? As habits are developed (good or bad) they continue to deteriorate if not kept up with proficiency training. By the time a p... Full story


    George Felix, FAASTeam Rep., CFI|Jan 1, 2020

    Hopefully you've learned that setting personal minimums in aviation is a must. In other words, at what maximum crosswind have you demonstrated proficiency in landing? Or what is the lowest ceiling you will plan to attempt an approach to land in instrument flight? What ceilings will you accept for both day and night flight? Fuel, passengers, and the list goes on. Having thought about these limitations is the first step in setting good boundaries in an attempt to maintain safe airmanship. Writing... Full story


    Paul Van Brunt, FAASTeam Rep. CFI|Dec 1, 2019

    How do you approach safety while flying? As a flight instructor we get to see and hear lots of issues that come up at the airport and try to be a sounding board for the issues that pilots bring up, but really what is safety? Is it being right or doing the right thing? You can be right and end up with a damaged airplane or worse. The days of going out and starting your plane and dusting off the cobwebs are gone (well for most people). With the high demand for pilots it can get very busy at most a... Full story


    George Felix, FAAST Team Rep, Flight Instructor|Nov 1, 2019

    While speaking to respected Instructor, DPE, and FAAST Team member Barb Mack recently about the aviation community and the dissemination of information between instructors, students, and examiners she said that “the people we’re reaching through Wings (FAA Pilot Proficiency Wings Program) aren’t the people we need to be reaching.” That wasn’t to say we don’t want to reach those people. It was a statement of fact that the folks utilizing the program were and are the exceptional aviators. They are getting the message. They are the folks who a... Full story


    Heather McNevin, FAAST Team Lead Safety Rep|Oct 1, 2019

    As we enter the fall season, the time for migratory bird activity is upon us. Very few pilots have had any training on bird activity, bird strikes, or reporting of bird strikes. While not a frequently occurring hazard, there are an average of 26 bird strikes per day that are reported across the United States. Imagine how many strikes that go unreported. Now, lets run through a few facts on bird strikes. • There are up to 20 billion birds! • Worldwide, bird strikes are responsible for cau... Full story


    Heather McNevin, FAAST Lead Safety Rep.|Sep 1, 2019

    I hope you never get hit with a laser but it is a situation that should be discussed before you get surprised. Unfortunately, shining aircraft with lasers is an increasingly popular past time for people often uneducated in its potential danger. There are thousands of reports of this activity yearly, with the number of events occurring increasing each year. Shining a laser on an aircraft is a federal offense that carries a large fine and jail time. In California a man was sentenced to two years i... Full story


    Laura Herrmann, FAASTeam Rep|Aug 1, 2019

    Looking for some aviation education, a Wings credit, or maybe just a donut with coffee and some hangar flying? Look no further than the KFCM Saturday Morning Seminar Series! Seminars are held every Saturday morning from 0900-1000 and are free of charge. The only exceptions are holiday weekends, Oshkosh, Flying Cloud Air Expo and the Flying Cloud Air Tour. They are held at Modern Avionics/Air Trek North, 10000 Flying Cloud Drive, on the east side of the field. Flying in is encouraged – our Tower controllers are friendly and know that transients... Full story


    Carl Andersen, FAASTeam Rep.|Jul 1, 2019

    The FAA defines Aeronautical Decision Making (ADM) as, “…a systematic approach to the mental process used by pilots to consistently determine the best course of action in response to a given set of circumstances….” When the FAA talks about ADM, it really likes pilots to work through the DECIDE mnemonic but today let’s skip the post-mortem flagellation of that particular equine, OK? I did a brief study many years ago of accidents involving aircraft with ballistic parachutes, which have saved many lives in the years since then. When parachute... Full story


    George Felix, FAASTeam Safety Rep|Jun 1, 2019

    It's easy to go through life and lose track of time. Perhaps you've become aware it's been three months or longer since your last flight. When was the last time you submitted to a flight review? How about that goal of a new phase of Wings? Are you still current or more importantly proficient? There are many ways of immersing yourself in aviation even when you don't have time or money to go flying. Some ways of keeping pilotage in the front of your mind are as easy as listening to podcasts like... Full story


    George Felix, FAASTeam Safety Rep., CFI|May 1, 2019

    Listening to a favorite Podcast recently has brought Carbon Monoxide to the front of my concerns so much so that a portable industrial CO detector was purchased and put into use. Please check out Aviation News Talk episode 90 which discussed the Mooney accident where the pilot passed out from CO poisoning only to wake up after the plane had landed itself in a field. The pilot is interviewed and gives great insight into his experience. Next listen to episode 102 where two General Aviation pilots report their personal experiences with the CO dete... Full story


    Brad Heck, FAA Safety Team Representative|Apr 1, 2019

    The Insidious Creep of Hazardous Attitudes. We all tested on the FAA’s top 5 Hazardous Attitudes and learned their antidotes. For review, let’s examine them again just to refresh: Anti-Authority – A purposeful disregard for rules, regulations, or common courtesy Antidote: Follow the rules; they are usually right Impulsivity – Something, anything, must be done right now right or wrong Antidote: Not so fast, think first Macho – Taking undue risk and being a “show off” Antidote: Taking chances is foolish Invulnerability – Accidents only happen to... Full story


    Laura Herrmann, FAASTeam Lead Representative|Feb 1, 2019

    One of my life goals is to land a single engine GA plane in all fifty states. In May, work took me east where I wanted to land in PA, DE, NJ, MD, VA, WV and fly the SFRA. I knew that there were quite a few rules regarding flight in and around DC, so I set out to learn the requirements. Flying the complicated airspace along the eastern seaboard can be challenging, especially when in and around the Washington, DC Special Flight Rules Area. The FRZ was created shortly after the 9/11 attacks, and the ADIZ was created in 2003. Since their creation,... Full story


    George Felix, FAASteam, CP, CFI|Jan 1, 2019

    Just over a year ago I completed In Operations Experience (IOE) at a Part 135 Certificate Airline and was in my first week of single pilot operations when the weather turned icy and cold. The radios were chaotic that dark morning and in all the confusion I exceeded a clearance in taxi and got the dreaded call to copy a phone number. A tough pill to swallow for an FAA Safety Team Representative, Commercial Pilot, Certificated Flight Instructor Single and Multi-Engine and Instrument. I, of all pilots, should have known better, having harped on... Full story

  • Winter Flying - Stay Warm and Safe

    Al Alwin, CFI, FAASTeam Rep., CAP Check pilot|Dec 1, 2018

    As we set our clocks back an hour each November, our thoughts shift toward coping with Old Man Winter's impending visit, and the best ways to cope without hibernating for five months. For those that choose to remain current and proficient, the following tips will help endure the season: Be Prepared When planning your flight, be sure all elements are covered such as: Weather - The night before the flight, obtain a standard weather briefing. Knowing what to expect in the form of frost or snow the... Full story

  • Flying Technologically Advanced Aircraft

    Paul Van Brunt, FAAST Team|Nov 1, 2018

    Flying Technologically Advanced Aircraft is a lot of fun. A few years ago, I was giving an IPC check to a commercial pilot in a Cessna 182 with a G1000, a nice aircraft to fly with unlimited amounts of information available, as well as integrated auto pilot for those long solo flights. As we prepared for the flight, we went over planned activities and my expectations for a good flight. Shortly after takeoff, the pilot engaged the auto pilot and programmed the approach in. I let him take off and... Full story


    Jason Jensen, FAAST Team Member|Oct 1, 2018

    While flying over various parts of Minnesota every day as part of my job as a Conservation Officer Pilot for the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources, I get to hear many conversations between pilots over the VHF airwaves. Some are rather innocuous such as, “How’s your temps?” or “Can you see the airport yet?” Others, on the other hand, are long, drawn out conversations about everything under the sun. It doesn’t really matter to me. Everyone has different ways to enjoy their flight, except for this... many of these conversatio... Full story

  • Calculate Crosswind in Your Head

    Dave Yost, FAAST team rep|Aug 1, 2018

    As student pilots, we all remember learning how to use a chart to determine the crosswind component of the wind, based on the wind velocity and the angle between the wind direction and the runway. That's great for a table-top exercise, but can be a little cumbersome when actually flying the airplane. (See Figure 1) Here's a quick and easy way to do it in your head, without the need to bring out your crosswind component chart. (Warning: there's a little bit of mental math involved, but nothing... Full story


    Paul Van Brunt, CFII airtreknorth FAAST team rep|Jul 1, 2018

    Its finally warm and you are all set to fly your plane or go up in the club plane after not flying much over the winter. How do you get current safely and how long has it been since you flew? Can you go take off and have fun after months of not flying by just taking off and going for it? What does the FAA say? 14 CFR 61.57 states for day VFR, 3 take offs and landings within the preceding 90 days to take up passengers. According to the rules, if its been over 90 days that means you can get curren... Full story

  • Practice Flying in Actual

    Paul Van Brunt, CFII, CFI of the year 2013|Jun 1, 2018

    Safety in aviation is a big part of everything we do as pilots and, as an instructor, one of the first things I think of is VFR into IMC. This is a major accident causal factor, which is why I focus on this with my students. When I took my instrument rating I did not get hard IFR and after I flew into the clouds for the first time I realized I wanted more training so I decided to get my CFII and get confident with flying IFR. As a result of my experiences, I make every attempt to get my private... Full story

  • Any Pilot Can Fly an ASR Approach

    Heather McNevin, Lead Safety Representative FAASTeam|May 1, 2018

    Have you ever flown an ASR approach? Have you ever even heard of it? Most pilots haven't, and that's a shame because it could save your life. ASR is a Surveillance Approach that is offered by an air traffic controller utilizing a terminal radar (meaning you can only get it from an approach control and not a center controller). The controller is using the radar to talk you through the non-precision approach. When might you use this? Well, in an emergency is the most common time. This type of... Full story

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