Ten Simple things you can do to improve your airmanship.
I thought it might be helpful to post up a few things that I have found useful, in terms of keeping the rust off and trying to continuously improve the craft. I’m sure you have some of your own methods and we’d love to hear them.
- #1 Fly more often - Recency of experience is pivotal in keeping you skills sharp. Motor coordination, muscle memory, SA (situational awareness), all benefit from regular lubrication.
- #2 Study - Seems simple, but it takes discipline to set aside time on a recurring basis to read something educational about flying. It might be a FAR/AIM or you AFM, or your favorite training manual. It could also be a good aviation periodical or website. Source for current FAR/AIM
- #3 Enroll in the FAAWings program – I know this may not be a popular option and it may be stronger in some locations than others, but it’s free and generally the programs are good.
- # 4 Fly with others – Inevitably I learn from flying with other pilots. Everyone brings their unique style and technique to the task and this might expose you to something positive, hopefully.
- # 5 Flight Simulation – You have heard me preach the value of desk flying. One shouldn’t go overboard on this, but there are benefits. Basic sims aren’t overly expensive and run on most mainstream computer platforms. Source for home flight sims
- # 6 Dry fly – Setting in the cockpit and running through “what-if” scenarios, especially abnormals or emergency procedures, can make a big difference if you are pressed to do this stuff in real life. I do this with a cockpit poster on the Falcon.
- # 7 Go on a cross-country - If this is the only kind of flying that you do, disregard. But if you are a traffic pattern, local only, or a short-range $100 hamburger aviator, you need to spread it out. If for some reason that isn’t practical at least go through the steps to plan a mock trip of several hundred miles.
- # 8 Additional training – An add-on rating or a new certificate is one of the best ways to take your skills to the next level. Some of these aren’t super-expensive. Fun ones on my personal list are glider commercial and floatplane. You can also do acro or upset recovery training. Maybe a tailwheel endorsement? All of these are big fun. Source of training supplies
- #9 Challenge yourself – The next time you get in the airplane, be committed to make the flight go perfectly. Seek ultimate precision. Throw in a few maneuvers from your Practical Test Standards (PTS) for the license or ratings you hold. Don’t assume after years of disuse you can still do an adequate short field landing or turns around a point, etc. Strive for perfection. Source for PTS books
- #10 Fly different airplanes -There is nothing like jumping into a completely different airplane to boost skills and maybe humble you a little. If you have all of your time in a Cirrus and you jump into a C-172, or vice versa, you will be amazed. Best to bring an instructor which will likely be dictated by the rental facilities policies and/or insurance requirements. Source for flight manuals. The more experience you have the better, but not always. I love flying new and different airplanes. I consider myself an airplane polygamist.
There you have it! Ten things you can do today to level up your flying.
If you aren’t already licensed, get to work!
by Brent Owens