Student Tip of the Week

While flying cross country, regularly listen to En route flight advisory service (EFAS), commonly know as Flight Watch on 122.0 MHz. Listening to the weather from the briefer and the questions asked by pilots, you can develop a mental picture of what the weather is doing in your area. Try to call in a pilot report on each cross country flight. Reports of "clear weather" and "negative turbulence" are just as useful as reports of "bad" weather.

Previous tips:

08/05/02 During your preflight inspection, look at the airplane from a few feet back with the tailcone at eye level. This will give you a chance to check that everything is straight and leaks that weren't obvious from the front. Be especially watchful for wrinkled skin on the tail section.

07/29/02 Regularly look at the DUATS weather, even if you are not flying. If you need to brush up on reading coded METARs and TAFs, get both the coded and computer translated versions. If you do this regularly, you will soon develop a sense as to how reported weather actually appears.
DynCorp DUATS:

07/22/02 Keep your E6B and plotter within reach when flying cross country. Reaching into you bag in the back seat is not what you want to be doing if you have to divert to another destination.

07/15/02 When performing a simulated (or real!) engine failure, don't forget the area directly under the airplane as a potential landing site.

07/08/02 When performing tasks from your checklist, perform a quick full panel scan at each logical stopping point and at the end of the checklist. Look for items that are out of place or not in a reasonable condition. This will help prevent major problems from inadvertantly skipping a checklist item.

07/01/02 When flying cross country, consider using a letter size "legal" pad turned sideways as a lap board. Put the binding on the left side (right side if you are left handed) and put your flight log, charts, etc. between the pages. This will give you a writing surface with lots of space and a way to organize your paperwork at a low cost. If you fly solo cross country in an airplane with a stick, you really need to get a kneeboard.

06/17/02 When flying to an unfamiliar airport, draw a stick diagram of the runway alignment on your flight log. Draw small arrows to show the pattern direction. Also note the field elevation and pattern altitude. This way, you will not be distracted by charts or books when your workload is the highest.


© 1999 - 2002 George T. Palecek.
All Rights Reserved.
Last modified 07/15/02.