Ask A CFI

Ask a CFI: What does the phrase “clear of the active” mean at a non-towered airport?

2022-03-24T15:51:41-05:00

I cringe when I hear the phrase “clear of the active” used over the CTAF at non-towered airports because the term “active” is totally meaningless; all runways are potentially active at a non-towered field. One of the advantages of non-towered airports is that pilots can opt to use any of the available runways, regardless of wind direction. And yes, that means they can land with a sporty crosswind or a howling tailwind if they so choose, and as long as they are able to stop before they run off the end of the runway, no one cares. When the winds are [...]

Ask a CFI: What does the phrase “clear of the active” mean at a non-towered airport?2022-03-24T15:51:41-05:00

Ask a CFI: How does density altitude affect aircraft performance in the traffic pattern in winter?

2022-02-17T12:30:37-05:00

If you have flown in the chilly midwest recently you may have noticed a significant improvement in the takeoff performance of your aircraft. Increased performance is a good thing, but it can take inexperienced pilots by surprise when the airplane leaps off the runway in less than 400 feet and reaches traffic pattern altitude with alarming efficiency! Private pilot training focuses heavily on less dense air at higher altitudes and in hotter temperatures and the negative affects on aircraft performance. For those of you who need a reminder; lower density air reduces lift because there is less force on the airfoils, [...]

Ask a CFI: How does density altitude affect aircraft performance in the traffic pattern in winter?2022-02-17T12:30:37-05:00

Ask a CFI: Not flown much or at all since COVID-19 pandemic began? Here’s how you can get safely back in the left seat.

2021-07-14T14:37:15-05:00

Not flown much or at all since COVID-19 pandemic began? Here’s how you can get safely back in the left seat. I think we can all agree it’s been a most unusual year and the Coronavirus has kept many pilots firmly on the ground for a lot longer than they would like. Piloting skills atrophy pretty quickly if not used on a regular basis. So when you do feel comfortable getting back in the air it will be a good idea to get some expert guidance from a flight instructor to help you blow the dust off. Your CFI can refresh [...]

Ask a CFI: Not flown much or at all since COVID-19 pandemic began? Here’s how you can get safely back in the left seat.2021-07-14T14:37:15-05:00

Ask a CFI: The term “stabilized approach” often appears as something of a buzzword in articles and incident reports, as in, “the pilot failed to establish a stabilized approach.” I get the general idea, but when is an approach actually considered stabilized?”

2021-07-14T14:37:21-05:00

The term “stabilized approach” often appears as something of a buzzword in articles and incident reports, as in, “the pilot failed to establish a stabilized approach.” I get the general idea, but when is an approach actually considered stabilized?” The concept of a stabilized approach was first introduced by the airlines in the 1950s and has since that time become standard operating procedure for commercial operations. Stabilized approaches are equally important to general aviation and an understanding of a stabilized approach, including energy management concepts, is required by the Private Pilot Airplane Airman Certification Standards (ACS). There are several obvious cues [...]

Ask a CFI: The term “stabilized approach” often appears as something of a buzzword in articles and incident reports, as in, “the pilot failed to establish a stabilized approach.” I get the general idea, but when is an approach actually considered stabilized?”2021-07-14T14:37:21-05:00

Ask a CFI: When you are flying into or at an airport with a control tower and ATC says you are “cleared for the option” just exactly what are your options …

2021-07-14T14:37:25-05:00

When you are flying into or at an airport with a control tower and ATC says you are “cleared for the option” just exactly what are your options and what do you have to tell them? “Cleared for the option” is a common phrase used at tower‐controlled airports and an option approach permits the pilot to do any of the following; a full stop landing, a touch‐and‐go, a stop‐and‐go, a low approach or a missed approach. Here is what they all mean. • A full stop landing means that you intend to land and exit the runway. You may want to [...]

Ask a CFI: When you are flying into or at an airport with a control tower and ATC says you are “cleared for the option” just exactly what are your options …2021-07-14T14:37:25-05:00

Ask a CFI: What is the correct pattern altitude I should use when approaching an airport for landing?

2021-07-14T14:37:39-05:00

What is the correct pattern altitude I should use when approaching an airport for landing? The answer to this question is whatever is published in the Chart Supplement for any given airport, unless there is no specific traffic pattern altitude (TPA) established for that airport. Contrary to popular belief, there is no standard 1,000 foot above ground level (AGL) pattern altitude that applies to all airports or all aircraft. Some confusion may have arisen from the FAA advisory circular AC 90‐66B dated February 2019 in which the FAA recommended that “airplanes observe a 1,000 foot above ground level (AGL) traffic pattern [...]

Ask a CFI: What is the correct pattern altitude I should use when approaching an airport for landing?2021-07-14T14:37:39-05:00
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