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Manned Flight

Read about general aviation flight training topics.

Unmanned Flight

Read about the various applications of drones.

Simulated Flight

Read about real world benefits of using a flight simulator

The Oshkosh Arrival Challenge

If you have a flight simulator, I have a challenge for you. Over on the Clayviation YouTube channel, we’ve just finished up a series entitled “Bucket List Flights: Flying To Oshkosh.” Over the course of five flight legs, we have used X-Plane 11 to travel...

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Getting Started With A Flight Simulator

For a pilot in training, adding a home simulator setup is an easy and cost effective way to study and practice various aspects of aviation.  With technology where it is today, it doesn't take investing a fortune to get up and running with a sim.  Buying...

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Flying At Night

One of my first flights was at night. I was a passenger in a Cessna 172 on a hop up to Chattanooga. The pilot was my friend and future instructor. I was still a little uneasy about flying - something that a few hours of flight training helped to take away....

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VOR Navigation: A Worthy Backup

You’ve just finished washing your hands as you step over and wave them in front of the paper towel dispenser. It remains motionless. You wave again, but nothing happens. Maybe tap on it? That didn't work. Ok, now you step back, walk forward again and try different...

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Pilotage & Dead Reckoning

"Hey Siri, set a timer for 14 minutes." Out of all the high tech stuff that can be done today, I'm always the most amused that when I put my eggs on to boil every morning, I can speak that statement out loud and then my phone, which is across the room, responds with,...

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Forward Slips vs. Side Slips

Nowadays, I drink my coffee without any sugar in it. A little cream and I'm good to go. That wasn't always the case, though. I'm not sure the age that most folks start drinking coffee, but I remember a coffee experience as far back as 7th grade. I was on a mission...

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Don’t Forget Your GUMPS Check

I'm happy to say that I've never landed with my gear up. Of course that's not surprising considering that that I've only flown fixed gear aircraft up to this point. The closest I've been was a simulated experience. After completing the oral portion of a flight review...

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The Cessna 172 Electrical System

I remember being told that the airplane was equipped with a 28 volt, direct current, alternator driven electrical system. "Is that good?" I thought, as a student pilot without a background in mechanical stuff. It could have been a 1.21 gigawatts electrical system and...

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The Autopilot: Past, Present and Future

I've never stood on the wing of an airplane mid-flight. I guess it's nothing I've ever considered. If I ever found myself in that situation, though, I'd likely want to have a very competent pilot at the controls. So I certainly haven't ever pondered standing on the...

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Discover The Lost Art Of Pan Pan

When we fly, our hope is that everything goes smoothly. We take care to build in redundancies and check and double check as much as possible. When things do go wrong, however, the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) teaches us about a couple of different radio...

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Four Methods To Master The Art Of Chair Flying

The cockpit is an expensive classroom. When it comes to flying, the more you can do on the ground, the better. Studying, whether books, videos or a classroom setting, is certainly a necessary component of ground time, but what else can be done to utilize your time on...

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Down To The Basics of BasicMed

There are a few critical things that every pilot needs to fly.  You might be thinking those things are money, fuel, and airspeed, often in that order.  True, but today we're talking about two documents that every pilot must have with them to fly; their pilot...

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An Exercise To Develop Your Situational Awareness

I like to think of myself as a "defensive driver." When I get to a four way stop, and I stop, I don't just glance around and go again. What if someone coming from another direction fails to stop? That means I'm getting hit. Sure, it's not my fault, but who cares about...

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Return To Home: An Unmanned Emergency

An alarm was blaring.  It was loud and unfamiliar.  My drone was well out over the lake, a couple hundred feet high.  I was standing on the shore, trying to make an immediate assessment of what was going on.  I'm used to hearing a low battery warning.  I have the...

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When The Norm Becomes The Abnorm

If you've been flying for much time at all, you've probably noticed that a significant portion of flight training is dedicated to handling deviations from the norm (or the "abnorm" as I have coined it).  A classic example is when your instructor pulls the throttle out...

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The Simple Magic of Gyroscopic Precession

Some of the concepts that we have to grasp in aviation are fairly straightforward. If you nose the plane over towards the ground, you tend to speed up. Wind blows you sideways, so you have to correct for that drift by adjusting your heading into the wind. These...

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Understanding Zulu Time

What time is it right now? Look at your watch or your phone. Your answer will likely differ from mine and others, even if we are all checking at the same moment in time. Think about the strike of midnight on New Years Eve, marking the turn of the new year. Everyone in...

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Feed Your Aviation Bug While On The Road

When flying to another airport for a hundred dollar hamburger, a big part of the tradition is simply finding an excuse to fly somewhere. But that doesn't mean that the culinary experience that you have at the destination airport isn't significant. After all, food is a...

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Lessons Learned From Cessna 172 Accidents

It's not hard to convince anyone that flying is an incredible way to travel. It's faster and often more convenient than other modes of transportation. It's the times when things go wrong that people fear the most. As a pilot, I'm not immune to that fear. Even as a...

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Weight A Moment: Weight And Balance Explained

"Alright, you can go with us, but we'll have to go with half full tanks." The amount of seats in an airplane can be deceiving. I fly a Cessna 172, which has four seats, but carrying four people is rarely a reality. To know what I can carry, I have to run some weight...

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A Peek Into The Future Of Aviation

Sometimes, movies that depict the future end up getting it right.  Of course, the only way to know for sure is to wait and see.  In the movie Back To The Future, the famous DeLorean blasts into the future and lands on October 21, 2015. For a 1985 movie, that's 30...

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Two Methods To Develop Decent Descent Planning

We know that what goes up must come down, but when I was in flight training, I always had a hard time determining exactly when to come down. I'd tend to begin my descent to an airport too late, when it was in clear view, leaving me with a more rapid descent than...

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Three Tips For Becoming A Professional Avgeek

As the Clayviation community grows, I like to find ways to get involved with other organizations and be a part of positive growth in the aviation community. A group of aviation bloggers is assembling around a friend of Clayviation called Hangaround. This...

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Six Easy Steps To Create Your Passenger Briefing

Any time I run through my checklists and get to the "Passenger Briefing" line, I can't help but think back to a scene from the movie Tommy Boy. David Spade and Chris Farley are posing as flight attendants and get stuck with the passenger briefing. "Exits! Ok there's...

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Keep These Five Aviation Traditions Alive

Have you ever stopped to think about why we blow out the candles on our birthday? How about carrying the bride over the threshold or eating turkey on Thanksgiving? While they all likely have a logical origin, these sorts of things are often continued today simply...

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The Cost Of Airplane Ownership

The ding of the email hitting my inbox brought with it an exciting headline. "Hey, you wanna buy a plane?" It was from a friend of mine who is looking to become a Private Pilot. He heard about a couple of people in the area looking to buy an airplane together. I...

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Are The Glory Days Of Aviation Gone?

"Ah yes, those were the days. A simpler time, when things were just...better." When exactly were the glory days of aviation? Some might say it was the "Golden Age of Aviation" - the time between the two world wars. It was a time of innovation, adventurous pilots and...

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The Paper vs Electronic Flight Logbook Showdown

"How many hours do you have?" One of the biggest factors that makes up a pilot's experience level is the number of flight hours they have. It's not quite like a business, who might be judged by how many years they've been in business. After a flight, recording an hour...

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How To Become A Part 107 Commercial Drone Pilot

"You need to have a license to fly that drone?" If I had a nickel for every time I was asked that - well, let's not be dramatic, I could buy a Coke or something. When I have my drone out at various gigs, kids come up and talk to me about the drone they have at home....

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Weather Or Not – The Decision Making Process

A successful flight starts long before the tanks are topped off with fuel or the ignition is ever started. It goes back before preflight and past even the restful night before. Today we'll walk through a decision-making weather scenario that begins several days prior...

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