Video tip: magnetic compass errors

The magnetic compass is the only "self-powered", north-seeking instrument in the panel and you'll find one in just about every airplane. It's not a perfect instrument though and has some inherent errors due to its design and construction. This week's tip takes a look at when you're most likely to experience these errors and how to compensate for them should you ever need to rely on the compass for primary navigation guidance.

Video tip: what kind of cloud is that?

Clouds are often referred to as "sign posts in the sky", and for good reason since they are one of the best visual indicators of what mother nature has planned for the weather. This week's tip takes a look at the various types of clouds, when and where they form and what kind of flying conditions pilots can expect when flying in and around them.

Video tip: how to calculate takeoff and landing distances

Just about every airplane includes performance data in the Pilot's Operating Handbook to calculate the runway length required for takeoff and landing under various conditions. The FARs require you to determine these distances as part of your preflight responsibilities, but fortunately the charts published for today's modern airplanes make this task a breeze. This week's tip takes a look at how perform this calculation using the common "chase-around" style charts.

Aviation weather video tip: When flying IFR isn’t an option

Sometimes terrain, icing, lack of instrument rating or proper equipment can make flying on an Instrument Flight Plan (IFR) not an option. But that doesn't mean you need to cancel a flight though just because there's weather along the route or it's not perfect VFR.

Video tip: the Cessna 172 fuel system

It's important for pilots to have a good understanding of airplane systems to know how to properly operate their controls and troubleshoot them when things don't work as expected. This week's tip takes a look at the Cessna 172 fuel system to show each component and give you a better understanding of how all the parts work together.

Basic Airmanship – Advanced Pilot Skills Series with Spencer Suderman

In the first episode, Spencer shares some concepts for maintaining positive aircraft control, emphasizing sight picture, and then demonstrates a helpful tip for reducing workload when practicing engine out scenarios.

Video tip: Airman Certification Standards (ACS)

The Airman Certification Standards (ACS) spell out the performance standards that you'll need to meet during your private pilot test. It's important that you take time during your flight training to familiarize yourself with this document and use it to help gauge your progress. This week's tip takes a closer look at a few examples of the specific knowledge, skills, risk management elements and performance metrics found in the Private Pilot ACS.

Video Tip: How to land a Piper J-3 Cub tailwheel airplane on grass

The rugged design of a tailwheel airplane and its extra prop clearance opens up the opportunity to land at a wide variety of off-airport locations with soft surfaces, like sand, gravel bars, grass and even mud. A modified soft-field approach and landing technique should be used when operating in these conditions, which allows the wheels to touchdown at the slowest possible airspeed with the wings supporting the weight of the airplane as long as possible.

Video tip: reducing drag in a Citation X and Cirrus SR-22

Airplane manufacturers go to great lengths to design the exterior surfaces to be as aerodynamically clean as possible to maximize performance. This week's tip takes a look at the drag-reducing features found on two of the fastest airplanes in both the jet and piston aviation segments.

Video Tip: Cessna 172 exterior preflight

One of the first things you'll learn as a student pilot is how to perform an aircraft preflight inspection. This week's video tip looks at the step-by-step procedures for the exterior preflight of a Cessna 172.