Video Tip: Flying in and around special use airspace

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Special use airspace includes military operations areas, prohibited areas, alert areas, warning areas, restricted areas and controlled firing areas. This week’s video tip explains how to identify their location and best practices for making sure you don’t accidentally fly into one.

Video tip: aircraft inspections and ELT requirements

Airplanes are held to high standards when it comes to maintenance and inspection requirements. This week's tip takes a look at the reason behind each inspection, how to verify they've been completed and the required paperwork to be on the airplane. It also takes a look at why digital 406 MHz emergency locator transmitters (ELT) incorporate GPS to improve their performance.
Standard Crosswind Pattern Entry

Video Tip: How to enter the traffic pattern at a nontowered airport

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The FAA recommends standard traffic pattern flows at nontowered airports in an effort to maintain order and a safe environment for aircraft arrivals and departures. This includes specific instructions on how to enter back into the pattern after spending some time practicing maneuvers at a higher altitude away from the airport. This week's video tip illustrates several methods to do this, depending on the direction from which you're approaching the airport, in an effort to get established on the downwind leg at the published traffic pattern altitude.

Video tip: get a “big picture” weather briefing

Checking the weather is one of the few constants in aviation. All pilots do it, whether it’s a trip around the pattern in a Cub or a trip across the Atlantic in a Gulfstream. But merely getting a weather briefing isn’t enough; it has to be a good weather briefing to make the flight safer. So what exactly does a “good briefing” involve?

Commercial pilot video tip: Eights on Pylons

There are several new flight maneuvers to learn during Commercial Pilot Training. One of the new ground reference maneuvers is called Eights on Pylons, which involves flying a figure 8 pattern over the ground while varying the aircraft’s altitude in order to maintain a defined visual reference to preselected reference points, called pivot points, or pylons.

Video tip: How to recover from a bad landing

Not every approach and landing will be by the book during your training, and you'll inevitably encounter situations when you round out too high, overshoot the touchdown point or bounce after the initial touchdown. This is perfectly normal and learning how to recover from these scenarios will improve your confidence and help you make better landings in the long run. 

Video tip: practicing power-on stalls

This week we go flying to see what power-on stalls are all about. Some pilots are nervous about this maneuver, which can require a nose high attitude. But with a good understanding of the aerodynamics and a preview from outside the airplane, you'll have the confidence to perform these stalls smoothly - and hopefully avoid an inadvertent one on takeoff.

Video tip: how to fly with the Garmin GFC 500 Autopilot

This week's tip takes a look at the basic features of Garmin's popular GFC 500 autopilot, including how to turn it on and use airspeed, vertical speed, altitude and heading modes.

Video tip: How to handle crosswinds during takeoff

When planning for takeoff, it's best to choose a runway at the departure airport that is most aligned with the wind. Unfortunately, the winds rarely blow right down the runway, so you must learn how to accomplish takeoffs and landings under crosswind conditions. This week's tip looks at the control inputs required and performance implications when performing a crosswind takeoff.

Video tip: Flying airplanes with retractable landing gear

Many high-performance airplanes feature retractable landing gear that allows them to fly at higher speeds thanks to the reduced drag (and they look cool too). There are new operational considerations to learn when transitioning to this type of airplane, including the best time to raise the gear after takeoff and lower the gear before landing.