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Questions on this episode:
0:55 Instrument Rating. How do you keep everything straight in your head?
2:34 Ownership expenses/upgrades, and what to prioritize?
4:47 In your opinion, what’s the most difficult subject for PPL?
7:04 Hello Chris, I will start flying school soon and I will fly twice a week due to full time job. I’m thinking of taking 1 week vacation…
8:54 Good situations for VFR on top?
11:06 I have flown twice in 3 weeks. How do you suggest I stay proficient during this terrible Ohio weather?
14:05 Can you use different instructors? For example if I wanted to fly with you?
17:01 About to take instrument checkride. Any advice for calming nerves?
20:16 I’m about to solo for the first time, it is nerve racking.
21:36 PPL! How do you know what CTAF to use when over an area? Not necessarily going to an airport?
25:33 Do you advise to have a minimum hours of VFR before going IR as a recreational pilot?
27:54 How quickly can someone get a PPL?
30:14 What regulations should I know as a commercial pilot?
33:02 I’m starting an integrated flight training program in October. Any advice on how I can make a good start to the flight training?
34:31 I stopped flying in 2018 because I joined the military. Should I start from 0?
36:00 Any plans of upgrading 2423U’s instrument panel?
36:42 Any jobs you could recommend for a SEL commercial pilot? Looking to go to the airlines ASAP.
39:01 Advice to improve your radio calls?
40:20 What FAA approved mobile weather and flight plan apps do you recommend?
42:36 I am trying to get a better grasp on weather. Instrument check ride in two weeks.
47:56 What’s your opinion on military aviation?
48:53 Any tips for a college student on a budget trying to stay current?

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[vc_toggle title=”Episode Transcript”]
Hello aviators, welcome to another motivation Monday. Thank you for being here. Hope you enjoy these questions that I’m about to answer for all sorts of different areas of fight training. Today it seems like there’s a little bit more of an emphasis on affordability of flight training, on commercial training, on passing Checkrides and building time, which are fairly typical questions, but that’s a lot of what we get in today in addition to some other things along the way.

So thank you for being here and make sure to subscribe, like this video and join the conversation here in the comments. Really appreciate you being here. Come back every Monday, ask a question on Instagram where I do this live and we will have this good time together where you can learn something new every single week here on the Angle of Attack channel. So thanks for being here, let’s get right into it.

So, instrument rating, how do you keep everything straight in your head? So the instrument flying is pretty interesting because there are so many precise technical details about where you are and where you’re flying that you need to be obviously on top of those things because we’re flying to a greater precision in instrument flying. So really it’s important to take notes on clearances you get and things that you need to remember. It’s important to even take notes on say your instrument approach, play, highlight them, things like that.

In ForeFlight for example. There is a way to highlight your approach plates and find the areas that are the most important. And of course you can brief them there as well. You can put those on top, GL reference on top of the map. And then in terms of you, which is the most important part, you just staying ahead of things and being on top of things that just comes with practice.

So those things that you could forget and could throw you off, like stuff that’s on the charts and clearances you get, those are things to write down, of course there’s a notepad area in ForeFlight or just having a note pad yourself that you can write with is very important. So, just takes practice. You really gotta get into that mode of being on top of things where you’re at, knowing what the next step is, in your flight, in instrument and the step after that, always keeping ahead on instrument is really, really important. So that’s just a really short answer for that one, and hope that helps.

So this one is kind of out of left field a little bit different. Switching gears a little bit, ownership expenses and upgrades and what to prioritize. And my short answer on this would be that you need to make sure that you are prioritizing those things that matter the most for safe operation of flying, so if you are going to be going into instrument training for example, and your aircraft has minimum instrument equipment, let’s just assume that it’s already IFR capable, maybe it’s time to get a GPS and prioritize that or prioritize getting a G5, replacing that vacuum system.

Something that really helps you for that type of flying that you’re doing. And that’s really my point, is, the type of flying that you’re doing the most, that is what you’re going to want to prioritize. I think a lot of the times us as pilots we get bogged down in the cosmetic things with airplanes. So I would definitely prioritize the operational components that will make your flying more precise, better, safer, and going back to the last question, a help for you in those instrument conditions, say, than others.

Another one I think of that, from my own aircraft or the aircraft that I use it’s an underpowered older engine and there’s the option every place in the engine, which is very, very expensive, or I could do a couple other little tweaks like add VGs to it or a stole cuff that will allow me to do more operations at shorter strips and better climb outs and things like that without upgrading the engine. We’re talking about a $5,000 upgrade there versus a 40 to $50,000 upgrade on the engine.

So just prioritizing some of those things and make sure you’re just being prudent with the best thing for you at the current time that will have the best bang for your buck. In your opinion, what’s the most difficult subject for PPL? I’ve been thinking about this a lot and I’ve been thinking about it a little bit more with what just happened in the Kobe Bryant incident or accident actually, that just happened. And I think the most difficult subject for PPL and really any license is just that safety mindset that aeronautical decision making that is so important for pilots.

We have a bunch of different things that we have to worry about as pilots. We need to learn how to flight plan. We need to know the weather well. We need to know aerodynamics. We need to have the skills to fly the airplanes in different maneuvers. Takeoffs and landings. And of course a lot of the math that goes on behind the scenes that we need to be aware of, but I think it all comes down to decision making and making safe decisions and fighting those external pressures on things that would try to get us in bad situations.

And I think that’s one of the most difficult things to teach as well. I think part of it comes from upbringing and just character that people have and how plays into how they operate in an airplane, but I think flying airplanes gives us the opportunity to look deeper within ourselves and find out if there are things that we need to change in our flight operations because, man, the safety thing, it always just comes back to safety and, in those decisions that we make or the decisions that we don’t make, if that makes sense.

So I think that’s the most difficult thing to grasp. Everything else is predicated on that core discipline of being a safe pilot. And I have a golden rule. I say it a lot. I’ll just repeat it for those of you that haven’t heard it before, that my golden rule with flying is that I am going to operate the aircraft in a safe manner so that I can return home to my family every single time. So if I go on that golden rule, man, I’m sitting there struggling with the decision, then I know that I’m going to make the safest decision to make that possible and make that a reality.

So that is my two cents on the most difficult subject for private pilots and really any pilot. Hello Chris, I will start flying school soon and I will fly twice a week due to full time job. I’m thinking of taking one week vacation, gets cut off, but I think I know the gist of the question.

So flying twice a week is a great frequency to fly three times a week is good as well. Sometimes that’s a little bit too aggressive for people’s budget, so not always possible, and it looks like you’re also thinking about taking a vacation here or there or just one week vacation to hammer it out. I think that’s a pretty good strategy. I like the strategy of having the steady pace that you go along in your training regardless of what rating you’re working on. But I also liked the idea of intensive training.

I don’t necessarily think that intensive training can work front to back for everyone because I think that we as humans, most humans get burned out and especially our brains need to catch up in the process and just rest. I think rest is really important when it comes to training, so gotta be careful with that. But yeah, I absolutely think that having the steady plan of two to three times a week to train, but also those times where you take a week and you really go after it hard can really accelerate your training in the long run. It actually saves you money to do it that way. But I think we need to be careful that we don’t try to go into an accelerated program that from front to back, beginning to end, it’s just go, go, go 24 hours a day. I think people typically just get too burned out by a schedule like that.

So sounds like you have a good plan that you’re building for your training there and I think you’re definitely on track. So good job. That’s definitely a way that I would recommend to go through your training. And I know that that answers a lot of questions for other people too, good for VFR on top. It kinda depends. VFR on top is, it’s a little bit risky in the sense that if you’re a VFR only pilot and you’re planning on flying over some sort of solid layer of clouds, you can get into a trap in certain situations.

So I think good scenarios are where you’re essentially en route and there are clouds that you need to get over but you know that your departure airport and your destination airport are both reporting that they’re fully open and you’re not pushing the margins there, I think that’s a good thing to do. I had a flight a year ago, a friend in California and I went up flying and we were going to do a cross country and we had this situation where we did get to a point where we could do VFR on top and we could fly over that area and go all the way to our destination. But we also weren’t very sure that the destination, whether it was going to hold up or improve, and we basically decided not to go.

We were en-route, the weather wasn’t changing, it wasn’t changing to the forecasted weather like we had looked at. And so we decided to divert, turn around, go back and not fly over that layer. There is a bit of risk involved when doing that. Obviously, if you had any sort of emergency situation, you wouldn’t be able to see where you’re descending into.

So there’s a little bit of that stuff to think about with a single-engine VFR over clouds. It would really be no different than single engine IFR in the clouds in that sense. Other than you’re not really relying on instruments the entire time. You can see the horizon out there. So that’s kind of my initial thoughts just off the top of my head, just thinking about the risks involved of doing that, but there are times when you are en-route that flying over a bit of cloud, a bit of an overcast layer or whatever it is, is not such a bad idea. So really just depends, but weighing the risks is very important.

I have flown twice in three weeks. How do you suggest I say proficient during this terrible Ohio winter? So I have the same issue right now I’m actually in Las Vegas. I’m actually broadcasting from my nephew’s bedroom. He’s a great musician, he has some guitars behind me. So I escape the winter in Alaska myself and it wasn’t flying a lot myself there. So I totally get it. It definitely bogs you down in the winter time. But I think what happens when we get bogged down in the winter is, it’s really an opportunity for us to work on the mental aspects of flying, the knowledge component of flying, which is so, so important.

I know that we all want to run out to the airplane and we want to go flying as much as we possibly can and we want to progress in our training. But winter is definitely a slower time for the flying component, especially if your airplane is outside and you’re dealing with weather. For my private training I had… Gosh, I want to say it was three months where our airport was IFR. I’m not even kidding. It was an inversion. It was in Northern Utah. It was an inversion and we could not fly. We’re talking one mile visibility and it was just awful.

So I’ve been there, but I also over time have realized that it’s not so much about the flights you take, it’s about the knowledge you attain. And so use this time right now to get into the books, learn the knowledge you need for whatever license you’re working on to a greater degree and really drive that home. So even if you’ve passed your written test already, if you haven’t passed your written test, you need to get it finished and go do it. Perfect opportunity to just get it done, but if you haven’t finished, if you haven’t done your written test stuff in a while, the knowledge stuff in a while, it’s a great time to go back and touch on that again.

It’s a good time to look ahead, maybe talk to your instructor and say, “Hey, I want to look ahead to the next five lessons and things that I can learn better to accelerate those ones. We start up again.” That could be a really good thing. That’s a five to 10 minute conversation on the phone with your instructor and they can tell you what to look into and you can look up YouTube videos, you can go look at books, you can listen to podcasts.

So this is actually an incredible opportunity when the weather’s bad during the slower time of year, especially in the Northern latitudes to do that sort of growth in your own training because it is the most important part of your training. Believe it or not, is that knowledge component. The skills will come, the flying will come, but there are so many people that sell themselves short on the amount of time they spend on that stuff. So that’s my quick advice on what to do while things are flying slow here in the wintertime.

Can you use different instructors? For example, if I wanted to fly with you, I think you can do that within moderation. I always like having a different look on my students by having my students go with a different instructor. I also don’t want my schedule, which is often busy to dictate a slow progression of a student. And so just personally, I’m totally open to my student using someone else.

Now the pitfalls of that are that different CFIs have different styles. They may have different requirements that they want to see you achieve before they pass you off on something, so you can end up wasting some money there with someone that is just really maybe not fitting. But I have kind of been of the mentality recently where I’ve been on the side of, it takes a village to raise to raise a pilot or it takes an airport to raise a pilot or it takes a gaggle of instructors to raise a pilot.

That’s more and more of my mentality. I want people to be as well rounded as they possibly can be when they go on the training. Of course I do train students and I like to take them from front to back, and so I really enjoy that process, but I also realize it’s not always the best way. And I don’t necessarily have to income wise do that. So there’s that, some instructors may not want that learning process to happen with someone else. In part one, 41 programs for example, where it’s a bit more structured in the syllabus, you have stage checks where you will fly with a different instructor. I did find that very useful. I think it’s nice to emulate that in part 61 training. So those are just some thoughts to ponder as you are thinking of flying with a different instructor.

I’m open to it, but I also don’t want to get in the way of someone’s progression in their training and I certainly don’t want to waste their money and so I’m a little bit careful there, but I also think that it can give the students a different perspective on where they are and make them more well rounded. Eventually, it’s going to be good to fly with all sorts of different instructors. I’ve used a different instructor for every rating I’ve done, some ratings, I’ve been with several different instructors. So I’m definitely of that mindset that you want to have a well rounded perspective on aviation because there are just so many different things out there to learn.

And that is, we learn the most from the knowledge that is passed down from other pilots. And so you are getting an unique view on aviation from, I guess, the heritage of each instructor that you fly with, if that makes sense.

About to take instrument Checkride, any advice on calming nerves? Of course. Calming the nerves, being nervous for a Checkride is always a thing. We put in all this work and effort and we don’t want to screw it up. So there’s that last final push to get ready for a Checkride, prepare, do it well, and get across the finish line.

So long story short, I’ll just start with this because this is an issue I’ve seen throughout these motivation Mondays I guess today it’s a Q&A Tuesday, but I’ve seen this come up quite a bit. I have several other questions right in here that talk about this Checkride thing. So I created a program called Checkride ACE, it does a couple things. It has a Checkride checklist, which goes through all your endorsements, the aeronautical experience you need, all the stuff you need to bring to the Checkride, which includes the paperwork that you need with your Checkride, so that’s just the checklist of the things that you need to check off to make sure that you are prepared. So when you get to the Checkride it can go forward.

And the biggest part, the best part about the Checkride prep or rather the Checkride ACE course is the pave study guide. So the pave study guide is fill in the blank. It’s a study guide of the things you need to know for the oral part of the Checkride, but also just refreshes your knowledge because a lot of you would have done your written test first and now you’re moving into the Checkrides.

So it’s been a while since you’ve done your knowledge. So going back and studying those things, most things are just going to be able to write and get out and get it done, but there will be those several things that that you can go back and study because you forgot them, especially airspace and minimums and things like that.

So that’s really helpful. And then encapsulating all of that, I talk a lot about this mentality of overcoming the fear, the outcomes that are possible in your Checkride, what the DPE is expecting of you and all of those things. So Checkride ACE is my official source for this. But I would definitely say my number one piece of advice you’re gonna see it in Checkride ACE is that you need to go to your Checkride as the pilot that you are going to be. So in this case, you’re going to be an instrument pilot. You need to go to that Checkride prepared to fly comfortably and confidently as if you were flying your family, treat the DPE like he or she is your first passenger and that you need to do everything legally and safely to fly them through IMC all the way to their destination. And if you do that and treat it that way, then you’re going to be set.

So it’s a bit of a role play, right role playing that they are your passenger and that you are already an instrument rated pilot, in a sense you are. And this is just a formality to pass you off and verify that what your instructor said, which is, this person is an instrument pilot is in fact true and then it becomes official with the government. So that’s how I see it and I help that advice helps you out.

I’m about to solo for the first time. It is nerve wracking. I think there are several other questions along this line, yeah, it’s a little bit nerve wracking, but it ends up being a very liberating experience to fly the plane. So your instructor is going to take you through that process of getting you prepared, and I would encourage you to have a little bit of self confidence that you can do this.

They know you can do it. They see that you can do it. They’ve prepared you to do it. They’ve put their name on the line for you to do it. So just go up and do what you know to do. And it will be an emotional experience. It’ll be an encouraging experience. It is something that really helps people out and pushing them forward, so just listen to your instructor on on what they think when they think you’re ready and then try to allow yourself to listen to that and know that you are in fact ready.

So, I don’t know if that makes sense. But, I think we just need to have a little bit of confidence when we go into these solo fights that we have done the homework we have prepared and that we are ready, and three takeoffs and landings isn’t so bad, it’s in a controlled environment. And you’ll do great. And let me know how it goes.

This was an interesting question that came up. So private pilot license, but this is really for anything. How do you know what CTAF to use when over an area? Not necessarily going to an airport.

So there are some typical CTAF frequencies, 122.8 122.9, several others. Those are pretty typical. But I know that for me I have… In Alaska we have a chart supplement. You guys have them too. Is that a peach colored book that has the airport facility directory in it, but it also has some other things in it as well. And one of them for us is an area map that shows the different common traffic frequencies for different large areas, at least where I’m at, and I’m not sure that’s really available large scale for say other States, but I know that it is for me.

So think of that. It might be somewhere in your chart supplement for that particular area. So go ahead and have a look at that. often when you bring up the flight just right there in ForeFlight, it’ll tell you what the common traffic advisory frequency is for that particular area. I think there’s a little bit of a disconnect between the chart supplement data sometimes and what would be in ForeFlight. I’m just not sure that the government has that connection with ForeFlight yet to really offer that data in a reliable fashion.

But I also wanted to take this question a different direction, in that, if you are transitioning different areas from one place to the other, actually the best thing to do is to be on flight following. If you’re on flight following, you get a lot of the same… Basically you accomplish what you’re trying to do anyway, which is be aware of other aircraft and stay safe.

So AGC will, workload permitting, they will give you traffic advisories to tell you where people are and they will basically point out a lot more airplanes than you would see yourself and more airplanes than would even be talking on a wide area CTAF like that. So typically when people fly into an area like that and they don’t have to talk, a lot of people don’t talk and you’re not going to see them, you’re not going to talk to them. And there’s no guarantee that they’re actually on the frequency anyway. But if you’re talking to air traffic control through flight following, A.) You’re getting practice with a flight following. B.) they are actually giving you traffic advisories and looking out all around you for radar targets that may conflict, and C.) They are right there if something were to go wrong or if you need help.

That’s the last priority for me. I think that that’s going to be really rare if that would happen. But the flight falling component of what you’re talking about I think solves all of your problems and you don’t have to be jumping between frequencies and keeping yourself too busy as you’re going across. They’re just handing you off to the next frequency as you go on down the line. It’s really, really simple.

So I know you may be intimidated by talking to flight following, but it’s really helpful to get comfortable with air traffic control and that they aren’t there to get you. You can listen to frequency, you can listen to the frequency and other airline pilots and other IFR traffic, even VFR traffic, but a lot of IFR traffic speak on those frequencies and the handoffs that are happening, and all of that will help you prepare for instrument if that’s something that you’re planning on going into. So very advantageous to go through flight following. So I took that a different direction but I hope that helps you.

Do you advise to have a minimum hours of VFR before going instrument rating as a recreational pilot? It depends I think based on your desire to get right back into the training, you can look at it that way. The interesting thing about being in a position as a recreational pilot and you don’t have to do your instrument rating is, I think a lot of people just put it off way too long. I think you can be comfortable, you can do it in a comfortable fashion. You don’t have to get into it right away and go after it right away. But I think you can definitely take a little longer with it, do it correctly, do it to where you have a lot of confidence, but by doing that, there’s also not enough of an urgency to actually get your instrument rating, and then a lot of people don’t end up doing it.

So I think finding somewhere in between is a good place to be as a recreational pilot. You do need 50 hours across country time total in order to get your instrument rating. So there is a little bit of cross country time building there to do, you could be thinking about, but that can also be done a lot during your instrument training. And I would say some of the best instrument training to do is during cross country flights, especially shorter cross country flights where you can get a little bit of a feel for how everything is connecting from departure to arrival but also getting in some repetitive or rather some repetitions on approaches while still getting that cross country time.

So finding some targets that are close to your airport that are minimum cross-country distance is really helpful to be able to build a lot of time and a lot of repetitions and doing those things as instrument pilots that are helpful. Of course there will be a time when you end up doing just a lot of approaches, one after the other, especially as you’re winding down. So yeah, I think approaching it that way and in your own personal situation, what fits for you best. If you’re really gung-ho and you want to go after it then go after it. There’s nothing preventing you from doing that. But if you do on your instrument rating, then like come up with a plan but make it a little bit more of a longer term plan and really get yourself to a proficiency with it. So that’s my advice on doing it recreationally.

Interesting question here. How quickly can someone get a PPL? You can’t get it very fast, you shouldn’t get it very fast. And what I mean by that is there are some people that offer accelerated flight training courses, but I think when you do that you aren’t a very well rounded pilot. I think there are exceptions to that, but really it all comes down to it being a great flight school, having great instructors and them just being good at what they do at driving home those lessons. So yes, you can get it done fairly quickly. Maybe three weeks. I think two weeks is way too short. I see some two week courses out there. Maybe three weeks a month makes more sense to me, is like a really accelerated course, but a lot of the boils down to who the person is and how well they absorb it too.

So typically I like to stay away from accelerated flight training programs. I think we’re in this to be safe pilots and to know what we’re doing. And so I like to see more of a crock pot method to flying rather than a microwave method of flying. So those slow cooked meats are much better than those that are just nuked in the microwave. So that’s kinda how I view it. But I’m not saying that you can’t eventually become a good pilot by going through accelerated programs. I just don’t really believe in it. I’ve seen it. I did it once for instrument. I tried to do it for instrument my first time around. Didn’t work well, had some friends that went through it, didn’t work well. I know plenty of pilots, pilot mills, people that just push pilots through and don’t really give them a lot of well experience,

I’m not sure that’s really good for people. So that’s my two cents on those programs. But I also know some great outfits, typically flight schools, just flight schools that will take your case and really push you through that can do a good job in an accelerated manner, but I don’t like these accelerated courses that are out there. So flying is not a get rich quick scheme. There aren’t any life hacks for flying. You’re in it to learn it. Well, that’s how I view it.

Interesting question. What regulations should I know as a commercial pilot? Just off the top of my head, you need to know about equipment, in operative equipment basically and how that cascades down through, 91205, and your kohls, and kinds of operating equipment lists, your MELs, your… there’s one of them I missing, but there’s actually a chart in an advisory circular the FEA put out that talks about this. You can go and find it and it has a breakdown chart, like a decision tree on how all this works.

So in operative equipment, because if you’re out in the field as a commercial pilot and something breaks, you need to know if he can continue the flight and continue your mission or if you need to get a mechanic involved or if the aircraft needs to be grounded. Obviously when you’re out there trying to create revenue and get the mission done, you want to do it safe. That’s number one. But you also want to use their regulations and what is possible to get back to home base after completing the mission and get it done. So you just need to go through that decision tree. Also, you need to know what kinds of commercial operations you can do.

Just because you get a commercial license doesn’t mean you can just go fly for anyone for money. So you need to be really careful about that component of it and you need to know basically how it all works. So my acronym is WTFF and you have to show a willingness to fly and transport people or property F from place to place and the other F for compensation or hire. And so that decision tree there as well, can constitute a commercial operation. So you need to be careful there and just know what works and what doesn’t work and a little bit about what 135 and 121 are.

And really, honestly, as a commercial pilot, you need to have a really good grasp on part 91, on operating the airplane, what’s illegal and what isn’t and you need to know the airspace is down pat. You’re basically going to be representing a company and flying for them, and so you need to not get [inaudible 00:32:30] in their face because you were unprofessional and you didn’t know the regs.

So yeah, you need to know things pretty well, you go to a greater depth in the regulations than you ever have before. So go back, study it again, again for a Checkride ACE I have a study guide, but that’s not necessarily the learning component of it. So just make sure you know your stuff, know it really well and that is what a professional does and that’s why we are professional pilots or should be professional pilots as commercial pilots.

I’m starting an integrative flight training program in October. Any advice on how I can make a good start to the flight training? So not sure what an integrated flight training program is, but I’ve said it several times already throughout this particular Q&A Monday, Q&A Tuesday. Set it a couple of times already. Okay? The knowledge that you need to fly is super important and there’s just so much of it out there that is free right now that you can go and get tons of knowledge online about flying and really get a head start on whatever you’re doing in aviation, no matter what part of aviation you’re in.

So stop looking at TikTok, stop looking at Instagram. YouTube is a better place to go for that knowledge. But research, find good resources to start learning this knowledge and get ahead of your peers and really get ahead of yourself. Because if you learn a lot of this knowledge and you take that to flight training, then you’re not going to be hearing things like a density altitude for the first time or you’re not going to be hearing air traffic control, rattle off a radio call really fast for the first time.

All of those things you can get a headstart on. So just keep learning. Now it’s there, the internet is big, there’s lots of resources out there and I think that’s going to be very helpful for you.

I stopped flying in 2008 because I joined the military. Should I start from zero? Never start from zero in terms of not counting your hours, your hours will always count for something in terms of what’s in your head and what your skills are. You may be starting from zero. I know that 2018 isn’t too far away so you’re still going to have several things that you’ve retained. But yeah you might be starting from zero knowledge-wise but not hours wise. So just make sure that’s not the case. But to treat the scenario as if you are starting from zero I think is very important.

I went through a hiatus and flying before I got to my commercial rating or rather it was a long time before my instrument rating and my commercial rating and there was a lot of knowledge that I forgot in that timeframe. Like not just, I needed to be reminded and I needed to brush up on it again, but I forgot a lot of that knowledge. So that can happen, especially if you’re pushing your mid 20s and 30s. That’s when you start having memory lapses like that.

So treat it as if you are starting from zero. I think that’s a definitely a good perspective to come from. if you’re getting back into it. But make sure you are getting credit for those dollars that you’ve already put in for your flight time. Okay?

Any plans on upgrading to four to three and a forms instrument panel? Yes, that is in the works. I’m actually looking at financing and other things to try to make that happen. That’s the next big step. I’m excited about that. There’s a lot of different things on the market right now and I love instrument. I’ve done a lot of it. Definitely been doing more VFR flying since instructing in two, three uniform just because it doesn’t have a very good setup. So really looking forward to do that because I love instruments, I love to teach it and I love the fly it. Not sure how much I’m actually going to get to fly it in Alaska, but at least I can have the equipment to go out there and pretend even if that’s all I get to do.

Any jobs you could recommend for a single end to commercial pilot looking to go to the airlines ASAP? I know a lot of people don’t want to hear it, but being a CFI is an absolutely awesome thing. Don’t do it unless you are going to really take care of your students. We don’t need CFIs that don’t care about their students. But if you have any sort of natural teaching ability or a desire to teach and really take care of people, a CFI, people are starving for CFIs right now. It’s a great way to build time. Surveying jobs, there are plenty of surveying jobs out there that people have. You can look for those. Flightseeing, banner towing. Those are a little bit more rare I find. But there are plenty of jobs out there. And there are several good sources to look at. I post jobs every now and again on and also AOPA has a job board, so go there and look at the jobs that had been posted because there are outfits that are looking for those positions.

A lot of the times it’s just word of mouth. And so that’s the other angle to go after it, is just start calling people and asking questions. And think about it a little bit differently when you ask a question, don’t ask, do you have a position? You can’t ask that question. But the followup question would be, do you know of anyone else within your professional circle or any other peers that you have that are hiring in your area? That is where you start to expand the networking and find out who’s who and what’s what. And often that is where, I would say most often that is where the jobs are filled in aviation, is simply by word of mouth. So think of it that way, but you’ve got to go out there and do the work.

Like I know several, but I don’t know if it’s going to work out, if I tell you who to go apply with, so I don’t know even know where you live, but you’ve got to go and do the leg work on this and the due diligence and it’s old school. So I know that the younger generation is a little bit more averse to online and we want to do everything online, but you do have to talk to people and do it that way. So advice to improve your radio calls. listen to, that’s the advice number one. There you can listen to the common traffic advisor frequency, CTAF. I should’ve just said CTAF. I’m in [inaudible 00:39:18], I have one that I actually have the equipment for and volunteer the bandwidth for.

So that’s [inaudible 00:39:25]. Not a very busy area during the winter so you won’t hear a lot going on there. But there are uncontrolled airports that you can listen to. There are controller airports you can listen to. That’s a great way to just hear the radio calls and do it that way. You can even do the read backs on the radio calls if you really want to practice. The last piece of advice I’ll give on this is don’t worry about getting in trouble and don’t worry about sounding like an idiot on the radio. Everyone has had to go through this learning process and you just need to do it. Okay? I still sound like an idiot on the radio sometimes. It’s just is what it is, but I don’t let it get to me. Air traffic control isn’t there to get you in trouble, so they’re not going to get angry that you said something bad. There are certain areas where the controllers just are that way, but get out of the big cities and they’re all pretty dang good. So, that’s my advice on improving radio calls.

So what FAA mobile weather and flight plan apps do you recommend? I am a huge fan of ForeFlight and I use ForeFlight… I’ve used it for years now. I’ve been using it, gosh, not since the beginning of ForeFlight, but I wasn’t using anything else. I’ve been using ForeFlight since, I wanna say 2015 even earlier. But that’s when I really started to get active in flying again.

So I really like the… With ForeFlight the biggest thing for me is that they have these little features behind the scenes that just make it so much easier for me as a pilot to get things done on the fly. So yes, they do have the weight and balance. They have the flight planning, they have the flight plans, they have the weather, they have the document section where I can manage all my documents, they have the charts, they have all those things. But it’s the little features built on top of that, that I absolutely love. And they’ve done a good job over the years of integrating with different products, with continually releasing good features, improving what they have, and they’ve just never let me down. I mean, it’s something that I totally rely on today because I think that in this day and age, we’re deep in the aviation now, meaning it’s been decades and decades, is even over a century where we just been adding more information on, over time, and we really need a way as pilots to manage that and do it well. So I’ve really enjoyed it.

And so yeah, ForeFlight is where it’s at. I have ForeFlight on my iPad, which is my primary form of navigation. If I’m actually navigating somewhere doing cross country work, if I’m just doing a local flight lesson, I don’t like to have the iPad in my face so I may have my phone there just for some information and then I use my phone as a backup to that. On top of that they also have the mobile app that you can use right on their website where you can do planning there and I just find the information is great. It’s disseminated well. I can get to it as fast as… just really quickly and they’re the best.

I am trying to get a better grasp on whether instrument Checkride in two weeks. So just a quick reference before… I talked about Checkride ACE before Checkride ACE is my Checkride preparation program, which may help out a little bit in this case, definitely it’s a good review to go through the study guide there and use Checkride. So Checkride [inaudible 00:43:01] coming and check that out.

However, let’s get into some practical aspects of this. So really instrument flying, it’s really seeing the unknown and knowing what may happen. And the things I think of that are gotchas are embedded thunderstorms, icing, deteriorating conditions at your destination that are beyond the capabilities of your airplane or your personal minimums or the actual minimums for the approach. So thinking of those things and how things may move along. Weather is also an area as pilots that we need to constantly be learning more about.

There are definitely great training courses out there on whether, I know that Sporty’s, has one recently that they released, there’s a couple of great long form videos on YouTube about it. At the end of the day, you need to think creatively about taking an IFR flight from point A to point B, wherever that is and how you’re going to accomplish that. An exercise you can go through even when you’re not flying, is prepare and plan for a flight as if you are flying, especially in those conditions that are difficult, say the days where you probably wouldn’t go flying. To then ask yourself as an instrument pilot and actually go into the process of planning with ForeFlight, you as an instrument pilot, how would I do this flight today? How would I get around the weather? Is there a better time to depart? What’s the weather at my destination? What’s my departure weather? Do I have to file IFR initially or pickup IFR initially? Or can I get in the air first and then pick it up as the weather is deteriorating,

Start to gain plan and build scenarios and role play. All those are applicable in this case to learn more about it as if it were a real world scenario and you’re going to quickly learn the products that you like to use. Now, one thing I tell students as well is that you are not obligated legally in any way to use every single product, every single forecast and observation that the FAA requires of you. They aren’t requiring it of you, I guess is the point, that they’re offering you. So find out what works best for you. Find out how you like to plan with the most solid information and what that looks like.

It looks a little bit different for everyone. Obviously, there are our mainstays of our weather planning with METARs and TAFs and AIRMETs and SIGMETs and convective SIGMETs. All of those things are really important. Then you can get more into the forecast. The FAA has a graphical forecast, a tool now I think it’s if I remember correctly. So that is a better tool to visually see what’s happening. I think that a lot of the times with whether we think that, especially for instrument, we have to know everything and do everything to pass Checkride. And really what we’re expected to do on the Checkride is see all the information that’s in front of us. And let’s actually not even say Checkride, let’s just say doing a regular flight, because really the Checkride is only approving what we’re going to do in the real world.

So say in the real world we want to do a flight, we need to have a scenario to, or a way a method that is our own or one that’s even borrowed, but as solid to be able to look at the holistic picture, dig down into the details of our particular route, and then make safe decisions based on that and know the potential outcomes of what or where maybe there is more risk for the weather.

So look at it that way. I think that’s the best way to look at weather and then just have a good source to sift through that information ForeFlight is definitely a great place with their weather tools. One of the coolest things I like about ForeFlight is when you go through and actually file or rather go through your briefing for your flight, they’ll actually have the TAFs aligned with your transitioning time over certain areas and show you the weather for those areas.

And it’s really cool. That’s one of the coolest things I like about that briefing, is that it breaks down the TAFs and where you’re going. I still think there is a lot of value in talking to a pre-fight briefer on the phone. I still like doing that on top of what I’m already doing. So just find out what works for you. Find out what works best and go with that.

What’s your opinion on a military aviation? I think it’s a fantastic way to learn. obviously I… well maybe not obviously, but I do consider myself a Patriot. I do honor those that serve in the military and choose to do that. I think that military aviators are some of the best. The military has an incredible way of training people that is very different from the civilian way of training people. So I don’t think you can really go wrong in the military. They do need pilots right now. They’re starving for them, especially starving for keeping them. So lots of great opportunities in the military. And that’s an honorable way to go and qualify there.

So yes, I do think it’s a great thing. Definitely takes a lot of work and yeah, it is what it is. I think I would’ve gone into the military had I not had some medical things happen, so I definitely think it’s a great way to go. Any tips for a college student on a budget trying to stay current. And I think this speaks to a larger issue of staying current for anyone that’s on a budget.

There are a lot of wasteful things we do in our lives. We have a Netflix subscription every month, we have a really nice cell phone. We go out to eat quite a bit. We may even have a car payment. We have all of these things that take up our income and just a little bit of that disposable income could be used on flying, fly one time a month, have a budget to fly one time a month. It’s really not that much. We’re talking about a couple hundred dollars. And for some that may seem like a lot, but it’ll get better as you grow in your career and you have more of that disposable income. But it’s really not that much to put aside.

But from there you can get creative, you can split the costs with a friend just enjoying flying together or learning by osmosis, even if your friend is flying, being there and learning lessons and participating is a huge thing. So think about sharing that as well. Make friends that way and keep friends that way and just committing aviation together so that’s big as well. And then just keep your head in the game with other ways, knowledge ways, entertainment ways on YouTube and other content to keep your head in the game.

So that’s the cheap part of it. Obviously at some point you’ve got to just, maybe cut out some other things in your life that are less important. I went through several years where I didn’t fly and I really regret not putting more time aside. There was even a time when I bought this really nice truck. I ended up selling it eventually once I got married. But I bought this really nice truck and I totally could’ve bought an airplane and I look back on that now and I just feel like an idiot. I feel like I really could have been in a different situation or had better experiences if I had had a little bit more foresight on that.

So that’s my opinion, hope that helps a little bit for continuing to fly while you’re a college student or really anyone on a budget. All right, aviators, thanks for coming to another motivation Monday. Again, you can subscribe here, like this video if you got something out of it, join the comments if you have another question or a follow up question and just, I really appreciate you being here. Go out and continue to achieve your aviation dreams. Let me know if there’s anything I can do in that process. You can find more of our official training with online ground school and the Checkride ACE program for your Checkride. So really appreciate you being here and I’ll talk to you guys next time. Until then, throttle on.


Chris Palmer

Chief Flight Instructor and President of Angle of Attack. Founded in 2006.


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