Hints from the CFI

Welcome to our page where you can gain all sorts of interesting information about flying that you may not have heard before. Here you'll find some really useful hints and tips to you to help with your flying - both the physical handling of the aircraft, as well as navigation and procedures

While a lot of the procedural information will be mainly for Australian pilots, there will be lots here for overseas pilots as well.   And if you're planning to visit Australia, soon then there will be plenty of mandatory reading here!

There are also plenty of links to the left to some interesting aviation related sites - well worth a look!

Look back here frequently as I'll be updating this on a regular basis.  Additionally, if you have a question or would like to request some specific information, drop me an e-mail and I'll look at putting something on this page for you!

Happy flying!

Charles Thompson,
Chief Flying Instructor.

A thorough pre-flight inspection

Remember to always do a thorough pre-flight inspection.  Work on the basis that you will never let something happen that you could have prevented. It's much easier to sort it out on the ground than when you're airborne.

There's an old aviation saying:

"It's better to be on the ground wishing you were up there than being up there wishing you were on the ground!

Looking after your passengers

One of the greatest pleasures you can get from your flying is to share the experience with someone else.

Sometimes, however you may not realise that your passengers may only ever fly with you once - and you may never know why!

When I conduct flight tests I'm sometimes surprised how little some people think about their passengers. This might simply involve thinking more about their comfort, or letting them know more about what's going on.

When you get into the aircraft at first - how do you conduct your passenger briefing? Do you reassure your passengers with your smooth tones, and inform them about important safety features of the aircraft? Or do you terrify them by talking about what to do if you have to conduct a forced landing, or maybe how to survive a ditching at sea, even if you're flying over a desert! Think carefully about what you tell passengers, and what you don't tell them. While it is important to ensure your passengers are well briefed, it is not necessary to discuss why you might need to exit the aircraft - just how to do it. Simply explain to your passengers how to open the door - they'll work out when to do it!

How comfortable is your flying? Are you smooth on the controls, or would you describe your technique as "abrupt"? Remember - your passengers are expecting it to be silky smooth up there - so try and keep your flying as smooth as possible. Gentle entry to turns, don't be abrupt with changes in pitch - think carefully about your passengers down the back! You're sitting near to Centre of Gravity - so you don't move much. Your passengers down the back will move a lot further and will therefore feel every little twitch of the control column.

Turbulence is always a distressing part of the flight for passengers. Remember there are some really simple rules as to where it is probably more turbulent - down low, and where it is hot. if you're at altitude and it's rough then you're probably experiencing mechanical turbulence. You'll often find a lot smoother air by climbing - sometimes as little as 500 feet can make a big difference. If you are flying during the hot months - consider flying early in the morning - long before the thermals are active.

Next time in this column - "Reading the weather" - some really useful hints and interesting facts about the weather and its effects on your flying.

Please note: Information contained on this page is advisory only and does not replace official documentation supplied by CASA, Airservices, an Aircraft Manufacturer or an Engine Manufacturer. Please consult the relevant technical documentation for full information