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Pilot Self-Assessment

Featuring Bob Martens


"It all starts with the pilot. Are we ready to fly?

Let’s start with a few questions that the pilot must answer honestly. When was your last flight instruction? I will bet it has been awhile for many of us. Feedback is essential if we are to stay in touch with our strengths and weaknesses. We need to know ourselves thoroughly. Find an instructor that will challenge you to be the best pilot you can be.

We all love praise but an instructor that strokes us but does not challenge us is not preparing us to deal with the realities of flying. Spend time with your instructor in a practice area becoming one with your airplane. You do that by practicing slow flight, steep turns, stalls and coordination maneuvers. You develop a feel for that airplane that will serve you well when it comes time for more challenging events. Good landings only occur with lots of practice.

Integrate emergencies into your training so that you are comfortable performing them when they occur. Compliment this instruction with some quality reading: The Aeronautical Information Manual, The Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. The airplane flight manual or any of the aeronautical magazines will strengthen your foundation and make you a better pilot. Every avid gardener subscribes to garden magazines. Why don’t avid pilots read more professional journals?

Learn more about airmanship, cockpit resource management or any other subjects that intrigue you. But don’t ever stagnate. If the pilot is not rock solid, the safety of any flight will always be in doubt."

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