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First Flight

A 'first flight' experience can make or break a passenger -- or even a pilot -- for life.

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Filling the Gaps

Efficient in quickly developing pilots, traditional aviation training nonetheless leaves significant knowledge gaps that contribute to the vast majority of aircraft accidents. It’s up to pilots to seek out knowledge to fill those gaps…here are three ways to increase your knowledge and safety.

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Fear of Falling

I’d like you to think back a minute. The last time you practiced stalls, either with a flight instructor or on your own perhaps, how did you go about it? Did you do a clearing turn, first to the left, then to the right, enriching the mixture, and then if you were planning to do power-off (or “approach to landing”) stalls, perhaps you reduced power along the way and added carburetor heat (if you had a fuel injected engine), slowed to VFE and extended flaps (assuming you had them), and then increased pitch attitude and simultaneously decreased power while maintaining a constant altitude, until things got mushy. . . and then. . . you felt that sinking feeling?

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Fast-Tracking: The Five-year Plan

Once you get your Private Pilot Certificate, you should celebrate -- take your family for a flight over your hometown, brag at work ... then, make a five-year plan.

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Failing the Annual

Once a year, aircraft owners lay their airplane bare while an expert methodically checks and prods it for any indication the standards under which it was produced or modified are no longer met. It's called the annual inspection. A vital task to assure airworthiness (all too often this is the only real going-over an airplane gets each year), the "annual" is a pass/fail exam ... and owners wonder what their options are if the inspector turns thumbs down.

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