“The Day GPS Went Out,” Greg’s January/February, 2020 Flying Carpet column

“Warning! GPS Navigation Lost!” proclaimed my GPS receiver.

Jean and I were bouncing through clouds on instruments at 12,000 feet, over trackless mountains along the remote Arizona-New Mexico border.

Seconds after that initial warning, my primary flight display announced, “GPS reversion mode: for Emergency Use Only!” (but displayed no position.) My multifunction display restarted itself with a “Maintenance Required!” alert. Next came an “ADS-B (out) inoperative!” warning, meaning our transponder had stopped transmitting our GPS coordinates to air traffic control (ATC).

I was flying Jean from Flagstaff to El Paso for tennis sectionals. Normally we make the 2½-hour journey straight-line VFR. Today, however, layered clouds shrouded the mountainous central portion of the route, so I’d filed under instrument flight rules (IFR). This route spans a huge swath of military airspace that when active cannot be crossed IFR, so I’d filed a circuitous route over Socorro, New Mexico.

My first hint of trouble was when our controller asked, “Are you ADS-B equipped?”

That seemed odd, as he had long been tracking us. He then cleared me to an intersection to bypass nearby White Sands Missile Range restricted airspace, but the GPS died as I entered the fix into my navigator. After I reported the failure, the controller assigned radar vectors around the restricted areas.

Now other pilots began reporting lost GPS, and I noted that the position symbol on my tablet computer had stopped moving…

**Continue reading Greg’s entire column, THE DAY GPS WENT OUT” **. (Mobile-device link.)


Photo: Primary Flight Display in GPS-failure Emergency Reversion Mode. 


(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)


If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!

New! The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual Fourth Edition!

I’m excited to announce my new The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual Fourth Edition, coauthored with major airline pilot Mark Holt, hot off the press and now available in print and e-editions!

This new Fourth Edition features many new illustrations and updates, many in full color, and now covers all required ATP-CTP material.

Along with numerous systems and terminology enhancements we’ve updated and expanded coverage of multi-pilot-crew coordination, one of the toughest challenges faced by new turbine pilots, and added an all-new crew briefings section.

Read all the details here!

Those who’ve been awaiting this new edition will want to order this week before ASA closes for the holidays this coming Saturday, December 21st, through January 5th.

Greg

“Powerless,” Greg’s July, 2018 Flying Carpet column

“Hey Greg! I’ve just experienced my first two engine failures—in one trip!”

8-17_JimPitman_Ercoupe-delivery_152549eSm1200Flight instructor Jim Pitman had just ferried a 1946 Ercoupe from Wisconsin to Arizona, and wanted to brainstorm what might have caused the power losses.

The seller had kept the annual current and run the engine regularly, but hadn’t flown the plane in a few years. Following a thorough preflight inspection and engine runup, I departed Rice Lake Regional Airport (KRPD) for Storm Lake, Iowa (KSLB), where I stayed in a neat lakeside hotel.”

After waiting for fog to lift the next morning, Jim launched toward Phoenix with refueling stops at Smith Center, Kansas (K82), Dalhart, Texas (KDHT), and Belen, New Mexico (E80).

Following a slight diversion for thunderstorms, he crossed the Mazatzal mountain range east of Phoenix in darkness, “which was fine because I am very familiar with the area,” and overnighted at his home field, Phoenix Deer Valley Airport (KDVT). After 15.3 flight hours from Rice Lake, all that remained the next morning was 60 minutes to Salome Arizona. Deer Valley Tower issued Jim an intersection departure from Runway 7R.

“When I lifted off, the engine lost power and the plane settled back on the main gear. As the nose came down, the engine regained power just as I pulled the throttle to abort the takeoff.” Back at the ramp, Jim thoroughly tested the engine. Everything worked fine and having so much time in the airplane, he figured the culprit was a one-time bit of water in the fuel. Still, as a precaution he requested full runway length for his next departure…

**Read Greg’s entire column, POWERLESS“**

Photo: Jim Pitman, with the 1946 Ercoupe. See COCKPIT VIDEO of Jim’s engine failures!

(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)

Greg

©2018 Gregory N. Brown

If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!

Greg talks “Flight Instructor Professionalism” with Rod Machado, David St. George, and Russ Still

fc-cover-photo-smMany thanks to Russell Still of Gold Seal Ground School, David St. George, Chairman of SAFE (The Society of Aviation and Flight Educators), and renowned aviation author and entertainer Rod Machado for the great experience doing our recent live-stream webinar, “CFI Professionalism: Making the Most of Your Career.”

Check out the archived presentation video for valuable tips on how to succeed as a CFI!


For more guidance on this topic, see Greg’s book, The Savvy Flight Instructor Second Edition, available in print and ebook.

“Mentoring and Marketing for CFIs,” Greg’s webinar with NAFI Chairman Bob Meder

 

SFI-2 FrontCover_shadow1200I had the pleasure of being Bob Meder’s guest on this month’s NAFI Chairman’s Webinar. (National Association of Flight Instructors)

As you’d expect, we spoke primarily on flight training and flight instructor topics, with emphasis on key marketing, motivational, and pricing ideas and insights from my new book, The Savvy Flight Instructor Second Edition.

CFIs and flight school operators should find this material particularly relevant.

So if those topics interest you, please have a listen by clicking below! (Also available as MP3.)

Thanks to Bob and NAFI for inviting me to participate!

Greg


For more guidance on this topic, see Greg’s book, The Savvy Flight Instructor Second Edition, available in print and ebook.

“Checkride!” Greg’s April, 2016 Flying Carpet column

On weddings and flight tests…

GregBrownFT416_0401eSmw1200Flight tests are a bit like weddings. Everyone wants theirs to go perfectly, but sometimes problems or distractions, when successfully resolved, add richness to the experience.

Although each of these life events usually goes smoothly, you’ll occasionally hear horror stories. Jean and I once attended a wedding reception where the restaurant caught fire, forcing the bridal party and guests onto the lawn with firefighters.

As with weddings, you can never know whether pilot checkrides are “good,” or “bad,” until afterward. The obvious measure is whether you pass or fail. Common wisdom says that sooner or later every pilot fails a flight test – fortunately that’s not the blot on one’s record pilots often worry about. But it’s not always that simple. Sometimes a failed test teaches valuable lessons. My own worst flight test was not the one I failed, but one I passed.

On my instrument practical years ago, I confused my position on an instrument approach, turned, and started down at the wrong fix. The examiner’s questioning helped me figure it out, but afterward I pondered if and when I’d have caught the error on my own. Although I learned the relevant lesson, it seemed at the time I should have failed so there was little joy in taking the new rating home. The experience haunted me until I got more instrument flying under my belt.

Colorado pilot Tom Fuller is well qualified to contemplate good checkrides versus bad. A 10-year Air Force veteran, Tom earned his private three years ago and is working toward a pro-pilot career.

GregBrownFT416_0169eSmw1200“I passed the oral portion of my initial Flight Instructor Practical Test last month, but did horribly on the flight portion. This came down to being at an unfamiliar airport, having little recent time in the Cessna 182RG I tested in, general checkride jitters, and fatigue. Any one of those I’d have probably been able to deal with, but all three was too much. Live and learn. So I rescheduled the flight portion for two weeks out, and committed to flying the RG as much as possible until then, which ended up approaching 20 hours…”

**READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, CHECKRIDE!“**

Top photo: CFI Tom Fuller at Telluride Airport, Colorado. (KTEX)

Lower photo: Tom’s checkride airplane at Denver’s Centennial Airport. (KAPA)

(This column first appeared in AOPA Flight Training magazine.)

Greg

©2016 Gregory N.Brown


If you enjoyed this story, you’ll love Greg’s book, Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane. Autographed copies available!

What’s the difference between Part 61 and Part 141 pilot training programs?

fc-cover-photo-smBased on the number of questions I get, I thought it worth explaining US Part 61 vs Part 141 pilot training programs.

Training under Part 61 is virtually unregulated except for meeting the specific objectives defined in the FAA regulations — that boils down to covering required maneuvers, aeronautical experience, and meeting test standards, pretty much however a given flight instructor sees fit.

Part 141 programs, on the other hand, are individually FAA approved, meaning each flight school must develop a detailed pilot training curriculum including lesson-by-lesson syllabus and extensive record-keeping requirements, and submit it to the FAA for approval. Part 141 programs must by definition be highly structured to be approved by the FAA. As a result, they are one-size-fits-all, meaning that every student must be trained precisely within each flight scool’s approved syllabus. Part 141 programs theoretically can graduate pilots in slightly fewer hours than under Part 61 (35 vs 40) and are required for those seeking government funding of their training, most notably to qualify for VA benefits.

My longtime-CFI buddy Jim Hackman likes to observe that “the best and the worst pilot training take place under Part 61 [because instruction quality can vary across the spectrum], while Part 141 trains for the lowest common denominator.” These days Part 61 programs increasingly incorporate some of the best Part 141 features such as written syllabi and stage checks.

Incidentally, well-run Part 141 programs are great places for beginning instructors to cut their teeth because rigorous syllabi and standardization help them learn to structure training for their students.

Greg

©2016 Gregory N. Brown

Greg’s “Airplane Geeks” podcast interview

Greg-SharlotHallFCopening_JanCollinsphoto_5024eCrSmw1200For you Airplane Geeks podcast fans, I had the pleasure of being their guest this week.

We spoke mostly on flight training and flight instructor topics, along with their usual news and industry features. Here’s the link for those interested in listening.

Thanks to Max, Max, Rob, and David for having me!

Greg


For more guidance on this topic, see Greg’s book, The Savvy Flight Instructor Second Edition, available in print and ebook.

Introducing “The Savvy Flight Instructor 2nd Edition!”

The Savvy Flight Instructor – Secrets of the Successful CFI

SFI-2 FrontCover_shadow1200I’m pleased to announce the long-awaited 2nd edition of my popular aviation book, THE SAVVY FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR: Secrets of the Successful CFI!

You’ve mastered the CFI study materials, passed your toughest-ever oral exam, and can now talk and fly simultaneously from the right seat. You can write lesson plans, enter mysterious logbook endorsements, and explain the details of a lazy eight. That’s all you need to know to flight instruct…or is it?

This book is designed to help with all those “other” flight instructing questions, like how to recruit new flight students and keep them flying, conduct successful intro lessons, and optimize your students’ checkride pass rates.

New in this edition

This new edition adds 20 years of additional knowhow to the networking, pilot training, and customer support concepts that made the original edition required CFI reading, plus lots of important new material you won’t want to miss.

A new dedicated section for aspiring flight instructors explains why and how to become a CFI, and how to get hired.

Instructors at all levels will learn how to sell today’s pilot prospects via online marketing and social media, and how to outsell competing activities beckoning from a finger-touch or mouse-click away.

Seasoned flight instructors and flight school managers will learn how to systematize customer success and satisfaction, price and structure their services to fit today’s markets, and implement flight instructor professionalism.

The “finer points” from industry experts: Learn how today’s flight training innovators promote their services and serve their customers in Heather Baldwin’s case-studies chapter. Discover how flight school owner and marketing guru Dorothy Schick crafts customer service policies to put clients first. Longtime DPE Jason Blair shares insights on checkrides and CFI specialization opportunities. Ever wonder how the big private and collegiate fight academies operate so efficiently? Then don’t miss Ben Eichelberger’s flight training standardization chapter. And no one’s better qualified to project future flight training trends than renowned aviation writer and editor Ian Twombly.

In short, this book shows how to use your instructing activities to surpass student expectations, achieve business success, promote general aviation, and advance your personal flying career all at once. (Peek inside, here.)

ORDER YOUR BOOK NOW through ASA or your favorite pilot supplies source. (ASA, amazon Kindle, and iTunes ebooks coming soon.)

Thanks to all, for your many years of support for this and my other books!

Greg

©2016 Gregory N. Brown