Order Greg’s Autographed Books — only a few left…

To celebrate completing 20 years of my “Flying Carpet” magazine column, I’ve been offering autographed copies of my most popular books. I am now almost out of them, and do not plan to offer autographed copies again in the foreseeable future.

All my books remain widely available through normal channels, but if you’d like to have or give an autographed copy for Christmas, please order now before I run out.

In each case, click the “Order an Autographed Copy” link below, and then “add to cart” on order page.

12/2 UPDATE: only a few autographed copies of The Savvy Flight Instructor Second Edition remain. (Sorry, I am out of autographed copies of The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual and Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane.)

The Savvy Flight Instructor Second Edition

Secrets of the Successful CFI

You’ve mastered the Flight Training Handbook, and wrapped up one of the toughest orals of your flying career.

You can now fly and talk at the same time, all from the right seat. You can write lesson plans, enter mysterious endorsements in student logbooks, and actually explain the finer points of a lazy eight.

That’s everything you’ll ever need to know to be a flight instructor… No more questions, right?

Yeah, right! If you’re a little apprehensive about where those students will come from, and how you are going to teach them, you’re not alone. The Savvy Flight Instructor is designed to help out with all those “other” flight instructing questions, like how to recruit new flight students. And once you’ve got ’em, how do you keep them flying? How can you optimize your pass rate on checkrides? What are the tricks for getting students to return for their advanced ratings?

Along with tips on how to attract and retain flight students, this book is about professionalism in flight instructing: how to advance your personal flying career by increasing the skills and satisfaction of your students, while promoting general aviation at the same time.

New in this second edition:

  • Aspiring flight instructors will learn why and how to become a CFI, how to get hired, and how to build business.
  • Learn how to sell today’s pilot prospects via online marketing and social media, and outsell competing activities beckoning from a 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.

ORDER The Savvy Flight Instructor 2nd Edition in print, PDF, or ePub via ASA, AmazonApple iBook or your favorite pilot supply shop or website.

Or, order an autographed copy direct from Greg

Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane 

The days of freewheeling aerial adventure are not over

Pilots and aviation enthusiasts will enjoy my popular aviation adventure book, “Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane.” (I was named Barnes & Noble Arizona Author of the Month for this book.) I’ll let the reviewers describe it:

“Buckle in with Greg Brown and head off to chase a solar eclipse or wrestle with ice on your wings or try to outwit troublesome mountain waves. Each chapter of Flying Carpet is a new ticket to extraordinary adventures that transform a pilot from novice to journeyman and eventually, skilled aviator.

“More than just flying stories, this is the tale of a person who evolves to think with the mind of a pilot, question with the curiosity of a philosopher, and see with the eyes of a poet. Pilots will be entertained and wiser for having read it. Non-pilots will thrill to sharing the wings of a skilled aviator. I’m hooked!
— Rod Machado, aviation writer and humorist

“If Greg Brown can’t inspire you to join us in the sky, no one can.”
— Stephen Coonts, New York Times best-selling author

“Quite marvelous — a journey of life and flying that contains some of the most fetching words yet penned about a father-son relationship…”
— Rich Karlgaard, Publisher, Forbes

“You don’t have to be a pilot, or even a frequent flyer, to soar with Greg Brown in Flying Carpet.”
— Nina Bell Allen, Former Asst. Managing Editor, Readers Digest

Order Flying Carpet: The Soul of an Airplane in print and ebook via your favorite online sources including ASA, Amazon/Kindle, and iTunes.

Or, order an autographed copy direct from Greg.

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

Everything a pilot is expected to know when transitioning to turbine aircraft

Whether you’re preparing for turbine ground school, studying for your Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificate, priming for a corporate or airline interview, or upgrading into a personal jet or turboprop—The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual is designed for you.

The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual Fourth Edition covers all the basics of turbine pilot operations, clearly explaining the differences between turbine aircraft and their piston engine counterparts.

The manual clarifies the complex topics of turbine aircraft engines and all major jet and turboprop power and airframe systems. It also addresses high-speed aerodynamics, automation, wake turbulence, high-altitude and adverse weather, air carrier operations, transport airplane performance, and cockpit professionalism and leadership.

You’ll be introduced to state-of-the-art cockpit instrumentation, hazard avoidance systems, advanced communication procedures and equipment, and the latest engine performance management techniques. A wealth of illustrations and online resources enhance understanding.

This new edition adds numerous illustrations, technology and terminology updates required for completing an ATP Certification Training Program (ATP-CTP). Pilots transitioning from single- to multipilot cockpits will also appreciate new crew coordination resources including checklists and briefings. Included are an updated glossary of airline and corporate aviation terminology, handy turbine pilot rules-of-thumb, and a comprehensive turbine aircraft “Spotter’s Guide.”

In short, The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual  introduces all the principles and lingo required to “talk turbine.” Many airlines and corporate flight departments recommend reading this book before interviewing and prior to attending ground school. 

Reviewer Comments from previous editions:

[This text] should not only improve the hiring opportunity for pilots, but also add hours of sleep to nights between ground school classes… Where was this manual when I needed it? — Dan Russell, captain for a commercial airline

The most comprehensive and complete information available to any aspiring commercial pilot. A basic knowledge of systems and terminology is invaluable not only for initial training, but also for your presentation during the interview process. A must read! — Captain Dick Ionata, senior captain for a major airline

ORDER NOW in print, PDF, or ePub through ASA or Amazon/Kindle, or in print via your favorite pilot supplies store or website.

Don’t care about the autograph? All three books are available in print and ebook formats from the publisher and your favorite online, pilot shop, and bookstore sources.

“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.


“Bad Start,” Greg’s May, 2015 Flying Carpet column

Beach vacation on the rocks…

PatrickShielsC182Cockpit-ILS21LfinalApproachPRC-FredGibbs_0409eSmw1200 Each spring Jean and I look forward to flying to our annual beach retreat with friends in southern California. That was still a few weeks away when I arrived at the airport one chilly morning for a local flight. Having preheated the engine overnight, I primed it as usual and turned the key.

The Flying Carpet, an older Cessna 182, has always been a terrific starter, rarely requiring more than half a turn to waken the engine. But this morning the engine barely cranked – it just groaned to first compression, and stopped. I wasn’t particularly alarmed as today’s mission was minor, and starting problems are usually easily resolved. I first suspected a weak battery. However, the voltmeter showed the battery fully charged to 24 volts, indicating outstanding health and plenty of power to start the engine.

This airplane’s battery is located back behind the baggage compartment. Thinking there might be a faulty connection or ground between it and the starter, I requested a GPU (ground power unit) start from Flagstaff’s Wiseman Aviation. However their battery cart fared no better. That the engine turned at all absolved the ignition switch and starter solenoid. “Obviously,” the problem must be the starter itself…

Mechanics Rory Goforth and Mike Clever towed the airplane to Wiseman Aviation, checked connections, and installed a new starter. But to everyone’s surprise, the engine still wouldn’t crank adequately to start.

GregBrownFT515_2713-starter adaptor calloutsSmw1200Rory explained that the only possible remaining culprit in this simple system was the “starter adaptor.” This clutch-like device mechanically connects the starter to turn the engine, and then disconnects it when the engine starts.

I’d heard of starter adaptors occasionally failing to disengage so the engine drags and burns out the starter, but never one that wouldn’t start the engine. However mine was apparently slipping internally so the spinning starter wouldn’t fully engage the engine

READ THIS MONTH’S ENTIRE COLUMN, BAD START.” (Allow a moment for the article to load.)

Top photo: Hitching a ride down the ILS to Prescott, Arizona, with instrument student Patrick Shiels and flight instructor Fred Gibbs. Lower photo: Arizona Air-Craftsman mechanic Leroy Dufresne examines the Flying Carpet after releasing it back to service.

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


©2015 Gregory N.Brown

How to operate a constant-speed propeller

fc-cover-photo-smI’m often asked by pilots moving up to complex airplanes, what the real-world operational procedures are for a constant-speed propeller.

I like to compare using a constant-speed prop to riding a multi-speed bike. In each case you control performance via two variables:
1. rpm / how fast you’re pedaling, and
2. “oomph” / how hard you’re pedaling.

First, the rpm:

  • Flat pitch/high rpm/prop-control-forward in plane corresponds to low gear on the bike: hence better acceleration and (hill) climb performance, but limited cruise speed.
  • Coarse pitch / low rpm / prop-control-pulled-back corresponds to high gear on a bike: reduced acceleration and climb but faster on the flat and downhill/descending. Pitch is correlated to rpm through a governor, and managed by prop control.

Now for the “oomph” part. (Ie, how hard you’re pedaling.) In piston airplanes that’s controlled by throttle and measured by manifold pressure (MP).

As with a bike, there are various combinations of oomph (manifold pressure) and rpm that can all result in the same speed. In aircraft the ratio is designed so changing MP up 1″ corresponds to changing rpm down 100rpm, and vice versa. So 22″ MP/ 2200 rpm = 21″ MP / 2300 rpm = 23″/2100 rpm. Consult your cruise performance charts for options.

From an operations standpoint, think bike. You’ll use high rpm/flat pitch/control full forward (think “low gear”) for takeoff, climb, and pre-landing in case you need to go around.

So on a normal flight:

  1. max MP and max rpm (prop full forward) for takeoff;
  2. adjust prop and MP to climb power after takeoff (if different than takeoff power)
  3. reduce rpm and adjust power when leveling in cruise, and leave it there throughout the flight and descent. (Unless you need to climb en route; then you’ll increase rpm for that purpose.)
  4. Increase rpm to full, pre-landing, so you’ll have maximum power available in case of go-around.

One nice thing about this arrangement compared to the fixed pitch prop in, say a 172, is that the RPM won’t change by itself, so when flying in up- and downdrafts you needn’t constantly adjust power to keep RPM within range.

©2014, 2020 Gregory N. Brown

Announcing “The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual Third Edition”

TURB-PLT3_HiResI’m pleased to announce the new 3rd Edition of my book The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual, coauthored with my good buddy Mark Holt.

When the first edition of this book came out in 1995, it was the first publication to cover all the essentials of turbine aircraft in one book. It remains very popular to this day; I’m guessing that by now the vast majority of aspiring, personal, and professional corporate and airline pilots have copies on their bookshelves.

Along with updated contents reflecting the latest in turbine aircraft and cockpit technology, this edition for the first time includes selected color illustrations, and is newly available in ebook formats as well as print. The previously-included Aircraft Systems CD-ROM has been replaced with an included online resource page containing the same animations.

Finally, I hold a good deal of personal fondness for this book because it started me on my writing career, and has thus led to innumerable wonderful professional opportunities.

Many thanks to my coauthor Mark, and to the fine folks at our publisher ASA. Thanks especially to you readers for your lasting support and patronage of my books over all these years!


©2012 Gregory N. Brown

how it works: roll spoilers

On many jets and turboprops, roll spoilers are used to assist the ailerons in banking and thereby turning the plane. Roll spoilers are flat panels mounted on the upper wing surfaces, which deploy upward into the slipstream on the down wing only, disturbing lift and thereby aiding the down-wing aileron in effecting the turn.

Roll spoilers are interconnected with the ailerons, so as to perform in harmony with them. In many aircraft roll spoilers deploy as a function of airspeed. For example, on the de Havilland Dash-8, two roll spoilers deploy on each wing with the aileron below 140 knots, but only one operates per wing above that airspeed.

The reason roll spoilers are often required on high-speed aircraft is because they operate across such great speed ranges — such planes must resolve high-speed aerodynamics with the slow flight required for safe takeoffs and landings. Planes fly fastest with small, thin wings and high wing loading. Safe take-offs and landings, on the other hand, require high-camber, high-lift wings, with low wing loading. In essence, two different airplanes are required: one that can go fast, and one that can get everybody off the ground in less than ten miles of runway!

This challenge is resolved through extensive use of big flaps and leading edge devices (LEDs) like you see on jetliners, which effectively convert the wing from a high-speed shape to a low-speed, takeoff-and-landing shape. The problem is that in order to make wing size (and drag) small for optimum cruise speeds, the flaps must extend across as much of the wingspan as possible for adequate low-speed effectiveness. With all those flaps installed, there’s little room left on the wing for ailerons. Small ailerons may be fine for high speed cruise, but they’re often too small for adequate roll response at low airspeeds, like when taking off and landing. One solution to this problem is to put multiple ailerons on each wing, separately activated as a function of airspeed. The other solution is to install roll spoilers to help the ailerons. (The Boeing 767 utilizes roll spoilers AND two ailerons per wing — the outboard ones are locked above 240 kts).

On a few aircraft with very small wings, such as the Mitsubishi MU-2, the flaps must be so big to achieve reasonable landing speeds that there’s no room left for ailerons at all! So on MU-2s, all roll control is accomplished by spoilers. Since spoilers effect roll by destroying lift, crosswind techniques for such aircraft must be modified under marginal take-off and landing situations.

Incidentally, Transport Category Airplanes must be equipped with redundant or separated primary flight controls in order to overcome any control jams. So on planes that have them, the roll spoilers usually connect to one pilot’s flight controls, while the ailerons connect to the the other. The two control yokes are mechanically linked so ailerons and spoilers work together when turning either yoke. But if either the roll spoilers or the ailerons were to jam, a clutch connecting the two systems can be released or overcome, allowing one pilot to fly via the one that still works. Pretty cool, eh?!!

©2009, 2022 Gregory N. Brown

To learn more about turbine aircraft and how they work, see Greg’s new The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual Fourth Edition, coauthored with Mark Holt. Available in print and ebook. (Autographed copies available.)

how it works: auxiliary power unit (APU)

Ever wondered about those little exhaust pipes protruding from the tails of many jets and turboprops? Well, your eyes aren’t deceiving you— in many cases those are indeed jet engine exhausts, from small “extra” jet engines known as “APUs.”

An “APU” (Auxiliary Power Unit) is a small turbine engine installed to provide supplementary power. Often found in the tails of larger jets and turboprops, APUs serve several useful purposes.

APU generators provide auxiliary electrical power for running aircraft systems on the ground when the main engines aren’t running and no ground electrical power is available. Applications include powering environmental systems for pre-cooling or preheating the cabin, and providing power for crew functions such as preflight, cabin cleanup, and galley (kitchen) operation. Many aircraft APUs can also be operated in flight, providing backup power for the main engine generators.

On larger aircraft, APUs also generate auxiliary “bleed air”, referring to pneumatic pressure drawn from the engine’s compressor section. That’s because large jet engines like those on airliners must be started using pneumatic power. Unless a ground pneumatic source is available, the only way to start large turbine engines is from an operating APU (unless another engine is already running, of course). To accomplish this, the small APU engine is first started using an electric motor (often doing double duty as the generator). Once up and running, APU bleed air is routed to pneumatic starters on the plane’s main engines. Those, in turn, spin up the engine compressors for starting.

This schematic shows a typical APU installation. Along with providing ground power, APUs often provide backup pneumatic power for pressurization in flight, and back up environmental systems on the ground and in the air.

©2013, 2020 Gregory N. Brown

To learn more about turbine aircraft and how they work, see Greg’s new The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual Fourth Edition, coauthored with Mark Holt. Available in print and ebook. (Autographed copies available.)

how it works: “glass cockpit” vs. “steam gauges”

At first glance, the “glass cockpits” found in modern aircraft may look like they come from a different planet than the round “steam gauge” instruments found in older general aviation cockpits.

But upon closer examination you can see that most primary flight displays (PFDs) actually conform closely to the “standard T” layout of round flight instruments found in older cockpits. Look closely at the illustration and you’ll see the similarities in layout.

For those who are not familiar, note that the HSI (horizontal situation indicator) may be found in both round-instrument and “glass” cockpits — it’s simply a combination instrument including both heading indicator and CDI (course deviation indicator) needles.

©2009, 2020 Gregory N. Brown

To learn more about turbine aircraft and how they work, see Greg’s new The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual Fourth Edition, coauthored with Mark Holt. Available in print and ebook. (Autographed copies available.)

how jet engines work

While the reciprocating (or piston) engines that power cars and most light airplanes have a few commonalities with gas turbine (jet) engines, the two types are very different in most respects.

Both piston (left) and turbine (below) engines have somewhat similar stages of operation: intake, compression, combustion, and exhaust. But the similarities largely end there, the biggest difference being that in reciprocating engines those stages happen one at a time, while in turbine engines they are continuous.

Instead of compressing intake air with a piston, turbine engines use a series of wheels at the front of the engine known as compressors. Another set of wheels, known as turbines, is driven by exhaust gases departing the combustion section. Both compressor and turbine wheels are essentially sophisticated “fans,” composed of high-tolerance blades spinning at very high speeds inside a tightly-ducted cowl.

Much like a turbocharger, a turbine engine’s compressor and turbine sections are mounted on a common shaft. Intake air is compressed by the compressors, and forced into the combustion chamber. Fuel is continuously sprayed into the combustion chamber and ignited, generating expanding exhaust gases that drive the turbines. The turbines, through their shafts, drive the compressors, sustaining the process. The turbines also harness energy to drive accessories such as electrical generators and hydraulic pumps. Finally, the exhausting gases are accelerated through a nozzle at the back of the engine, producing thrust somewhat like the way air escaping the “nozzle” of an untied balloon propels it across the room.

In piston-powered airplanes the engine always turns a propeller to pull it through the air, but turbine engines can either operate as jets or drive propellers themselves. A turbine engine driving a propeller is known as a turboprop.

The basic gas turbine engine we’ve described is sometimes called a “gas generator,” or “core turbine engine.” Depending on how the exhaust gases are harnessed, the core turbine engine may be applied to turbojet, turbofan, or turboprop engines.

While most reciprocating aircraft engines burn gasoline, turbine engines consume kerosene. Turbine engines produce much more power for their weight than piston engines, but they burn more fuel and are far more expensive to manufacture. 

©2012, 2020 Gregory N. Brown

To learn more about turbine aircraft and how they work, see Greg’s new The Turbine Pilot’s Flight Manual Fourth Edition, coauthored with Mark Holt. Available in print and ebook. (Autographed copies available.)