How Are You Finding New Pilots? – Let me share how I do it!

Do you operate a Flying Club run a Flight Training school? How are you tackling the challenges of finding new pilots? If you are like many places you probably aren’t tackling these challenges and failing. The reason is that you assume too much, don’t think out of the box, or try the same old thing and expect change.

Let me share a few things that I have done to generate leads. Yes, I said generate LEADS because that is what YOU are looking to do. We aren’t talking huge budgets we are talking about self promotion and generating leads online.

You Can’t Promote in a Desert

You need to draw in people using the bait that attracts them to an airport and then once you get them in, they can and do tell others.

People really only think of two things when it comes to small airplanes:

  • Airplane Rides
  • Getting a Pilots License (Bucket List for the 25-45 yr old crowd)

I came to a decision awhile ago that if I didn’t help promote general aviation, nobody else would. So I threw caution to the wind and built a site called:

This little one page wonder has generated 140 leads in a year and half for either airplane rides or for people interested in becoming a Student Pilot. I forward these leads to the only airport who accepted my invitation (Canandaigua) to take them…at no charge…for free. It just happened that my local airport was the only one out of 5 that I contacted who would participate or even return my email. Yes, only in our industry do you find people who don’t have an interest in generating revenue from leads that cost them NOTHING!

Next was a chance to do even more for aviation and again I threw caution to the wind again and this year I redesigned a site that I had for a few years for…again…my local airport:

I was inclusive and setup a “Flight Training” page and with the help from the Flight Training school (who I send the other leads to) I received copy and promoted their flight training at:

This year this new page has generated 35 flight training requests.

So in the last year and a half I have generated 175 leads for my little local airport. I charged NOTHING, was paid NOTHING and used my online marketing experience and focused on the two things that people want to do with a small airplane. No Capital was needed to do this. A little sweat equity was all that was needed and you can freely replicate this as well for your own use.

In addition to these sites I also revamped our flying club web site (for the second time) and focused on the people walking of the street looking to maybe learn how to fly. So I threw caution to the wind and built a site without asking for permission called:

I kept it as simple as I could and clean. It’s functional for prospects and existing members. And it doesn’t fudge the numbers as far as rates or flight training costs and we talk about the responsibilities of membership. Information and rates are kept current. I even posted a repaint of one of our aircraft for use in Microsoft FSX, so you can fly the plane at home on your simulator.

There are always challenges but they can be overcome. Sure having a Cirrus SR20 for $165 / wet-based on Tach Time helps but it’s not the answer and more work needs to be done. Above all else…the planes must be affordable.

A Final Thought

I am just a pilot. I’m not rated. I don’t have a career in aviation. But I believe you need to GIVE in order to GET. And I believe it’s time…and time is running out…to give your time and talent to bringing on the next student pilot, or the next smiling child who had their first flight, or the middle lifer with a bucket list…a taste of what we take for granted. We take for granted the freedom of flight. And like every freedom, it will be taken away if we don’t use it and spread it from today’s generation to the next and to the next.

Stop waiting for the NEXT person to do it. Get involved!


Your Altitude is Wrong

Every now and then during your flight training pieces of knowledge and expereince fall together only to open up a door to new questions. This article is one of those questions I had when I was studying weather – Just how much does temperature and pressure impact the altitude your aircraft says you are at? We are given baro readings by ATC which are based AT the airport, not in the sky where we are at. This works fine so long as everyone is using the same reading, like 29.92 at 18,000 and above. But in our airspace different planes are using different settings, so we are therefore flying at slight or not so slight variations in altitude. Read on to learn more about Austin’s live experiment.

Your Altitude is Wrong

by Austin Meyer, owner and developer of X-Plane, keeps a personal blog called Austin’s Adventures.

OK so I am working on the VP-400, and artificially-intelligent avionics package that continuously considers power-off glides to every airport within gliding range and will take your airplane down to the best runway within gliding range for a power-off landing at the press of a single (red!) button.

One of the things I need to know to make this system work is how high you are, and how fast you are descending.

You can tell that from an altimeter and a vertical-speed indicator, right? Oh, you are SOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO wrong.

All altimeters and vertical speed indicators are based on pressure, and change of pressure with altitude! It is this change of pressure as you climb that winds up your altimeter, and how fast this pressure is changing that winds up your vertical speed indicator.

But here is an interesting thing about the atmosphere: While non-standard PRESSURE is always reported to us in every ATIS broadcast, any non-standard LAPSE-RATE OF PRESSURE WITH ALTITUDE is NEVER reported! I mean, listen to ATIS! Do they say: “Altimeter 29.85”, or do they say “Altimeter 29.85, with a lapse of 0.92 inches for the first 1,000 ft, then a laps of 0.90 for the next 1,000 ft, then a lapse of 0.88 for the next 1,000 ft…” and so on for the entire climb up to the flight levels?

Of course, they ONLY give the pressure, and NOT the change in pressure with altitude!

…And just as the pressure varies from standard on every flight (thus your need to enter a pressure into your altimeter) the pressure LAPSE RATE ALSO varies on every flight… but they never TELL you that, do they? And since they never correct for the non-standard pressure lapse-rate that we see every day, our altimeters get increasingly in-accurate the higher we climb, since we are climbing into air of increasingly-unknown density, since the lapse-rate WILL vary from day to day.

And, if the ALTIMETER is wrong, isn’t the VERTICAL-SPEED INDICATOR wrong as well, since it clearly will be affected by the pressure change with altitude, since that is exactly what the VSI measures? (The VSI fluctuates based on the rate of change of pressure as you climb or descend! If that rate of change of pressure is different than expected because the pressure change across altitude is different than expected, then the VSI will surely be wrong!)

So, writing my runway-seeker software, I needed to understand whether these pressure-based instruments found some way to be correct, or if they were wrong, and by how much. This would require a high-altitude test-flight in my (non-pressurized) airplane.

So, on a very hot South Carolina afternoon, it was off to 428X, where the tower controller was a bit surprised to see this little propeller airplane file IFR for FL250 (25,000 ft). He simply could not resist asking: “Just how high does that little thing GO?” This is actually a somewhat complex question that I will get to below.

So, before take-off, with minimum fuel to complete the mission on board (minimum fuel to maximize my climb abilities! Remember, the fuel in 428X can weigh a lot, with 108 gallons possible in the tanks!) my pressure-based altimeter (on my G-1000, and backed up by a static-port-based backup) correctly indicated 220 feet… within fifteen feet of the official airport elevation of 236 feet… perfect! As well, the GPS altitude on the MFD indicated 215 feet.. within five feet of the pressure-based altitude! PERFECT! With my IFR plan in place and a take-off clearance, it was full power down the runway in 428X, air conditioning ON to combat the hot, humid, sticky, 95-degree summer afternoon of South Carolina. Craft smartly airborne, I retracted the flaps and quickly set up for a lean-of-peak climb at 16 gallons per hour. Now this is interesting: At full-rich mixture at full-power, 428X burns a staggering FORTY gallons per hour!!! That is the full gas-tank in your car in maybe 20 minutes. For this reason, I always climb at lean of peak, max-lean-cruise power, and burn only 16 gallons per hour, getting maybe half the climb-rate, but the same forward speed and one third the fuel burn! Today, I set my lean-of-peak climb throttle, prop, and mixture, and eased up into the sky at maybe 700 feet per minute, setting up for the half-hour-climb to 25,000 ft to measure the altitudes and vertical speeds, both true and indicated, at every 1,000 ft from sea-level to 25,000 ft. At first, the data was sketchy because of the turbulence and winds of the low-altitude summer day, but I could still detect some alarming trends: Coming through 3,000 ft on the Garmin PFD, the GPS altitude was 3,200 feet!!! The error, at 3,000 ft, between pressure-based and GPS-based altitude was 200 feet! Lest any reader grasp at the imaginary straws of ‘instrument error’ or ‘GPS being in-accurate in altitude’ I can dis-abuse you of that notion right now! 428X is nearly new, it’s instruments carefully calibrated and tested at every annual by a shop that does not know the meaning of the word “skimp”, and the Garmin and backup altimeters were in PERFECT agreement with each other, and were in agreement with the GPS to within FIVE FEET when on the ground. There was no vague ‘instrument error’ or ‘GPS error’ here: Something ELSE was going on. As I continued the climb, the error between the pressure-based and GPS-based altimeters continued to steadily increase. The controllers had me change heading from time to time to avoid airspace as I meandered upwards, and I kept entering the latest and nearest altimeter settings from the nearest-available airport to keep the barometric-pressure setting in my altimeter as perfect as possible. As I broke though 8,000 ft, the air smoothed out to perfection, and my flight-test data became completely un-affected by bouncy air. As I climber, the error between my altimeter and true (GPS) altitude continued to widen. I was surprisingly busy working with the controllers on changing heading, constantly getting the latest altimeter setting from the nearest airport from the XM-weather in the Garmin MFD, putting on oxygen coming through 8,000 ft or so, and recording the indicated and true altitude every 1,000 ft during the climb. In fact, there were a number of times when controllers would have new frequencies or headings for me and I had to delay the readback to them to finish obtaining the latest altimeter setting or recording the latest climb data.

At 5,000 ft on the altimeter, my GPS altitude was 5,270… a 270-foot error.

At 10,000 ft on the altimeter, my GPS altitude was 10,530… a 530-foot error.

At 15,000 ft on the altimeter, my GPS altitude was 15,750… a 750-foot error.

At 20,000 ft on the altimeter, my GPS altitude was 21,150… a 1,150-foot error!

At this point, both myself and 428X were starting to struggle. Even with my oxygen on, I felt dizzy and light-headed. Was my O2 system malfunctioning? The cylinder head temperatures were departing the green and heading into the yellow, the tremendous heat from the twin turbochargers working overtime in the thin air simply too much for the engine to dissipate in the incredibly hot summer afternoon. Suddenly, the engine stuttered out to near-silence for just a moment and then came back… were the magnetos not remaining pressurized? Was the fuel beginning to vaporize? Suddenly a flashing alarm on the G-1000 caught my attention! Why hadn’t I noticed it earlier? Was I truly suffering from hypoxia? A new frequency-request was coming in from the controllers, the alert on the G-1000 indicated that I need to turn on the vapor-suppression, a pump that keeps the fuel in 428X from vaporizing in thin, hot, air before it reaches the engine, I felt dizzy… but my O2 was surely spurting in oxygen… I could HEAR it! The new controller had a new heading for me to keep me away from aircraft departing Charlotte.. I needed to record the next altitude and error… the engine was getting close to over-heat… I was already lowering the nose to try to speed up and cool the engine more, but it was not enough! The CHT’s continued to increase, and the climb-rate was starting to bleed off to near-nothing… how could I complete my test? I needed to cool the engine to get it’s temperatures back into the green, and get more power out of it to leap to 25,000 ft to finish my test, and there was only way to do that: FULL RICH mixture and FULL power. Vapor suppression ON to give a steady flow of non-vaporized, cool, liquid fuel to the engine, and easing the mixture control to full-rich to BATHE the engine in more fuel than it could actually burn, thus leaving the rest to evaporate in the cylinders and cool the engine, I advanced the RPM and throttle to REDLINE, and the engine surged with new vigor and the climb-rate surged smoothly to 1,000 feet per minute as the cylinder temperatures fell back to the green. I was still dizzy and light-headed and confused, but the airplane was surging strongly upwards, and I was still able to record data every 1,000 feet.

At 21,000 ft on the altimeter, my GPS altitude was 22,200… a 1,200-foot error!

At 22,000 ft on the altimeter, my GPS altitude was 23,200… a 1,200-foot error!

At 23,000 ft on the altimeter, my GPS altitude was 24,270… a 1,270-foot error!

At 24,000 ft on the altimeter, my GPS altitude was 25,290… a 1,290-foot error!

Fuel was now dumping overboard at an alarming FORTY gallons per hour, and my remaining 30 gallons was suddenly starting to look sort of thin. I was now using everything the airplane had, and curtailing my future options as the fuel dumped through the engine to give me the power and cooling I needed to power up through the hot, thin, air. I continued to use the best altimeter setting I could find, violating all rules about using 29.92 in the flight levels, because I needed to use the best altimeter setting to get accurate results from the experiment! My clearance to FL250, though, provided the buffer that I needed to avoid an altitude violation. So how high could 428X GO? At lean of peak, it can barely limp to 25,000 ft, but with full-rich mixture and full power it could easily surge well above 25,000 ft, and surely up to 30,000 ft, but the fuel would be exhausting at an alarming rate, and the pilot may be passed out inside. At 24,000 ft, I decided that was as high as was willing to go, since my clearance was to FL250, and since I was using the most accurate altimeter setting I could find, not 29.92, so there would be some error in my altitude compared to what I was assigned! Thus my need for a 1,000 ft buffer in my clearance to avoid an altitude excursion. Temperatures high, fuel low, pulse-rate elevated, O2 saturation low, I requested a descent back to Columbia. Now it was time for the second half of the experiment: Is the VERTICAL SPEED INDICATOR accurate, or is it just as bad as the altitude? The answer soon became obvious: The vertical speed was PERFECTLY tied to the altimeter. I dialed in a 1,000 foot-per-minute descent, and every 1,000 feet on the pressure-based altimeter took EXACTLY one minute to elapse. I am not exagerating when I say that going from 24,000 ft to 4,000 ft on the pressure-based altimeter took EXACTLY 20 minutes… to within about ONE SECOND. Back at 4,000 ft again, I could breathe, the engine could cool, the recorded data could sit on my pad, and it was with some relief that I landed and taxied in.

So, what were the lessons?

The lessons are:

=>Your altimeter is perfectly accurate at the airport if you enter your barometric pressure correctly.

=>At the cruise altitude of about 8,500 feet or so, your altimeter is off by about FIVE-HUNDRED FEET.

=>At that altitude, it does not matter much that your altimeter is off, because everyone else’s is off by the same amount, and you are far from the airport, and thus landing.

=>The error always seems to be off in the safe direction: You are always HIGHER than you think. Clearly, when they designed the system in 50’s, they designed the altimeters to follow the most conservative lapse-rate we could encounter, so in real-world flying, we are almost-always much HIGHER than we thought, which must be the safest error we can make.

=>The vertical speed indicator perfectly tracks the PRESSURE-based altimeter, not the true altitude, so the vertical speed indicator can be perfectly used to see how much the altimeter will change over time, the ACTUAL climb or descent rate of the plane is actually considerably DIFFERENT… at high altitudes, by 1,290 parts in 24,000, or just OVER FIVE PERCENT.

I don’t know how much this matters to you, but as I design the software for the VP-400 A-I runway seeker, all of the altitudes and descent rates will be computed by GPS, and if the altimeter disagrees with what the GPS says, I will know exactly why.

Help Make a Difference in 120 Days

As many of you know who have been following me, I fly as money allows (and sometimes when I can’t afford it) to maintain currency. I don’t like talking about it much because we all have issues. I’m talking more about it today because I hope that what I DO with my flying will convince others to financially support my endeavour over the next 120 days through

Below is the case that I  have put forth for my financing request. You can contribute by going to:

Every penny earned will go towards flying, from G1000 transition training, to commercial and instrument ratings, all of the hours used to reach these goals will help me achieve Mission and Orientation Pilot status in the Civil Air Patrol so that I can serve my community as a volunteer pilot.

Help Me Volunteer More with the Civil Air Patrol

My name is Barry Orlando. I am a recreational pilot, a Civil Air Patrol pilot and father of two living in the Finger Lakes region of New York State. I earned my Private Pilot certificate in October 2007. Three years later in October 2010, I earned my Advanced Ground Instructor certificate. Since then I have wanted to continue my training to earn commercial and instrument ratings, but this has been sidelined due to the economy and rising fuel costs.

I am looking to raise $20,000 to fund commercial and instrument flight training so I can do more with the Civil Air Patrol, such as become a Mission Pilot and an Orientation Pilot for young cadets. If you don’t know much about this fine organization and wish to learn more, may I suggest you visit their site at

My flying and volunteer work revolves around the following areas:

  • Search and Rescue
  • Disaster Relief
  • Humanitarian Services
  • Air Force Support
  • Counterdrug / Homeland Security

The Civil Air Patrol does not pay for flight training or pay you to fly. Only specific flights such as real-life emergencies are paid for by the Air Force.

I WISH TO DO MORE…but to do that I need to meet certain hour requirements as a pilot. For example, to be a Mission Pilot, I need 55 hours of additional flight time and at $100 an hour for plane hire, it will cost at least $5500 or subsequently $8500 to fly enough hours to be an Orientation Pilot. As you can see, it adds up quickly just to be in a position to fly these specialized missions. I am hoping to make this a possibility by training for both my commercial and instrument ratings. So I will meet the requirements and have ratings that will allow me to fly in different conditions.

The Impact

Right now, there is a shortage of pilots to fly missions in addition to an aging population of pilots. Higher costs mean less young people are becoming pilots…who will fly these missions?

By reaching my goal I can do the following:

  • fly critical and potentially life saving missions for the community
  • fly cadets on orientation flights and introduce them to aviation
  • fly in less than ideal conditions (emergencies don’t wait for good weather)
  • help the next generation of pilots in the Civil Air Patrol
  • become a flight instructor and earn my own way

Any financial assistance would be very appreciated but If you can’t help right now, please spread the word on Facebook and twitter.

Thank you and blue skies!


Working ATC Communication and My FORM 5 for CAP (Part 2)

After a run in with the flu I was finally able to fly my second flight toward earning my VFR Pilot designation with the Civil Air Patrol. With two flights down I am expecting one more before I take my Form 5 check ride.

Today we flew for 2.5 hours and focused on the following:

  • Short-field Takeoff & Landing
  • Soft-field Takeoff & Landing
  • Power-Off Stalls
  • Power-On Stalls
  • Maneuvering During Slow Flight
  • Steep Turns
  • Clearing Turns and Collision Avoidance
  • Normal Approaches and Landings
  • Forward Slips to Landing
  • ATC Communication

For the most part things worked out well, but strangely enough I was still coming in too high and fast. I am also not trimming much for my landings. I blame myself for not flying enough, for only flying this particular plane twice and for never going nuts on the trim. That’s not to say that I am NOT trimming, I am…but I’m not trimming it fully enough to just let it do its thing.

In the clubs 172 I use to squeak them on almost all the time. In fact I was doing really well compared to my instructor (Sir Trim a lot) – and I mean that with all respect. The result was…with a little or a lot of trim….same result. No big deal.

However since I also fly a Cherokee I got use to understanding the need for speed so we don’t sink too soon. This really meant an extra 10 knots during each phase of landing. I also don’t remember needing a lot of trim…I just keep flying it to the runway like I did with the Cirrus a few times.

So I got out of the habit of dealing with a falling leaf Cessna where 55 to 60 knots doing a short field is no big deal…so long as you keep flying the plane. Now I just need to get my head around this issue more which is why I will be playing with Microsoft FSX and practice landings before I get in the plane again.

Working ATC Communication and My FORM 5 for CAP

Civil Air Patrols 172 N927CP

On Sunday I took to the skies in the Civil Air Patrols 172 N927CP. This was my first time in this aircraft and the first time in over 6 years of operating from KROC and class Charlie airspace.

Flying the 172 may seem like the main event, but for me the excitement…or as some might say…the anxiety…comes from being at a controlled airport, in controlled airspace and having to listen to what’s going on and doing my part. For pilots who fly into Class C and B Airspace, this posting is NOT for you…but it could be good if you have students.

LiveATC Got You Down?

At some point in your flying you have probably been told to listen to LiveATC at: – to become familiar with ATC communications. And that’s a great thing to do, but because of all the commercial air traffic mingling with private pilots, it doesn’t offer the continuity that you may be looking for in order to learn what to do. That was my experience and frankly it didn’t really make things easier or instill confidence. In fact it probably increased my anxiety because everyone sounded like a fast talking expert (because they are) and there is no separation of the frequencies. In particular, approach and tower frequencies. Frustrating!

So before I leaped into ATC communications cold turkey (and there is nothing wrong with that) I documented and asked questions of CFI’s, commercial pilots and even updated a few documents based on my real world experience (and my own ATC recordings) to create three PDF files of ATC Communication for Private Pilots.

Below are my three PDF files of ATC Communication for Private Pilots starting with setting up a VFR departure from KROC (Rochester,NY) and the VFR arrival back to the airport. So there is 100% continuity from a flight out of and BACK to KROC…which is a Class Charlie airspace airport.

I can’t stress enough how important it is to plan ahead and organize in your head, what you are going to do before you leave and before you come back and talk to approach for permission to land. These documents are not written in long English sentences, but allow you to fill in the blanks and act as a script, except for the KROC frequencies…after all…I did make this for me.

If you want the Excel spreadsheet I used, please let me know and I can email it to you!

ATC Communication for Private Pilots

ATC-Script – Clearance – Taxi Procedure (.pdf)

ATC-Script – Departure Procedure (.pdf)

ATC-Script – Arrival Procedure (.pdf)

If you want to hear a few of my recordings, you can download the .mp3 files shown below. Unfortunately I just don’t want to devote a lot of time downloading and editing mp3 files to find everything that I did, so this is just a taste. Again, pardon my amateurish radio work…at least I was brave (or fool) enough to post a few of mine!

Radio Call to Clearance Deliver

Radio Call to Approach – Getting Back to KROC

Radio Call to Tower – Permission to land at KROC

Aircraft Renter’s Insurance: Don’t take off without it.

When I was a student pilot I did buy renters insurance for a little while, but sometimes I felt that flying was expensive enough so why add salt to the wound? The truth is that unless you have the FBO or Flying Club policy in your hand and you know for a fact that the premium is PAID and the policy is current and up-to-date, you are assuming too much risk. As 2012 approaches it might be time to re-think this behavior and opt for more protection. Here is some useful information from the AOPA Insurance site located at:

Aircraft Renter’s Insurance: Don’t take off without it.

This insurance is for your personal and non-commercial use of non-owned fixed wing, non-pressurized, land aircraft having a non-turbine single engine of 450 horsepower or less (including non-powered sailplanes) and capacity of no more than seven (7) total passengers and/or seats (1 pilot and 6 other passengers), and a standard, experimental, restricted, or light sport aircraft certificate, and not furnished to you for more than thirty (30) consecutive days. Multi-engine and rotor wing aircraft are not included in this coverage. For multi-engine and rotorwing nonowned coverage, please contact AOPA Insurance Agency at 1-800-622-2672.

Why should I buy a non-owned policy? My FBO tells me they have coverage.

FBO has coverage for them. Some FBO policies have provisions which will cover students and renters for liability coverage and provide a waiver of subrogation, but without seeing a copy of the policy you will never know what rights you have (if any) under the FBO’s policy. You are much better off having your own coverage.

What is non-owned liability coverage?

It is a liability insurance policy to protect you against claims arising from bodily injury and property damage for which you are legally liable, caused by an occurrence arising from your use of a non-owned aircraft. This coverage does not apply to the non-owned aircraft you have borrowed or rented. Physical Damage to your non-owned aircraft must be purchased.

I do not rent aircraft, but occasionally I borrow an aircraft from a close friend. I am named on their policy as an approved pilot, don’t I have coverage?

The policy is intended to cover the owner of the aircraft not the user of the aircraft. Depending on the policy and insurance company you may be held responsible to any damage you cause to the aircraft.

Will a non-owned policy provide coverage for a borrowed aircraft that doesn’t have insurance?

If you purchase physical damage to your non-owned aircraft coverage, the policy will provide you with liability coverage while using someone else’s aircraft. Your non-owned coverage is not a substitute for the aircraft owner buying their own coverage to protect their interests.

What type of aircraft am I permitted to use if I purchase a non-owned liability policy?

Non-owned coverage is for your personal and non-commercial use of non-owned fixed wing, non-pressurized, land aircraft having a non-turbine single engine of 450 horsepower or less (including non-powered sailplanes) and capacity of no more than seven (7) total passengers and/or seats (1 pilot and 6 other passengers), and a Standard, Experimental, Restricted or Light Aircraft Certificate, and not furnished to you for more than thirty (30) consecutive days.

Does the AOPA Insurance Agency offer any type of insurance for rotorcraft or multi-engine aircraft?

Non-owned coverage is available for multi-engine and rotorwing aircraft, however, it is not available through the website. Please call the AOPA Insurance Agency for more information about these products at 1-800-622-2672.

What limits of bodily injury and property damage liability should I carry?

There is no standard recommended amount of liability coverage you should carry. You need to consider factors such as your personal assets, earnings, whom you carry as passengers, and how much insurance you can afford or that is available. We recommend buying the most coverage you can reasonably afford and that is available.

What limits of aircraft damage liability should I carry?

For non-owned physical damage coverage, it depends on the value of the aircraft you typically rent and whether or not you want to fully be covered in the event of a total loss.

Does my immediate family or I have protection if we’re injured?

This policy covers bodily injury to others including immediate family, but does not include the named insured on the policy.

Is there a deductible on the aircraft damage liability coverage?

Non-owned coverage does not have a deductible.

What effect does pilot experience have on non-owned insurance premiums?

None. Premiums are based on the limits of coverage you select.

Who should purchase a non-owned policy?

Any pilot who rents or borrows someone else’s aircraft should purchase a non-owned policy. Even if you are receiving dual flight instruction and not acting as pilot in command in a non-owned aircraft, you may be held responsible for any damages or injuries arising from your negligence.

When should I purchase a non-owned policy?

We recommend you purchase a non-owned policy as soon as you start your flying lessons. You may be held legally liable for any losses that may occur.

Will a non-owned policy protect me if I use a non-owned aircraft for other than my own pleasure and business use?

No. Non-owned policies do not provide coverage if the non-owned aircraft is being used for or in connection with:

Aerial advertising, towing, photography or connection with; hunting, herding or spotting of animals of any kind, including birds and fish; patrol or surveillance of any kind, including powerlines, pipelines, traffic or fires; skydiving or parachuting; closed course racing; flights off-shore in support of fan off-shore business or operation; external transportation of persons or property, including wire stringing, or construction.

My employer allows me to rent aircraft to travel on company business, can you cover my employer on the non-owned policy?

Your employer may be added as an additional insured under the non-owned policy

What payment plans are available?

We require annual payment at the time the policy is bound. You can purchase your policy online at with a credit card or pay with a check with your application by mail or phone 1-800-622-2672.

What is the term of a non-owned policy?

One year.

If I have a non-owned policy and I later decide to purchase my own aircraft, can I cancel my non-owned policy?

Yes. We will cancel your non-own policy and transfer your credit to your owner policy.

Does your non-owned aircraft policy include “loss of use” coverage?

Yes. As a result of destruction to tangible property to others, loss of use is covered.

Does a non-owned policy provide coverage for losses in excess of the limits on our flying club’s policy?

This insurance is excess insurance. If there is other insurance available to you, it will apply first.

Does your policy have any exclusion against landing on a private grass strip?

NO. However, the policy does exclude coverage when the non-owned aircraft is operated into, on or from an area that is not designed, maintained and used as an airport except a landing due to a recorded emergency. This exclusion will not apply to a forced landing due to emergency flight conditions.

Can I fly outside the continental US?

The non-owned policy covers flights within the political boundaries of the United States of America, Mexico, Central America, Canada, the Islands of the West Indies (excluding Cuba), and while enroute between places therein.

I am a CFI – Why do I need a non-owned policy?

The Comprehensive CFI policy covers your negligence arising from your personal use of non-owned aircraft, covers your negligence while instructing in non-owned aircraft and provides coverage for claims that may arise out of your professional liability as a CFI. Although few have been sucessful in suing a CFI for their bodily injury or property damage arising from alleged negligent instruction the Comprehensive CFI policy provides you with defense coverage (legal fees) which can add up to hundreds of thousands of dollars.

I fly for the CAP – Does your policy cover this?

Yes – an endorsement can be added to the policy to cover CAP flights.

I am not interested in liability protection, can I only purchase the liability for aircraft physical damage option?

No – The company will only package the policy with liability for bodily injury, property damage and physical damage to non-owned aircraft. You may purchase liability for bodily injury and property damage only though.

My spouse is learning to fly as well, can I add him/her to my policy?

The non-owned policy covers only one individual, your spouse must buy their own policy to cover their use of non-owned aircraft.

How do I purchase coverage?

Visit Renters Insurance or call 1-800-622-2672.

Fall Flying Update 2011

After 3 yrs and 6 months of procrastination, I finally got checked out to fly a couple of 172’s at my local airport which is 2 minutes away versus 45 minutes for the flying club. With winter coming I want to try to stay current and this seemed like a reasonable option…and it  gives me two more planes to fly.

For the time being my Cirrus training is on hold. The reality is that the cost of currency in a Cirrus isn’t that economical and I would be flying a 172 or a Cherokee anyway to avoid the $145 hr price tag on the Cirrus. It’s more important for me to fly more often than to fly glass. That’s not to say it wouldn’t be nice to have the option, but such is life and that’s all I’ll say about that. I don’t plan on doing more than keeping current over the winter, so the flying will be minimal. If my income changes than I’ll see  what happens and plan accordingly.

In all it took me 3.3 hours total for my checkout and BFR (biannual flight review). It was interesting being in a plane with no GPS.  Tracking a VOR was simplistic and worry free and I could keep my eyes outside the aircraft. True flight planning would be in order before I  would consider a cross-country in these aircraft, but there is something to be said about actual aviating and navigating without an autopilot or moving map.

I’m suppose to get checked out in the G1000 equipped Cessna 182 with the Civil Air Patrol…will see how that goes. The training is free but the plane is not and 182’s aren’t known for sipping fuel. That would also involve working in the Rochester airspace and getting use to ATC again. I should probably get the questionnaire for the aircraft completed and see what it would take schedule wise to make it happen. This time of year weather has the upper hand both mentally and physically. That’s all for now!

Cirrus Cylinder Head Temperature Redlines

August 29th was an important day; it was my youngest son’s birthday and he was turning 14 years old. He doesn’t seem so young now or as small as he once was and now that he is advancing nicely playing bass guitar, he is almost more of a room mate. His soon to be 16 yr old brother is even more to my eye level and size. Anyway it was going to be a day of celebration including a dinner out and ice cream and cake afterwards.

Around 10am I got a call from Gordy, my flight instructor / mentor who expressed an interest in taking the Cirrus up and going from Penn Yan (KPEO) to Rochester (KROC). There at KROC he wanted to do a few ILS approaches and figured that I might want to ride along. I thought it would be a nice flight and it wasn’t going to interrupt birthday plans, so I agreed. Gordy would pick me up in a couple hours and take us to Penn Yan.

During my wait I collected my log book and made a copy of my hours and endorsements and put them on file. I like to have another hard copy of things just in case I was to loose my log book or worse. When flying the Cirrus I want to make sure all my ducks are in a row. Why? Well as much as I like high tech gadgets, I am not a fan of advanced automation. I’m not against it…but too much of any good thing can be bad. I would love a large KILL switch that I could push to remove the autopilot, electric trim and so on…just in case the plane decided to do its own thing. The idea of “looking” for circuit breakers while I arm wrestle with a plane isn’t my idea of fun. The world is not moving in my direction, so I must move with it…which is why I am riding along.

On the way to Penn Yan between the normal chit chat sessions we talked about the Cirrus, ours is an SR-20 with an upgraded autopilot. Gordy mentioned that another member flew it and had to turn back near KSYR due to the cylinder head temperature on the #4 cylinder redlining. Apparently cylinder #4 went red in cruise flight and then calmed down. They brought the plane back and grounded it temporarily…until our flight. I don’t remember what happened between flights, but hearing this in route was not encouraging.

We got to Penn Yan in short order and took care of all the pre-flight and started our flight by heading northwest towards KROC. At around 3,500 ft and in cruise Gordy decided that we should lean the plane. So with me in the left seat I pressed “lean assist” and let him handle the mixture control. Generally we are pretty good at coordinating around each other and he found the first peak. I think we were trying to find lean of peak (or rich of peak), I forgot which at this point, but for some reason neither was working out. Gordy tried it a couple times, still no luck, so we just clicked “normalize” and contacted ATC to request a touch and go landing using the ILS on runway 22 at Rochester.

I was flying the plane in KROC airspace while Gordy handled the radios. We did the pre-landing checklist and with the ILS setup on the primary flight display I turned on a long final for runway 22. So far…so good…I trimmed as needed and tried to keep the glide scope where it should be on the PFD (primary flight display). This was starting to get fun! I was around 100 kts and pitching as needed to keep things centered. The runway was clearly in site, but I tried to ignore that fact and used the display as much as I could.

I finally had Gordy take the controls for the landing, it had been awhile and I didn’t want to kick the rust off on the main runway and be on TV if I screwed up. Gordy did just fine and we landed on 22 and just as quickly he brought in 50% flaps…away we went on the touch and go! We were climbing and turning right traffic for another ILS approach and didn’t have any issues as we headed outbound on a heading of 280 at 1,600 ft climbing to 3000 ft. We called up ATC and were now told to turn to a heading of 360.

By now the airspeed was between 115 to 120kts. Our oil temp was 171 F and the oil pressure was 50 PSI which is all within the GREEN.

Suddenly Gordy noticed a red light. He quickly turned the knob on the display on the MFD (multi-function display) to the ENGINE page and saw that cylinder head temperature on the #3 cylinder was at 468 F – REDLINE. Everything else was fine and the plane was cruising along as it should. We quickly went to full rich and reduced power and declared our condition to ATC.

MFD Showing a Redline on #3 (simulated)

As all of this was going through my head and as Gordy was talking to ATC, the CHT temperature began falling. We weren’t ready to declare an emergency just yet. We still had the airport in site and things were going from RED to Yellow and then back to GREEN all in about a minute’s time. Weird!


If you want to hear what happened, you can by clicking the link below. We are N8PY – Gordy is the first voice you hear with our request.

On the tape at 2:48 to 3:07 – We are told to turn 330 after being stepped on.

At 3:49 we are told to maintain VFR at 3,500 ft (as a plane flies below us).

At 9:22 we begin our decent to 2,500

At 10:30 we are told to turn left 250 maintain VFR cleared ILS 22 approach.

At 12:14 we are told to switch to the tower frequency.

At 12:51 we tell the tower where we are and we are cleared for a low approach. We request a touch and go and then another try at the ILS. Finally we are cleared for the touch and go.

At 12:14 we are told to switch to the tower frequency.

At 16:50 we’ve completed the touch and go and are climbing out, we are switching to departure for a second go at ILS 22.

At 17:31 we are at 1,600 climbing to 3,000 on a heading of 280. So far so good!

At 17:40 we are told to turn on a heading of 360.

At 18:40 we are asked how the approach will terminate – we respond at we will be flying direct to KPEO. We are cleared to fly runway heading maintain VFR after the touch and go.

At 20:09 we notice our REDLINE and we report that we have a problem with our engine and have a request that we go direct to Penn Yan. We are cleared direct to Penn Yan.

At 20:45 less than a minute from reporting a problem, the CHT is back in the green and report that a cylinder was overheating – we are instructed to turn to a heading of 100.


As you can hear, Gordy requested a heading to Penn Yan after the engines CHT returned to normal. We eventually turned direct to KPEO after leaving KROC airspace. On the way back Gordy wanted to see if we could lean the engine. I successfully negotiated that we don’t push our luck. I didn’t want my son’s birthday to be the same day his daddy (me) died. Gordy…to his credit…left things alone.

Back on sweet mother earth we grounded the plane. The plane was quickly scheduled to be looked at in Batavia to see what was going on. This was the second time that a cylinder redlined and returned to normal. This occurred with #4 before us and now #3. The leaning issue was the only other one reported besides Gordy feeling the engine running a little rough, he flies this aircraft more than me so I didn’t notice it like he did.

The Cirrus was flown by Gordy a few days later to Batavia for a checkout. Apparently each cylinder head has a discreet temperature probe. We had problems with the number three cylinder head temperature readout being hot…they switched the probe from the number three cylinder to the number five cylinder and the probe from the number five cylinder was placed on the number three cylinder….same for 2 and 4.

Cylinder Head Temperature Probe

So now when you go to the engine monitoring page on the MFD and look at the temperature readouts for the cylinders, things are not what they seem. The indicated temperature for cylinder three is actually cylinder five and vice versa, this will allow us to troubleshoot the probes.

Cylinder Head Temperature Probe Closeup

If the probe for cylinder three reads high again, the probe is probably bad because it is actually reading the temperature of cylinder five. If the probe for cylinder five reads high, then it is actually cylinder three overheating and the problem is probably not probe related.

So the saga continues! Is it the temperature probes or the cylinders? I guess we will find out eventually once some lucky Joe flies the plane and replicates the proble

Ten Things Your Flight Instructor Wishes You Knew

Recently I saw an article that I thought had a lot of value to anyone who is training for any type of certificate or rating regardless of experience. It falls under the “Things I wish I had known before I spent all of that money on flight training” category.

This article written by Jeremy Jankowski that outlines what might be considered “Best Practices” in our approach to learning and becoming a true student of Aviation. – Enjoy!

Ten Things Your Flight Instructor Wishes You Knew

We all want to get through training as quickly and efficiently as possible. Yet some student pilots fly through training (no pun intended), and others end up spending a great deal more effort, money, and time to reach the same levels as our peers. What’s the difference?

Though frequency of training and personal learning styles can have an impact, removing only a few common roadblocks from your training can reduce the hurdles encountered in the process. Here are ten things that will undoubtedly make you stand out as one of your flight instructor’s favorite students.

1. Look Outside!

With the proliferation of “gizmos” in general aviation aircraft — tied so closely to the rapid expansion of the computer and electronics industries in the past few years — every pilot has had to grapple with the temptation to fixate all of his or her energy on the latest technology. Student pilots in particular have a great deal of difficulty keeping their attention outside of the cockpit, since all of the instrumentation in the cockpit (even the relatively simplistic stuff) is new to them. However, any pilot who has just trampled through the instrument rating will confirm that it’s a lot easier to precisely control the aircraft by looking outside, and most of the things that will hurt you in an airplane aren’t found inside the cockpit. If you feel like you’re having trouble, ask your flight instructor to cover up some instruments for a few lessons to force your attention outside the cockpit. Remember: A lot of airplanes don’t have attitude indicators, radios, or GPS, and their pilots do just fine.

2. Be on time

In fact, be early if you can. Getting ready for the flight (pre-flighting the aircraft, getting the weather briefing, etc.) before your scheduled time with your flight instructor allows him to concentrate the bulk of his attention on teaching new things or working on the areas that need the greatest amount of review. As it turns out, though, students often show up on the scheduled minute of arrival, spend half an hour getting ready to fly, and then have to hurry through a particular lesson to ensure that the aircraft and the flight instructor make it back on time for the next student. Sometimes the aircraft may not be available if you arrive early, but at the very least you can spend 20 minutes looking over the maneuvers you were supposed to know when you arrived.

3. One hour of studying at home can save two hours of training in the airplane

Most people fly for fun and studying hasn’t generally been regarded as the most enjoyable of all activities. Particularly for those with busy schedules or who haven’t been in a classroom for a while, study habits may be downright poor. However, students who progress most quickly through training (and folks, the most fun stuff comes after you get the Private Pilot Certificate) are generally those who spend at least an hour intimately close to the books between flight lessons. In particular, knowing the procedures for the next lesson’s maneuvers and radio phraseology saves a tremendous amount of training time. Ask yourself if you could do any of the maneuvers you’ve done with your instructor on at least three occasions from memory and without help; if you can’t, you’re probably spending a lot of time with your instructor in the airplane going over the procedure step-by-step, when you should be working on the execution of the maneuver itself.

4. The checklist is required

The Practical Test Standards, the “cheat sheet” for check rides, couldn’t possibly be more clear when it comes to the subject of checklists. Nearly every Area of Operation listed requires that the applicant “completes the appropriate checklist.” Yet with many student pilots, proper checklist discipline falls short, and it typically results in things consistently getting missed. Is your landing light on when it should be? Forget to turn on the transponder again? Mixture not rich for landing? If you’re using the checklist, that should never be a problem.

5. Asking questions makes a CFI’s job easier

Anyone whose tried to teach anything to a person who refuses to participate in the process knows how frustrating it can be to determine the degree of understanding gleaned from the lecture. Yet many students, even those who are normally active and outgoing, act like a tree whenever the instructor asks, “Does that make sense?” If it doesn’t, say so. Say it again if you have to. If you make learning an interactive process, you will pick up the material more thoroughly and more quickly than someone who take notes that only somewhat make sense to them. Often flight instructors find new ways of looking at things themselves through the questions that you ask!

6. A weather briefing is a necessity — even on nice days

It’s a clear blue sky outside, visibility unlimited, and the winds are calm. Who needs a weather briefing? You do! It’s not only a legal requirement (see FAR 91.103), but in this day and age of temporary flight restrictions (TFRs), airports across the country constantly under construction, communication frequency outages, and aging navigation facilities, it’s an absolute requirement that you get the full standard briefing. Either call the Flight Service Station or connect to DUATs. (If you don’t know how these work, this would be a great question to ask at your next lesson. See #5).

7. Safety, precision, smoothness

In that order. Students often try to be the next ace when they’re learning a new maneuver, and smoothness is a requirement for being considered ready to take the practical test. However, at some times, there are things more important that being soft on the controls for the sake of the hypothetical people in the back. Concentrate first on doing a maneuver safely (which means looking outside for other traffic!), then within the altitude, heading, and speed requirements, then work on doing both gently. You’re expected to be a little rough at it first, but with experience, you’ll find your corrections will get smaller and the “smooth hands” will follow.

8. Fly it like you own it

At first, every one of us needs to be walked through a new procedure, maneuver, or operation, because, quite frankly, we haven’t ever done it before. Loosening the leash after that can be a difficult task for the instructor, and most students aren’t sure what they’re allowed to do on their own — they wait until they’re told to put out the flaps, or reduce the power, or run the checklist, or call the tower. Take the initiative and ask your flight instructor if you can try doing a maneuver without his help, and have him critique you after you’ve completed it. The more responsibility you take on, the more comfortable an instructor will be letting you tackle the aircraft by yourself.

9. Keep your instructor in the loop

One thing that every flight instructor hates to hear after giving an instruction to a student is, “I was just about to do that.” It can be difficult for an instructor to predict what a student will do next, and sometimes a flight instructor has to assume that the student has forgotten a step or needs to be prompted for a particular action. When you tell your flight instructor what you plan to do and when, he can tell if you’ve forgotten, because you haven’t done what you said you would do. This allows him to give you more responsibility to make decisions on you own, and short circuit a plan that may not work for one reason or another before you are in the midst of executing it.

10. Keep your eyes on the big picture

The most important thing that any flight instructor wants to see in a student is safety. Most student pilots tend to evaluate their performance on how softly they land, how precisely they execute a maneuver, how accurately they memorize procedures. In the real world of flying, though, poor decisions about weather, equipment, or pilot skill are generally what cause accidents — not a bad steep turn or a firm landing. Make your goal to be a conservative, current, and well-informed pilot, and the rest will fall into place!

Technologically Advanced Aircraft (TAA)

The arrival of new technology to general aviation aircraft has generated noticeable changes in three areas: information, automation, and options.

Pilots now have an unprecedented amount of information available at their fingertips. Electronic flight instruments use innovative techniques to determine aircraft attitude, speed, and altitude, presenting a wealth of information in one or more integrated presentations. A suite of cockpit information systems provides pilots with data about aircraft position, planned route, engine health and performance, as well as surrounding weather, traffic, and terrain.

Unless you started training with a Technologically Advanced Aircraft, these modern avionics systems may present three important learning challenges as you develop proficiency:

  • How to operate advanced avionics systems
  • Which advanced avionics systems to use and when
  • How advanced avionics systems affect the pilot and the way the pilot flies

If you are starting your transition training to a Technologically Advanced Aircraft, then you should consider checking out several FREE publications on this topic:

AOPA – Technologically Advanced Aircraft: Safety and Training

FAA – Advanced Avionics Handbook

Assuming Risk

Glass cockpits don’t make us invincible, however they seem to allow us to assume more risk than either the plane or our experience is ready for when it comes to weather. Seeing weather on a display is not a license to fly closer than 20 NM to it or a reason to consider flying a sucker hole between two storms. Remember, we are flying single engine GA aircraft, not a Boeing or an Airbus with much more power and performance. Yes, modern avionics can allow you to fly closer, thread the needle and some GA pilots may consider that common practice. Is it safe? That depends on the conditions, the aircraft in use and the pilot’s experience, and one other thing called luck.

Weather showed the largest negative difference when comparing a TAA like a Cirrus to the overall GA fleet, with nearly one-third (31 percent) of all Cirrus accidents involving weather, compared to 4.7 percent for GA overall. Weather proved to be uncommonly deadly in the Cirrus, accounting for nearly two-thirds (61.5 percent) of fatal accidents. In the overall GA fleet, weather was identified as the cause in 16.4 percent of fatal accidents.

I’m not picking on Cirrus. And we are pretty sure that storms don’t seek out and attack Cirrus aircraft. Could it be that a radar screen doesn’t do justice to the actual flight conditions near a storm? Could it be that a TAA like the Cirrus is more likely to fly a business flight fully loaded with get-there-itis? Could it be that all this technology gives us a false sense of security? My guess is…all of the above…and few we didn’t mention. Is this bad? Yes, if we ignore how we can be lulled into a false sense of security and leave it up to the plane to use its discretion instead of our own to fly the plane.