EAA Sportair Workshops — Building Skills »

For many, the idea of building their own aircraft is just that — an idea. One of the major challenges facing the first-time homebuilder can be acquiring the skills necessary to assure timely completion of the project without wasting time, energy, materials or money. Recognizing this, the Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA) recently established the EAA Sportair Workshops, one- and two-day sessions that teach the necessary skills to build or restore aircraft. AVweb's Matt Paxton recently attended a workshop as part of the process of building his Pietenpol Air Camper. In this second article of an occasional series for AVweb on building his Pietenpol, Matt goes through one of the workshops and learns how to weld. More

Now We're Flying »

The process of deciding to learn to fly, choosing a flight school and an instructor and, of course, finding the time and money to pay for it all are rewarded once a student pilot actually takes the controls of an airplane. And that's when the fun begins. Stalls. Engine- out procedures. It's enough to make a person ask herself, "What made me think this was a good idea?" AVweb's series on primary flight training by Tina Gonsalves continues, as we ride along with a brand-new student during her first few flight hours and through her private pilot checkride. More

Drinking from a Fire Hose: ATOP at the UAL Training Center »

Ever fantasize about what it might be like to fly heavy iron for a major airline? Got a spare $395 plus enough frequent-flyer miles to get to Denver and back? Well then, have we got a treat for you! There's a little-known weekend program at the United Airlines training center that offers pilots of any experience level the opportunity to go through a grueling 10-hour cram course on Boeing 737 systems and procedures, plus two hours in a 737 cockpit procedures trainer and two more hours flying UAL's full-motion 737 simulator. AVweb reader Erik Sundquist, a low-time non-instrument-rated private pilot, took the course and actually lived to write about it. More

The Whys and Hows of VFR Flight Following »

Flying VFR without talking to anybody is still legal most places, but it's the aviation equivalent of living in the wilderness with no electricity or running water. Most of the time, for most of us, asking ATC for VFR flight following is safer and more civilized. Here's a review of the benefits, procedures, phraseology, and gotchas of radar traffic information service. More

737 Typed! — A GA Pilot Goes for a Boeing 737 Type Rating »

How difficult would it be for a GA pilot with no turbine experience and precious little multiengine time to earn a Boeing 737 type rating? How long would it take? What would it cost? Is it even possible? Well, AVweb's Wayne Phillips recently did exactly that, and now has the heavy-iron type rating to show for it! Wayne explains why, where, how long, how much, what was involved, what aspects he found toughest, and which were the most exciting. More

Thanks for the Landing »

All pilots vividly remember their primary flight instructor, but most of us lose touch with our original mentors as we pursue our aviation careers. AVweb reader John Laming is a striking exception. This former Royal Australian Air Force fighter and bomber pilot and retired 737 captain writes a poignant account of the day a few years ago when he had the chance to offer his old military flight instructor — age 80 and nearly blind — the left seat of a Piper Cherokee, and talked him through his final landing. Don’t miss this touching story. More

Lift Doesn't Suck »

Why does an airplane wing produce lift? It's neither wing curvature nor the difference in path length of air passing over and under the airfoil. And despite what you may have been taught, it has much less to do with Bernoulli and suction than it does Newton and circulation. With the help of some vivid word-pictures that involve mashed potatoes, dust motes, ocean waves, cranes, screen door closers and suction cups — plus some animated graphics — Roger Long demystifies lift, and even explains such arcane notions as ground effect and the boundary layer. More

Career Common Sense: Strategies Used by Successful Professionals »

Cheryl Cage, one of the top career consultants in the aviation field, identifies six key approaches and traits that separate successful professionals from struggling ones. Cage's two decades of experience in guiding thousands of clients into aviation careers has convinced her that following these six simple strategies on a daily basis with dedication and motivation can help maximize your prospects for career success. More

Wow — I'm Going to Be a Pilot! »

Those words have been said — out loud or silently — by just about everyone who ever learned to fly. David R. Long, a San Diego-based Learjet captain and CFII, is no exception. In this funny and touching article, Dave shares his memories of the moment in 1962 when he first realized that he was meant to become a pilot. More

Cyber CFI »

Can a PC-based flight simulator help a primary student prep for the Private Flight Test? According to Roger Long, the answer is a resounding "yes." Long used his PC and Microsoft Flight Simulator to help round off the rough edges he encountered in his "real" training — including problems with his landings — and created new challenges to help him learn. He explains how in this article. More