Flying Right

I read an article published in Flying Magazine almost 20 years ago that was one of the best articles I have ever read. The article started with the observation of a cropduster landing to reload and then took off again. The pilot impressed the author of the article by flying professionally and “doing the right thing.”

The writer described how the old duster pilot did not waste any aspect of the flight; when he landed the big agplane, he landed exactly at a point to minimize his taxi to the tanks where he could fill his hopper. The magazine author was also impressed with the pilot’s skill in both the landing and taxi in from the landing area, which the agpilot accomplished with very little use of brakes.

The author wanted his readers to get the message that the older cropduster pilot flew his airplane by the rules, as if he were flying a checkride – although no one was really observing.  Except the writer – who, unknown to the pilot, was looking on from afar.

Both the pilot and the writer impressed me. The pilot was impressive for his skills as an aviator.  The writer’s skill was his keen observations and talent at describing the pilot’s prowess.

It was a very good article. It is something I strive to teach each of my students today. Fly the airplane as if everyone is watching and judging, even if no one is around to watch.

If you fly in this manner, more than likely you will never find yourself in trouble. Additionally, your passengers will enjoy the ride and you will always have repeat business.

Another important aspect about flying right, is in your equipment. If you are flying well, you are probably treating your equipment with the respect it is due. More than likely, when you most need your equipment to work, it will. An old pilot once said, “You take care of the airplane, it’ll take care of you.”

 Fly well out there – you never know who may be watching.


© 2010 J. Clark

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3 Responses to Flying Right

  1. flyinggma says:

    The thought crossed my mind as I made a not so great off centerline landing at one of the three airport on my solo cross-country “I wonder if my CFI has anybody watching for their students at the airports to report back to my CFI about landings.” It made me want to do it better the next time.

    Do CFI’s alert airports that they have a student flying solo there? I’ve always wanted to know that answer but never asked the question of my CFI.

  2. Joe Clark says:

    No, not really. We trust the student to do the right thing, otherwise, we would not have signed our names and CFI certificate numbers into their logs and onto the backs of their student pilot certificates attesting to their skills for flying cross countries and flying in general. An incapable student pilot does not get the signatures; those who do receive the authorizations, typically you don’t have to worry about.

    • flyinggma says:

      That’s what I thought but when I sent my son off with the family car the first time I couldn’t help but check to see if he arrived safety. We didn’t have a cell phone at that time for him to call when he arrived.

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