Foundation Skills

Foundation Skills

UPDATE: Our new book “Refine Your Flying Skills” now contains a number of articles that were originally published in this section. As a result, some articles here are now password protected. You can read a chapter-by-chapter review of the book and get your own copy from our online store or from all good pilot shops in Australia and New Zealand.

Back to our story…

Below are some of the educational articles we have written for the purpose of helping pilots everywhere improve their core piloting skills and knowledge. As always if you have any ideas for topics that you would like to see covered in the future, please let us know.

Communication Breakdown

As part of ab initio flight training, pilots will be shown how to deal with a range of potential in-flight emergencies. One of these is a radio communications failure in the air. But how will a pilot actually respond when it happens for real? Twice? And how can we improve the suggested processes in ERSA?



Is the Runway Long Enough?

Is the runway long enough for me to land on today? Now that sounds like a simple enough question. But is it really? Like most topics that Aero Circus likes to tackle, the real answer might be found in another galaxy, far, far away from your initial reaction. The real question might be “Can I consistently land my aircraft in less distance than it needs to take off again?”



Honing The Gliding Skills

Mostly about remembering, reviewing and updating glide approach skills in the circuit for more advanced pilots, this article also looks at some issues with the flight training system and flying instructors themselves. Fun for the whole family!



One In Sixty

This is an in-depth article that covers everything you ever wanted to know about aerial navigation using the One In Sixty technique. How it works, where it comes from, and advanced applications that you may have never thought of.

Jim Davis said “That is the most brilliant, accurate, academic, complete, well illustrated explanation of the 1:60 rule in the whole history of the world!” But be warned – it is not a 5 minute read before bed. Enter at your own risk!

You can also read our paper ‘Making One In Sixty More Accurate‘.


Help! We’re Going To Die!

Pilots spend a great deal of time preparing for when things go wrong. But what if things go wrong at night on a training flight when much of the basic training cannot be applied? What would you do? PPL Ian recalls what he did on just such an occasion.



Advanced Precautionary Search and Landings

As pilots, we are shown how to do a precautionary search and landing early in our flying careers. But how long has it been since you actually practiced one? And have you updated the process to take account of your more highly developed flying skills? This article revisits the ab initio training and builds on that with some very useful techniques for the more experienced pilot.



Unplanned Emergency Landing

Have you ever wondered about emergency training in an airplane versus the real thing? Does the training really prepare you for such emergency? How can you keep improving this vital skill-set? This article details a real-life emergency situation that happened to two of the Aero Circus clowns in the circuit and explores ways to help you deal with whatever emergency aviation may decide to throw at you.



Taking Care of Your Pax

The ability to take friends, and perhaps even acquaintances (like family) flying can be one of the great rewards of attaining a pilot licence. When you passed you licence exams you no doubt answered questions about how many passengers you could take where for the level of licence you were aiming for. But there was no theory or examination about the human side of ‘passenger management’.

In this article, Instructor Fabrice examines passenger related issues that are never in the exams and rarely taught by flying instructors. But they can be the difference between a great experience and a total disaster for everyone in the aircraft.

Unplanned Diversion

We have all heard the warnings and reminders about avoiding ‘press-on-itis’. Despite his best intentions, PPL Gavin recently experienced first-hand a borderline situation that could have gone either way.

In this article he recalls that flight and explains how it went the way it did. He also gained some useful insight into planning to land at an unfamiliar ALA.


Written Checklists

Most pilots become familiar with written checklists very early in their flying career. After a while using them may become tedious and often the real purpose of each check may not be properly understood. This may be because the background has been forgotten, or perhaps never taught in the first place.

Instructor Fabrice investigates an example of the humble written checklist used by many new pilots and  looks at why the checks are there and some of the ways that pilots get it wrong.


Preparing a Flight Plan

We all had to learn to navigate using pencils, paper charts and flight computers. But once the exams were done, how often do we practice these skills in case they are needed in the future? The rise of EFB’s has relegated manual flight planning to the too hard basket for many pilots, but nonetheless it is a skill that needs to be maintained. How do you do that when you can’t remember all those steps any more?

PPL Ian tried to prepare a manual flight plan (from memory) about 18 months after receiving his Private Licence. He failed. Miserably. So he put together a refresher course to get back up to speed and has kindly agreed to share it with the world. Read on…..

Conquering Crosswinds

What is your immediate reaction when you hear “crosswind up to 15 knots from the left” or something similar? Do you start to sweat a little and tense up in the stomach muscles, or do you get a little excited, looking forward to using your hard-won skills and knowledge?

In this article we explore how a low hour RPL pilot almost came to grief because of inadequate training to handle crosswinds, and what his new instructor did about it. Instructor Fabrice then analyses and explains the various crosswind techniques for landing as well as every other phase of flight, including on the ground.


Maintaining Skills With A Plan

In this follow-up article to Maintain Your Flying Skills, Instructor Fabrice adds his two cents worth, with a couple of great practical ideas that you can adapt for your own use.

There s a free downloadable Excel spreadsheet that you can modify and use for your own skills maintenance plan.



Maintain Your Flying Skills

Once licensed, it is up to the individual pilot to maintain the standard of flying skills that they worked so hard to develop. Nobody will be looking over their shoulder to make sure they do so. RPL and friend of Aero Circus Mick shares his thoughts about staying current.



Refining Flight Transitions

One big difference between being an average pilot and turning in an effortless-looking and professional performance in an aircraft is how the pilot handles the transition between one manoeuvre and another.

In this article Instructor Fabrice examines how mastering the art of transitions between manoeuvres can elevate at least one part of your flying technique into the world of the professional pilot.


Mastering the Go-Around

Many articles have been written about the go-around in recent times. Some are quite good, some are selective and only deal with certain sections of the go-around, and some are downright dangerous and misleading. In this article, Instructor Fabrice will examine the various scenarios that may occur and the appropriate responses and procedures in each case.

Once you have read the article, watch the video of RPL Nick putting Fabrice’s theories into practice and a quick video showing a go around after a bounced landing that was going to get ugly. Finally see what happens when a bounced landing goes uncorrected.

Coming Soon…

Articles we are currently working on include “Stalling” and “Perfecting Radio Calls”. Follow us on Facebook or Join our Mailing List to be first to know when they become available.

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