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Staying current with knowledge

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Cabo Wabo Express
May 4, 2002
With so much knowledge and information to know and retain, what are some ways you users stay current and up to date with flight knowledge? There have been a lot of rainy days here in Michigan, and I have been just browsing through books getting ready for a CFI checkride, but I am curious how others on here retain, and stay current with the abundant amount of information out there. I know this forum helps me out.

A very good point you brought up relating to knowledge as well as staying up with everything that effects us as aviators. As for myself being a charter pilot usually legs are short with alot of down time so I will always have the FAR's with me and will allocate a certain amount of time for reviewing them as well as also spending some time reviewing the AIM. Depending on the trip and free time I will also have other knowledge books with me and usually spend time reviewing those also depending on how boring a place I am in.- Stuck in GLR yesterday from 0800 till 1700 is a pretty good place to get yourself lost in every book you have.(wished I had alot more yesterday)-
On overnight trips I usually carry all of the FSI and our inhouse recurrent training manuals for the equipment which we operate as well as diving into our ops specs- I am an avid believer that a good pilot will always want to expand his knowledge regarding even the smallest of details- Although the best "knowledge" that I enjoy receiving is tips,advise,and expertise from some of our more senior pilots who have been doing this since the early 60's.


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The good news is that regs don't change all that often, so once you learn them and apply them, they stick around in the grey matter for a bit. Our pilot group usually just winds up arguing regs until someone actually looks it up and finishes the argument ;)

Some of the real good guys that I fly with will pull out the FSI book during our down time and we'll be study buddies for an hour or two. It really helps, and it seems that no matter how much time I have in a plane, I learn something new. Its a good feeling.

On the other hand, its the ops manual/spec stuff that will put me to sleep in a heartbeat :D
Try this, I hope it helps. I got it from a Flight Training article (I believe)

January- General
-Fuel grades (color)
-Supplemental data
-Definitions/ Terminology
-Symbols/ Abbreviations
-Standard empty weight
-Unusable fuel
-Full operating fluids
-Full engine oil
-Reference datum line

February- Electrical System
-Schematic diagrams
-Flow of electricity
-Cockpit management

March- Fuel System
-Fuel management
-NTSB accident reports of…
-Correct use
-Engine performance
-Switching tanks

April- Emergency Procedures
-Emergency checklists
-Immediate action

May- Powerplant and Performance
-Engine Specifications
-Engine controls
-Engine instruments
-Engine oil system
-Ignition-starter system
-Air induction system
-Exhaust system
-Carburetor and Priming system
-Cooling system
-Propeller operation
-Performance limits
-Takeoff and landing distances

June- Instruments
-Instruments and how they work
-What information they provide
-Which external components gather information
and how do they convert measurements to data
-Alternate instruments
-Operation of navigation systems
-Headset/ Intercom
-Emergency radio receivers, headsets,
-Audio panels/ Switches

July- Weather
-Frontal systems
-High pressure/ Low pressure systems
-Seasonal hazards
-Weather briefings in air and on ground
-Weather charts

August- Flight Controls

September- FAR/AIM
-Rules and regulations about your aircraft, person, certificates
-AIM answers procedural questions and air safety information

October- Weight and Balance
-Center of gravity
Weight x Arm = Moment
Moment/Weight = CG

November- Winter Operations
-Carbon-monoxide from cabin heat
-Carbon-monoxide alerting systems
-Appropriate dress

December- Limitations and Placards
-Airspeeds of operation
-Power plant limitations
-Weight limits
-Center of gravity limits
-Maneuvering limits
-Flight load factor limits
-Fuel limits
-Flap-operating limits
Flight Instruction

Instructing students and going over the same stuff over and over in orals is a great way to reinforce the knowledge and to learn new things. It's true! The best way to learn a subject is to teach it.

Your students will always come up with questions for which you don't have immediate answers. When you are forced to look up answers, it gives your learning a purpose.

I'm not kidding! It worked for me.
This is also a great trick with captains. Ask them questions! Some of them really know their stuff, and you can always learn something. Others are humble enough to know what they dont' know, and you may teach them something. For the ones that think they know it all, it hopeufully humbles them a bit. Good luck.

Where are you in Michigan if you don't mind my asking?

I read and subscribe to IFR magazine, IFR refresher, Flying, Private Pilot, Plane and Pilot, AOPA to name a few. I also read the Cloud Busters AOPA message board, Cessna Pilots Association web pages, magazine and message board.

In addition, I use FS2000, get a new rating when I have time and fly at least 200hrs/yr.

This may sound crazy but I do most of the reading while I kick back in the tub before I go to the office, I hit the message boards on weekends at night or evening when I have time. It really doesn't take up much time because you are committing an hour and a half in the tub that you wouldn't be doing anything else anyway.....I hope.......lol I still find I need more info, especially when it comes to flying single pilot IMC X-country internationally.

I always feel I need to know more. I have been in Medicine for 12 years and harbor my repressed predilections for aviation due to the constraints I have with other CME requirements that have to take presedence every 3 years. Don't forget to talk to the,
"Old", timers hanging around the fbo's, they can be a wealth of information. I buy several books on Weather flying, FAA informant tactics and ramp checks but nothing beats going up with an old crusty CFII or DE ever couple months for an IPC, This is how I do it only because I truly love aviation, some of you may just consider it a job, that's ok if you're committed to safety!

Remember, this is an avocation for me and entails multiple life and death spilt decisions, I love it because it is so challenging! I just hope I don't end up a statistic after reading so much. I just wish I knew as much as avbug! I will never stop until I do.:D

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There is a number of things that you can do.

If you have a PDA you can actually download document files into it . There are files of just about all the FAR's that you would care to know about.

You can carry flash cards for all your pertinent information. I have a flash card program on my PDA. Just entering all the info is reinforcement of the the knowledge in itself.

I worked at a company that had a monthly training program. They would send system information packets with an attached test. This was good also because you would end up discussing the info and questions on long legs with the other crewmembers.

Alot of this is just how motivated you want to be and just how sleep deprived you are at the moment.

Good for you for trying to keep on top of things.
I live in the Metro Detroit area.
How, if I may ask, do you read the message boards while in the tub? You have a waterproof monitor? :p

Where can I download those pda files for my palm? I have a Sony Clie S300, with a memory card, and I am interested in downloading these files.

When studying through the FARs, you don't read page for page, do you?

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