Darren Smith, Flight Instructor
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Reading Library - Free Educational Articles

Navigation:  Bio | Schedule | About this website | Pilot Store | Pay for Services | News | Answerman | Beliefs | Pledge | Policy | Reading | Links | OnlineBFR/IPC | Guestbook | Reader Poll
Poll:  What's the funniest thing you've heard from a CFI?         (Come on, I need more space to write than this!)

Student Pilot Articles
Getting Started - Learn to Fly
| General Info Private Pilot | Why its a good time to become a pilot | Why become a pilot? | What it means to be a pilot | Why Pilots are Amazing People | Getting Started & Training Sequence | FAQs about getting started | How to select a flight instructor | FAQs: Becoming a private pilot | FAA's Student Pilot Guide | Advice to new student pilots | Information for Foreign Students | How to save money on your flight training | Thinking of an Airline Career? | Pilots are very special people by John KingAbout Checkrides | Are you really ready for that checkride? | Private Pilot Ground School | Private Pilot Ground School Syllabus | Getting the Most From Your Ground SchoolPrivate Pilot Rating Requirements | Flight Training for VeteransI'm 14, Can I get my Private Pilot Certificate? | Pre-Solo Exam | Are You Too Fat?

Smarter Student Series: Researching Flight Schools | Managing Your CFI | Annoying Students | You're in the Driver's Seat! | Why People Quit Flying | Being a Better Aviation Consumer | You Get What You Pay For | Performance Anxiety | Getting the Most from Your Flight Training  |   The Fifth Element | Learning Modality

All Students

How to Solo As Quickly As Possible
Are You Too Fat? - tips for all pilots
Everything you wanted to know about "Night"
Error Management
Take Care of Those Tires
The Right Amount of Ground Training, Machado
Student Training Plans
Training CRM
FAA Aviation Safety Program - free education opportunities
Common Aviation Abbreviations - Weather Abbreviations
Aviation Mnemonics
Runway Incursions Tip Sheet - preventing runway incursions
Runway Incursions Solutions
Complex & High Performance Endorsements
Proposed FAR Changes - No More Complex?
Airport Beacons | Light Gun Signals | Best Practices Aircraft Lighting
What's the difference between Part 61 and Part 141?
Fly the Machine - an engine emergency
Anatomy of an Engine Failure
Chasing the Dream, Part1
Encouragement from the Flight Deck, Part 2
Eight Steps to an Airline Career, Part 3
What are you doing over there?
Are you in it for the long haul? - immediately improve your flying
Spreading Myths - get the facts, stop listening to the B.S.
The Instructor Knows All - or does he?
I Passed the Written, Now What?
Rotation Speed
METAR Practice | TAF Practice | Winds Aloft Practice
Mystery of the METAR
FAA Medical Duration Rules Change
Weather Radar:  Clear Mode vs Precipitation Mode

Aviation Safety Information Articles
Bad Habits | Unsafe Acts | Red Rules |
Planning the Perfect Flight
Will they go easy on me?
Losing the Edge
IFR Risk Management
How do we rate pilots?  - what makes a pilot good
Things Your Flight Instructor Wish You Knew - or Helicopter
15 Things Pilots Must Learn - or Helicopter
Making Safe Choices
Flying Discipline

Things Your Flight Instructor Worries About
Aviation Safety Programs
Flight Profile Flying - how to improve safety flying the profile
Personal Minimums Checklist(download)
Introduction to Aeronautical Decision Making - Hazardous Attitudes
Information on the FAA Pilot Proficiency Program "Wings"
Preventing Your Aircraft from Coming Apart in Flight
Characteristics of Successful Pilots
Ten Commandments for Safe Flight
What's Killing Pilots - What to do to save your life
Stats on Accident Deaths - quick stats from 2005
Bending Metal - the most common causes of non-fatal accidents
Flight Profile Flying - how to improve safety flying the profile
CFI Liability - a stark look at CFI professionalism
The Heinrich/Smith Safety Triangle

Instrument Pilot
7-day IFR Rating  and  IFR Adventure (Rating Finish-Up)
Visi-Hold - the easy way to figure out instrument holds
Non-Precision CFIT (CANPA)
Fundamentals of a Safe Approach
After the IFR Rating
178 Seconds to Live - Spatial disorientation
Logging Safety Pilot Time
Staying IFR Current - Information about the IPC
Working together on an instrument rating
Questions about Clearances
The Timer
Clearance Shorthand
How to Log Safety Pilot Time
Holding Simplified - Printable Version
Instrument Approaches: Power Performance Model
Bravo Pattern - beginning exercise for IFR students
IFR Lesson Guides - from the Instrument Training Handbook
VFR Weather Minimums (When you cancel IFR)
General Tips on Radio Communications
Instrument Checkride Reviewer
Single Pilot IFR - tips for managing the flight
Why You Should do Your Instrument Rating in a Twin
FAR Part 95, What does it mean to you?
Curious about the instrument checkride? IFR Checkride POA
GPS in lieu of ADF/DME
IFR Descent Profile Exercise
Airline Transport Pilot Certificate Training Profile
What's happening to the navaids?
IFR Cross Country Flight Planning Checklist
IFR Flight Planning Form (download)
How to Get the Instrument Flight Plan You Want
Are you really ready for the instrument rating?
Flight Profiles for IFR Crosscountry
ATP Certificate Training Profile

IFR Lesson Guides:  Basic Attitude Instruction | Cockpit Check | Pitch Control | Bank Control | Power Control | Constant Airspeed | Turns | ITO | Constant Rate | Compass | Steep Turns | Unusual Attitudes | Precision FlightBravo Pattern | Descent Profile

IFR Navigation:   General Info Instrument Rating | Instrument Rating Lesson Plans | 7-day IFR Rating IFR Adventure | Instrument Ground School | Safety Pilot | Holding Simplified | IFR Risk Management | Trip Reports | Flight Profiles | Rating Requirements | After the IFR RatingCheckride Reviewer | Are you really ready for an instrument rating?

Guest Columns:  Race to the Bottom, Race to the Bottom II, Your $ Paid for This, America's Standing in the World by Anthony T, Pressure Rising,
Private Pilots
Accelerated Training Programs, Do They Work?
What to do after the Private Pilot Certificate
Darren's Guide to the Flight Review
Are you really ready for the instrument rating?

Helicopter Specific Articles
Helicopter Glossary - the essential vocabulary of helicopter pilots
Things Your Helicopter CFI Wish You Knew
13 Things Helicopter Pilots Must Learn
The Precautionary Landing
Helicopter Adventures - things you can only do by helicopter!
Ten Commandments for Helicopter Pilots
How Much Does it Cost to Learn to Fly Helicopters?
The 5 Foot Hover
Helicopter Rules That Differ From Airplane Rules
Helicopter Instrument Rating: Doing part in an airplane?
Fatal Helicopter Accidents Factors
The autorotations are back
New Commercial PTS - August 1, 2006

Helicopter Lesson Guides:
  Intro | Aerodynamics | Powered Flight | Load Factor | Control Functions | Systems | RFM | Weight & Balance | Performance | Hazards | Precautions | Maneuvers | Glossary

Checkrides:  About Checkrides | Are You Really Ready For the Checkride? | The Checkride Mindset | GPS on the Checkride | Flight Computers on the Checkride | Single-Pilot Resource Management

Flight Profile Series:  Introduction | Flight Profiles Improve SafetyFlight Profiles for IFR Crosscountry | Commercial X/C

Radio Skills: 
General Tips on Radio Communications | Radio Communications - Non Towered Airports | Ten Tips to Immediately Improve Your Radio Technique | ATC's Top 9 Pet Peeves

Cross Country Flying 
Introduction to Weather Services
Weather Briefing:  Graphical & Textual
Introduction to Cross Country  -  FAA flight plan form    
NOTAM Contractions - info about notams & terms used within
Weather Brief Planning Form | Weather Report Abbreviations
Metric Conversions Kilos/Litres
VFR Weather Minimums

Instruction Information:   My Teaching Beliefs | Instruction Policies | Pledge to Students | Characteristics of Successful Pilots

Flight Instructor Articles
Instruction Safety - accident stats in flight training
CFIs: Shed the Tin Cup Mentality
FAA AC 61-65e - student endorsements
All about the NASA form
FAA AC 61-67c - stall/spin awareness
FAA AC 61-9b - transition to complex & multi aircraft
Human Factors Inhibiting Learning | Teaching Adults | The Fifth Element | Owner Aircraft | Tips for Technical Presentations | General Info CFI Certificate | CFI Ground School SyllabusTactics for the Professional CFI Sample Budget while in Training | Things Flight Instructors Worry About | CFI Liability | What it takes to become a CFI | Advice to the New CFI | Learning Modality

Pilot Technique/Maneuvers/Special Topics
Understanding TDS - The Death Sprial
Knowing the Winds - Why its so important to know wind direction
Box Canyon Turn - How to do one 
Approach & Landing - Traffic pattern graphic (how to do) - Download
Using Flaps - Purpose of flaps and how to use them
Stalls - Richard Collin's opinion on stall training
Crosswind Technique
Collision Avoidance
Crew Resource Management Resources
Tailwheel Endorsements | Taildragger Checkout | Wheel Landings
Ten Commandments for Overwater Flight
AOPA Single-Pilot IFR Safety Advisor
AOPA Spatial Disorientation Safety Advisor

Weather Articles & Resources: Standard Weather Briefing | Weather Briefing Form | Weather Contractions | Braking Action | Graphical Weather | Textual Weather | METAR Practice | TAF Practice | Winds Aloft Practice | METAR Practice | TAF Practice | Winds Aloft Practice | Avoiding Icing | Simple Rules for Winter Flight | AOPA Weather Strategies Safety Advisor | AOPA Weather Tactics Safety Advisor | AOPA Aircraft Icing Safety Advisor

Decoder:  Braking Action | Weather Contractions | Abbreviations list | NOTAMs Contractions

Aircraft Info:  McCabe report on Tomahawk safety | Tomahawk Specifications | Transponders | V-Speeds, definitions of | Aircraft Datasheet (download)

Recurrent Training:  Darren's Guide to the Flight Review | BFR - Frequently Asked Questions | AOPA Online - Pilots' Guide to Getting Back Into Flying | AOPA ASF Pilot's Guide to the Flight Review (download) | IPC - Frequently Asked Questions | IPC Checkout Form | OnlineBFR/IPC

Crew Resource Management & Human Factors Articles:  Fundamentals of CRM | Resolving Conflict | Workload Management Checklist Usage | Briefings & Callouts | Training CRM | Threats to Safety | Introduction to Threat & Error Management | Error Management | Integrating Threat & Error Management | Unsafe Acts TEM Countermeasures | Sterile Cockpit | What are you doing over there? | Barriers to Pilot Monitoring | Introduction to Aviation Human Factors

Professional Pilot Series: 
Becoming a Captain | Bag of Crap | The Model Captain | Professionalism | Money Management for First Officers | Memory (Recall) Item Checklists | Criticism of Memory Item Checklists | FOTA | Introduction to Aviation Human Factors

Drug Testing Series: Drug Test False Positives | Trouble Medications | Pilot's Drug Test

Other Educational Articles:
Fundamentals of GPS
| AOPA GPS Technology | AOPA GPS Resources | Using GPS: VFR waypoints | Garmin GPS Simulator | AOPA Collision Avoidance | AOPA Fuel Awareness | AOPA Maneuvering Flight | AOPA Operations at Nontowered Airports | AOPA Operations at Towered Airports | AOPA Ups & Downs of Takeoffs & Landings | AOPA ASF Nall  Safety  Report | AOPA Propeller Safety | AOPA Airspace for Everyone | AOPA Pilot’s Guide to the Flight Review

Neat Stuff: 
100 Heroes of Aviation
Certification Information of Famous Pilots
Memorable Aviation Quotes
cfidarren.com Guestbook
The Phone Calls I Get
Casualties of Geocities
Some of these resources are provided in PDF format.  These documents require Adobe Acrobat reader, which is available free.

"Flying was a very tangible freedom in those days, it was beauty, adventure, discovery -- the epitome of breaking into new worlds." 
--Anne Morrow Lindbergh

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All content is Copyright 2002-2010 by Darren Smith. All rights reserved. Subject to change without notice. This website is not a substitute for competent flight instruction. There are no representations or warranties of any kind made pertaining to this service/information and any warranty, express or implied, is excluded and disclaimed including but not limited to the implied warranties of merchantability and/or fitness for a particular purpose. Under no circumstances or theories of liability, including without limitation the negligence of any party, contract, warranty or strict liability in tort, shall the website creator/author or any of its affiliated or related organizations be liable for any direct, indirect, incidental, special, consequential or punitive damages as a result of the use of, or the inability to use, any information provided through this service even if advised of the possibility of such damages. For more information about this website, including the privacy policy, see about this website.