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6 Skills You Can Improve Today For A Safer Flight Tomorrow

How many of these have you done in the last year?

1) Test Your Go/No-Go Decision Making

Making a go/no-go decision is tough, especially if you've got external pressure. Before you face one of these scenarios, refresh yourself on the decision-making process and what your personal limitations are.

Click here for a scenario we wrote and make your decision!

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2) Practice Emergency Memory Items While Performing A Secondary Task

Some pilots like to practice emergency checklists while bouncing a ball off the wall. Just like flying in the airplane, this can be a great way to test your critical thinking while performing entirely separate tasks.

3) Partial-Panel Flying

When was the last time you practiced partial-panel flying? You may not have done it since instrument training, a checkride, or an IPC. Especially in the clouds, losing instrumentation is a big deal. Knock the rust off your skills by practicing partial-panel flight with a flight instructor.

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4) How Many Cloud Clearance Regulations Can You Remember?

Cloud clearance regulations all come down to ATC coverage, speed, and altitude. IFR traffic is controlled by ATC, so weather and speed restrictions make sure that IFR and VFR aircraft can see and avoid each other.

It's an easy temptation for VFR pilots to fly through or around thin cloud layers, and it's rare for pilots to get busted by the FAA for breaking cloud clearance requirements. After all, there's no such thing as sky police on the lookout for you. But the rules are there for good reason.

Click here for our National Airspace System training course, featuring an easy way to learn weather minimums.

5) Performing A Surprise Go-Around

Some pilots say that "every landing is planned as a go-around." One of the best things you can do is occasionally perform a surprise go-around to keep your skills fresh. If you're flying with an instructor, have them call for a surprise go-around at some point during your flight. If you're flying alone, practice a few!

6) Can You Solve Complex Weight-And-Balance Problems?

Weight and balance mistakes can lead to major problems and even accidents. Most of the time, you probably fly well within the weight and balance envelope. When was the last time you faced a full airplane and a long trip? It's better to practice a few problems before you show up and don't know whether you need to take out fuel or passengers.

FAA

What can pilots do to knock the rust off some important skills? Tell us in the comments below.

Swayne Martin

Swayne is an editor at Boldmethod, certified flight instructor, and an Embraer 145 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota in 2018, holds a PIC Type Rating for Cessna Citation Jets (CE-525), and is a former pilot for Mokulele Airlines. He's the author of articles, quizzes and lists on Boldmethod every week. You can reach Swayne at swayne@boldmethod.com, and follow his flying adventures on his YouTube Channel.

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