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7 Things Every Pilot Should Use To Their Advantage

There's no need to make things harder on yourself...

1) Trim Wheel

Whether it's in climb, cruise, descent, or even setting up for VFR maneuvers, the trim wheel lightens your control load, making your flight smoother every step of the way.

Swayne Martin

2) Forward Slips

Too high on final? Try using a forward slip to help get you back to a normal descent path and on glideslope. Utilizing forward slips is useful because, if done correctly, they allow you to lose altitude quickly without gaining excess airspeed.


3) Flight Following

Whether you're on a cross country or transitioning through busy airspace, ATC flight following can help you see and avoid other aircraft. And in an emergency, you have ATC's help with just the push of a button.


4) Smoke Stacks

Whether it's on your drive to the airport or while you're enroute, landmarks like smoke stacks, flags, water, or even grassy fields can help you determine wind direction and intensity before you have a chance to listen to ATIS.

Wladimir Labeikovsky

5) Vectors-To-Final

On an IFR flight, having ATC give you vectors to final as opposed to flying the procedure turn can save you time and fuel, as well as make your arrival into the airport as efficient as possible.


6) Roads

While it may seem obvious, using roads in aviation can help in many different areas. Not only can they help you maintain positional awareness on a cross-country, they're also perfect for most VFR maneuvers.


7) Winds and Temperatures Aloft Data

Not only are winds and temperature aloft charts useful in determining the altitude you should fly at, but it allows you to form a mental picture of the wind direction and velocity for altitudes above and below you. If you run into turbulence or clouds, you'll know whether it's better to go higher or lower.

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Corey Komarec

Corey is an Embraer 175 First Officer for a regional airline. He graduated as an aviation major from the University of North Dakota, and he's been flying since he was 16. You can reach him at

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