Flight Training Conferences and Events to Attend
There are quite a few ways to stay up to date in the world of flight training. Sometimes the best way is to attend a live event. You will also get the chance to meet other people in the business of flight training. If you are a learner preparing for a rating, you'll find no shortage of forums and talks for any rating.
Over the years, I've attended many such events. I've found some to be ok and others to be outstanding. Therefore, I've compiled a list in this article with the event's name, dates, and the nature of each venue's content. I hope this helps you decide whether an event is worth your time to attend.
Northwest Aviation Conference and Tradeshow – Puyallup, WA - Feb 25-25
It's an excellent local show that is pretty large. Lots of exhibits. Around 75 Safety Seminar-type talks. A good representation of Exhibitors. $5.00 to get in.
FSANA Conference – International Flight School Operators Conference – Orlando, FL – Mar 1-3
They represent flight schools. Good presentations and break-out sessions/panel discussions. FAA usually shows up to give details on regulations etc. TSA is usually on hand as well. It is usually around $500 for members and $600 for non-members. Dinner is included with the keynote.
Red Bird Migration – Flight Training Conference – Oshkosh, WI - Apr 11-12
This is the only conference specifically for people involved in flight training. There are no exhibitors, and the content is all about flight training. If you are a flight instructor, DPE, or Flight School Owner, this would be a great conference. There is no charge to attend, and they provide lunch and dinner. This is the event where AOPA announces the Flight Instructor and Flight school experience awards winners.
Sun-n-Fun – Aerospace Expo – Lakeland, FL Mar 28 – Apr 2
This event has dedicated facilities located at Lakeland Airport. This is a large event. It draws approximately 200,000 attendees. There are exhibits and forums every day, along with an airshow. There will be something for every pilot at this show.
EAA Airventure – Airventure – Oshkosh, WI - Jul 24-30
The largest aviation event in the world. Around 600,000 attendees and 10,000 airplanes. Features camping by your plane, exhibits, forums, workshops to build your own plane, and an airshow. There is also a Sea Plane base worth spending some time at. Everyone who is anyone in aviation will be here.
Airplane Pro Tips
Keep your hand on the throttle. Flying with two hands on takeoff is meant for turboprop or jet aircraft. At decision speed, the commitment to takeoff moves both hands to the control wheel. For us, the throttle friction doesn't always work that well, or maybe you forgot to adjust it. Either way, the throttle can come out on the takeoff roll, leaving you with partial power. Also, during maneuvering flight, the throttle is basically a flight control. We need to be able to access it and already have a tactile feel so that we can use it quickly. During cruise flight, keeping your hand on the throttle isn't necessary as long as you monitor the RPM or MAP often enough.
If you are practicing Spins, be sure to keep the controls firmly on the stops until you want to recover. Airplanes that are approved for spins were tested in a variety of ways. The only way to be sure the spin recovery procedure will work correctly is to hold the elevator and rudder controls on their stops. Elevator full aft, full rudder travel in the direction of the desired spin—ailerons – Neutral. The spin mode will then be predictable, and that has been flight tested.
Avoid slips with flaps extended. Have you seen this on a Cessna 172's flap position indicator? This is not a limitation, so yes, you can slip with the flaps extended, but I would say only if you know why the statement is there. The reason it's there is that with full flaps and a slow speed, the downwash over the tail is disturbed, resulting in an oscillation in pitch. So if you slipped super hard, you could potentially stall the tail. So what do you do? You can slip until you begin to feel the nose start pitching up and down a little. Then back off until there is no pitching motion.
Useful things to keep in your flight bag – I bet you didn't think of at least one of these.
For most of you that have a flight bag, you probably are toting a bunch of things that aren't needed. I used to say that if you buy a Brightline bag with 50 pockets, you'll buy 50 things to fill up the pockets. So while being prepared is always a good idea making sure you have some critical items is better than just a third set of batteries in a pocket for your headset.
Let's look at three things you may not have thought of that would be handy when the situation arises.
A fast-acting decongestant such as Vicks Sinus Severe in spray form. If you encounter a passenger with middle ear pain situation, you'll really want to give them this. It can work quickly, and it makes a big difference. If this happens to you, even though you aren't allowed to use it if the pain is severe enough, you could. You can deviate from any FAR to comply with an emergency, and that could turn into one.
Aspirin, Ibuprofen (Advil), Naproxen (Aleve), Acetaminophen (Tylenol). All Four? Yes. Hypoxia can cause a pretty big headache. Some people are allergic or can tolerate certain pain medicines. For example, Acetaminophen works through the liver. Aspirin can cause ulcers in the stomach for some. Having choices allows your passengers to squash the headache and not worry about the side effects.
A space blanket. It seems trivial, but if you land at an airport with no fuel or are forced to stay in the airplane for the night, a space blanket makes a huge difference. It can also be used as a signaling device. It weighs very little and can be packaged in minimal size.
Silly putty. What? Have a few blobs in your flight bag. When it's winter, and it's super cold outside, and the vent won't close on your Cessna 172, etc., you can plug it with silly putty. It won't stick, and you can remove it easily. It also works for leaks where some rain can begin to come into the plane.
Learning and/or Teaching Airspace
What not to do:
Draw it all out on a whiteboard and label it with altitudes, cloud clearances, speed limits, ADS-B, etc. It is overwhelming to the student, and they just don't get it that way.
What to do (4 Steps):
Use the legend of the sectional chart in the airspace section and give examples of those airspaces on the chart along with the starting/ending altitudes. Quiz the student afterward by pointing at various places on the chart with an altitude. The student should be able to identify the airspace. The goal is to do this into the next lesson until there is little hesitation in the student's correct response. Basically, they give the answer quickly. (Lesson time: About 30-45 minutes).
Teach the cloud clearances and visibilities for the different airspaces. Point at various places on the chart with an altitude. The student should be able to identify and tell you the cloud clearances and visibilities. (Lesson time: About 30 minutes).
Teach the entry requirements and speed limits for each airspace. Use the chart and have the student identify the airspace, entry requirements, speed limits, and cloud clearances/visibility. (Lesson Time: 30 minutes).
Teach the equipment requirements, including ADS-B requirements. Also, teach special use airspace. The student should now be able to identify the airspace, the entry requirements, cloud clearances/visibilities, Speed limits, Equipment requirements, and special use airspace. (Lesson Time: 30 min).
This creates a pilot that understands airspace "on the fly" and has airplane operational knowledge.
Our product, Airspace Flash Cards, can be super helpful in both teaching this and testing if you, as a student, are getting it right. There are over 120 examples with correct answers and explanationsAc.