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Airman Etiquette


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You know that guy or girl people at the flight school who always seem to be doing things

wrong? Instructors point out how they are doing this or that wrong and how it demonstrates a

lack of understanding and airmanship. The funny thing is that the instructors are right, and the

pilot they are talking about has no idea they are doing anything wrong. Why? Well, it’s

because it’s not written. I. Introduction

  • Importance of adhering to proper engine starting procedures

  • Overview of common mistakes and oversights during engine start-up

  • Reference to the Pilot's Operating Handbook (POH) checklist

  • Factors influencing the choice of starting procedure: time since last flight, oil temperature, cowling warmth

  • Lack of training on alternative starting procedures

  • Analysis of outdated engine technology

  • Components prone to overheating and failure: mixture control, manual priming system, small motors

  • Lack of safety devices for automatic shutdown of components like starter motors

  • Description of normal, hot, and flooded start procedures

  • Importance of recognizing and executing the correct procedure for conditions

II. Proper Engine Starting Procedure

  • Determining the need for normal, hot, or flooded start procedures based on POH checklist

  • Avoiding continuous use of the normal start procedure if unsuccessful

  • Lack of commercially available checklists containing alternative start procedures

  • Importance of training on alternative starting procedures for pilots

III. Starting the Engine too close to yelling "Clear"

  • Significance of waiting after yelling "Clear" before attempting to start the engine

  • Importance of providing ample time for individuals to move out of the way

IV. No awareness of what is behind the airplane during engine starting

  • Importance of ensuring the area behind the airplane is clear before starting

  • Risks associated with propwash blowing debris and causing damage

  • Proper throttle adjustment to prevent excessive RPM and propwash damage

V. Testing Brakes too Late

  • Significance of testing brakes as soon as the aircraft begins moving

  • Potential consequences of delaying brake testing until in a "clear area"

VI. Using Checklist Incorrectly

  • Understanding the purpose of a checklist as a verification tool, not a to-do list

  • Performing flow checks and actions before confirming with the checklist

VII. Over-tightening the Oil Dipstick

  • Importance of properly tightening the oil dipstick to prevent over-tightening

  • Adhering to the "finger tight" rule for dipstick tightening

VIII. Using Aileron instead of Rudder in a Climb

  • Differentiating between aileron and rudder usage in climbs to correct yawing tendencies

  • Proper application of rudder to maintain coordination and climb performance

IX. Taxing too Fast or too Slow

  • Importance of taxiing at a speed conducive to reacting to any need to stop or maneuver

  • Considerations for determining taxi speed based on aircraft type and environmental factors

X. Riding the Brakes

  • Proper use of brakes for stopping and making turns that nosewheel steering alone cannot achieve

  • Risks associated with continuous use of brakes, particularly in aircraft equipped with nosewheel steering

XI. Using your “Radio Voice”

  • Using natural voice for effective radio communication

  • Avoiding attempts to mimic professional voices or create artificial hesitations

XII. Using “Clever Slang”

  • Importance of using standard phrases and words in radio communications

  • Avoiding the use of clever or unconventional slang that may cause confusion or misinterpretation

XIII. Leaving the Doors Open

  • Keeping doors closed when not in use to prevent damage to hinges and components

  • Risks associated with leaving doors open due to wind pressure and structural limitations

XIV. Putting Things on Top of the Glareshield (Dash)

  • Avoiding placing items on the glareshield to prevent scratches, window damage, or melting from heat

  • Risks associated with placing objects on the glareshield during flight or ground operations

XV. Getting a "Hard Tan"

  • Avoiding taxiing with hand resting on the glareshield to prevent excessive brake usage and maintain control

  • Risks and consequences of prolonged hand placement on the glareshield during taxiing

XVI. Thinking the Yellow Centerline will keep you from Hitting Things

  • Recognizing the limited function of the yellow centerline on taxiways

  • Importance of maintaining situational awareness and scanning for obstacles while taxiing

XVII. Spinning an Airplane on the Ground

  • Risks associated with making tight turns during ground operations

  • Proper technique for making tight turns without unintended consequences

  • Importance of assessing surroundings and considering alternatives to tight turns for safety

XVIII. Parking the Airplane using a Tow Bar while looking under the Airplane to help align it

  • Challenges and risks of using a tow bar while aligning an aircraft for parking

  • Importance of maintaining awareness of wingtip and tail positions during parking

  • Recommended technique for estimating tail position and avoiding obstacles while using a tow bar

XIX. Heads down in the Cockpit for Long Periods of Time

  • Dangers of prolonged periods with heads down in the cockpit

  • Importance of regularly looking outside the aircraft for situational awareness

  • Balancing cockpit tasks with external observations to ensure safety during ground operations

XX. Telling controllers Specific Flight Maneuvers or Procedures you want to do

  • Avoiding using pilot-specific terminology or procedures when communicating with air traffic control

  • Importance of using clear and universally understood language in communications with ATC

XXI. Miscellaneous Aviation Quirks

  • Humorous observation of passengers holding the fuel cup during preflight inspections

  • Considerations for maintaining a professional and comfortable environment during preflight procedures

Associated Resources
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