Posts with some professional or technical relevance

Defensive IFR – The Importance of a Two Way Relationship

December 28th, 2010

The following has been abbreviated from an article was posted on avweb, the original article can be found at This article originally appeared in Aviation Safety, Feb. 2005.

The article illustrates the importance of a two way relationship between pilot and controller. It may be the controller’s responsibility to provide you with separation in most IFR situations, but this does not absolve you of the final ultimate responsibility for the safe conduct of the flight. Questioning or cross checking clearances is not argumentative or disruptive it is part of your legal responsibility as a pilot, and any ATC who is worthy of having his posterior in the seat will recognise this and appreciate it.

“The irony of all this is that it’s your chair moving at 150 knots (ed-or more!), not the controller’s. When your airplane slams into that unseen ridge, he’ll probably feel really bad. You probably won’t feel a thing.”

Defensive IFR

July 30, 2007
by Bart Epstein

Why Readbacks Are Important

Reading back a clearance is important not only to make sure you and the controller are on the same page, but to ensure the clearance you read back is actually for you. The “party-line” nature of ATC communications with aircraft sometimes means that transmissions are blocked and similar-sounding callsigns are really meant for someone else. As discussed in the main text below, a crew complied with a descent clearance for another aircraft. Although the wrong crew read back the clearance, the controller didn’t catch the error.


Controllers are just like pilots: All are human and make mistakes. Most are good, know the rules, do everything they can to make your flight efficient and safe, and make sensible judgments. Only a tiny fraction are highly paid chair-warmers too lazy or bored to have opened the book (FAA Order 7110.65) for a refresher on the finer points of their craft.

For pilots, what this means is that amidst what is overwhelmingly professional and courteous ATC service, you’ll hear the occasional boneheaded clearance, instruction or suggestion with which no sensible pilot should comply. That’s why we have readback procedures and is one of the reasons the word “unable” exists and why you should use it without fear of retribution when necessary or appropriate.

Trust, But Verify

The image depicts the minimum vectoring altitudes (circled in red) for the San Diego TRACON overlaid on the area en route IFR low-altitude chart. The accident occurred just southeast of the JLI VORTAC.

No better recent example can be found to illustrate the point that it’s your butt on the line than on May 10, 2004, when Piper Seminole N304PA collided with terrain near the Julian, Calif., VORTAC (JLI) and was destroyed. Both pilots aboard the twin were killed. The planned flight was from Phoenix, Ariz., to Carlsbad, Calif. Nighttime visual conditions prevailed, although the flight was operating on an IFR flight plan.

The cleared routing for N304PA was: Gila Bend, V66, Imperial, V458, Julian, then direct to Palomar. N304PA was number four in a train of five airplanes flying the same route for training. The airplanes were separated by about five to 10 minutes. The airplane directly ahead of N304PA was N434PA, another Seminole.

According to the NTSB, ATC communications and radar data show that N304PA reported level at 8000 feet MSL to the San Diego North Radar (SDNR) controller at 2043:48. The SDNR controller instructed the pilot to fly a 260-degree heading after crossing JLI and then intercept the Palomar localizer. The pilot read back the clearance. At 2045:47, the SDNR controller told the pilot of N434PA to descend to 6000 feet. The pilot of N434PA acknowledged the clearance. At 2047:55, the SDNR controller transmitted, “Seminole four papa alpha descend and maintain five thousand two hundred.” The pilot of N304PA responded, “Down to five thousand two hundred for three zero four papa alpha.” According to the controller, this clearance was intended for N434PA. The controller did not recognize that the clearance had been acknowledged by N304PA rather than N434PA. At 2052, the San Diego AFSS contacted the SDNR sector reporting that they were receiving a strong ELT signal from near the JLI Vortac.

Why the controller missed the readback from the wrong airplane is anyone’s guess. And, certainly, better situational awareness on the part of the two pilots aboard the Seminole probably would have prevented this accident. But the point is that once you close the cabin door and the wheels leave the ground, you’re mostly on your own to ensure the wheels safely touch down again.

Little Voices

Anytime you’re not flying straight and level well above terrain, the little voice in your head should be asking yourself some basic questions: Where am I going? Where am I going after that? What altitude should I be at now? The next leg? What am I going to do if this doesn’t work out?

For example, let’s say you’re droning along en route to your destination when you become aware the weather there has gone down the tubes. At the least, you need to stop and get some more fuel with which to tackle the weather, so you tell ATC you’d like to divert to nearby Cowpie County International. You request a “vector and lower” and the TRACON controller you’re handed off to makes a transposition error on your altitude. He meant to set you up to join the feeder route for the VOR approach at 5300 feet, but instead tells you to “descend and maintain 3500 until established” and clears you for the approach. You read back the clearance and grab the approach plate to get your bearings.

Will you notice that the altitude you’ve been given does not match the feeder route? Will you see that the altitude to which you’re descending is below the minimum safe altitude (MSA) circle on the plate?

A little voice in your head should be asking if you’re where you should be for the approach. That’s one of the reasons why each published feeder route has a minimum altitude and the plate itself has the MSA information.

Twice I have received clearances that made no sense. Both times I was glad my instrument instructor drummed into me the need to physically trace my entire route on a map before takeoff. One of the bad clearances was actually to a fix over the Atlantic Ocean. I still remember sitting in my plane that night, wondering what I had written down wrong to think I was cleared out over the water.

After conferring with the tower, I shut down the engine, trekked up to the tower cab and sat down with the controller to trace out my clearance on a chart. He was positively stunned, especially since he’d given out that same clearance more than 1000 times without any problems. Apparently, the TRACON or someone down the line always amended those clearances well before they became a problem. And, to date, no one had to implement lost comm procedures while flying the bad clearance.

Know Your Rights

But how many pilots would do the same? How many are willing to analyze an ATC clearance or directive on-the-fly then stand up on two hind legs and refuse an unsafe or out-of-line instruction?

Part of the problem is that we tend to accept the authority of anything uttered by a controller as the last word. After all, he wouldn’t be a controller if he didn’t know what he was doing, right?

The antidote, of course, is knowledge and experience. The knowledge comes from knowing the FARs and AIM procedures; we can assure you most controllers and pilots don’t. Experience comes from flying and using the system and applying that knowledge.

And that’s why an annual flight review or IPC without some discussion of real-world procedures and regs is a sham, lending truth to the notion that what you don’t know can hurt you.

Am I Paranoid Enough?

Some may say it is not practical to be constantly paranoid and suspicious of everything ATC asks or commands. And it may seem like overkill to focus on these types of errors when so many pilots are still making much larger and dumber mistakes, like flying well below an MDA to take a peek or launching into icing conditions with nothing more than a lukewarm pitot tube.

Of course, flying defensively is about more than nitpicking clearances. At the end of the day, it’s your butt that matters, not the controller’s.

Controlling The Negotiation

By Jeb Burnside

On many of my regular flights up from the southeast, controllers at the local TRACON routinely give me a descent clearance many miles out from my destination. I suspect it’s because I’m in a FLIB and their letters of agreement specify that IFR FLIBs must be at 5000 feet many miles south of my home plate’s feeder fix. But there are numerous airports in that area, generating all kinds of traffic, and radio reception is sometimes is lacking at that altitude in that area. Droning along level at 5000ft for many minutes that far out from my destination gives me the willies, as I know that, eventually, someone is going to get in my way. Over the years, a few encounters of the close kind with aircraft not talking to the TRACON confirmed my fears.

So, I generally try to negotiate something other than that clearance, usually to cross 20 miles southwest of the fix at and maintain 5000 feet. That keeps me higher longer and ensures decent communications. No one seems to mind.

On other occasions, I’ve refused heading changes and climbs or descents while in the en route environment if they would put me in ice, tall cumulus clouds or other bad situations.

Putting aside for the moment the misconception that controllers “control” airplanes, the bottom line — for me, anyway — is that dealing with ATC is a negotiation. If I like the way the negotiation is going, I’ll be quiet. If there’s a safety, comfort or operational reason for me to not like things, I’ll renegotiate with the controller. I’ll do it professionally, calmly and concisely, and I won’t hesitate to tell him what the problem is. Ninety-nine percent of the time, we can work out something with which we both can live. Especially me.

Who’s The Boss?

By Jeb Burnside

The irony of all this is that it’s your chair moving at 150 knots, not the controller’s. When your airplane slams into that unseen ridge, he’ll probably feel really bad. You probably won’t feel a thing.

Maybe it’s the anarchist gene in me, but I’m not spring-loaded to believe everything the government — or a controller — says. Yet as pilots, most of us react in the opposite way when confronted with ATC clearances and instructions that disrupt our plans and sound fishy or ill-advised. We go along. We comply. We’re happy to help.

Why? For the simple — and understandable — reason that we assume controllers know their business and, as only sometime-users of the system, we similarly assume our knowledge is flawed. So we go along with ATC’s wishes, sometimes to a fault.

The ultimate authority, of course, is FAR 91.3, the PIC imprimatur that gives you ultimate authority over the safety of the flight. Controllers don’t exactly have their own version of this and even if they did, your authority trumps ATC’s.

On the other hand, there’s FAR 91.123, which requires compliance with ATC instructions and directives and requires the pilot to seek clarification if he doesn’t understand ATC’s wishes. The ultimate escape valve, of course, is emergency authority, which overrules anything ATC has to say.

If it was this simple, though, rejecting clearances would be easy. Instead, there are massive gray areas here. For example, rejecting a directive to land your Skyhawk short behind a landing 737 and opting instead to land long for wake avoidance reasons might screw up the local controller’s flow, but that’s not your problem. No right-thinking ATC facility would make an issue of it. The same applies when given a clearance for an immediate takeoff? Should you rush your takeoff and departure routine just because it might save two minutes?

Putting the shoe on the other foot, suppose you were following another aircraft to land, the tower controller calls for a go-around and you reply, “Unable.” You certainly have the authority to do so but you’d better have a good explanation at hand, such as a rough engine, smoke in the cockpit or some other emergency-like condition. The FAA will take a dim view of promiscuous use of “unable” and we suspect an administrative law judge will know the difference between legitimate PIC balking and pure bs.

Some of what ATC does falls into the realm of “suggestions.” Comply at your own whim and risk. Refusing the request won’t cost you any enforcement points while granting it could cost a lot more.

Cessna Training Manuals

Radio Phraesology Techniques Link

November 12th, 2010

Here’s a link to a nice article about Radio Phraseology. (You guessed it, it’s one of our pet topics).\%22

The article explains a little about the Flying Tigers accident, which formalised removal of the word “to” from an altitude clearance in ICAO radio procedures – a word, which, along with ‘for’ has been

This alone did not cause the accident, I’ll post a link to the movie clip associated with it soon.

A comment, which I am sure you’ll feel like saying “That’s easy for you to SAY – NOW!” but I’ll say it anyway, and if you listen to the transcripts I’m sure you’ll understand where I’m coming from, but what pilot in their right mind would descend to 400ft AMSL prior to reaching the final approach track???

Cessna 206 Training Manual Pre-release

November 7th, 2010

Press Release Cessna 206

Red Sky Ventures announces the pre-release of the Cessna 206 Training Manual. It’s now available in Red Sky Ventures online store, easily accessible via search at And can be found via the direct link here.

The Cessna 206 Training Manual is an information guide book, primarily aimed at pilots, containing in-depth technical information, pilot’s operating notes, performance planning, and a variety of tips and tricks which can help improve operating standards of all pilot’s flying the aircraft. The book has a large number of photographs, diagrams, and schematics to compliment and aid understanding of the text. The book is intended to be used in conjunction with the manufacturer’s Pilot’s Operating Handbook (POH) for ground study purposes, and in such it expands on the information in the POH, and adds clarity and meaning to the manufacturer’s requirements, which are necessarily vague.

Both authors, Danielle Bruckert and Oleg Roud are professional pilots and instructors on the Cessna series of aircraft they write about. They now both fly for airlines, however both remain active as instructors and examiners on light aircraft. Their motivation to write the books was to improve training and operating standards in the general aviation sector – the term used to define the non-airline civil aviation sector, typically involving light aircraft in private and charter operations.

The Cessna Training Manual is the fifth book in the series, and the authors believe it is the best so far. “Experience always shows us ways to improve, from research and compilation, to display and how we get the message across,” Says Danielle Bruckert. Danielle further states that with each book, they find more and more useful information to include on each model. The Cessna 206, at 177 pages is nearly double the length of the Cessna 182 Training Manual, it’s closest counterpart. And although initially Danielle thought it would be a simple process to revise the format they already had in the Cessna 210 Training Manual, the most recent release, three years of extensive research and development later, she admits “It was an underestimate – this book is much more than that!”.

The book is available at present as a special pre-release version. The full book release launch will take place early next year, allowing for media lead times and will include a full colour and hard cover version. .

More information about this and other Cessna books in the series can be found at Cessna_206_Manual_thumbnail

Instrument Departures

October 16th, 2010

The previous post has got lost somewhere deep down in my blog. This topic is quite controversial and in my (somewhat humble) opinion quite important. So I’m going to post another one just to see if anyone out there in cyberspace can post a more meaningful reply.

JAR-OPS 1.230 Instrument departure and approach procedures

(a) An operator shall ensure that instrument departure and approach procedures established by the State in which the aerodrome is located are used.

(b) Notwithstanding sub-paragraph (a) above, a commander may accept an ATC clearance to deviate from a published departure or arrival route, provided obstacle clearance criteria are observed and full account is taken of the operating conditions. The final approach must be flown visually or in accordance with the established instrument approach

(c) Different procedures to those required to be used in accordance with sub-paragraph (a) above may only be implemented by an operator provided they have been approved by the State in which the aerodrome is located, if required, and accepted by the Authority.

The part “to deviate from a published departure or arrival route, provided obstacle clearance criteria are observed and full account is taken of the operating conditions” clearly indicates that you can not deviate in IMC where clearance from obstacles could not be guaranteed. And if you are below MSA (or MRA), the only time you could guarantee obstacle clearance is if you are following a published track.

The same paragraph exists in UAE CAROPS (even with the same number) and a very similar paragraph exists in the Namibian CARs and the content is implied by the entire PANS OPS Section 3 Departure Procedures. The entire PANS OPS II goes into great detail explaining the calculations involved in determining the compliance with terrain avoidance for departures – none of which anyone could be expected (neither pilot or ATC) to complete on departure.

If a country does not have departure procedures then the airport must comply with the omnidirectional departure requirements, that is – there are no obstacles in the departure which prevent an omni directional departure at 3.3%.

Many pilots believe you can depart in IMC without a departure procedure. In fact in some countries, it is a routinely done and no one seems to think there is any problem with it.

The whole essence of PANS Ops II is to define how to construct safe tracks for pilots to follow when they are below the applicable MSA (that means also MRA if you don’t have a precision radar service!).

If you were allowed to fly around below MSA (or MRA) without a published track, wouldn’t you be allowed to do it at all times? I mean what is the difference between being below MSA on arrival or on departure except the direction the nose is pointing? (The mountains hurt just as much when you hit them on a climb as they do when you hit them on a decent!)

Besides from that, when we look at relative costs, if you have gone to the expense of establishing and maintaining an instrument approach procedure, it cost very little extra to publish a departure procedure, and if you haven’t then it’s simple to apply the same weather minimums for arrival and departure, VMC below MSA.

Again the only time the pilot/operator is responsible for his/her own terrain clearance is in VMC or in an emergency.

I think this sums it up fairly nicely, but I am sure I will get some variations of interpretations on this paragraph, since it does not say “where one exists” but nor does it say “at all times” but lets get some debate on this!

Hot, Heavy and High

August 28th, 2010

HOT HIGH and HEAVY: In the Words of the Pilot who Lived to Tell the Tale.

“It was a Cherokee140….or a Pa28 in those days….nobody told me it wasn’t supposed to carry 4 people…I mean come on…it had 4 seats didn’t it…?

This particular 140 had a Pink Panther on the tail and it was a little faster and just slightly better than a regular 140 … of those “slick” models.

Anyway there I was with 3 friends at an airfield which I won`t name with an elevation of around 5300ft amsl. We had places to go on this warmish summer day and I was not about to be deterred by anything….I mean the friends are all waiting to be impressed and flown to various destinations after all.

So…pre flight done…..only half tanks because the rest had been used to get to this airfield…..lets all get aboard this fly machine shall we. Me first cause there is only one door and then the two friends in the back who were the smaller two…I knew that much at least….and the other big guy up front with me in last……quick weight calculation…what..? nah never mind we`ve only got half tanks…we`ll be okay…right?

Taxi out…do the run ups…do the radio…its an unmanned airfield so just a broadcast…listen out and we’re good to go.

The first indication things were not as they should be was the sluggish acceleration….Oh boy… a slight uphill strip, followed by a bit of a ridge about 1km after the end of the rwy which is about 200` higher than the rwy, and then a valley with power lines….my favourite….not !!!

so there we were….trundling down the rwy…airspeed creeping and I mean creeping up…and eventually we`re airborne….but only just…the slightest back movement of the stick sets the stall warning off…and a 140 does not have an audio stall warning, thank goodness….it has a red light right in front of you….Well this light was going off at me like an ambulance ..flash ..flashflash…..flash….flashflash…flaaaashh….flashflash…you get the picture?…And we are 20` off the deck just maintaining the slope of the ground airspeed going nowhere….oh boy…those power lines are sure getting big mighty quick….At last over the ridge we go and down…yes down we go into the slight valley….and under…the power lines, and then I notice we have a decent airspeed and the lunatic flashing has stopped….so clear of the power lines I gently coax some altitude out of the Pink Panther and after 40 minutes we`re at 3000` above ground and approaching destination. The friends are happy, impressed and none the wiser of their brush with near disaster. I kept it high until short final …sure of making the runway in case of engine failure and greased it on to the rwy.

I should NOT have done the flight with the weight I had onboard…..but in those early days wise decisions eluded me…”

Many faults exist in the GA training sectors, and one of them, sadly, is a lack of emphasis on performance planning. Pilot’s often train at an airfield that is long enough for their aircraft, cross countries are conducted into similar large airfields. Instructors neglect to instil any reverence for confirming performance calculations during ground training, leaving pilots ambivalent to the threats of a short rough pr high altitude course.

An aircraft at sea level on the coast, in cool temperatures close to ISA, and an aircraft in the interior highlands at ISA +30 provide very different lift characteristics. A graded, highly compact, well used runway will likewise, have very different acceleration to a rough, over-grown, poorly prepared farm strip. It’s not forbidden but nor are there any figures for a rough gravel strip. It is forbidden and the are NO figures for an overweight aircraft. Most light four seat aircraft cannot fly with four normal sized people and full tanks.

The Pilot Who Wasn’t so Lucky

In another similar situation, at Windhoek 5500ft AMSL with an ambient temperature approximately 35 degrees Celsius, giving a density altitude just over 9000ft, a commercial pilot, normally flying on the coast, with a similar mindset, made a fatal decision.

Windshear reported on the main runway prompted ATC to offer the pilot the secondary runway. The runway was 1000m long, and more than adequate for a fully loaded C210 at sea level. The pilot knew the airfield, and hadn’t felt the need to carry airport charts, so asked ATC how long the secondary runway was. ATC provided an incorrect figure of 1500m, which he later corrected to 1000m, however the pilot had already entered the runway and to backtrack to the threshold, and a change of runway now may have appeared to him a loss of face in front of passengers. Considering the risks and benefits, thinking the length of the runway should be adequate, since it was not much shorter than the airfield he normally operated out of at sea level, this may have been a deciding factor.

This pilot wasn’t so lucky.

Shortly after takeoff the aircraft failed to gain altitude and when the pilot attempted to turn to avoid climbing terrain, he stalled, the aircraft impact with terrain and fire killing everyone on board.

Link to Article Containing Fairly Accurate Details of the Accident Report
Link to Forum Discussion on the Accident detailing some History and Photos

The Lessons?
What I want to ask here, is when are we going to start learning these lessons in ground school, and not in near misses and accidents.

When are we going to learn that the cost and time invested in training is far less than that of our passengers lives?

Both of these scenarios would never have happened if the pilots had had proper training to really get to know the performance and handling of aircraft they were operating and had taken the time to consider the proper, mandatory pre-flight planning.

A Really Cute and Helpful Radio Techniques Guide

August 7th, 2010

I found this guide online at Austin Collins’ webpage.

Here’s an exert, so you’ll understand why I find it cute, helpful, and humourous, all the GoNumbers’ mantras.

Hold the Mayonnaise

Let’s consider a transmission. Then let’s replace all the unnecessary words with the word “mayonnaise.” Then we’ll hold the mayonnaise and see how much it cleans up the call.

“And, SoCal Approach, this is, uh, Cessna eight zero one three eight with you.”

If we replace the unnecessary words with the word “mayonnaise” we get:

“Mayonnaise, SoCal Approach, mayonnaise, mayonnaise, Cessna eight zero one three eight mayonnaise.”

All the pilot really needed to say was:

“SoCal Approach, Cessna eight zero one three eight.”

Now let’s try it again.

“And, Orlando Executive Ground, this is Flight Express Trainer Three, we are a Cessna 210 and we are at the Flight Express Ramp with information Tango. We’re ready to taxi to the active runway and we’ll be a VFR departure to the northwest today.”
Again, if we replace the unnecessary words with the word “mayonnaise” we get:

“Mayonnaise, Orlando Executive Ground, mayonnaise Flight Express Trainer Three, mayonnaise Cessna 210 mayonnaise Flight Express Ramp with information Tango. Mayonnaise mayonnaise mayonnaise mayonnaise VFR mayonnaise northwest mayonnaise.”

All the pilot really needed to say was:

“Orlando Executive Ground, Flight Express Trainer Three, Cessna 210, Flight Express Ramp, Tango, VFR northwest.”

Why say it in 44 words when you can say it in just 15 words?

Next time, before you speak, remember to “Hold the Mayonnaise”.

Check out the rest of the file at www.redskyventures free stuff:
Flight Express operates some Cessna 210s on mainly on IFR freight operations, if you want to learn more about the C210, Austin Collins also has a Cessna 210 guide, a short internet search should find it, and you can also check out our Cessna 210 text book at Cessna 210 Book.

How Many Hours Are Enough?

July 19th, 2010

Jul 9, 2010

David Collogan

A notice from the FAA that it may require pilots to meet tougher minimum training and experience standards before serving as copilots in FAR Part 121 flight operations is generating considerable angst throughout the aviation community. Some fear the more-stringent standards could significantly curtail the number of student pilots, siphon experienced pilots to the airlines from other segments of the industry and ultimately result in a nationwide pilot shortage.

The concern results from an Advance Notice of Proposed Rulemaking published in response to the NTSB’s investigation of the Feb. 12, 2009, crash of a Colgan Air DHC-8 into a house during a night approach in light snow and mist to Buffalo-Niagara, N.Y., International Airport.
David Collogan

The NTSB determined that the captain’s inappropriate response to the activation of the stick shaker led to an aerodynamic stall from which the airplane did not recover. Among the contributing factors cited were the flight crew’s failure to monitor airspeed and adhere to sterile cockpit procedures, and the captain’s failure to effectively manage the flight. An examination of the captain’s training records revealed that he had flunked numerous flight checks, some because of an inability to demonstrate proficiency in basic airmanship.

The Buffalo accident, and the multiple deficiencies revealed, would no doubt have caused the FAA to take a close look at training standards without further prompting. But the agency doesn’t have any choice. Congress is prodding the regulators to take action.

Both the House and Senate rushed to enact legislation (H.R. 3371, the Airline Safety and Pilot Training Improvement Act of 2009, and S.1451, the FAA Air Transportation Modernization and Safety Improvement Act), both mandating tougher training standards. Differences between those measures would have to be resolved in a House-Senate conference committee.

The strong congressional reaction is not surprising given the circumstances of the Buffalo crash and the publicity it received. But we must reiterate our long-held view that few creatures are more dangerous than members of Congress reacting to a high-profile event by rushing to legislate technical standards that would be best addressed by federal regulators. You see, if a federal agency proposes a regulation that turns out to be flawed, it can be fixed or amended after a public comment period. Fixing a bad law, however, is akin to parting the Red Sea — it pretty much requires a miracle.

Both the House and Senate bills essentially require all Part 121 airline pilots (including first officers) to hold Airline Transport Pilot (ATP) certificates, which could be obtained only after an applicant had logged a minimum of 1,500 flight hours. Currently, Part 121 first officers need a minimum of 250 hours. It’s worth noting that the 47-year-old Colgan Air captain had accumulated 3,379 flight hours and the 24-year-old copilot 2,244 hours.

Unsurprisingly, the FAA’s ANPRM reflects congressional will. However, a chorus of those submitting comments on the proposal emphatically rejects the 1,500 hour/ATP requirement for Part 121 first officers to occupy the right seat.

GAMA said such a requirement could result in an adverse effect on safety because “pilots would no longer focus on getting the best training to prepare them for 121 operations, but rather the cheapest and easiest.”

The Regional Airline Association echoed that concern, noting that “raising the existing, arbitrary total flight hour requirement could have the unintended and negative effect of reducing the number of highly qualified airline pilot professionals without any demonstrable safety benefit.” Simply building hours can be done quickly and cheaply “in ways that do not meaningfully prepare students for airline operations (e.g., towing banners),” the RAA said.

Using an aircraft rental rate of $90 per hour, the NATA calculated that “a pilot would be required to spend $112,500 to acquire sufficient total time to qualify for an ATP certificate and that experience would be gained in the most simple of aircraft . . . without providing any exposure to Part 121 aircraft or operating procedures.” That, said NATA, “will do little but discourage pilots from pursuing a Part 121 career.”

NATA also criticized the “piecemeal approach” of the ANRPM, which it said “will lead to the shifting of the training and evaluation burden from the air carrier to the individual pilot and likely will only exacerbate any existing issues with Part 121 pilot proficiency and professionalism.”

The AOPA said an increase in hiring requirements by the air carriers would likely discourage potential pilots from entering aviation due to higher costs and longer time to qualify. “Long term this is a problem for the entire aviation community,” the AOPA said. “With fewer student pilots, an eventual pilot shortage may occur. It may be difficult or impossible to staff the vital jobs provided by general aviation as well as the nation’s air carriers.”

The association, like many others who filed comments, observed that “experience is not measured in flight time alone. Safety is a combination of experience and training in specific aircraft type and in specific flight conditions,” which is more important than logging a specific number of flight hours.

The deficiencies uncovered in the Buffalo investigation cry out for improvements in airline training programs. Will the FAA embrace industry calls for truly effective changes that actually improve safety? Or will congressional will prevail with an overreaching total flight time requirement offering only illusory safety payoffs while dramatically increasing training costs? There’s a lot riding on the answers to those two questions.

Some Great Information for Pilots

June 25th, 2010

Through my research for our Cessna Training Manual series, I came Austin Collins, the chief pilot for Flight Express, who is obviously passionate about aviation, aviation safety, and ensuring and instilling professionalism in his chosen career.

At his website under the following link
is some great information from helping others who want to find out more about learning to fly (a very informative and accurate account including all the FAQs), to an informative “Austins Very Easy Guide to…” Series. Much of this is aimed at the FAA system, and also, which is mentioned specifically aimed at Part 135 operations in the FAA system, but the general nature of the content is of relevant to all aviators, and it is not difficult to distinguish which parts do not apply.

GoNumbers particularly likes the humorous but accurate way Austin brings his message across, for example, I love this part in the radio manual:

Let’s consider a transmission. Then let’s replace all the unnecessary words with the word “mayonnaise.” Then we’ll hold the mayonnaise and see how much it cleans up the call.
“And, SoCal Approach, this is, uh, Cessna eight zero one three eight with you.”
If we replace the unnecessary words with the word “mayonnaise” we get:
“Mayonnaise, SoCal Approach, mayonnaise, mayonnaise, Cessna eight zero one three eight mayonnaise.”
All the pilot really needed to say was:
“SoCal Approach, Cessna eight zero one three eight.”

So often I get frustrated with part 135ers and some instructors who don’t hold the mayonnaise!
(My personal favourite was “Charter ABC – Any traffic in the training area?”)

The Complete Series is as follows:
􀂾 Vol. 1 – Austin’s Very Easy Guide to Legal IFR Flight Planning Under Part 135
􀂾 Vol. 2 – Austin’s Very Easy Guide to On-Demand Part 135 Flight/Duty/Rest Rules
􀂾 Vol. 3 – Austin’s Very Easy Guide to Part 135 Daily Duties and Responsibilities
􀂾 Vol. 4 – Austin’s Very Easy Guide to Proper Radio Phraseology and Technique
􀂾 Vol. 5 – Austin’s Very Easy Guide to Winter Operations
􀂾 Vol. 6 – Austin’s Very Easy Guide to Passing Your Part 135 IFR-PIC Checkride

There’s a link on the side of this page under professional.

Pilot Personality – ALPA

April 19th, 2010

This post has been attributed to ALPA, the American airline pilot’s association. We used it to back up a commonly used phrase in the MCC (multi-crew cooperation) course I teach that most typical pilot personalities should not be allowed in the modern multi-crew environment. I like to try to cushion the blow by adding the word ‘male’ to the ‘most typical pilots’ phrase – but reading this, unfortunately, it’s all too true! Fortunately, the statement that being aware of your deficiencies is the first step to fixing them, is also true. And courses like MCC and CRM, if taken seriously and not just as a box to tick, are helping us all with the rest of the steps, to ensure the additional crew members do help make the operation safer.

The Pilot Personality (courtesy of ALPA)

Pilots are a distinct segment of the general population. In addition to flying skills, pilots are selected for their personalities and for a distinct “pilot persona.” These characteristics make them safer pilots.
Pilots tend to be physically and mentally healthy. Pilots tend to be “reality based,” because by the very nature of their work they are constantly testing reality. There are those, however who would dispute this claim.
Pilots tend to be self-sufficient and may have difficulty functioning in team situations without CRM and other training. They have difficulty trusting anyone to do the job as well as they can. Pilots tend to be suspicious, even a little paranoid. In moderation, this quality serves them well within their environment and is, in fact, a quality that managements look for in the pilot personality. Outside the cockpit, this quality shows up in the tendency of many pilots to set two or three alarm clocks– even though he or she may generally wake up before any of these go off. The suspicious/paranoid tendency also affects the way pilots function in their private lives, as well.
Pilots tend to be intelligent but are typically not intellectually oriented. They like “toys”– boats, cars, motorcycles, big watches, etc. They are good at taking things apart, if not putting them back together. Pilots are concrete, practical, linear thinkers rather than abstract, philosophical, or theoretical. On a scale that ranges from analytically oriented to emotionally oriented, pilots tend to be toward the analytical end. They are extremely reality- and goal-oriented. They like lists showing concrete problems, not talking about them. This goal orientation tends towards the short term as opposed to the long term. Pilots are bimodal: on/off, black/white, good/bad, safe/unsafe, regulations/non-regulations.
Pilots are inclined to modify their environment rather than their own behaviour. Pilots need excitement; a 9-to-5 job would drive most pilots to distraction. Pilots are competitive, being driven by a need to achieve, and don’t handle failure particularly well. Pilots have a low tolerance for personal imperfection, and long memories of perceived injustices.
Pilots tend to be scanners, drawing conclusions rapidly about situational facts. Pilots scan people as if they were instruments; they draw conclusions at a glance rather than relying on long and emotion-laden conversations.
Pilots avoid introspection and have difficulty revealing, expressing, or even recognizing their feelings. When they do experience unwanted feelings, they tend to mask them, sometimes with humour or even anger. Being unemotional helps pilots deal with crises, but can make them insensitive toward the feelings of others. The spouses and children of pilots frequently complain that the pilot has difficulty expressing complex human emotions toward them.
This emotional “block” can create difficulty communicating. How many incidents or accidents have occurred due to poor communications? The vast majority of Professional Standards cases will be caused by poor communication.

C210 Accidents

January 8th, 2010

We found the following two articles very informative with regard to C210 accidents and accident prevention:

First:, providing a little useful statistical data on causes of C210 accidents.

Cessna 210 Centurion: it’ll haul heroic payloads at respectable cruise speeds. But don’t go cheap on preventive maintenance or you’ll regret it.

Publication: The Aviation Consumer
Publication Date: 01-JUN-09 Format: Online

Full Article Title: Cessna 210 Centurion: it’ll haul heroic payloads at respectable cruise speeds. But don’t go cheap on preventive maintenance or you’ll regret it.(USED AIRCRAFT GUIDE)(Product/service evaluation)

Note; this article abbreviated to reflect accident information, full article includes some helpful information about operating the C210

The six-seat retractable single is a market niche to which many prospective owners aspire. And why not? They are as fast as many twins, can carry prodigious payloads, come with plenty of panel space to install any goodies the previous owner neglected and generally are easy to fly. The solo powerplant avoids a twin’s upkeep costs while most systems–with landing gear being a notable exception–are almost as simple as the trainer first soloed.


Light on the controls, sports car-like handling, delightfully well-balanced are all adjectives used to describe how airplanes handle. None of them apply to the Cessna 210. The Centurion is, at best, a truck. Pitch forces are relatively heavy and although roll rate is adequate, the controls are not well harmonized when compared to, say, the 36-series Bonanzas.


At the beginning of this article, we noted the Cessna 210, perhaps more than other six-seat singles, does not tolerate any inattention to its maintenance requirements. After reviewing 93 accidents and incidents in the NTSB data base over a three-year period, we have additional evidence of the type’s ongoing need for attention.

Leading the pack of accidents causes–but without a single resulting injury or fatality–is what we categorize as a “landing-gear-related mishap,” or LGRM. A total of 18 Cessna 210s made it into the NTSB’s files for reasons involving mechanical issues with the landing gear or plain, old-fashioned pilot forgetfulness. That said, the majority of the mishaps recorded were mechanical in nature.

Closely following LGRMs is another broad category: runway loss of control, or RLOC, with 17 entries. Essentially, this category includes a pilot’s failure to get down and stopped, or to clear the runway and its surroundings on takeoff. Usually, this category leads the pack when examining other aircraft types. Engine mechanical issues came in a close third, with 16 entries.

Fuel starvation tied with fuel exhaustion at eight entries apiece. The 210–perhaps more than other any other Cessna–is prone to being “underfueled”: The tanks’ geometry can preclude completely filling them, especially if the airplane is parked on an uneven surface. Meanwhile, even when there’s adequate fuel aboard, pilots seem to find ways to ignore it. Given the 210′s left-right-both-off fuel system, this one’s a mystery to US.

The remaining accidents covered a wide range of causes, but never numbered more then three each. Among these were airframe mechanical issues, including an in-flight fire, collision with objects at night, controlled flight into terrain, wildlife impacts, two stall/spin events, plus (two each) improper IFR and spatial disorientation. An in-flight breakup, a deplaning passenger killed by a spinning propeller (the airplane suffered an engine failure during a takeoff later the same day) and a hand-propping event round out the collection of accidents and incidents.

The Cessna 210 is a complicated high-performance airplane demanding attention when it’s flown and when it isn’t. Any failure to supply the attention it requires may result in an unpleasant day for the pilot and his passengers.


LGRM (18)
RLOC (17)

Gonumbers comment: The fact that RLOC accidents typically “lead the pack”, as the article states, when it comes to light aircraft, is a sad but true reflection on the state of training. A C210 may be a little more difficult to handle than most light aircraft, but the fact that accidents are comparable in this sector, perhaps means that schools and operators realise the need to take transition training more seriously.

And the following article from, which has some really useful operating tips from a well versued source.

A Letter to Cessna 210 Owners
The Executive Director of the Cessna Pilots Association (who is a 210 owner and A&P/IA himself) tells Centurion owners what they need to know to stay out of trouble.
January 9, 1996

by John Frank

Dear Cessna 210 Owner,

FAA records indicate that you recently registered a Cessna 210 aircraft. I am writing to brief you on several safety-critical topics that we believe every Centurion owner should be aware of. Our experience indicates that many 210 owners (even some experienced ones) are not aware of certain important characteristics of this aircraft. Without this knowledge, it is possible to get into serious trouble.

In this letter, I’m going to talk to you about idiosynchrasies of the Cessna 210 fuel system, retractable landing gear, and several other aircraft systems. If you are new to Cessna Centurions, I’m sure you’ll find this information enlightening. If you are an old hand with Centurions, you may still find it a worthwhile review.

At the end of this letter, I’m going to tell you a little about the Cessna Pilots Association and urge you to become a member of this valuable technical information service for Cessna owners. But whether you decide to join CPA or not, I want you and your passengers to be safe when you fly your Centurion. So please take a few minutes to read over this material carefully.

BLADDER WRINKLES. If you fly a strut-braced 210 (1960 through 1966 model years), your airplane uses rubber bladder tanks in each wing. These bladders have a tendancy to develop wrinkles along the bottom. The wrinkles act as little dams that can prevent water from moving to the sump drain. This means that you can sump the tanks at preflight and see no water, yet dangerous amounts of water could still be present in your fuel tanks.

To make matters worse, Cessna originally installed flush-style fuel caps on these aircraft. These caps have a tendency to leak if the aircraft is exposed to moisture. If your fuel caps have a small hinged pull-up handle that fits into a recess in the cap, you have the dangerous fuel caps. At CPA, we call them “killer caps.”

There have been a number of engine failures after take-off in these aircraft due to water ingestion even though the pilot sumped the tanks thoroughly during pre-flight. Some of these incidents have been fatal. The FAA issued Airworthiness Directive AD 84-10-01 to deal with this problem. It requires inspection of the bladders for wrinkles, and suggests changing flush-style fuel caps to umbrella-style caps.

If you fly a bladder-equipped 210 that still has flush-style fuel caps, the Cessna Pilots Association strongly uges you to change immediately to either the Cessna umbrella cap (kit SK182-85 available through any Cessna dealer) or the Monarch Development cap.

BUT THE LINEBOY SWORE HE TOPPED THE TANKS! If your 210 is a cantelever-wing model (without struts, 1967 through 1986 models), it uses integral fuel tanks. This basically means that several bays in each wing are sealed to serve as a fuel tank, with the top and bottom wing skins forming the top and bottom of the tank.

Because the fuel tank is long and flat and has a recessed filler port, it can be difficult to get the last few gallons of fuel in each tank. The tank may appear full when it is actually 5 to 10 gallons short. There have been a number of off-airport landings caused by fuel exhaustion because the pilots thought the tanks had been filled but were actually short of full by a significant amount.

This problem can be reduced by installing non-recessed fuel caps, using Cessna kit SKxxx-xx or Monarch Development caps (phone xxx/xxx- xxxx). If you order the Monarch caps, make sure to get the latest raised caps and not their older screw on caps. The FAA has also issued AD xx-xx-xx, applicable to all cantelever- wing 210s, which requires calibration of the aircraft’s fuel gauges, notation in the aircraft records, and in some cases placards at the fuel filler ports.

Any time you make a flight of 4 hours or more, you must be 100% positive that you have full tanks. To accomplish this, you must fuel the aircraft on a level surface. Your nose strut must be inflated sufficiently to give the aircraft a slightly nose-up attitude (about 4.5 degrees for most models). Fill each tank until the fuel in each tank is all the way up to the upper wing skin. Then wait several minutes, re-check the fuel level in each tank, and add more fuel if necessary.

SO THAT’S WHAT THOSE TWO HOLES ON THE BELLY ARE FOR! On all Cessna 210s, the main fuel tanks feed into small reservoir tanks. Their purpose is to provide the fuel injection system a source of fuel undisturbed by aircraft attitude, and to receive excess fuel and vapor that is returned from the fuel control unit.

Models prior to 1982 have two reservoir tanks, one for each wing tank, that are located in the belly of the aircraft beneath the floor boards. From 1982 on, the 210 fuel system was changed so that only a single reservoir tank is used. The reservoir tanks can collect water and sediment. They should to be drained at preflight prior to the first flight of the day. This is frequently overlooked. The reservoir tanks have quick drains. (Early models originally had drain plugs installed in the reservoir tanks, but an A.D. mandated that these be retrofitted with quick drains.) In some cases, the holes for access to the quick drains have “Wilkie” buttons installed in them. These can be removed and discarded to provide easier access to the drains.

THE LOUDEST SILENCE IN THE WORLD. The Centurion has a history of fuel flow fluctuations and, in a few cases, engine stoppage due to vapor lock. This has been most prevalent in turbocharged 210s from the early 1970s through the 1981 model year. The problem occurs when the reservoir tanks become filled with fuel vapor instead of liquid fuel. Turbocharged aircraft are more vulnerable because they climb rapidly to altitude and have higher engine compartment temperatures. Normally-aspirated 210s seldom develop this vapor lock problems in-flight. If they do, it is usually an indication of a mechanical problem within the fuel system.

The important thing to remember is that while the reservoir tank on the side of the fuel tank in use is filling with vapor, the opposite-side reservoir tank is full of liquid fuel with no vapor. If you suspect a vapor problem, switch fuel tanks and turn the boost pump to low. This will almost always stabilize fuel flow and restore engine power. There is also a modification that can be performed to the T210 exhaust system that reduces the heat soaking of the fuel in the engine compartment.

Another vapor-related topic is the infamous problem of hot starts on fuel injection engines. The Cessna Pilots Association has developed a sure-fire hot-start proceedure that works every time, and does not involve flooding the engine (which can be a fire hazard). CPA members may obtain this hot-start handout at no charge.

The Centurion landing gear system has a lousy reputation. Actually, the gear system can be extremely reliable if you and your maintenance shop understands the system thoroughly. CPA’s three-day Cessna 210 Systems and Procedures Course devotes several hours to this subject, but I will mention a few of the highlights here.

UH OH! NO GREEN LIGHT. If you don’t get a green light after extending the gear, the first thing to do is to visually check the landing gear position. When down and locked, the main gear tires can be seen from the cabin. However, the nosewheel is not visible to the pilot unless you install a convex landing gear mirror. A mirror is also necessary to observe the position of the main gear doors (if your plane has them). CPA sells an STC’d mirror that simply replaces one of the underwing inspection plates.

If the landing gear appears completely down but there is no green light, a normal landing should be made. If the main gear is down but not quite locked, the weight of the aircraft will push the main gear legs toward the locked position. However, the nose gear retracts forward, so weight on an unlocked nose gear will tend to make it retract. Therefore, take care to hold the nose wheel off the ground as long as possible.

If the gear does not appear to be fully extended, try to determine the cause. On 1971 and earlier 210s which use an engine-driven hydraulic pump, recycle the landing gear handle to the neutral position and then back to the down position. On 1972 and later 210s with an electrically-driven hydraulic pump, make sure that the landing gear switch is in the down position and that neither the landing gear motor circuit breaker or landing gear control circuit breaker have tripped.

If the gear still is not fully extended, then it is time to use the emergency extension system. With the landing gear handle or switch in the down position, pull out the emergency extension pump handle and start pumping. Continue until the handle feels like it is set in cement. Visually determine that the gear is extended and that you have a green light, then make a normal landing.

If the emergency extension handle won’t budge, the most likely cause is a stuck door solenoid valve (assuming you have doors). The door solenoid valve is electrically activated to the door-closed position and spring- loaded to the door-open position. Try turning off the master switch (VFR conditions only!) to allow the electrical circuits in the landing gear system to cool down. This may allow the solenoid valve to drop into place. You can also try pulling the plastic center console cover off to expose the landing gear power pack, and rap on the door solenoid valve to encourage it to release. The door solenoid valve is the small silver canister assembly on the left side of the power pack.

If the emergency extension handle moves freely but the gear does not extend, the most likely cause is insufficent hydraulic fluid. On pre-1972 aircraft, there’s not much you can do other than verifying that this is the situation by observing if any fluid is visible through the sight glass. On 1972 and later models, there’s a dipstick and filler port behind a removable panel on the center console. If the dipstick shows no fluid in the power pack, you can try pouring any available liquid into the power pack reservoir.

IF NOTHING WORKS, KEEP YOUR COOL. If a gear-up landing can’t be avoided, the important thing is not to panic. A landing with the gear up or partially extended is not a life-threatening situation and only through panic can a pilot turn it into one. Simply make a normal approach, touching down at as low an airspeed as you are comfortable with while maintaining control of the aircraft.

If you are faced with making a wheels-up landing, here are some items you might want to keep in mind:


Pavement is better than grass. Contrary to intuition, less damage will be done touch down on smooth pavement than on grass.

Pick a runway the airlines don’t need. If you disturb airline schedules, the airport management will want toclear the runway quickly, which could result in greater damage to your aircraft. The FAA may get upset, too. If the wind is manageable, consider using a crosswind runway at an airport you think you might have repairs done.

Don’t worry about prop or engine damage. The hangar flyers will tell you should shut down the engine and stop the prop on final to minimize damage. Most of those guys have never done it. I have, and let me tell you it is no easy task. Once you pull the mixture out to shut down the engine, you will have to reduce airspeed almost to stall to get the prop stopped, and then remain at very low airspeed to prevent the prop from windmilling again. What’s the point? At best, you’ll only be saving money for your insurance company. And that’s a pretty poor reason for increasing the risk factor during a wheels up landing.

JUST LIKE KIDS WHO WON’T CLOSE DOORS. The most common 210 landing gear complaint I hear is “I retract the gear but the doors won’t close!” Because many shops really don’t understand the system, owners have paid for many needless repairs, power pack overhauls, and door-removal modifications. Actually, there is a simple electrical circuit involving the the up-lock and down lock microswitches along with the handle switch that energizes the door solenoid valve to the door-close position. If your doors won’t close on either the gear-up or gear-down cycle, then the problem is in this circuit and should take less than an hour to troubleshoot.

IS PLASTIC KEEPING YOUR NOSE UP? Your nose gear has a little “downlock spring guide” to retain a spring that keeps tension on the nose gear downlock hooks. When Cessna originally built your aircraft, they installed a spring guide made entirely of plastic, with two plastic pins that fit into holes in the downlock hooks. These plastic pins have a tendency to break, and this can result in the downlock spring falling out and leaving no tension on the downlock hooks. Taxi over a bump and the nose gear could collapse. Ouch!

Cessna came out with an improved guide, P/N xxxxxxxx, which has steel pins instead of plastic ones. All 210s were manufactured with the all-plastic guide, so unless you have a log book entry that shows installation of the improved part, your aircraft is in jeopardy. The new part costs about $15 and takes about an hour to change. It’s a very small price to pay to avoid a costly nose gear collapse.

BACK IN THE SADDLE AGAIN. 1960 through 1969 210s have flat spring steel landing gear legs held in “saddles”. Service history indicates that these saddles can crack over time, creating the possibility of a landing gear failure. The FAA issued AD XX-XX-XX which requires annual dye-penetrant inspection of these saddles after a certain number of hours. The Cessna Pilots Association reccomends the saddles be checked every 100 hours or at annual inspection no matter how many hours are on them.

ALL YOU WANT IS CLEAN AIR. On turbocharged 210s, the exhaust heat exchanger uses spiral fins to improve cabin heat capacity. Unfortunately, the heat exchanger tends to develop cracks where the fins welded to it. Such cracks can allow dangerous exhaust fumes into the cockpit. The FAA issued AD 71-XX- XX which requires pressure checking the exhaust system of all turbocharged 210s EVERY 50 HOURS! This is an important and often overlooked inspection.

DON’T SHAKE YOUR TAIL FEATHERS. Cessna 210 often develop cracks at the attach points for both the vertical and horizontal stabilizers, particularly at the “station 209 bulkhead” where the forward spar of the horizontal stabilizer attaches. This area needs to be inspected very carefully. Cessna offers service kits to strengthen these areas.

ROTTEN TRAILING EDGES. Cessna built the trailing edge of the 210 elevator and the entire elevator trim tab with a foam core. It seemed like a good idea at the time, but it wasn’t. The foam core absorbs moisture which causes the elevator trailing edge and the trim tab to corrode from the inside out. By the time you see the tell-tale bubbling of the paint on the trim tab or elevator trailing edge, the structure is seriously compromised. Cessna now offers replacement parts that do not use a foam core.

The Cessna 210 Centurion is a great aircraft. In its later variations, it is arguably the best single-engine travelling machine ever built. But as with any mechanical device, time and service have shown that there are areas of concern that owners/operators need to be aware of. Which is why CPA exists.

The principal purpose of the Cessna Pilots Association is to provide our members with in-depth technical information about their aircraft that is simply not available anywhere else. CPA members receive our monthly CPA Magazine; each 32-page issue is jam-packed with late-breaking news, technical articles, details of new ADs and service bulletins, service difficulty reports, general aviation alerts, and other vital Cessna-specific information.

CPA also has developed a long list of informational handouts that deal with the most frequently-seen problems and frequently-asked questions about Cessnas: nosewheel shimmy, hot starts, oil on the belly, uneven fuel feeding, and many other subjects. These handouts are available at no cost to CPA members.

One of the most valuable aspects of CPA membership is unlimited access to the CPA Technical Hotline. CPA is the only Cessna owners association with a full-time staff of A& P mechanics available daily to answer your questions. Each one is a real Cessna expert. We also maintain the largest Cessna technical library outside of the Cessna factory. If you need help troubleshooting an elusive problem or locating a hard-to-find part, we can help. We can also save you big money on high-ticket parts by telling you where to get the best deals.

If you join CPA and call with a 210-related problem, you’ll probably wind up talking to me. One of my jobs at the Cessna Pilots Association is to provide technical support to our members who own 210s. In addition, I operate and maintain my own T210 (a 1967 model). I know the aircraft intimately and can answer almost any 210 question you might have. If I don’t know the answer myself, I know who knows!

CPA also offers a terrific three-day Cessna 210 Systems and Procedures Course. The seminar is given several times a year at the CPA Technical Center in California, and once a year in several other parts of the country. Our instructors are some of the foremost 210 experts in the world. After you graduate from this course, you will know more about your Centurion than 99% of all 210 owners, and you’ll probably understand its complex systems (particularly landing gear and electrical) better than most A& Ps do. There is no better way to learn so much about your aircraft so quickly.

I hope you decide to join the Cessna Pilots Association. It costs just $40 to for the first year, and $35 to renew. Most of our members feel that CPA membership is one of the best bargains in aviation.

But whether or not you choose to join CPA, please pay careful attention to the information in this letter, particularly the cautions about fuel contamination and fuel capacity. The 210 has a history of fuel-system- related accidents. A little knowledge and caution will prevent you from adding to the statistics.

Let’s all of us be careful up there.

John M. Frank
Executive Director

Cessna Pilots Association

About the Author …

John Frank is the founder and Executive Director of the Cessna Pilots Association. John is a 14,000-hour ATP-rated pilot and an A&P mechanic with Inspection Authorization, and probably knows more about single-engine Cessnas than any man on earth. John flew helicopters in Vietnam and fixed-wing in Berlin for the U.S. Army, was a test pilot for Beech Aircraft, and headed up the American Bonanza Society before founding CPA in 1984. John lives in Santa Maria, California, with his wife Kris, and spends his after-hours time doting on two young sons, John III and Steven.

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