Maintaining Your Flying Knowledge During the Winter
We're very fortunate that Jeppesen's headquarters are here in Centennial, Colorado, right next door to KAPA. Winter flying in Colorado can be a beautiful thing. Snow capped Rocky Mountains and superb visibility make for some great aerial photos, and the cooler air creates lower density altitudes which contribute to a better performing airplane as well.
However, like many GA pilots living in the northern two-thirds of the United States, the weather this time of year can also make for a challenging time to fly. Bitter cold temps, snow showers, low freezing levels and ever-changing wind conditions result in remaining indoors instead of in the cockpit more often than I'd like. Since I'm spending more time on the ground, I find myself challenged to keep my aviation knowledge sharp so as I'm still a safe and competent pilot when those rare January "nice" flying days occur.
Staying Sharp with Today's Technology
I've had a passion for aviation since early childhood. My parents would always tell people my first word after learning "Mom" and "Dad" was "airplane." It was just in my blood. My first Young Eagles flight was in a Cessna 182 in 1993, and my first flight lesson came three years later in the form of a 1946 Aeronca Champ. However it's only been within the last year that I've earned my private pilot license. For a multitude of reasons, I was one of those on-again, off-again student pilots.
One benefit I encountered during my long tenure as a student pilot was the dramatic change in technology that has occurred over the past few years. Technology has made studying easier and more efficient- not only for student pilots, but regular fliers as well. No longer is it necessary to dig up a heavy textbook or blow the dust off an outdated FAR/AIM to find answers to questions you may have forgotten since your last lesson, checkride or bi-annual flight review.
The advent of e-books on the iPad, such as Jeppesen's Private Pilot Guided Flight Discovery (GFD) Textbook, makes it easy to continuously learn and stay sharp. The e-book format is clean, intuitive, interactive… and the best part is it's on your iPad! Being able to quickly reference a specific chapter, highlight and bookmark it helps maintain your knowledge with ease. The portability of having all the information stored on the iPad means you can take it with you anywhere to study. And if you are like me and find yourself on your iPad frequently, you'll be more apt to open an e-book and refresh your memory, rather than go pull an old textbook off the shelf.
Planning a flight in the spring to a Class C airport and need a refresher on the airspace features? It's just one finger tap away. Can't remember a certain regulation? The search capability of e-books like the Jeppesen FAR/AIM makes it a snap. And with the ability of e-books to automatically push new content, you have peace of mind in knowing that the information at your fingertips is always current and relevant.
So next time you find yourself indoors instead of in the cockpit, pick up your iPad, open an e-book, and stay sharp. I challenge you to learn something new every time. A good, safe pilot is always learning- in the air and on the ground.
About the Author: As the Key Account Manager for Jeppesen's General Aviation Dealer/Distributor Network, Scott Greenfield is passionate about Jeppesen's training offerings and the General Aviation community. He is an active GA pilot and currently pursuing his instrument rating. When not at work, he can be found behind the controls of a Diamond Star DA40, or at airshows all over the country gazing skyward at P-51 Mustangs.