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Kurt Knoefel on the left with Royal Griffin DPE on the right receiving his Private Pilot Certificate.


Congratulations to Mike Mahon and Mark Everette for receiving their Instrument rating and to Kurt Knoefel for his Private Pilot Certificate and Phil Smith for his Instrument Instructor rating. Well done all.

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ChiefPilot @ June 12, 2016

Pilot Log Entry #1

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Richard English and Steve Smith

This is my first pilot log entry as a PIC, Pilot in Command.

Several hours have passed since I took my first solo flight and my veins are still surging with adrenaline. I knew the day and time was coming to take my solo. After all that is what I’ve been study for and working towards for the past six months. The first major milestone in the pursuit of obtaining my private pilot certificate. Today was a perfectly beautiful April day. Bright sun, a deep blue sky, calm winds and a few puffy white clouds.

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ChiefPilot @ April 22, 2016

Ask about our new Instrument Training Seminars. Relaxed format. Interesting discussions!

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ChiefPilot @ January 31, 2014

UPDATE: Phil received Private Pilot Certificate in 10 weeks!

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ChiefPilot @ January 31, 2014

Solo Pilot: Phil Smith

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Congratulations Phil on your first solo!

Congratulations Phil on your first solo!

ChiefPilot @ November 12, 2013

New Cessna is a hit!

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Our newest rental aircraft — a 2002 172Sp model with autopilot, GPS and traffic information system. Even a whole aircraft parachute system! Leather seats and great sound proofing make this an ideal aircraft for those trips to the Vineyard.

ChiefPilot @ October 5, 2013

Elite PC-ATD Flight Simulator At Future Flyers

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Future Flyers of CT, (FFCT) offering flight training and aircraft rental at Simsbury Airport (4B9), Simsbury, Connecticut, has added an Elite PC-ATD simulator for the benefit of its students. The simulator can be used for 2.5 hours of Instrument training toward the Private Rating and 10 hours training toward the Instrument Rating. The ATD (Approved Training Device) can also be used for an IPC to maintain Instrument currency.

A CFII can pause the simulator and give instruction to the student and the “airplane” can be moved to at any location for repeat IFR approaches. Holding pattern entries are taught more efficiently on a Simulator, as the track of the entire holding pattern and entry may be seen.
The ELITE saves students money as they can instantly repeat maneuvers and have no concerns about repositioning, traffic, weather, taxiing, run-up, etc. Vacuum system, electrical, radio and other emergencies can be simulated more efficiently with the ATD because they can be preprogrammed into the simulator or initiated by the Instructor.CFII Steve Smith, co-owner of FFCT with his wife, Diane, is chief instructor at the school and has five CFIs and CFIIs on the staff. Smith is former CEO of Aerosance, Inc. Farmington, CT, inventors of the popular FADEC (Full Authority Digital Engine Control) aircraft engine control system. Primary and Instrument flight training is provided and evening ground schools have been well attended. FFCT flies and rents Cessna 172 and Liberty XL-2 aircraft at Simsbury Airport. Students and renters do their own online scheduling 24/7.A high percentage of FFCT’s primary students attend local High Schools. Several have soloed on their16th birthdays and are now close to getting their Private Pilot ratings. For more information about flight training and aircraft rental at Simsbury Airport go to or call Steve Smith at 860-819-3717. You may also email Steve at

bobc @ July 1, 2011

Learning to Learn

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learningtolfy1Several students have asked me how to continue to improve as pilots once they get their license. Continuing ed, reading, online sources, additional ratings are all effective ways. But there is also one simple way. If you think about flying as a doctor thinks about his skills, that is he “Practices” medicine it becomes evident that being a pilot is a continuum of learning experiences. What’s a “learning experience”? It’s when you are on a flight and something you didn’t anticipate occurs. For example, the ground speed is slower than planned or there is more turbulence than you expected or you forgot to lean the engine when you climbed above the recommended altitude for leaning. ANYTHING that is unusual or unexpected becomes an opportunity for learning. To make it count you have to self analyze. You have to recognize the unusual event and dissect it. Why was the wind off plan? Did you misinterpret the forecast or was the forecast wrong? If the forecast was wrong what factors could have contributed (front movements, temperature change, etc.).

Then you have to record the learning experience. I’ve found the best place to do that is right in the logbook. Don’t be afraid to use more than one line for a single flight. Nothing in the FARs says you have to put each flight on only one line!

ChiefPilot @ September 29, 2009

FAA to Change VFR Corridor over Hudson River

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hudsonThe FAA has confirmed that it is planning to modify the airspace over the Hudson River by revising procedures to ‘create safe, dedicated operating corridors’ for all the aircraft that fly at lower altitudes around Manhattan.
“The New York Airspace Task Force chartered on August 14 developed a comprehensive series of recommendations that we plan to implement as quickly as possible,” said FAA Administrator Randy Babbitt. “These steps will significantly enhance safety in this busy area and create crystal-clear rules for all of the pilots who operate there.”

The safety enhancements would restructure the airspace, mandate pilot operating rules, create a new entry point into the Hudson River airspace from Teterboro, standardize New York area charts and develop new training for pilots, air traffic controllers and businesses that operate helicopters and aircraft in the area. One of the most significant changes, if adopted, would divide the airspace into altitude corridors that separate aircraft flying over the river from those operating to and from local heliports or seaplane bases.

Specifically, this new exclusionary zone would be comprised of three components:

· It would establish a uniform “floor” for the Class B airspace over the Hudson River at 1,300 feet, which would also serve as the “ceiling” for the exclusionary zone.

· Between 1,300-2,000 feet, it would require aircraft to operate in the Class B airspace under visual flight rules but under positive air traffic control, and to communicate on the appropriate air traffic frequency.

· Between 1,000-1,300 feet, it would require aircraft using VFR to use a common radio frequency for the Hudson River. Aircraft operating below 1,000 feet would use the same radio frequency.
New pilot operating practices would require pilots to use specific radio frequencies for the Hudson River and the East River, would set speeds at 140 knots or less, and would require pilots to turn on anti-collision devices, position or navigation equipment and landing lights. They would also require pilots to announce when they enter the area and to report their aircraft description, location, direction and altitude.

Existing common practices that take pilots along the west shore of the river when they are southbound and along the east shore when they are northbound would become mandatory. In addition, pilots would be required to have charts available and to be familiar with the airspace rules.

The FAA also intends to propose standardized procedures for fixed-wing aircraft leaving Teterboro to enter the Class B airspace over the Hudson River or the exclusionary zone. If an aircraft plans to enter the Class B airspace, Teterboro controllers would request approval from Newark before the aircraft takes off and be authorized to climb the aircraft to 1,500 feet. Aircraft that want to enter the VFR exclusionary zone would be directed by a special route over the George Washington Bridge.

The FAA expects to complete and publish any changes in time to have them in effect by November 19, so that they can be incorporated on new, standardized aeronautical charts that will replace existing charts. The charts will highlight the Class B VFR corridor, encouraging more pilots to exercise the option to fly over the Hudson River under air traffic control, instead of entering the congested exclusionary zone.

Finally, the FAA intends to develop training programs specifically tailored for pilots, air traffic controllers and fixed-base operators to increase awareness of the options available in the Hudson River airspace, and better develop plans that enhance safety for the intended flight.

“We have reinforced how important it is to follow the recommended procedures and maintain professional conduct until we put the new mandatory measures in place,’’ said Administrator Babbitt. “These new safety steps incorporate the collective experience of pilots who fly in that airspace as well as our own air traffic controllers and the National Air Traffic Controllers Association. We all want the skies over New York to be as safe as they can be.”

The FAA chartered the New York Airspace Task Force on August 14 and proposed actions based on the group’s August 28 report. The National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB) issued independent recommendations on August 27 that were not used in the development of the task force’s safety enhancements. The FAA’s proposed actions meet or exceed the NTSB’s recommendations.

ChiefPilot @ September 3, 2009

Congratulations to Ian Melville

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FAA Designated Examiner Royal Griffith congratulates Ian Melville on successful completion of Private Pilot Test

FAA Designated Examiner Royal Griffith congratulates Ian Melville on successful completion of Private Pilot Test

ChiefPilot @ July 28, 2009