Category Archives: Cirrus Flight Training

How To Plan For Winter Flying

Winter is a popular time to travel.  Everyone wants to visit to family, friends, go skiing all in different areas of the country in a short holiday season.  Although winter weather conditions can create higher risk challenges, many pilots can’t help but to continue experiencing the wonders of aviation during the winter months.

If you plan on flying on your own this winter, you can have a safe and enjoyable experience, as long as you take a few extra precautions and spend a little more time planning.

Tips for Safe Winter Flying

  • Proper preflight planning is crucial – imagine all the possible worst-case scenarios before you head out onto the runway.  Remember that icing levels are lower this time of year.
  • Check all pilot reports before flying for icing conditions, airport closures, cold fronts, cloud locations and other issues that could affect your flight.
  • Air traffic during the holidays is often much worse than any other time of the year. Take this into consideration and allow for extra time to get to your destination.   Expect runway delays, and runway closures due to snow and ice.

  • If you are taking any passengers, make sure to brief them of potential scenarios and the potential for delays due to weather, airport closures and heightened air traffic.
  • Remember that temperatures in the atmosphere could dip as low as -30 degrees, and that turbulence is often much worse in the mountain areas that are popular winter destinations.
  • Get proper night training before flying with passengers in the wintertime, because the sun sets earlier and you may be forced to fly at night. In order to get night-current with your training, you must complete a minimum of three takeoffs and landings to a full stop at night within the past 90 days.

Preflight Checklist for Small Airplane Pilots

Before taking flight in the winter, the last precaution you must take is going through this additional pre-flight checklist for cold weather conditions:

  • Confirm that the heat works and that the heater is not leaking.
  • Check that all de-icing equipment is working properly.
  • Prepare instruments for holding.
  • Pre-check the safety kit and update the kit if anything is missing. Make sure you have a good knife, fire starters, a signal mirror and medical supplies in case of an emergency.

Understand Your Icing Charts

In order to avoid plane stalling, rolling, pitching or, in the worst-case scenario, total plane failure, it is necessary to study your icing charts before you fly if there’s any remote possibility of cold weather conditions during the course of your flight. There are several different options to help you understand what the potential for icing is. According to aviationweather.gov, there are four types of icing charts:

  • Freezing Level Graphs – These graphs show altitudes where the air temperature is freezing, and include charts and area forecasts showing freezing and moisture levels to help predict the potential for future icing.
  • Icing SIGMET Charts – A forecast tool that shows severe icing; abbreviation of Significant Meteorological Information.
  • Pilot’s Reports of Icing – This is a precise and constantly updated resource for pilots, providing accurate information about what’s happening right now in the sky. Pilots let fellow pilots know where they were flying, what altitude they were flying at, whether they went through any ice and, if so, how intense it was.
  • Supplementary Icing Information – The CIP and FIP are additional resources, but they’re only recommended for professional meteorologists.

Coast Flight Training Announces 98% Initial Pass Rate

During initial training, Coast flight training students experienced a 98% pass rate. This high pass rate is a testament to the quality of the company’s experienced & knowledgeable flight instructors & the innovative flight training methods employed by Coast Flight. Nathan Linder recently passed his IFR checkride in a Cirrus SR22. Two days after the checkride, Coast Flight Training President, Will Dryden, instructed Linder on flying to Mexico, making it possible for Linder to take his wife on a surfing trip to beautiful Cabo San Lucas. It’s just one more way in which flight training makes a big difference in the lives of Cirrus pilots!

How Coast Instructors Make Students Comfortable With Radio Communication

Will Dryden is the President and founder of Coast Flight Training. He is a career instructor with both Master Flight Instructor and Gold Seal Certified Flight Instructor designations. Will founded Coast with the focus of breaking aviation flight training paradigms (www.iflycoast.com).

The perfect way to reduce students’ anxiety about radio communication is to start by explaining to them that the air traffic controller they’re talking to is most likely wearing shorts and a Hawaiian shirt, and sipping a cup of Joe. He or she is nothing to be afraid of. The job of the ATC is to keep the pilots safe and help them when they have questions.

A common mistake instructors make is telling students that ATC radio calls have to be perfect and in a particular order. Instead, the instructors should encourage students and be positive. And while instructors should initially avoid fixing their students’ communication mistakes, it’s important that the students can rest assured that the instructor is there to back them up and can finish the call for them, in case they are having trouble.

Here are some simple steps to improve students’ radio calls:

  • Let the student talk on discreet pilot-to-pilot frequencies, without the pressure of talking to a controller. Have the student call “in the blind” to get used to hearing his or her own voice in the headsets.
  • Use a full motion simulator with an intercom system to practice radio calls under simulated circumstances.
  • Prior to each flight, go over what needs to be said to the controllers during airport operations by role-playing until the student is comfortable with the wording.
  • Teach the student to anticipate what communication is coming and how to respond to or initiate it.
  • For some students, it helps to let them write down exactly what to say on a cheat sheet, but this technique should really only be done during their first couple of flights.

Radios are often difficult for students. Air traffic controllers talking fast can be intimidating, creating a psychological “mountain” for the student. Reminding students that they’re just talking to that guy in the Hawaiian shirt enjoying his coffee can generally ease a lot of the pressure, and by identifying themselves as “student pilot” will alert the ATC to give them the extra attention they need and deserve.

The Benefits of Ground Power

As any good pilot knows, ground power is an essential part of modern flight. Ground power units are used to supply power to various aircraft while they are on the ground. The most common use for the larger power-supplying vehicles is supporting large aircraft as they are moving around the runway, such as after a landing. Ground power also helps create a low-pressure environment in which pilots in training can practice and learn the avionics of the plane before they actually fly.

A ground power unit is a may look like anything from a small box to a large truck depending on the planes it services.  It carries electric energy from a generator to a connection on the aircraft. Some airports also have the ground power built in. Ground power allows aircraft systems to be used without depleting the battery, so new pilots can train without the pressure of flying and make sure they’re comfortable with the plane and all of its instruments before ever taking it into the sky.

The Benefits of Ground Power

  • Chair flying offers the best opportunity to get familiar with avionics
  • Highly efficient training aid
  • At Coast there are No additional fees charged for this service
  • Provides full usage of all the plane’s instruments
  • Resource for students to effectively learn proper avionics techniques
  • No pressure to perform because the airplane is on the ground

Chair flying lets new pilots get familiar with the avionics of the aircraft. This is because the actions of the student’s body while sitting in the cockpit and envisioning flight help to develop muscle memory. Chair flying provides experience with GPS, frequency and different waypoint inputs. It makes lessons more productive, because once the student has become competent in the procedures, he or she is able to practice rather than just learn from a book or simulation. Students are focused on fine tuning their procedures instead of learning the procedures in a classroom.

Chair flying also provides students with practice in all the following areas:

  • Engaging autopilot
  • Locating information
  • Navigating avionics
  • Practice checklists
  • Practice procedures
  • Switching switches
  • Turning knobs

Ground power is a resource you’ll find in practically any airport these days. It helps to reduce emissions, fuel costs and noise pollution around the airports while the aircraft are circling the runway. From a student perspective, it is also the most efficient way to learn.

Coast Flight / Crownair Aviation A Cirrus Platinum Training & Service Center

Crownair Aviation and Coast Flight Training Join to Enhance the Cirrus Aircraft Experience

Cirrus Aircraft Names Crownair Aviation and Coast Flight Training as Platinum Partner Service and Training Centers

San Diego, Calif.; May 11, 2011. Crownair Aviation and Coast Flight Training and Management Inc. today announced their alliance as Cirrus Platinum Partners for Authorized Service and Training respectively.   The honor of becoming a Cirrus Platinum Partner is reserved for only those members of the Cirrus network who exhibit and consistently maintain the highest quality customer service, training standards and technical skills world-wide.

Both companies are located at Montgomery Field Airport (KMYF) in San Diego, CA and offer Cirrus Aircraft owners and pilots the only complete Cirrus Aircraft Partner Facility on the West Coast.

Crownair Aviation maintains Coast Flight Training’s fleet of Cirrus Aircraft and is open to the public for aircraft service, inspections, maintenance and avionics.  All airframe technicians have completed the Cirrus Initial training program, Specialized Composite Repair Lab in Duluth, CAPS Line Cutter Replacement, and AmSafe seat belt restraint training.  Crownair’s Avionic Technicians attended Garmin 1000 and Cirrus Perspective by Garmin training in Olathe.  Crownair can handle it all, from routine service such as oil changes to major repairs and engine overhauls / exchanges.  Crownair relies on Coast Flight’s expert group of instructor pilots to relocate aircraft when needed for service.

Coast Flight Training and Management Inc. is the finest and best-equipped Cirrus training center in Southern California. It counts on top tier Professional Pilot Instructors and a fleet that is composed of new and modern Cirrus SR20s and SR22s. The Cirrus is the best-selling, single engine piston in the world and features instruments and controls similar to commercial jetliners. The Cirrus Airframe Parachute System (CAPS™) provides top of the line, unprecedented safety. Coast uses a Scenario Based Training program (SBT), which enables pilot graduates from the academy to immediately enter the pilot ranks of commercial airlines. SBT is used by the military and airlines, and focuses on providing the student with the critical decision-making skills necessary to exercise the duties and responsibilities of the Pilot In Command. Using modern Cirrus aircraft and implementing SBT has proven to be instrumental in attracting customers and makes Coast Flight Training unique in its complete preparation of students.  In addition, Coast owns and operates brand new full motion RedBird flight simulator set up to train in the Cirrus platform.

“As a part of Crownair’s leadership team and a Coast Flight Training student pilot in the Cirrus SR20, I feel confident in this alliance”, says Debi Carlston, Director of Marketing of Crownair Aviation.  “Every time I fly, I feel secure in knowing that the aircraft are maintained extremely well and my instructors are top notch.”

About Crownair Aviation

Crownair Aviation has a history of exemplary customer satisfaction that spans six decades.  Crownair provides a wide range of aircraft services including a dedicated fuel station, pilot and passenger amenities, personalized concierge service, hangar space, and two class-leading maintenance and avionics service centers.  As one of the most experienced and respected names on the West Coast, Crownair has been serving the aviation community since 1951.  For more information on Crownair Aviation, visit www.crownairaviation.com or call any of our locations:

Crownair Aviation-MYF: 858-277-1453
Crownair Aviation-CRQ: 760-431-5315

About Coast Flight Training

Coast Flight Training and Management Inc. deploys its business in a state-of-the-art facility composed of six fully equipped classrooms and a large auditorium. Flying lessons are conducted in new and modern Cirrus SR20s and SR22s fleet are complemented by theoretical instruction carried out in a brand new full motion RedBird flight simulator. For more information on Coast Flight Training and Management Inc. http://iflycoast.com or call:

Coast Flight Training and Management:  858-279-4359

Platinum Status for Will Dryden, President of Coast!

Congratulations To Coast President, Will Dryden!

Will has been approved by Cirrus and designated as a Platinum CSIP. Dedication to the CSIP program, Cirrus flight instruction, and the Cirrus brand are recognized.   As a Cirrus Platinum Partner, Will has joined an elite group consisting of only the top Cirrus Standardized Instructor Pilots that have differentiated themselves as the best in an already fantastic network of partners.

Will wasn’t just handed this title.  He has been working hard since the day he started Coast.  Last month, Cirrus sent out one of their own from Duluth, to come fly with Will.  Randi Pederson put him through a full Cirrus checkride prior to deeming him worthy of this elite title.

Even Cirrus Aircraft was quoted: “. . .Cirrus Aircraft team is truly appreciative of your dedication to the safety of the pilots of our airplanes, and are privileged to have such talented flight instructors such as yourself as a partner.”

Congratulations on achieving this distinctive title Will.  Everyone at Coast is proud to be working with you.

Technologically Advanced Aircraft Explained

As a beginner pilot, it’s important to develop good habits right from the get-go. This is made much easier when the very first aircraft you pilot is a high-quality, technically advanced model like the one you’ll fly as a professional. At Coast Flight Training, all trainees are given access to a Cirrus aircraft—categorized by the FAA as a technically advanced aircraft (TAA)—to help students avoid having to re-learn basic techniques, as they would have to do if they started on an inferior aircraft.

But what makes the Cirrus worthy of a TAA title? A TAA is equipped with, at least, a moving map display (to communicate real-time flight information to passengers using information from the navigation system), an IFR-approved GPS navigator and an autopilot (a mechanical, hydraulic or electrical system to guide a vehicle without human assistance). With these tools, a pilot can be more aware of his or her location, the terrain, weather and traffic in the area. Moreover, built-in redundancies in a TAA ensure that if one system fails, there is a second on hand to pick up the slack. In the Cirrus, a specialized avionics system in the cockpit keeps all this data organized and easily accessible by the pilot at all times via two displays: the Primary Flight Display (PFD) and the Multifunction Display (MFD). The MFD shows a range of useful information, including the following:

The moving map
Terrain
XM Weather
Traffic
Engine instrumentation
Checklists
Airport Information
XM Radio (when workload is low in cruise)
EVS Infrared Vision

In such a versatile and high-performing aircraft, passengers, crew and cargo stand a better chance of a safe, successful flight. Coast Flight trainees have access to all this technology right from the beginning—a unique experience for student pilots in San Diego that they can get only at Coast. Additionally, the entire Cirrus Transition Course can be completed in only 10-12 hours, which is easily manageable in a weekend!

Coast Is Adding To Our Fleet


Coast Flight Training welcomes our newest Cirrus to the fleet. N788JN is a 2004 Cirrus SR20 that comes with WAAS and Traffic system upgrades. The aircraft was bought in Oregon and will be delivered next week.

As you can see on the Multi Function Display a strong cold front was approaching Aurora State Airport when Will took the airplane for the test flight. All he said was “this is not San Diego weather for sure!” Winds were 170@17 gusting 33kts, Moderate Turbulence and rain really starting to come down hard! Besides the nasty weather the plane flew flawless and will be an amazing addition to the Coast Flight Training Fleet!