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Training Tip: The 10 top Tips of 2021

The May 18 “Training Tip: Instructors Behaving Badly” proved to be the most-read weekly training tip of the year, far outstripping the runner-up, and I’m pretty sure that’s not just because we gave AOPA Air Safety Institute staffer John Collins a temporary makeover and asked him to portray the title role for an accompanying image photographed by AOPA Senior Photographer Chris Rose.

Reader preferences make the world go round, so we crunched the numbers to tally the top 10 tips of 2021. Here’s what we learned:

Stalls continue to hold pilots in thrall, so it’s not surprising that the January 15 “Training Tip: Saved by a Stall” got a lot of attention; here’s hoping that the safety message the column conferred (that when load factors are high, a stall may be what holds the aircraft together) got through.

The third most popular piece, “Training Tip: Base Impulses,” tackled how to take a strategic approach to flying the traffic pattern when the winds are wailing. Can you make decisions on the fly?

Another decision-making challenge was raised by “Training Tip: In a Class By Itself,” the fourth tip in our top 10. It depicted a complicated airspace-penetration scenario that held significant refresher lessons for an experienced pilot who was overtaken by events on a flight.

Readers cherry-clicked a selection of in-flight scenarios earning them places five through eight on the list:

Training Tip: Bouncing (and Bouncing Back)” about bounced landings and recovering, clicked with many readers. “Training Tip: I Just Want to Get Down” took on the flight-safety perils of the hazardous attitude known informally as “get-down-itis.” “Training Tip: A Pitch for No-flap Landings” advocated learning that fine art. “Training Tip: In Guard We Trust” extolled the multiple safety functions of the emergency or “guard” radio frequency 121.5 MHz and spotlighted the importance of using it to communicate with an intercepting military aircraft if an airspace incursion has occurred.

There is always room for an airspace analysis in a list of high-interest training topics, and that role is filled here by the ninth-place installment, “Training Tip: For MOA Information,” describing how to navigate military operations areas that are not restricted airspace but can contain intensive or high-speed military activity when “hot.”

Would-be passengers in general aviation aircraft flown by their pilot friends will be reassured to know that an article dedicated to their concerns made the list. “Training Tip: What Passengers Want” offered pilots advice about how to keep it smooth, safe, and comfortable for those aboard.

As 2021 winds down, we hope you enjoyed revisiting these most popular tips and will find them useful for flying safely and happily into the new year.

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