Author Archives: Chris O'Connor

Pilot Resources

Pilot Resources

Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA)
Experimental Aircraft Association (EAA)

FAA Licenses & Certificates

Weather – NOAA’s National Weather Center
Lockheed Martin Flight Services (1-800-WxBrief) Online Aeronautical Charts

Training Resources
AOPA Air Safety Foundation (ASF) Online Courses
AOPA Flight Training Magazine
Flight Training Schools in North Carolina –

Complex / High Performance Endorsement

Complex Aircraft Endorsement

Bob NeimanA complex airplane is defined by the United States Federal Aviation Administration as an aircraft that has all of the following:

  • A retractable landing gear (land aircraft only; a seaplane is not required to have this)
  • A controllable pitch propeller (which includes constant speed propellers)
  • Movable or adjustable flaps.

In the U.S., students generally train for their first pilot certificate in an aircraft with fixed landing gear, a fixed-pitch propeller. It may or may not be equipped with flaps.

Before or after earning the private pilot certificate (PPL) (usually after), a pilot can be trained in complex aircraft operations. When the pilot has demonstrated proficiency in complex aircraft, the flight instructor endorses the pilot’s logbook and the pilot is said to have a “complex endorsement”.

The FAA requires a pilot to have experience in, and take at least part of the practical test in, a complex airplane in order to earn the commercial pilot certificate (CPL) and the flight instructor certificate (CFI).

Typical examples of complex airplanes include the Piper Arrow and Cessna 177RG.

High Performance Endorsement

To fly any aircraft that has an engine greater than 200 horsepower, a student or licensed pilot must obtain an endorsement from a certified instructor verifying that he/she has received flight and ground training.

The length of time required to obtain the high performance endorsement depends on the student’s ability to learn and apply all the new information. On average, this endorsement requires a 1-2 hour ground lesson and two 1.5 hour flight lessons.

Why would I get a high performance endorsement?

Getting the high performance endorsement opens a pilot’s world up to a broader spectrum of aircraft. It is one less limitation on your license and permits you to rent aircraft that have this higher horsepower. Being able to fly these more powerful aircraft will allow you to take farther trips in a shorter amount of time. The travel time for that day trip out to the coast will be cut substantially flying a 235 horsepower Cessna 182 rather than a 145 horsepower Cessna 172

Customized Training

Biennial Flight Reviews / Customized Training

Chris recognizes that each individual faces unique challenges when it comes to learning new material. He takes the time to get to know you, to understand your aviation background, and your personal goals, strengths and weaknesses. This serves to form a strong instructor-student relationship, allowing both parties to provide input and set mini objectives on the way to completing core requirements. Chris understands that good two-way communication between student and instructor creates a stress less environment that facilitates the learning process and allows each student to make the most of every hour of flight training.

VFR SectionalAdditionally, to make your training as convenient as possible, Chris offers the flexibility of training with him in your airplane at your home airport. Whether you are interested in adding an instrument rating, are in need of a biennial flight review or need to get more comfortable flying in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), Chris goes out of his way to maximize the best use of your time.

Airports in Range

Aerial Photography

Aerial Photography

Do you need to photograph your business, home, or special event from the air?

Contact Chris for details.

Aircraft Reposition

Aircraft Repositioning | Ferry Services

If you’ve recently purchased an aircraft and need it delivered, or are in need of “time in type” for insurance purposes, I can be of help!

I can also pick up your aircraft and deliver it with (or without) you on-board.  Aircraft repositioning is billed per hour of flight time plus travel and out-of-pocket expenses. Contact me for more details.

Garmin G1000

Garmin G1000 Instruction

Garmin G1000As a Cessna FITS (FAA Industry Training Standards) Accepted Instructor, Chris specializes in providing flight and ground training in Garmin G1000 integrated cockpit systems for all Cessna single-engine piston aircraft including C-172, C-182, C-206 and Cessna TTx (formerly the Columbia COL4 and/or Cessna Corvalis TT) models.

Whether you are interested in initial transition training and/or recurrent training for G1000 equipped aircraft, or avionics specific training for almost any make and model equipment, Chris has the expertise to help you become a safer and more confident pilot.

The purposed of this training program is to familiarize the Pilot in Training (PT) with the functionality of the G1000 and aircraft systems.

The ground-training segment is conducted with the assistance of the Cessna FITS Accepted Training Program and the Garmin G1000 PC-Based Trainer. Time spent during an instructor-led (Pilot Information Manual) PIM review and cockpit familiarization session may also count towards total ground training required. The flight training segment is completed with the guidance of the FAA Industry Training Standard (FITS) Scenario Based Transition Syllabus and Standards for the Cessna Single Engine Propeller Aircraft and the scripted scenarios developed by the CFAI and accepted by the Cessna Pilot Training Department in Independence, Kansas.

What is FITS?

FAA-Industry Training Standards (FITS)

FITS is focused on the redesign of general aviation training. Instead of training pilots to pass practical test, FITS focuses on expertly managing real-world challenges. Scenario based training is used to enhance the GA pilots’ aeronautical decision making, risk management, and single pilot resource management skills, without compromising basic stick and rudder skills.

The goals of the FITS Training Philosophy in priority of importance are as follows:

1. Higher Order Thinking
a. Aeronautical Decision Making and Situational Awareness
b. Pattern Recognition (Emergency Procedures) and Decision Making

2. Automation Competence
3. Planning and Execution
4. Procedural Knowledge
5. Psychomotor skills

Commercial Rating

Commercial Rating

Throughout his career as a professional pilot, Chris has worked in a variety of roles as a commercial pilot in general aviation, including flying air tours over the scenic coastline of North Carolina, piloting low-level, red wolf telemetry flights for the U.S. Department of Fish & Wildlife, carrying passengers for on-demand air-taxi operations, and currently flying next-day air packages for a UPS feeder operator.

Drawing from this depth of experience in the real world of commercial aviation, Chris offers his aspiring students the tools they need to move beyond personal flying and competently enter the competitive world of commercial aviation.

A commercial pilot may be compensated for flying. Training for the certificate focuses on a better understanding of aircraft systems and a higher standard of airmanship. The commercial certificate itself does not allow a pilot to fly in instrument meteorological conditions. For aircraft categories where an instrument rating is available, commercial pilots without an instrument rating are restricted to daytime flight within 50 nautical miles when flying for hire.

A commercial airplane pilot must be able to operate a complex airplane, as a specific number of hours of complex (or turbine-powered) aircraft time are among the prerequisites, and at least a portion of the practical examination is performed in a complex aircraft.

The requirements are:

  • Be at least 18 years of age
  • Hold a private pilot certificate
  • Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language
  • Accumulate and log a specified amount of training and experience; the following are part of the airplane single-engine land class rating requirements:

In training under Part 61, at least 250 hours of piloting time including 20 hours of training with an instructor and 10 hours of solo flight, and other requirements including several “cross-country” flights, i.e. more than 50 nautical miles from the departure airport (which include Day VFR and Night VFR 100 nmi between points, with a time of at least 2hrs; also one cross country which is done solo 250 nmi one way, 300 nmi total distance with landings at 3 airports) and both solo and instructor-accompanied night flights

  • Pass a 100-question aeronautical knowledge test
  • Pass an oral test and flight test administered by an FAA inspector, FAA-designated examiner, or authorized check instructor

By itself, this certificate does not permit the pilot to set up an operation that carries members of the public for hire; such operations are governed by other regulations. Otherwise, a commercial pilot can be paid for certain types of operation, such as sight-seeing, banner towing, agricultural applications, and photography, and can be paid for instructing if he holds a flight instructor certificate. To fly for hire, the pilot must hold a second class medical certificate, which is valid for 12 months.

Often, the commercial certificate will reduce the pilot’s insurance premiums, as it is evidence of training to a higher safety standard.

Instrument Rating

Instrument Rating

Often considered the rating due to the additional safety margin it provides while flying, an instrument rating not only makes you a better pilot, but can also reduce insurance premiums.

IFR-HoodChris’ real world instrument background (routinely flying in “the soup” for a UPS feeder) provides a depth of knowledge not always found in instrument instructors. When you learn the art and science of flying by the numbers, you learn more than radials, rules and regulations; you also learn to enjoy a respectful and rewarding relationship with mother nature.

Instrument rating refers to the qualifications that a pilot must have in order to fly under IFR (Instrument Flight Rules). It requires additional training and instruction beyond what is required for a Private Pilot certificate or Commercial Pilot certificate, including rules and procedures specific to instrument flying, additional instruction in meteorology, and more intensive training in flight solely by reference to instruments. Testing consists of a written exam and a practical test (known more commonly as the check ride). The check ride is divided into an oral component to verify that the applicant understands the theory of instrument flying and an actual flight to ensure the pilot possesses the practical skills required for safe IFR flight.

For most private pilots, the most significant value of flying under IFR is the ability to fly in instrument meteorological conditions (such as inside clouds). Additionally, all flights operating in Class A airspace, defined in the US as the airspace from 18,000 MSL up to FL 600 (roughly 60,000 feet), must be conducted under IFR. In the United States, an instrument rating is required when operating under Special visual flight rules (SVFR) at night.

Requirements for Instrument Rating in the United States are listed in section 61.65 of the Federal Aviation Regulation are:

  • 50 hours of Pilot in Command cross country
  • 40 hours of simulated or actual instrument time
  • 15 hours of flight instruction towards Instrument Rating

Helpful Links

Private Pilot

Private Pilot – Learn to Fly

If you have always wanted to learn to fly you have come to the right place!

Omer Gur - Private PilotIn addition to providing you the highest level of professional instruction, Chris offers the most economical option for private pilot training anywhere in the Raleigh-Durham area. Learn to fly at the Person County Airport for a very reasonable rate of $120/hr for a Cessna C172 plus $50/hr for instruction. You will learn to fly from a highly experienced and motivated instructor that will put you at ease at the controls and create the learning environment necessary to become a confident and accomplished private pilot.

From your first pre-flight inspection to your practical flight test, Chris will guide you through the private pilot curriculum step-by-step with efficiency on a schedule you select so you get the most of your flying dollars and your valuable time.

Your journey into the sky begins when you contact Chris to schedule your first flight lesson!

Private Pilot Certificate

The private pilot certificate is the certificate held by the majority of active pilots. It allows command of any aircraft (subject to appropriate ratings) for any non-commercial purpose, and gives almost unlimited authority to fly under visual flight rules (VFR). Passengers may be carried and flight in furtherance of a business is permitted; however, a private pilot may not be compensated in any way for services as a pilot, although passengers can pay a pro rata share of flight expenses, such as fuel or rental costs. Private pilots may also operate charity flights, subject to certain restrictions, and may participate in similar activities, such as Angel Flight, Civil Air Patrol and many others.

US Pilots CertificateThe requirements to obtain a private pilot certificate for “airplane, single-engine, land”, or ASEL, (which is the most common certificate) are:

  • Be at least 17 years old.
  • Be able to read, speak, write and understand the English language
  • Obtain at least a third class medical certificate from an Aviation Medical Examiner (except for glider or balloon)
  • Pass a computerized aeronautical knowledge test
  • Accumulate and log a specified amount of training and experience, including the following:

When training under Part 61, Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (CFR) section 61.109, requires at least 40 hours of flight time, including 20 hours of flight with an instructor and 10 hours of solo flight (i.e., by yourself), and other requirements including cross-country flight, which include:

  • 3 hours of flight training on the control and maneuvering solely by reference to instruments
  • 3 hours of flight training for cross country flights
  • 3 hours of flight training with an authorized instructor in preparation for the practical test, which must have been performed within the preceding 2 calendar months from the month of the practical test.

Solo requirements:

  • 5 hours of solo cross-country time
  • One solo cross-country flight of at least 150 nmi total distance, with full-stop landings at a minimum of three points and with one segment of the flight consisting of a straight-line distance of at least 50 nmi between the takeoff and landing locations
  • Three solo takeoffs and landings to a full stop at an airport with an operating control tower.

Night requirements:

  • 3 hours of night flight training
  • One (2-hour minimum) cross-country flight of over 100 nautical miles (190 km) total distance
  • 10 takeoffs and 10 landings to a full stop (with each landing involving a flight in the traffic pattern) at an airport.

Helpful Links