Las Vegas's Premier Flying Club - Giving You A Reason to Fly!
Posted by: In: Uncategorized 27 Jan 2018 Comments: 0

Desert Flying Club is hosting another Rusty Pilot Seminar in conjunction with AOPA at the club on March 3rd, 2018 at 9am.  Complimentary breakfast will be available from 8-9am. And there will be a raffle to win aviation related prizes after the presentation at 12pm.

We’re inviting you to join us and brush up on your aviation knowledge! We will help you understand what’s changed in aviation since you last took controls, bring you up to speed with medical reforms, weather briefings, preflight planning, FARs and airspace, plus give you all the information you need to get current again.

By attending, you’ll get 2-3 hours of ground instruction and a logbook endorsement towards your flight review. The seminar is free for AOPA members and $69 for non-members. Registration for the event is required here: . We look forward to seeing you there!

  • Where
    • Henderson Executive Airport
    • Desert Flying Club Airport Office
    • 1420 Jet Stream Drive Ste 110, Henderson, NV 89052
  • When:
    • Date: Saturday, March 3rd 2018
    • Complimentary Breakfast: 8-9am
    • Presentation: 9am – 12pm
    • Raffle: 12pm – 12:30pm
  • Cost
    • AOPA Members: Free
    • Non-Members: $69
  • How to Register


Master Takeoffs & Landings – Land Like a Professional

So you’re a pilot. You can successfully takeoff & land an airplane. BUT – just how good are you? How precise are you? Can you land your airplane like a bush pilot, on an actual soft field AND over an obstacle? Can you land within 25 feet of where you intended to touch down? Can you handle cross-winds with ease & max out the performance of your airplane on takeoff? Do you know the proper techniques for landing on a wet runway?

Learning to land like a pro means precision, safety, and consistency. Whatever skill level you’re at now, mastering takeoffs and landings to a higher proficiency & skill level will make you a safer pilot, and you’ll have more fun! Most accidents happen on takeoff & landing, after all.

After completing this course, you will be more proficient, more precise, and have more fun doing takeoffs & landings than you every had as a pilot. For finishing you’ll get your name on the DFC website T/O & Landings course page (this page), plus a certificate of completion. Rest assured, this is an excellent way to level up your piloting skill. Plus, who doesn’t just want a reason to go fly?! See the detailed syllabus below, and contact DFC to get started on your path to mastery with one of our skilled instructors!

Pre-Requisites – You must meet these requirements to take this course:

  • Be a licensed pilot.
  • Minimum 60 hours of flight time.
  • Minimum 5 hours flight time in the last 90 days.

Past Graduates of The Course:

  • Pilot Name, 5/19/2016


Posted by: In: News 01 May 2016 Comments: 0

Small Plane Crash near Las Vegas, April 2016

It’s a sad & sobering thought in any pilot’s life when we hear of something that hits close to home: a plane crash. According to news sources, this recent Saturday, April 30th, an Extra 300 that departed from Henderson Executive Airport crashed near the Nevada California border, killing both occupants on board. Not much is knows about the accident other than that. There seem to have been a rash of airplane accidents recently in the Las Vegas valley area. Each time it happens, we’re reminded as pilots of the risks we take every time we climb into the cockpit of an airplane. Our loved ones feel the stress when we hear about accidents like this. We’re reminded that the thing we love so much – flying – is rife with risks.

These kinds of incidents are a good reminder to us that proper & frequent training, and a healthy attitude toward safety & the risks we take, are a key to minimizing that risk. We should take each one of these as an opportunity to reflect on ourselves as aviators, and confront the deficiencies we know we have. Every pilot could be safer. Each flight could have been a little better planned out. We could have been slightly more prepared and familiar.

What happened recently is a tragedy, and our hearts & prayers go out to the families of the crash victims. I urge all of our members and pilots in our communities to always play it safe when it comes to aeronautical decision-making. General Aviation still has an excellent accident record & it is still a very safe industry, but there’s always something more we could be doing to ensure airplane accidents don’t happen or if they do – they have a successful outcome.

Here are some links to the developing story. Again, our best goes out to those involved.

Posted by: In: Uncategorized 02 Apr 2016 Comments: 0

In case you missed it or wanted to refer to our slides, here is the rusty pilot’s presentation from our March 2016 event. Turnout was a HUGE success! We hope to see some of you join our club & get out there flying!

Download the file here.





Posted by: In: meetings, News 24 Sep 2015 Comments: 0


Desert Flying Club, in conjunction with AOPA, is hosting a Rusty Pilot seminar. This a major event where you receive nearly 3 hours of FREE ground instruction, AND your endorsement for the ground portion of a flight review!

That’s right – come join us in a big hangar for a pancake breakfast, seminar, raffle prizes, and aircraft static displays! Here are the details:

When: Saturday, October 10th
Where: 1450 Jetstream Dr, Ste 100, Henderson, NV
How Much: FREE, but you have to register to attend.
Who: Any & all pilots. Get back into aviation, or just brush up on your knowledge & make friends!


6:30am – 8:00am: Free pancake breakfast. Come hungry, stay for the event!
8:00am-11:00am: Presentations on private pilot material – Rusty Pilot presentations
11:00am-11:30am: Raffle & Prizes
11:30am-1:00pm: Aircraft static displays + hangar talk (Cirrus, Mooney, Archer + more on display!)

Don’t forget to tell all of your aviation friends who want to get back into flying or haven’t flown in a while. Also, any other pilots are welcome to attend this event. You don’t have to be rusty!

We look forward to seeing you there!




Posted by: In: Aviation Safety, meetings 15 May 2015 Comments: 0

The 9 Deadly Sins of Aircraft Performance

Many of our members attended a FAAST seminar about aircraft performance recently. It’s a very important subject, especially to those of us flying in mountainous terrain, in single-engine normally aspirated airplanes! Mr. Stephen Ruks did an excellent job, and agreed to share the powerpoint slides & notes with us to post here. Enjoy reading – and be safe!

The Nine Deadly Sins POWERPOINT:


Slide 2 – References

Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge Ch. 7 & 10

Your AFM or POH

AC 00-6A Aviation Wx

AC 61-84B Role of Preflight Preparation

FAA-P-8740-2 Density Altitude Brochure


Slide 3 – Wings Program – What is one of the best things you can do to stay safe?

Chances are 97% greater that you won’t have an accident if enrolled in Wings

Slide 4 – Introduction – Misunderstandings or lack of knowledge about our atmosphere and how it affects aircraft performance is one of the leading causes of fatal aviation accidents.  This seminar will remind you of some of the things you already know and maybe show you a few things you didn’t know.

Slide 5 – Altitude types – How many altitude definitions are there?

  1. Indicated altitude
  2. True altitude
  3. Absolute altitude
  4. Pressure altitude
  5. Density altitude

Read on your altimeter

Height above MSL

Height above ground level

Indicated altitude set at 29.92

PA corrected for non-standard temperature

  1. Indicated altitude—read directly from the altimeter (uncorrected) when it is set to the current altimeter setting.
  2. True altitude—the vertical distance of the aircraft above sea level—the actual altitude. It is often expressed as feet above mean sea level (MSL). Airport, terrain, 7-7 and obstacle elevations on aeronautical charts are true altitudes.
  3. Absolute altitude—the vertical distance of an aircraft above the terrain, or above ground level (AGL).
  4. Pressure altitude—the altitude indicated when the altimeter setting window (barometric scale) is adjusted to 29.92 “Hg. This is the altitude above the standard datum plane, which is a theoretical plane where air pressure (corrected to 15 °C) equals 29.92” Hg. Pressure altitude is used to compute density altitude, true altitude, true airspeed (TAS), and other performance data.
  5. Density altitude—pressure altitude corrected for variations from standard temperature. When conditions are standard, pressure altitude and density altitude are the same. If the temperature is above standard, the density altitude is higher than pressure altitude. If the temperature is below standard, the density altitude is lower than pressure altitude. This is an important altitude because it is directly related to the aircraft’s performance.


Slide 6 – Pressure – How do we describe atmospheric pressure, what is it, and how does it affect us?   ^  More importantly, how does it affect our airplanes?

Slide 7 – Pressure – What causes pressure variations?

^          Altitude – Pressure decreases approximately one inch of mercury per 1000 feet increase in altitude.

^          Temperature – The rate of decrease of pressure with altitude in warmer air is less than in colder air.  You will have to climb higher in warm air to reach the same pressure altitude as in cold air.  Temperature id the biggest factor affecting density altitude

Slide 8 – Pressure Gradient – Given the same change in pressure, the rate of change of pressure is greater in cold air than in warm air.

Slide 9 – Effect of non-standard temperature – Notice that True Altitude varies with variations in temperature along the same pressure line or gradient.

Slide 10 – Typical GA Pitot System – Explain disadvantage of having static port on only one side of aircraft. Briefly discuss effects of icing on pitot-static system.  If both ram and drain holes freeze up with ice, airspeed indicator acts as an altimeter – the higher you go the higher the airspeed reads.  If static port freezes up, altimeter and VSI remain constant and airspeed is not accurate.

Slide 11 – Altimeter – Give brief description of how an altimeter works.

Slide 12 – Altimeter Setting – Standard Atmosphere:

29.92 inHg    or

1013.25 hPa (or mb)

at sea level @ 59º F (or 15º C)

One inch of mercury = 1000 feet

One hectoPascal = 100 millibars

1 inHg = 33.8653 hPa  —  Use this for conversion between inHg and hPa

Slide 13 – High Density Altitude

Three important factors contribute to high density altitude:

  1. Altitude
  2. Temperature
  3. Humidity

Reduced air density equates to decreased performance

Explain chart below:

Slide 14 – High Density Altitude

Warmer air will hold more water vapor than cooler air which affects engine performance more than aerodynamic performance.

With high humidity, expect longer take-off rolls and lower climb rates.  Add 10% to take-off distance.

Slide 15 – The Nine Deadly Sins (and their unforgiveness)

Kurt Anderson, an NTSB Investigator, who has investigated more than 400 accidents, gave a seminar on the results of interviews with many of the pilots who survived accidents and discovered nine things that pilots learned and then forgot, never learned at all, or learned wrong.  Those nine things have been dubbed “The Nine Deadly Sins.”  Scott Gardiner of Seattle FSDO published, in FAA Aviation News, May-June 2004, the article discussing those nine deadly sins.  Now I’m going to present them to you.

  1.   Using sea level VSPEEDS
  2.   Using gross weight VSPEEDS
  3.   Ignoring effect on TAS
  4.   Ignoring effects in mountainous terrain
  5.   Ignoring effects on landing speed and distance
  6.   Ignoring climb gradient
  7.   Ignoring runway environment
  8.   Using incorrect flap settings
  9.   Combining soft-field and obstacle techniques

“Practical Density Altitude” by Scott Gardiner, FAA Aviation News, May-June 2004
Slide 16 – Sin #1 – Using Sea Level VSPEEDS

Slide 17 – Sin #1 – Using Sea Level VSPEEDS

If you mistakenly attempt to climb at your sea level indicated best angle of climb speed, you are probably four to seven knots too slow. You have taken an airplane whose climb performance may be poor at best and made it downright lousy!  There is a really good chance the airplane will not climb at all and will simply mush into the obstacle as you will see later on in this presentation.  You will also see later that combining techniques can prove to be hazardous.  Use best rate of climb for the density altitude you are flying and never best angle of climb except for nearby obstacles.

There are some serious drawbacks to using best angle.  A full power climb results in a high pitch angle (so much for see and avoid), poor engine cooling, close to stall speed, and may be uncomfortable for passengers.  Avoid best angle of climb.
Slide 18 – Sin #2 – Using Gross Weight VSPEEDS

Vy decreases with decrease in gross weight

If you attempt to climb out of a high density altitude airport at a reduced gross weight while using your sea-level, maximum gross weight best rate of climb speed (indicated), you combine Sin#1 with Sin #2.  The result can easily be that you are attempting to climb at a speed that could be 15 knots too fast!  Such a mistake can turn minimal climb performance into negative climb performance!  This deadly combination is precisely what is leading to our most common density altitude accidents!

Explain the effect of DA on TAS using above chart.  See next page . . . .

Slide 19 – Sin #3 – Ignoring effect on TAS

Turn radius increases by the square of the TAS.  The formula is TAS2/11.26 tan Θ.  Assuming IAS of 150 @ sea level, standard temperature, the turn radius would be ≈ 2000’, or one-third of a mile,  But at 8000’ with a temp of 95º your TAS is now 180 and the turn radius increases to ≈ 3000’.  But remember!  That’s turn radius – you have to double that for a 180º turn!  You now need a full mile to turn around and that’s using a 45 bank angle for the maneuver.  How much more power do you think you’ll need at 60 degrees of bank – remember the drag goes up 300%!

So you tell yourself, “Just slow down, turn radius will decrease.”  But now with this increased AOA how much more drag are you adding.  Remember, the slower you fly, the higher the induced drag, and it’s multiplied by 300%.  Does your engine have enough power reserve?  Very doubtful, that’s why we have the accidents.

IAS = 150

PA = 8000

Temp = 95ºF

TAS = 180

DA = 12,000

Looking at this Lift-Drag Chart, I want to throw an additional factor into it.  Consider an airplane in a 30 degree bank.  Induced drag increases by 33%.  At 45 degrees, it increases by 100%, and at 60 degrees it increases by 300%.  This is not shown on a normal L-D chart but imagine how much power your engine must now develop to maintain altitude in a 60 degree bank at a high DA (12,000’) where your engine is struggling to maintain power and altitude.

Slide 20-21 – Sin #4 – Ignoring the effects in mountainous terrain.

Considering all the information I’ve just presented to you, let’s look at the three airplanes flying straight out of the screen.  Consider the effects of wind as depicted by the arrows   Strong downdrafts for airplane #1 requiring additional power to maintain altitude.  Airplane 2 is scooting along normally, and airplane 3 is enjoying the advantage of the updraft.

“Flying in the vicinity of a ridge results in downdrafts for the pilot of Airplane 1. Airplane 2 might escape the downdrafts, but a course reversal either to the right or to the left would leave little maneuvering room between the airplane and the ridge.  Airplane 3 takes advantage of free lift from the up slope airflow and retains the advantage of an into-the-wind escape route.”  The official explanation is technically correct, but it does not go far enough. Since it is questionable whether or not Airplane 2 can complete a 180-degree turn, we can assume this valley is not very wide. Most pilots choose to fly up the correct side of the valley (Airplane 3 in this case), but push on too far before deciding to reverse direction. As long as things are going well for Airplane 3, the pilot continues bravely on course. It’s only when things get tight that the pilot of Airplane 3 decides to make the 180 but turning around at this point results in a radius of turn that places the airplane somewhere between Airplanes 1 and 2. This is precisely the valley location described in the official explanation as an area of downdrafts! The trap has been sprung. Another aircraft smacks the terrain and often with fatal results.

Slide 22 – Sin #5 – Ignoring Effects on Landing Speed and Distance

Often times the discussion of density altitude is limited to takeoff distance and maybe even climb performance.  But you have to think of what the airplane is doing when approaching to land as well.  Remember the TAS is higher than IAS at density altitudes above sea level so that has to be considered.  Imagine a worse case scenario of a  runway at 8000’ elevation that downslopes to the edge of a cliff and is only 2500’ long and you  have a 10 knot tailwind.    So down you go to the landing.  You get about halfway down the runway where you finally touch down and you realize that you may not be able to stop so smart pilot that you are you add power for a go-around forgetting that you placed the mixture in full rich for the landing.  Are you going to have enough power for the go-around and be able to clear all obstacles in the process?  Do you see how these hazards add up and why it is so important to plan ahead?  Consider all the variables before operating in high density airports.

Slide 23 – Sin #6 – Ignoring Climb Gradient

When departing airports, be aware of your climb gradient. We are all familiar with aircraft rate of climb — it’s figured in terms of feet per minute.  Climb gradient is figured in terms of feet per mile.  Consider two airplanes, each climbing at 500 feet per minute. But one is climbing at 60 knots, and the other is climbing at 90 knots. Each will climb 500 feet in one minute. But the first will cover one mile during that minute, and the second will cover a mile and a half during the same minute. The first airplane is climbing 500 feet per mile, and the second is climbing only 333 feet per mile.

Remember that climb gradients are calculated in feet/nm not feet/min.  And be sure to use TAS (or GS) for calculations not IAS.

Consider the ILS approach to Ketchikan, Alaska.  Minimums are 288’ but the required climb gradient for the missed approach requires 335’/NM to miss a 4000’ mountain directly in front of you!  Localizer circling minimums are 2440’.

Slide 24 – Sin #7 – Ignoring Runway Environment

Watch the video clip of the A36 takeoff and think about what might have gone wrong.

OAT = 97F, Field Elev =1293’ Altimeter 29.89”

Density Altitude = 4125’, Rwy 31 4000’ paved

1996 A36, Turbonormalized IO-550,

GTOW = 4095,  CG = 86.15”

Different piloting techniques may have resulted in a much nicer outcome.

Now think of departing at our 8000’ elevation runway with the temperature at 95 degrees (DA 12,000’).  How well is that going to go?

Slide 25 – Sin #8 – Using Incorrect Flap Settings

In the A36 incident, use of flaps may have made the situation even worse!

Use of the recommended flap setting works just fine when operating at near sea level altitudes but with non-turbocharged engines, there is a density altitude above which the use of takeoff flaps actually increases ground roll.  Be sure to check the POH to ascertain if the use if flaps is recommended at high DA.

Page 26 of the A36’s POH Supplement stated, “However, when operating at the increased weights authorized when operations are conducted in the NORMAL CATEGORY expect the following:

  1. Increased Takeoff Distance of up to 30%.
  2. Decreased Rate-of-Climb of up to 13%.
  3. Increased Stall Speed of up to 7%.
  4. Increased Landing Distance of up to 15%.
  5. Increase Takeoff and Approach Speeds 2 kts.
  6. Increase VX and VY Speeds 2 kts.”

Soft field techniques should be saved for soft fields.  Just because the runway is of dirt or grass, it is not necessarily soft!  Mud in which you leave 3” tracks, beach sand, 6” of snow, or 3” of sleet is a soft field.

Slide 26 – Sin #9 – Combining Soft-Field & Obstacle Techniques

Normally flaps are only used on soft field takeoffs but when used for obstacle clearance, the increase in drag drastically hinders climb performance.

There are numerous instructors out there who routinely combine obstacle takeoff techniques with soft-field takeoff techniques to save time during training. But in actual density altitude situations, a pilot should not combine the two in a normally aspirated, piston-engine airplane.

If we are trying to clear a 100’ tree, we are talking about obstacle clearance takeoffs

not minimum ground-run takeoffs.

For obstacle clearance takeoffs, follow the advice of your airplane manufacturer, which for the vast majority of non-turbocharged airplanes means flaps up and climb at best angle of climb speed for the density altitude.

Always follow manufacturer’s recommendation.

Slide 27 – Summary

Beware, better yet, be knowledgeable, of the Nine Deadly Sins of Density Altitude

Remember the effect of DA on TAS and the TAS effect on airplane performance and humidity on engine performance.

Engine performance degrades with altitude

Posted by: In: News 20 Jan 2015 Comments: 0
Posted by: In: Uncategorized 09 Dec 2014 Comments: 0

DFC’s Launch Meeting A Success!

Thanks to everyone that attended our very first inaugural meeting. We have 16 attendees, and a lot more people interested that weren’t able to make it! Here’s a little highlight of what we went over:

  • DFC’s mission &  vision
  • Bylaws & Operating Agreement overview
  • Introduction of Board of Directors
  • Elections & volunteers for the Board & Officers
  • Marvin L. will be our Membership Officer
  • Patrick B. will be the Chief Flight Officer.

Congrats to Darcy Wood for being elected to the Board of Directors! Even though the turn-out was great, we still would be grateful for some volunteers needed to fill some of the various Club Officer Positions. Make sure you contact us if you’re interested in any one of the following positions:

  1. FLEET OPERATIONS OFFICER(S) – Each Fleet Operations Officer shall coordinate and manage the daily operations for Club aircraft at the airport of their responsibility, including, but not limited to, aircraft insurance, member scheduling, aircraft lease arrangements, collection activities, and flight payment deposits.
  2. MAINTENANCE OFFICER – Subject to control of the Board of Directors, the Maintenance Officer shall keep track of all pilot squawks, monthly aircraft operations work sheets, aircraft inspection status and aircraft log books.  The Maintenance Officer shall have power to ground any aircraft at any time as he deems necessary.  All aircraft and aircraft log books returning for service after an annual inspection shall be reviewed by the Maintenance Officer before returning to service.
  3. Marketing Committee – We need volunteers that will help spread the word & get our membership base up!
  4. Activity Committee – Interested in deciding what events the club will do next? Like will we take a McCarren tower tour, fly out to Big Bear, or what? Join this committee!
  5. Community Outreach Committee – If you’re interested in getting involved with Boy Scouts, doing Aviation Merit Badge, representing the club during other community programs, or just helping us further GA in general, join this committee!

All in all it was great! Thanks everyone for attending, and we’ll see you at our NEXT MEETING December 18th, at 7pm.


Posted by: In: News 02 Oct 2014 Comments: 0 Tags:

Desert Flying Club is forming as a non-profit organization, and we need your help!

We have formally incorporated as a non-profit in Nevada, and our current acting Board of Directors have been meeting, discussing the formation and future of the club! It’s very exciting, and there is lots of work to do.

That’s why we need your help! There will be a lot of volunteer time & effort that goes into forming this organization and making it truly a great place to rent inexpensive airplanes, meet life-long friends, and become a more competent, safer pilot. So we’re searching for motivated people who can fill the following roles:

  • Board of Directors
  • Safety Officer (holds safety meetings & promotes best-practices that will increase our safety in flying)
  • Event Committee Member (organizing fly-outs, social events, member communication of events, etc)
  • Flight Instructors (must be DFC-approved, and have a current CFI rating)
  • Aircraft Lessors (own or want to buy an airplane & offset your cost of ownership by leasing back to DFC)
  • Members! (we are accepting membership applications! Contact us for more info!)
  • Any & Every volunteer – you tell us what you’d like to do or if you’re just interested in getting involved!

We have seen an immense amount of interest in the club so far. Get involved in the local aviation community & be part of something growing! You can email or use the contact us page to let us know if you or someone you know is interested in helping.

– DFC Board of Directors