Episode 78. Young pilots and ditching tips, with Amy Laboda

Amy LabodaA new generation of kids is entering the aviation industry right now, and that’s exciting for Amy Laboda. The longtime flight instructor and writer explains why today’s student pilots are different, how writing can make you a better pilot, and what new flight instructors need to succeed. Amy also shares the lessons learned from ditching a Cessna 210 off Key West, including the critical skill to practice and what survival gear matters. In the Ready to Copy segment, Amy describes a good passenger briefing, picks her favorite Van’s airplane, and shares what it’s like to live on an airpark.


  • The value of writing as a student pilot: “If they’re writing and processing each lesson, they have something to go back to.”

  • The next generation of pilots: “I am seeing more diversity in the groups of people looking to find a career in aviation.”

  • Why standards matter: “Aviation is one of those places where you can’t compromise on skills.”

  • What to tell an aspiring pilot: “This is hard and is a long path and you have to study… if you’re not gonna do that, you might as well not even start.”

  • Advice for new flight instructors: “Your life, your certificates, your job - in that order. Every decision you make needs to run through that.”

  • Push the yoke after engine failure: “If you’re not pushing the second there’s the auditory, there’s the kinesthetic sense kicking in, you’re losing critical speed.”

  • Survival gear while ditching: “If it ain’t wrapped around you or connected to you, it’s not coming out of the airplane with you.”

  • Flying again after an accident: “You have to get past and get your head around the randomness.”

  • Talking to passengers before a flight: “You want to look at these people as your cockpit crew.”

  • Why CFIs need professionalism: “You have to be careful if you’re instructing someone who might be a peer on the outside of the flight school.”


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