Dumb Aviation Related Questions


New Member
Working on my private right now and I was given some good advice by a current airline pilot...ask a lot of questions early on. I've done just that...I figure I'd rather look stupid now than down the line.

I just asked a dumb one in the technical talk forum. I think my all time dumbest was about a month or two into my training. It was a beautiful blue sky, totally clear VFR day and I flew with my instructor to San Diego (MYF) and the atis reported "visibility one zero" for some reason "one zero" registered as 1, not 10 in my mind. So I turn over to my instructor thinking I'm really smart and ask "so do we need to get a marginal VFR clearance?" I think I made his afternoon

Any really good ones out there?
Man, I won't say that, that wasn't a bad question first of all because I haven't even started training yet and I most likely would have done the same thing. I have brain farts when I try to act smart.
Hey don't sweat it, you're going to do some weird things at many times throughout your training. I certainly did. You will ask questions that you feel so dumb for asking. It's ok, even if you feel downright embarrassed, because you are learning, you are not supposed to know everything - and if asking a dumb question helps you to understand some conecpt then it is not dumb at all! Anyways, keep on asking the questions and you'll make yourself a better pilot. And always remember, nobody is perfect (even CFI's!)

Happy Flying!
On my long solo x/c for my PPL, I flew from Tampa (VDF) to Daytona (DAB), to St. Augustine (SGJ) to Gainesvill (GNV) and back to VDF.

On the first leg, as I approached DAB airspace, ATC said "Cessna 3UJ, squawk 1357."

... and I brain farted.

I could NOT remember what in the hell he meant by "squawk".

I tried to play it off and said "umm - student pilot is unfamiliar with instructions.."

there was this LONG pause, then ATC came back on: "are you telling me that you do not know how to SQUAWK?!?!"

Me: (shaking) "student pilot is having trouble recalling squawk procedures, yes sir."


Needless to say, I felt like the worst pilot in the world. Talk about your stupid questions!

I switched over to FSS, got a VERY understanding individual on the freq and got the help I needed. I switched back over to Approach, said I was "ready to squawk" and everything else when smoothly from there.

The moral of this story - Sh*t happens. Don't sweat it. I felt like the supreme ruler of Idiotville at that moment, but I got past it.

"The only stupid question is the one not asked."

Good luck!

Heh, I don't know if this was my stupidity, the controllers, or just a miscommunication a few weekends ago:

I was getting my clearance up to ROC for the weekend. At my airport, we can get our clearance on the ground by radio from a nearby Class C airport. So I get the clearance, tell him I'll be ready and number one in one minute and the controller says "hold for release." So I wait. And wait. And wait. After 5 min., I call back for a radio check. "Loud and clear" was the response. I'm starting to think to myself, what in the hell is taking so long?? I wait 5 more minutes. Nothing. By this point, I'm starting to get pissed, but its IFR so I can't just go. Finally, I call them up: "Akron-Canton clearance, Skylane 42F, any idea how long the delay is going to be?"

CAK clearance: "Uh, 42F, no delay sir, advise when ready for departure..."

So, I sat in the runup area for 20 freakin minutes waiting for him to release me, while apparently he was waiting for me to advise him that I was ready.

DOH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I felt like the world's biggest moron!
My perfect moment of brilliance was the first time I had to call ground control. As a newbie to aviation commnuications I was really nervous. It went something like this...

ME: Lakefront ground Cessna 9579V at gate 1 with information G VFR departure.

My CFI: Uh...you need to push the mike button, not the Autopilot disconnect.

D'oh. At least it broke the tension, and I was much more relaxed at that point. Ended up having one of my best flying days yet.

I think we've all been there in some way or another...

My second lesson, was still working on VFR communication:

Me: "Troutdale tower, Cessna 91V is turning base to final over the Sandy river at 1000, 75 kts indicated

My CFI: "Uh...too much info there Joe"

TTD Tower: "<pause> Cessna 91V gee thanks, I always wondered how fast you guys were going...your cleared to land RWY 25.

Better too much information then not enough...right? guys? ...right?
The most stupid things came through my mouth while reading back instructions during the instrument course to real ATC, or whenever I got traffic entry instructions during the private course...

The worst part of that is of course that not only your instructor hears it but the whole area. The good news about the radio is that it take less to learn it than what it seems at first. On the other hand I've also figured that the ATC/Pilot language is so rich that you keep picking up new/wierd things/calls whenever you fly to another unfamiliar airport...
I think the slickest(used in a sarcastic sense) move I made was when I started landing on my own and there was a strong crosswind. I was so tensed up, while "vice-gripping" the controls my finger activated the mic button. That wasn't so bad, what made it worse was that my little window was open on the Archer. You wanna talk about nasty sounding wind noise in your ears. Before my instructor alerted me, that went on for about 20 seconds.
I'm sure my instructor knows alot of other "slick" things I did.
Try this... (i don't know if i should admit that...)

First solo...after being breifed thousands of times..here I go, soloin' and all happy !!
That must have been my second T/GO only I couldn't remember, the exitement and all....since I was supposed to do exactly 3 ones (not to give a heart attack to my instructor) the whole school heard me say this :

" SEE Tower.....uh...Cessna 7nw.....do u know how many touch and go i've done so far ??"
I don't know if this qualifies as stupidity on my part or ATC's but before they implemented the ADIZ around DC and just had the TFR, I called what was then called Washington approach, and they cleared me in squawking 1200. So I said roger, proceeding on course.

About a minute later, a different controller comes on and says what the hell are you doing squawking 1200? So I said, well, the last guy told me to, and I'm thinking, oh, crap, am I in trouble now.

There's a little delay, and then the second guy says, okay, fine, but change your squawk to xxxx. I felt a whole hell of a lot better!

When I landed, my instructor told me I had nothing to worry about, since I did exactly what ATC told me to do and it was on tape.