My students know him very well as he is frequently the topic of discussion.  Who am I talking about you ask?  It’s That Guy, the one blocking the way for everybody and generally being a pest. I’m not referring to any pilot specifically but more so a set of particular behaviors and antics we commonly see around the airport and in the skies.  Pilots can get by in the skies without be an ace but as soon as they do something careless or thoughtless around somebody else everybody will see what type of pilot they really are.

All Ramped up?

One of the most obvious things to watch out for is your prop wash.  If your plane is parked adjacent to other aircraft pull it out of the parking spot and position it in such a way as to not blast other aircraft or people.  When taxing around or maneuvering into position in the run up area plan turns in a way that will always direct your prop blast away from other aircraft. When arriving or departing a ramp area be very cognizant of pilots and passengers on the ramp.  Lastly, when shouting ‘clear’ prior to start, look ahead, behind and around the aircraft and be extra vigilant when children are present.  After startup promptly move out of the  tie down or ramp area and into a staging or run up area if available.  In addition to not being annoying to other pilots this will help ATC indentify you visually when you contact ground for taxi.  Remember, your prop wash contains more than just a blast of fresh air; it also contains sand, dust and stones!

Talking Barges?

Another common behavior of That Guy is the way he handles himself while in the pattern at uncontrolled airfields.  Simply using proper radio techniques and phraseology will go a long way in helping others.  In addition to this use callouts that are easily understood by unfamiliar pilots.  We all know what “2 miles out on a 45, for a left downwind runway 24” looks like but it’s doubtful that we all know what “Base over the cheese factory for the active” would look like.  In addition, listen up before transmitting on the radio; blocking somebody else triples the amount of calls that need to be made.  Joining the pattern in the proper manner is also appreciated by fellow aviators.  There is nothing worse than somebody planning a direct strait in when there are already several aircraft flying in the traffic pattern.  Proper radio usage will ensure two things. First, you wont be That Guy, and second, you’ll make the pattern safer for everybody involved.

Hold it right there!

Many airports have a narrow taxiway leading onto the runway and once an aircraft taxis up to the hold short line it becomes a one plane show leaving everybody else to sit and watch the spectacle.  Meanwhile back in the blunder bird the pilot proceeds to tune their radios, program their GPS, practice chart origami and complete their takeoff checks.   Instead of being the star of your own show, hold in the run up area or off to the side of the taxiway while you prepare for departure.  Doing this will accomplish several things.  First, it will allow the pilot to take as much time as necessary to prepare for departure, and saves them from taking off unprepared.  Secondly, it won’t burden other pilots who are ready for departure.  At many controlled airports the standard procedure is for aircraft to call ground control from the run up area when ready for departure, then ground will stage the aircraft to the runway and assign a transponder code if necessary.  This becomes  significantly more important when departing IFR.  Occasionally ATC will have to hold an IFR departure on the ground for several minutes.  At the same time VFR aircraft may be ready to depart.  Don’t hold up the show for others!

When I was a kid, my mother constantly told me;  “Do unto others as you would have other do unto you.”  Little did I know then that I had received my first lesson for aviation.  Anytime your thinking of doing something step back for a minute and think about how your actions might effect another pilot.  I don’t expect my students to be an ace, but they certainly wont be That Guy!