February 24, 2006
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FORWARD SLIPS, SIDESLIPS Of all the maneuvers a student pilot must learn before soloing, how and when to slip an airplane can be the most mysterious and counterintuitive. Both the "forward slip to a landing," a flight-test task for private pilot applicants (download the Private Pilot Practical Test Standards) that is used to lose altitude as an alternative to flap extension, and the "sideslip," a technique for drift control when landing in a crosswind, are extremely useful skills. Both are performed with so-called crossed controls, meaning that yaw is intentionally applied against a lowered wing to achieve the desired result. At times, as the PTS task notes, the two maneuvers can even be combined. When performing the forward slip to lose altitude on final approach, the pilot lowers a wing with aileron and feeds in opposite rudder to prevent the aircraft from turning away from the approach course. The airplane's longitudinal axis is now positioned at an angle to its flight path, which increases drag and creates a higher descent rate on the approach. Power settings can vary depending on the descent rate needed, but high power would inhibit the descent. The slip is discontinued during the roundout before touchdown, or when the desired glidepath is reached. Manufacturers of some aircraft limit the performance of slips with flap extensions-see your pilot's operating handbook. Also read Budd Davisson's January 2003 AOPA Flight Training feature "Slippery Slope." "Sideslipping" to handle a crosswind on final approach also requires holding a wing low and opposite rudder-but there is an important difference. The aircraft's longitudinal axis is kept aligned with the extended runway centerline. The aircraft flies in a slipping turn toward the lowered wing, but the crosswind and the turn neutralize each other. This effect keeps the aircraft on the final approach course. It's an elegant balancing act that showcases a pilot's "touch." The control inputs are adjusted as wind speed and direction change, but the crossed control inputs are held right to touchdown. See the illustrated feature article "Wing Low, Opposite Rudder" in the October 2004 AOPA Flight Training. Reviewing now: Perform a forward slip to lose more altitude on final. Sideslip to handle a crosswind. Small control inputs will yield big results. Now you are really flying!
SAFETY HOT SPOT: SPRING PREFLIGHT Has your aircraft been in hibernation all winter? If so, a thorough aircraft preflight is in order. The AOPA Air Safety Foundation has compiled a number of resources to prepare you for this challenge. Each Safety Hot Spot focuses on a timely issue or trend within the general aviation community and offers a host of resources including interactive online courses, pertinent accident reports, AOPA and AOPA Air Safety Foundation publications, a Safety Checkup written by foundation staff pilots, a Sporty's Safety Quiz, and links to related Web sites. Previous Safety Hot Spots are available in the archive. YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A CFI TO TRAIN LIKE ONE Even if you're not a flight instructor, you can take advantage of the best training value in aviation. At a reduced price of only $99, you can take an AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinic (FIRC) for Everyone. Choose from one of more than 90 locations to attend a two-day weekend seminar where you can talk with fellow pilots and CFIs in the class. Pilots who have never held a CFI certificate are welcome to learn from the best presenters in the business. Check the schedule for the next FIRC near you, then call 800/638-3101 for more information and to register. HAVE YOU UPDATED YOUR AOPA MEMBER PROFILE? To make the most of your membership and allow us to serve you better, please visit AOPA Online and update your personal member profile.
FREE ONLINE KNOWLEDGE TESTS: PRACTICE MAKES PERFECT If an FAA knowledge test is on your horizon, you will study your test guide until you've got it down cold...right? If you'd like a preview of what to expect, try a free online test. Here are two to try. Sporty's is the closest approximation to the real thing; it includes links to the applicable table or graphic for a given question. Tests are available for the instrument rating, as well as recreational, private, and commercial certificates. Another option is MyWrittenExam.com, sponsored by MyPilotStore.com. For this site, you'll need a test guide with graphics and tables. Your score is e-mailed to you. On the plus side, you can compare your score with those of other users, and you can see which questions caused the most heartburn among your peers. For both private pilot tests, you receive 2.5 hours to answer the 60 questions. Note: Products listed have not been evaluated by ePilot editors unless otherwise noted. AOPA assumes no responsibility for products or services listed or for claims or actions by manufacturers or vendors.
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