March 18, 2011
Wouldn’t it be a relief to discover that kicking a habit that was holding you back from performing a training maneuver helps you fly other maneuvers too?
It usually does.
Many student pilots balk at pitching up the nose sufficiently to induce a practice stall. Or during landings they don’t deliver the needed back-elevator pressure, resulting in a flat touchdown or a bounce. Accident reports are full of avoidable tales of airplanes damaged by hard landings, or losses of directional control, and most cases reflect pilots’ failure to react to a developing problem.
Many training travails trace back to common causes.
“One of the best examples of the assertiveness deficit is failure to hold a wing-low attitude during the crosswind-landing rollout. Many students seem to believe that there's something wrong with rolling along on only one main wheel until the other one is ready to come down on its own as airspeed decays,” says the Air Safety Institute’s safety article “Common training errors.” “Halfhearted soft-field takeoffs and landings are another symptom. Some students confess a fear that the full deflection will cause a dangerous pitching-up of the nose.”
Purge that counterproductive hesitant trait from your technique when practicing basic flight maneuvers. During flight at minimum controllable airspeed, go beyond just aiming to hold altitude and heading as assigned. Make a mental note of how much physical effort it takes to keep the airplane from misbehaving. Becoming aware of that dimension can provide the necessary memory cue for the next time you attempt that perfect full-stall landing. (That also may make you appreciate why you come back from some flight lessons feeling physically drained.)
Once you can anticipate the amount of control input required to deliver the needed performance, it is likely that you won’t hesitate to deliver it.
Equally important, the drilling will teach you to recognize when you don’t have enough control travel to get the job done. Say you are holding full deflection of rudder and/or aileron while performing a forward slip on final, and you still can’t keep your trainer lined up with the runway centerline. That tells you that the crosswind is probably too strong for a safe landing.
Most flying takes the light touch. But when muscle is needed, act!
Flight1 Aviation Technologies, a company known in the personal computer simulation market for its plug-ins for Microsoft Flight Simulator programs, has released a Garmin G1000 training simulator. It is a standalone piece of software that runs in tandem with Microsoft and other simulator programs, and aims to help pilots learn and master the G1000 in the same cognitive environment in which they would use the actual equipment, the company said. A student version for personal, noncommercial use is available for $249. For more information, see the website.
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.
Question: What is a stop-and-go landing, and can I do one at a towered airport?
Answer: A stop-and-go landing is basically bringing the aircraft to a full stop on the runway after landing and then, assuming there is adequate runway remaining, starting the takeoff roll from that point. Sometimes if you are in the pattern at a towered airport, the controller will clear you for—or your instructor might request—the “option.” This clearance will allow you to make a low approach or a touch-and-go, stop-and-go, or full-stop landing without further contact with the tower. This procedure provides more flexibility to the pilot and is also great in training situations because it allows an instructor to observe the reaction of the pilot under changing conditions. For more on what to expect in the airport pattern, read “An hour in the pattern” on AOPA Online.
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call the Pilot Information Center, 800/872-2672. Don’t forget the online archive of “Final Exam” questions and answers, searchable by keyword or topic.
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