The following stories from the March 25, 2005, edition of AOPA ePilot were provided to AOPA members who expressed an interest in the particular subject areas. Any AOPA member can receive information tailored to their areas of interest by updating their preferences online.
My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Tips BRAKING BASICS
Long before a flight test examiner watches you perform steep turns, stall recoveries, and landings, he or she will acquire a clear sense of your "feel" for an aircraft. From the moment your aircraft starts rolling, nothing puts your best foot forward like having a good touch on the brakes.
Think back to the very first time you taxied. You learned that, unlike automobiles, aircraft brakes can be used singly or together, and in combination with nosewheel (or tailwheel) steering. Later, if your taxiing was jerky and difficult, your instructor may have pointed out that you were carrying too much power for the desired taxi speed. "When beginning to taxi, advance the throttle just enough to get the airplane moving forward. Apply the brakes smoothly to ensure that they are working correctly. Assuming you have applied both brakes evenly, any pulling to one side or failure of the airplane to stop is an indication that one or both brakes have failed, which will require the attention of a mechanic. If the brakes are working correctly, release them and allow the airplane to begin moving again. Then smoothly readjust the throttle until the airplane maintains a steady brisk walking speed," Sue A. Critz wrote in the December 2004 AOPA Flight Training
feature "Tackling Taxiing."
Note the braking objective in the private pilot practical test standards requires that the pilot "controls direction and speed without excessive use of brakes." Download the PTS
from AOPA Online.
Gentle differential braking can help keep you on the centerline during taxiing and when lining up for takeoff. In situations requiring firm braking-such as a short-field landing rollout-brake evenly without sacrificing directional control. If you need rudder or nosewheel steering along with braking, don't hesitate!
Aircraft brake system designs vary, as do steering capabilities. Some aircraft lack steerable nosewheels; others do not have brakes on the copilot's foot pedals. What are your trainer's specifications? Mark Twombly describes some typical systems in "Continuing Ed,"
January 2002 AOPA Flight Training
Your braking technique on a particular flight will also be governed by surface conditions. Check notams and automatic terminal information broadcasts for braking action reports, described in the November 28, 2003, "Training Tips."
Slow, steady, straight, and smooth add up to safety on the ground. My ePilot - Student Interest, Training Products JAEBIRD AERO's FREEBIRD ILLUSTRATES FLIGHT CONDITIONS
Jaebird Aero has developed a ground training device that simulates both flight and navigation instruments. The colorful plastic device features fairly rugged simulated flight instruments on one side, and navigation instruments on the other. You can position the instruments as needed to simulate various in-flight and navigation problems, saving valuable time in the cockpit for reinforcing the lessons learned on the ground. The unit sells for $49.95. For more information or to order, call 626/672-8363 or see the Web site
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. My ePilot - Student Interest, Final Exam Question:
My instructor and I have been working weight and balance calculations, and I'm realizing how important it is to stay within the aircraft's limits. Can you tell me what regulations discuss operating limitations? Answer:
If you look at 14 CFR 23.1581
, it states that each aircraft must have an approved airplane flight manual that contains information including the aircraft's operating limitations (Section 23.1583) and loading information (Section 23.1589). A thorough preflight always includes a weight and balance determination. Operating an airplane when it's overweight, or when the weight is distributed so that the center of gravity (CG) is beyond the front or rear limits, is unsafe and also renders the aircraft unairworthy, since it's being operated outside the limits stated in the type certificate. For more information on weight and balance, see "Airframe and Powerplant: How Much Does Your Airplane Weigh?"
in the January 2001 issue of AOPA Pilot