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V X or V Y?
When you learned your training aircraft’s V speeds, it was clear that using them made good sense. Some speeds appear as color coding on the airspeed indicator and help to keep you from exceeding operating limits. Others, such as V A, for turbulence penetration and maneuvering, and the climb speeds V Y and V X, are in your pilot’s operating handbook.
Sometimes there’s a choice to make between two V speeds, as when deciding before takeoff whether to climb at best rate-of-climb speed (V Y) or best angle-of-climb speed (V X). This can be puzzling for a trainee, even after studying the definitions in Chapter 10 of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge :
V Y—the speed at which the aircraft will obtain the maximum increase in altitude per unit of time. This best rate-of-climb speed normally decreases slightly with altitude.
V X—the speed at which the aircraft will obtain the highest altitude in a given horizontal distance. This best angle-of-climb speed normally increases slightly with altitude.
Think of best rate-of-climb speed (V Y) as your usual tool for gaining the most altitude in the least time. Why is that a pilot’s usual goal? Safety. The quicker your ascent, the less exposure to a low-level engine failure, when it would be unsafe to try to return to the runway. (See the Aug. 20, 2004, “ Training Tip: Why VY?”)
V X is in your toolbox for the more specialized situation of a takeoff with an obstruction along your departure path. “If I'm taking off from a runway with obstacles on the departure end, I'll want to quickly get to best angle-of-climb speed. That should get me up and over the obstacles in the shortest distance,” explained Mark Twombly in his April 2009 Flight Training Continuing Ed column. He wrote, “My climb rate may be better at a higher indicated airspeed, but with obstacles I'm not much interested in how quickly I can get to a safe altitude. My objective is to reach that altitude in the shortest horizontal distance. So what if it takes a few seconds longer?”
With the obstruction safely behind and below, transition to V Y for the quickest climb out of the low-altitude, higher-risk realm of the climb.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Students—are you having difficulty with landings? What about stalls and slow flight? The Flight Training website has the resources you need to get through the plateau. Click on the Students tab at the top and everything you need to know during flight training is divided into categories. What you’re getting is the archives of Flight Training magazine organized by category—a powerful tool to get you to that goal of earning a pilot certificate.
Did you know that student pilots who join AOPA are three times more likely to complete their flight training? Membership includes unlimited access to aviation information by phone (800/USA-AOPA, weekdays from 8:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. Eastern time) or from AOPA Flight Training Online or AOPA Online. If you're not already a member, join today and get the pilot's edge. Login information is available online.
A New Jersey woman and a California man are the latest recipients of flight training scholarships offered to persons with disabilities through Able Flight. Heather Schultz and Chris Spaur will travel to Purdue University in Lafayette, Ind., where Purdue instructors will teach them to fly in a specially equipped Sky Arrow light sport aircraft. Able Flight announced the collaboration in January. Schultz suffered a spinal cord injury in 2006 and has since undergone years of intensive physical therapy. She walks with the use of a cane and plays wheelchair rugby. Spaur, a college freshman, has muscular dystrophy. His mother and uncle are pilots, and he had always wanted to learn to fly.
How would you like to pull 12 Gs mere feet above the ground while trying to fly through two large pylons? Students at Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro recently got a taste of that type of flying as part of a promotion for the Red Bull Air Race. Red Bull brought simulators to the school last week and gave students a chance to try flying the race course. Each competitor’s flight was projected on a screen so all could watch. The winners were then pitted against last year’s top simulator pilots, according to a report in The Sidelines .
King Schools and Redbird Flight Simulations are offering a $6,995 Redbird TD home aviation simulator. The Redbird TD comes with either a “glass” or analog instrument panel—each option providing realistic system failures—and is approved as a basic aviation training device by the FAA. This approval allows pilots to log instrument time for the purpose of recent experience and to log up to 10 hours toward an instrument rating, or log up to 2.5 hours toward a private pilot certificate. The Redbird TD is available exclusively through King Schools’ marketing, sales, and distribution channels worldwide. First deliveries are expected in May.
Sporty’s named FAAST member
Sporty’s Pilot Shop was recently named an industry member of the FAA Safety Team. The membership is mainly recognition of the company’s variety of training courses, more than 30 of which are available for FAA Wings credit. The courses include everything from the company’s complete flight training courses to its individual courses on seaplane flying, multiengine flying, and more. According to the Sporty’s website, “Our mission is to improve the aviation safety record by conveying safety principles and practices through outreach and education.”
Watch out for boomers
Thunderstorm season is upon us. That means it’s time either to expand your thunderstorm knowledge, or to brush up on what you likely haven’t used since last fall. Thunderstorms are potentially dangerous to all aircraft, and the AOPA Air Safety Foundation is here to help teach us how to avoid them. Take the foundation’s Thunderstorm safety quiz, underwritten by the AOPA Insurance Agency, and test your thunderstorm knowledge today.
Red Canoe apparel
If you’re proud of your training airplane, you can show it through apparel from Red Canoe. The company makes shirts, bags, hats, and more with popular aircraft manufacturer designs. So if you’re happy to show off your Cessna, check out Red Canoe.
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: When filing a flight plan, I have to enter an aircraft type designator. Where is the easiest place to find this information?
Answer: Aircraft type designators can be found in FAA Order JO 7110.65T, the Air Traffic Controller's Handbook, Appendix A. A more extensive list including some of the most popular light sport aircraft is also available at the ICAO (International Civil Aviation Organization) Aircraft Type Designator website. These two lists contain aircraft information, including the designator for each make and model of aircraft. The type designators assist air traffic controllers in identifying specific aircraft and understanding their performance characteristics, such as climb and descent rates, and typical airspeeds.
Got a question for our technical services staff? E-mail [email protected] 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.
Pilots love to take photos, and they love to share them with other pilots. Now you can upload your flying photos to our online gallery, “Air Mail.” Share your special aviation images, or view and rate more than 5,500 photos (and growing). Photos are put into rotation on the AOPA home page!
AVIATION EVENTS & WEATHER
Want something to do this weekend? Planning an aviation getaway? See your personalized online calendar of events . We’ve enhanced our calendar so that with one click you can see all of the events listed in the regions you selected when personalizing ePilot . Now you can browse events in your region to make planning easier. You can also bookmark the personalized calendar page to check it as often as you want. Before you take off on an adventure, make sure you check our current aviation weather provided by Jeppesen.
Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics
The next AOPA Air Safety Foundation Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Pensacola, Fla., and Houston, Texas, May 15 and 16; Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Kansas City, Mo., and Albany, N.Y., May 22 and 23. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Can’t make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars
AOPA Air Safety Foundation Safety Seminars are scheduled in Smithfield, N.C., and Cohoes, N.Y., May 4; New Bern, N.C., and Rochester, N.Y., May 5; Newton, Mass., and Madison, Wis., May 10; Windsor Locks, Conn., and Milwaukee, Wis., May 11; Manitowoc, Wis., May 12. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
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Editorial Team: ePilot Flight Training Editor : Ian Twombly | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton Marsh