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Breaking problems down
Student pilots say that some maneuvers are easy and fun—but other maneuvers, not so much, whether it’s getting the bounce out of their landings or preventing steep turns from sliding off into sloppy spirals.
The good news is that there’s probably less to the problem than meets the eye. Small adjustments usually make the difference between messy and masterful maneuvers.
If a particular task or maneuver just seems to defy your attempts to conquer it, break it down to its component elements. Which part is holding you back?
Be sure you understand just what the maneuver intended to achieve and teach. Perhaps the problem is an errant concept of the objectives. That’s important because knowing why you must fly the maneuver may help you figure out how to fly it.
The steep turn, reviewed in the Nov. 19 Training Tip, exemplifies a maneuver with a variety of aerodynamic requirements. Rolling into the steep bank, you must add back-pressure, or your aircraft will descend. Rolling out, you must release some of that back-elevator pressure, or you’ll climb. Errors may also come from distraction, perhaps because you’re fixated on rolling out on the proper heading. Cure the fixation, cure the maneuver!
Another typical training challenge is mastering landings. Almost all trainees struggle to make them come together. The key is learning to time the completion of the flare so that the stalled attitude is reached an instant before the wheels touch, with the trainer in an almost nil rate of descent. Too late or too little back-pressure and you touch down too soon, perhaps with a bounce. Too much or too early back elevator and you may balloon upward or stall, dropping it in from several feet too high. Preferably, before that happens you will execute a go-around, using the technique described by Ian Twombly in the November 2010 Flight Training magazine. But it takes lots of practice to get the feel for how it all comes together.
Crosswind landings are another example. Practice just the part you find difficult, such as tracking the runway centerline in a wing-low attitude, until you’re ready to make confident crosswind touchdowns.
That’s the beauty of flight training: Small adjustments produce big results!
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
We love to communicate with our readers and hear all about their successes or struggles. There are several ways to get in touch with Flight Training. Look for us on Facebook. Send an e-mail. Or, follow Deputy Editor Ian J. Twombly ( @ijtwombly) and Associate Editor Jill W. Tallman ( @jtallman1959) on Twitter. Let us know what’s going on with you in your flight training.
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 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.
The FAA has issued a proposal that would require all pilots and student pilots to transition to a pilot certificate with a photograph over a five-year period. AOPA is concerned with the way the FAA proposes to handle student pilot certificates. Because the student pilot certificate would be issued by the FAA’s Airmen Certification Branch, the FAA estimates it could take up to six to eight weeks to issue a student pilot certificate—longer than it would take some students to reach the solo stage of their training. Read more >>
Soloing is a thrill for every student pilot. Soloing in several different airplanes takes that excitement to a new level, as Justin McBurney of Apple Valley, Calif., learned on Nov. 14. He soloed five airplanes on the morning of his sixteenth birthday, the earliest age at which a student pilot can fly a powered aircraft without a flight instructor. McBurney flew three Cessnas (150, 152, and 172), a Piper Warrior, and an Aeronca Champ. Read more >>
New VFR wall planning chart to debut
Nothing shows the big picture of a proposed flight like a VFR wall planning chart. Starting in February 2011, pilots will be able to purchase a VFR wall planning chart that was designed by the FAA’s AeroNav Products team with aviators’ suggestions in mind. The new chart will measure 59 by 36 inches and feature VFR data including airports, Class B airspace areas, special-use airspace, and topographic data. Its size, contents, and availability unfolded also make it perfect for hanging on the wall in flight schools and FBOs. Read more >>
Whether you’re over Fargo or Fort Lauderdale, if the temperature at altitude is cold enough and you fly into visible moisture, there’s a good chance your aircraft will start to pick up ice. Do you understand the dangers? And would you know how to react if it happened? Take the Air Safety Institute’s latest safety quiz and find out.
Pilots' group to accept scholarship applications
The NGPA Education Fund has designated $15,000 to be awarded in pilot scholarships during 2011. The application period opens Jan. 1 and closes March 31, 2011. Awards, generally ranging from $3,000 to $4,000, will be announced in mid-June. Scholarship criteria include demonstrated academic ability, financial need, and active participation in matters of social justice toward the betterment of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender community. For more information, see the National Gay Pilots Association website.
Know before you go
Unfortunately there are no “sky signs” to guide us through the airspace we fly in. Yet it is our responsibility to understand and apply the rules that govern the sky. Find your way safely through the airspace maze with the recently updated Air Safety Institute Know Before You Go: Navigating Today’s Airspace interactive online course. From basic chart interpretation to understanding temporary flight restriction areas and special flight rules areas, you’ll be armed with important navigation knowledge before takeoff. The course qualifies for AOPA Accident Forgiveness and the FAA Wings program.
Holiday hotel deals from AOPA Online Travel
The holiday season is upon us, which means a lot of traveling to gather with your family. During the Orbitz Hotel Sale, you can save up to 40 percent at thousands of hotels around the world. Book by Dec. 15 and receive $200 toward future travel. A portion of all the revenue generated is returned to AOPA, which allows the association to continue its efforts to maintain the freedom, safety, and affordability of general aviation. Book your vacation today >>
Safeguard your family’s financial future
Not all life insurance policies include protection during flight. Make certain your family is financially safeguarded in the event you're involved in an aviation-related accident with AOPA-sponsored accidental death and dismemberment insurance. This simple and affordable insurance plan is designed to broaden your existing policy coverage to protect you and your family by providing guaranteed coverage while you're flying as a flight instructor, a pilot, or a passenger. Read more >>
Square plotter from ASA
The new flight planning plotter from ASA is a square—literally. The device is 5 1/8 inches square, similar in size to a small note pad. It has five- and 10-nautical-mile-radius rings and a two-nautical-mile grid for accurate measurements and alignment. Define your route of flight and determine the true course for each leg by reading the value directly off the outer compass rose. The plotter is made of Lexan and is guaranteed for life. Priced at $6.95, it’s available online or by calling 800/272-2359.
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: I was planning a recent flight to Adams Field in Little Rock, Ark., when I noticed there was a note in the AOPA kneeboard chart that indicated “Right traffic: 22R, 04R.” Does that mean when I am flying the downwind leg for either 22R or 04R the runway will be on the right side of the plane?
Answer: Yes. Most of us are more accustomed to the standard left-hand traffic pattern that consists of the 45-degree entry and then left downwind, left base, and final. However, some airports require a right-hand traffic pattern. There are various reasons for this; one of the most popular is to keep aircraft from overflying populated areas such as a housing development.
There is really no mystery to flying a right-hand traffic pattern. You will fly the same entry and legs as a left-hand traffic pattern; however, the runway will be on your right instead of on your left. It might feel a bit odd the first time you fly it, but after a few times around the pattern you will be as comfortable as you are flying the standard left-hand pattern. For more on traffic pattern entries, read “ Entering the Traffic Pattern.”
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.
what’s new online
If you’re not using simulators—the desktop kind as well as the FAA-approved kind—you’re missing out on a great opportunity to keep your skills sharp while saving some cash, according to Ian J. Twombly in this week’s Flight Training blog.
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 Air Safety Institute Flight Instructor Refresher Clinics are scheduled in Denver, Colo., and Orlando, Fla., Dec. 4 and 5; Northbrook, Ill., Dec. 11 and 12; Long Beach, Calif., and San Antonio, Texas, Jan. 8 and 9; Jackson, Miss., and Portland, Ore., Jan. 15 and 16. For a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Can’t make it in person? Sign up for the CFI Refresher Online.
Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars
Air Safety Institute Safety Seminars are scheduled in Marietta, Ga., Nov. 30; Birmingham, Ala., Dec. 1; Pensacola, Fla., Dec. 2; Tampa, Fla., Dec. 7; Lake Worth, Fla., and Timonium, Md., Dec. 8; Mesa, Ariz., and Reno, Nev., Jan. 10; Tucson, Ariz., and Sacramento, Calif., Jan. 11; Milpitas, Calif., Jan. 12; Santa Rosa, Calif., Jan. 13. Topics vary—for details and a complete schedule, see AOPA Online.
Got news? Contact ePilot. Having difficulty using this service? Visit the ePilot Frequently Asked Questions now at AOPA Online or write to [email protected].
Editorial Team: ePilot Flight Training Editor : Jill W. Tallman | ePilot Editor: Sarah Brown | Contributor: Alton K. Marsh