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‘Free and correct’
Pick up any trainer’s pilot’s operating handbook. The pre-takeoff checklist is likely to contain a reminder to verify that the fight controls are free and correct.
Don’t just go through the motions—literally—of making sure that elevators and ailerons, when moved with the yoke or stick are unobstructed, and rudder pedals are functional. Without actually looking to make sure that control surfaces move as you intend, free controls may not be correct controls. Misrigged controls may result in an aircraft response opposite to what was intended, a condition that has caused some serious accidents.
Fortunately, awareness of the hazard helps make it easy to catch during preflight inspections and pre-takeoff checks.
One mnemonic device some instructors teach is the “thumb up, aileron up” technique. When you turn the yoke to the left, the thumb on your upper hand points to the up aileron, which is the left aileron. Turn the yoke to the right, and your upper hand’s thumb points to the right, or up, aileron, if control cables are both free and correct.
Another method is to think of a box, as explained in the October 2010 Flight Training’s Tech Tip: “Start either full right or full left with the yoke full forward. Then pull all the way aft, turn the yoke fully in the opposite direction, and then push all the way forward. Of course, glance at the aileron and elevator at each point on the box. You’ve done two things: You’ve made sure the controls are correct, and you’ve ensured they can travel fully in all directions.”
Jammed controls in flight are another hazard to guard against. You may not think of keeping a tidy cockpit as insurance against that risk, but this example of a near mishap shows how an innocent object might find its way into a bad space.
Factory-issued or homemade control locks (a very bad idea) not removed before flight have brought down aircraft—or prevented them from taking off. Some aircraft designs increased this risk, as several accidents involving one model turboprop showed, eventually prompting authorities to issue an airworthiness directive.Armed with awareness, use your hands, feet, and eyes to confirm that the controls are both free and correct.
YOUR PARTNER IN TRAINING
Your solo cross-country flight is on the calendar, and now’s the time to plan it. Do you know whether there’s a temporary flight restriction (TFR) along your route? It won’t be on your sectional chart! Take the time to find out before you file your flight plan. Use AOPA Online’s TFR map to get a look at all TFRs planned for your proposed route. The map depicts active (red and yellow) as well as not-yet-active TFRs (black). The AOPA Internet Flight Planner will also show you if a TFR is on or near your proposed route of flight. Be sure to verify with a flight briefer just before your flight, as TFRs can change with little notice.
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.
A Maine flight instructor has developed an improved version of a training device that will let pilots safely experience the physical effects of spatial disorientation. Michael Lessard of Sullivan, Maine, received a grant from the Wolf Aviation Fund in 2010 that helped him to create a design for a “vertigo chair” that he says is more lightweight, modular, and portable than those in use today. Read more >>
Sgt. Chris Gschwendtner already has a pilot certificate, but after returning from active duty in Iraq he wanted to further his involvement in aviation. With the help of a scholarship from Able Flight, Gschwendtner will train to become a light sport repairman with a maintenance rating. Gschwendtner suffered a traumatic brain injury while overseas. He remains a member of the U.S. Army Reserves, and paid for his own flight training after the Army denied his request for transfer to an Army flight training program. Able Flight is a nonprofit organization that awards flight training and aviation maintenance scholarships to people with physical disabilities.
Learning to fly involves much more than knowing the regulations and how to maneuver the airplane. It also means knowing the aircraft you're flying. The Aircraft Flash Cards from the Air Safety Institute can be a great study guide for remembering what you need to know about your airplane. Whether you are a new student pilot or a certificated pilot ready to move on to different aircraft, the flash cards will help you learn about, and remember, the important features of the aircraft you’re flying. Fill out the back of each card with information pertinent to each system, and you’ve created a reference guide for each airplane you fly. Do you know what power setting to use for a soft-field landing? What’s your rotation speed? Download the cards and keep this information handy at all times.
Company launches sim-based intro flight program
Aviation Training & Resource Center (ATRC) of Carrollton, Texas, has launched a program aimed at prospective student pilots that takes place entirely in a simulator. The Wannabee a Pilot program includes five hours of dual instruction in a Redbird FMX full-motion flight simulator as well as all pre- and post-flight briefings. ATRC President Ray Heyde said the controlled environment allows new students to relax and enjoy their exposure to aviation and helps them to retain the information. He said ATRC created the program to better serve prospective clients after selling 460 first-time prepaid demo flights in a single day over the summer.
iPads arrive at K-State
The iPad revolution is making its way to the cockpits and ground school classes at the nation’s universities. First-year students in the aviation program at Kansas State University-Salina use iPads in the Intro to Aviation class and ground school, said Tom Karcz, assistant professor of aviation. “Usage is starting to expand through the entire program” as the university’s flight instructors use them, he said. Students in the Intro to Aviation course take all quizzes and tests using the iPad, and are using software applications on the ground so that they will know them in the air, said Eric Shappee, associate professor of aviation.
Flight beyond alphabet airspace
Whether you’re cramming for the checkride or preparing for your first cross-country flight, you’ll want to know your airspace—in depth. Enter the aptly named Air Safety Institute’s Know Before You Go: Navigating Today’s Airspace interactive online course to prepare for questions such as “Are you allowed to fly into a controlled firing area? How about a special flight rules area?” Be well versed in discussing especially tricky airspace operations in an ADIZ, SFRA, MOA, MTR, CFA, TFR, or NSA, to name a few (and you’ll learn the words for all those abbreviations when you take the course). Take the course >>
When it’s time for your knowledge test, check out CATS
Most pilots have heard about CATS, the computerized testing service for FAA knowledge tests, but you might not know that as an AOPA member you automatically receive a 10-percent discount off the price of taking the test at a CATS facility. The benefits of using a CATS facility for your knowledge test are many, including same-day registration and instant test results. You’ll also take that important knowledge test in a professional and distraction-free environment. Read more >>
AOPA Legal Services Plan not just for violations
You may have never considered joining AOPA’s Legal Services Plan, particularly if you strive to be a careful, precise pilot. There are other reasons to join beyond planning ahead for the day you might find yourself “in trouble” with the FAA. Read more >>
Flu shots: Good idea?
Each year, between 5 and 20 percent of Americans contract influenza. Dr. Jonathan Sackier explains why getting a flu shot this fall will lower the risk of a nationwide epidemic while helping to keep you healthy and flying. Read more >>
‘Rod Machado’s Sport Pilot Handbook’
Considering the sport pilot route? Flight Training Contributing Editor Rod Machado brings his expertise to the subject in his book, Rod Machado’s Sport Pilot Handbook. If you’ve seen any of Machado’s texts you’ll be familiar with the format: plain-language explanations peppered with easy-to-grasp illustrations and charts. The 582-page book includes information on subjects particularly germane to the sport pilot student, including a discussion of Rotax engines. The book sells for $59.95 or can be purchased in e-book format (for the iPad only) for $44.99. See the website or call 800/437-7080.
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 am a new student pilot, and I’ve just started working on the four fundamentals of flight: climbs, turns, descents, and straight-and-level flight. I noticed the other day when we were practicing turns that the nose of the airplane always seems to want to go in the opposite direction of the turn. Can you explain to me what is going on?
Answer: You have just discovered one of the truisms of flying: You don’t get something for nothing. When turning an airplane to the left, the aileron on the left wing goes up and the aileron on the right wing goes down. The downward-deflected aileron on the right wing produces more lift; however, it also produces more drag. The upward-deflected aileron on the left wing produces less lift and less drag. The increased drag on the right wing has a tendency to pull the airplane’s nose in the direction of the raised wing; which is opposite to the direction desired. This undesirable veering is called adverse yaw. That is one reason why airplanes have rudders—they do a great job of counteracting this unwanted tendency. For more on aerodynamics, take the Air Safety Institute’s interactive course Essential Aerodynamics .
Got a question for our technical services staff? Email [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.
Simulators have come a long way since the days of the Link trainer, which became popular during World War II. Learn why they’re such an asset to the professional pilot in this week’s Flight Training blog.
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a Web business analyst, donor relations specialist, medical certification assistant, AOPA regional manager, associate editor–Web, associate editor–Web/ ePilot, production assistant–Web, .Net developer, aviation technical specialist, and manager of airspace and modernization. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
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 8,500 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 Fort Lauderdale, Fla., and Indianapolis, Ind., Oct. 8 and 9; Windsor, Conn., Wichita, Kan., and Columbia, S.C., Oct. 15 and 16; Corpus Christi, Texas, Oct. 29 and 30; Atlanta, Ga., Nov. 5 and 6; and Anchorage, Alaska, Nov. 12 and 13. 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 Garden City, N.Y., Oct. 10; Colorado Springs, Colo., and Poughkeepsie, N.Y., Oct. 11; Denver, Colo., West Lafayette, Ind., and Cohoes, N.Y., Oct. 12; Milan, Ill., and Brockport, N.Y., Oct. 13; Bolingbrook, Ill., Eugene, Ore., and Madison, Wis., Oct. 17; Northbrook, Ill., Portland, Ore., and Milwaukee, Wis., Oct. 18; East Peoria, Ill., Grand Forks, N.D., Seattle, Wash., and Manitowoc, Wis., Oct. 19; and Rockford, Ill., and Spokane, Wash., Oct. 20.
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