Does your flight instructor like to draw diagrams to illustrate points about aerodynamics or maneuvers? Now you can turn the tables, while likely acquiring some insights that will turn your landings into masterpieces.
You need not be a talented artist to tackle this drill. But if you can pilot a pencil around a piece of notebook paper and sketch out the desired pitch attitude of your trainer during the phases of a final approach and landing—and say a few words about the angle of attack at each phase—your talent for flying will earn wide critical acclaim.
Before you start your work of art, spend some time watching airplanes land. Then sketch out a side view of some aircraft completing their final approaches. Document details: the pitch attitude, glide angle, the aircraft’s height above the runway during roundout and flare. Show the approximate pitch attitude at touchdown. Give a general idea of the angle of attack at each phase. From the roundout through the flare it should be increasing, reaching maximum just at touchdown.
From your observations you will learn to recognize when the angle of attack of an approaching aircraft is a mismatch for its landing phase. If pitch is too low (airspeed excessive) the aircraft may float, skip, or even touch on the nosewheel. If pitch is excessive for the height above the runway, the aircraft is at risk of mushing toward the ground in a semi-stall or dropping in—audibly—from a few feet in the air (unless a go-around is commenced).
Both errors have the same fundamental cause: failure to achieve the appropriate attitude (and therefore, airspeed) for each phase of the landing.
For you and your flight instructor, the goal is to determine whether you have the right impression about this basic concept. Some trainees do, but it turns out that they simply lack the confidence to make the necessary control inputs. That’s not the same learning challenge as a misunderstanding of the concept, and requires a more abstract approach to licking the problem.
Creating the diagram is a good way to grade your grasp of the goal. It’s also good practice for the day when you must exhibit your knowledge for the designated examiner on your flight test.
Flight Training News
If you want to save money on flight training, buy an airplane. This common bit of advice comes up often during the inevitable conversation about how to save money in aviation. But is this really true? Can buying really be more cost effective than renting? Based on conversations with owners who have bought to train—and comparing various rental rates and purchase prices around the country—the short answer is: It depends. Read more >>
Technique: Learning to loop
At first glance, the loop looks like the simplest of all aerobatic maneuvers, but it’s really one of the more complex and involves much more than going fast and hauling back on the stick. The key to flying a loop properly is knowing where to look, and—hint!—it’s not just straight ahead. Read more >>
Sporty’s to hold fly-in, open house
Sporty’s Pilot Shop will hold its annual fly-in and open house at its home base of Clermont County Airport in Batavia, Ohio, on May 18. “Sporty’s has always believed in creating a sense of community at the airport, and so the fly-in is a natural expression of that,” said spokesman Mark Wiesenhahn. “We enjoy providing a venue on a beautiful spring day where folks can come out to the airport and enjoy looking at the airplanes, touring the airport and being able to interact with industry exhibitors on a smaller scale than is possible at a larger event.” Read more >>
AOPA enhancing website, member database
In the coming weeks, AOPA will be transitioning to a redesigned website and a new membership management system in an effort to enhance your interaction with the association online. The new design and technologies are geared to make it easier for you to find the aviation information you are looking for and update your membership profile and benefits any time, any day, from any computer or mobile device. Read more >>
ATP opens two new training centers
Jacksonville, Fla.-based ATP is opening two new training centers, one in Ogden, Utah, and the other in Morristown, N.J. ATP locations offer both career-oriented pilot training and add-on ratings, along with hourly flight training programs. ATP operates new Garmin G1000-equipped Cessna 172 and Garmin G500-equipped Piper Seminole aircraft at its facilities.
Aviation Access Project forms flight center at Fla. airport
Aviation Access Project has announced the formation of a flight center at Florida’s Kissimmee Gateway Airport. The center is part of a new initiative designed to promote the growth and development of the pilot community in the Orlando area by offering a low-cost aircraft ownership and flight training option. “Our shared ownership and management model allows more current pilots and those who have a passion for aviation the opportunity to own a well-equipped, highly capable aircraft for thousands less than the price of a new car,” said CEO Rick Matthews.
Learn to avoid aquatic hitchhikers
Most seaplane pilots learn to fly on a lake. But the health and recreational use of lakes are being threatened by aquatic nuisance species. To help stem the tide of these encroaching pests, the Air Safety Institute, in collaboration with the Seaplane Pilots Association, created a video to help train seaplane pilots on how to inspect and clean their aircraft of these aquatic nuisances properly, and how to avoid them altogether. Log in to watch How to Stop the Spread of Invasive Species by Seaplane and take the quiz to show you’re doing your part to avoid transporting these aquatic hitchhikers. Log in and watch the video >>
Another tool to help pilots be safe
Every day, more general aviation aircraft are being equipped with datalink, an electronic means to receive weather information and updates in flight. This has made it easier than ever for pilots to know the weather ahead of them. But pilots should still proceed with caution, as this technology is not without its limitations. Take a look at cockpit weather products and how they fit into your decision-making process by taking the Air Safety Institute’s IFR Insights: Cockpit Weather online course. Log in to take the course >>
“Any traffic in the pattern, please advise”? “Tally ho”? You will hear phrases on the radio that don’t quite sound legitimate. The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) is the best reference for learning good ATC communication skills and phraseology. AOPA’s aviation subject report on radio communications can help you too.
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 8 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.
Learn how to roll
AOPA lends its support to legal action against the FAA. Plus, find out how the sequester’s grounding of military airshow teams is a mixed bag for their civilian counterparts. And AOPA Pilot Senior Editor Dave Hirschman shows you how to pull up until your heels are on the horizon, release the back pressure on the stick, and roll. Check out the new AOPA website. And find out how one aircraft flew more than five times the speed of sound. AOPA Live This Week, May 9.
US Airways first to get FAA certification of ADS-B tools
Airline performance in 2012 was the second highest in 23 years that researchers have tracked their performance, according to the twenty-third annual national Airline Quality Rating. The performance of the nation’s leading carriers in 2012 was nearly identical to the best year in 2011, according to the report, a joint research project of faculty at Purdue and Wichita State University. Of the 14 carriers rated for performance, the top five carriers were Virgin America, JetBlue, AirTran, Delta, and Hawaiian.
For more aviation career news, see the Flight Training website.
If a plane spotter may characterize the whale-sized (and shaped) Curtiss C-46 as the Un-Gooney for its place in history as a contemporary of the Douglas DC-3, then what twin-engine airliner could be called the post-Gooney? History records that the aircraft family known as Convairs came onto the scene to take over where the Gooney Bird left off. First piston-powered, then stretched, and next a turboprop, Convairs (combining company names Consolidated and Vultee) can be spotted by their distinctively contoured tails. This 290-knot Convair 580 presses on, lifting a 15,000-pound payload.
Jeppesen website sells e-books
Jeppesen now has e-books available via its website JeppDirect.com. Among the books available is The Aviation Dictionary, a resource to become well versed in the unique language of aviation. The book has more than 10,000 definitions and is a great resource for pilots and maintenance technicians. It costs $21.95.
King Schools releases free, online nontowered ops course
King Schools has released a free, online nontowered airport operations course. The new course takes customers through the paces of arrival and departure from airports without an operating control tower, and shows how to use skillful communication together with situational awareness to help manage collision risk.
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.
Medical application: Medical disability benefits?
Question 18.y. in the FAA medical application form asks if the applicant has ever received medical disability benefits. This question came from a group of legal cases that originated in California when the U.S. attorneys came up with the idea to match the Social Security database with the FAA’s electronic medical certification system. They discovered that some airmen had been collecting disability payments from the Social Security Administration, but had not revealed this information on their FAA medical form. This led to a series of legal actions, which are still going on to this day. Read more >>
Would you want to buy the FBO an aircraft?
Most pilots don’t realize their obligations when they sign their rental agreements or borrow aircraft from a friend. If an adverse event occurs, you may end up paying for damages—out of your wallet. Plus, legal fees could be incurred. Even minor mishaps could cost a lot; common ground incidents can damage wingtips and cost $1,200 or more to repair. That’s why AOPA recommends all nonowner pilots have insurance coverage. Renter’s insurance provides liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage when you borrow or rent airplanes, plus legal defense coverage. AOPA provides options so you can build the policy to suit your needs and your wallet. Visit the AOPA Insurance Services website or call 800/622-AOPA (2672) to learn more.
Using LiveATC as a learning tool
Learning to fly encompasses trying to master a broad range of new skills and tasks. While some pilots want nothing more than to be able to fly solo on a weekend afternoon or fly from one small airport to another, others want to reap the full benefit of flying as a transportation tool. A big part of maximizing that benefit is learning how to utilize air traffic control. Recall that if you are working toward your private certificate, you are required to have at least a minimal interaction with the controllers on the other end of the radio. Read more >>
Keep calm and fly on
One of the moments new private pilot Kristen Seaman was most looking forward to when she was a student pilot was taking others on introductory flights and sharing the joy of aviation with them. Since receiving her private pilot certificate, she has flown four people who had never been in a general aviation aircraft before, or at least not one that was as small as a Cessna 172. Not only was it a learning experience for those she flew, but it also taught her a lot and exposed her to situations she never experienced as a student. Read more >>
Seaplane training in Central Southwest region
Interested in learning to fly seaplanes or getting current? You can do it within the Central Southwest region. Read more >>
AOPA Career Opportunities
Ever dream of turning your passion for aviation into a career? We’re looking for a human resources assistant, software test and quality assurance analyst, online marketing and content specialist, AOPA Live editor/graphic artist, advertising marketing manager, mid-level gift specialist, aviation technical specialist, staff assistant/PAC coordinator, president of AOPA Insurance Services, major gifts officer, and director of outreach and events. To learn more about other AOPA career opportunities, visit AOPA Online.
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