I will be hosting articles from guest columnists from around the world that like to write for aviation. Our first is a writer that goes by the handle of Tubkal. We conversed and decided Tubkal would work up an introductory piece to introduce himself and his writing to the blog. Please welcome Tubkal and his piece for aviation for newcomers.
The day started normal enough, light winds from the North, high overcast, and fine temperatures. April is a good time to get a checkout in a new airplane and I had been looking forward to learning to fly a new design. The Light Sport Aircraft category of aircraft and are becoming popular all over the world. As a flight instructor, this makes new opportunities to check out some new pilots in these sport airplanes. The airplane that I was invited to fly was a TL-2000 Sting Sport Aircraft. Continue Reading…
You’ve probably got a long list of people you have been promising to take for a ride, so call them up as the opportunity arises and share your joy. But, please, do aviation a favor and pick a good, quiet, still-air hour for their ride if they haven’t been up before. Treat them gently; explain what you’re doing so they won’t jump and clutch when the wings bank and the sound of the engine changes. Keep the turns gentle and the climbs and descents shallow; don’t try to prove your prowess as a fighter pilot. By Tubkal Continue Reading…
Piloting is a work in progress, and often you find yourself doing routine tasks over and over. But, there is a pace of task that has to be recognized in order to get tasks done in a prompt and routine manner.
When standing still, tasks halt. In flying there is no halt, the tasks keep going because you are not standing still. One of the challenges for new pilots to grasp is the sense of routine and its associated pace. If there is a challenge to flight performance and degraded pace of learning, it’s because students or new student pilots are not developing the sense of expectation and task application.
What and when
While flying, one has to have an appreciation of what it is they want to do with the airplane and when. Your flight instructor is there to show you what and when. Each situation you encounter with the airplane can be managed by the use of Procedure and Technique. But you have to have the Knowledge about these procedures and techniques ahead of time. K. P. T. Knowledge, Procedure and Technique You get the knowledge about flying from the textbooks and assigned readings and briefings that you receive from your instructor. If you don’t read and review them, your knowledge is going to be too low. Procedure is related to what you do. It’s the recipe, use the wrong list of ingredients in the list and the situation gets worse. One of the big reasons that new pilots struggle is that they don’t work in a procedural manner based upon reasonable tasks or reasonable recipes. You learn the procedures or recipes for the various performances that are presented in the Flight Training Manual. These performances are educated by your instructor and your individual assigned readings from your textbooks provided. The learning rate brakes down because students are not reading and or learning the Knowledge and Procedures that are offered by the individual instructor. Instructors need to ensure that in their briefings they are helping students learn the knowledge and procedures that are best suited to the performances at hand. What is not managed well on the ground is Technique, you need an airplane and an instructor to learn technique. K.P.T. However, you can practice knowledge and procedure on the ground by yourself and with your instructor so that you can practice the Procedures and Techniques in the airplane. In the aircraft, if you know your procedures because you practiced them, all you need to experience in the airplane is the “see and do” you already know the what and why.
Anticipation comes when you know what is going to form ahead of you. Flying is about working into an environment anticipation. Procedures work well when the anticipated task is executed at the right time. Flying downwind, for example, you have a pace of things to accomplish in a reasonable time and manner to get the airplane configured for the expected approach.
Expectation should occur because of known situations, we all hate surprises and to eliminate surprises we work flying procedures so as to be able to control the outcomes of how our flying is developing.
Flying and making things up as you go is a weak way of operating. Aircraft flying is best managed by working a plan of procedures. Flying as you go results in lazy aircraft control and procedural tasking that is non existent or late.
Flying the aircraft in a prescribed set of tasks and procedures forms a foundation of aircraft operating that allows for growth and development into more complex flying and aircraft handling. You then have that foundation of procedures and techniques to fall back on as you operate into more challenging flying environments.
Work the procedure use good knowledge and develop your techniques through routine application of these procedural routines. The routine and procedure make good technique and you as a pilot will become more confident, make better choices about what you want to do with the airplane. The improvement in better choices and confidence will make you relax and fly less stressed. Less stressed flying makes for better aircraft control and effectiveness.
Fly the plane or it flies you
Don’t let the airplane fly you and take you into situations that you are not anticipating. Make good procedures and practice them developing your technique. This will stop the plane flying you and make you fly the plane. “Fly The Plane”
I have added some features to this blog site, like an auto link from this site right to my telegram channel. The Telegram channel is called Air Under Your Chair and is a regular channel to discuss aviation ideas and topics that may serve to assist this blog with ideas and topics related to aviation. Lower down the page is a running presentation of what is being posted on my telegram page.
Coffee Donations are always welcome, we put many hours into making good articles that help you with your aviation experiences. Always need to top up the working elixir of life… Coffee Donation button under the Drone Doggie $2.50 CDN
Is there a case for picking the low wing over the high wing in flight training? I certainly have my preferences and perhaps you may as well. People tend to pick the airplane style that they trained on but in the long run they fly the plane that they feel is the easiest for them to fly. In fact, learn to fly everything you get a to operate. The flying characteristics of an aircraft really come down to it’s wing area and overall weight. Wing Loading is the term, and just because the wing is up or down has little bearing on Wing Loading. Some aircraft have wings in the middle.
I recommend that in your flight training you try both the high wing and the low wing airplanes to see what you like, if that is an option. Bottom line is that in your flying experience, fly as many different types of airplanes as you can. At some point you will find airplanes that you like to fly and ones that you don’t. Over time you will form your own preferences. As your experience develops so will your choice in airplanes.
Everything’s connected. Your landings are a direct result of how well you fly your circuit pattern. Recently I have been reviewing procedures for various aircraft and I have completed a procedure for the Alon A2 Air coupe that was presented earlier on my website.
It’s a small 2 seat classic aircraft with a long history over the decades. In this case I have outlined the circuit and approach plan for this airplane in an effort to create a Checkout Notes program.
Above is a quick sketch and I will include the write up for this below.
Flying in the Aircoupe Circuit is not overly complicated, the review of level flight, airspeeds and RPM’s at various airspeeds is important. The Image of the circuit looks a bit complicated but is straight forward if you work the plan. I will go into why a rigid circuit plan is important later. Takeoff is described previously. At 500 feet make a 90 degree turn direction with a 15-degree bank into the traffic pattern and level off for a 90 degree turn with a 30-degree bank downwind at circuit height. The circuit starts at this point 45 degrees off the end of the runway. Spacing width of the circuit is typically wingtip spacing. Keep the spacing accurate. And correct any altitudes and airspeeds for circuit say 2100 RPM and 70 KTS. Lookout for other aircraft and then at mid runway do a quick Pre-Landing Check then include a radio call. Adjust your altitude and speed abeam the end of the runway. Speed change considered just before the base turn for approach speeds, but in this case, you may like the 70 KTS that the Aircoupe fly’s at. Getting to 45 degrees from the departure end of the runway make a 90-degree direction turn onto Base, 30 Degree bank and at the same time reduce power to 1600 to 1700 rpm. (you may have to experiment for rpm that gets you 500 feet per minute descent) Then descend to final turn on base. You should get to 500 feet on final at about 1.8 miles out from the approach end of the runway. LOOK at the runway AT THE Number, It’s your TARGET. Turn final at 500 feet or so and fly a straight final descent to the Target. This approach should be around best glide speed say 68KTS or perhaps a bit slower. Even 65KTS is a bit fast but this may depend on the A2 itself. If there is too little RPM for the airspeed you will sink on the approach track and be low. If the RPM is too much, then, at the approach speed you are Trimmed for, you will rise on the final approach going too high. If your airspeed is not set for the approach and trimmed, you will have a hard time coordinating the descent rate on final. However, Track Straight to the target along the final approach track and make the descent into the landing. Don’t let the speed drain off between 25 feet and the Ground. (target)(runway number) At a few feet above the runway raise the nose to level, reduce the rpm to low, and make the landing. Touchdown and remain straight. Stop and exit the Runway.
The above text is an example of the general procedure for a working circuit in small aircraft or light aircraft. The understanding for this procedure is simple. Fly reasonable circuits and get reasonable Approaches and Landings. Students have trouble landing and learning landings because they don’t fly a reasonable circuit plan. Their distance is too far out, or too close in. The circuit is too long or too short. The circuit speeds are too slow, or too fast. The base is too close or too far out. The final is too steep or too shallow. Regardless, this inconsistency makes for each approach and landing different each time. It’s hard enough learning to account and adjust for one circuit, approach and landing. Each time the circuit, approach and landing changes, the harder it is for someone to adjust to learning just a normal landing. This adds time, more flying time to the time it takes someone to accomplish normal landings. For the pre-solo student, a circuit, approach and landing that is inconsistent increases their flying time it takes to get to solo.
So how does one fix the increasing flying time it takes to work reasonable landings? Practice a more defined circuit plan. Work out the same downwind turn, track the same wingtip spacing on the downwind. Turn at the same place on base and work the same descent on base to final so that one turns final at the same location and distance out from the runway. In this way, the Approach will be more consistent to the last time and the next time. Mistakes that are discovered can be identified and success in the approach and landing will occur sooner. Landings will improve due to a more consistent approach height and speed, allowing for a more consistent roundout, hold off and touch down at safer speeds.
This consistent circuit procedure will pay dividends in the end and you will have more fun and be less frustrated in the traffic pattern. But one has to be committed to making procedural work in the aircraft work for them. It’ takes practice. Work with your instructor to discuss how better traffic pattern procedures can benefit you and get you to your performance goals sooner than expected.
So you get into your airplane and your instructor says to you,
“Hey where is your Kneeboard, your desk? What are you going to write on and fly at the same time”?
“I did not think I needed one of those.”
“Well look what’s on my knee! I am a professional, I use the Pro tools, If you were a pro golfer you would want the pro golf clubs right, you want to be a Pro Pilot one day don’t you”?
“Well, Yes, but I am trying to save money for flying”?
“Ya, Crappy flying”…
It’s just a tin plate, but in the aircraft, this thing is your second brain. You are so busy flying you don’t have time to think because you are already reasoning about the size of your circuit, and the speed you need to be at before you turn to base. ATC calls the Cessna in front of you that is on final and gives him some new winds, you write that info down on your kneeboard because you don’t need that info just yet but can use it. So, on final you are trying to sort out your crosswind and since you wrote the wind info down on your kneeboard it’s there, right there. Your Runway is RW 26 and the winds are 280/22Kts and you think, “can I handle that crosswind”? Because you had a desk, you used it when you had the chance and later the info was there when you needed it. However, Prior to flight, your instructor got you to prepare the details of the flight on a piece of paper that just so happens to be just the size to fit on a kneeboard. That’s by design. Up and Down times, Departure plan, Radio frequencies, Altitudes and distance restrictions. Notes, Notes.
Over the years I have found it an indispensable tool. It holds the pen, is solid surface, and clips my mission cards and flight notes, navigation logs to something rigid, like your leg.
I have always used the thin aluminum plate, It does not get in the way of the controls. It’s light and easy to attach to your leg. And best of all it’s Under $25 bucks. The last tin plate kneeboard lasted 25 years, I worked it out, that’s $1.00 a year, for a highly Under Rated aviation tool. You will use a kneeboard for your whole career in one form or another.
The Image above is linked to a location for you to purchase one. Great tool in the airplane that serves as a platform for your second brain.
Knowledge is the cornerstone to being the best aviator you can be. Without reasonable knowledge about your flying education, your ability to operate successfully is compromised.
So how do you get educated? Transport Canada with the Private Pilot and the Commercial Pilot Flight Training programs require particular lengths of ground training outlined in each section of the requirements for Pilot Training.
In School Training Often, the school you are affiliated with will host a formal in house ground training course. These are well run, comprehensive and the live instructor is to your benefit. This is the traditional method. As you complete the in house course you are tested in sections and complete a practice exam that is endorsed by that school. This allows for a recommendation by the schools Chief Flight Instructor for the required letter of recommend that you need at the time you write your final Transport Canada Exam. In house ground school allows for immediate access to your current flight instructor or the current ground school instructor for answers to questions that you are having trouble with. Some of these schools grant access to the course ware materiel for you to study while you are on course. While these situations are reasonable, these courses take time to complete, sometimes lasting months when classes only happen 2 evenings a week.
Self Study This is only part of the problem. While one will spend plenty of time with the books, this study will only supplement the formal training that you require by Transport Canada. The Self Study that you do, you should track. How do you do that? By making a Journal of the time spent in your self study. This hourly record of self study is important to use with your formal ground training to demonstrate to your training establishment what self study you can get credit for.
CAR101.01 has a definition of ground school Ground school instruction means classroom-type instruction generally given to one or more persons and covering an organized program of lectures, homework or ‘self-paced study’ that adheres to an approved training program.
That being said I don’t recommend that one try to self study it in isolation. There are Online Training Programs In this day and age, the rise of flight training programs that can be done remotely are beginning to surface. These are Approved Training Programs for Pilot Ground School. One such Online training program is a company called Level Flight and can be found in any search. It offers Private and Commercial self paced study programs that you can complete on your own. It has all that you need to achieve the knowledge needed to be credited with the experience requirements in order to write the Transport Canada Written Exams.
This is one of the online ground training institutions that offers online ground training and comes with the needed support group and structured ground training programs that allows you to study at your own pace. If done diligently, one will acquire the necessary education that will serve to account for the required training time and deliver the needed recommendations that are necessary for completing the Transport Canada PPL and CPL written exams.
Both methods work In House or Online, many people do both, and many flight schools will honor online ground school work from approved online educational institutions. But flight schools may also ask you to complete their practice exam schedules in order for you to receive their recommendations to write exams in lieu of doing their in house ground school programs.
Before you begin Ground Training Contact the Training Institution and see how they handle the credit for ground training. Some schools have their own opinions about online ground training and how they credit this activity. Regardless, with the advent and expansion of all educational institutions, and their move to online or remote training, it is little surprise that resources like levelflight.ca are available.
Simulators for aviation have been around a long time, certainly since I began using my home PC in 1989. I wanted my home PC to work flight sims since I was a new commercial pilot. I could see advantages to my aviation experience through the early flight sim software like Microsoft Flight Sim. Things have come a long way for sims from that time.
As an aspiring Private Pilot, how are these types of simulators an advantage?
Flight sim work in aviation training can be credited if the simulator is Accredited or Certified. These types of sims are attached to Flight Training Schools and serve to build skills necessary for the Private Pilot Licence and The Commercial Pilot Licence. Some flight time in these simulators is credited to the Instrument Flying portions of each licence. The alternative is doing this same work in the aircraft at twice the price. In some cases savings can be considerable. This sim time is allowed to be logged in your personal Logbook or Training record. However, nothing beats a real plane.
Can I get some skills and will they make me better?
Yes, you will become better and Simulators will build your skills. The whole point of the Simulator is to use it to practice knowledge given to you by your Flight Instructor. In fact it’s not the Sim that makes you better it’s what and how your Instructor uses it as a tool for your flying education that makes you better. A sim is just a fancy Game Boy… but with an experienced Pilot Instructor who knows how to use the sim to your advantage, is where the dynamics of learning aviation that makes you better really shines. What you practice and learn in the Sim is then used directly in the airplane the next time you fly. “I remember how we did VOR tracking in the sim, can we do it today in the plane”?
Does flying a sim really mean that you can really fly a real plane?
Yes and no, and some will debate me on this point of view. You need a real airplane to learn to fly in the real world, the sim won’t get you all the way there. The simulator will not give real world feedback that is needed for the total flight experience. One needs to fly a real plane initially to get the most out of Flight Simulators. I can’t learn to ride a unicycle by playing with the unicycle simulator, nor can I use the simulator to learn to do a real takeoff in the real world. But… I can practice in the simulator some knowledge and skills about how I will attempt to use a real airplane in a real environment in a real world takeoff. In the simulator you will try… But you need a real airplane to DO or DO NOT…
Can I save money with a Flight School Flight Sim?
You can save lots of money by using a sim, both at home and at the flight school. The simulator rents out at less than half the price of a real airplane, but the instructor fees are fixed at the instructor rate. The Cessna 172 is about $250 Canadian for an hour of flight training. The Simulator here rents out with an instructor at $100 CDN. Solo it’s $32.00 for practice that is not log able. So the required flying that you can do with your instructor in the simulator is significant. You will still have to do other required instrument training in the airplane.
Can I use the Simulator for Fun and still practice stuff that my instructor shows me in the airplane?
By all means, and if your instructor has developed good flying procedures in the airplane with you, you can practice them in the simulator to good effect that will enhance your overall ability to get ahead of the airplane in many flight situations. Some simulators that are good will be easy to do the normal things like traffic pattern work, slow flight, stalls and upper air exercises.
The Sim is Super at practising EMERGENCIES.
The most under used aspect of flight simulator practice is doing in flight emergencies and the Simulator is a device that shines at getting individuals to work through all the emergencies scenarios that one may or may not encounter in their aviation career. Everything can be practised and the big simulators use in the airline industry are used mostly for complex emergency procedure training. Your Flight Instructor should treat you to a few sessions in the simulator for doing fires, failures, and emergency landings. A good flight simulator will do all these kinds of things going wrong where one can practice what is reasonable to do.
The time you will use in the simulator is worth it, and it’s a good plan to talk to your friendly neighbourhood flight instructor on how you will use the simulator to your advantage. They will know how to treat you to some good training in aviation with the simulator, don’t discount the sim sitting there in a back office of the local flight school.