Page 6.24 
Instructional Opinions
Return to Whittsflying
Eight Opinions; ... #1 Pattens in a C-172; … #2 Type of Instruction;#3 Use of Yoke; …#4 Opinion on FAA; …#5 Bank Angle and Speed; …First Lesson; …Yoke Control; …Getting Radar Help; …Looking, Seeing, Recognizing; …Using Checklists; …Landing on the Numbers; … What Helped with Landings; ..Dumb Things; …Why Pay More?; …Level Cruise; …Dudley on Touch and Gos; …Gene on Touch and Gos; ...Solo Preparation; …Ground School; ...Saving Time; ...How to Study and Learn; …Opinion on Learning and Teaching; ...Opinion on Learning; … The Written/Herb Martin; ...When to Prepare for Written; ...Opinion on Flying; ...Opinion on Flying; ...Opinions about Taking Checkrides; …Rope Tiedown; … AOPA FIRC; …Pitch and Power; …IFR, SVFR, VFR  An Email; ...Nice to Know Items; ...

Eight Opinions
Anyone can fly an airplane onto the runway, but it takes skill to land one.

Student basic safety rule for weather safety is the "Times Two". Double all visibility and cloud clearance requirements.

Opinion on Aviation Knowledge
A chief instructor once told me that there's three kinds of aviation knowledge.
Stuff which impresses the FAA, stuff which impresses girls at parties, and stuff which keeps you from rolling it up into a ball of smoking aluminum. Learn as much of the first as you have to, learn as much of the second as you want to, and learn as much of the third as you possibly can.
Roy Smith

Opinion on Personal Minimums
The minimums you set for yourself due to your currency, equipment, experience, and judgment.

Opinion #1 Patterns in a C-172
The idea in any airplane is consistency in all flight realms. Yet, one should also learn the planes full capabilities. With trainers like 172's there isn't much to screw-up other than landing mode. I hate to see anything but a tight approach. Keep it very tight in downwind, a short base and then do what's necessary to land. Full flaps, slip, idle power in trainers. A military approach. Adjust for winds and configuration as appropriate.

Too many instructors allow wide long down wind with idea of slower flight and a long slow finals which they teach techniques that should be demonstrated elsewhere. Over the fence @ 60-70 kts is too fast for a 172 - you should slow to 55 over the fence and touch down slightly higher than stall with power to improve the flare. Again, too many instructors work upon stall speeds at some safe altitude concentrating upon PTS rather than showing a student the aircraft capabilities. For example, I can show you how to be 100 kts on base & arrive over fence @ 55 kts, executing a perfect full stall landing. You can do this too with about ten minutes of training.

Opinion 2 Type of Instruction
Sounds like a couple of instructors who actually have their student's welfare in mind! Different approaches or at least different ways of expressing it. Those who restrict their teaching methods by the student's fears of the unknown are setting them up for a fatal accident. Bottom line is to give the best instruction you can based on what you can teach.

Opinion 3 Use of Yoke
Every comment so far has related to pulling the yoke BACK. I teach pulling/lifting the yoke UP. The geometry of the human arm and the structure of the yoke makes the yoke twist pull down and bind when pulled. The pilot must not use a full fist. Instead, use one or two fingers and lift up and the yoke will achieve its maximum movement. Check this movement out on the ground and note how much the last few inches have an upward thrust.

Opinion 4 On FAA
Problems with the FAA are uncommon. In dealings with the FISDO they have been great to work with. I have found my FAA inspectors to be courteous, helpful, understanding, and cooperative.

Try to have all the paper work in order before going to them. Don't do anything questionable without talking to them first. They will help you find an acceptable way to get things done.

There are a few people who work for the FAA who are not so great. Never a problem that we couldn't resolve and remain friends..

Opinion 5 Bank Angle and Speed
Bank angle determines the amount of your total lift that is toward the center of the turn. This lift provides a force that moves your momentum vector. This allows your direction to change. This force is in direct proportion to mass. The momentum vector you are changing is proportional to the square of your velocity. As your speed increases the momentum change you have to make for a given number of degrees of turn increases with the square of your speed. As a result, you need more central acceleration to change the direction of the momentum vector at a constant rate. By making constant rate turns at different speeds. You will find that your bank angle increases as your speed increases.

First Lesson
Gene, for a first lesson this is all too much (who am I to talk, I've got a total of 5.3 hours!) Hey, make sure you go to the bathroom first and then >get in and enjoy it! After the first lesson is when you can start working on things! Just get to know how your instructor works a little (talk to them, and don't be afraid to ask questions that you have!). Steve

Gene's response:
I do believe that on close examination, you will note that I have not included any "flying lessons" in my suggested list of things to be introduced during the first flight. What I have tried to present are some very basic elements that once permitted will come under the learning law of primacy.

Gene Whitt wrote in original message
Don't let more than one finger touch the back of the yoke. Use only the thumb To push with.

Why: To allow the 'natural' full-fist grip to fit all of the bumps on the yoke will lead a student down the wrong path.  Use only one finger to move the trim wheel. Don't pinch. Keep track of how far you move it.

Why: The Cessnas have designed into the trim movement a relationship with flap movement. This is an 'unknown and untaught' relationship mostly due to moving the trim by pinching. Starting out with the finger tip as the correct way to move the trim is a problem preventative.

How you sit and where you sit must be always the same.
A person must be taught to correctly adjust the seat in height and distance. To allow a student to sit incorrectly or with variations means that the required 'sight' pictures will be difficult to find.

Use your index finger as an index to set the power and control all power changes.
If you learn to properly set the throttle with your finger you can accurately and quickly get desired power settings. My students set the required run-up power setting in one move using the finger.

Never turn without looking and talking about being clear.
Because clearing is essential for every turn.

Don't get into the plane until you know what the instructor's plan is for the lesson.
Why: If the first flight is a joy ride, tell the student. The student must be informed just how much is expected of him and what to expect of the instructor.

Try to leave and arrive from a different direction on every flight. Always take time to find out where you are and where everything else is. Learn the sounds of flying.
Why: The more quickly you can orient the student to the area, the better will the student be able to concentrate on aircraft control. Knowing where you are gives a sense of security.

Don't leave the plane until you know what to prepare for the next lesson. Prepare by reading and asking questions.
Why: Every lesson will consist of review, new, and setting of standards. Students need to know what to expect and what is expected.

Tape record every lesson on the ground and in the air. When you become an instructor the tapes will be a good way to determine how to or not to instruct.
Why: Steve indicates that this is all too much. It certainly is unless you have a way to relive all the events and prepare questions for the next flight. Your memory is on the tape.

Ask questions before you fly. Ask questions after you fly. Ask for answers to questions from this group.
Why: The only question that cannot be answered is the unasked question. I have never charged for my talking time because I do not want 'money' to be used to prevent learning. Besides, no one could afford me.

Learning to fly can be overwhelming. Any time you do not succeed in a lesson, the cause of difficulty does not lie with you if you came advised for and prepared for the lesson.
Why: Any lesson, including the first, will overwhelm the student who has not adequately prepared. I never spend less than half an hour flight preparation with the student. Usually, I spend much more.

Write out (copy from tape) the radio procedures for each lesson. Practice aloud what you are going to say. Read what you have written without punctuation. Radio is 90% canned ...always the same. You will soon learn to hear better by knowing what to expect over the radio.
Why: It is important that the student succeed on the radio. Before the first flight my students have visited the tower so as to put faces with the voices. Every communication is rehearsed and if necessary, written. Knowing what to say, when to say it and how to say it best begins with the first lesson.

You will never know all you are supposed to know. Don't fake it. If you don't know, say so.
Why: One of the most difficult things a pilot will ever say on the radio will be to reveal a lack of knowledge. Interestingly, the more experienced the pilot, the more willing the admission of ignorance.

So many students, so little time.
Why: The system is becoming more complex, the aircraft faster and FAA enforcement more punitive toward pilot deficiency. The less than competent pilot is almost guaranteed to violate the FARs just getting into the airplane with intention to start the engine.
Gene Whitt

P.S. Steve, thanks for giving me a reason to expand on my original remarks. I had never realized how overwhelming a first flight could be without ever taking off.

Yoke Control
At the present time I am flying with three different pilots who are fighting practically the same IFR training difficulty. The way they hold the yoke is making progress very slow and frustrating for them and for me.

One of them I taught to fly for about 30 hours and then suggested that he quit until he had more time to fly more frequently. I had taught his father. He quit and then started again with another instructor because I was fully engaged. He got his private and came to me for his IFR rating. The other instructor allowed him to use a full fist on the yoke.  There is a difference between controlling and flying.

The second is my aircraft partner who has about five years of VFR flying since his private. As with most self-instruction he developed poor yoke habits. Finally he has realized that he was not making progress and is working through the withdrawal process of two-finger flying. Flying is not the same as controlling.

The third has been flying for 38 years and was referred to my by an FBO after 40 hours of instruction showed lack of progress. Just when I though I had him flying so that flying was not part of the problem, he went on a 61-hour flight to Alaska and on his return he has reverted back to the full fist grip again.  Control is stressful; flying is joyful.

IFR skills are complex and flying MUST not be a part of problem. All of these pilots have some weakness in communications. This weakness causes them to tense up when keying the mike. At one time or another depending on their stress their fist will turn white around the yoke will pressing this tiny-teeny lil' mike switch. One of them actually has a hole in his thumb at the end of a flight. Please don't key the mike with over one finger on the yoke.

The best way to prove to yourself that flying can be done with only one or two fingers is to fly hands-off. You can learn to climb, descend and fly level using only the rudder. Once you become comfortable using just the rudder then you can allow some single finger input. The yoke can be moved with only one finger. Do yourself a favor and practice the no touch and light touch flying at every opportunity.

The most difficult aspect of every pilots future flying will be devoted to 'unlearning' a previously developed inappropriate flying habit. The best legacy any instructor can pass through to any student is that there will be a minimum of inappropriate flying habits perpetuated.

Getting Radar Help
I believe that the question is really how to initiate a radar advisory.
Norcal approach Cessna 1234X Request

When Norcal responds by something to the effect...
C1234X go ahead with request.

Cessna 1234X is C-172/Alpha (position) at 3500 request transit your airspace en route Podunk

You will then be given a squawk and perhaps a heading vector.

Several of the previous threads about radar had indicated that the students have not been instructed in how to initiate the process.

Specialists may have multiple frequencies, ground lines, paper work and be fully occupied. The quick call-up allows him to pick a time to respond. For this reason it is best to allow a bit of extra time before reaching the critical boundary.

My wife has a little sign on the refrig that seems appropriate.
"Poor planning on your part does not constitute an emergency on my part."

Looking, Seeing, Recognizing
There is a talent that a few have in going from looking, to seeing and then having recognition.

As a teacher I had a rainy day game that I used to control the classroom. The class is grouped by tables or rows. One group would put their heads down and cover their eyes. Initially, I would take my keys, a coin or familiar object and place it in plain sight, where it could be seen from anywhere in the room. The actual placement would be unusual. Such as on someone's head, balanced on a doorknob or hanging on a wall.

The selected group are then free to rise and even walk around in search. A person finding it must control himself and not jump or shout but must proceed quietly to his seat. First one to his seat gets to 'hide' it next time. The other groups avoid looking in the correct direction. The quietest group gets to be the next 'looking' group.

Over the years the most interesting thing I found is that it seemed always the same students who seemed to find the object first. I did this on occasion during Adult Education Ground School and found that some are just better at seeing things. Instructors may be no better at finding unfamiliar airports than students.

Interesting thing about looking for airports. Everyone tends to look in the direction used by the most experienced pilot. Knowing this, on dual cross-countries I always look away from airports in the hope I can misguide the student.

If you are looking and flying into the sun, fly further and look back. Much easier to see with the sun behind you.

Climb and stay high when looking for an airport. You are far more likely to see an airport from 4500 AGL than you are from 1500 AGL.

Using Checklists
The habit patterns you develop now in the beginning will follow you all through the years that you fly. Checking an item more than once is standard procedure in flying. It's a grave mistake to develop a pattern that causes you to believe that just because you checked something once, you don't have to check it again. The prime reason for checklists or repetition isn't because the average pilot isn't smart enough to know when he/she has already done something. It's a safeguard against distraction. It forms a routine that translates into a safety margin you need, or will need sometime during your time in the air.

If the checklist calls for a check on an item; call it out to yourself; touch it; (in the case of a primer check, test it for a firm lock). Get in the habit of taking these checks VERY seriously. Your attitude about checklists and the way you use them will mark you faster than anything else I can image, as a good pilot or a bad one.
Dudley Henriques

Landing on the Numbers
Hmmmmm....okay, I'll play: "land on the numbers" means land on the numbers, which means you're in contact with the ground and beginning the roll out while on top of the runway "numbers".

In previous posts, there was a bit of discussion about the safety of this vs. landing longer in relation to emergencies and general piloting practice. While I'm all for safety (anal actually), to dismiss landing on the numbers with a wave of the hand as a practice that "shouldn't" be done seems overly cautious and not always applicable to me. What I teach students is to maintain situational awareness and suit their approach to meet the demands present at the time of the approach, while also maintaining the safety and integrity of the flight. Yes, the model by default is to aim for the numbers and touchdown afterwards, exactly where depends on the approach speed of the plane, the student's approach quality, etc. However, there are times when setting down on the numbers is more appropriate, say for example if the tower is asking you to keep your speed up, land and exit as soon as practical. Having a displaced threshold helps in such a scenario, but isn't necessary.

What seems to be missing in the discussion thus far is what is at the heart of setting a plane down "on the numbers": technique. To me, "setting a plane down on the numbers" has always implied a "precision landing", which means that you set everything up during the approach so that you touch down exactly where you plan to. IOW, a well-
orchestrated, short field landing that may or may not include the 'short' part. You have a steeper-than-"normal" approach with full flaps and you fly at an airspeed designated by the manufacturer of the airplane. You visualize the final approach to touchdown at a predetermined spot, say the numbers, and you decide where and when you need to be on base and final to make that happen. (this is where knowing one's airplane comes into play, but I digress)

The final approach is performed at a constant descent rate, angle and airspeed, and the flight path is aimed at the "spot", or the numbers in this scenario. There is little or no float involved (I insist on none), with touchdown near the stall speed. The 'short' in "short field" may then be applied at the discretion of the pilot. The key here is that if this is set up correctly and an emergency occurs, you can still make the runway, provided that you follow the proper emergency procedures. If you can do this, when the day comes that you have to set the thing down "on the numbers" for *real*, you'll be able to handle the situation.

I find myself bewildered by pilots who come in for checkouts or additional certificates/ratings and who claim to be able to land on a spot but make the same "normal" approach and blow past their designated point on a consistent basis, simply because they can't make a precision approach. I truly wonder if they could possibly ever touch down that close to the approach end of the runway. They seem to have something almost mystical about doing so, something I've come to call "number shyness". With some of them I wonder if they could set the thing down on any spot that they predetermine, but I digress again...

Knowing, perfecting and using a stabilized, precision approach is one of the elements that cause you to be in control of the plane (and where it sets down) instead of the plane being in control of you (and setting down wherever it damn well pleases). ;)Jerry Adair

Second Opinion
Land on the numbers" means land on the numbers, which means you're in contact with the ground and beginning the roll out while on top of the runway "numbers".

In previous posts, there was a bit of discussion about the safety of this vs.landing longer in relation to emergencies and general piloting practice. While I'm all for safety (anal actually), to dismiss landing on the numbers with a wave of the hand as a practice that "shouldn't" be done seems overly cautious and not always applicable to me. Well...It wasn't really intended as a blanket policy, but more of a "don't land long on short runways and don't land short on long runways".

To me, "setting a plane down on the numbers" has always implied a "precision landing", which means that you set everything up during the approach so that you touch down exactly where you plan to. A well-orchestrated, short field landing that may or may not include the 'short' part. You have a steeper-than-"normal" approach with full flaps and you fly at an airspeed designated by the manufacturer of the airplane. You visualize the final approach to touchdown at a predetermined spot, say the numbers, and you decide where and when you need to be on base and final to make that happen. (this is where knowing one's airplane comes into play, but I digress) The final approach is performed at a constant descent rate, angle and airspeed, and the flight path is aimed at the "spot", or the numbers in this scenario. There is little or no float involved (I insist on none), with touchdown near the stall speed. I try to make 'em all at stall speed. I've had several remark about me being the only Bonanza (Debonair) pilot they ever say that made full stall landings.

The 'short' in "short field" may then be applied at the discretion of the pilot. The key here is that if this is set up correctly and an emergency occurs, you can still make the runway, provided that you follow the proper emergency procedures. If you can do this, when the day comes that you have to set the thing down "on the numbers" for *real*, you'll be able to handle the situation. I find myself bewildered by pilots who come in for checkouts or additional certificates/ratings and who claim to be able to land on a spot but make the same "normal" approach and blow past their designated point on a consistent basis, simply because they can't make a precision approach.

The ones that scare me are the ones who drag it in, hanging on the prop and then kill the power to let it drop on the designated spot. Some years back I saw four guys in a Cherokee do that at an informal spot landing contest.

I thought I did well as I landed with the with the nose gear on one side of the tape and the mains on the other (less than 24 inches off as I recall). The mains were still skidding when they crossed the tape. Then the airport manager gout his trusty "V-tail" and landed the mains right on the tape. Cut it right in two.

I truly wonder if they could possibly ever touch down that close to the approach end of the runway. They seem to have something almost mystical about doing so, something I've come to call "number shyness". With some of them I wonder if they could set the thing down on any spot that they predetermine, but I digress again. But a good digression and valid.

Knowing, perfecting and using a stabilized, precision approach is one of the elements that cause you to be in control of the plane (and where it sets down) instead of the plane being in control of you (and setting down wherever it damn well pleases). ;)

I do about one out of five patterns as stabilized. The rest of the time I try to vary it as much as practical. I'd say that about 50 % of the time ATC > has me doing something other than a stabilized pattern. (except at night)

That means about the first five hours are going to be nothing but, stalls (approach, departure and accelerated), turns around and on a point, Dutch Rolls, lazy eights, and lots of landings (short field, soft field, no flaps, and all with an aim for precision). Then once I get the feel of the airplane back, it'll be grab an instructor and back into the clouds and an instrument competency check.
Roger (K8RI)

What Helped with Landings (non-instructor)
Anyway, I learned to land. Stick with it and it will come. What finally did it for me was hearing that landing is 'flying the plane onto the runway.' I don't know why, but the concept/visualization of trying to keep the plane level, as it lost energy did it for me. Of course, I try to keep the plane level. But without any power it'll start to descend. So I'll need to keep pulling the nose up. That means the tail will start to sink, and as I try to keep flying the plane the landing will ust happen.'

I had an instructor who talked about landing as flying into a tunnel. You fly the approach to the entrance to the tunnel, then fly into it. He said that analogy had made landings click for a lot of folks.

He also had me fly all the way "through the tunnel", five feet off the ground, stay on the runway centerline, without touching down. That was tricky, but most excellent practice, and I highly recommend it - but ONLY if you have an instructor with you.

Dumb Things
I have yet to have anyone tell me his/her CFI did this to them. I think I was only several hours (maybe 10) into training in a 172. We had, of course, begun emergency engine-out practices by then. One afternoon, we go to the practice area and do some airwork including engine-out stuff-a tough subject for me as I could never seem to figure out how much to spiral down etc. etc. After several attempts with appropriate "stern encouragement" he directs me to climb to 5000' just about a mile from the runway. As I reach altitude, out comes the hand and out goes the throttle! I start the procedures, still pretty nervous about the whole thing, and he says, as I reach best glide, "You know, this isn't what would most likely happen..." Huh? I falter, he says, "Chances are you would break a crankshaft or some such thing, and besides the engine is still really on... this is more realistic," as the hand goes out and pulls the mixture completely out. The in a flash he reaches over and turns off the ignition.

The engine falters but for some reason still keeps sputtering while he mutters about how the fuel is somehow getting past. So then he says, pull up the nose! Off goes the stall horn and sure enough the prop is slowed by the relative wind and, thud, it stops. By this time both my jaw and we have dropped about 1500'! Meanwhile my CFI is
 trying to drill home his lesson-"look," (he's yelling now), "the plane still glides, you can still control it, the flap motor still works etc...." All, however, was really lost on me at least at the time, as I am as white as a ghost and not hearing much of anything. Finally, he tells me to reach over and start the engine. I turn the key and hear what sounds like the dull sound of a tired battery. "Turn it off....., now turn it on again." Sure enough it fires up and we land. "Do you want to do some touch and goes," he asks, but I am truly done for the day! Two days later the plane is in the hanger having the starter replaced! By this time I'm beginning to develop that aviation black humor and quite amused...

I have asked a number of pilots, students, etc about whether they have had this done to them. None so far, and in fact, some get upset, saying that it is illegal and unsafe etc. My CFI pointed out at the time that he planned it so we were within gliding range of the airport, and that it was a valuable lesson. I whole-heartedly agree, although I wasn't so sure at the time. If ever it happened I don't think I would be so thrown by seeing that prop standing still through the windshield!

Another trick, one which I bet is more common, was to distract me and then turn the tanks off. The engine abruptly quit, but I was amazed by how quickly it fire up when just turning the selector switch compared to the stop the prop trick. How many others have had these experiences or other memorable CFI tricks?

Why Pay More?
One thing I liked most about my flight school and what caused me to pay $35 an hour instead of $25 that I could have gotten, was the fact that the youngest instructor there was in his mid 30s and every instructor there was dedicated to doing just that, instructing. There were NO hour builders there at all. Every one of their instructors had dedicated their time and efforts to training students to fly, and they are very good. They range in personalities too, from the very laid back to the "this has to be done THIS way and that's that" type. It's really a wonderful mixing bowl of people and each has something to contribute. There is no unwritten rule there of "You don't teach so-and-so's student" although I'm mainly with one instructor. I personally think that I'm learning a lot where I am and from people who have a lot of experience and have seen themselves in many different positions and situations.

I can ask these guys questions and they can go into great detail in their answers and why they answer the way they do. They also give great tips for handling certain situations which one might never think of. Granted it's only a part 61 school, but still, I love it and couldn't imagine getting better training at any school just by virtue of the fact that it's part 141. Since I don't have my PPL yet, everything I say is open to heavy debate, but to gage instruction quality ask yourself, "Am I getting good, helpful answers to all my questions? Does my instructor impart useful information when a situation presents itself? Is the instructor putting his time into me or into his hour building (i.e. is he willing to hang around after the lesson if he doesn't have a student after and explain things or even just ask about your life or your plans as a pilot or just chat about flying)"

Level Cruise
Example for cruise power reduction:
Remember, the main thing here is to PIN THE NOSE. Setting the power is secondary. You level off from the climb and PIN THE NOSE in level flight attitude. You HOLD it there. You know you have to reduce power to cruise and you know what that setting should be. Without looking at the tach, you reduce the power a bit and then, AFTER you have done this; you glance at the tach for just an instant to verify what it reads. You instantly go back to the NOSE ATTITUDE. Now you make a second adjustment based on what the tach has told you WHILE you're PINNING THE NOSE ATTITUDE VISUALLY AGAIN. You repeat this process until you have reduced properly to the cruise setting. Then you trim the airplane the same way. The flap retraction procedure on a go around should be performed the same way. NOSE ATTITUDE is prime always.
Dudley A. Henriques

Dudley on Touch and Gos
I've been reading quite a lot on the issue of touch and go landings on the news group lately and I have some observations I'd like to make. Most of you who know me know I can shoot from the hip at times. I don't mean to step on anyone's toes here, but I might be contradicting some of you. Just keep in mind these are my personal opinions, and as such, simply the way I do things.

Every CFI of course will have individual opinions on this subject, as it's one of those issues that are more a matter of procedure than regulation. It's up to each individual pilot to address the pro's and con's of any flying
issue on their own. As I like to say quite often, "It's not written in stone".

I'd like to begin by saying that I don't use touch and go's in my training curriculum, and never have. There are several reasons I chose long ago not to do this. In considering my opinion of what constitutes quality flight instruction, I believe strongly that the use of touch and go landings with dual instruction deny the student valuable time to digest what the last landing produced in the way of learning. By this I mean the quality time spent between the instructor and the student discussing what just occurred with the last landing, and the CFI quietly critiquing and encouraging, while the student is in a relaxed state taxiing back for the next take off. I can't stress enough the importance I place on this "spacing" for the student. It not only gives the student the complete landing - taxi - takeoff cycle, it allows peripheral instruction and practice with radio and checklist procedures, a must in developing good checklist habit patterns] and most importantly, it allows the instructor to project the next pattern for the student using the corrections the instructor has just explained. This is much better done in this relaxed atmosphere than in real time as the student is under the pressure of actually flying the airplane, as would be the case with a touch and go.

A good CFI doesn't waste taxi time. It's put to very good use
Now for touch and go's as they pertain to execution. I don't particularly like some of the things I've been reading about the execution of touch and go's lately. There's a lot of discussion about "when" and "what comes first", and the answers are coming in quite differently from various sources. I'm not going to sit here and tell you this guy's right, or that guy's wrong! I'll simply tell you how I have dealt with this issue for years.

Before I get into this any deeper, let me explain that I don't teach touch and go's per se'. I teach go-arounds. From the very beginning, I have always taught my students to be ready to execute a go around from ANY point in the approach. This can mean on final, during the flare, a split second before touchdown, a split second after touchdown, and during the roll out if room permits. It can mean a transition either using the runway or not using the runway, as the exact conditions exist at the decision point. In other words, a touch and go landing to one of my students is nothing more than a go around initiated after touchdown....period!

Now to procedure! I seriously thought about passing up doing this post, because I don't want to get into a huge hassle with these people who want to retract flaps before application of power while on the runway. All I can tell you is that I personally don't recommend this. For you pilots flying out of long runway airports, it's no particular problem, but for pilots executing a go around on a smaller runway, like those found at many small general aviation airports, the situation can be quite different. Look at it this way. From the moment you touch down and make the decision to go around, the equation becomes one of remaining runway and obstacle clearance in the climb against transition TIME to achieve these parameters. Power is critical to that transition. Every split second of delay in the application of power translates into runway and obstacle clearance denied. My recommended procedure for touch and go's { go-arounds after touchdown} has always been and always will be,
1. Smooth application of POWER!!!!![followed immediately by carb heat off] Use your thumb.

2. Hold against the positive pitch input and maintain directional control.

This MUST be ANTICIPATED and handled as an EXPECTED RESPONSE!!!! Some pilots really have a problem with this because the pressure required seemingly is excessive to them and not what they would consider "normal". Contrary to this reaction, the airplane is just fine. It's simply waiting for you to trim off the pressure. It's uncomfortable for a few seconds, but well within the design limitations of the airplane. All YOU have to do is keep the nose down and FLY THE AIRPLANE!!!!

3. Carefully retract to 20 degrees or POH recommended setting for go around AS THE AIRPLANE ACCELERATES. I suggest NEVER wasting acceleration time retracting flaps before application of power. On some runways, in an actual emergency situation requiring a go around, this could become a ticket for disaster. Naturally, at LAX, with 10,000 feet of runway in front of you, be my guest; but take note that even then, I consider this a bad habit pattern to develop. You won't ALWAYS be flying out of LAX!!!!

Try and get in the habit of using the flaps without looking at the switch. Click or hold the switch as required in your airplane, then take a lightning quick glance at the gauge to verify; then, BACK OUTSIDE where you belong!!! :-)
4. Make a rough trim roll off [ without looking at the trim]to ease the yoke pressure.
5. Establish a Vy climb attitude and fine trim the airplane.
6. Final flap retraction at sufficient altitude.

There's no doubt that things happen fast in this situation, but there's absolutely no reason for a well trained pilot not to be able to anticipate and easily handle the transition in real time. Believe it or not, this procedure is taught by me at least, as a NORMAL procedure....just one more thing to be learned and mastered by the student. The bottom line is that at any point in the approach or in the actual landing itself, I can say to the student, "O.K. Take it around". After I'm a long lost memory, that pilot will still be able to "take it around" from any point he/she chooses.

Keep in mind that there are individual airplanes out there that have SPECIFIC recommendations for go Aaron's. I assume that all pilots will read and digest any and all information in individual POH's that pertain to the specific airplane they are flying.
Dudley A. Henriques

Gene on Touch and Gos
I too, do not 'teach' touch and gos but I do have some very specific pre-solo lessons at a variety of airports where I will use up to four touch and gos on one runway. I avoid teaching landings at my home airport because of the crazy anti-airplane people in the neighborhood. All of my early flight lessons and most of all my lessons consist of a complete review of all checkpoints, possible runway in use, frequencies, altitudes and radio procedures going and coming. I usually figure at least a half-hour to cover this material. Students are expected to do all the departure and arrival radio work for every airport. Once established in the pattern the instructor handles the radio and traffic watch. As much as winds allow I make every departure and arrival different from those previously used. Using a departure call to tower as "On course (Where) and a new checkpoint for call-up and pattern arrival give the student an ever expanding awareness of directions and area familiarization.

I have two specific lessons using touch and gos that I do use at home. The radio exercise and pre-solo sign-off lesson consisting of three successful landings and one go-around before the instructor gets out.

First Landing Lesson
My first landing exercise consists of left/right pattern work at altitude using cardinal headings starting at 3700' and getting the stall horn at 2700'. Then we go to Napa which has parallel north/south runways one short and one long. We do four go-arounds at successively lower altitudes to the short runway and then another four using the long runway. I like Dudley's idea of doing one right at touchdown and will add it to future lessons.

My Second Landing Lesson
We go to an unfamiliar controlled airport and do a full stop, sometimes we visit the tower and then taxi to another runway and do couple of landings and a go-around and then return to Concord. If the winds are crosswind we may do more landings to take advantage of the conditions.

The Third Landing Lesson
Is to an uncontrolled airport where the student does all the initial radio calls and the first full pattern procedure to a full stop, taxi-back and departure before the instructor takes over. The beauty of the uncontrolled airport I use is that in addition to the preferred runway there is a 80-degree crosswind runway. I have yet to have had a problem using the crosswind runway while arriving and departing aircraft uses the wind favored runway. I introduce the VOR on the way home.

The Fourth Landing Lesson
Goes to Oakland as a Class C airport the student is introduced to radar radio procedures, transponder use and a 600' pattern altitude. The best day to use Oakland is on the weekend since I expect to be the only aircraft in the left traffic pattern. On this airport I can simulate a takeoff emergency with a landing just by asking for it. ATC does this by slipping my takeoff from 27 left and landing on 33 in between traffic using 27R. The last time I did this I had to walk a new controller through the process. My students are now ready for solo preparation.

Solo Preparation:
Since Concord has twin parallel runways and my first five students had surprise situations arise on their first solo flights. I have a specific exercise that I do early in the morning when the tower first opens. I call it Gene Whitt's radio exercise and there is always someone in the tower who knows what I want to do.

Exercise #1
We. plan to do whatever the tower tells us to do on the radio. Our intent is to use every runway and have the specialist do some creative controlling to make it interesting. Lesson takes about 45 minutes and I try to prevent any mistakes in the student's following of instructions.

The exercise can consist of the following and more.
--A cancelled takeoff clearance
--A clearance to an intersecting runway shortly after takeoff.
--A go-around, low approach, side step to a parallel, or a LAHSO.
--Intersection departure, use of light signal instead of radio, or simulated ATC radio failure
--Directed 180-degree return to parallel runway in opposite direction
--A right base to the left runway with a left 270 called just before turning final.
--A left/right 360 on downwind or a 270 on downwind for a base entry.
--Overfly airport and make downwind on the other side of the airport.
--Full-length rollout with 180 on the runway with clearance for takeoff in other direction.
--Request for short approach and minimum time on runway or take next exit if able…usually unable
--More ideas welcome

Exercise #2
Crosswind lesson consisting of at least four crosswinds using parallel runways with at least 15 knot 40-degree winds more of each if possible. Four landings in left pattern and four in the right pattern with emphasis on pattern adjustments for winds.

Prior to solo I have given and reviewed the FAA pre-solo competency test. I have written the entire required logbook and license endorsements leaving only the date and signature to be completed on solo day. My expectation is that the student will in the first half-hour give me three satisfactory landings and a go-around.

If the time expires I spend another half-hour working on slips, short approaches, short and soft field techniques and precision landings. The most common reason for one of my students not making it the first time is due to unfavorable winds or weather.

For the actual solo I have the student take me to the tower. I complete the paperwork and advise tower and ground that this is a first solo. After re-briefing the student as to his new call sign that includes the words, 'student pilot', I get out and go to the tower cab while my student taxies out. Over the years the controllers have learned to identify my students because of their superior radio procedures. The inherent danger of being good on the radio lies in ATC expecting your other procedures to be at the same level. Usually they are not.

Ground School
The accelerated classes will omit sidelight information that serve as memory glue to aid your recall of essential information. The three-day programs are primarily a 'pass the written' exercise that usually omits elements of flying procedures needed for safety.

Just as you much plan and prepare ahead for a flight, so must you plan and prepare ahead for a ground school program. The least you can do is to preview all the study material. A fast skimming will help you avoid all the note taking during class if you know that the instructor is hitting on material available in the textbooks. Scan the chapter headings and always read ahead of the class you are taking. After the class has covered the text material go back to the text to highlight and compare the information to your classroom notes.

If you are already using an airplane, take the POH to class and use it as a guide to relate its information to the more generalized spectrum of ground instruction. This is especially important if the instructor relates his material to an aircraft significantly different than yours. The organization of the handbooks will be similar recovery procedures and systems, limitations, specific numbers, speeds and normal operations vs. special situations. Time spent before the class learning terminology, acronyms, map and charts will greatly reduce the stress of being overwhelmed by the initial mass of information.

Your preparation for the class could begin by a preliminary reading of the Federal Air Regulations (FARs) This is a mass of legalese that may never be completely understood. I suggest that you read through as quickly as you can as much as you can. Separate the FAR material that applies to all pilots from that which applies to visual flight rules and instrument flight rules. Once you have gone through the FARs proceed through the Airman Information Manual (AIM) in much the same manner. It will not hurt you to have some idea of the material that applies to airlines and airliners and more exotic aviation areas. Knowing about gliding and parachuting will have impact on what you do. Become exposed to the information but don't dwell on it.

Homework is important but no more important that staying ahead of the teacher in your reading. Waiting until the last moment to prepare either means that you will be relying on your short-term memory. In learning to fly you must fill your memory bank with material preserved for the long haul. You will need to remember what you learned for the written test, for the practical test and for you future flight reviews.

The two areas that I have found most likely to require individual instructional help are weather and navigation. Not that it can't be self-studied, it can, but a bit of directed training will make the process more efficient. The material to be covered is akin to a 5-unit semester course filled with a 'foreign' language of nearly 10,000 new vocabulary words for each rating sought. I do not know of a gradual way to approach the mass of material. Just jump in and start swimming. Keep jumping back in and swimming as though it were warm jello being cooled.

Over time, even a lifetime, everything will jell and become understandable, almost. As with every other area of modern life, just when you think you know what you need to know it changes. What's worse, the changes are becoming more frequent, to a larger degree and requiring a continuous planned program just to stay even.

The FAA tests are now computerized but some of the test taking techniques of yore still work. My basic suggestion is to go through the test and do every question than you can answer in less than a minute. Initially, Cover up the choices. Read the question carefully and say aloud your answer. Take your answer to see if it matches one of the choices. If it does, mark it. If it doesn't skip it. After going through all the questions, you will find that you have probably answered at least 42 of the questions. If all these are right you have passed. Now go through the questions you have not answers to see how high a grade you can get.

The test is cleverly designed to trap you into a series of easy, deceptive, tiring, obvious, and reference related questions. Watch out for those that appear easy or obvious. When you go back over the whole test be aware that changing an answer is not considered wise unless an obvious error exists. When you just don't know or can't find the answer or more likely the most correct answer, flip a coin.

Saving Time
Exactly my point. "Saving time" is not at the top of my priority list when it comes to flight instruction. "Saving time" can be beneficial to the instructor, or to the fixed base operator, but seldom to the student. Maximum retention for the buck spent is the bottom line for the student. Touch and go's will produce greater numbers at the end of the lesson hour, but in my opinion, these numbers won't reflect the retention I'm looking for. You can make an argument for teaching pattern work in a constant touch and go scenario. Let's face it, if you sit a Chimp down in front of a typewriter and let him bang away, sooner or later he'll type "War and Peace".

It all boils down to how you view teaching and in particular, teaching as it exits in flight instruction. I learned long ago that in teaching flying, especially at the basic levels before solo, the "optimum" lesson plan involves periods of natural stress interspersed between periods of planned relaxed activity for a student. For this and other reasons, I consider touch and go's to deny the student these much needed breaks in the pressure; where the student can regroup, digest, and project ahead. I consider the taxi time back to takeoff as PRIME......notice I say PRIME!!!!! to a quality lesson that produces maximum retention of what has been covered.
Dudley A. Henriques

How to Study and Learn (Opinion)
Everyone will tell you their "favorite" way -- but none of them say what results they got by doing it more than one way. Everyone is happy with what they did and that is all they know, what they did. So, no one can tell you how YOU should do it.

The point is, I really do know a lot about how people learn and I know that I do not know YOU or how YOU learn. For instance, video tapes put me to sleep. Period. However, the King Schools Video Tapes have a good reputation for being state of the art "stand and deliver training." If you can borrow some tapes from an FBO or CFI, decide if this is a presentation medium for you. King Schools has a free tape about it they will send you and that tape includes tips on crosswind landings. It is called "The Special Student Pilot Video." Get it free from King; watch it; decide for yourself.

I prefer Computer Based drill and practice and I got the King Schools diskette. However, my CFI tells me that the GLEIM CD-ROM has the formats of the testing companies (Lasergrade and CATS). For me, the user interface of the test was a barrier to success. So, you might consider the GLEIM over the KING.

BOOKS are okay for some people; they are the traditional presentation medium. However, some books organize material by subject while others present the test in numerical order independent of subject matter rubrics. You have to decide for yourself how you want to work with the material.

Finally, you can always take another Ground School. You have the books from that. Why shelf the capital resources? For me, as an instructor, I knew from the first minute that the school would be only hangar talk, but I gladly took it anyway. Some weekend cram schools teach the test exactly and almost promise you will pass the written. That is not bad, if that works for you. Some ground instructors teach Aviation independent of the written -- and that can work toward a successful written.

In aviation -- as in life -- you are between the Scylla of self-reliance and the Charybdis of expert opinion. Steer well.

Opinion on Learning and Teaching
Just having some complexity explained in a different way, using different words or by a different person, is all it takes to give a student the "Ah-hah" experience that comes with understanding. Just mulling it over in your mind before going to sleep will make it sink in. The teaching/learning process in the air is a mixture of all the good and bad aspects of teaching and learning. The cockpit is a very poor classroom and the result is a much lower level of understanding. The control of the learning process, the goal of good flight instruction, is best done outside of the airplane. The first requisite of controlling learning is having a good learning environment. The airplane is not, repeat not, such an environment.

I believe that one of the hardest aspects of good flight instruction is the evaluation that shows the student has retained what you have taught. One good way to accomplish this evaluation is by having the student teach back to you his understanding of the material using his own words. Have the student explain what he knows or thinks he knows.

I teach each of my students how to teach the material just as though I am preparing a future flight instructor. This developmental process is one that takes the student through the material and the process, and ends up with them "teaching" me what they have been taught. The ultimate expression of comprehension comes when the student can "teach" me to do what I have just taught him to do! To teach is to learn twice.

Opinion on Learning
What you got from that lesson was what we call "experience." (When you live through a mistake.) You should be a bit nervous, even a lot at your stage of flying. There is a lot to do and remember. Once you solo, you still have to practice what you have learned. Trust yourself that you will do the right thing.

Going up again and making good landings is the first step. Getting more comfortable with flying only comes with practice and experience and time. Hang in there, you sound like you are a very conscientious pilot.

The Written/Herb Martin
To score well, I did several things:
Read real Student Flight manuals MORE THAN ONCE. Used a book or software that offered summaries for each test question SECTION and explained each answer. Used ONLINE or PC-based software that ALWAYS told me the correct answer IMMEDIATELY after I chose my answer (no delayed scoring)
Completed the ENTIRE test question bank at LEAST 3 times -- once in the book with explanations
Listened to the Gleim AUDIO series twice as I did other things or drove to the airport. Worked those sections that gave me trouble and copied out any questions or areas that I was not CERTAIN to get right -- wrote a short text file with these items and answers that I review RIGHT up to the exam. When I had the complex calculation problems under control (they are pretty easy for me) I QUIT doing MOST of them to save time for the other areas.

The above method could have been paired down to just PASS in about 3-4 days of part time study. The actual time I spend was about three weeks with some pre-reading.

Here are the BEST FREE knowledge exam sites that I found (in preferential order):


My MAIN test prep tools were the Jeppensen Test Guide and ORIGINALLY their computer program --
"Private FliteSchool" -- but it was such junk that after trying the FREE PARTIAL version, I bought the Dauntless "GroundSchool V5" - they have an online download and activation so it was immediately
(They have some other neat free stuff too.)

Some of the "practice guides" will have outdated questions, so the ACTUAL questions (without answers) from the FAA can help too:

Private & Recreational Pilot Knowledge Test Question Bank
CFI Knowledge Test Question Bank
Instument Knowledge Test Question Bank
Commercial Knowledge Test Question Bank

I read Ron Machado's Manual a couple of times. I read the Jeppesen text book at least once. I read Kershner's manual once. I read SOME of the AIM and the FAR -- mostly in those areas that were unclear, spotty, pertinent to my current training, or just of interest to me.

Also, portions of Robert Buck's excellent 'Weather' book and parts of the FAA online weather books (Dauntless has then in an easy to use area.) [I read other books but those were focused on Flying technique and the PRACTICAL aspects.] Although I don't think of myself this way, I am a PROFESSIONAL TEST TAKER and exam instructor.
Herb Martin

Comment by Gene
I appreciate your record of how you took the written. It proves the validity of your techniques. However, the student who makes more mistakes gets an opportunity for the instructor's directed remedial training since it is a required activity prior to taking the flight test.

On many of my questions & answers from my web site I try to go into more depth than just the answer. I also have always taught my ground school activities to the commercial level to account for memory slippage that is bound to occur. Your plan to take the additional written tests is an excellent idea.

Item: You should consider going into instruction. Primary purpose would be how much you will learn from your students. There is no end to the variations students have in performing a given flying activity incorrectly.

When to Prepare for Written
Now (Taking dual cross-country flights) would be a good time to begin reading to get an overview of what is coming.

Suggest that you not study, underline, or take 'tests'. You have some books but do you have a current version of the FARs and the AIM. Do not even read anything that has to do with IFR. It will only confuse you.

Part 61 and 91 and 530 NTSB are the main FARs for you.

Again read rather than study. When you come upon something you don't understand give me a call or write it down so I can go over it with you.

After you have read everything it is time to begin studying, taking some notes and underlining essential sentences in paragraphs.

Do not take tests. DO NOT TAKE TESTS. The makers of these tests are experts at deception in giving you choices. I will tell you WHEN and HOW take the test. It will be shortly before you take your practical flight test. Otherwise you will need to study intensively twice. Much better to take them both close together since the oral will be directed toward anything you missed on the written. I am required to go over anything you missed on the written prior to signing you off for the flight test.

Just how much time it will take is mostly dependent on how often you fly. As I have often told you, spreading your instruction out will ultimately cost you more, be more frustrating and give you more difficulty in remembering what you need to know, Don't cram for the written until you are about ready for the flight test.

Once you have read everything related to becoming a private pilot, I would suggest that you go through the 800+ questions on my web site. I will go over the process of using my site with you to get the most out of it in a short time. Again taking a multiple choice test like the FAA gives exposes you to four wrong answers for every correct one.

You need to know what it is about the correct answer that makes it more correct than the other four. Don't plan to memorize because they often change the order of words and sequence of answers. On the flight test you must explain to the examiner why your answer to his questions are correct. It is not enough to give the right answer so much as being able to explain why it is correct over the other possible choices.

I have a system for taking such tests that makes it possible to barely pass the test in less than an hour. The remainder of your time is spent in seeing how good a score you can get.

I urge you to take advantage of my offering to give you all the ground time you need without cost. So far, you have not done so.

Opinion on Flying
The older you get and the heavier the aircraft the greater the motivation to get parked right the first time.  Learning to fly in the Fall through Winter is a sure way to develop weather judgment.  Learning to fly using the rudder while both hands do something else is an essential skill.  Using a tape recorder to improve your radio skills is the way I teach it.  How well you marry has a lot to do with a successful flying career.
Gene Whitt

Opinion on Flyin'

One of the finest teachers I ever had was a Physics professor. One day he walked over to me as I was trying desperately to find the area under the curve. He said something to me I've never forgotten. "Dudley", he said, "There's only four things you can do with any problem regardless of how hard it looks. Think about it.....You either have to add, subtract, multiply, or divide!"

Flying is nothing more than a combination of a few basic skills. You have straight and level flight....turns ....climbs. ...and glides! You put these few things together as you learn. Then you add a few things like stalls, and takeoffs and landings which are simply extensions of the basics, and there you have it.........FLYING!!!!!!

The rest of it is in the books......and in practicing and improving what you will learn. If you start comparing things like you are doing, you might make the process a lot harder than it is. Try not to look at it this way. Take on the basics and learn them well. The rest will fall into place like magic. If I can help you in any way, don't hesitate to ask. Best of luck to you, --
Dudley A. Henriques.

Opinions about Checkrides
Go ahead and prep, but don't over prep. That's very important. It can leave you confused under pressure. Just go over the material you think you might need to brush up on, then go in and take the flight test. The main thing is to be relaxed and expect to make some mistakes. When you do, and you will, just recognize the mistake immediately and correct it.

The one thing I always tell pilots getting ready for a flight test is this. Remember that the examiner expects you to make mistakes. It's during your mistakes that he/she can get a good look at your ability to handle a problem. What they really want to see isn't a perfect flight. They want to see how deep you fly into an error before you correct it; and they want to see what you do to correct it as well. A perfectly flown test with 0 errors makes most check pilots very nervous. I for one, like to see a pilot taking a check flight with me fly into an error, then tell me what he did wrong as he's correcting it properly. After all, if he doesn't make any mistakes at all, what the hell have I learned about him.......NOTHING!!!!! :-)))
Dudley A. Henriques

Ground Speed and w & b are your main concerns - mine was diversions. So I sat at the dining room table with my charts and spent a couple of hours inventing and planning diversions. At the end I was so slick at planning diversions I didn't give it another thought. My point is that you don't need to rent a plane to practice ground speed & w & b calcs. You can do it at home, get far more type specific practice in a given amount of time and it won't cost you anything.

On the cross-country portion of the flight test, the examiner gave me the route, which obviously started from my home airport and I knew that we would divert once we had passed a couple of checkpoints. I made sure that the way I planned it we flew over familiar landmarks, so I wasn't stressing out about getting lost. One thing that they really watch here in Canada is that, even with a very minor wind, the ailerons & elevator are held to compensate for the wind while taxiing.

Make sure that you cover the stuff that you should know but don't normally do much in practice - e.g. what are all of the documents that need to be on board the aircraft for the flight to be legal - I had to write each one out (what it was, what it was for and how it could be invalidated) prior to the flight. I honestly wouldn't worry about the air exercises - you know them now or your CFI wouldn't sign you off. You could spend some time reviewing procedures - i.e. all of the procedures for a forced landing, or a wing fire, electrical fire etc.  Other than that you have done all that you can and it's better to relax and be fresh & well rested on the day of the test.
Tony Roberts

Just relax. The examiner wants you to pass too. If something's not going to work out quite right, tell the examiner that you're going to start it again. I watched a checkride video, and the examiner on tape said to make sure that you never do anything that scares the examiner.

Took my CFI checkride a few weeks ago, and my instructor told me that if a landing is not going to work out, I can always do a go around! Apparently, they cannot fault you for that (unless it's a very bad go around!). Also, I just read about a student who made sure he had two cold bottles of water in the plane--the examiner told him that it was the first time in 8,000 hours that anyone had been thoughtful enough to do that. Enjoy!
Max T

Just remember, if you find all your waypoints and don't bend the plane. You'll do okay. Relax and TAKE YOUR TIME. Don't rush. There's no time limit; double-check everything before you go and think through everything before you act. You'll do great.

I will give you the same advice I was given and have given many others. Even though it seems difficult, relax. With the training you have had you will no doubt pass if your nerves don't get you. relax, relax, relax
Best of luck and let us know how it goes.
Bob Barker PP-ASEL

By now, you've done the time and your instructor feels you are ready. I was nervous for three or four days, slept little, stomach ached, but in the end, it came down to all my previous training. I went up for each of the two days preceding my ride in order to practice sf/sf procedures until I had them down pat (also had some good crosswinds).
One of the last things I did was memorize the instruments req'd for VFR flight - something I had only cursorily rev'd before (but the examiner didn't inquire). Try to get a good nights rest and relax, you'll do fine.

Yes, relax, It's only a six hour emotional and physical roller coaster. Your pride and entire future likely rest in the successful completion of this nearly-impossible Big Test.
On the other hand, if you really are nervous, you should know that you are the only pilot to ever experience that.

Get some rest. If you can, don't fly the day before. What is the worse you can do. Fail a task. Big deal, you just come back and redo any task you fail. At least part of the test is over.

Don't sweat it, you'll do just fine. A few points that may help:
- as you're working your way through, talk to the examiner what you're doing and why
- getting outside of altitude/airspeed tolerances isn't so bad, as long as you recognize the problem quickly and make an effort to correct it
- do NOT forget to do the clearing turns ;)
- do NOT fixate on the instruments ;)
- some instructors make you feel like you failed the checkride before you even took off (mine kinda did)
- don't let your nervousness or uneasy feeling get in the way of performance.

Yes, relax, It's only a six hour emotional and physical roller coaster. Your pride and entire future likely rest in the successful completion of this nearly-impossible Big Test. On the other hand, if you really are nervous, you should know that you are the only pilot to ever experience that.

Relax, not to worry. If you fail to pass it is a black mark on your instructors record with the FAA. If at least four out of five of the checkride candidates recommended by an instructor don't pass the FAA requires the instructor to justify his continued CFI certificate.

In my experience instructors usually have you more than ready to pass before you are recommended. Usually after the checkride people say "That was easier than I thought." or "I can't believe I actually passed. I know I fly better than I did!"

Usually people perform less than their best because they are nervous and worried about passing. Try not to be. It is just another flight with a new instructor. If he thinks your are safe, you will pass.

Get a good nights sleep. Relax. Fly as well as you can and give the DE what you are asked for. It can help to talk to yourself about what you are going to do and why, but it isn't necessary.

Rope Tiedown Opinion

Put the end of the rope through the tiedown ring. Pull the loose end down alongside the end that is fastened to the ramp. Take the loose end that is waving in the breeze and pass it above your hand between the two pieces of rope that are side by side. Then do it again!

Now you have the loose end wrapped twice around the fastened part, below the tiedown ring. Pull it tight. It will catch on the lower part where you went around the fastened part to make the first loop. Pull it down as hard as you can. You did it right when you hear the airplane creak a little! :-)

Now take the loose end and lay it alongside the fastened part BELOW the two turns you just took. Put the bitter end between the two parts of rope again just underneath the two loops you already made. Pull it tight.

You have just tied a proper tiedown knot. You can grab the whole knot and slide it down the fastened part of the rope to tighten up the tie down. It will not loosen.

Took the AOPA FIRC over the weekend. It or equivalent is required every two years to keep CFI certificate valid. Presenters were Katherine Fish and Wally Miller. Good show.

I was allocated twenty minutes time to run a presentation of my web site. Site is used as one of the reference sources
Gave attendees CDs with the latest additions.

Still no mention of the following:
1. Importance of proper seating in cockpit.
2. Importance of how controls are held and moved.
3. Importance of making efficient and precise changes in basic flight maneuvers.
4. Gravity as an under lying undefined force in flight. (Did mention that gliders are always descending.)
5. Early introduction of hands-off, rudder only and trim use. (Word 'trim' was never used.)
Gene Whitt

Pitch or Power
You know, I think in reflection, that perhaps the most misunderstood concept in all of aviation isn't the good old Newton vs. Bernoulli thing, but rather just what the hell controls altitude and what controls airspeed, especially when the discussion spills over into how to hold the glide slope on the ILS.

I discovered through many years of training pilots that I was getting pilots transitioning into higher performance airplanes and into dedicated instrument training at the same time who were sometimes having a lot of trouble on the ILS. I also discovered the reason for this, and I'll share it with you for what it's worth, so that perhaps we can all look at this important issue from outside the box for a moment.

First of all, the misunderstanding about this issue begins for most pilots in initial training. A great many flight instructors, wanting to teach the right thing, that POWER controls altitude, and PITCH controls airspeed, go to extremes to demonstrate this to their students, drumming it into their heads over and over again until it becomes an automatic response.  All the major aerodynamic texts confirm this to be well it is!!! Old adages like, "you want to go up, pull want to go down, pull back some more".....are very true, and most pilots have no trouble at all understanding these very basic and true concepts.

Now....since I've set the stage for this little discussion by stating the fact that "the stick (yoke) controls the airspeed, and the throttle (power) controls the altitude, let me discuss where the misunderstanding comes into the picture. What usually happens is that a pilot shows up for introduction to the ILS after being quite properly trained in the correct basic concepts that we have outlined above, and lo and behold, Walla!!! Now we're going to hold the glide slope with pitch, and control the airspeed with power!!!! No wonder pilots get confused!

What's different here? Actually...nothing is different. The basic concept is still quite accurate. The only difference now is that we are attempting the control of airspeed and altitude within very small parameters of error, and as such, we are ALLOWING ourselves a trade off of airspeed against altitude and visa versa ONLY AS LONG AS WE CAN KEEP THE AIRPLANE WITHIN THESE SMALL PARAMETERS!!!! And THIS sports fans, is basically what causes a misunderstanding about this issue.

The reality is that in it's purest sense, the control of a good instrument approach is achieved through energy tradeoff, and this means that first of all, you need a specific aircraft configuration at the marker inbound, and once you have that, as long as you can keep the airplane within certain parameters of airspeed and glide slope, you are free to trade off between the two using pitch primarily to hold the slope, and the throttle to control airspeed. Notice I said, CERTAIN PARAMETERS!!! Anytime you are operating closely to the back side of the power curve, or region of reverse command, you have to be very careful. An ILS is definitely a place to be careful. The key here is that any correction required beyond that very small correction we are discussing, should be made by power=altitude and pitch=airspeed....right back to the way we learned it when we first learned to fly.

I'll tell you, in flying extremely high performance airplanes like a T38, or an F14 for example, it's all angle of attack management on approach. This means flying the indexer on speed which is directly tied to the airspeed on the approach. .It's possible in these airplanes to develop a sink rate behind the curve that is totally unrecoverable Throttle controls rate of descent. Even with THESE airplanes, where AOA is critical to flying a proper approach airspeed, you can still trade off excessive airspeed for altitude (energy conversion) or altitude for airspeed (energy conversion again) to nail the slope. It's this trading off of energy within certain parameters that leads to all the confusion about power controlling airspeed and pitch controlling the glide slope on an ILS approach.

What I'm getting at with all this is that what we instructors should be teaching from the git go is not axioms like "The stick controls the airspeed; and the throttle controls the altitude". Although this is true, it can be confusing when a pilot begins learning through natural experience that airspeed and altitude are actually interchangeable and can, indeed in many cases, MUST be traded off in a constantly changing marriage designed and implemented by a good pilot on approach who thoroughly understands these tradeoffs and how they affect what's happening to the airplane at any given moment in real time.

I have always believed that the right way to teach airspeed/altitude control is to state it plainly that airspeed is controlled by the pitch, and altitude is controlled by the throttle, and THEN, continue on with the REAL facts!! That airspeed and altitude can be considered as interchangeable UP TO A POINT, and demonstrate exactly how this is accomplished, by approaching the issue from an energy perspective.

I sincerely hope this helps create a better understanding of this very important issue.
Dudley Henriques

I would like to comment regarding California IFR, SVFR and VFR. Flying in these conditions in California is or can be dramatically different and most anywhere else. Nearly every coastal valley has its own micro-climate. During much of the year a practiced observer can anticipate from one day to the next just what and when certain conditions will exist in a familiar airport. It is this very experience in anticipation that will trap you.

I have been trapped three  times in some thirty years. Once an un-forecast thunderstorm near Petaluma on an IFR flight to/from Concord and Santa Rosa.

Again when making a personal-emergency flight from Las Vegas to Concord when all the valley airports in Northern California were below IFR minimums except Livermore which was VFR. Landed at Livermore and called CCR ATIS every twenty minutes until they gave one-mile visibility but ceiling still below IFR minimums. Flew to CCR and got SVFR clearance. I always had one-mile visibility but had to descend to 100' to get to the airport's 300' SVFR conditions.

The VFR incident occurred near Livermore. We were marginal VFR en route to Concord when we spotted a weather front of black clouds ahead. No choice but to land at Livermore (20 miles from CCR) and wait for the fast moving cold front to pass through. We landed at CCR an hour later.

My point in this account is to say that California coastal flying weather conditions are uniquely predictable. I do not feel the same way about any other area. I'm nearly certain that experienced pilots flying in every area of the world have acquired weather anticipation skills for their areas. The inherent danger of such skill is that weather conditions will never be totally predictable as to intensity, time and location. GPS
will never solve all navigation situations, weather forecasting can only get ever closer with out reaching perfection and flying will never be totally safe.

An Email,
I just happened upon your article and have a moment to respond. Flight instructors with 200 to 400 hours of flight time really do not know much about flying, or the nuances of flight dynamics in fixed wing aircraft. I am a commercial fixed wing pilot with a background in aerobatics, search and rescue as well as flight testing CH 601 and S 280 experimental aircraft. I have an instructor rating but find the rigid politics of the flight training environment very uncomfortable. In Canada flight instructors are taught to be characterless drones who can recite the flight training manual by rote and instill fear into students by telling them what not to do with out having a thorough understanding of why not to do certain things. Your comments on running a C172 down the runway on the nose wheel are valid and do make sense, I do sympathize with your attempt to bring this to the attention of the Chief Flight Instructor. I have resigned myself to watching these things go on turning and shaking my head.
Good Luck
Good article
Capt. J.T. Hibberd, Chief Pilot, AVG Aviation Services, Box 264 Station Main, Surrey BC, V3T 4W8, 604 375 5164

I appreciate your taking the time to respond to an on-going tragedy in flight instruction. It is my belief that it originates when we as children played with toy airplanes. Watch a child at play with an airplane and you will see every landing is flat and smooth. This first learned perception is one of the most difficult 'unlearning' elements requires in flight instruction. There are many others.
Gene Whitt

Nice to Know Items
Many of our aviation terminology are derived from nautical origins. Dutch roll is one such. The galleon of the 15th to 17th century was a ship design used by all of Europe with variations. The Netherlands chose a design that even with ballast would have a characteristic
rolling/rocking motion that made their ships in motion distinctive and easily identifiable. It was called by the English, the Dutch roll.

This term for going in a straight line (pinned nose) existed long be before the Bonanza and swept wing jets. Dudley and I have discussed the Dutch roll in years long past and, I believe, have agreed to disagree somewhat about how it is performed.

The Dutch roll is a useful coordination exercise done rhythmically in equal banks left and right while using the rudder to keep the nose pinned on a heading, cloud or reference point. I use it beginning on
my second lesson for up to a minute usually during climb-out. By the time we have five or six such sessions my students are able to do 30-degree banks with pinned nose. If you have never done them
the first minutes will be interesting. If you lose your 'pin', start over.

I teach doing it in waltz-time. Thinking about the rudder will make it harder and take longer to master. Just do what it takes to keep the nose pinned. You will learn to feel the rudder better doing the Dutch roll.

The usefulness of the Dutch roll applies only to crosswind landings that are performed using the wing-low (slip) method. The 'crabbers' will need the Dutch roll only for a moment at touchdown. In both crosswind landings you must have the nose straight with the centerline and the upwind wing and wheel lower than the downwind wing and wheel. Any side load drift is harmful to the aircraft.

The older you are as a pilot the more likely it is that you will do your crosswind landings from a crab. I learned in 1968, a transition year when the FAA left power on during the approach and used the wing low as the preferred but not required method. The age of your instructor made the

When making turns you will, over time, learn to use 'rudder as required'. You will learn that there are rudder differences not only in the angle of bank but in whether or not it is during a climb, level or descent. If you are having problems, fly barefoot using only the ball of your foot and toes. For example, I find that in a climb my right turns seem better by leading with rudder before ailerons

Regarding bank I believe that the 30-degree bank is the most stable for most aircraft. On my first flying lesson I teach the student how to do the 30-degree bank, put in a certain amount of nose up trim for that power and aircraft then let go of the yoke. The yoke will be level with the cowling and the plane will go round and round better than you could do holding the yoke. Under 30-degrees bank planes will try to level off so you must hold yoke into the bank. Beyond 30-degrees the plane will try to roll on over, so you must hold yoke pressure against the bank. If you haven't, try it.

Notice, I haven't even mentioned the BALL. With practice and experience you will get it right just because it is more comfortable. When I last did 'rolls on a point' I think I was upside-down for a moment.

A final word on turns. I like 90-degree turns in 30-degree banks. That gives only 1.15 G-load. Not enough to get you into trouble. Some of you may not have been taught the beauty of a 90-degree turn.

In math there is a term called, "The sum of the digits." From any compass heading the sum of the digits either left or right will be the same as your starting heading. Pick a heading, any heading and add together the three digits until there is only one digit. From 360 = 9 right gets 090 = 9 left gets 270=9 Works for any heading of 180-degrees and even on 45 degrees as well 045=9 to the right and 315 = 9. Works every time all the time. I never cease to be surprised at the number of pilots and sailors who are unaware of this easy method to use for making course reversals.

Return to WhittsFlying
Continued on Page 6.25 A Problem the Advice