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Problem and Advisory
Return to Whittsflying

How Tough Is Your CFI?: …POH Charts; …Lazy Eight: …Steep Turns; …Retracting Flaps; ...Medical; …Airspeed on Approach; …15-degree Banks in the Pattern; …Landing Set-up; …Lack of Confidence; …On Stalls; ...How to Pass a Checkride; ...Problem Student; ...Glide Ratio;...Teaching Landings; ...Ten Minutes to Talk about Teaching Flying; Gene's Rant; ...More on Landings; ...Relative Safety; Where to Go; ...

How Tough is Your CFI?
In medieval England, there was a tradition called "beating the bounds." Young men were taking around the legal limits of the township. At each marker, they were beaten. The theory was they would remember the legal limits. Imagine how that would work in a karate class...

Humans have emotions. However, one of the hallmarks of a good pilot, as well as of a good instructor of anything, is to stay ahead of your feelings. Your instructor is probably feeling frustrated for any of several reasons. It is not you, but they, who have a problem. Granted that their problem might actually be _you_ and your stone-headed inability to learn the obvious and trivial. Nonetheless, getting mad at you will not make you any smarter.

So, maybe you need a different CFI because you CFI is not a good teacher, but only a good pilot. On the other hand, you might search the whole world and never find the "right" CFI if the key to the problem is your ability to get over someone else's bad mood. Instruction is a two-way street.
Mike Echo Mike

Among the dozen or so CFIs I have had, probably the best was a middle-aged guy who did not need to be a CFI. He was a mechanic and pilot himself. His field lost their FBO with training and after fielding a lot
of calls from people looking for instruction, he went out and got certificated. He taught because he judged the student as being worth the time away from his primary business. As a mechanic, he knew a whale of a lot about the plane and told me all kinds of things no other CFI did. As an older guy, he was less excitable. Family man with a few kids, nothing phased him. When my control (or lack of it) needed input from him, he pushed with his thumb. I was seldom aware of it, but got used to it.

I remember the first landing when he said, "That was all you." His hands were in his lap most of the time. That is diametrically different from the CFI who can't wait to say "My plane!" and show me how it's done. Same thing with female CFIs, actually. At some stage in their lives, they are mature enough to ignore the difficulties men bring into the cockpit -- like being cocksure and cocky. One woman was a lieutenant in her state's Air Guard. Another was my age at the time, late 40s, now a DE.

The least effective was a young woman bucking for an airline job. She had a lot to prove and since I did, too, the chemistry was acidic. So, it is a 50-50 kind of thing, or maybe like marriage, it requires both parties giving 100%. You have to deal with your own issues first, of course, but I agree that a student pilot has enough to
learn without dancing around someone else's internals. The CFI is supposed to be in control of at least themselves if not the airplane.
Mike Echo Mike says...
My instructor reminds me of some of the instructors I had in the fire dept. No nonsense, tough, safety first, and have no problem verbalizing their concerns.

Thanks for the heads-up, there. I forgot that some people relate well to that, being that way themselves. In that case, no blood, no foul. A soft-soiled guy would probably not have your attention and maybe not even your respect. Seriously. It is a subconscious process how we perceive and judge others. If you are a fireman -- hazardous job; mission critical always; unknown and unknowable dangers -- then you understand and appreciate the direct approach and your ego is probably tough enough to take some tough talk. Thanks for the insight. I will remember that.
Mike Echo Mike

About Teaching (Opinion)
As a public school teacher I find that flight instruction combines many of the best aspects of what teaching should be. Done right, learning to fly is the best combination of individualized tutoring and student motivation. It is a challenge to both teacher and student to achieve safety and economy. The desire achieve is equally present in both student and instructor. An instructor has his teaching skills and pride mentally and emotionally involved. The student has all that the instructor has plus an investment of time and money. . There is the instructor's professional desire to pass to another student the joys of flight and all that goes with it. Joys accrue to the student in companionship with the feelings of accomplishment. There is also a unifying relationship that a mutual achievement melds psychologically between the two. The highest award the student can bestow on the instructor is by recognition years later the gift of a flying life given. I am most proud of those former students who exceeded my goals achieved.

POH Charts

Mr. Whitt,
I have been trying for weeks to figure out the charts used for landing and takeoff for instance. They seem straight forward until I try and figure out a flight problem using them. I have taken seminars, studied in-groups, and purchased flight calculator and am still unable to work these problems out. I have been trying to sit for a written and this is the only thing holding me up.

I am at the point of saying to hell with it. I am becoming disgusted with trying to learn something that everyone has told me I will never use. I have even spent a whole day with just a flight instructor going over nothing but this area and it just doesn't stick. Could you please suggest a course of action for me to pursue? I have a very strong mechanical background and I have been flying for 6 yrs. I have built and flown my own kit plane and have found out its all pretty useless without the ticket. I realize this is not your problem but I was unsure of whom to ask this question. Any help help would be greatly appreciated. Thank you,

You have stated the nature of the problem very well. I do not believe you should put any more time studying that which you may never use. The graphs and charts are very poorly displayed and easy to misinterpret.

Go ahead and take the test and make a wild-guess at any answers in this area. Your CFI has to go over any missed question before you can take the checkride flight. So long as you stay on 3000' runways, fly in cool weather with light loads and at low altitudes you should not have a problem. If you are ever in doubt as to any one of these factors don't fly. I flew across the country in a C-150 while carrying a motorcycle. Landed at Reno, Salt Lake City, Rawlings, Cheyenne, and others. Just fly early in the morning and stay away from Leadville, Colorado.

Evets, there are so many variables in working the charts and footnotes that will make any answer you get change. You don't need 100 on the test. The written score will not make any difference in your flight test. My latest student only got a 75 on the written. Checkride not a problem. Gene Whitt

Mr. Whitt,
That is the best damned advice anyone has ever given me since I started flying.
Thank you,

Lazy Eight
I am getting ready for my Commercial checkride. When I do lazy 8's, frequently when I come down I am higher than when I started the 180, climbing > then descending turn. Anyone know what I should be doing here to end up at the same altitude I started at? (without diving at the end)?

Underlying principles of instruction
The Wing-Over is a competition maneuver in glider aerobatics. You pull up and at the same time bank the plane. When the bank increases past 45 degrees, the nose will start to drop while the bank keeps increasing and the plane keeps turning. Halfway through the maneuver, the plane has turned 90 degrees, the fuselage is level with the horizon and the bank is 90 degrees. The plane is above the original flight path. The nose then keeps dropping below the horizon and the plane keeps turning, while the bank is shallowed. When the bank drops below 45 degrees, the nose is pulled up towards the horizon and the plane reaches horizontal flight with wings level after 180 degrees of turn. At the completion of the maneuver, the plane is at the same altitude as on entry and flying in the opposite direction.
A less extreme version of this maneuver is part of the Commercial PTS, called a Lazy 8. The difference there is that you control the bank angle so that it doesn't exceed 45degrees It is done once to the right and once to
left so that you end each half of the maneuver at the same alt and airspeed that you entered.

The flying of the lazy eight is based upon coordinated flight with continuous change of both bank angle and pitch attitude throughout. Power settings usually remain the same throughout for the commercial PTS. There are some differences in opinion on this thus making several 'correct' ways to do the lazy-eight. I suggest
doing a practice session with set power at different places until you find the setting that works for your perception of how the maneuver should be.

What you have here is a pitch problem rather than a power problem. Being high means that you are also slow and being low goes with being fast. The 90-degree bank of an aerobatic wingover can be modified to a commercial maneuver by limiting the bank to 30 degrees and performing both to left and right referencing the turns to a mountain peak or tower.

Begin by flying at right angles to the reference point. It makes no difference if it is to the right or left but all subsequent points of the lazy eight are referenced on this point. The 'sums of the digits' of all the angles of reference at a particular point of the maneuver to nine. The sequence is measured in multiple angles of 45 degrees from the reference point. Visual reference of these points prior to the maneuver and again during the maneuver is a better way to accomplish a smooth transition throughout than would using the compass or heading indicator. Keep your eyes ahead of the plane at all times.

During the performance you must fly the aircraft to put the nose on the points at a pre-decided attitude and airspeed. Pick the points and pitch properly to them and the airspeeds will happen, as they should. You begin in level flight while looking 45 degrees to direction of your turn. At the 45-degree point you have half of the maximum bank you expect to get at the 90-degree point and half of the pitch attitude as well.

When your nose reaches the primary reference you are at your maximum bank angle of 30-degrees (not 90 as in the wingover). The pitch is letting the nose fall through the reference point as the bank angle decreases and the pitch angle goes below level. With you eyes already ahead to the 45-degree from the nose where you expect to be back to the half bank angle and the half the maximum descent pitch equal to the up-pitch you had previously.

You are then moving toward the direction reversal point with the bank moving to level and the pitch coming to level and speed maximum in preparation for performing the maneuver in the other direction. You now keep your eyes ahead of the nose in 45-degree increments in the other direction. Your flying intent is to match the bank angles and pitch attitudes going up with those going down. By doing this matching the speeds will take care of themselves. On the horizon you will have an 8 lying on its side with the horizon cutting through the middle.

There is symmetry to the completed maneuver so that both ends of the 8 are the same in pitch and bank
but moving in the opposite direction. Bank angles vary continuously throughout the maneuver passing through level at symmetrically the same points every time with the movement in the opposite direction. Pitch attitudes are also symmetrically identical and opposite with maximum up/down and level occurring at relatively the same places. It is the equality of the symmetry in pitch and bank that allows airspeed to be as it should be. Errors in altitude are accompanied by errors in speed.

Steep Turns
I'm not sure if this is a temporary learning plateau, but for the last two lessons, I've been horrible. I could not hold altitude doing 45-degree steep banks (in a circle). I would have mild vertigo, and seemed to be fighting the controls and trying to "wrestle the airplane" during this maneuver. Perhaps it's the mis-coordination of rudder, aileron, elevator. Very frustrating. I'm hoping it's just newbie nervousness and will go away with more practice. I know I need to be more at ease, not trying to over correct or wrestle the airplane. Any suggestions on steep turns/banks.

The usual advice for this is to keep your eyes outside of the airplane. This accomplishes two things. It lets you start developing a picture in your brain of what the relationship between the horizon and the nose of the
plane should be, and it keeps you from fixating on instruments and chasing after the perfect combination of bank angle, altitude, airspeed, etc. Chasing instruments like that makes for too many plates to keep spinning, especially for a student with fewer than 7 hours.

I didn't develop a good "feel" for steep turns until much later in my primary training, and I didn't reach a point where I could consistently perform them without much thought until after getting the certificate.
-Kurt Henning

2 things:
* don't forget to add in a little throttle to keep altitude so that you make up for the lift that's been lost, which leads to #2 . . .
* with that extra throttle, you can now control your ascent/descent by very slightly changing your bank (remember you do have a +/- tolerance on the bank). If you find yourself sinking, ease up on the bank again to gain a little altitude. if you find yourself climbing, steepen a little.

I've found that @ 45 degs, VERY small changes in bank can have dramatic impacts on climb rate -- this seems to be another one of those interesting tmes flying a plane where I've had the "balancing on the head of a pin" feeling..

I've been doing the steep turns in FS2002 too and I am rotten at it.

It is MUCH easier in a real airplane. You have a lot more senses to use to tell how the turn is going. At 45 degrees of bank you will FEEL it in your seat if you start to climb, and you will hear the RPM increase if you start to dive. It's also more obvious that you can't correct for altitude using the elevators alone in a steep turn. You've got to roll slightly out of the bank to get more lift where you need it, and then roll back in. If you make that mistake in the simulator you just see the sky go by faster. In a real plane you end up overbanked to 50-60 degrees and crushed into your seat at twice your body weight.--
Ben Jackson

I prefer to tell students that throttle is not the primary altitude control. Throttle is used to maintain airspeed which is lost due to the increased drag caused by increasing the angle of attack to generate more lift. If the
airspeed doesn't drop significantly when you increase pitch, don't add throttle.

My preferred method of introducing steep turns:
* I do steep turns left and right, with the student following along on the controls. I'm also talking about what I'm doing: bank, pitch, power, trim.
* I have the student note the picture out the window, noting where the horizon intersects the cowling and top of the windscreen.
* I then have the student start a left turn, maintaining 45 degrees of bank until they have the altitude and airspeed stabilized. I then have them note the picture, feel, and sound. We then roll out of the turn (usually takes 3-4 circles to stabilize the first time), and do it again. Now that they've 'gotten the picture', they can usually get the aircraft's attitude established fairly quickly, and make a decent steep turn.
* I repeat this for a right turn, and then we put the two together...

I find that ~2300 RPM and appropriate trim will hold a C-172S in a steep turn with rudder pressure only. It's fun to let go of the yoke after establishing the turn and watch the student gape. ;->

Setting and resetting the trim is actually one of the harder things for students to do, I find...--

Flap Retraction Problem
When doing power off stalls I have read several methods for retracting flaps and find it confusing as to which one to use. Some say after recovery and a positive rate of climb on the VSI bring flaps up in increments. I have seen recovery where flaps are retracted 10 degrees before a positive rate on the VSI. I have heard hanger stories that with 40 degree's of flaps you will not be able to achieve a + rate on the VSI which I find hard to believe because during slow flight with 40 degrees of flaps using pwr you can still climb although slow any suggestions? thanks...
J. Meyer

If you stall with 40 degrees of flaps, you will not wait for a positive rate of climb (would be a big mistake - HUGE drag), you will immediately bring the flaps up 20 degrees. THEN you wait for a positive rate of climb and bring the rest up in increments.

Generally, in an approach to a landing stall, you are configured with full flaps if so equipped. Unless the POH requires otherwise for a specific airplane, it's best to leave the flaps as they are until the recovery has been accomplished and a positive rate of climb established; and I'll tell you why.

Remember, the stall speed clean is higher, and raising the flaps could offset any advantage gained by increasing power in the recovery. You could actually get a secondary stall if the flaps retract fast enough and meet the angle of attack at CLmax needed for stall as the curve changes during the flap retraction cycle. But even milking them up initially is not consistent with regaining control in the minimum amount of time, which is the parameter sought in an approach to landing stall.

The whole object of approach to landing stalls is to let you become familiar with the facts that 1. The airplane will stall at a lower angle of attack with the flaps down than it will clean, and 2. (This is extremely important) it MUST be brought to your attention that it's the very nature of this type of stall that you will be in a landing configuration, and AT LOW ALTITUDE when and if it ever happens to you. It's quite easy to lower the nose to decrease angle of attack in a recovery at altitude, but even though this stall is practiced at altitude, it's incumbent on every instructor to emphasize strongly that angle of attack MUST be decreased during recovery, even though there isn't a whole lot of sky left to accomplish this. For this reason, FULL POWER and coordinated use of controls, (unless otherwise specified by POH) is required simultaneously with a decrease in angle of attack at the first indication of departure onset in the landing configuration at low altitude. The desired result is lowering the angle of attack enough to break the stall; then FLY THE AIRPLANE out of the stall with a MINIMUM LOSS OF ALTITUDE!!!! I can't emphasize this enough.

Remember, getting rid of the flaps as an initial act of recovery, UNLESS OTHERWISE SPECIFIED BY POH, might very well cause a secondary stall!!! There's plenty of time to raise the flaps in increments after control has been regained. Bottom line here.....check your POH. Unless otherwise specified, this is the way I teach recovery in approach configuration.

- One of the problems with this particular stall is that pilots tend to think of it as a maneuver simply to be learned and demonstrated at altitude, rather than thinking of it the way they should.......happening at very low altitude. The sooner you get your mind down low with this stall, the safer you will be if it ever happens to you. The simple answer to your question is that you recover the airplane first and always.....then, after a positive rate of climb is verified, you retract to 25 degrees when altitude permits...then the rest when safe.

The sixty-four dollar answer is as follows. :-)
Unless the POH says otherwise, I'd initiate a full power full control recovery at stall onset with simultaneous decreasing of angle of attack using all controls. As you regain control of the airplane, (this means out of the stall and under full control) you assess the altitude situation and retract to 25 degrees if registering a positive climb rate. If in level flight at minimum altitude on recovery, wait until a positive rate of climb is established and climb-out to a safe retraction altitude before retraction. The defining factor for flap retraction is SINK!!!!

Herb, as with anything even remotely associated with flying, there is always a "present factors" decision to make with these things. The following considers an ACTUAL, rather than a practice situation with an approach stall.

Remember, positive control coupled WITH altitude control are the main factors you are considering here. It's easy to think of these stalls in general terms when doing them at altitude, but never forget; this particular stall recovery (approach/landing configuration) can be critical as far as altitude lost in recovery is concerned. From the moment you begin learning this stall, you always want to think in terms of altitude available for recovery.

The kicker with this stall is in realizing you have to reduce angle of attack REGARDLESS of altitude. This takes some clear headed reaction. In extreme cases, you have to lower the nose at the exact point your entire being is telling you to raise it! This is where the problem with flaps comes in. Here's the criteria I have always taught. Consider the airplane recovered when it's under complete control with the angle of attack below stall for the flap configuration. Now assess the situation. If in level flight, begin a positive climb rate and retract to 25 degrees when safe to do so without sink, then the rest.
Dudley Henriques

Might it not depend on your altitude, and how much of it you have to spend?
Since altitude is your friend, and you can play around safely up in the air, choose a nice day to do some unlimited straight and level flight, and keep it at a reasonable speed -- Warriors have a huge arc good for flap speed, so you don't have to do slow flight, just take it down from cruise speed and putz along while you experiment.

Put in some flaps. Neato; look how it takes down a bit of speed and pushes your tail up. That'd be interesting to see close to the ground, where you have a horizon reference closer, but would be dumb to do down there. It'll be more clear if you're going slower, hanging off the propeller just a bit, to see, and feel, how you fly more level, not so nose-up, with the flaps added in.

Get a couple notches of flaps going. Go along and get used to it for a minute or two. Then slam that flap lever down. Okay, do it a bit gently or the CFI (and later, the mechanic) will yell at you. Dump the flaps.

Whoopsy-daisy! Down ya go! You may feel how your speed gets cleaner without that flap drag, but you'll fer sure feel how your bottom dropped down. This is just a "feel for it" exercise, without reference to the altimeter, but if you were climbing out of a stall or takeoff, would you want to take that whoopsie downward when you let the flaps go all at once?
Stella Star

Full power/positive rate of climb/carb heat off (simultaneous) After climb established, raise flaps 10 degrees. Ensure positive rate of climb good/speed good, then raise another 10 degrees. Repeat until flaps up. There is no rush to get the flaps up - there is a rush to get the positive rate of climb established. Remember that raising your flaps raises your stall speed - so why raise them early? This is not about how fast we can clean up the aircraft - it's about staying above stall speed while putting more distance between you and the ground.
Tony Roberts 

Problem (Medical)
Doug, It is great to hear that you are able to fly on your special issuance (for a Class III medical). While you may want to check with AOPA, I do not think that you will be able to fly commercially. This requires a 1st or 2nd class medical, and Part 67.13(f)(1) states "No established medical history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes mellitus that requires insulin or any other hypoglycemic drug for control."

This is also the case in 67.15 (for a second class medical). Since Glucophage XR is a hypoglycemic drug, I think this excludes you from obtaining the necessary medical.

Not true. I hold a Class II medical and fly for compensation.

Your response shows the power of the internet and the utility of these newsgroups. It is great that someone has been able to overcome the FAA bureaucracy and obtained a second class medical while taking an oral

After your response, I thought that I may have misstated the FARs because I used an older version. However, the most recent version states the same thing for 2nd class medical.

§ 67.213 General medical condition.
The general medical standards for a second-class airman medical certificate are:
(a) No established medical history or clinical diagnosis of diabetes mellitus that requires insulin or any other hypoglycemic drug for control. "

Therefore, the FAA must be giving more special issuance medicals for people with diabetes. This is great news for all those with diabetes.

No, Cary, you are correct in the reading of FAR 67.213 regarding diabetes mellitus. The FAA can issue a medical based on "Special Issuance" conditions wherein limits or conditions are placed on activities of the
holder and/or the term of the medical (I think FAR 67.401)

In my case, my second class medical is valid only for a calendar year (period) and I must submit status and laboratory reports from my physician to the FAA annually. The FAA sends a letter authorizing my AME to issue a one-year medical if I pass all other requirements.

The AOPA Medical Team provided invaluable assistance in winding through the process to keep me flying. I can honestly say that my 30-year membership has paid off.

Problem (Medical)
Tigger wrote:
Hello all,
I have been looking in this NG for sometime, trying to find an answer to my question on my medical problem. Well it is somewhat complex and I need some advice. I have been diagnosed with Bi-polar (aka. Manic Depression) (I know it has come up in this NG as well as other groups). To make you understand my situation I will tell you the long story.

About ten years ago my mother was watching a article on 20/20 about adults that have ADD and were taking Ritalin to help out with their problems. So I was diagnosed with ADD shortly after the 20/20 aired and was prescribed Ritalin. I went to get my medical shortly after being diagnosed with ADD and was denied because Ritalin is a mood altering drug, that the FAA is not fond of. Shortly after > that I was diagnosed and treated for Bi-polar, it was then that I knew that my flying career was basically crushed, but not forgotten. During the whole time I was treated for bi-polar, I was on Ritalin with an assortment of anti-depressants and mood-stabilizers. I have been diagnosed with BP for about 8 yrs until just recently finding out (well my wife found out about it) that Ritalin has a interaction that causes some people to have symptoms that act like bi-polar. Now that I am off Ritalin and the many other meds I was taken, I feel like I can get on with my life and want to get on where I left off.

My question is if there is anyone that has ever been misdiagnosed with a illness that would keep you grounded and what it took to get a your medical? I realized that it is going to be a long uphill road and I am prepared for it. Your input will be very helpful, Thanx,

I agree with my esteemed colleagues who suggest that you speak with the folks at AOPA or the EAA about your concerns.

To help you out, though, I was misdiagnosed for clinical depression several years ago and began taking Serzone (a drug along the Prozac family, in loose terms) for a period of several months. The FAA asked that I clarify my condition at present and indicated that Serzone was a disqualifying medication. Basically what I had to do was go into my doctor for a reevaluation and a letter certifying that my condition was transitory due to external factors (bad marriage, bad job, general stress) and not a chronic neurological condition. They also asked that I certify that I was no longer taking Serzone and was no longer required to medically. Once the FAA was satisfied that I was okay, they indicated that my existing medical was clear and valid (they never actually took away my medical, bless their hearts) on the stipulation that if my condition changed I would cease flying.

I will assume you don't have a current Airman's Medical now. With that in mind, you'll make things alot easier on yourself and your examiner if you bring in evidence supporting your cause. If you have the information on hand when you apply, you won't need to go on a hunt for this information later when the FAA starts sending letters asking for more information. Again, though, first thing to do is get on the horn with the folks at AOPA and lay it out for them. You'll find that they're really good people out there. Best $60 I could ever spend in a year.
Good luck! You'll be fine.. Just be patient.
Paul Jenkins

The Problem
Airspeed on Approach
For a normal landing, I usually follow the 3deg glideslope at 60 knots and when I am over the numbers I reduce the power to idle. After that I am very busy to keep the plane aligned with the runway and to prepare my flare. So during the ~10s prior the touchdown, I don't pay any attention to my airspeed.

1/ At this altitude and with this initial speed, I don't think there are any vulnerabilities and my CFI never blames me but I would like to know your opinions and your habits.

2/ Do you know if the light box with VASI/PAPI is always at the same distance from the number ? (I expect yes but I think no!). Without these references, what do you use ?
Cessna 152/172 Student with ~30h

Not a good habit to get into. I'd recommend that you watch the airspeed all the way to the runway. Along with the runway and ground itself plus the other instruments in the aircraft.

Without any electronic (e.g. ILS) or visual guidance aids (VASI, PAPI, etc.) I use the basic skills I learned as a student pilot, which includes visually checking 1. The runway, 2. The ground around the runway, 3. The airspeed indicator, 4. The altimeter, 5. The vertical speed indicator, 5. Heading indicator, and 6. The attitude indicator. I have found that using that technique has resulted in thousands of successful landings. At least so far.........<g>
Rick Cremer

You will develop a true sense and ability to peripheralize certain things as they occur in a constantly changing environment like a transition through a landing attitude into a touchdown. You NEVER want to ignore your airspeed in this phase...NEVER!!!! But you also don't want to get fixated inside the cockpit when your attention should be outside where it belongs. What you want to develop with these things is a sense of awareness that allows you to concentrate on the landing as priority one, while at the same time peripherally monitoring the decreasing airspeed. It's called prioritized multi-tasking, and it will come with practice.

Try making a few landings with this in mind. You'll be amazed how, with no effort at all, you can concentrate on the touchdown, while peripherally glancing at, then adjusting the transition for the decreasing airspeed. Notice I said "THEN ADJUSTING". This means you glance at an instrument like an airspeed indicator during a landing attitude positioning....digest what it's telling you, and make the correction if needed....while looking OUTSIDE the airplane again!! Then recheck with another glance if needed to verify.

You do this every day when flying, sometimes without realizing it. Take leveling off from a climb for example. There are many ways to do it. Some are correct...some are not!! Try it THIS way if you haven't already. (This assumes a fixed pitch prop trainer like a Cessna 150 for the example.)

Level off at your desired altitude and PIN THE NOSE in level flight visually. Hold it there by LOOKING at the level flight nose attitude.

Now, as the airspeed approaches cruise, begin a power reduction while keeping the nose pinned visually where it belongs. Now...GLANCE at the tach. Digest where it is as opposed to where you want it to be (cruise setting). Eyes back to the horizon. Now, "adjust the power" based on what the tach told you while keeping your eyes on the level flight nose attitude. Now, glance again at the tach and make a final adjustment to cruise while again looking at the nose attitude. Now, trim the airplane by removing the pressure, all the time pinning the nose in level flight attitude. There you level flight at cruise at the right altitude. Notice that all through this procedure your main attention was keeping the nose PINNED in level flight where you wanted it. Though you had to glance at the instruments for indications of where they were in relation to where you wanted them, your "corrections" were made while NOT actually looking at the instruments, but rather while looking outside the airplane at your nose attitude.

It's the same thing in the landing transition, only this time you're glancing at the airspeed instead of the tach!! :-)
Dudley Henriques

You fly the given conditions in a VFR approach...NOT some structured procedure. I for one have never been comfortable with a flight instruction syllabus that emphasizes ANY firm, structured, and "set in stone" procedure for flying a VFR approach. Pilots should be taught from the very beginning that they should use an accepted VFR pattern as a general guide, and alter that pattern as conditions and aircraft type dictate. For example, my standard VFR approach for the same runway in a Cessna 172 and the P51 differed considerably in profile, and power usage.

Flying an airplane is a constantly changing dynamic scenario that requires a pilot to be extremely fluid in exercising the airplane. The VFR approach is a perfect example of this. It's always been my practice to teach pilots to fly with their brains in gear all the time; taking the basic approach parameters and using them if the conditions and equipment allow this, or altering and "adjusting" the basic approach profile to suit changing conditions and/or equipment being flown. I'd have a real problem as a check pilot, watching a pilot being checked out by me trying to fly a VFR approach profile in a D18 Beech we are flying, the same way he would fly that approach in a 180 Cherokee!! :-)
Dudley Henriques

15-degree Banks in the Pattern
Roger considers 15-degree banks to be best bank in the pattern

Beg to differ with what you consider safe bank in the pattern. The 15-degree bank is inherently exposing you and your passengers to more time beyond safe glide to the airport. The 15-degree bank means that you must maintain constant pressure into the bank to counter the plane's stability factor that wants to level off the wings. This means any distraction that causes you to change this pressure will change your pattern size. Ask any ATC tower controller and they will tell you the shallow bank makes their job more difficult because they can't tell if you are turning or just flying one-wing-low.

Suggest you take a C-172 out and enter a 30-degree bank from level flight and give about 1/3 turn of nose up trim and see if you can't get the plane to hold the bank and altitude hands-off. Works for most light planes. The 30-degree bank is the most stable of all banks any less the plane wants to level off; any more the plane wants to continue on over. No way can a 15-degree bank give a tighter pattern than the 30-degree bank. Think on it. Are your criteria for safety a matter of comfort or glide distance from the airport?

Distraction is always present in the pattern be it radio or aircraft. With effort, you can remove the necessity of holding the yoke in much of your flying, especially in the pattern where distraction can cause unwanted input and effects. Ideal of instrument instruction is hands-off ILS approach.
Gene Whitt

A maximum bank of 15 degrees will inevitably lead to a wide pattern. You should be able to make the runway with no power from anyplace in the pattern.

There were two reasons for establishing the traffic pattern in the first place. The first and still most important reason was to standardize traffic in the vicinity of the airport so that you knew where to look for traffic. Unfortunately much of that rationale has been rendered meaningless by people who either don't bother with the traffic pattern, or fly their pattern so wide that they don't even seem to be interested in the airport where they think they are in the pattern.

The other reason grew out of the troublesome nature of aircraft engines years ago. You were most likely to have a sudden cessation of power availability when you changed something. You can read this as a power reduction. As a result, you generally avoided making the power reduction until you were close enough to the airport to land without power. Once you did start changing things it was wise to remain close enough to make it to the runway if something quit. :-)

Unfortunately, these days the FAA has standardized on the same approach slope that they established for instrument approaches. This slope is flat enough that NO general aviation aircraft can maintain it without adding some power. At the same time, to establish that slope to the end of the runway from an elevation of 400 feet AGL or so, puts you too far from the runway the get there without the addition of power.

That coupled with the official FAA "bright idea" that keeping bank angles less than 30 degrees will prevent the increase of stall speed that might snag someone who was flying their approach WAY too slow. Note that even a 45-degree bank only increases the stall speed by fourteen percent. The minimum approach speed, that for the steepest descent recommended is Vso plus twenty percent, gives you a margin of several knots even in a forty-five degree bank, which is considered a "steep" turn these days. The standard approach speed of thirty percent above stall gives you a fifteen percent margin in a forty-five degree bank.

A fifteen degree maximum bank is SERIOUS overkill and will widen your turns way beyond that required for a reasonable pattern size. Even a standard rate turn from downwind to base and from base to final will put your downwind far enough away from the runway that it will be problematic that you could reach the runway safely if you lost power on downwind.

A pattern size that lets you make the runway, power off, will encourage you to make power off landings from time to time. Then, if you ever SHOULD lose power, the ensuing landing will actually be a NORMAL landing, merely to an unusual landing area.

My early training required me to make ALL landings "power off." As a result, in the subsequent fifty years of flying antique airplanes, and ferrying airplanes to more amenable facilities for required maintenance,

I have experienced total and unrecoverable loss of power a number of times. Thirteen total power failures resulted in a NORMAL landing at an airport with no unusual problems or damage. The only problem was the obvious inability to change my mind about landing at the last minute! :-) Only two of my engine failures wound up with an "off airport" landing, and in both cases I was able to select an area for the landing where I could repair the problem that required the landing and take off again to complete the flight. In all of these "exciting" aviation experienced no one was injured in any way and none of the airplanes were damaged any more than they were before the ferry flight began! :-)

Landing Set-up
I was born with the teaching gene, and I just can't help myself. You and me both brother. I wrote the following for the newsgroup but my news server is down so I will just send it to you and copy gene for an opinion....

I was working on a stage check....gusty conditions and I would not/could not have flown solo today, nor would I have taken my PPL checkride, but flying with the chief instructor (ATP, DE, etc) was cool.

On the emergency landing, I was just starting to turn base to a field -- poorly chosen for direction of the wind but it was there.

Just as I though I wanted to tighten the turn, a gust tightened it for me, the CFI jammed the yoke forward, I jammed the yoke forward, I hit the throttle for a go around and she said go around. This is in a Warrior, which has stalls so benign that I have to imagine what scares people in other planes. (Horn, buffet, well, we can call that a break...recovery.)

We were nearly knife-edge on our side. Good news is now I know that I really will shove the nose down, kicked rudder, and hit the power. Truthfully, after we reached the ground and the CFI debriefed the flight for my regular CFI and me, I figured that one incident (5 seconds at most) was worth the price of the entire 1.4 hour flight -- and luckily I learned some other stuff too, but right there was a life lesson in flying.

Me, no real experience, sure I am getting close, but we fly in good weather so much, nothing weird has ever happened to me like that. I don't even know what I don't know.

So we get on the ground -- I figured I am going to get chewed for it, but cannot figure how I caused such a sudden change in what is a really friendly plane. I was coordinated, and it that turn didn't get me around I had the airspeed nailed and knew where my bank limits were and I was coordinate.

Then she tells it, "In thirty something years, I has never had a gust like that. It scared me straight too." She beat me to the push, but we were doing it together so I know that I survived on my own too, and I learned another place to be cautious in specific and another reason for being cautious in general even if it seems like an "old thing I know how to do."

BTW, contrary to what I quoted the other day, "Pushing the nose down was the hardest thing I ever did." from people who dropped in turning into a landing, I had no problem, all I wanted was that nose down and those wings level. Oh, yeah and sunny side up <grin>

No one would ever set something like that up on purpose, but the ride & experience was fantastic given the outcome. It might be that all the discussion here recently would have saved my life -- the CFI would have recovered anyway but I will be alone sometimes and I was on the power as fast as we corrected.

Be real clear about something, in the back of my head, I am still sure that I caused this so there is no bragging going on here on my part, I am writing through this to learn more and to help anyone -- if it does -- else. I could have turned less, I could have picked a better field/direction, ....--
Herb Martin
The problem began on your entry to downwind. You should double the angle you believe needed to correct for the wind that is blowing you into the runway. This is necessary because when you turn base the wind speed is added to your aircraft speed to give you a higher than usual ground speed. This means you are likely to overshoot final if you have not flown a somewhat wider downwind at the moment you turn base.  The best way to see this is to draw a runway with a pattern around it and then superimpose on it the pattern needed to fly the same pattern with a strong cross wind blowing you into the runway.

Know the wind before entering the pattern and fly twice as wide as seems necessary on downwind so you will be about right. Good way to compare is to fly the same runway in both left and right patterns to amplify your awareness of wind effect on pattern. A strong headwind requires a similar correction for crosswind and base legs.

Just had my introduction to instrument flying, and I had a blast, flying around with the foggles on - following my instructor's instructions. +l, rate-1 turns and basic stalls, and wow, what an experience. Made me feel like I wasn't really in an aircraft, more like on a computer!

Only problem was, I was just getting comfy flying on instruments when it was time to come home, and when I came out from under the foggles, there was the runway and I was on finals, and my world suddenly expanded from the cockpit out to include the real world, I had great difficulty landing - it was a bit of a shock, to be honest. Is this common? Or do you all think it will go away with practice? Later

Done it many times! Transitioning to land from and instrument approach is one of the more dangerous parts of flying instruments. It can be very disorienting to go straight from instruments to visual flying.

One thing that has helped me out during actual IMC is to continue a good instrument cross check almost all the way to the runway, even after breaking out of the weather (or the foggles). For instance, on an ILS, when you hit VMC, continue glancing at your glide slope indicator to keep from "ducking under" and becoming drug in on final. Don't *stare* at the instruments once VMC (that could be dangerous as well), but keep them in your crosscheck. It makes the transition less disorienting.

The Problem
Lack of Confidence
A student came to me, his confidence badly shaken. Seems his former instructor put him up for the private check ride before he was ready. He failed every area but one (preflight).

I went up with him; he was barely capable of soloing. I would not have signed him off. Knowledge of cross country flight planning non-existent. The guy was so shaken and nervous that he had trouble flying around the pattern. I don't know what he would do in a crosswind. He was obviously very shaky and nervous the whole time.

It has been more than a year since his failed check ride, but he still has no confidence whatever. I have tried putting him up for simple tasks, building gradually, letting him see he can do this. But he still breaks down every time.

He is an artist by trade, physically fit and well coordinated as well as intelligent. But unless I can help him overcome this emotional block he is not going to be able to remember procedures or handle an airplane. What more can I do to get this guy to start believing in himself?
Christopher J. Campbell

I've have a few questions:

Did his former instructor 'think' he was ready for his checkride a year ago?
Chris' answer: yes

Are you familiar with his former instructor?
Chris' answer: yes

Do you know of any other students from this other instructor that have had problems with checkrides?
Chris' answer:
This instructor has, by his own account, about a 50% pass rate. He thinks that is good, because he persuades himself that he takes on the 'difficult' students. In any event, neither the instructor nor the DE are working any more. The DE told me he thought the instructor was not very professional. He also thought that this student should never have been signed off for solo cross country, let alone a check ride. The DE, incidentally, was my DE when I took my private test.

Has this student been flying/training regularly for the past year since his failed checkride?
Chris' answer:
No, he just now worked up the nerve.

Does he show 'any' improvement since you started instructing him?
Chris' answer:
Not really. I've flown with him four times.

Have you suggested to him any 'self-help' books, classes, seminars, etc?
Chris' answer:
No. But I've considered sending him to a seminar on fear of flying.

How much time has this student logged, before the checkride and since?
Chris' answer:
Before the checkride he logged 80 hours. Since then he has logged another 4.5 hours.

Besides failing the checkride, has anything else major happen to him in the past year or so?
Chris' answer:
I think he may be having financial difficulties.

Do you know of any other students from this other instructor that have had | problems with checkrides?
I'd see what his story is. He may well be one of the 'untrainables' talked about in the other thread.

Greg Burkhart

Christopher -
I am a student pilot and I think my early experience might give you a idea about his position. At beginning of my training, I was incapable of flying plane. I couldn't even perform any maneuvers properly. I was so afraid every time I approach to runway that I actually yank the yoke. So hard that the plane skyrocketed with stalling speed. My instructors (I had 3 instructors who gave up on me) actually sweat more than I do. They had to nurse the plane to ground. They even couldn't handle the landing after I yanked the yoke. there were some hard landing that our upper body jolt forward That is how bad I was. Now, I am an average student pilot, finishing up on my cross country requirements. When I read your story, it remind me of my early training experiences. I had lack of self-confident in these experience. There are few reasons.
1) my instructors were yelling at me, making me feel worthless. Therefore, my confident went bottom. It was difficult to bring it back up.
2) lack of explanations from my instructors. They explained few things, but I never quite get it. (miscommunications)
3) all three of my instructors gave too much workload. Even I couldn't handle small workload, they kept going and going. It was my fault that I didn't say anything. I was too ashamed to admit it. I think your student is having the same problem.

When I had my fourth instructor, everything changed. My advice to you is sit with him and have a little personal chat. Communication is the biggest key breaking the confident habit. When you are flying with your student, let him fly the plane. While doing that, keep giving him positive comments ("You doing good!", "excellent!"). I know it sound like you talking to a child, but it works. You can ask him if he is all right from time to time. Make sure that he is studying some materials before lesson. Ask him questions BEFORE you guys takeoff. If he doesn't know few questions, DON'T look disappointed (biggest confident killer).

Questions during flight made me feel uneasy. I hope that helps! I wish you good luck. Feel free to ask more questions if needed.

I consider the existence of this type of problem to be one of the most serious and perplexing of any of the problems a flight instructor must potentially deal with during a career. The handling of a student with a serious psychological blockage or an unsolvable attitude problem goes much deeper than what appears on the surface. It can literally be a matter of life and death.

Each instructor must of course make his/her own decision as to where the limit lines should be drawn, and indeed what the limits themselves should be. It's a very tough call, but something worthy of serious discussion. I feel so strongly about it, that I've actually lectured on the subject in the past at seminars for CFI's.

Any instructor worth the title believes that he or she can teach ANYONE to fly!(Notice I said "worth the title"!!!! Hell, every one of us who are any good at all feel like WE are the absolute best teacher in the whole damn world, and given enough time, there isn't anyone we couldn't teach to fly an airplane. It's not being cocky. It's just part and parcel of being a good teacher. You have confidence and knowledge...and you want to instill that confidence and knowledge in someone else. It's the ultimate challenge!; to give this wonderful gift of flight to someone else; to open up that magnificent world to someone else...and to be there and see the look in their eyes when they make be responsible for that!! It's the ultimate psychological plateau of the excellent teacher...the consummate flight instructor!!!

Once in a great while a student comes along that for some reason or another, exhibits a behavioral trait or another problem that triggers a negative response...a a good flight instructor. How that CFI deals with this is a matter of personal decision. I prefer an absolutely professional approach to this problem. You can't change the world. All you can do is your best, and use the good judgment you have developed through experience. The hard part of all this is coming to an intelligent and unemotional point of judgment where you decide that you have given the problem all you have to give, and that the situation involves a serious potentially dangerous event down the road for the student. At that point you have no choice but to advise the student of your opinion. Actually, and I hate to say this really, but in today's environment, I would notify the student by registered letter.

Naturally this means a serious approach to the matter by the instructor Bottom line on this particular situation; it's your call. A year is a long time to hold a serious confidence problem without improvement. I'd give it a great deal of thought; then act as you see fit. Just remember, the moral and real responsibility of a flight instructor is tremendous. You are a link in a chain of events that can mean life or death to many people. You have already seen how a student can slip through the cracks. This student should never have been sent up for testing...but he was! It's damn lucky the DE was on the ball. Notice that the DE simply sent this student back into the system. Now YOU have discovered a sustained confidence problem that has lasted over a period of a year......that's not good! You might be able to turn this student might not. Perhaps another CFI should look at him at this point. It's a tough call!! Do the right thing!!! I'm certain you will. Dudley Henriques

I am not an instructor (but working on it), so treat this purely as a uninformed opinion. How about stop trying to teach a lesson and just take him up on a sightseeing flight? That will let him enjoy flying with no pressure to perform.

As Jerry suggests above, maybe it would be best to give the guy a break (so to speak) and not push the "get back in the saddle and ride the horse again" right away. Granted, he has been away from flying for a while. What is his motivation? Does he really enjoy flying? Has he had a chance to just fly for the fun of it and simply watch the scenery go by without having to worry about making progress and his next hurdle?

Maybe he just needs to go flying a few times when the weather is fair and the scenery is spectacular. Well, the weather is crap right now (I live in Seattle) but that'll change, maybe next weekend. The scenery is great though - take him out to the coast and fly above the beach, go up and fly over the tulip fields in the Skagit Valley, fly in to BFI right after sunset on a clear night, fly over the flanks of Mt. Rainier on a clear day - he'll see and feel the wonder of flight, and maybe it'll touch him. Maybe that will help motivate him to get things on track again. Just my 4 cents. Good luck to you and your student in any case.

I'm not a CFI, just a student pilot, but in my opinion the guy just needs a little motivation and self-confidence built up. Probably the former CFI was yelling at him, or who knows what... so, maybe you could just try starting with very, very basic things. Let him only do things that you're 100% *sure* he will be capable to do. Let him do, say, only 360 degree turns mantaining altitude. If he doesn't succeeed, do that 3 lessons in a row. I think he never really did something in a plane being able to say "Yes, I did it!". If he starts to experience the "I did it" feeling, my guess is it will eventually get better... Good luck

I suggest you ask him. But here are some ideas: 1. Ask him why he wants to fly.
2. Try "just flying" for fun and sightseeing. No working on things.
3. Fly a different type of airplane (tailwheel or Katana or even a twin)
4. I suspect he has problems with authority figures. Ask him about this.

On Stalls
On the attitude question: as with other maneuvers (like landing), use airspeed to guide you in finding the right attitude. Gradually pitch up and watch the airspeed gradually come down. As it stabilizes, pitch up a little more and a little more airspeed will bleed off. Finally, you will be at a point where more nose-up attitude decreases the airspeed to below stall speed and voila.

Incidentally, this probably more accurately represents how a departure stall will happen -- you're trying to clear something ahead, so you nose up a little, then a little more, then a little more...It also ensures that the stall is not as violent and that the attitude is at the minimum possible (it is discomforting to point the nose straight up! -- and you can bet the stall will be a doosey, too).
John Girard

Concentrate more on rudder usage. That wing won't drop if you stay perfectly coordinated. As soon as you see a wing drop, bring it back up with opposite rudder. With the ball in the middle, level the wings if you have to. If you don't keep up with the yaw and try to level the wings with ailerons only, you'll get a nice introduction to inadvertent spin recovery!
Jim Fisher

John Girard put his finger on it. Don't fall into the trap of learning "how do do stalls." The purpose of stall training, and the purpose of the PTS tasks, is learning and demonstrating that you can recognize a stall and react properly. The key is that you are demonstrating (to an instructor or examiner) first that you understand that the airplane can enter an *inadvertent* stall when departing, and second, that you can set up a departure scenario to prove that you know what to do when it happens. When you get too wrapped up in the details, the "inadvertent" part gets lost.
Bob Gardner

How To Pass A Checkride

Let's talk checkrides for a moment shall we? It's an interesting and important issue to all of us who fly, and I believe it deserves some special attention.

I've noticed through the years that this issue comes up many times when pilots get together to talk shop, and it's been an issue on the student newsgroup as well. It's an issue that all of us, from our pre-solo checks through our ATP route checks have to deal with sooner or later if we intend to remain pilots. We'll have phase checks, flight tests, checkout flights, and continuing proficiency checks to deal with sooner or later in our careers. I've been both taking and giving checkrides in airplanes for about fifty years now, and I believe I've learned a few things about both ends of the spectrum. With your indulgence, I'd like to pass some of what I've learned on to you, especially those of you just starting out on your long aviation journey,

Let's concentrate on the flight test check flight for a Private Certificate as an example. I choose this scenario because it's really the first "serious" flight check you will receive as a pilot, and as such, many have a tendency to bring unneeded fear and apprehension into this equation. I'd like to address these possible fears and apprehensions, and perhaps steer you into a proper state of mind for taking on this all important checkride...the one you have worked so long and hard to pass!

Lets talk for a moment about attitude, then we'll take a short look at the checkride itself, and how you should interface with the examiner during the test. You will notice immediately that I am shying completely away from maneuver technicalities and maneuver discussion. I think we can all assume that prior to taking a check flight for a certificate that you have been properly trained and recommended for the flight test. What I'm getting at here is above and beyond this. It concerns the attitude and mental preparation you take with you when you get into the airplane with the check pilot or examiner.

First, and this is probably the most important single factor involved in a flight test; RELAX! Realize that the examiner doesn't expect you to be perfect; the examiner expects you to be SAFE!!!!! Now, what does this mean to you? You should arrive for the test as prepared as possible. This doesn't mean you have to know the answer to every question you will be asked. It means that if you don't know the answer, you DO know exactly where to find it. It also means you should expect to make mistakes. This is extremely important so remember it; the examiner EXPECTS you to make mistakes. In fact, the examiner WANTS you to make mistakes so he/she can immediately see if you can both recognize that you have made that mistake, and as well CORRECT the mistake within safe parameters.

Now this point deserves a bit more attention, so listen up a moment here. Why are mistakes important to an examiner? Here's the answer. The examiner is constantly asking him/herself all through your flight, "How safe is this applicant" "How would this applicant react to this or that if I wasn't here?" These are important and pertinent questions. How does the examiner deal with this? ERROR ANALYSIS!!! That's how! There is absolutely no better way to evaluate a pilot in flight than allowing that pilot to fly into an error; then view EXACTLY how long it takes for the pilot to recognize that error, and EXACTLY how long it takes to initiate corrective action, and most importantly, EXACTLY what that corrective action is!!! What I have described here is not only what a good examiner is doing, but also the formula for teaching someone to fly an airplane properly.

A good instructor NEVER rides the controls on a student. A good instructor knows EXACTLY how far to allow the student into an error and makes every effort to talk the student through a correction without grabbing control from the student. Doing this correctly is the mark of both a good CFI, and a good remember this.

Back to the examiner; they want to observe your errors, so if you make them, and you most certainly will make them, face the error immediately; state the error; and begin correction immediately. Nothing impresses an examiner more than a pilot who faces a mistake immediately by recognition and correction. Remember this!

You will probably discover somewhere in any check flight that the pilot giving you the check does things a bit differently than you do, or how you were taught to do it. In almost every instance, you will find that you can do it BOTH ways correctly, so demonstrate it as the examiner suggests.

In closing, let me say that it really all boils down to keeping calm.....being relaxed......and giving the examiner a SAFE, HONEST, flight. Recognize those errors.....correct them immediately....and when in doubt....take the SAFE option. Best of luck to all of you on your future check flights!!! :-))))
Dudley Henriques

D.E. Opinion
I like to hear "I'm 100 feet low, and correcting," or "I over banked and am correcting," rather than hoping that the examiner hasn't noticed. Ha. That will be the day.

The examiner never knows what the applicant is thinking unless it is verbalized, and it is important for the examiner to know how the applicant thinks. I agree with everything you said.
Bob Gardner

Why didn't you post this about a week ago? LOL! You put in one post all of the pre-checkride advice I received from several instructors. One instructor explained that while the instrument ride is probably the hardest technically, the private is the hardest psychologically because it is the first time we've gone through the experience. Several other instructors stressed another point that you made which was the examiner is not looking for perfect maneuvers. He/she is looking for safety, the recognition of errors, and the proper steps to correct them. I didn't do anywhere near what I considered my best flying, not that my best flying is that good, but he thought I did a great job. I made it a point to talk through my maneuvers and if I did something incorrectly, I walked him through my process on how to correct the error.

My examiner did a great job of putting me at ease before the ride and I knew exactly what to expect in the air. And last but not least, I think that your examiner already has an idea of whether you're going to pass even before you takeoff. This is what I heard before my checkride and I do believe that there is some truth to it. I was also told that most examiners want you to pass because it's less paperwork for them. Maybe Dudley can confirm or deny this.

Hi Dudley,
Let's concentrate on the flight test check flight for a Private Certificate as an example. I choose this scenario because it's really the first "serious" flight check you will receive as a pilot, and as such, many have a tendency to bring unneeded fear and apprehension into this equation. I'd like to address these possible fears and apprehensions, and perhaps steer you into a proper state of mind for taking on this all-important checkride.....The one you have worked so long and hard to pass!

I'd like to relay my PPL checkride, or at least as much of it as I can remember, and some of what I wanted to forget<:-))

I had talked with the DE and knew pretty much what to expect, but be that as it may, during the aural part I was a nervous wreck. Things I knew, I had trouble finding even if I did know where they were supposed to be.

It took me nearly an hour to work out a flight plan that should have taken me five minutes, but then when I'd normally work one out, I did a lot by "rule of thumb" and approximations. I knew the old Cherokee well enough that I could give you the times to any airport in the area if I knew where I was. I could work times, distance, and headings in my head, but I had to do a bit more than look at the map and say it'll take us 20 minutes to get there. Funny thing that they want you to show how you got your answer, or at least explain.

If it did, I'd still be in that office trying to finish the ground portion of the exam. Right off the bat the DE told me that same thing you have said. "I don't expect you to get every thing right, but I do expect you to know where to find the answer if you don't know. When we went out to the airplane she said, I don't expect you do every thing right, but I do expect you to recognize what you did wrong and to correct it. Welllll...OKKKK she didn't say that until later in the flight, when it was very appropriate. Rather than go through the whole flight, I'm going to just pick the things that either didn't go right, or weren't quite right.

So....I couldn't find, or rather identify my first check point. I told her it has to be right below us...we've flown 10 minutes and at 125 mph on this heading it has to be below us. She mentioned we *might* have had winds different than expected. I agreed, but pointed out that the check point had a small town to the right, A curve in the highway to the NE, and a couple of other things on the map that also said we were where I said we were. She was willing to accept that. She also pointed out that it would be a good idea in the future to pick checkpoints that are appropriate to the altitude being flown. (Things that stand out at 1500 to 2000 feet may be difficult to see at all from 3000 and completely invisible from higher.) Things visible for many miles from 5000 feet may be over the horizon at 1500, or 2000 feet.

The next thing was a diversion to a small grass strip. Did I mention we had two inches of snow the night before so it was pretty much untouched early on that crystal clear and blinding bright day? ( I did remember sunglasses). I picked out some landmarks, did a quick triangulation and pronounced it "over there". She didn't ask how I knew, she said, "show me". So I flew over and pointed out what looked like a row of hangers and a nice smooth stretch in the right place to be a runway. She needed ...She accepted the three snow covered airplanes sitting out along the runway.

Next was hood work....Did I mention it was also really windy? She had me do a few maneuvers and I will always remember, turn heading 330. Humph! We hit a bump so hard it knocked the wind out of me.

Remember the movie "Forever Young" where right at the beginning the hero is flight testing a B25 and the altimeter is unwinding so fast it's a blur. OK, so a Cherokee won't go down that fast even if pointed straight down under power, but we were in a "graveyard spiral". She sat there calmly saying turn 330....turn 330.....Turn heading 330...I replied I would, but had more important things at the moment. I got it straightened out and turned to heading 330...

She suggested we head back and I figured I'd blown it. Now, I don't know how steep a spiral and she says every time I tell the story it gets better, but I didn't have to do any unusual attitude recovery.

At any rate I knew the route direct to 3BS and we weren't all that far out...maybe 10 minutes or so.... I had all the *stuff* in my lap and asked if I was going to need the map, or calculator any more and she said no so I threw it in the back seat. As soon as the *stuff* landed in the back seat she said..." Barstow is weathered in, we need to divert to Mt Pleasant. Where is it and how long to get there, we are low on fuel."

I have long forgotten the numbers now, but I pointed and said "over there". It's about 25 miles and should take us about 12 to 13 minutes. (Don't hold me to those particular numbers). She said "prove it", so I turned to the heading I'd indicated and about five minutes later we could see the airport way up ahead (right off the nose)...It was right where I said and it looked like my time was going to be right on. She said, "Let's go home".

When we got back, she brought up each mistake, but that I'd caught them and made the proper correction. Every mistake she mentioned, my spirits dropped to a new low. That was when she told me that they weren't looking for students to fly the test perfectly, but to recognize their mistakes and safely correct them. She then introduced me as the new pilot in the area. I don't remember if she warned every one to look out or not.

A friend was sent to the same little grass strip although the flight was in the summer. It was late in the day and the sun was right off the end of the runway. He just couldn't get the plane on that strip. The DE asked him what he'd do were he by himself. He said, I'd go to an airport with a bigger strip...The DE said, "Well, go find one". He was admonished to work on his short field landings, but he passed.
Roger Halstead

That's a great account Rog! I like your examiner. She sounds like she knew her stuff. It's amazing how you learn from each experience you have in aviation. Every pilot I've ever flown with has taught me something. You sort of pick and choose as you go, weeding out the chaff and saving the good stuff. I remember a physics teacher I had way back in the stone ages. He taught me something entirely unrelated to physics one morning I carried with me all through my aviation career as an instructor. I was struggling like a mad man trying to solve for the area under the curve. He walked over and looked at me sweating it out. All he said was, "Look at it this way Mr. Henriques; regardless of the complexity of the equation as it looks on paper, in the final analysis you only have four can either add, subtract, multiply, or divide!!"

My entire world changed that morning. Life suddenly became simpler. I think I learned in that one single moment, what I needed to know to become a good teacher; that the secret of good teaching is being able to project the problem to someone on a level that THEY can understand, rather than on the level that YOU understand!! The ability to realize that, and alter the way you teach someone to reflect this is what marks you as a good teacher. From teaching in high performance aircraft through J3 Cubs, I've been shaving with Occam's razor ever since!! :-) {Gene's explanation: The simplest solution is usually the best.}

Little did your lady examiner know at the time, that her applicant that day would go on to own the "world's oldest Debonair". Just think Rog! Another few years and you can consider adding one additional word to that title."World's oldest debonair PILOT"!!! :-)))))

A lot of students and pilots didn't like her as they said she was so tough. She was only thorough, not tough. If you recognized the mistake and corrected it, that was OK with her.

Every ride and every pilot. I'm always picking up something, of course that could be due to a poor memory. I used to ride one of the old Harley Hogs. (Side shift even, now that has to date me). I applied the philosophy that when I figured I had learned how to ride it, it was time to sell it. I sorta apply the same philosophy to flying. When I don't see anything new in flights, It'll be time to hang it up.

I had one physics prof like that. Unfortunately I had a lot of the other kind. He, like the others was a PHD, but he hadn't forgotten how to explain something to a beginner in terms they'd understand. He even had us deriving the formulas (Calculus). There is a lot of "weeding" done in college to eliminate all but the best in some fields. If they would feed, instead of weed, just think how many more productive people we could have. People like you and that DE "feed", instead of weed.

Problem Student
Mr. Whitt:
I have a problem with a student and value your opinion.

The student, a mid 50's year old female professional, is unable to make a base turn to final w/o an overshoot or undershoot. The overshoot sometimes gets radical and ends up sine waving [s turning] all the way down final. Touch down occurs in a drift in the direction of the last correction. Undershoot is more easily fixed with an angle in. Yet, the student cannot see when on centerline and more of problem, when the nose is drifting off. Student wants a formula for when to turn base to final and how to adjust for the turn such that the a/c would roll out on centerline. I have not been able to find a formula, or visual cue for adjusting the turn other than to shallow the AOB if the turn appears to cut inside the centerline. I cannot get her to see that a turn will undershoot. We have agreed that the aircraft will not fly past the centerline.

If I could get her to take care of the lineup, that would be one constant "zeroed out" and then she could concentrate on the flare and touchdown.

I have read your articles on landings and line ups and will try the slips instead of full turns to centerline. Any other thoughts would be appreciated.

She was signed off for solo by her primary instructor. Soloed and took one solo x-country. Then had a phase check and flunked that. I was nominated to try to help. . . She has one solo x-country to go and then it is prep for checkride. I refuse to sign off solo x/c until she can land.
Thanks for your consideration,
Dwain Watson, CFI

I could help more if I knew the aircraft you are teaching with. Have her diagram an airport pattern on paper and tell you where configuration changes take place and why. Explain the base is where you can best make adjustments caused by winds. She could be getting improper sight pictures by trying to keep the runway in sight during turns. Has she ever trained in a different aircraft?

At first glance there appears to be a weakness in ground reference I would review rectangular patterns and do them at ever lower altitudes until she becomes uncomfortable. Ground shyness could be the problem.

You don't mention airspeed or stabilized approach. Can she trim for hands off flying. Can she fly using just the rudder? Have her watch the wing tip while using rudder.
Have you taught her to do Dutch rolls?
I would suggest that you stop doing landings and work on go-arounds at ever decreasing altitudes. Do both left and right patterns. Look at my lesson series where I do not teach landings first.

Deliberately set her up high and show her the three steps to get down. Flaps, power, airspeed.
Deliberately set her up low and show her the only safe correction is to go to full power while maintaining approach speed for up to 30 seconds to regain proper approach path.

Diagram for her with a line drawing why a high approach gives better 'aim' for the runway.

Make a long final and have her sideslip from side to side of the runway while keeping the nose of the aircraft on runway heading. (Modified Dutch Roll) This can be done over a road as well.

Teach her that the plane will do better the less she touches the yoke. Do some rudder only flying to get her to relax and acquire confidence in planes desire to fly without pilot input.

Years ago I had a similar problem with a student who had been told by a friend that she could get killed if she did not land on the center line. She was always trying to see the centerline during the roundout and flare. Aircraft nose would waver all over the place. Solved the problem by telling her that it was o.k. just to hit the runway and keep the aircraft straight. Soloed next flight.

Hey Gene:
Thanks for the quick response. I transitioned her to C-172. She had been flying a C-152. I flew with her in the 152 several times and she "manhandled" the airplane with no finesse. Very aggressive. She resisted the transition. After being in the C-172 for 2 or 3 lessons, I finally figured out she did not know how to trim, after 70 hours of dual; I had her for 4 or 5 hours. Her and her husband own a DeHavilland Chipmunk. She says that she emulates his flying style. Apparently he is rather aggressive with the chipmunk. They also belong to the local CAF chapter that has a J-3, which she has ridden in and taken the controls on numerous occasions. She eventually wants a hp and tailwheel endorsement. TW obviously won't work if she cannot land straight. She has a lot of preconceived ideas about piloting that I have had to work through. She only reads the textbooks and then only when I require it. She does not read the magazines. She hangar flys a lot with the CAF [Commerative Air Force].

I have been pushing trim, finese, precision, grace, and elegance. Seems to be sinking in. She is very rough on the controls. I don't think she eyeballs the runway enough. On down wind, she angles in and then angles out, again a line up problem. Concur with weakness w/ground ref man.

She had the idea that every landing is made power off. Our field elevation is 4858' MSL, and we are the lowest valley for some 200 miles. [GJT, Grand Junction, CO] Got her to land with some power and slowly reduce power while raising the nose in the flare. That is working. She is making progress in the flare picture. Got her trimming without thinking about it. A/c feels better, more stabilized. She can make stable a/s approaches, if she is not fighting the line up. Rudder was a problem. Got her flying more with rudder now. She is getting the hang of rudder. I also do TW endorsements and own a taildragger, I don't teach out of my own plane.

I have not had her do Dutch Rolls yet, that is a good suggestion. I have had her do slips for altitude control, but not for line up. She is not very aggressive with slips, not enough rudder. I will start her out on Dutch rolls next time and then have her sideslip across a road both ways for practice with nose aligned parallel. Then we'll head back for some pattern work and high/low setups. Next lesson is Tues evening. Will keep you posted.

I have heard somewhere about a technique for line up and the base/final turn that involves placing the runway half way down the strut of a high wing as a visual cue. Every heard of something like this? I was unable to extract any details.

Great stuff. Will let you know how it goes. Thanks for the ideas.

Practice this with another pilot or by yourself to see that it works.
Get her to look at my site. Especially Page 1.35 the part about mistakes.
Suggest you diagram a pattern around a runway as follows.
Assume a 5000' runway. (one-mile) C-172 is M or older model with 40 degrees of flaps. No wind. Hope you have a heading bug set to runway heading of aircraft, otherwise use HI and show that 45 entry to right/left traffic puts runway heading on right/left rear of HI.
In C-172 make arrivals at cruise speed. Aim for the runway numbers. Turn downwind at mid-field. Perform pre-landing check. (Assumed trimmed for level cruise)

Abeam numbers reduce power to 1700 rpm. Using fingertip on topmost button and moving trim wheel all the way down, trim nose up three full turns while holding heading and altitude. Rpm will fade to 1500 and airspeed will be 80 knots. Momentum of aircraft going from cruise to 80 knots will put aircraft at point to initiate base turn. (Works for all Cessnas)
Put in 10 degrees of flaps (hands off yoke) and airspeed will fall to 70...Using bottom button of trim wheel takes off full turn and airspeed will return to 80. This is engineered by Cessna into C-150s and older 172s. Practice this process while holding yoke to maintain 80 knots. Turn base. Aircraft will be descending.
All 30-degree flap Cessnas are corruptions of the original design and require slightly different trim technique.

Very important that student visually/orally clear the turn and then look only over the nose during turns to maintain airspeed. Never fear the runway will not go away.
Put in 20 degrees of flap and take off another turn of trim while holding 70. Check with 'hands-off' to confirm. Turn final.

Put in full flaps but do not move trim. Airspeed will reduce to 60 knots hands-off. You should be on a stabilized final.

Note that from mid-field to touchdown you have flown a 2-mile pattern. For base and straight-in approaches you just unwind the standard pattern to get your 2-mile call-up point. Then you can do the regular process as though in the pattern. Works.

Go-around at 100' AGL and you will find that once flaps are up you are properly trimmed for climb in C-172, hands-off. Nice for IFR missed procedures.

C-172 should be flown with only one finger and a thumb. Flare may require two fingers.
To flare, leave up to 1200 rpm on power and cover the far end of the runway with the nose. Any time you raise the nose during round-out and flare use some right rudder. (See my teaching process for P-factor)

Her major difficulty will be 'unlearning' previously acquired techniques and habits. Under stress she must be warned that she will revert back to the way she first learned to do something. This can be anything from bad to dangerous.

Glide Ratio
I've decided to write to you to find an answer about a question:
I have seen on my PA-28-181, Cherokee Archer II, the glide range graph at Power off, flaps up, 76kts IAS, 2550 lbs (MTOW), no wind. We can >estimate this glide range at 1.6 nm every 1000 feet AGL we are flying.

Now, I have no idea how this ratio can change with the mass of the payload. I.e., with same conditions, but with 2400 or 2200 lbs, how great can be the glide range?
Greetings from Switzerland.

Opinion One
The speed at which that glide ratio is achieved changes as the square root of the weight ratio. Heavier is faster.

Having said that. In practical terms, you are more likely to get 50 percent of the book glide ratio.

Downwind or in lift, slow down. Into the wind or in sink, speed up.

If you err on the slow side of best glide speed, it will hurt more than that same err on the high side of best glide speed.
Dennis Brown

Opinion Two
The glide RATIO is unaffected by the weight of the plane i.e., if max L/D is 10:1 then that's what it'll be at any weight. The SPEED at which this occurs though will decrease as the weight decreases because the drag will be lower at lower weights (the drag curve is shifted to the left). Thus the glide DISTANCE is unaffected by weight. The glide ENDURANCE is less for the heavier a/c because it is gliding at a faster speed.

Opinion Three
Glide ratio does not normally change with gross weight. However, you will have to fly faster at higher gross weights to maintain best glide.
Ron Natalie

Opinion Four
Best glide speed is one of those speeds that relate directly to stall speed. It goes down with weight. Glide ratio does not change.

To figure out the best glide speed at a lower weight, take the square root of the ratio of the actual weight to the gross weight, and multiply that by the given glide speed. For example:
At 2200 lbs, the ratio is 2200/2550 = .863

The square root of that is .929

Multiply that by 76kts, and you get 70.6 kts, or about 71 kts.

Glide range will be the same.

No polar is given, but in general you get the best performance penetrating into a headwind by adding half the headwind to your airspeed. Thus if you are trying to glide into a 12 kt headwind, you would now add 6 kts and fly 77 kts if at 2200 lbs or 82 if at gross. Note that this will be the best you can get, but still won't give you 1.6 nm for every 1000 ft.

If you have a tailwind, you generally want to subtract about 1/4 of the tailwind from your glide speed. For example, at 2200 lbs and gliding with a 12-kt tailwind, you would fly 68 kts.

The Teaching of Landings
Written 10/15/95
Every skill you learn prior to solo is part of many skills you will need in making landings. Begin with the four basics of climbs, descents, level, and turns. The use of flaps, go-around, stalls, slow-flight, and trim are all required skills. Ground reference, wind correction, and radio procedures need some degree of mastery prior to solo. All in all, you started learning the basics of landings on your first flight. The actual landing is a patchwork of everything you have learned. It's putting the patchwork together that constitutes 'real' landing practice.

My first instructional landing lesson consists only of go-arounds. The rule of primacy in teaching/learning indicates that you will react in an emergency as first taught. I want my students to go-around when they feel things aren't right. On every leg of the approach I have my students let go of the yoke for a moment to confirm that the aircraft is trimmed for a stabilized approach. An act of confidence. An actual landing usually occurs when I block yoke and throttle movement just before the last go-around as we are in a nose-high flare.
I probably left a few things out. Let me know.
Gene Whitt

Written 10/12.02
Y'all, After reading all 100+ 'landings' of landing 'string', I put together some thoughts for your consideration,
rebuttal, etc.Gene Whitt

Teaching Landings
Consider teaching the approach, roundout and flare as differing pitch attitudes.
--Don't teach anything you would not want recorded or videotaped
--If the yoke movement pivots at the shoulder the wings will not be level.
--Brace elbow against side and use forearm and one/two fingers to move yoke.
--If any part of the hand or fingers is 'white' the grip is excessive.
--The initial increase in pitch attitude during the round out is used to reduce the rate of descent.
--Then any increase in pitch during the flare is gradually increased for touchdown.
--Elements of the pitch changes are airspeed, altitude, ground effect and elevator deflection
--Pitch attitudes used in landings are initially presented in the basics, slowflight and then in stalls
--There will be some differences in the landing due to ground effects.

2--Know where to look and how to look.
--Initially look for the space land changes between the nose and the runway threshold.
--With experience you will detect a point that remains constant when the approach is constant.
--Approach should be trimmed for hands-free airspeed control

3--As you approach the runway and begin to raise the nose you should look to the far end of the runway.
--Once you feel the slight 'elevator' feeling, look at the horizon and smoothly cover it with the nose.
--As the runway disappears use a split, wide view of the horizon to detect any change in direction.
--Due to several factors you can expect to sense a movement to the left that is countered by rudder.
--This can be ground taught in C-150s by repeatedly lowering the tail while having the student both move the controls and use his eyes relative to the horizon.
--The use of a digital camera will be useful in constructing the entire sequence (2002)
--Use the pictures to walk, talk, and look through the sequence

4--In the air have the student verbally state where and how he is looking during simulated landings at altitude.
--Initiate your instruction of landings at altitudes followed by specific altitude go-arounds.
--Always try to do as many maneuvers to the left as to the right.
--Make the first landing practice a series of successively lower go-arounds. Let any landing be accidental.
--Yoke should be moved back and up logarithmically in many small steps until it stops. Don't forget left rudder.
--A stop during the back and up movement may be required but a forward movement is a way to trouble.
--The go-around is the first learned and always the best option when the landing is in doubt.
--The ideal touchdown is with the stall warner going, the yoke full back and up at moment of touchdown.
--Not many landings are ideal.
--The structure of an aircraft is designed to handle less than ideal landings.

5--Teach Dutch rolls as basic to making crosswind landings during every climbout departure
--At some point expose student to maximum available crosswinds to set capability limits
--Teach full flap, partial flap and no flap landings prior to solo
--Teach both left and right forward and side slips with and without flaps
--Teach MVFR procedures always in improving conditions
--Teach SVFR when the opportunity presents itself
--Insist student handle all initial ground departure and arrival radio procedures after rehearsals ground/air
--Insist student handle all initial ATC callups after rehearsals on ground and in the air.
--Instructor should handle radio when in closed traffic (pattern work)
--Insist that student be able to follow ATC instructions prior to solo.
--Pre-solo test should include POH, local procedures emergency options
--Teach short approaches, accuracy landings and aborted departures
--Go to airports that are busy, difficult to find, unconventional patterns, up/down slope or mountainous.
--Teach use of radar, FSS, Flight Watch, Unicom and multicom

6--Clearing the approach course is basic to every departure
--Clearing every pattern turn is basic to every turn
--Every climb, level off and descent should be trimmed hands-off
--The landing is not complete until the engine is off and aircraft tied-down
--Student must be made aware that taxiing is the last skill acquired but seldom perfected

Ten Minutes (Job Interview) about Teaching Flying
Yesterday, with what I had, I put together a power point presentation, which I can talk to on Visualizing Your Training. I don't want to get too cosmic in 10 minutes, but I am serious about aviation and safe flying. Your approach parallels my own and nothing has helped me more in my career than planning what I do via visualization. I am also in awe of your website, Gene. Thank you for turning me there. There is such a wealth of aviation knowledge, that I could not believe. As anything, I have heard much of the things before, but your approach will allow me incredible review and there have already been areas which I haven't thought about.


I have given presentations for up to an hour to groups relating to flight safety. I can think of no subject of greater importance. I would suggest that you could go through my web site and selectively choose material from the following topics. What I would do is to make my instruction and training expectations be for my pilots to be totally situational aware and 'in charge' of what he is doing and going to do.

Consider visualizing safety during arrivals and departures at complex airports with a mix of IFR, VFR, large and small aircraft. My home field has dual parallel runways with a busy mix of trainers, helicopters, high performance singles, winds, turbines and jets and is wonderful in teaching students how to visualize their situation fits into the mix. Proficiency on the radio, knowledge of an area, and total knowledge of local procedures are the basis of my training and flight program.

Just recently I was in a Beech Musketeer reporting two-mile right base for 32 R when a Jet reported four mile final and a King Air reported turning downwind. ATC had the Musketeer maintain altitude and overfly the approach end of 32R. The King air was asks to make a short approach and the Jet called as #2 behind the King Air. The Musketeer was told to execute a left 270 land cleared to land on 32L. The Jet and Musketeer rolled out together on their parallel runways. Now, that controller had remarkable visualization abilities. He made maximum use of the time and space available to the differing aircraft. I was pleased to be a part of it.

I take new controllers on airport vicinity rides. In years past my area diagrams have been used by the tower as a visual aid with all the reporting points in a 10 mile radius I use the same charts to teach my students how to be efficient and safe in their radio procedures and airport departures. My trainees do not report over a checkpoint. They call in " north at 2300." Departures are not straight out, downwind, crosswind, or standard. They are always ...on a destination. They are not just talking to ATC they are giving very precise position and routes to all aircraft on the frequency. They are teaching visualization to every pilot on the frequency.

My trainees do not fly at even 500's or 1000's of altitude within 3000' AGL. They do their airwork over higher terrain with a full understanding that they remain within gliding range of known useable landing places in the nearby lowlands. Cross-country departures are made with a 270 passing over the airport just like the line on their sectional.

I know these suggestions of a 10-minute topic have little to do with training maneuvers but they require pre-planning, and discrimination in selecting the most efficient option for their flight. The pilots who are taught to visualize any airport, its runways, its instrument procedure routes, and call-up points will be a more efficient and safe pilot.

This kind of instruction is scattered everywhere on my web site I have recorded over 8500 hours of flight and as much ground instruction based upon visualization of what is happening at least two-steps ahead of the aircraft. Otherwise you are behind or dead. I would suggest that you seriously recommend the use of digital recorders and videos for every training ground and flight session. Along with this would be required trainee critiques and evaluations of every lesson based upon a replay.

The greatest advantage of prior visualization of the right thing to do, is that it sensitizes your attention when things go wrong. You are better able to adjust your options to the situation.

Gene's Rant
"Steven P. McNicoll" 
Regarding Steven's remarks regarding blame and being riddled with errors. I am very much in agreement with him. The ability to take responsibility for what you have done and will do is part of a good pilot's flying attitude. Likewise the willingness to make mistakes and survive is an attitude I have because it keeps me flying.

My opinions, and that is mostly what I write, are not absolute truths. Very little in life or flying is so absolute. What we have is choices of options. Some choices are going to be as wrong as the options chosen. The surest sign of a skilled craftsman in his art is to make his mistakes look like he did them on purpose. This applies to flying as much as anything else.

It is not just my web site and two or three pages that are riddled with mistakes. My whole life has been based upon a series of mistakes. I made a lousy selection of parents and relatives. I had four stepmothers and four stepfathers before I was ten and before it became popular. I learned far more out of school than I did in schools all different fifteen of them. I like to say I became a school teacher to get even. I left teachers college without a credential because I condemned their program for being a waste of my life. I told them blatantly what was wrong. After I left they made some changes I suggested. It didn't change things. Still a waste of time in most respects. This is why teachers are the worst products coming from colleges. The good teachers are thus so in spite of what they didn't learn in college.

Would I change my life, do I have regrets? Yes! However, I grew through my problems and mistakes to be above concern or fault finding. I got lucky. Fifty-seven years with a wife who hasn't been able to perfect me. She sees me as a work in progress. I am still a constant source of criticism and blame. I love it because she cares and her caring is enough for me

I have always had flying as a major factor in my life. I lived model airplanes and flying magazines as a child. I cannot, to this day, let a plane fly overhead without looking and identifying. As a teacher I found time to get lucky and earn enough to get out of school teaching and into flying.

I don't fly for a living, I don't have to. Don't think I could. Don't charge enough for my time and expenses but one year out of three. When you love what you are doing it keeps you going and going and going. Thanks GUYS...

Sorry for the rant but it seems to go with the age..

More On Landings
On Making Crosswind Landings
It make take you five two minute exercises of the Dutch roll (Derived from the way the ships of old would rock back and fourth under sail) Begin with 10 degrees in both left and right banks while holding the nose straight. Work you way up to 30-degrees to both sides.

This should be done as smoothly and slowly as you can. Very important that should you lose the nose or heading indicator over 5 degrees off center to stop, level the wings and start over.

It will take your CFI two lessons to get it right, smooth and even to both sides. Be slow as in walz-time.ta ta dum ta dum ta ta dum ta dum. Hum to yourself to keep the beat.

Just yesterday I took my 16-year old student up to Gnoss in Marin County. Winds were 30+ knots at right angles to the runway. We selected 31 and set the pattern direction for all other arriving aircraft.

First landing to a full stop was at 60 knots all the way. I had to take over on short final and put the aircraft into a steep slip just to get down to the runway. Student was reluctant to hold the nose up when he wanted to get down. Taxiing back we saw three other aircraft shoot the landing. The first Bonanza landed fast but got down while using all 3000+ of the runway. The second plane, a Cessna hit the numbers and made it as well as one could expect. The third plane made a go-around and left the area.

Andy and I made four more landings. I demonstrated the following. We were in a right pattern with a wind blowing directly across the runway from the left. This required that we use no flaps, power off abeam the numbers and full left rudder at 70 knots during the entire turn from downwind to final. On final I reversed the bank and rudder so that I had in full right rudder and was slipping to the left.

Since there was no headwind 70 was too fast so when I touched down on my left main tire I proceeded with a go-around. My student made two more landings at 65 knots. The last one was near perfect. It's a poor pupil who can't exceed his teacher.

To do such maneuvers you must have faith in the procedure. From this day on my student will never be afraid of making a crosswind landing and will know his own personal limits. You can't land in a crosswind if you don't have enough rudder authority to keep the nose straight. Learn at 12-15 knots and then get the strongest winds you can find to set your limits.

Slipping is not a mental process. Assuming that you swim or roller skate. These are skills that cannot be thought through. You do what it takes to keep the nose straight with the rudder and use the ailerons to slid, stop, and slide as required to keep the aircraft aligned with the runway.

One item I forgot. Any time to enter a slip you must immediately push forward on the yoke to maintain the proper approach airspeed.

Learning to do the Dutch roll with the nose straight on heading must be done without thinking but in anticipation of what is required. Nose must be kept straight throughout the approach and the landing rollout. On the ground yoke goes full over.

Learn to do the Dutch roll before you try strong crosswind landings that may require instant anticipation of required rudder and aileron. If you have to think about it you will be too late and behind what is happening. Just as you don't think about walking as putting one foot in front of the other, so must your crosswind landing skills.

Subject: Re: flare
Hi Gene,
Thanks for all the advice, I'm finding that I'm able to handle crosswinds better now with the slip approach instead of crab. I would like to ask you if you recommend the round out be done by slowly easing back on the control column such that you are slowly decreasing the descent  rate 700, 600, 500, 400, 300, 200...100..0 ft/min. That requires me to begin the round-out at a higher height

Raising the nose will affect your airspeed. I do not recommend that the round out be started at higher altitudes for that reason. Also any raising of the nose will require rudder application to correct for increased P-factor.

The roundout should not be an abrupt control movement either. The round-out will be a variable based upon your ground speed. The lower your ground speed the more steep will be your approach and the more quickly must you perform the round-out.

Think of this when landing in a twenty knot head wind as compared with a no-wind round-out. The important element is that the round-out be s m o o t h during the time you change your visual focus to the far end of the runway.
Important item:
I had a student who spent $700 while trying to make 'perfect' landings before solo. Landings are mostly accidental when the pilot tries to do the landing. Landings are actually performed by the airplane and only when it's ready.

Be satisfied with safe and controlled landings. The aircraft is designed to take the thump that occurs in a full stall landing from a couple of feet. The landing is not so good if the thump results in a bounce to a second touchdown. Never go forward on the yoke. Also never say or write never in flying.

> Subject: Re: flare
Gene, what do you recommend I do to make sure my aircraft is flying level and not increasing or decreasing height when I enter the round out. Should I be remembering the round out attitude or looking down the runway like in a car traveling at the same speed and see that I've stopped descending?

Once into the flare it is best not to get too intellectual about what to do or how to do it. This is the flight region where the aircraft is pretty much in charge of what happens. Looking over the sides of the nose and keeping the runway end covered will give consistently satisfactory landings. Keep the nose straight with the rudder and alignment with the ailerons.

If you have arrived into the flare at the proper speed you will be able to raise and hold the nose at the proper touchdown attitude. Be patient, the aircraft will know when it is time to touchdown far better than you will know. The actual touchdown should be a surprise to you.

Relative Safety 
Sent: 5/18/2005 11:26:32 PM Subject: Cessna 172 stats On you state that "C-172 has best G.A. fatal accident record at .56 per 100,000 flight hours." Where did you originally find this statistic? I've heard people say that a 172 trainer is "twice as safe" and "safer", but I can't find it from an authoritative source and neither can I find an aircraft-by-aircraft breakdown. By these standards, would you say that flight in a 172 is only 3.5 times more dangerous than driving?| Do you know anything about the 182? Thanks, Paul Cainkar 

From: Gene Whitt [] Sent: Thursday, May 19, 2005 8:59 AM To: Cainkar, Paul Subject: RE: Cessna 172 stats Paul, The problem with aviation and automotive safety comparisons is that it is all a huge gessimate. Suggest you google search the Nall Report for aviation statistics and the National Transportation Board web site for their numbers. 

By the hour driven or flown automobiles are much safer than airplanes. By the mile this is also true. Where you drive and where you fly affects the statistical results. When Lindbergh got his license the life expectancy of a pilot was 900 hours. Today it is about 70,000 hours. I very much doubt that automotive safety has made such improvement even with air bags. In WWII the speed limit was 35 miles per hour to save fuel, not lives. 

If you fly a twin and have an accident you are four times more likely to be killed than in a single, on and on and on. If you are dealing with an emotional aspect of safety, don't get in bed. Most people die there. It is your driving and luck that will determine your driving accidents and the same is true in flying. You cannot statistically determine what will happen to an individual.

 The entire matter is not worthy of concern. Regarding the C-172, with the increased power and speed of the new models you will see a decline in its safety record. The C-182's record as with any other similarly powered aircraft is mostly related to its being able to get you into difficulty better than you can get it out of difficulty. Look at the Sirrus record. It is the best selling GA aircraft and a high accident rate. Faster kills more often by either the hour or mile. 

As of 1975 with the required installation of shoulder harness, one report indicated that four out of every five aircraft deaths since the Wright Brothers, including wartime, would not have occurred if shoulder harnesses were worn. Oddly enough governmental failures are making our lives less safe in most every aspect of our lives than need be. I could go on and on but the situation really depends upon the individual's perception, desires and behavior. Life is too short not to do what you enjoy. 
Gene Whitt 

From: Cainkar, Paul
 Gene, This isn’t really direct at –you- per say, it is more of a general message to the pilot community. These are basically my thoughts. I am a student pilot who is beginning training and unfortunately, most things in life lead me to much research before taking any actions. I’ve digested many Nall reports, examined many NTSB records and then examined my own conscious.

 The scary thing is, one thing is strikingly clear: In a lifetime of 70-hr a year recreational flying for 30 years, I will have increased my chance of premature death by a staggering 5%, statistically, compared to the 1.6% of a lifetime of 20,000 miles a year driving. Furthermore, by the time a pilot is over 35,000 hours, he’s more likely to be dead than alive. Time and time again… Pilot error. Newsgroup and newsgroup post again… justifying the increased risk because you’re in control and causing the accidents rather than some 18 wheeler changing lanes… Pilot and Pilot again… dismissing GA as safe. 

Of course, many of these people are people with a family who would never think of getting on a motorcycle for a cross country trip, let along down the street. There seems to be a certain barrier in a pilot to recognize what they are partaking in IS indeed dangerous. Pilots don’t seem to be taking part of GA knowing the risks and choosing to accept them, but rather are in denial or shielding themselves from them. 

Argument and argument again states “I’m a good pilot” and “it won’t happen to me because it’s pilot error and I’m in control”. Why I ask the, do you think the pilots that died thought any differently? Do you think some people naturally have a death wish? Do you think they reconciled the truth 10 seconds before their death? Wouldn’t it be safe to say that pilots are a safe bunch as a whole and no the accidents aren’t caused by “distribution skewing goofballs”, but rather some of the most safety conscious pilots? 

Seriously, search “general aviation safety” on Google groups and you’ll see what I mean. Enough ranting about my findings. The bottom line is there is no conclusive research about who’s at risk doing what kind of activities in what type of airplanes. It’s only one big number. What’s not taken into my 1-in 20 game of Russian roulette is the fact that I’d likely be flying a trainer aircraft, like a Cessna 172. With your figures, I might only have a 2.5% chance of dieing. Of course, the fact that I’d also be a day VFR pilot in mountainous terrain (look up Friedman memorial airport in Hailey, ID) doesn’t help matters. 

Neither helping of course is the fact that more private accidents are fatal than any others and the fact that I would be renting inexpensive ($37/hour) aircraft that are 30 years old! Yes I know, the Cessna 152 is statistically more dangerous than a 172, although who knows why. The bottom line is the pilot’s training seems to play a role on whether or not they get into an accident; the aircraft seems to dictate if they live. Comments? 
Paul Cainkar 
What’s odd about the Cirrus is the apparent uselessness of the parachute. 26 deaths, 7 saves, 24 un-deployed chutes. Why ask why? Their safety rate is horrible from what I hear. Speed doesn’t ALWAYS kill though…. Citations don’t seem to be falling out of the sky at the same rate.
Thank you for triggering a bit of research into my collection of resources. One that I very much recommend to you is Bill Clarke's, The Cessna 172, second edition. In the very back (Page 239) is a listing of accidents from multiple causes based on "adjusted rate per 100,000 hours of flying In the ten classifications of accidents only in "Landing Overshoots" is the C-172 in the middle of the some 30 different models of aircraft. 

The C-172 unmodified has the best NTSB safety record or nearly the best in all other accident classifications. Incidentally, when looking at aircraft accidents you might like to know that only one in six result in someone even seriously injured. The average impact speed is close to the 23 mph of automobiles because of average winds being 15 mph. Additionally the aircraft structure is designed to crumple and absorb impact with the greatest strength in the cockpit structure. You are most likely to suffer injury by bouncing around the cabin. Tightening your belts until it hurts makes a difference. 
Thanks again, 

Where to Go 
Presolo Written Test — A test that addresses a student pilot's knowledge on the applicable sections of 14 CFR, parts 61 and 91 and on the flight characteristics and operational limitations of the make and model of aircraft to be flown. This test must be administered and graded by a CFI prior to endorsing the student pilot certificate for solo flight.

First Solo — A student pilot may not operate an aircraft in solo flight unless that student has met the requirements of 14 CFR part 61. "Solo flight," refers to the flight time during which a student pilot is the sole occupant of the aircraft, or when the student performs the duties of a pilot in command of a gas balloon or airship requiring more than one pilot flight crewmember. "First solo" refers to the very first time a student embarks on a solo flight.

Cross-Country Time — Any flight conducted in an aircraft by a person holding a pilot certificate, which includes a landing at a point other than the departure airport and involves some type of navigation. For the purpose of meeting the aeronautical experience requirements for an ATP certificate, a landing point is not required. (What happened to 50 miles?)

Flight Review — An industry managed, FAA monitored currency program designed to assess and update a pilot's knowledge and skills. Pilots must have this review every 24 calendar months, unless an alternative method provided by 14 CFR part 61 is chosen.

Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC) — An evaluation ride based on the instrument rating practical test standard, which is required to regain instrument flying privileges when the privileges have expired due to lack of currency.

Regional Checkouts — A checkout which goes beyond learning about a particular airplane, and encompasses learning how to fly in a specific region. Before flying or giving flight instruction in any unfamiliar environment, obtain a regional checkout from a qualified CFI who is experienced in that geographical area. For example, mountain flying offers some breathtaking scenery and wonderful experiences, but it also has some unique challenges and can be extremely dangerous to inexperienced pilots.

Tailwheel Checkout — To act as PIC of a tailwheel airplane, 14 CFR sectoin 61.31(g) requires a demonstration of competency in normal and crosswind takeoffs and landings, wheel landings (unless the manufacturer has recommended against such landings), and go-around procedures. Pilots should seek a comprehensive tailwheel checkout from a qualified instructor for each make and model of tailwheel airplane that will be used for instruction. If a pilot has logged PIC time in a tailwheel airplane prior to April 15, 1991, then a tailwheel endorsement is not required in the pilot’s logbook.

Transition Training — An instructional program designed to familiarize and qualify a pilot to fly types of aircraft not previously flown, such as tailwheel aircraft, high-performance aircraft, and aircraft capable of flying at high altitudes.

Cross-Country Time — Any flight conducted in an aircraft by a person holding a pilot certificate, which includes a landing at a point other than the departure airport and involves some type of navigation. For the purpose of meeting the aeronautical experience requirements for an ATP certificate, a landing point is not required. (What happened to 50 miles?)

Flight Review — An industry managed, FAA monitored currency program designed to assess and update a pilot's knowledge and skills. Pilots must have this review every 24 calendar months, unless an alternative method provided by 14 CFR part 61 is chosen.

Commercial, Instrument

Instrument Proficiency Check (IPC) — An evaluation ride based on the instrument rating practical test standard, which is required to regain instrument flying privileges when the privileges have expired due to lack of currency.

Presolo Written Test — A test that addresses a student pilot's knowledge on the applicable sections of 14 CFR, parts 61 and 91 and on the flight characteristics and operational limitations of the make and model of aircraft to be flown. This test must be administered and graded by a CFI prior to endorsing the student pilot certificate for solo flight.

Regional Checkouts — A checkout which goes beyond learning about a particular airplane, and encompasses learning how to fly in a specific region. Before flying or giving flight instruction in any unfamiliar environment, obtain a regional checkout from a qualified CFI who is experienced in that geographical area. For example, mountain flying offers some breathtaking scenery and wonderful experiences, but it also has some unique challenges and can be extremely dangerous to inexperienced pilots.

Tailwheel Checkout — To act as PIC of a tailwheel airplane, 14 CFR sectoin 61.31(g) requires a demonstration of competency in normal and crosswind takeoffs and landings, wheel landings (unless the manufacturer has recommended against such landings), and go-around procedures. Pilots should seek a comprehensive tailwheel checkout from a qualified instructor for each make and model of tailwheel airplane that will be used for instruction. If a pilot has logged PIC time in a tailwheel airplane prior to April 15, 1991, then a tailwheel endorsement is not required in the pilot’s logbook.

Transition Training — An instructional program designed to familiarize and qualify a pilot to fly types of aircraft not previously flown, such as tailwheel aircraft, high-performance aircraft, and aircraft capable of flying at high altitudes.

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