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FAA Problem and Advisory

Return to Whitts Flying
FAA; …Ground Changed Runways; …Induced Drag? …Use of Sectionals; … Impressions of FITS (FAA/Industry Training Standards); …Item: ...Pilot Competence; ...Practical and Technology Difficulties; ...Pilot Referred to Me after Failing IFR Checkride four months previously; ...WhereTthings Went Wrong; ...FITS vs Traditional; ...The Problem Is Landing Flare; .You and the Transportation Safety Agency (TSA); .....29/12/05 Concerns; ...

The Problem

I was hoping you could answer a question, because I'm afraid I may have recently (last week) broken an FAR, but I'm not sure and I don't want to raise any unnecessary concerns (though I'm very concerned and have learned from my experience!). A narrative explaining the situation follows, below. Bottom line question in my mind is: if, at a Class C airport, I was given a clearance by ground to proceed to a certain runway, end up at the wrong intersection (thinking I'm following taxi instructions), and if I say I'm ready to take off on the new runway I'm at and the tower says I'm cleared to takeoff on that runway, am I in trouble or not? Is that a runway incursion? Do I have a clearance, or have I failed to follow ATC instructions? (I think it's a little of both!) Of course, I intend to never let this happen again, but I'm wondering if I have an investigation coming my way. It's such a classic mistake, I'm ashamed I fell into the trap.

Thank you very much for your time...I'm very worried! Is there a way I can find out if ATC started an action for an investigation?

The Problem
Started taxi, Then Ground Changed My Runway.
I wasn't sure where to go, so I started pulling out my airport diagram. The controller came back on and gave me further taxi instructions (perhaps noting the uncertainty in my voice). Since I was taxiing and the new instruction was unexpected, I was unprepared to write down the runway number and did not copy all the information down--only the instruction to turn left to heading 120. I was told to take taxiway F to C and the runway crosses there. So I stopped at the first intersection of a runway with C, thinking I was at the correct location. Ground even instructed me to wait for a 737 which was, indeed, passing in front of me. ATC seemed to know where I was and everything seemed to add up. After I did my runup, however, I was unsure about which direction ATC wanted me to take off in (since I had been unable to write down the instruction). Since the winds were out of the north, I thought they must have meant for me to takeoff on runway 3. I thought if I was wrong they would tell me, the same as if I had asked. Using my call sign and appropriate procedures, I called I was ready for takeoff on runway 3. The tower called back that I was cleared for takeoff on runway 3. I answered "Skyhawk X cleared for takeoff" and proceeded to takeoff on runway 3, turning left to heading 120 as instructed. During my turn ATC redirected me. Shortly after this a controller called to say I had taken off on the wrong runway. I was deeply concerned by this. I didn't want to get into a full-blown discussion on the radio, and "argue" that I had received clearance to takeoff on runway 3. So I just responded with "Skyhawk X, I said runway 3."

I am answering without reading anything except that you may have violated an FAR. Without delay get the ASRS form from the NTSB/FAA web site, fill it out and get it in the mail as a registered letter.

I do this several times a year even though it is only valid once every several years. It is your 'get out of jail free card'. I write about it in my web site in the section "You and the FAA".
You only have 10 days...

Thank you very much for taking the time to respond. I'm very much on edge about this...I'll bet I never make that mistake again!

I will send the ASRP form in. I'm also concerned about how the FAA would handle a student (which I am, this was only my 2nd solo flight out the airport) or my instructor who signed me off as ready to go (which I was). Your web site makes it sound like I have only a one-in-ten chance of escaping unscathed, if an action is taken against me. Do I have that correctly?

After I wrote to you, I called the local FSS to see what they thought about the situation. The briefer I talked to said that my thinking is correct, that when the tower said I was cleared to take off I was OK. So I'm hoping I'm "covered." Of course I never want to do it that way again, and I'm still worried.

Thanks very much again. Also, your web site has been very very helpful in all aspects of my training.

It may take anywhere from three weeks to several  months before you know if the FAA is going to file a violation against you. If you do not get your ASRS form sent in within ten days don't bother sending it in. It is too late to protect you.

You will just have to wait it out. Let me know. However, you should take out AOPA legal insurance if you have not already. It can save you considerable money. Worth every penny. FAA can fine you and suspend or remove your license. Whatever they want to do. It took me 14 months to get my one case thrown out. Meanwhile you just suffer.

The Problem
Induced Drag
Can someone please explain to me induced drag. I have read the books but can't seem to grasp it. thanks

Induced drag is the price you pay for lift. I guess parasitic drag is easier to visualize, because you can see how landing gear, flaps, etc stick out into the air stream. Induced drag is more subtle because you can't see it, you can only experience its effects. When you are tootling along in cruise, the total drag presented by your airplane is largely parasitic...cooling drag, gear, antennas, etc...and only a small portion is induced. The wing has a small angle of attack...but it does have an angle of attack.

Let's say you roll into a bank. If you do not apply back pressure, the nose will drop and you will lose altitude. If you apply back pressure to maintain altitude, you are increasing the angle of attack to supply the required lift...and the airspeed decreases because of the increased induced drag. Add power to overcome the induced drag or accept the airspeed loss. If you want a more scientific analysis, I'm the wrong person to ask.
Bob Gardner

The problem here is that there's (oh no, he's going to say it) two kinds of lift. There's physical lift and conventional lift (not that you'll find those terms in any aerodynamics book). The wing and the air obey the laws of physics and produce a force that points in whatever direction it must to make the universe happy. People, on the other hand, like to bend the will of nature to their own devices and say (somewhat arbitrarily, but still rather conveniently) that lift is UP, perpendicular to the horizontal plane. Thus, the physical lift gets decomposed into two components that we conventionally call lift and drag. The important thing to remember is that the wing doesn't work any differently just because we chose to draw our free body diagrams in a certain way that's convenient to us.
Roy Smith, CFI-ASE-IA

…One of the areas of aerodynamics that is usually explained badly, and often incorrectly, to pilots. The confusion stems from a misinterpretation of a diagram that is not quite what it seems. The explanation is not as simple as most would like it to be.

The key issue is that any wing with wingtips -- and in real life that's all of them! -- creates vortices at the tips. We see this as wake turbulence, but the vortices have more subtle effects. They actually influence the direction of the airflow immediately ahead of the wing, tilting it slightly downwards. The longer the wing, the further away the vortices are, and the smaller the angle of tilt.

We can work out the effect of this perturbation on the airflow immediately ahead of the wing by thinking about what happens if we change the overall direction of the airflow. Imagine a wing with no drag in level flight. The airflow is horizontal. The lift vector, and thus the total force, points perpendicular to the airflow -- vertically upwards. Now tilt the airflow, so that it points slightly downwards as it approaches the wing. This has two effects: it decreases the angle of attack by the angle of tilt, slightly reducing the lift; more importantly, the lift vector tilts to become perpendicular to the new direction of airflow. It now has a small horizontal component.

But the *overall* direction of the wing through the air and the airflow *at a distance* has not changed. And that overall direction is still our "reference direction", and is still horizontal. So this small horizontal component appears to be acting parallel to the airflow at a distance, even though the lift vector is actually perpendicular to the local airflow. So it appears to be like drag, induced by the change in direction of local airflow caused by the wingtip vortices.

The angle by which the airflow is tilted is called the 'induced angle of attack'. If you want to understand the phenomenon of induced drag, it is vital to recognize that the 'induced angle of attack' is *not* the same as the angle of attack of the wing. We're *not* saying that the lift acts parallel to the chord line and that changing the angle of attack changes the direction of the lift vector by a corresponding amount. We're trying to work out the effect that those wingtip vortices have by considering a hypothetical change in direction of the airflow. But the diagram usually drawn in aerodynamics textbooks to illustrate that is prone to huge misunderstanding if you don't read the text that goes with it!

There's an approximate formula for the 'induced angle of attack' for a symmetric aerofoil shape. It's the real angle of attack * 2/aspect-ratio. So if the aspect ratio is 10, and the real angle of attack is 5 degrees, the 'induced angle of attack' (the tilt of the lift vector caused by those vortices) is only 1 degree. Since it depends on the angle of attack, the tilt of the lift vector does increase as the angle of attack increases, but by a much smaller amount. It certainly doesn't tilt to be perpendicular to the chord line. Hope that helps
Julian Scarfe

I'll try to come at this as someone with a physics background relearning it for the purposes of aviation. In other words I could be completely wrong. Induced drag is still lift, but is the component of lift that acts anti-parallel to the direction of flight. In other words lift acts perpendicular to the lifting surface, but a vector perpendicular to the lifting surface may be decomposed into a vertical (lifting) component and a horizontal (drag) component. Fundamentally, I think the above is the cleanest possible answer that doesn't involve bad physics.
Mr Cole100

In some respects, I think "induced drag" is somewhat of a misnomer. The name makes it sounds like the drag which is caused by the lift. In some senses, that's true, but it's a little misleading. It's not that the lift causes the drag, but that the drag is an essential part of the lift. It's really that part of the lift which doesn't point up.
Roy Smith, CFI-ASE-IA

In the instant case, it is important for a student to know that there are two kinds of drag contributing to total drag, and under what conditions each type is greatest (slow speed = induced, high speed = parasitic). They need to know how their use of the controls affects drag production, and when to use them to best effect. They do not *need* to have a mathematical analysis, and in many cases an attempt to explain in trig terms might turn a student off. I do think it is important for instructors to impart the "why" as well as the "how," but I do not think that an in-depth discussion of why induced drag exists will make a student a better or safer pilot.

The first time I get into an airplane with a new wannabee CFI, I ask him or her to tell me, as their student, "What makes the airplane fly?" If the answer involves the lift equation, angle of attack, or anything similar, I disabuse them of that notion right away...the airplane flies when it goes fast enough for the wing to develop enough lift to overcome the aircraft's weight; for a newbie, anything more is overkill. I hope you will not be one of those overkill instructors.

BTW, if you read any of my books you will see that my teaching methods are based on practicality.
Bob Gardner

The Problem
Use of Sectionals
OK. I'm getting pretty fed up here. I've been trying to teach myself to navigate solely by pilotage using a sectional. I'm at just about 200 hours and I am finding that the scale on a sectional is realistically useless for navigation from my typical altitudes of 3 to 5 thousand feet. Large lakes are mere specs on the sectional and most aren't even depicted. There are a plethora of major roads visible from the air, but only a few are depicted on the sectional and there is practically no way to positively identify which ones they are. Rivers are barely discernible, faint blue lines.

There are a few major landmarks, like Quabbin Reservoir and Mt. Manadnock that are pretty unmistakable and distinctly shaped so that they are unmistakable, but there are vast areas where there are virtually no positively identifiable landmarks. Towers aren't too bad if there are enough around that I can confirm their pattern, but one tower by itself is useless. Train tracks and power lines are visible from the air, but they are cluttered out on the sectional and they only give one aspect of your location unless there is an intersection.

Please don't say "Go grab a CFI", because none of the CFI's I've known have the least bit of interest or ability in learning to navigate by pilotage. Maybe there are some old timers out there who can, but I've had at least 5 CFI's and not one of them impressed me as being able to navigate by pilotage using a sectional I can combine pilotage and dead reckoning and get where I want to go, but the sectional becomes just a back up. Neither one alone seems at all reliable. I'd like to be able to use a map as primary means. It seems the method least prone to failure or miscalculation.

I guess what I'd like to see is a scale of sectional that is actually useful for the low and slow pilot. I had an atlas along that had a really usable scale, but it was a book of the whole country and the binder was too stiff to make it useful in the plane.

Just curious. How many people out there can really navigate by sectional alone? How many people would find a larger scale much more useful. The TAC charts are great, but you'd need a bunch of them for any real trips. Something in between would be real nice, IMO.

Sectional's work just fine, you just need to learn how to use them. The sectional shows you the mountains, valley's major roads, rivers etc. What you, the pilot have to learn is how to use the information presented to you. Selecting airports for check points is always good, now you know where a airport is in case you have a problem. I write down my time at each check point and compare it to the time I calculated for that check point. This way if I miss a check point I know what course I have to turn to to get back to my last check point and I know how long it will take me to get back.

Noting where the airport is in relation to the town or city, for example SAC is located on the south side of the town, and just south of a park and just east of the Sacto river. Use the VOR's for cross checks, for example going over a mountain range, you should cross a ridge, but use a VOR to help identify the point on the ridge of your route. In flat lands, towns and again airports at these towns are a good source for check points, I carry an old binocular to help locate towns or airports.

Keep an eye on your drift, if you get to your first check point and you are off some distance, then work out the drift & gs so you can correct. Your next check point do it again if you are not hitting the check points right on. I try to keep the check points within 20 to 25 miles of each other. I also use the VOR for cross checks along the course, but remember electronic's can & do fail, always id the VOR you are using. Also rivers and canals help, at night they can glow. In the desert's look for surrounding mountains and flood zones, mines and canals.

Again use VOR to help locate a point, like a course change. Use the VOR, two different stations to cross check positions. Lots of hwy's and they can really get you confused, I try to stay away from using them. My first trip to LA Area, WHP airport, had lots of smog, but the railroad tracks go right by the airport. The tracks are right next to the freeway also. I just followed the tracks right to the airport. To the east of the airport is a small hill, this is shown on the chart, to come through the pass (Newhall) and follow the tracks, looking for the airport on the east side of the tracks and a small hill to the east of the airport and a lake and damn also to the east of the airport just south of the hill. Timing the flight from the pass to the airport. I had already plotted out the distance from the pass to the airport. So I suggest you study the charts, learn what the terrain is doing on and around your plotted course,

Look for dams and note where the dam is located on the lake in relationship to your course you have plotted. The location of airports in relation to the town, work with all the tools you have, use your VOR to help locate a check point on your course. In many ways this is the fun part of flying, doing the work up for a flight. If you do get turned around, call an FSS or even if you have to use the emergency freq, In most cases they can pop you up on radar. (Flight service stations do not have radar, GW) A friend of mine got lost on his cross country and also got airsick. He was really turned around, and he got on the radio for help. They vectored him into Palm Springs and bought him a cup of coffee to settle him down.

That was his last flight, he gave up after that flight, which was sad. My wife did not get lost on her first cross country, but she was not real sure of a couple of check points. She dialed in the VOR at Blyth and flew the VOR to the airport. As she went along she was able to locate the rest of her check points, She was off a little because of the winds she encountered, but the VOR kept her on the correct course. On her flight work up she had high lighted the VORs along her route, so it was no big deal to find on the chart. A few years ago my Dad would fly down and use the binoculars (same ones) to read the road signs. Hope this helps & happy flying.

Maybe I misunderstand ... but your use of deduced reckoning gives you an idea of where you should be on the map, and then the sectional confirms it. The train track crossing just over the northern part of a town becomes a solid reference once you know its the only such feature within miles of where you are. This is how my CFI has taught me to navigate at least (he is very keen on my being able to prove in three different ways that I know my position based on features in the sectional) - and we are in southern Kansas which is about as featureless as you can get.
Jeremy Huffman

You also need to realize that not every depicted landmark is visible from every altitude, position, and time of day or year. On the NY sectional, for example, there's one lake with an F shared road structure depicted immediately to the north.

My first time there, I wasn't sure I was looking at the right lake as the roads weren't there. But as I passed the lake, suddenly I could see the roads. They'd been hidden by little tree-covered hills.

I've come to think of sectionals in terms of probabilities. If I see, for example, 3 out of 5 depicted landmarks which should be around me, I'm pretty comfortable with my position. I also tend to fly differently when I'm using pure pilotage as opposed to ded recking. For the latter, I fly straight lines, make fixed course corrections, and stay on a predicted path. When flying purely by sight, I hop from one landmark to another. When I'm passing landmark A, I pick a B out in the distance, and aim for it (adjusting for wind). It makes for a less efficient course, but it's also a fun way to fly.

But even on ded reckoning, I try to always keep recognized landmarks in sight. It's much easier to "find yourself" if you maintain an awareness of your position. This isn't always possible, though. Flying direct and low from Scranton, PA to Caldwell, NJ, for example, west of the Delaware distinct landmarks are scarce. Fortunately, the river makes for a terrific landmark, providing not just east-west guidance but also - because the shape of the river varies - north-south.

You gotta be kidding. Where else on the planet did they put down the equivalent of lat/lon lines on the ground? Large chunks of the Midwest were laid out in the  Range/Township/
Section system. East of the Mississippi River most real estate was laid out metes and bounds (don't ask, it makes the FARs look comprehensible.)
Steve Corlew

Actually most of the US west of the original states is laid out on the Range/Township/
Section system; the system was established by the Land Survey Ordinance of 1785 and all lands sold by the US government were surveyed in it.
Paul Baechler

Good call, and I'd bet you weren't the first!! I recall a friend and I getting grilled one day by our Comm instructor (r.i.p.)..... what do you do if you get lost??..... what if that doesn't work, then what? .....then what?.... on and on, nothing satisfied him. Finally he said "Land and ask someone!! People on the ground almost always know where they are!".
John Gaquin

Impressions of FITS (FAA/Industry Training Standards)
--A pro-active way to fit policies and procedures with newer aircraft, avionics and flight technologies.
--Past generic aircraft systems and requisite training must be changed to fit new technological requirements.
--FITS seeks an evolutionary approach to change that 's responsive to the speed of change.
-- FITS seeks to identify future training needs and create what is needed to give that training.
--The FAA's 10-year plans OEP and NAS expects 'Safer Skies' training facilities to produce better pilots.
--Selected facilities exist as repositories of advanced knowledge, CGAR, ( to train GA pilots.
--The Center for Excellence for General Aviation intends to set generic standards for the latest GA aircraft.
--Specific FITS programs and standards will be designed for specific aircraft requirements.
--Specific FITS programs will be developed for retrofitted aircraft with high-tech technology.
--14 CFR 61.31(h) is the FAR to require specific training for aircraft and/or equipment via the POH.
--Recurrent flight review type training is likely to be required in 6-month intervals tailored to the area.
--Insurance incentives are expected from such training.
--FITS is aware that GA pilot needs a broader flight program beyond the mission specifics of ATPs.
--The proposed evolutionary FITS program could leave pilots with blanks in their flight education.
--The lack of uniformity in new technology is an underlying problem for pilots and instructors.
--Thomas Glista (author) admits that all possibilities have not been researched.

--I initially faced the technology difficulty in the waning months of WWII when I was a LORAN instructor.
--Those WWII navigators trained in celestial navigation were rightfully suspicious as to electronic reliability.

Pilot Competence
--Much of aeronautical instruction is one on one and no different from that since the beginning of flight.
--Pilot had to spend far too much time with his head down in the cockpit while trying to make things work.
--This pilot first learned to fly in his SR-22 only after instructor(s) were taught in same aircraft.
--The FADEC throttle did not lean the engine on shutdown making restarts difficult or impossible.
--I had to teach pilot how to manually lean on shut down so that starting difficulty no longer existed.
--The FADEC throttle indent made it difficult for the pilot to select appropriate speeds for approaches.
--Instrument approach speeds were not flown at low speeds due to FADEC indent.
--Relatively abrupt ground maneuvers may cause unexpected fuel overflows from fuel tanks.
--Flew with full fist 'death grip' on stick at all times. Excessive altitude and course deviations.
--Never taught or shown that aircraft could be trimmed and flown with two fingers or hands-off.
--Had never been taught the Dutch roll as a basic X-wing landing skill.
--Had never been taught to turn aircraft to clear bases and final prior to taking a runway.
--Had never been taught procedure for clearing a runway on an intersecting runway.
--Had never been taught that a runway different than ATC assigned could be requested.
--Had never been taught about 270s, 360s, short approaches, or the options available to ATC or request.
--We flew thrice a week, it took two months before the moving map and Sandel would perform properly.
--Local avionics shop technicians unable to get the cockpit components to communicate with each other.
--He was completely unable to prepare a flight using a single VOR for navigation VFR or IFR.
--Pilot had never been taught how to use VOR to determine location with reference to a sectional.
--Appeared to be unaware of the distinction between an intercept heading and a tracking heading.
--Had never experienced reverse sensing on VOR or localizer
--Pilot unprepared to fly in an environment of low-tech aircraft/ATC in an aircraft difficult to see.
--Use of AFD had to be explained and taught.
--What I found was a pilot who was not equipped to handle his aircraft if a system failed to function properly

Practical and Technology Difficulties
--Inoperative GPSs and moving maps necessitated the use of pilotage and sectional interpretation. Problems!
--The possibility of a GPS/Moving Map shutdown exists. Pilots need to be prepared for failures.
--With the moving map frozen on 'acquiring', pilot was effectively 'lost' because of poor chart reading skills.
--Pilot had never made a NORDO arrival, actual or simulated.
--Unfamiliar uncontrolled airport radio and arrival procedures were weak to non-existent.
--Pilot did not know procedures that would allow sequencing commensurate with his aircraft's performance.
--Airport departure and arrival procedures were not adequate for high performance aircraft requirements.
--All VFR arrivals and departures had to be the same and passively accepted as assigned by ATC.
--Situational awareness was totally missing with no local knowledge of call-up or reporting points.
--Chart reading and interpretation were neglected with reliance focused on GPS and moving maps.
--Could give rote responses regarding airspace requirements but had little experience or practical usage.
--Flew around Alert areas for miles because of inability to knowledgeably and effectively communicate.
--Had never been exposed to SVFR procedures with simulated or actual arrivals and departures.
--Had never realized that all of his ground and flight instruction could be recorded for later review.
--Could not use heading bug to help taxiing in winds or to plan runway entries.
--Had never been taught how to fly a course reversal as VFR or IFR procedure.
--The CDI of the Sandel and VOR head would give contradictory indications on approaches.
--If Moore's Law about the 18 month technology jump holds FITS will be much different than it is now.
--What plans are there for the "unknown unknowns some of which have occurred above?

Pilot Referred After Failing IFR Checkride Four Months Previously
--Failing his IFR checkride probably saved his life.
--Initial instruction related to make his aircraft control not a part of the problem.
--All IFR flight planning had been by pre-filing. No tower-en route or pop-ups procedures taught.
--Pilot had never been walked, talked through courses, altitudes, frequencies, and talking prior to flight.
--ATC planning and communications completely passive with en route negotiations never attempted
--No IFR approaches flown visually and then hooded or actual to emphasize situational awareness.
--No multiple IFR approaches flown IFR repeatedly to a full stops and re-filed departures.
--For IFR training he had never been taught to prepare a flight with frequencies, courses, altitudes, etc.
--Unaware many ATC procedures are unpublished, not in database and will vary from initial clearances.

Where Things Went Wrong
--Ground operations at unfamiliar airports were taught haphazardly at best. He could not word requests.
--Learning to fly in Oregon did not prepare him for VFR or IFR in the Greater Bay Area.
--Pilot was totally passive in dealing with ATC and unable to properly word any request.
--Use of suggestive level of assertiveness in radio communications had not be taught or used.
--The 'talking airplane' skills were neglected with reliance focused on interaction of technologies.

FITS or Traditional
--Voluntary consensus standards designed around the latest technology are likely to leave pilots unprepared.
--The basics of pilotage, pattern procedures, weather options and communication skills are left wanting.
--This pilot had learned flying in an SR-22, was poorly prepared and well on his way to an accident.
--The landing stall attitude of the SR-22 is unusually flat, holding the nose wheel off is not used?
--The 80-percent pilot related accident rate will increase, as SR-22 records already seem to indicate.
--Jump starting instructors into the new technology to the neglect of the basics is what I see as the problem.
--Present-day pilots have reason to be suspicious of programming and interaction of system components.
--The FAA's FITS program is facing the same situation as the military finding how to blend skills.
--General Aviation instruction has not been able to keep up with the developments of technology.
-- G.A. hi-tech aircraft are not appropriately equipped for FITS instruction of failure modes.
--Feasibility of having trainer high-tech aircraft initially equipped for primitive ATC system operations?
--Alternative, initiate instruction without hi-tech equipment activated. Teach basics first!
--ATPs do not start with glass cockpits. Many instances where basics saved aircraft where hi-tech did not.
--Instructional emphasis on primacy, under stress you react as first taught, is still a good way to go.

I have been innovative in my instruction through the use of a tape recorder for over 8500 hours of flight instruction and perhaps more than that in pre-flight and post-flight analysis. My efforts to get other instructors to do likewise have been a failure. They tend to see a recording as a weapon to be used against them. I feel the tapes my students have of my instruction as an insurance policy. We tend to teach as we have been taught.

The Problem Is Landing Flare
----- Original Message -----
From: "Madhavan Thirumalai" <>
Sent: Friday, September 10, 2004 5:31 PM

Subject: Landing questions
Hello Gene,
I am a 30 hour student flying Cessna 172s. I found your website using Google and it has really has been a
huge help. The simple suggestion "Cover the end of the runway with your nose" fixed my landing problems – I was flaring too late until I read that tip. Thank you very much.

Today, I flew with 3 people in the plane and landed at Tracy airport where the density altitude was 3000 feet
because of the heat. I had the hardest time landing.
First, the ground came up faster than I was used to. There seemed to be no ground effect at all.

Second, I could never cover the end of the runway with my nose as I am used to. I am not sure why. The
aircraft was tail heavy because of the extra passenger but I don't think that that had anything to do with
it. Pulling the nose that high just felt wrong. Does that make sense? Or was my timing off because of point
one above?

Third, I am used to my stall warning horn go off on landings but today it never did.

On my first two landings, the aircraft bounced and I found myself 10 feet in the air and had to go around.
Any thoughts?
How does your approach speed, roundout and flare change because of a loaded plane?
How does your approach speed, roundout and flare change because of density altitude?
Another question about landings in cross wind – I have no trouble holding the centerline on the approach. But once I am over the threshold and have begun my round out, I tend to fly coordinated turns close to the ground and in ground effect. I land left of center line but have decent alignment and no apparent side load on the landing gear. Is this habit of flying coordinated turns low to the ground ok or is this is a bad habit that I ought to break as soon as possible?
Thanks for your time.
Regards, Madhavan

The Cause and Solution
I, too, was at Tracy 9-10-04 at about 5 p.m. with density altitude of 3300.
I presume that you ran a weight and balance for your load. The POH figures makes me believe you were right at gross.

Your reaction to the density altitude is quite typical. First of all you get the sensation that the ground is going past much faster than usual and coming up much faster than usual. IT IS.

Probable cause for the relatively hard landing is that at some point you began to fly the aircraft into the round out and flare without due regard to the airspeed indicator. The sense of excess speed in your peripheral vision caused you to sense that you were too fast. You were faster than usual because of the density altitude. You always fly the indicated airspeeds regardless of the density altitude.

The C-172 becomes very light on the elevator control with someone in the back seat. This means that the usual pressure on the yoke needed to cover the end of the runway is much less. If your rear seat passenger was heavier than you right seat passenger you made the sensitivity of the elevators much worse. Perhaps legal but very sensitive. Your normal pressure would have caused the extreme nose high situation. My bet is that you used a full grip on the yoke instead of only two fingers.

You also have become familiar with the ground effect as it exists at cooler temperatures. Getting slow in the round out and flare means that you will not have the ground effect you need to make a soft landing. You will be moving faster than usual, expect it. In density altitude landings you will have a higher ground speed. Accept it.

Your go-around at density altitudes should have been more difficult. Your entire procedure would have gone better the closer you may have stayed to the ground. You need the ground effect to get the acceleration needed to climb as well as carefully milking off the flaps to get the speed to climb. This takes some getting used to.

The load was only partially a part of the problem. One of my favorite pastimes every spring is to watch the twins make their first hot-day landings after the cool days of winter. The little known fact about density altitude landings is that every aspect about the landing is different except for ONE thing. Properly performed the TIME of the flare will be exactly the same as for any other landing. The speed will be faster, taking the aircraft over a greater distance. In the future try to get a bit closer to the ground during your round- out and be more patient in your yoke movement to let the aircraft float further as it will. Just keep the nose covering the end of the runway, no more and no less, and you will get the stall warner and the landing you're looking for.
You and the Transportation Safety Agency (TSA)
Logbook Entry
"I certify that [insert student's name] has presented me a [insert type of document presented, such as a U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport, and the relevant control or sequential number on the document, if any] establishing that [he or she] is a U.S. citizen or national in accordance with 49 CFR 1552.3(h). [Insert date and instructor's signature and CFI number.]"
Visa Holders
Visa holders who begin training for a recreational, sport pilot, private pilot (single or multiengine) certificate, multiengine rating (at any level), or instrument rating after December 20, 2004, must notify TSA of their intent to begin training. The notification process is as follows:

  1. The applicant registers on TSA's Web site,, at which point they will be given a username and password via e-mail. After receiving the e-mail, the student logs in to the site and submits the following:
  1. A final approval from TSA is not required prior to the start of flight training in aircraft below 12,500 pounds maximum gross takeoff weight. However, the flight school and candidate must wait for the final e-mail from TSA that confirms that the fingerprints and fee have been received before starting flight training. The photo should be taken and sent to TSA after this final e-mail is received. If TSA determines the student is a security threat, the school or instructor will be notified, and training is to be stopped immediately.

Flight schools and flight instructors
Training of U.S. citizens

  1. Each flight training provider is required to determine U.S. citizenship before training is started for a recreational, sport pilot, private pilot (single or multiengine) certificate, multiengine rating (at any level), or instrument rating (does not include recurrent training). This only applies to people beginning training after October 20, 2004. Evidence may be shown by one of the following:
    1. Valid, unexpired U.S. passport.
    2. Original birth certificate of the United States, American Samoa, or Swains Island, and government-issued picture ID.
    3. Original certification of birth abroad with raised seal (Form FS-545 or DS-1350) and government-issued picture ID.
    4. Original certificate of U.S. citizenship with raised seal (Form N-560 or N-561), or a Certificate of Repatriation (Form N-581), and government-issued picture ID.
    5. Original U.S. naturalization certificate with raised seal (Form N-550 or N-570) and a government-issued picture ID.
    6. Flight training of federal employees including military personnel: Pursuant to a contract between a federal agency and a flight school, the agency must submit a written certification to TSA as to its employee's U.S. citizenship or nationality and government-issued credentials or other federally issued picture ID.
    7. Flight training of foreign military pilots endorsed by the Department of Defense to receive flight training in the U.S. (DoD endorsees): The individual must present a written statement acceptable to the TSA from the U.S. Department of Defense attachι in the individual's country of residence and a government-issued picture ID to the flight school.
  2. The instructor must then comply with one of the following two options:
    1. Make an endorsement in both the instructor's and student's logbook, or other record used by the instructor to record flight student endorsements, the following:
      "I certify that [insert student's name] has presented me a [insert type of document presented, such as a U.S. birth certificate or U.S. passport, and the relevant control or sequential number on the document, if any] establishing that [he or she] is a U.S. citizen or national in accordance with 49 CFR 1552.3(h). [Insert date and instructor's signature and CFI number.]"
    2. Keep a copy of the documents used to prove citizenship for five years.
  3. Flight training can begin after the documents have been reviewed and either the logbook endorsement is made or copies are obtained by the instructor.

Training of aliens (both green-card and visa holders)

  1. Any flight school or instructor wanting to provide training for a recreational, sport pilot, private pilot (single or multiengine) certificate, multiengine rating (at any level), or instrument rating, (does not include recurrent training) to a foreign national must first register with the TSA at
  2. When the applicant registers with TSA and chooses their flight school (or name of independent instructor), the flight school or instructor will be sent an e-mail confirming the student's request.
  3. Immediately after the student reports for training, a digital (or digital version of a traditional) photo must be taken. The photo is uploaded when TSA instructs the flight training provider to do so.

Record-keeping requirements

The flight training provider must keep a record of the following for five years for each foreign applicant:

Steps in TSA registration process

  1. The flight training candidate should provide advanced notice to the flight school that he or she intends to start flight training.
  2. After the prospective student notifies the flight school of their intent, the school needs to register online with TSA at After accessing this page, select "new account." From there, the flight training provider should select "Provider Admin," which is used for flight schools and independent CFIs. "Provider Agent" is used for flight instructors working for a flight school that previously registered with TSA. The flight school will then be sent a user ID and password from TSA via e-mail.
  3. The flight school takes a photo of the candidate. (The TSA help desk recommends taking the photo just before sending it to the TSA — see step 11).
  4. According to the rule, a password will be provided after an agent of the flight school visits the FSDO that was selected during the registration process. This will allow the FSDO to verify the flight school agent's ID and notify TSA that the ID has been confirmed.
  5. The candidate completes the account request form online at After selecting the flight training provider, the candidate submits the training request to TSA. The candidate will then be sent a user ID and password from TSA via e-mail.
  6. The flight school will be sent an e-mail from TSA requesting confirmation of the candidate's training request after the candidate's request has been submitted.
  7. Once the flight school confirms the candidate's request, the candidate will be e-mailed instructions to pay the $130 processing fee (credit card only).
  8. Upon receiving the payment, TSA e-mails both the candidate and the flight school a "preliminary decision" that confirms the application and fee have been received. If the decision is favorable, the candidate will receive instructions for submitting fingerprints. If the decision is not favorable, the candidate will be provided details regarding any information that may be missing from their registration.
  9. Flight training may begin only after TSA has notified the flight school and the candidate via e-mail that they have received the fee and fingerprints.
  10. TSA will make a final determination as to the candidate's eligibility to receive flight training (training may have already started) and will notify the flight school and candidate of its decision.
  11. Lastly, the flight school will be sent instructions from the TSA to send the candidate's photo to the TSA by uploading it electronically or by fax.

Flight students enrolled prior to October 20, 2004, are not subject to the requirements of this rule:

TSA has clarified that flight students who are enrolled in such flight training prior to October 20, 2004, are not subject to the regulation. However, once the student completes training for that particular certificate, he or she must comply with the applicable requirements if they begin training for an additional certificate or rating.

29/12/05 Concerns
It' not just the FAA. It's the FBO, insurance companies, insurance agents and most of all the lawyers. At 81 I am having to deal with all of these even though I have never had a negative mark on my flying record in over 11,000 hours and over 10,000 instructional hours.

I have always carried my own liability and non-owned aircraft insurance at a cost of about $3,000 per year with never a claim. Only one time have I used AOPA legal services and after 14 months the FAA dropped the case. The wanted $500 and AOPA fought them to a standstill.

However, a clean record is not enough for an insurance company that lives in fear of legal firms that prey on aviation. The tale recently given to me was that if any one of the other instructors of my FBO were to cause an insurance claim, one of the attacks by a lawyer might be against my FBO that they were negligent in letting an 81-year old instructor teach using their aircraft. I'm presently on a
short leash even though I'm the only instructor carrying my own insurance as well.

I have in the past week passed my renewal of my CFI and flight review. Need an IFR proficiency ride since my plane has been down a long time. Also need a club 6-month check in complex-high performance aircraft (182RG).
More things happen more often as you get older.
Gene Whitt

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