Page 6.53 ( 14743)
Fifteen 'Concerns' Articles
Return to whittsflying Home Page
Seeing Is More Difficult Than It Looks;...Visions you Get While Landing;...P-factor Makes You Walk Funny; Rudder Exercise; ...Gee and Haw; ...Initial Call-up in Class C and Class B airspace; ...VFR Radar Flight Advisories; Learning the Dutch Roll;...Help in Finding airports; ...Cruise control for airplanes; ...Over-controlling with Tight Grips; ...Safe Speed Selection; ...Safety Is Made of Little Things; ...Afraid of Stalls; So Youre Not Making Progress; Enter the Department of Homeland Security; ...
Is More Difficult Than It Looks
I used to know that there are three ways to tell if you are getting old. The first one is that you become forgetful. Uh, uh, I can't remember the other two. Maybe the story went that memory is the second mental skill you lose with age. You ask, "What was the first?" "I can't remember."
That said, I was watching Alan Alda, of MASH 4077th fame,
go through a memory test on PBS last week. The program began
with Alda watching the making of a video with a young couple
partaking of a picnic lunch on
the shore of a body of water. Later the producer staged selected scenes of the video for the taking of still photographs with certain elements different.
Alda was shown the still photos and then was given a memory test in which he was asked to discriminate between how the original video production differed from the photos. Alda's memory mixed up the two sources of information to the point that it was obvious his mind could not tell which was which.
The purpose of the experiment was to show that mental images from different sources can be twisted and confused. That this can occur under controlled test conditions only verified for me the confusion of visual images flying students get from their lessons. There is ample reason to believe that the confusion can be made to carry over into all the other senses. In my experience the least likely to be crossed up is the sense of smell but my wife often accuses me of being contrary.
A student pilot can be expected to get widely varied sight pictures of the landing approach, roundout, and flare. Imposed on this is all the landings he has watched on TV, seen in movies, and watched at the airport. To this, add any toy airplane landings as a child or a model maker. Top this background with spoken images and procedures from pilot friends and multiple instructors. Read Stick and Rudder, Ron Machado as well as Kershner. Mix in a portion of MS-5 or s6 flight simulator and is it any wonder that students have difficulty with landings. Alda had it easy with only two image sets and still blew half his answers.
The problem, in my mind, is that there is an image conflict just as Alda had only compounded by multi-sensory perceptions. The student pilot is not sure of just what image to use in a given landing. There is enough difference between every landing so that no one image can be relied upon as a constant. What's more the kinesthetic sense is completely new, unanticipated and peculiar.
The student pilot must begin the most difficult learning process of all, unlearning. Airliners do not land as training aircraft are supposed to land. For most student only the written word accurately portrays what takes place in a good landing. Changing the written word into the desirable visual image does not come easily. There is tremendous psychological difficulties in believing that to make a good landing, you must make the runway disappear from view. You are asked to believe that the sought for sight picture does not include the runway. A good landing is a tremendous act of faith.
The instructor may have presented a particular concept of control movement over and over in the process of teaching landings without apparent effect on the student. Then for no apparent reason a brief statement gives the student some unexpected insight into what is supposed to happen. For every student this seems to come at a different time and in a different way. Whatever it is, it should be bottled.
Before I became involved in flying, I was involved in teaching children with learning difficulties. I became a much better teacher of children through teaching flying. I became a much better teacher of flying by teaching children. Just as children must believe they can learn, so must a student pilot believe that he can land an airplane without seeing the runway. Once a student believes in the teacher, most any learning process is possible.
There is another memory aspect which can add to a student's ability to perform as well as he would desire. I recommend that immediately before landing practice, an inter-airport flight, or any set of maneuvers that the student review not just mentally, but orally what he expects to do and how he expects to do it at all discrete points of the flight. This process should be an habitual process for recharging the batteries of short term memory. Don't believe that this recharging can be bypassed any more than could a preflight. The better and more complete your near term flight review the less likely are you forget pertinent information. Practice of the right kind makes perfect.
One more important aspect of a student pilot's training is the study process. You do not fully understand an instructional video in one viewing. You will not fully appreciate the nuances of meaning and implication of a book in one reading. A good example of such a text is the government publication known as the Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. One sentence of this student textbook is often re-written into a chapter in others. This book is the concentrated orange juice of student pilot literature. I have likened the text to water buffalo meat. Even in quarter inch cubes it will require considerable chewing before it can be swallowed. My time in India pays a dividend.
The final question is what can you or your instructor do to facilitate the learning process? Repetition alone is not enough. Rewording or restating material may help. In education there is a term called 'readiness'. A student can be exposed to material prior to being ready and it will be essentially a wasted effort. For some concepts a foundation must be laid. The student must be nurtured with peripheral material that will increase the student's awareness and readiness to learn. Students will vary in awareness of the kaleidoscope of sights, sounds, sensations and concerns that make up a flying event. What happens will be made up of many memories, some false and some true. Eventually, as in much of life, it comes down to what the student chooses to believe as memory.
Just yesterday, I gave a lesson in landing during weather minimums. See End of 6.23. No previous flight exposed the student with the evasion of clouds, evasion of local pattern restrictions, altitude variations and associated disorientation that required use of heading indicator for orientation. There is no other way to present the variations of sight skills required except in actual conditions. Don't know of any simulator capable of doing this. The student was ready and enjoyed the experience as did I in his enjoyment.
You Get While Landing
For the student, landing is an process of extreme stress. Stress focuses the attention. The instruction of landing must be designed to reduce stress. The student will only look, see, recognize, and understand what is involved in making landings when stress is reduced to a minimum of influence. The art of looking, seeing, and recognizing in a landing requires a moving scan, not as moving as an instrument scan, but a planned movement from the space over the cowling to the distance of the runway end and the horizon. All that happens, happens in the windshield and over the cowling. Knowing what you are seeing, and recognizing the significance of what you are seeing is what will give you the pertinent information required to fly the plane through the roundout, into the flare, along the float and into the stall prior to touchdown.
Every student is looking, some students see one or more of the significant factors. You are not going to make consistently good landings until you see all the significant factors of each landing phase. You are not going to be safe to solo until you know that when one of the factors is missing you must go-around. you will be ready to solo when you see what you are looking for and recognize that everything is in place for a safe landing.
You can explain a landings as consisting of five major parts, final approach, roundout, flare, touchdown and roll-out. The actual teaching of these parts causes each part to blend with those preceded and with that are to follow. There may be no distinct boundaries. The more nearly constant the pilot can make each of these parts blend smoothly with the others the better. It takes multiple exposures to each part before the student to change looking into seeing. The 'look' of every landing is different even though the same elements are present. The more constant you are able to maintain the approach speed and descent angle, the sooner you will begin 'seeing' what must be seen during the approach. You will 'see' the region between the nose and the runway. You will look for and find the line that remains still. You will 'see' the threshold move forward and back. You will 'see' the horizon appear, hold constant, and disappear in every landing in a somewhat the same-but-different manner. You will 'see better' using your peripheral vision.
When you can recognize all the parts of any given phase of the landing are properly arranged AND you can make the small changes in the controls needed to keep things either where they belong or changing into the next phase you are in control. You will be looking, seeing, and recognizing what happens to the nose and MAKING the gentle progressive changes in the controls needed to put the nose where it belongs. It is not just looking, or seeing. Rather, it is having the stress threshold level of the landing reduced to a level where you can recognize and do what it takes to make the desirable transitions happen.
There are several advantages to maintaining power into the final approach. Power will maintain carburetor heat sufficient to effectively prevent carburetor ice. Existing power will allow a smoother and quicker application of full power in a go-around. An abrupt application of power is far less likely to load up the carburetor. The power will allow a higher nose attitude at a slower airspeed. As the nose comes up so must rudder pressure move in to prevent landing to the left of the center line. This will reduce the amount of pitch change required into the round-out. Power gives the pilot a variable with which to adjust the glide path of the approach. I teach power-off landings as an emergency maneuver, a required skill, but not the norm.
A good learning procedure is to maintain 1500 (C-150) rpm throughout the entire landing even through touchdown. This use of constant teaches the necessity of a very light touch on the yoke. This teaches how smoothly the yoke can be moved in blending one part of the landing into the next. This teaches how the entire landing process does not need the nose wheel. This teaches that the runway will disappear from view but still be there at touchdown. Finally, this teaches that the smooth reduction of power until touchdown gives the pilot another variable in the landing process.
What you see over the cowling is directly related to how many times the correct landing view has appeared and how many times it has been recognized. There is a considerable difference between looking, seeing, and recognizing. For the first few landings the student is looking but not knowing what to look for. Only multiple approaches will change just looking into seeing the many references that are available. Recognition of these references will take still many more multiple landings. Once landing references are recognized in one landing they and all their cousins are more readily located in subsequent landings.
The final approach, with power presents the runway as a trapezoid who's dimensions will vary with the approach angle. This view is the first and most important visual reference available to a pilot. In front of the runway trapezoid, between the top of the cowling and the threshold of the runway, exists an area of ground. The size of this area will remain relatively constant on a stabilized approach. If the area begins to decrease in size, it means that your approach path is going to take you beyond the threshold. If the area seems to increase and flatten it means that you are going to be short of the threshold. Your glide path is too flat and tending to be short. Recognizing being high, short, or just right is preliminary to knowing whether to make a slight power reduction, let it ride, or applying full power. The safest correction for being short is always full power for a period while maintaining a constant approach speed. Dragging into the runway with ever increasing power is not the way to go.
The second element of the landing, the roundout, normally occurs over this area prior to the threshold. This is also an area of student anxiety. The path you are flying takes you into the ground and not the runway. The final moments of the approach must be blended into the round-out. The round-out requires breaking the eyes away from the threshold to the far end of the runway. Where you look during the last few moments of the final approach will affect the round-out. Look too close to the airplane and you will over-react because the ground tends to balloon all at once. Now the round-out will occur too high and quickly. An abrupt increase in altitude along with an abrupt loss of airspeed will occur. This is a balloon prelude to a hard landing. GO-AROUND. Any other reaction can easily result into an accident. Look too far way and you may fly into the ground. The round-out cannot be taught at altitude because so many of the flying, visual and psychological aspects are missing. The student needs to feel ground effect, sense the ground/runway presence, and overcome the stress and tenseness of anticipating what comes next. With every element of success even on the worst of landings the student by survival is accepting the inevitability of ground contact. Success is the greatest reducer of stress known to flying.
The change in visual reference point at which the pilot must make for the round-out is the same point for the pilot to anticipate the elevator control movement. This will cause the approach glide path to transition into the round-out. The roundout is a relatively level parallel path anywhere from a few inches to a few feet above the surface. The initial change in the pitch attitude is used to slow and stop any descent. The roundout should occur so that the wheels of the aircraft are about hip high in level flight parallel to the ground for students.
The plane has entered a flight region with ground effect where any excess flying speed is dissipated through the use of 'float'. Learning to understand and use the many variables of float increases landing accuracy. Anytime an airplane is within half a wingspan of the surface, aerodynamics will allow the plane to remain clear of the surface with reduced drag and lower power than would be possible just a few feet higher. In the round-out your initial visual reference changes from the far end of the runway to a peripheral seeing and recognizing the relationship existing between the nose attitude and the line cutting across it called the horizon. With every slight loss of airspeed an additional smooth yoke/elevator is required to increase the pitch angle of the aircraft. You are entering the flare. You are going to land but not yet
Float is a factor of airspeed close to the ground. Excess speed will keep the aircraft in the air as it 'floats' about the surface. When you arrive near the ground with excess you must be patient and recognize that the excess speed must be used-up before pitching up for the touchdown. Pitching up while there is excess airspeed will result in a balloon and associated increase in altitude and sudden loss of airspeed. Go-around. One of the more difficult aspect of landings is making your approach as the Vref speed where there is no float only the increase in pitch attitude to cover the end of the runway without a balloon. Once it happens to you, you will be seeking forever.
The culmination of a landing is preceded by the landing flare. The flare is only fifteen or twenty seconds of the landing process. One way to tell the beginning of the flare is the first sensation of an elevator like sink. In anticipation of this sink the pilot will increase the rate of yoke movement and begin lifting up so that the last few inches of yoke movement will be useable. The nose will rise above the horizon, the controls will be come sloppy and require considerable input before any effect is noted. It is an act of faith to believe that in this condition the plane will settle firmly on the landing surface while the nose wheel remains clear of that surface. You are still looking, with peripheral vision to each side of the nose. Any change in the nose direction is countered by rudder. You will have rudder control well after the ailerons and elevators have lost their authority. Failure to apply right rudder during the flare is the cause of the very common landing to the left side of the center-line.
Recognition of nose movement is an intellectual application of what is seen. By seeing you will notice the changes in reference attitude as the airplane drifts, yaws, pitches, and banks. Looking is the beginning. Seeing is next. Stress reduction makes recognition possible. With recognition, a pilot can anticipate. Good landings are done in anticipation of what must happen as you, the pilot, recognize the progression of events leading to a good landing. I have never found that a 'sight' on the windshield useful. Every landing is so different that the sight, itself, must be a variable.
You will make mistakes. It is important for students to make mistakes. It is even more important that mistake recognition occurs as early as possible. The initial perception of a mistake is just to watch (a form of looking). The first drift, yaw, or tilt just happens before the student's eyes. Stress so focuses the attention that even the 'reaction' may not occur. The student is along-for-the-ride, knowing what is happening but without the mental capability to trigger control movement. This 'ride' is an important part of the learning process. You might say it gets the students attention much as a mule is taught with a single tree. The aircraft is designed to 'live' through mistakes.
The instructor can now work with this new awareness to re-create the mistake and coach the student into anticipating the corrective control input. If the student does not make mistakes, it is important that the instructor create them. The safe correction of landing mistakes is just as important, if not more so, than getting it right every time. The safe correction of mistakes is one of the many criteria I use for soloing a student.
Subsequent to the touchdown, the pilot should refrain from any cockpit activity that will affect directional control on the runway. Even the use of brakes should be restricted until lighter applications will suffice. The departure from the runway should be as smooth, unhurried and delicate as the landing itself.
Makes You Walk Funny
Early in flight training the peculiarities of rudder control should be explained and demonstrated. If a student fully understands the 'why' of doing something he is more likely to recognize whether or not it has been performed correctly. The most obvious student deficiency caused by lack of aerodynamic understanding is in using the rudder. Modern aircraft design has decreased the 'rudder' requirement and made is misuse or non-use less obvious. Understanding how the rudder is integrated with power and other controls is essential. Failure to correctly use the rudder is the most dangerous defect in flight maneuvering.
The C-150 and later aircraft have decreased adverse yaw caused by banking through the used of differential linkage and Frise ailerons. Ailerons no longer move as far up as they do down. The nose of the Frise aileron sticks down as the rear rises to offset adverse yaw. The need for rudder coordination thus becomes less noticeable and less easily demonstrated. When the nose is raised some rudder pressure must be applied to prevent drifting to the left side of the center line.
Power transmitted through the propeller and the rudder have a symbiotic relationship. The first gives the second both purpose and function. Raise the nose and the propeller's descending blade will increase the left turning tendency. The propeller with a power increase will turn the aircraft to the left and raise the nose even more.. The turning tendency, caused by P-factor, can be anticipated and prevented by judicious use of the rudder in proportion to the amount of power applied, the airspeed, and the raising of the nose. Ideally an aircraft in level cruise is 'rigged' and trimmed for hands-off flight. any speed below this 'rigged' cruise will in level flight require right rudder pressure. From this initial configuration most maneuvers other than a straight ahead descent will require some degree of rudder application.
Banking an aircraft with aileron movement causes unbalanced lift. The wing making the greater radius of turn must travel faster and thereby it is accelerated. The increased speed causes increased lift. With increased lift you get increased drag. The lowered aileron increases camber, (wing curve) lift, and drag.; the raised aileron reduces camber and lift. Lift causes drag and the lift difference between the two wings causes one wing to lag behind the other. The nose is pulled toward the outside of the turn. The amount of yaw depends on the amount of aileron and how quickly applied. You need to use rudder to counter this pull on the nose and keep the tail behind the nose. Thus, the rudder is used to move the outboard wing forward and faster. Done properly the ball will remain centered throughout the turn. The general rule is to add right rudder pressure in anticipation of a right turn and in anticipation of coming out of a left turn.
With the effects of P-factor and adverse yaw we find that in certain climbing left turns that the adverse yaw is effectively canceled by the P-factor. Thus to come out of the left turn we must apply right rudder. Correspondingly, since in making a right climbing turn we must counter both the adverse yaw and the P-factor, we will find it necessary to lead the turn by anticipating with the application of right rudder. We can come out of the right turn by just relaxing some of the right rudder pressure. To make the turns smooth and coordinated the rudder applications must be anticipated.
Once the bank is stabilized, adverse yaw ceases and the need
for rudder correction of the yaw ceases. To fly in a line you
must have coordinated control of the rudder. Poor rudder use
shows most in landings and in turbulence. Rudder skills can be greatly
improved by using just the rudder to control the aircraft.
One of the way to make the propeller aspect of the several aspects one that will always be remembered is to do the following.
Aircraft in level flight position on ground.
Have victim sight down propeller from ends of both blades from each side of aircraft. Note that the blade pitch angle is identical about 11 degrees off the vertical.
Hold tail of aircraft to the ground and have victim again sight downends of blades. The descending blade has nearly doubled its pitch from the vertical while the ascending blade is nearly vertical.
It becomes apparent one blade is working much harder than the other when the nose is raised (tail lowered).
Now comes the difficulty for those of you who have never driven a team of horses or have never noticed why pilots walk funny.
Consider the tips of the propellers as horses. When the aircraft is level both tips one going up and the other going down have about the same work load so the airplane is pulled straight ahead as it would go with an equally sized team of horses.
With the tail lowered, the descending blade angle is considerably greater because it has become the 'larger' horse. This is the blade on the right side of the aircraft. Now the trap is set.
With the right blade being the stronger the plane should go to the right, RIGHT, no wrong. The stronger horse (blade) will cause the aircraft to turn LEFT. Just as a wagon would have a left turning tendency with the larger horse doing most of the pulling.
Aircraft designers have found ways to correct the problem as have pilots. Look at the rudder mounting of a Stinson 105 or 108 and you should notice that the vertical stabilizer is not on straight.. Some airplanes actually have their engines canted several degrees. Most designers have depended on the human ability to develop strength through exercise. The pilot is expected to use leg-power or rudder trim to counter the left turning tendency of an aircraft especially when climbing. Right rudder that is. The more accurately a pilot anticipates the application of rudder as needed the smoother the flight.
A few level left and right turns at a 30 degree bank will reveal any lazy rudder habits. Begin by having the student make the turns without using rudder at all. Watch the movement of the nose. Adverse yaw is caused by the down aileron. Now make the turns using rudder so as to note that proper rudder pressures allows the nose to follow the turn. A coordinated return to level flight requires that rudder pressure be applied with aileron. Excessive rudder causes jerky nose movement that does not go with the flow of the turn. Practice your turns with eyes outside the cockpit.
A more advanced exercise with the rudder can be practiced in level flight. Many students seem reluctant to let go of the yoke. Get the aircraft well trimmed and then have the student make some shallow turns with the rudder alone. To level off on a heading will require considerable lead time and rudder. The rudder must be worked to get level on course. Have the student hold a pad of paper up and write on it while making turns only with the rudder. Because of the p-factor the rudder must be used differently in coming out of left turns than when coming out of right turns. Students may not be aware that 3 or 4 knot fluctuations in airspeed may be caused by rudder as well as nose attitude. Demonstrate.
Gee and Haw
WHY PILOTS WALK FUNNY
Ever wonder why propeller pilots walk funny? The P-factor explanation from the instructors handbook tells the instructor. How to explain this to the student as having nothing to do with the factor of how much liquid is consumed? P-factor stress reduction while flying means to pee at every opportunity. That's a different factor. Part of the difficulty comes from having two or more generations of pilots, none of whom have had the opportunity to drive a team of mules.
This educational and experience deficiency can be partially
overcome while explaining the P-factor. Thereby leading to the
ultimate answer of the initial question. The instructor might
start with an airplane which has the training wheel under the
nose. A Cessna 150 will do. With all three wheels on the ground
the student should be carefully walked around the propeller and
told to note that, when horizontal, the blades each form an approximate
11 degree angle in pitch from the vertical. The airplane should
be imagined as a wagon and the painted tips of the blades as
harnessed to two half-grown mules of identical size and strength.
In this configuration the wagon airplane) would be pulled straight
ahead until made to gee or haw. Gee meaning right and haw meaning
left. O.K. so far?
Now we enter a climb and by magic the mule on the left becomes a donkey and the mule on the right a Missouri Canary of twice the size of before. This change in aircraft attitude is accomplished by having the instructor hold the aircraft tail down while the student observes the angle from vertical, the pitch of each propeller blade. The left blade is near vertical while the right blade has doubled its angle. Now the airplane wagon suddenly has two completely different modes of power. Now which way will the wagon, nee airplane, go? Will it gee or haw? More often than not our last two generations of student pilots will chose the wrong direction. The odoriferous experience of mule driving having been denied them.
Most students say, incorrectly, to the right because the larger horse is on the right. Here it actually helps to pull the plane by the wing struts to illustrate the left turning pull of the larger (pitch) mule.
Then it follows as the night the day that in a climb attitude an appropriate application of right rudder is needed to keep the airplane on the straight if not narrow. The right right is required to prevent a "haw" Which, of course, leads us in the great cyclonic circle to the answer of the initial question. It takes a lot of "Gee" Leg to prevent a "Haw". Thus, the necessity of right rudder when power is added or the nose raised.
Call-up in Class C and B Airspace
In most situations the frequency and controller for approach or departure will be the same. The call up to approach or departure depends on whether you are coming or going. Your first call is brief; who you are talking to and who you are. If you received your transponder code while on the ground, your call-up gives only who you are talking to, your identification and altitude as level, climbing or descending.
Class C Airspace
The Class C airspace system has a ten mile inner circle in which a call up is required to an ATC approach facility just as though it were Class D tower airspace. Communications is a FAR requirement as is transponder operation in Mode C. The outer 20 mile circle has a permissive call up. Class C airspaces are charted with altitudes in magenta outlines.
Some lower altitudes allow initial call-up to be directly to the Class C tower.
Get the ATIS
Use the correct frequency
Practice for smoothness/accuracy/completeness
Check for frequency congestion
Full aircraft identification + student pilot
Position and altitude
Request and expected reporting point
Initial Class C airspace call up:
DON'T ENTER THE Class C airspace UNTIL ACKNOWLEDGED. (No clearance required.)
"Podunk approach Cessna 1234X student pilot over"
34X Podunk Approach, go ahead
"34X (position-altitude) with (ATIS) and full intentions with any special request.
"34X contact tower 118.3"
"34X to 118.3" (Always say back things radar says to you)
Class C Tower call-up after handoff
"Podunk tower Cessna 1234X Mormon Temple at 2000 descending"
Initial Class C Tower call-up without using Approach
"Podunk Tower Cessna 1234X student pilot (position) at (altitude) request left base entry for the right will report 2 mile base"
Class C departure may be done either through clearance
delivery or ground as directed by ATIS.
"Podunk Clearance Cessna 1234X enrouce Wherever with (ATIS)"
"34X taxi to 27 right on departure maintain runway heading to 1500' right turn to 030 at or below below 2000 Departure frequency will be 127.0"
Your readback need not be verbatim but it must contain all the essential numbers and restrictions.
Class B Airspace
Be sure that you initiate Class B airspace communications early enough to avoid entering before getting a clearance to enter. Know your positions and altitudes in relation with the Class B airspace so that no entry will occur prior to entry. If the controller fails to give a clearance to enter, be sure to ask for it and get it, before intruding into the Class B airspace. With the latest Class B and Class C airspace requirements, it is not unusual to have a considerable delay before establishing contact. Controllers are often on the phone or processing data that prevents immediate response. In the LAX area it may take five or more minutes before a busy controller can get to a new arrival. General Aviation IFR/VFR flights can expect few, if any, direct or shortest route flights in Class B airspace.
Procedure for arrival to Class B airspace
Monitor frequency to determine use. Be sure to remain clear of Class B airspace both horizontally and vertically.
Sierra Approach Cessna 1234X over" If no response,
wait 30 seconds and call up again. The controllers are often
on the phone or processing data that prevents immediate response.
When their work load permits they will say...
ATC: "Cessna 1234X Sierra Approach go ahead"
34X: "Cessna 34X Birones Reservoir at 3000 1200 VFR Concord to Half Moon Bay request flight into the Class B at 3500 en route"
ATC: "34X Standby for squawk"
Standby means not to make any response.
ATC: "34X Squawk 0734 and ident"
Turn X-ponder to STANDBY, reset code, set to ALT, push the IDENT button.
34X: 34X squawking 0734
ATC: "34X Radar contact" acknowledge with 34X.
ATC: "34X traffic 11 o'clock 1 mile" Navy A7 at 2000 climbing"
34X: "34X negative traffic will accept vectors"
ATC: "34X turn right 340"
34X: "34X right to 340 have traffic"
ATC: "34X with reference to traffic proceed own navigation via shoreline"
34X: "34X own navigation via bridge and shoreline"
Do not enter Class B airspace until you receive a specific clearance to do so. Always write down squawk and frequencies. Always repeat back squawk, frequencies, headings, and directions as much as practical. All assigned altitudes and headings be maintained since traffic clearances are determined thereby.
ATC radar facilities primarily provide IFR to IFR separation. Secondarily, they will give VFR traffic advisories, navigational assistance, weather information, vectoring, ground speed and safety precautions as work load permits. The VFR pilot is responsible for traffic avoidance but ATC will "take over" if a collision risk exists. VFR flight following is not a substitute for a clearance into Class B or C airspace. When radar coverage does not reach, flight following ceases. There are no VFR separation standards and altitude bust may result only in ATC giving you the current altimeter setting as a gentle reminder. With sufficient altitude you can get flight following anywhere in the U.S. Even at relatively low altitudes you can get it in the non-Sierra part of California.
Getting a local ATC radar frequency is not always easy for the VFR pilot. It may be listed in a blue box for Class B airspace and a magenta box for a Class C. You may need to request it from a nearby tower or FSS. The FSS frequency may not be the correct one for your sector of radar coverage but it will get you into the system. You could get old IFR charts and plates as a source for radar frequencies. The way you make contact with a radar facility makes an impression that is likely to affect the service you receive. It shouldn't but it does. The initial contact, unlike that to a tower or an FSS, should give only the name of the facility, your full call sign, and possibly "over". You will understand the "why of this better if you visit a radar facility. Until then just do it.
Sierra Approach Cessna 1234X over"
When the controller returns your call-up, you give again your
full identification, type of aircraft, /(slash code) position
(departure point), altitude (final altitude), your destination.
To do this well you should practice before initial call-up. Giving
the destination lets the controller select a code that lets other
controllers up the route know where you are going. The better
your flight following radio procedures, the better you will be
preparing for your IFR rating and the better overall radar service
you will receive.
Under VFR flight following you must be assertive and in charge of your flight. Do not rely on the controller to tell you to climb, descend or heading change. You just state that you are doing so, and do it. If it makes a problem for him he will so advise by making a "suggestion". If you get confused or into trouble, admit your difficulty and state your willingness to accept help. 20% of ATC controllers are pilots many at commercial level or better.
ATC radar is used by the controllers to expedite the movement of traffic. The system is designed and operates for the convenience of ATC despite denials. The individual pilot becomes insignificant and can only be assured of the benefits of radar by being both proficient in communication and aware of the limits of radar. Radar contact occurs when ATC has identified you on the PPI display scope. Radar contact in no way relieves you of your responsibility to see and be seen and to avoid flight into terrain. While you are expected to comply with any assigned headings and altitudes, you are also obligated to question any such assignments that you deem hazardous. Once you acknowledge you have visual contact with another aircraft you are taking responsibility for collision avoidance.
ATC can cancel VFR advisories/following at any time. Should this occur because of lost radar contact, you should ask for the next available frequency that can resume these services along your route. Most often altitude will be the limiting factor as when flying the Sierras or other remote areas. You can monitor the radio frequency you just left or expect and get some idea as to the altitudes and conditions experienced by other aircraft. Center frequencies are not usually available to the VFR pilot but can be obtained from IFR charts for VFR use.
The altitude limits of radar means that just when you need it most, it will not be available. Much the same limits exist for radio communications. If you are in conditions that put you both below ATC radar and communications, it is time to get on the ground. Many FSS or Flight Watch frequencies can be used through remote outlets where other ATC frequencies are not available. It never hurts to have another radio frequency option along your route.
Initial call-up to get into the system before you have a transponder code (squawk) is always:
Blank Approach Cessna 6185K over
If no answer...
Check your radio switches and frequency
Wait 30 seconds and try again
When ATC radar responds they need certain information for
Aircraft type and identification
Present position and destination
Present altitude and final altitude
The ATIS letter if you are inbound for landing
There is a 'canned' procedure for saying this:
Cessna 6185K is a Cessna 150 Walnut Creek landing Oakland out of one-thousand six hundred for two thousand five hundred with Alpha
ATC will assign a transponder code and possibly directions
1. Write down the assigned code
2. Say back the code as...
"85K understand squawk 5234 ident
3. Place selector on standby
4. Set in assigned code
5. Place selector on altitude
6. If ATC does not advise in radar contact, say
"85K squawking 5234"
Occasionally, you may immediately be given a squawk or just
to remain clear and standby. Be sure you understand the significance
of what ATC says. Normally, you will be assigned a squawk and
may or may not be told to IDENT. Do not IDENT unless told to.
The IDENT button causes a flashing IDENT to appear on the controllers
scope adjacent to your data block. The discrete transponder code
does more than just identify the aircraft. It often is used as
a destination indicator so that other sector controllers know
where you are going.
If the controller says "Radar Contact" acknowledge with your last three call letters. If for some reason no secondary target (transponder) is seen, you may be requested to recycle. This means to reset the numbers perhaps providing better electronic contact. All instructions, traffic point-outs must be repeated back to the controller in acknowledgment with aircraft identification.
Any changes of altitude or direction must be communicated
to ATC before being made. Such changes may be ountermanded or
authorized by the controller.
When you leave a radar service area the controller will so advise you and ask you to squawk VFR (1200) and approve a frequency change. You must never leave contact with ATC approach/departure without such an approval. If you need to change frequency to contact Flight Watch or an FSS just request a 30 second frequency change. You will be told to report when back on frequency.
The area around a radar facility or antenna is divided into both horizontal and vertical sectors. This means that as you proceed you will be changed from one controller to the next. This is called a handoff The controller will, prior to informing you of the hand off, tell the next controller via phone/computer that you are coming and the particulars about your aircraft and operation. Then he will advise you of who to contact and on what frequency.
Once the controller has completed your data block this information
can be passed via computer from sector to sector or between facilities.
For this reason the 'handoff' requires a minimum of communications.
As you transition from Travis airspace to Sacramento Class C
airspace, the controller will say...
"85K contact Sacramento Approach on 118.8"
Write down the new ATC name and frequency
Repeat back the essentials for confirmation
Set new frequency and establish contact
Check for congestion before using radio
You must request any changes of altitude or course while in Class B airspace. You must advise on any changes in altitude or course in Class C airspace or other radar areas when in contact. At any time ATC may assign an altitude and heading for safety purposes. If no such assignment is made you are free to make changes as long as you keep them advised of your intentions.
The radar controller as part of FAA Order 7110.65, Air Traffic Control paragraph 2-16b is required to coordinate with other ATC facilities such as a tower of your passage through their areas. You are not expected to obtain your own authorization since it would detract from your ability to maintain radio contact with your primary facility. However, if you have a specific need to contact a facility such as flight watch, FSS, or tower it is appropriate to request a 30 second frequency change for such contact. You must report back on frequency when through.
A radar traffic advisory usually gives a 'clock' direction off your nose, a distance and an altitude. Expect the 'clock' to be wrong by an hour or so. You are unlikely to see any small aircraft beyond 5 miles and in haze the distance may be less than a mile. You immediately advise, "85K looking, 85K have traffic, 85K negative traffic" as appropriate. If you can't find the traffic and feel it constitutes a hazard wait 30 seconds and say, "85K negative traffic, will accept vectors." You do this because ATC may wait too long to give you warning or to turn you. Most often they come back with, "85K traffic no longer a factor". You read back everything a radar controller tells you to do. This procedure is to prevent misunderstandings.
The radar handoff requires that you read back the instructions
given and the frequency. If you have been listening to what other
aircraft have been told you should be expecting the change. The
controller has already told the next controller/facility, electronically,
that you are coming. They are expecting you. Don't be in too
much of a hurry. When a break in the frequency occurs the handoff
call requires you merely to state, who you are talking to, your
identification, and altitude.
85K to Sierra Approach on 118.8
You then change frequency to 118.8 and say...
Sierra Approach Cessna 85K level at five-thousand five-hundred
Say this every 30 seconds or so until acknowledged.
There is a procedure for changing from one code to another
designed to prevent the inadvertent selection of a restricted
code as for Air Force One.
2. Select new code
Have a pencil ready in your hand you can keep it there while holding the yoke (lefties) or while holding the throttle (righties) You should begin your flying while holding a pencil or pen so that it becomes a natural process.
ATC does not provide VFR flights with terrain separation. Terrain avoidance is a pilot responsibility per FAR 91.119. VFR pilots should never expect ATC to provide any warnings about terrain. Night VFR, off-airways, or marginal VFR conditions under FAR 91.103 require special planning.
ATC radar does not show terrain. Blocks of airspace have Minimum
Vectoring Altitudes (MVA) that can be displayed. These are IFR
altitudes that allow 2000' in mountains and otherwise 1000' terrain
clearance. VFR flight below these altitudes is relatively common
but radar has no specific knowledge of terrain below the MVA.
If you have Mode-C on your transponder radar may have Minimum
Safe-altitude Warning (MSAW) or Low-altitude Alert System (LAAS)
but this is often MVA and no lower.
Since VFR difficulties can develop into emergencies, a VFR pilot must know how to get ATC radar assistance and its limitations. ATC cannot tell the pilot what to do; the pilot must make all decisions. ATC can advise or suggest only. A pilot can request MSAW or LAAS but beyond that radar is limited by the system display to providing MVA as the 'safe' altitude. An individual controller may have sufficient knowledge to vector you to successively lower MVA sectors and it doesn't hurt to ask.
Radar advisories can be terminated to VFR flights just on the say-so of the ATC specialist. There are some automatic terminations that apply to IFR flights but they can be applied to VFR situations. It is very possible that a VFR flight may just be dropped from the system without the pilot ever being told. You should have some general idea of the region and altitudes for a given radar facility. If you have not been in communications for a while, just ask for a radio check. You may have flown off the scope without being noticed. Never leave a radar communication frequency without advising ATC.
UNCOORDINATED FLIGHT---A NECESSARY SKILL
While the controversy continues over spin training, I feel that a much more practical and useful flight skill is being neglected. I write thus of the Dutch-roll. I suppose that just as much of our aviation language originated from naval terms, the origin of the Dutch-roll could have come from the peculiar sideways shift of the stern of an apple-bowed caravel (Dutchman) when running before a following sea. As the stern was lifted by the oncoming wave it would swing to one side, the hull would roll as the swell passed, and the stern would swing back onto the course-line as the breaker moved under the bow and the hull rolled upright.
In an aircraft, especially those with V-tails, it is a tendency for the tail to wander off the line-of-flight far enough to generate a straightening force, but overshooting the correction only to repeat the excursion on the other side. If accompanied with a pitch variant, the tail may oscillate in a circle. The Dutch-roll in ship and aircraft is an undesirable characteristic.
The basic Dutch-roll consists of rocking the wings with the ailerons smoothly through a series of 10, 20, or 30 degree banks while keeping the nose on a point or heading with the rudder. If done while the aircraft is climbing most of the rudder application will be more or less right rudder with an occasional tap of left rudder. This does not detract from the value of the exercise.
To the student pilot, to whom the coordinated use of rudder and aileron has become a sacred ritual, the contradictory control pressures required for the Dutch-roll ranks as sheer heresy. The control pressures required equate with patting the head while rubbing the stomach. The skill acquisition compares with that of roller skating. It is best not to intellectualize it. Just do it until all by itself it seems to fall into place. Remember when you learned to skate?
Just as the four basics are skills essential in normal flight situations, so is the Dutch-roll an essential additional skill for successful crosswind landings and use of the rudder. In the off chance that the reader may be unacquainted I will endeavor to describe the maneuver and suggest an instructional sequence.
The Dutch-roll can be flown level, climb, or descent. You select a point or heading and try to keep on that heading. Beginners seem to do the series of banks too quickly. This increases the yaw effect and makes necessary abrupt usage of the rudder. At a slower pace the rudder use can be better anticipated. If the nose swings the rudder is being misused. Start over. The nose should not move during the banks. Maintain a constant airspeed. The rudder must be applied or relaxed sometimes in anticipation and at other times in conjunction with the ailerons.
A suggested instructional or practice sequence would be to use the climb time from pattern altitude to cruise altitude. This time is often under utilized and the Dutch-roll serves to clear the flight route. The student can begin with a series of rhythmical 10 degree wing movements while the instructor applies rudder to maintain heading. It is vital that airspeed be maintained relatively constant so that rudder application and effect will also be constant. Then the roles can be reversed between student and instructor. The third step would be the student performing both functions with the instructor monitoring. If, for any reason, banks and nose movements become erratic--start over. See, just as in roller skating. It seems to be best to initiate the first banking of the wings to the left followed quickly with a solid application of right rudder before the nose has a chance to swing.
The left turning-factors of the climb is a constant that requires right rudder. The banking causes yaw which is a variable depending on amount and quickness. When the bank begins toward the right the rudder pressure is gradually relaxed but not removed because of the left turning-factor and adverse yaw in climb. The banking movements must be continuously smooth and rhythmical, as in waltz time. All efforts to control heading must be done with rudder while the banks are maintained in rhythm. Rudder amounts and timing of release or application is done in anticipation of heading changes.
The student will experience extreme frustration with this exercise in the beginning. As the student becomes visually aware of the nose on the horizon and how rudder is a control he will improve. It is vital that expectations of proficiency be planned over at least five flights. If air sickness is a problem, approach the exercise in gradually extended time periods from twenty seconds to three minutes. The most common difficulties seem to be making the banks too quickly and of unequal angle, holding the yoke tightly, not making airspeed adjustments, not recognizing heading changes, belated rudder applications, and attempting to salvage a blown exercise. If the nose begins to wander, start over.
Even though we are in uncoordinated flight there is still a required coordination between foot and hand, rudder, aileron, and airspeed. Coordination, even in uncoordinated flight, is a basic skill required for slips and crosswind landings.
Now what do we get from this. We get a pilot who can enter final for a crosswind landing with one half of a Dutchroll and the visual coordination skills required to maintain runway alignment, the nose position and the airspeed. The pilot can do this with those Dutch-roll skills that enable him to anticipate rather than react. He is ahead of the plane, not behind. If, because of wind velocity and direction or control problems, the half Dutchroll cannot be held on final--GO-AROUND.
Finding an airport is as easy or hard as your level of familiarity with the area around the airport. Once you know the area, you will be able find the airport and to plan your airport arrival. Even the most experienced pilot will have difficulty with a new airport. I recently checked out a 5000 hour pilot in our club C-182RG. He had plenty of time in type so the plane was no problem The checkout consisted almost entirely of making airport arrivals and departures. All the skills of aircraft handling were involved in this checkout plus the training in visual recognition of checkpoints and related radio procedures. If you don't know where you are, you won't know what to say or where to go. As always, we taped the flight.
So what should an unfamiliar pilot do at a strange airport? This very much depends on the kind of training experience you have. Reliance on electronic navigation in your training means that you will tend to rely on navigational aids in finding airport. Extensive training in pilotage will mean that you will rely on the Mark I eyeball and probably use some form of supplementary navigational assistance, altitude permitting. The training a student gets pretty much depends on the training the instructor received. Personally, I train my students not to rely on the VORs. They are of little value in the marginal conditions that require use of Class G airspace. They will go the way of the radio range shortly.
Here, I must digress back a few years. On rainy days every school teacher needed a supply of games for indoor P. E. I used a game that was competitive, quiet, funny, and not dependent on normal skills or intellect. I would 'hide' a very common object in plain sight for small groups of children to find.
One group of children would cover their eyes. I would then go around the room and at some point put my keys in an unusual place, but in plain sight such as hanging on the wall. The selected group would then begin to look for the keys. This could be done by staying in place or moving about. The rest of the class would never look so as to give the keys hiding place away. The quietest group not looking would be the next up.
As those looking would find the keys, they would take their seats without revealing where the keys were. This takes a great deal of emotional control. The first into his seat gets to 'hide' the keys next time. The fun came when a looker would walk right past the keys looking without seeing them. Some would obviously 'see' the keys but not react with recognition. The game made apparent that there is a great difference between looking, seeing, and recognizing. The same is true when a pilot is looking for airports. I have played this game with students in the cockpit using an airport.
The same children always seemed to be winners. There must be some innate or acquired mental/visual skill that exists. I have come to believe that you can improve your ability to find airport through exposure. Stress seems to be a negative factor. Nothing improves this ability better than area familiarity. I make a practice to have several pauses in every flight just for the purpose of orientation.
Knowing 'where' to look makes finding airports easy to find. The 'stress' of being alone, unfamiliar, concerned about location, orientation, fuel, and 'flying' affects the way you look for something. Your vision becomes focused and your looking, seeing, recognizing ability becomes quite narrowed. Is there an easy way? No. You can do several things to help yourself. Fly higher, select a nearby high-visibility checkpoint for orientation purposes. Learn to look for trapezoids instead of rectangles.
Here in California the time of the year makes a great difference. An airport is usually far move visible with a green background than a tan one. Most single runway airports parallel the prevailing winds. When it comes to selecting runway direction I suggest that you turn to fly in the runway direction. Then look in the presumed direction of the airport. By using the heading indicator you can, once the runway is spotted, set yourself up for any 45 degree entry arrival by aiming at the runway numbers and noting the runway number on the HI. In left traffic the runway number will be at the left rear 45 arrow of the HI; for right traffic the runway number will be at the right rear 45 arrow. Adjust your arrival path until you get the correct reading with allowance for wind drift. Stay well above pattern altitude until you really have the airport in sight.
Since magnetic directions such as north-west, and south-east can be very confusing, I recommend that you use identifiable checkpoints in your radio call-up. Such a point reduces the uncertainty of location both for the pilot and ATC. California is particularly difficult in this regard since all the roads are supposedly listed as going North or South while much of the State slants East and West. Going North out of California gets you to Nevada. Going South takes you to the Pacific Ocean.
The most difficult runway alignment I remember facing was at St. Joseph, MO where three runways intersect near one end. I believe it was Sioux City where I called the ATC and asked if their tower resembled a silo. I received an affirmative only to find that the 'tower' I was really was a silo. I flew to Columbia, CA three times before I was able to find it at first crack. I finally chose a 15-mile checkpoint and flew a heading as the easiest way. Low and slow is not the way to look for an airport. I lost a new private pilot who spun in while trying to follow a car to a duster strip. With GPS there is little need for having difficulty any more.
I have a generalization for night flight to airports. Try never to fly into an airport for the first time at night. Once flew into Kansas City Downtown at night in a rain storm. Even with radar help I did not see the runway until half-mile final. Twenty-mile visibility is not always a help if there are no distinctive checkpoints as in Kansas. The lower the visibility the more important it is that you know where you are in regards the airport location. I have found dusk conditions very difficult. The low fog layers that cover the S.F. Bay area at night will completely break up the usual patterns of cities and water so that electronic navigation is the only way to go.
Learning to trim for level flight requires that you think in terms of setting as many constants as possible for a given flight situation. First, get a constant level attitude. Using the nose/horizon reference is more difficult than using the wing. The wing level with the horizon works best with the high-wing types. Second, get a constant speed at cruise speed or lower. If you exceed cruise speed without reducing power your trim setting will set for the higher speed. You should practice reducing power to 75% power setting as cruise. 2450 rpm is a good set. Third, trim off the pressure.
Is their only one way to trim? No. With experience you may
just give a few flips and make a fine adjustment as needed. You
can even make numerous small changes. Doing it differently does
not make it wrong. There is no one way to do anything in flying.
Different aircraft and different trim systems require different
techniques. The aim of my following suggestions is that it gets
the beginner into anticipating trim movements as may be required
for every change of configuration. Trim then becomes another
Trimming off pressure is a search for the trim position that allows the aircraft to be flown with only one finger and the thumb. Which ever one you are using to hold altitude tells you which way to move the trim. Most students tend to move the trim more than required. You might do well as a student to use half as much movement as you think is required. You are trimmed when both finger and thumb need only to lightly brush the yoke. Getting trimmed to this point makes flying enjoyable and relaxing. Unlike an automobile, a correctly trimmed airplane can be flown hands-off. Once this sense of 'feel' is acquired you will not want to fly any other way. Every pilot has a slightly different 'feel' of an aircraft so changing pilots usually involves changing trim.
Every student and pilot should use trim to create times to fly with just rudder. Training aircraft usually have a rudder tab that has been set by prior pilots so that very little rudder is required in straight-and-level cruise. You can make slight turns using just the rudder with little difficulty. Steeper turns with the rudder will cause a loss of altitude. Much of this altitude is regained when using hard rudder to level the wings. Practice flying with just the rudder when copying the ATIS, using the sectional, or just for fun.
Once an aircraft is trimmed for a particular airspeed in level flight, additional power or a reduction in power will cause the aircraft to climb and descend at that airspeed. You must exercise some yoke control and rudder to correct for any transitional oscillations. Trim remains the same. Trim is the cruise control of flying an aircraft. I very much recommend not changing trim when descending from cruise to pattern altitude. Descend by reducing power. Enter downwind at cruise speed until abeam the numbers. The deceleration in airspeed while holding altitude on downwind will allow you to trim for the approach speed while reaching the appropriate 'key' position for turning base.
Cessna has engineered its trim so that certain changes in trim can be anticipated to correspond to flight path changes in different models. For example, in the C-150 from level cruise abeam the numbers, a power reduction to 1500 can be trimmed off by holding heading and altitude to 60 knots. It will take three full top-button to the full travel bottom to do this. Pinching between the buttons will leave you short. 10 degrees of flaps while holding sixty with the yoke can be re-trimmed to a 60 knot descent by undoing one of the previous three turns. Bottom button all the way to the top. Let go and if the nose begins to change pitch make the slight trim adjustment required. 10 more degrees of flap while holding 60 knots can be locked there by taking off another full turn of trim. Full flaps while holding sixty can be set by taking off the last turn. You, every student and pilot, should learn a count or feel system for applying and removing flaps. Learn to use the flaps without looking at the indicator during application. A four count works well for 10 degrees on a Cessna.
Removal of the flaps during the go-around finds you trimmed for level cruise. One full trim down will give Vy climb at 65 knots. This same procedure can illustrate why, when making a short approach, reduction of power to 1500 and application of full flaps at the white arc will give you a hands-off approach speed of 60 knots.
The same process works with the C-172 except you use 70 knots for downwind and final adding two ten-degree notches of flaps while taking off two full turns of trim. On final you put in full flaps and no trim change. You are on a stabilized approach hands-off at 60 knots. For the go-around, on bringing up the flaps you will be trimmed for a 75 knot climb. The hard part of flying the C-172 is leveling off. The old joke about how long does it take a student to level off a C-172 is answered with, "Thirty-five hours". It will take about one and one-third turns of trim and a close eye on the altitude while the plane accelerates. The trick is to reduce to 2450 as soon as you reach 100 knots. Otherwise, you will be jockeying airspeed and trim for quite a while. The cause of this problem is that the C-172 has less power for its weight than the C-150. The time to accelerate to 100 knots seems to take forever. Initially you will be holding back pressure and then forward pressure on the yoke while the airspeed gets sorted out. Due to deceleration the C-172 power should only be reduced to 1700. At approach speed the power will have dropped to 1500 rpm.
Cessna ruined a terrific engineering design when they build the C-152. The trim/flap ratios of the C-152 are there but not at 1 to 1. You can develop the procedure for stabilized airspeeds by using the suggested procedure of the C-150 and keeping track of the amount of trim required for each ten degrees of flap. It can be done but the neat engineering isn't there. Abeam the numbers the C-152's power should be set at 1600. By the 'key' position it will be at 1500.
controlling With A Tight Grip
Over controlling is a symptom. A student or pilot who is heavy, reactionary, or hesitant on the controls is not yet a believer. The proficient pilot has faith in the airplane's ability to perform in a particular manner. All proficient flying is an act of faith just as is having the runway disappear during a landing.
Students do not begin as believers. The instructional process is supposed to turn students into believers. I had to fly 200 ours before I began to believe. Prior to that point I flew with a tight grip on both the yoke and the seat cushion. I tore two seat cushions out of the C-150 I learned in, because I could not accept the fact that the plane could fly without my 'firm' hand on the control. Occasionally, after a flight I would need to unwind my fingers off the yoke with my right hand. My instructors told me to relax but never showed me how to do it.
Now, I think I know how to show a student how to avoid over controlling. I nag at them for the way they trim, apply and take off power, hold the yoke, and see what is happening. Most of all, I insist that they let go of the yoke and try to SEE what the airplane does without their input. Initially, students lack the faith necessary to believe that the plane will actually fly without their help. In time, they will learn that the plane, properly trimmed will perform better without their meddling.
Turbulence is one of the best opportunities for the pilot to see this. The natural, normal reaction of a student pilot in turbulence is to grip the yoke more firmly. This is what you do going over chuck-holes in an automobile. In an airplane a firm grip gives you a two-for-one bump. A light touch will reduce the extent of light to moderate turbulence significantly. When students turn the plane over to me in turbulence they always contend that it stopped just as I take the controls. The real difference is that I have faith in the plane's ability to do a better flying job than I can.
If, fro the very first moment of sitting in an airplane, a student is 'required' to limit his touching of the yoke to just forefinger in back and thumb in front a considerable amount of instructional time and money could be eliminated from learning to fly. Unfortunately, the student usually gets off on the wrong foot (hand). The design of the yoke with its scallops for the full fist grip leads to the belief that it is designed that way for a purpose. A student has probably been on several demo-rides where the idea is to suck the student into a flight program. The initial acceptance of a full fist grip on the demo-rides means that unlearning is going to be necessary. There is enough unlearning required in learning to fly as it is. To add the way you hold the yoke to the mix just makes the process more difficult.
I once had a student come to me with a few hours in the C-150. He had never used the trim wheel. He could fly quite well without using the trim wheel. He just set it at a level flight setting and left it there. Reducing the power to 1500 and adding full flaps brought him down to a fine approach and landing. Remove the flaps and a bit of back pressure he could climb reasonably well. No problem except that he was usually exhausted after a flight from the constant strain of holding the yoke during maneuvers. There are still pilots flying C-150s this way because it can be done and you don't mess with the trim. These pilots probably soled in ten hours or so. The shock came when they tried to transition to a more complex or powerful aircraft.
I do not teach students to fly the C-150. I teach students to fly the C-150 as though it were a complex powerful aircraft. We trim for every configuration to hands-off flight. We fly only with forefinger and thumb, and preferably only one or the other until neither are required. To fly this way the student must be taught to SEE ahead of the airplane. (See Budd Davisson's article in Dec. 1997 of Flight Training magazine pg 28-31) My first ten hours of flight training are devoted to teaching the student to SEE and TRIM the plane for hands-off flight. Not all are proficient in the ten hours but I don't solo them until they trust the plane to stay at the selected airspeed and flight path.
I once facetiously suggested that a student sandpaper his finger tips to force him to lighten up on the controls. Next flight he showed up with red, raw fingers. Didn't help all that much but I'm more careful in my suggestions now. Just finished checking him out in the C-182RG, he remarked about how stable the plane was. Interesting, how he gave the plane credit for his ability to fly hands-off. A universal comment that comes back to me from my students who progress into instrument flying, is that the instrument instructors are always pleasantly surprised how my students all have a light touch. As a school teacher, the highest praise I ever received was when a student would thank me two years after leaving my classroom.
So, what does all this have to do with over controlling? Pilots
over control because they have not learned to SEE, TRIM and
LET GO. To a degree, I cannot tell a student just when and where
to look out the windshield. It is a very individual problem and
solution. I can point out the necessity, and by repetition help
the student anticipate the nose position, trim setting, and power
for the most difficult of these configurations. I'm talking about
level cruise. With practice you can do it with your eyes closed.
You will need to SEE only to confirm. Then just for fun you can
move your arms forward and back to initiate shallow climbs and
descents. Notice I haven't mentioned the rudder. That's desert.
Safe Speed Selection
The pilot is a controller of energy. In some situations there is a considerable surplus of energy such as while taxiing. In some takeoff situations there is a deficiency that requires the conservation of energy through the use of ground effect. Level flight provides opportunity to use weather and wind to enhance range and speed. Descents and landings require the pilot to be able to convert the speed of the aircraft and the energy supplied by gravity into a non-lethal ground contact called a landing. The relative safety of any speed depends on the pilot's ability to control the maneuvers performed. A speed that is safe for one level of piloting skill will be unsafe or suicidal at lower level of skill. Aircraft POH speeds are tested and proven at time of manufacture to be safe for average piloting levels. A student pilot is not soloed until he has attained such a level.
In the beginning and the end there is taxiing. Your taxiing speed at most airports is posted at fifteen miles per hour. Even this speed may be too fast when it causes erratic swerving and abrupt application of brakes. An aircraft will not turn unless the wheel is rolling. Varied brake pressure and power use can make turns smooth wide arcs or sharp turns. Straighten the nose wheel as you come out of the turn to avoid side loads. Taxi slowly until you learn to control brake and power. The absolute safety sought by the questioner does not exist at any speed. Most aircraft accidents occur while taxiing. When wind velocity get above 20 knots the margin of safety, even with correct control positions and slow taxi speed, decreases dramatically.
There are several safe takeoff speeds, one for headwinds, one for cross winds, one for soft fields, and one for short fields. Absolute safety again does not exist at any speed but relative safety exists in acquiring the POH recommended speed prior to lift off. The correct application of the controls allows you to remain airborne without further ground contact. Excessive rotation, the lifting of the nose, can cause a lift off so slowly that a climb cannot begin without lowering the nose. This means you are behind the power curve and in a precarious situation. Not raising the nose enough on takeoff allows relatively small tires to reach damaging speeds and excessively stress the shimmy damper of nose wheel. In normal headwind takeoffs get the nose wheel off as soon as possible but set the nose attitude for liftoff as suggested by the POH.
The nose wheel is not lifted off in crosswind except as required to prevent a shimmy. The idea here is to keep the aircraft on the ground until a speed slightly in excess of normal is acquired. At this time the yoke is leveled and quickly moved so as to 'hop' the aircraft into the air and flown to prevent further ground contact. At the same time rudder is applied to crab the nose into the wind. Do not attempt to climb until POH climb speed has been attained. Adjust the crab angle to give a flight path along the runway.
The soft field takeoff requires that lift off be attained as quickly as possible to reduce the drag of the tires in the soft surface. Once in the air the aircraft is held in ground effect to make acceleration easier and faster. At climb speed and around 200 feet any flaps should be removed.
The short field takeoff requires that the plane be accelerated along the ground in a minimum drag (level) configuration until reaching slightly below lift off speed. The nose is raised to a previously determined Vx attitude and allowed to climb at Vx until above the fifty foot FAA tree.
Any takeoff speed must be sufficient to keep the aircraft airborne after liftoff and low enough to prevent accumulative damage to the airframe. All takeoff speeds are indicated air speeds not ground speeds which are influenced by wind direction. The safety of takeoff speeds has as much to do with control applications as with the speeds involved. The speed must allow the pilot to keep the aircraft under control and in the air.
Climb speeds are critical in terms of safety only in so far as they get you over an obstacle or get you the most altitude for the time flown. Once you are at a safe altitude the airspeed can be varied to suit the purposes of the flight. Every pilot should have the ability to select an attitude for a particular trimmed climb speed and fly hands off. Once you can do this for Vy other speeds are relatively easy.
Transitional speeds in level flight require that the pilot be able to vary the speed, power, configuration, and attitude of the aircraft. There is a whole range of level attitude speeds ranging from minimum controllable to full power cruise. The configuration of trainers will vary from full flaps to no flaps. In complex aircraft the landing gear, propeller, and other features offer variety. The standard cruise speed is usually attained at a 75% power setting. This setting will vary again according to desired range, fuel use, and airspeed. The better a pilot can fly his aircraft through this range with no change in altitude the safer will be the flight. Inability to make the flight changes efficiently makes any airspeed potentially unsafe.
Descent speeds have a range from the minimum controllable
to redline. A minimum controllable descent will get you down
over the least distance. The range from this to the best glide
speed, as configured will enable you to control your sink rate
over distance. You will be able to make steep approaches with
full flaps and power off by raising the nose and lowering the
airspeed. In the same situation diving for the runway will increase
the speed and cause you to go a greater distance. The cruise
descent will increase fuel economy, allowing you to convert altitude
into airspeed and distance. A descent that uses no power can
shock cool the engine. At some point such a sudden cooling of
the engine will cause piston damage and engine failure. Speeds
in the yellow arc should be avoided where turbulence exists.
Beyond the redline you become a
Landing approach speeds from the POH have the margins of safety
predicated on medium banked turns, stabilized airspeeds and coordinated
controls. The more an approach speed varies from the POH standard
the greater the potential hazard. Approach speeds are changed
into roundout/flare speeds designed to stop the descent and provide
a reasonably controlled attitude and minimum landing distance.
For landings there are no absolutes of speed, safety or success.
Making a mistake in judgment in any of the landing variables
can easily be compounded into an accident. One purpose of instruction
in flying or in teaching anything is to prevent mistakes from
growing into something serious.
The most serious deviation pilots tend to make in their selection of speeds lies in one major area related to aircraft weight. All too often total reliance is taken in the POH figures, all of which are usually based upon gross weight. Practically all of the performance figures must be figured as a factor related to actual weight. Every pilot would be well advised to create performance charts for Va, Vso, Vg. etc based upon the common loadings used for their aircraft. These Vref figures are sure to extend the economy, range, and structural life of an aircraft.
is Made of Little Things
Safety in flying is made up of many aspects large and small. It is the small aspects that reoccur most often and have the greatest probability of not being in a pilots repertoire. What follows is a collection of small things that I do and teach because I have found them of safety value. Where a reason or justification may be required I will explain.
Except for the fortunate few, the cost of flying is a major deterrent. If money becomes part of the problem the potential pilot has compounded his learning difficulty. Even the most economical of flying clubs will take money like a sausage grinder. If you are not resigned to this expense and flow, wait. Have the funds set aside and readily available. After money, the student pilot must have time. You will learn faster and safer if you fly frequently. Daily is best only if you have sufficient time to keep the book work caught up. Minimum flights can vary from two to three according to the phase. Any less frequently will limit the efficiency of the process.
Get on the government mailing list. Their advisory circulars are mostly free as is the NASA 'callback'. Addresses on the internet. FAAviation News at $16 is a good buy as is Flight Training (6 months free to students), Get all the back issues you can. Many government texts related to flying can be obtained at the public library.
Begin your flight training in the Fall. Weather problems will help you develop awareness of the local conditions that both affect your ability to fly well and determine whether you should fly at all. By beginning now you will develop the experience and judgment to make safe decisions. By the time such weather next comes around you will have had an extended period of good weather to improve your flight proficiency.
Use a full size cassette tape recorder with a patch cord into
the intercom to record all your ground instruction, radio procedure
practice, ATC radio communications, and the flight instruction
as it occurs in the cockpit. Such a system eliminates engine
noise. As a student you will be surprised at how much communication
occurs without your being aware of what is said and especially
its significance. It is equally important that a pilot know where
other aircraft is in relationship to his aircraft as it is to
know where he is.
You will improve your awareness by plotting your flight on to an airport and then locating the position and arrival direction of incoming aircraft. Departing aircraft can be plotted as well. This three dimensional chess game is played by ATC and pilots must learn to play the game as well. The sooner you start using the radio, the better.
On arrival at the airport I feel the wind, look at the flags and windsock. I want to develop my skill in judging winds where the ATIS or AWOS provides a reference check. I may need that skill where no references are available. By waiting to copy the ATIS/AWOS until the engine is started you will learn to copy it under adverse conditions such as will be required on your return. Nothing focuses the attention as well as something costing you money.
On preflight besides the things usually on the aircraft checklist I always roll the tires because the cord may be showing on the bottom. One cord layer missing uses up a lot of safety. Additionally, you have learned that a tire of improper inflation is deemed unairworthy by the FAA. A tire gauge is part of your flight kit. If in the starting process a student fails to check the belt attachments of the instructor, at some point during the takeoff the door seems to open.
Taxiing on the line gives me the greatest margin of clearance. I am considerate of other pilots by taking the smallest space in the runup areas that I can. During taxi and run-up I have my mixture leaned since it is a little known manufacturers recommendation. After runup, I position my aircraft to see both the approach and base legs prior to taking the runway.
I climb at trimmed Vy and at 300' AGL I check for runway alignment by letting go of the yoke and turning my head. Above 300' I do shallow banked 30 degree turns or Dutch rolls both to help seeing and being seen. Above the pattern altitude I enter a cruise climb when I plan to climb above 3000' AGL for improved cooling and visibility. Any lower flights are always flown to one side or the other of even 500s and 1000s which makes it possible to see and avoid. Once you start doing this you will soon realize the advantages along the busy flyways. Make a practice of flying to the right side of roads and valleys. Avoid VORs and other navigational aids, especially those that are part of IFR approaches. The lower the visibility the more important this last becomes.
The making of turns is one of the first four basics a pilot learns. Small safety factors that exist in this basic should be as much a feature of the performance as the turn itself. When making a series of turns, make the first turn to the left. Why? Because any passing traffic from your vulnerable rear is supposed to be passing on your right. Make a practice of saying, "clear right/left; turn right/left" when you first learn and continue the practice for you flying life. Those with you have a right to know your safety practices are in place.
When you depart home field VFR you never have absolute assurance that you will be able to return VFR. Make a practice of seeking out the minimum safe altitudes that can be flown from any direction. You must know where the power lines are, where the roads lead, where the antenna are, and all the major identifiable points within 15 miles of home field. And when you can't sneak in SVFR, know where the large airport with radar assistance lies as well as the best small airport may be.
When you have a problem, call for the first help you can declaring an emergency too early is less likely to get you into FAA type trouble than doing it too late. Given enough time ATC can find you, guide you, and in some instances land you. Your responsibility is to provide the required time.
Perhaps more correctly you are afraid to do your own stalls, alone. The good news is that you are not required to practice stalls alone. You will need to practice doing them with your instructor. You will need to demonstrate the PTS required level of stalls to an examiner. That's as bad as it gets.
Stalls can become 'fun' when you get some aerobatic training that carries the stall into a spin and into a recovery. You are not required to do this but most of you fears are emotionally based on hearsay. Spins, when performed at altitude, are no more dangerous than a roller coaster.
Given sufficient motivation any airplane will stop flying. An airplane stops flying when it stalls. This is not at all related to the stalling of an automobile engine. Over the years a disproportionate number of potential pilots have been dissuaded from becoming pilots by macho stall demonstrations. The roller coaster 'fun' of an abrupt full stall is not 'fun' at all to the unfamiliar passenger.
I have never, in all my thousands of stalls deliberately scared a passenger or student. On the other hand, I have been both surprised and scared by students. Most often students scare themselves by responding to a mild and gentle stall as though it would require a full yoke forward, nose down recovery. I do let students scare themselves. A stall is a prelude. It is the beginning of a potentially hazardous sequence of events. Avoidance and recognition precedes recovery. Stall recovery, commenced in a timely and correct manner breaks the sequence leading to a spin.
There is no FAA prescribed point in the flight training program where a stall must be introduced and performed. Each instructor/student combination can vary doing stalls as they desire. However the end result must allow the student to demonstrate both knowledge and performance of likely entries, recognition, and recovery as may be required by the examiner's testing of the PTS requirements.
Stalls may be introduced in a series of small increments. Each increment is preceded by a mention the flight before by suggesting that we 'might' try a stall of a certain type. The stall lesson flight is preceded by a ground discussion of clearing turns, the 10 knot lead in warning of the warner (ignore), the significance of the elevator burble, the stall break and the recovery to or slightly below the horizon.
The use of rudder to hold a heading is always in anticipation of the nose moving to the left and not in reaction. The yoke movement is in anticipation of a loss of altitude, related to the full stall landing, we are tipping the aircraft nose up while maintaining a constant altitude. This yoke movement is demonstrated on the ground as both back and up with a minimum of fingers used. Two fingers should be sufficient for most trainers. In the air, natural tension in the student will make even the clearing turns ragged.
Since I do all my instruction using a tape recorder, I seldom initiate the flight instruction with a demonstration, instead, I talk the student through the process and allow it to proceed with some instructor control (rudder usually) input. For the power off stall, we make clearing turns. Stop on a heading or visual reference, pull carburetor heat, pull the power off and allow the speed to decrease while holding heading and altitude. As discussed we are attempting to rock the nose of the aircraft up while maintaining altitude. The first time onset of the stall warner often causes the student to jerk and release pressure. Fine. We recover and start the process again. This time we proceed only until the first burble. As planned we (the student) relaxes pressure to allow the nose to fall slightly below the horizon, speed to increase slightly and once again we stop the altitude loss. This time we get to an incipient stall or possibly beyond. This time recovery is made through the use of power and rudder.
Enough? Probably, but not necessarily. Let the student set the stall lesson limits. With the student's approval, but at the instructors suggestion the next stall lesson will include a ground review of the prior lesson and an introductory walk talk through the 2000 rpm straight ahead power-on stall. This is the stall that might be accidentally entered from slow flight. As before the talk/walk through begins with clearing turns and slow flight at 2000 rpm without the trim. Prior to entering the stall but while in slow flight the use of the rudder should be demonstrated. Alternately both the left and right rudder should be applied while the student is looking at the opposite wing. The rudder will move the wing forward, effectively increasing its speed and raising it. Do not do the stall until the student sees that the way to raise a dropped wing in the stall is by using the rudder and not the aileron.
The reduced power-on stall will result in an increase in altitude but the increase in pitch should be done as gently as possible while an ever increasing amount of right rudder is applied. The ideal stall break is straight ahead, if one wing or the other drops it is because of rudder use. Most often the left wing breaks because of insufficient right rudder. Attempts to raise the wing with aileron will only exacerbate the stall in that wing. The nose of the aircraft should be lowered to or slightly below the horizon in any event. This particular stall can be smoothly repeated over and over within a 100 foot altitude range just by leaving the power alone. This is a good exercise in a subsequent lesson.
The additional phases of stalls such as the full power stall, the approach to landing stall, stalls in turns, and conditions leading to stalls are progressions of these basics. All of them should be introduced and flown with as much frequency and emphasis as the student is willing to accept. The instructor should never expect to teach the student to 'enjoy' to stalls except in so far as the entry, stall, and recovery are smoothly performed. Increasingly, the PTS is reducing the extent to which various stalls are to be performed prior to recovery. My personal opinions aside, the PTS seems to be emphasizing recognition as being the essential ingredient to be followed by immediate recovery.
Youre Not Making Progress
I doubt that there is a pilot flying who has not at one time or another felt the twinge of doubt that his learning curve is not going well. The emotions involved can run the gamut, self doubt, blame, resentment, and anger. Quit, seek support, change instructors, and kick the dog are typical initial reactions.
We begin expecting that flying will be much as we have seen it in the media and read in books. We often assume that our prior experience and even expertise in another field will transfer into flying and expedite the learning process. Not so. A very important part of learning to fly is to unlearn all the preconceptions we have acquired since childhood. It is very difficult to overcome first learned ideas. We are very used to adding power to go faster. Yet, just adding power to an airborne airplane makes it go slower. Pointing an airplane up does not mean that it is going or will go up. Instinctive reactions can be very dangerous when applied to flying airplanes. Illusions exist and will be believed by even the best of pilots.
Much of the difficulty in giving flight instruction arises from communication problems. The instructor has acquired an experience bank from his own training and teaching. The instructors problem is to fit his knowledge and presentation of it into your learning requirements. The student is not a blank slate. As the previous paragraph indicates the student is loaded with flying information. The student doesnt know what he doesnt know. What he knows he knows may be all the way from totally correct in concept and application to just the opposite and anywhere in between.
This is the playing field of flight instruction. The student and instructor must communicate information and understanding back and forth. This communication can be verbal, demonstration, emotional and even extra-sensory. Instructors want every student to be a successful student. Every student wants to succeed. When it doesnt work out it is most often a failure to communicate.
Failure Area # 1
The student and instructor must enter into the program realizing that learning to fly has certain parameters that can make the process either easier or harder. Obviously, the more time, money and resources available the better. A weakness in any of these areas is going to affect both instruction, communication, and learning. Over half of all flight students never complete their flight training. The student would be well advised never to start with any of these parts showing deficiency. The instructor performs a disservice to the student and flying by starting a someone who is ill prepared and qualified to finish.
Failure Area # 2
Flying is learned best by total immersion. Practical limits prevent most people from this process. The result is a compromise by doing what is possible. Less time, less money, and less communication results in less progress. At some point the student and instructor will recognize that the process is breaking down. Lessons decrease in
frequency. Repetition creates a sense of no progress. Frustration affects both the student and instructor. The instructor starts pushing, the student feels even more pressured. Unhappiness.
Failure Area # 3
In the beginning the instructor will accept as normal a wide variation in performance. Everything seems to be progressing fine. Then, little by little the tolerance levels are narrowed. Altitude, headings, airspeeds, trim, and attitudes are going through changes leading to landings. Mistakes happen, are created, and are resolved in the process so that safety is not compromised. Student radio exposure increases. During this period student overload often occurs. The failure of a basic skill can bring progress to a halt.
Almost any basic skill can be responsible for requiring a basics refresher flight or two. Airspeed awareness in climb, turns, cruise, and descent have parameters that are essential to safety. Banking limits along with heading interceptions must be performed within relatively narrow limits. Anticipation takes the place of reaction. The time of performance is important many aspects of flight cannot be unduly delayed in the airport pattern know what to do, when and do it. Hesitation, delay, uncertainty, or mistakes must become a non-factor. Any lack of progress requires going back to basic procedures at altitude.
Failure Area # 4
The instructor is beginning to feel the responsibility that goes with student solo. There are relatively few situations where responsibility for life and safety exposure exceeds that of a flight instructor. The student, too, is feeling this pressure from the instructor and is having mental and emotional qualms as the solo day nears. The flying culture has attached far too much emphasis on the solo. While it is indeed a significant step, it really means a change in the number of instructors. The solo student is his own instructor. Where the student fails to plan, take responsibility, practice, and study he fails as an instructor. Progress will plateau just at the time it should accelerate.
Failure Area # 5
When a student is not making expected progress it is up to the instructor to come up with a plan. More frequent flights, more elaborate ground instruction, a revised procedure, a different airport, and partial panel to change visual focus. Dont keep beating the same process when its not working. Get some variety into the lessons. The instructor may suggest experiments to find how the mental process may be misdirecting the physical performance. Maybe the instructor should demonstrate more frequently. Just perhaps, there is no solution for the existing problem between the student and instructor. Take a week off to concentrate on book work instead of flying. Get the written out of the way. The progress may be revitalized by contradictory actions. Taking a week off from flying and study can act as a refresher. Flying three days in a row has been known to get things going again. Just go together for an airplane ride. Every instructor will have his share of failures. Learn to live with this probability.
Enter the Department
of Homeland Security
Subject: Concerned friend (drug use student pilot)
A friend who has some psychatric problems is taking flying lessons. He has flown solo a few times now. The other day he told me that he had to lie about the meds he is on ( he went to a dr. who would certify he was not taking such meds) in order to get approved for flying lessons. He is know for making poor decisions anyway and this really has me worried. I told him he should not be flying if it is known for someone on his medications to experience problems. He became very angry with me for saying such. I am worried for him as well as his daughter who depends on him. I know I should do something but I have no idea what. Should I report him? If so, to whom? Please help me figure out what to do.
I do wish there was a good solution to the problem. You don't want to hurt your friend nor do you want to lose him and his daughter one way or another. If you are the only one to whom he has confided this information it may be difficult to keep your identity out of it but I have an idea that might work. On the other hand there are hundreds if not thousands of pilots flying who perhaps should not be allowed at a airport. Medicals and licenses are being 'bought' all the time. The whole medical process is a sham so bad that had your friend not created the problem by taking a medical he could have learned to fly and flown legally on just his drivers license. Now he has poisoned the water.
Judgment now is usually a matter determined by the flight instructor. I have been involved in three instances where I told pilots that they lacked the good judgment to be safe pilots. Two of the three killed themselves in aircraft. Your awareness of your friends lack of judgment is very important Judgment can be taught but personality defects that affect judgment have inherent problems.
The pilot 'personality' contains a willingness to take risks. This must be
what you see in your friend.
To help you and your friend, I am willing to broach the problem in such a way as to make it untraceable to you. The easiest way would be by me or some one you know to contact the owner of the flight school. Present the problem to him in such a way so that by knowing the student license may be invalid he is not insured any time your friend is alone in the aircraft.
Another route might exist through the doctor that gave the prescription who through coincidence learned that your friend was taking lessons through a flight school 'contact'. You could even introduce the doctor to the owner of the school. Much of this depends on getting in touch with the doctor. Avoid dealing with the doctor who issued the license and the FAA because that could be messy.
The flight school and instructor have a great deal to lose if this fellow becomes a pilot on an invalid license, once they know of it. The instructor could construct lessons to get your friend to quit or scare himself where he shows lack of judgment. Weather is a good way to do that.. Being lost turns the brain to Jello. It can be done.
Getting him to quit, one way or another, might be a relief for all and best for his family. As a last resort you could give me names and places I would need just to set up a situation where he could fail a phase check or an staged incident with the FAA. I know of such a scenario between the FAA and a poor flight instructor.
If none of the above seem workable to you, let me know and I will come up
with some more ideas. DON'T carry the load by yourself. The more he learns
about planes and airport operations the more dangerous he will become.
Speedy reply appreciated,
Thank you so much for responding. I am not sure what route would be best. I do know I could never be there for him if he knew it was I who alerted officials. I just found out he is very near the end of his student flying and may receive a license soon.
He takes serequel, klonopin and an ungodly dose of effexor. His name is (deleted) and he is taking his lessons from someone at (deleted )airport in GA.
Let me know what you think. and thank you
I contacted to FBO to alert him to the situation and sent the name and number to my contact. My next phone call was supposedly from the Department of Homeland Security. I never returned the call. Then I received a call from a woman who asked that I call her at her cell phone so that she would know that I was available. Then she would call me on a landline to save my phone costs. I ignored this peculiar set up. Next call was answered by my wife, who brought me the phone but I refused to say anything other than I was trying to check credentials and get legal advice.
AOPA legal services said that I was entitled to ˝ hour legal consultation., I dropped out.
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