Page 6.54 ( 12580)
Fourteen Articles on Training
Return towhittsflying Home Page
Way It Should Be?; ...The Dangers of Giving Advice; ...Memes.; ...Flying Memes; Why I Teach with a Recorder; TheTeaching of Good Judgment; Instructor Failure; Checklists for All Occasions; Instructional Sequence; A Course reversal Is Not a 180; New ground reference procedure for PTS 1998; ... IFR Course Reversal; ...
it Should be??
The truism that the way you first learn something stays with you for life applies doubly to flying. The student who is taught procedures in flying that were acceptable or even standard forty years ago may be dangerously unsafe today. The God-like ability of the instructor to perform flying miracles of precision and performance gives a halo to even antiquated instruction. You will remember forever the way you were first taught. The way you hold the yoke, move the trim, hold the throttle, tune the frequencies, or use a checklist from the beginning will influence the way you fly for ever. I my opinion, the most difficult teaching/learning process is to change a flying process learned early on. In a stress situation the pilot will invariably revert back to the first learned procedure. The radio techniques of forty years ago are the equivalent of Elizabethan English in today's airspace. "Roger" and "wilco" still live. The visual perception of what makes a good landing approach will always be the one you first learned. The student, with his flying career ahead, can only proceed oblivious to any deficiency of procedure and the hazards created thereby. There is enough poor instruction around to make learning to fly still potentially dangerous.
Flight instruction should be a planned sequence of behavior forming and modification. You are learning to survive in an extremely complex environment. Your ability to perform must be increasingly precise. Failure to perform can and will result in serious consequences. Much of what you are expected to do is completely contrary to all your most basic instincts. Behind every major flight performance there is a multiplicity of small movements and skills required to make a safe result possible. Students learn their attitudes toward flying from the instructor. Attitudes affect behaviors. The teaching of a safe flying attitude is even more important than a high skill level. As an instructor I will try to always give the "why" of what we do. If I forget, ask. The reason behind doing a particular act makes the act more meaningful, more likely to be remembered, and more acceptable to the student.
If the student has not prepared for the lesson, then the lesson should be canceled, changed to a review, or otherwise adapted for best utilization of resources. On occasion, cancellation is the best way to get the student to pay attention to the requirements of learning to fly. The student should be told the sequence of maneuvers the instructor plans to follow. New skill elements will be introduced early in the lesson. Review and skill maintenance will be covered as time allows. Any discussion, along with diagrams and walk through, should cover the procedure, control movements, power settings, common errors, and performance standards.
The individual lesson is homemade and hand made to fit the student. The success and failures of the prior lessons are blended into the plans and expectations for today. I will preview on every succeeding flight some of the basics of airspeed, turns, and changes of configuration. The transition, entry, and recovery from every maneuver requires constant review just to maintain the present skill levels and to continue improvement. A given student has different needs than any other. The instructor must have a repertoire of instructional devices capable of meeting a variety of student requirements. The basic 30 degree banked level turn is comprised of a multiplicity of subtle yoke pressures and rudder applications. Very often the pressures must be anticipated in one direction but not the other. for this reason it is instructionally desirable to practice as much to the left as to the right in every maneuver.
Prior to every flight I will spend at least 30 minutes discussing the skill building blocks upon which the coming maneuvers will be based. I will walk through, diagram, and 'handee' so that the student understands both the maneuvers and the performance parameters. I will depart up wind if possible to make the flight less costly. I use the climbout to teach skills such as Dutch rolls. I plan the entire lesson so that when completed we will be in position to contact our home base. If opportunities allow I would suggest that every instructor have a diagram of the airport and its taxiways on the asphalt of size sufficient to allow a walk-through of procedures.
We make a sequential listing of the expected frequencies we will need for the radio. We will occasionally review the universal frequencies that we should know. The most common are: 122.95, 122.0, 122.1, 122.2, 122.9, 122.75, and 121.5. If you cant say what the frequencies are used for or how, you should do some studying. According to experience I will help the student to mentally, orally, or write the expected communications to accompany the frequencies. Additionally, we plan the taxi route to the departure runway and the way we will depart. Our return is planned the same way with a pre-decided call-up checkpoint and a requested landing entry. As much as possible a different departure and arrival will be used on every flight.
The instructor should have given the student some idea as to what to expect on the next flight. This information is basic to any student preparation required. My students are expected to follow up with a phone call the night before a flight so that in addition to discussion of the planned flight alternatives caused by weather or time can be covered. As a student, you can reduce the stress of a lesson by being prepared. Your instructor will set your standards of expectations and preparation. The biggest problems will be scheduling and student preparation. Most of the expense of learning to fly is due to a poor scheduling program. Scheduling more frequent lessons is always better for the learning/teaching process.
The night before we both will check with the FSS for the forecast that applies to our expected flight time. An hour before leaving home we will make another weather check with the FSS and perhaps even make a phone call to our expected destination if no weather is available. I help in arrival planning to know the runway in use and wind conditions. You will save far more than the cost of the phone call by being able to make an efficient arrival.
I like to begin every lesson by getting the student to ask me any questions. Some students are better at this than are others. The question and the way it is asked is revealing about the depth of student awareness. The final flight preparation should be a check with the student to see if there are any unanswered questions. Every instructor who enjoys flying will respond to the student who is inquisitive and makes the extra effort and time to learn more. A good student helps the instructor do a good job. Students, don't wait until you get into the airplane to ask the "What if...," questions.
I tend to be, too, intense in my instruction. I want my students to succeed, save money, and learn quickly. I love flying and teaching it and have difficulty accepting that others may have other conflicting interests like jobs, vacations, and family. I am constantly narrowing the student's perceptual field to flying or a single aspect of it. Students, on the other hand, fail to see that flying is not just the 'fun' of being in the air. Flying is the homework, preparation, and required knowledge to make the 'fun' safe. The best flight instruction takes place on the ground, it is on the ground that you are exposed to the habit of preparation that makes flying safe. Learn the habit of "What if..." before you ever get into the plane. Murphy's Law exists in flying as in everything else.
The teaching process requires that the performance objective proposed to the student be explained, diagramed, and demonstrated. Demonstrate those objectives that are difficult to explain. I will create situations that are likely to be a part of the students later experience such as all the things that can go wrong during landings. In all maneuvers I will try to give the student the cues to use. Not all are visual. Sound is a very important first cue to changes in airspeed. The element of success in any flight lesson is the best motivation. Find some success to tie up the flight package. Don't relate problems of the lesson as a 'blame'. We learn as much from our mistakes as from our successes.
While there may be more than one way to teach a flight skill, some ways may be quicker, more efficient, better, cheaper, or safer. Behind the way I do or teach a given skill is what I have learned from resolving my mistakes with numerous students, pilots and instructors. Since the ultimate goal extends beyond a trainer, the student should be taught from the beginning, as though he was in a higher performance aircraft. The instructor who initially takes the easy way to teach is performing a disservice to the student and thus to aviation. I have detected in checkrides such instructional faults as allowing a tight grip on the yoke, not using trim, always making partial flap landings, not verbalizing clearing, and not permitting the student to do the radio communications. I try to concentrate on procedures that are safe to use in the worst of likely circumstances.
If, for some reason, a particular maneuver is not performed by a student to acceptable levels the instructor should choose the most efficient and economic method of correction. Instructional skill is demonstrated where the instructor is able to detect, analyze cause, and provide corrective feedback to the student immediately. Some correction of errors should wait until landing. Perhaps a demonstration by the instructor is required. (My past students have indicated that I may not demonstrate often enough.) Have the student repeat the exercise while the instructor talks through the procedure. Have the student talk through a dry run before doing it again. Every student and maneuver will require a slightly different instructional touch. Rules and requirements will not make you a knowledgeable, safe pilot--instruction will.
If the flying process is tending to overload the student it is best to remove the pressure. The instructor may assume radio and traffic watch or even talk the student through a procedure. Make sure that the student is reducing the work load by correct use of trim for airspeed. Have him talk through each maneuver as an aid to the anticipation required for smoothness. Be aware than much of 'getting behind' in flying has to do with airspeed control. Trim!!
An intensive flight instructional period should not exceed 45 minutes of new material. Any instruction of new material beyond this time will result in deteriorating performance and frustration. However, it is important that a student's endurance be extended. It is little clues that warn the instructor of student fatigue. Failure to clear, pull carburetor heat, or trim correctly are common signs. As an instructor, I point out to the student my detection of fatigue and continue the lesson only to review material while returning to base. Physical fatigue is not as significant as is fatigue brought on by emotional pressures inside the student.
During the post flight debriefing it is beneficial if the student is able to make a self analysis of how he performed. It is important that the student recognize good, fair, satisfactory, and poor performances. This means that the student must know what the tolerances of acceptability are. It is even more important that the causes be determined. If, for whatever reason, his solo performance is outside these limits he must so advise his instructor and plan for a corrective lesson. Every student flight should have its parameters designed to meet requirements for the flight examination. To fly otherwise is a waste of time and money.
A note about the relative importance of what you learn. There are certain basics that can never be replaced by technology. The stall warner, engine gauges, the feel, sounds, and sensations related to flying can never be replaced by computers and other devices. You can be fooled by false indicators, stress reactions, and illusions. The basic skills, kept proficient, will not fail you when most needed, technology, can and will fail often at the most inopportune moment. The first priority is always aircraft control.
of Giving Flying Advice
Learning to fly well requires that you make some conceptual changes in what you perceive as safety. The safety parameters of every day activities, including driving an automobile, lose validity when the third dimension of flying is added. It is this adjustment, or rather, lack of adjustment by student pilots that creates confusing conflicts in the perception and the reality of safe flying. Some of this is because of the physical differences between airplane models but most of it is the mind-set the individual has toward where the hazards of flying reside.
Nearly 50% of all aircraft accidents occur while taxiing. You are far more likely to damage an aircraft by running into another aircraft than by any other means. Thankfully, you are not likely to suffer personal injury. Why should this be so? Taxiing or parking an airplane is not like driving an automobile. The binocular perception of clearance fails very near wing-tip distance. The combination of braking and power use is quite different from that of an automobile. The control of turning radius and speed requires considerable practice before an airplane can be positioned smoothly where you want it. Safety is compromised every time an airplane fails to conserve space for the other guy in the run-up area. In terms of safety, skill, and conservation of space, taxiing is the last 'flying' skill mastered. A very small proportion of taxiing accidents are directly related to yoke position but these accidents do tend to do significant damage. Any time delay in establishing the proper yoke position can have serious consequences. Safety suggestion: Always taxi as though you had 30 knot winds.
The way an aircraft moves on to the runway is a safety consideration. You often see low-wing aircraft just dart right out at an angle and depart. Good visibility except for the short approach plane on a base behind you. What is the harm for the low-wing pilots making the base clearing turns commonly practiced by the high-wingers? Being cleared to cross a runway or takeoff by ATC in the face of oncoming traffic makes you rely on your reality over ATC's perception. Make That big S-turn to clear both close in base and final before taking the runway. the life you save may be your own.
Safety in flying, includes the care you take of the airplane, it is a safety measure to get into the air as slow as is normal and then to climb at Vy until at least pattern altitude. I have flown recently with two different pilots from two different instructors who perceive safety as being more related to being able to see over the nose at all times, rather than getting the safety insurance that comes with altitude. Perception vs. reality. These same two pilots had relatively weak rudder skills and are unlikely to acquire them unless some remedial exercises are programmed. Safety suggestion: Dutch rolls.
The next area of safety is the making of turns. ATC would like to know for certain if an aircraft is turning or just flying wing low. The pilot who favors shallow turns for comforts sake is prolonging the blind exposure time for any significant turn. The 30 degree bank is an ideal compromise for pattern turns and most other airwork. It only increases the G-force by 15/100s and greatly reduces the blind time. High-wing or low-wing you have a blind area in the turn. By making your initial clearing turns to the left you reduce the probability of being hit from behind. Why? A following aircraft is supposed to be passing to your right, but you already knew that.
When in level cruise within 3000' above mean sea level (MSL) how do you decide on your altitude. Wantabet, that the vast majority of you fly at even thousands or 500s. Wantabet, that if you make a practice of flying westbound at 2800 and eastbound at 2700 you will be amazed at the number of planes that whiz by just above and below you. What about level cruise above 2000' hills? You will be legal all the way up to 5000' MSL flying in any direction at any altitude. Wantabet, a very high proportion of the planes will be at 3500' and 4500'. Wantabet, your safest altitude west bound will be one of the even 100s over 3000 such as 3200, 3800, 4200. 4800. Eastbound use odd hundreds like 3300 or 4700. No altitude will be perfect but some are somewhat safer than others.
I have had pilots tell me how 'careful' they are when flying. Being careful is again a variation between perception and reality. We see similar thinking on the freeways. Slow is safer??? In flying you much be aware of where you are, where other planes are likely to be, and whether they are where they say they are. It's called situational awareness. A pilot in a strange situation does not know what he doesn't know. Prior planning might have helped the awareness and orientation. Use the radio. Stay high. Use lights. Get help. Use standard procedures. The standard procedures are designed to maintain separation and order in the airspace.
A relatively high number of accidents are caused by weather. Every student pilot is made overly aware of the hazards associated with weather flying. The net result is that students usually wait for the weather parts of the year before learning to fly. Fact is, it is better to learn to fly during the bad weather parts of the year. The student learns to have weather experiences and make weather decisions under qualified guidance. The student should be exposed to rain, clouds, fog, and winds under controlled conditions that expose both the hazards and the options. A pilot should not have his first SVFR experience without knowledgeable assistance. You can never fully predict the timing of weather. You must be exposed, in training, to the making of weather making decisions both on the ground and in the air. The relative safety of such training is beyond doubt. Ever wonder why so many students quit flying after one year? They're smart enough to realize that their training was not complete. You don't know what you don't know and it is relatively unsafe to be your own instructor.
Being 'careful' is a very poor substitute for knowledge. Again perception vs. reality. Safety is a knowledge factor. Some procedures are safer than others. Flying without knowledge is unsafe. Most pilots intuitively recognize when they are under stress in a flight situation. If you find certain conditions causing you stress, you are relatively unsafe. This is not something where you want to experiment, fumble, and bumble until you work your way out. Certain deficiencies in knowledge are due to careless disregard for procedures and rules. Other deficiencies in knowledge are due to a pilot's inability to accept the reality of certain safety measures when in conflict with personal perceptions. Finally, safety deficiencies can be due to negligence. Not having a chart or flashlight available are examples. ATC and other pilots may cover for your ignorance this time. As in other aspects of flying, the worst thing that can happen to an ignorant pilot is to 'get away' with it. Flying is..."terribly unforgiving of any carelessness, incapacity or neglect."
The word meme is a descriptive term coined by psychologist Richard Dawkins. Meme rhymes with gene. A meme can exist as a word, a phrase, or a complex idea in the memory. Memes can be benign, useful, clever, dangerous, hateful, or deadly. Memes work and live just like viruses. Unable to survive on its own, a meme virus must imbed itself into a host's emotional and intellectual psyche to live and propagate. To make itself contagious, a virus executes certain instructions that cause the host's memory to activate infection-spreading activities.
A meme is not a virus in the true sense of the word. It does not destroy its host. Instead it is a contagious information pattern that replicates by triggering the memory. The meme is a behavior altering activator that drives a recipient host to spread it on to other hosts. It is a snippet of information that survives by infecting host humans. It embeds a copy of itself into the human memory bank and saves itself for future use. When a situation arises that triggers the memory bank, the pseudo virus meme is executed by being implanted into another host or hosts.
The meme cannot be contagious or propagated without convincing the host that to spread it will raise his status in some way. The psyche of the new host expects to gain in status, acceptance, and knowledge. This is done first by becoming a host and secondly by planting the seed into others. A meme is an opportunistic, self-replicating idea that tricks its new host into being a willing participant. Sometimes only of few transitions take place as among acquaintances, often a few thousand times when published as a letter in a magazine, or worse many thousands of times when posted on the internet. It works by finding hosts with inability or unwillingness to understand how a meme, as a piece of information, can be spread.
Like a dirty joke, a new diet, a political rumor, or an April Fool news bite, a meme replicates on and on. A meme of any kind acquires a life and existence of its own, ever growing and spreading despite any reasoned criticism. The more bizarre the meme the more likely it is to be implanted and replicated. Any warnings that it is dangerous, foolish, and even deadly will not get to the source of the problem. The best cure a defective meme is to replace it with another that is more valid. More typically a meme vaccine is devised to ridicule, insult, and publicize those who would serve as hosts.
The most dangerous carrier is the one who establishes relationships with potential hosts before beginning to pass on memes. It is all about the power of ideas and the growth process that all student pilots must go through. The law of primacy, which is the cornerstone of all flight instruction, states that first learned knowledge, be it an idea, an procedure, or concept will be there forever. If any of these first learned elements are defective the unlearning, relearning will require great time and effort to overcome. In fact, they may never be overcome if the meme occurrence arises during a period of stress. The flashback to the original meme can be absolute, overpowering and deadly.
Defective memes have real consequences. Defective flying memes are time-consuming to disinfect, a dangerous nuisance, or if done without ill intent a terribly misleading path. A classic example of this occurred thirty years ago. Richard Taylor, as publisher of the pocket sized Air Facts magazine, casually wrote that engine failures were most likely to occur at first power reduction. This idea, from such a valid source acquired the status of a law of engine behavior. It was repeated many thousands of times. Years later, Richard Taylor, indicated that he had made the statement with no valid data base or even experience. That 'engine failures are most likely to occur on first power reduction' then joined many other aviation memes. Even when refuted by Taylor and engine manufacturers as having no basis in fact. The meme's life continues on.
In the case at issue we have someone who is vengefully serving flying students defective memes because of enforcement action taken in removing his solo flying privileges due to a deliberate violation of the Federal Air Regulations. He flew into controlled airspace without communicating or a clearance or even knowing where he was. In the process of doing this he did fly in the immediate vicinity of landing and departing commercial airliners and posed a danger to himself and hundreds of others.
It is the deliberate propagation of defective memes with the intent to disturb student learning/thought process that some degree of accountability should be assigned. When a person decides to exact retribution from the flying community for an FAA enforcement action. With a deliberate ego prestige building process of an ingratiating series of student contacts soon to be followed by one meme after another any one of which is capable of triggering the replicating spread of defective information to the innocent and unwary. The flying student has every reason to be scared that any given meme may be capable of inflicting damage. We are seeing a deliberate spreading of defective memes on the internet. Anyone giving flying advice should be doing so, even from ignorance, never with the intent to cause harm. To spread a meme while fully aware that the defect has a very deadly capability, should come under the 'abuse' terms of internet use.
Most student pilots believe that their knowledge of flying is able to analyze and detect a meme of questionable value. Depending on the status of the transferring host, a meme has a greater of lesser chance of both transferring, infecting, and replicating itself through a new host. A defective flying meme is a tremendous drain on human resources. Knowingly to transmit the AIDS virus is a criminal act. It is no less criminal to knowingly place into the flight training/learning environment a meme that can cause a pilot's death.
This is currently happening and being allowed to happen on the internet with the concurrence of those able to prevent it. By providing shelter and carte blanc to continue a nefarious program you have achieved the rank of an accomplice. Allowing free rein to do this on the internet makes the internet all the more vulnerable to outside control. I call it irresponsible complicity.
I Teach with a Recorder
I am flying naked (without any insurance) when I instruct. I have essentially done so for over 8,500 hours of instruction. I feel that the tapes are my insurance policy. Several hundred students have tapes that would prove that I NEVER let a student make a turn without clearing. I give alltitudes used during ground reference work on the tape so that we never get within 500' of persons, homes, or vehicles. We record all airwork as to location and altitude and turns to avoid clouds. All radio calls are recorded so that I have proof that everything was done according to the FARs, AIM and POH recommendations, etc. I teach by the book. I never teach a maneuver that is contrary to the POH recommendations, such as slipping with full flaps. I fly with the recorder in my lap so that I can feel when it stops and needs changing.
I have always tape recorded all that goes on in the cockpit so that the student has a record of what happened. Tapes make good playback of instruction and communications for student to hear while driving home from airport. Using this system there will be no aircraft noise on the tapes but all radio and cockpit conversations are recorded. This allows you to play back a tape to and from the airport. Take notes and prepare questions. Instructor should not have any objections since it is a record of doing his job well.
A tape recorder should be used during both ground and flight instruction. You will need a 4x6 type recorder with a mic jack at a cost between $30 and $60. The mini-recorders only run a half-hour and I have found that to be too short a time interval. At an electronics store you should buy a splitter to take both your head-phone jack and a patch cord to run to the recorder. The student provides recorder and 90 minute tapes. A slight increase in cost but a great increase in teaching efficiency. The recording allows student to play back pre-flight ground instruction, flight instruction, and post-flight critique. When they play back the tapes going to work etc. it gives them more insight into what I was saying and how it applied to the immediate situation. I couldn't see flight instructing any other way. If the student has future plans that may include instructing the tapes should be saved.
How you wire into the recorder depends on kind of inter-com you have. Portable 9V battery intercoms can be patched directly to recorder. Recorder must have 'mic' jack. Radio Shack has monaural splitter that will take your headset phone jack on one side. One end of patch cord goes into the splitter and the other end of the patch goes to the recorder. If you are flying with a stereo headset you will only hear through one ear of the headset. I once sent a headset back thinking it was the problem.
If your system is hard wired into the aircraft it will be 12V and will overdrive the recorder input. Put a 1-Meg resistor into the line inside the large phone jack and this will solve the problem. You have several options as to what cables to use. One is to get a plug reducer from standard to cassette size. They have 6-foot cables but half as much works best in the cockpit. They also have red-tipped resistance cables that can be used to cut down the amplification power of a hard-wired aircraft intercom's 12-volt system. Instead of the resistance cable you can solder a one-meg ohm resistor into the cable plug at one end to accomplish the same thing. Suggest cutting 6' patch cable in half an making one for each intercom situation. In any event you should be using headsets if you value your hearing.
The tape makes good source of questions prior to next flight. The use of a tape recorder is the best way I know to improve learning and retention. This means the student can learn to fly for less money.
Now, in 2004, I am using digital recorders, One for my student and one for
myself. I download the recording into my computer and then during the
playback take notes as to what I thought I was trying to teach. Ideally,
my student will do the same as to what he thought I was teaching and what he
learned. Then the
memories as written can be compared. It is not at all uncommon to have quite different output/input differences as the written results often indicate.
The Teaching of Good Judgment
Spend a few days thinking over the teaching of judgment and then consulted with my bitter-half. Her contention is that you either have common sense our you don't. I always wondered why I always bet on the "don't" when playing craps. Nevertheless, I do have some strong opinions on the teaching of flying judgment. Other opinions to the contrary, I feel that a student pilot cannot earn the desired judgment with out exposure to the actual situation.
Many aspects of flying require exposure to the mistakes of flying. It is just as important to be exposed to the mistakes of landings as it is to the correct procedures. Stalls are taught as flying mistakes to be avoided. The correct performance is taught as a recognition skill rather than as a performance skill. So do I teach VFR weather flying. A student pilot who has only been told about SVFR and flying in minimum conditions will never appreciate the complexity of knowledge and decisions that need to be made.
Just how much weather I give a student depends upon how he seems to expect to utilize flying. The student who expect to use flying as an efficiency tool in his work needs a different approach than the student who expects to be mainly recreational. I never cease to be amazed by the number of pilots that I give flight reviews to, who have never done a SVFR flight or flown in MVFR. More than a few have been unexpectedly trapped in these conditions with which they had no prior training. A student needs to know where the IFR approach routes and altitudes are then he must know to stay away from that area in marginal visibility.
I have always advocated a student learn to fly in the Fall and Winter so that you get your rating being exposed to adverse conditions and learn to make fly/no fly decisions under guidance. The S.F. Bay Area where I fly has many adjacent valleys where mesoscale weather varies greatly. A pilot needs to learn to read Bay Area weather if an airplane is going to be an effective working tool. A student who learns in the Spring and Summer is totally unprepared for Fall and Winter weather. He simply stops flying, only to find that the hiatus now requires the additional cost of dual to regain proficiency. A very high proportion of new pilots never fly again. Often those, who challenge the weather without training, appear in the evening news.
In teaching to fly the weather I have several specific parameters. First, I always fly toward improving weather. That implies that I fly away from deteriorating weather. Second, I always leave myself an out and usually more than one. I know where I am. I have more than adequate fuel reserves. Last, I am never reluctant to get help. The overly proud pilot who feels that his training has taught him all that needs knowing, who is unwilling to admit being misplaced or lost, is just flying toward future trouble.
I was able to deliver four plane loads of clothing to Watsonville flying VFR after the '87 earthquake while IFR flights were lucky to make one. The weather was MVFR but good enough for an area familiar pilot. On TV the next day I saw the clothes we brought getting wet from the rain. No one thought to fly in tarps.
I teach weather flying by adjusting to the conditions as they exist. I do not fly in 600' ceilings, 2 mile visibility, turbulence, or SVFR for fun. I will and do fly with students in these conditions to teach them how to deal with the situation. I teach that the VOR is very limited at low altitudes. The ADF less so. The GPS and LORAN are now the future. There is little reason for a pilot to become lost now. Radar coverage is being extended every year to more and more airports. The AWOS weather program will soon be widely available. Things are getting better. However, these improvements will cause more and more pilots to push their experience envelope. Many will be relying on technology when the only aid available will be the Mark-I eyeball. I teach the eyeball system. The eye is always looking for options.
Made a dual night flight with a student where there was a dew point /temperature spread that was relatively close. This meant that fog could form if it became closer. As we went in and out of other nearby airports we made an ATIS check of our home field just to make sure that we would be able to get back in. Was this teaching judgment? I would think so. The ultimate weather option is to land and arrange other transportation. I have done this more than once because of ice, winds, turbulence, and aircraft performance.
The relative safety of a situation depends upon pilot experience and evaluation of the alternatives. Doing a dumb thing successfully skews your judgment. You think you can get away with it again. What ever induced a pilot to perform in such a manner? Success? The 'risk management' process is often so flawed by presumptions of success that failure is inevitable. The pilot is the leading cause of preventable accidents. Prevention is a blend of capability, preparation and attitude. Learning your limits in flight training is what it's all about.
All activities involve some degree of risk. Flying, due to its multi-dimensional complexity, has more than its share. Risk can be managed if the pilot has properly prepared for the flight and is proficient and current in the required skills. Preparation is mental, physical and mechanical. Proficiency requires recent flying in aircraft type and weather conditions. 72% of pilot accidents have occurred where pilots are not trained or current in the conditions surrounding the accident. You can be trained for flying in minimum conditions. Such training deliberately selected are more productive in developing judgment than those which occur as surprises.
Since poor judgment is involved in so may accidents we should know that an unfamiliar situation is a breeding ground for poor decisions. An airplane can be flown into an abnormal situation faster than your decisions can get you out. The critical decision is one of determining what is most important? Risks are often best minimized by landing. Good judgment can be taught and learned. When in doubt, make the safe decision.
Inadvertently, I caused another student to quit flying recently. I should have found another way to show that the present program was not doing the job. I wonder how many other students who in the process of changing or comparing instructors just give up learning to fly. What is the proper professional approach when a student is being gouged.
I feel it important to tell the group what I found. Not so much as criticism of the other instructor as for letting those of the group know of the little things you should be looking for in your own instruction. There are many different ways to do the basics of flying. Just because what you do works does not mean you are doing what is best for the airplane or for your proficiency as a pilot.
The story is in two parts.
The first day ...
Student was dissatisfied with progress being made. Total time 25 hours in C-172. Phoned and ask to go flying. We went flying for 1.1 hobbes hours.
On our first flight, by agreement, I was not to make corrections or comments but, rather, was to keep track of performance as it applied to the four basics of climb, level, descent and turns. I assigned 90 degree turns, slow flight with and without flaps, and power on and off stalls along with flight to an uncontrolled airport to which the student had been eight times.
The preflight was a thing to behold. The student had a pre-printed checklist on which one out of every three items did not apply to the particular aircraft or to the planned flight. In the cockpit every required and reference paper was checked. Once out of the cockpit the checklist was placed on the ground. The student carried a screwdriver and 'tightened' any number of screws during the preflight. Every control rod, counter-weight, antenna, and inspection plate was physically touched for security. The tires were inspected through the air-valve door of the wheel faring. This could well have been a pre-purchase inspection. Forty-five minutes later we entered the cockpit.
The aircraft key was on a ring along with at least twenty-five other keys. It had been left in the magneto switch during the preflight. I intervened prior to start to show that the key could be on a magneto and be still be removed (it shouldn't) and that the bunch of keys could turn off the engine in turbulence. The engine start went well except for the over-priming on a warm day. The student taxied only with the brakes. Plane is a Cessna 172. Even so, student had never made a pivot turn using brakes and power.
The student obtained a clearance to taxi but was assigned an unfamiliar runway. With assistance we arrived in the middle runup area with no room for another aircraft where four normally fit. We do not face the wind and actually encroach on the taxiway. Student asks me to point out the runway. I had previously indicated that we would depart to the East. Student needed help to construct the departure call-up and request. Left the runup area without clearing the final approach path. Takeoff was more of a hop-off than a lift off with no correction for the crosswind. Student flies with a full but twisted grip on the yoke and, when holding the throttle, uses a full grip around the throttle knob.
The turn to the East was made after several head turns and bobs in all directions including peering around the window posts. The resulting self induced vertigo must have influenced the variations in bank angle and airspeed. There were scattered clouds at 1300 feet. Student was confused as to the FAR cloud clearances required and that we had control over what happened. Student complained about the control pressures in climb. I had pointed out during preflight that the previous pilot had left the trim tab far off neutral. This had not been corrected prior to takeoff. Climb speed was maintained once the trim was adjusted.
The student was given a leveling off altitude. Student leveled off and reduced the power to 2100 rpm. No trim was used. C-172 was proceeding at low cruise. During level off about 200 feet had been gained. Altitude was lost by reducing power. I asked for a series of left and right turns. Every turn was preceded by no fewer that three or four head turns and bobs followed by erratic bank angles and altitudes. Student made the turns but had difficulty timing the leveling off so that the desired heading coincided with wings level.
Going to slow flight took a relatively long time with more than a couple of hundred feet change in altitude. The process consisted of slightly reducing the power and waiting for the airplane to slow down. Use of trim required instructor's suggestion. Student was able to reduce power and lower flaps but required coaching for power application and trim. On recovery, student was unfamiliar with milking up the flaps.
We simulated two landings at altitude where the student would pull carburetor heat at mid-field, do the pre-landing, reduce power to 1500, flip the trim once or twice, slow to 70 knots, add 10 and then 20 degrees of flap and then slow to 65 knots on final. All student's landings had been made with 20 degrees of flap. The go-arounds were done with full power followed by dramatic pitch up and concurrent loss of airspeed. Student had to be reminded to bring up flaps.
Because of the time involved in the preflight it was necessary to return the club plane. We flew back over a route that the logbook showed had been flown no fewer than eight times. The student got the ATIS after listening four or five times but was unable to give a reference point on the ground for call-up. I assisted in the call-up by having it written down to read. The base entry required referencing a two mile base reporting point. The point involved can be used by all three of the main runway directions. Student had heard of it but did not know where it was.
Instructor coached student into the base entry, the two mile report, the addition of flaps, and even the turn to final. The landing was anti-climatic because I had the student leave 1200 rpm on in the flare.
Return to our parking space consisted of a wide sweep with the left wing as close to an adjacent aircraft as could be judged before turning for alignment with the space. This procedure is, in my experience, probably the major cause of minor aircraft damage. Reason: Students copying the bad example of other pilots.
The prior instructor had nurtured an emotional attachment. They were both divorced with kids. Couldn't match that. My wife won't let me have a girl friend and a divorce means I have to take the kids. Who wants to be a single parent with 40 year-old kids.
The next day we made the same flight on which I actually taught the lesson, prepared the student, rehearsed the radio work, and came back with an enthused student who then quit flying. I have not initiated any contact to find out just why.
I met the student at the flight line. The plane was late in getting back. I walked and talked the student through all of the flight maneuvers that we had done the previous day. I discussed and showed the student a new way to move the trim by the use of the fore finger tip instead of by pinching the trim wheel. I explained the advantage of making 30-degree banks as requiring a lower level of attention from any other bank. We would later do a demonstration series of left and right level 30-degree banked 360s hands off.
We walked through the pattern of the uncontrolled airport and rehearsed the radio procedures. Everything is being tape recorded. We walked through the course reversal process and how the sum of the digits of any given heading would equal the sum of the digits at the 90, 180, and 270 degree points of the heading indicator. If the reader does not understand this look carefully at a heading indicator with any number set to the top. When the plane returned, we reviewed how the trim wheel would be moved with the finger tip. The same finger and tip would be used to index the throttle movements and settings.
We reviewed the clearing process and how making the process both visual and verbal was important and how the best way to see on repeated no-pause turns was to always clear to the raised wing. We would level off by first moving the trim, holding heading and altitude while the plane accelerated to 100 knots and then reducing the power to 2450. We would avoid all altitudes of even thousands or five hundreds when below 3000 feet AGL. We would be using the half-angle bank recovery method until reasonable accuracy was acquired. We would practice the course reversal before over-flying the uncontrolled airport.
The two different slow-flight procedures were done as dry runs. From level cruise we would reduce the power to 1700, which decreased to 1500 during deceleration, hold heading and altitude while trimming all the way to the stop for sixty knots before adding power to 1800 rpm. 30 degree banks could be made at a level altitude with the addition of 100 rpm. Recovery was made with the use of full power and the rapid removal of trim while holding heading and altitude. Power was reduced to 2450 on reaching 100 knots and fine trim used for hands-off. Full flap slow flight was to be accomplished by first reducing power to 1500 while holding heading and altitude until airspeed reached the white arc. At that time full flaps would be applied while holding heading and altitude. With full flaps, full power would be applied and one or more turns of trim would be used to maintain 50 knots hands-off. Recovery would be done by applying full power, milking off flaps while maintaining heading and altitude until Vy was reached. At Vy the flaps would be fully raised and trim pressure removed while climb at Vy was maintained.
I proceeded to tape record my recommendations as to how the preflight process could be expedited and time reduced to ten or 15 minutes. The ignition key was placed on the fuel selector pedestal instead in the ignition. The flaps were only lowered partially, as a battery saving procedure, while still allowing full inspection of the flap mechanism. We checked the aircraft with a minimum of retraced movements. The left wing chain was removed first. The wing tiedown chains would laid out so that they would show where the tires should be when the plane was returned. Movement and security of the wing controls and attachment points are visually confirmed. Left fuel sump is drained and sump cup placed on right seat where it will be available for draining the right wing sump and engine sump as required. The fuel caps are removed, fuel level confirmed by touch and the caps secured and aligned with airflow. Shimmy damper is checked for security and the chrome strut wiped clean of abrasive dirt. Alternator belt is checked for proper tension by turning belt 90 degrees between two fingers. This may also be done by getting 1/2 inch flexing with moderate finger pressure.
I recorded a checklist start procedure that was more specific for the aircraft and the flight as the student proceeded through the start procedure. Student will bring checklist in scratch form so that it can be amended. There will be at least five revisions before the list is ready for lamination. The final checklist will be specific for the aircraft and the pilot.
The student wanted to get the ATIS before start to save hobbes time. I went along with that but demonstrated how all the essential information could be logically placed in the four quadrants of a + sign. I stressed that it was most economical to learn to listen well enough to get the ATIS the first time. Prior to entering the plane I had the student make a guess as to the wind direction and velocity by reading the wind sock. We started the engine by using my taped checklist and priming only with two pumps of the throttle and using the fore finger to set 1/8 inch of throttle for 800 rpm. Next we rehearsed the radio call until it came out without punctuation. This time the active runway was familiar to the student but we practiced the call to go to the smaller runway. Student had never taken off or landed on a smaller runway. My question was, "Would you rather use the small runways with an instructor or by yourself?" I assisted in the taxi route but insisted that the lines be followed using no brakes and only the spring loading coming off the rudder pedals and plenty of anticipation. Taxiing went beautifully. Yoke position for wind was uncertain. That will come with time. We are #2 in the runup area but we finish the control check and runup first so I advised ground that we will taxi to the hold bar and contact tower there.
I had gone over some study sheets with the student about departures one of which was the 270. The student was curious about the 270 so during the runup time I had rehearsed and diagramed the 270 departure that we would be making. We had made a point to face the final approach corridor while making our call and request to the tower. Everything went as planned.
While waiting for the airplane to get back, I had described the Dutch roll as to training purpose and relation to the crosswind landing. As we climbed out I demonstrated the roll with the student on the controls with me. The rolls were continued by the student with me advising for rudder application and anticipation. We did this the first time for only a couple of minutes.
The leveling off began as the day before but I intervened and had the nose leveled and trim for level applied at the same time. Power was not reduced to 2450 until reaching 100 knots. Surprise! The plane is in level flight, hands off.
After the second or third try, the turns were made with rudder sufficient to keep the ball centered. I coached the recovery lead of half the bank angle. Student occasionally forgot to clear or to verbalize the clearing. As part of this review I had the student enter a 30-degree bank put in two buttons of trim and then fly using only the rudder. We did this in two 360s both left and right. Surprise, it works.
As the day before, we went through slow flight with and without flaps. This time the student was coached progressively through the use of trim and power. My comment the day before was that the student was working too hard in flying the airplane. The reaction to the slow flight today was that everything seemed so easy. We did practice the full flap slow flight recovery until it was right. This is a necessary go-around skill. No time for stalls, today.
Again we simulated landings, this time using the runway direction most likely at the uncontrolled airport near by. On the previous day I had noticed that the student used the four count system for getting 10 degrees of flap. This works quite well. The student, however, watched the flaps go down. On these simulations I had the student watch the over the nose to maintain heading, altitude and/or airspeed. Again, things were "easy".
I did an area survey of identifiable reference points and the student did quite well. Part of the lesson in this instance was to have the student locate a specific small city. Student couldn't. The reasons? We were right over it. Good lesson. I asked the student to point to our destination airport. Wrong by 90 degrees.
We rehearsed, the radio calls for unicom and traffic from our present position and for our arrival over the airport. Student had been to this airport according to the logbook five or six times. Surprise, student was unaware that airport had a windsock and its location. Heading there after our initial radio call to traffic, I remembered that we had not practiced course reversals. Since I had planned our arrival to take us over the field outbound on the 45 we were well placed to practice the reversals. We did two successive, one to the right and the other to the left. The student knowing how to do the course reversal makes the process of safely determining the active runway from over the field and the proper 45 entry "easy".
Student missed a radio call by an aircraft giving away the active. I had student query the frequency. Frequency quite active from other fields but verification of active finally made so that student could plan arrival. Flew outbound on the 45 made the course reversal and talked the student through the previously rehearsed radio calls. Coached student through the prelanding, power reduction, trim, flaps, and airspeed through the landing. Cleared the runway, taxied back, and coached student through clearing turn and departure call. Student pleased with landing. Keeps asking, Did I make the landing? Did you help?" (Well, maybe.)
On the way back I pointed out the various common call-up points in common use. The more distant ones are used by high-speed aircraft to give ATC planning time. We rehearsed the radio, call but had to write down the part that said, "...request right base will report two-mile base" (No punctuation in radio calls.) Tower responded, "Approved as requested" A winner! Student pleased. This was the same reporting point used yesterday with a different runway.
Another aircraft was arriving as we were so by happenstance we were asked to widen out and land on the small runway. Student exhausted but pleasantly satisfied with the flight. Instructor tired too...forgot to change to ground frequency when told to follow another aircraft into parking area. Student tries, but fails to make a smooth return to the parking place. Next time. Total time 1.3.
Pilot who had returned plane late for us had dropped his wallet under the right seat. I called the pilot while the student tied the plane down. We went to the parking lot and waited for him to arrive. I went over a printout of material that would allow the student to understand and improve the greatest weakness that I had observed. Radio procedures and area familiarization. If you don't know where you are, you won't know what to say.
for All Occasions
A fundamental clue to piloting excellence is demonstrated by the use of a checklist. Just how a checklist is made and used will vary with every pilot according to the aircraft and the situation. That said I will make some suggestions as to how a student might go about developing his own checklist. A checklist should be like an old pair of shoes, easy to put on, fits every bump and comfortable to use. Your list must be legible, accessible and subject to change. Use different colored inks or papers. Once finalized make it resistant to damage. Accessibility and visibility are essential.
For the "club/rental" aircraft, each pilot should have his own list. Such a list should be designed to protect the user/renter from the misfeasance, malfeasance, or nonfeasance of the prior user. It should check such things as Hobbes time, new damage, and maintenance notes. Operational changes in your configuration should trigger checklist use. When to use fuel pump, when to raise/lower gear, reduce/set power, add/remove flaps, etc. Stress workload periods should use a "critical item" checklist. Regardless of piloting experience, the written checklist is for every pilot with a penchant for survival.
I begin developing a checklist by using a tape recorder. The preflight is walked and talked through along with why we do what we do. The student will then use the tape to make a first draft. Usually this is too long and wordy. We are making a what-to-do list; not a how-to-do list. Using the first draft as a guide we do another preflight to help develop a shorthand wording of what we do and the sequence that is used. We will develop this list for efficiency of time and movement. A second draft is made by the student, double spaced. The next preflight is done with both the second draft and the POH checklist. Any item in the POH that has been omitted is inserted at appropriate places. The FAA does not consider a checklist a checklist until it includes all items in the POH. More is all right, but never less.
A third draft is made and used for several flights. It will usually take two more revisions and some changes before finalized. Differences in aircraft of the same manufacture can be included in another color of ink as for C-150, C-152 and C-172. The final phase is to design the lists for compact use. I have found that a 4x6 or 6x8 card with one cut to the center can be multi-folded so as to give eight different faces for checklists. Use arrows to direct you to the next face in sequence.
Every tie-down and use situation will require slightly different procedures. Frequently left out will be such things as checking the time logs, squawk sheets, putting the key on the floor, tires and counter weights. A new checklist may be required just by changing airports. Generic checklists fit only the guy that made them. You should have one custom fitted to the way you do things while adapting to changing conditions.
While there are many way to arrange checklists, I have found
one way to avoid the problem of not changing to the appropriate
checklist is to make only two such cards. Everything is written
in different colors of ink for major sections of the lists.
I. On the ground until takeoff
Preflight. Some students wear it as a necklace with a paper clip and shoe string and refer to at about five stops it as they walk around.
Prestart, start, taxi, runup, pretakeoff checklists are separated from preflight, on the same side but folded under.
II. Backside of the card after landing
Post-landing cleanup, taxi, shutdown, cockpit, and tie-down. In red ink: ground emergency
III. Second card In the air
Pretakeoff, takeoff, post takeoff, climb, cruise. In red air emergency list.
IV. Backside of card leaving cruise descent, prelanding, landing,
V. Cross Country
This checklist may best be kept on a lapboard. It has a list of checkpoint items such as time, ETA/ATA, next adjusted ETA, Fuel time left/required, Compass Course, Next radio and VOR, etc.
VI. Night flight
Night flight requires a specific equipment and
operations checklist. Use an additional series
that includes checking lights, cockpit flashlights,
interior lights, shutdown lights, etc.
Once you have the checklist made, you must come to a decision as to how you will use it. The stress of distraction is the most common cause of checklist 'failure'. Like gear-up landings, failure to use the checklist is divided between those who have failed and those who are going to. Common checklist errors are completely failing to use, failing to complete, and failing to verify. The 'by memory' pilot, the pilot who is overly reliant on the checklist and the fatigued pilot are those most likely to make mistakes related to checklist use. Never breech piloting etiquette by interfering with a person using a checklist.
Sometimes the sequence is made easier to remember by making a mnemonic (A list of the first letters of words or just words arranged so as to make a word or sentence) to use as a memory aide. Some mnemonics apply to complex aircraft or instrument flight rules (IFR). You can make your own student pilot mnemonics to meet your requirements.
A cockpit checklist would be easier to use and confirm if a sequence or direction pattern is followed. A finger method I recommend is to use a numerical flow pattern to check all switches, controls and instrument. Touch each item with a numbered finger to ensure indication, operation, and position is as required. Use the checklist to confirm that every critical item has been checked. This do-verify or touch-verify method is most common in small planes. Get the list completed during low workload periods.
Planned checklist use is often called by names such as 'cockpit resource management, or standard operating procedures SOP's. This means that the pilot does the same thing with his checklist at the same stage for every flight. Preflight, taxi, runup, pretakeoff, takeoff, climb, departure, level, checkpoint, position reports, descent, arrival, prelanding, landing, post landing, shutdown all have a set routine of preparation, anticipation, performance, and completion.
The more frequent the flight lessons in coordination with the ground study, the better. Once a week lessons allow far too much time to forget and regress. Twice a week is a minimum in the beginning and should increase to three about the time of solo. After solo twice a week will work until the proficiency
My instruction is done with the assistance of a tape recorder.
All the ground work relating to preflight, checklists, radio
procedures and practice, and the flight maneuvers of the lesson
are reviewed and discussed using the tape recorder. The actual
flight and the post flight time is, likewise, recorded. a student's
use of the tape in playing back the lessons can greatly reduce
the actual cost of learning to fly. I have had students fail
to make use of the tapes. It shows.phase before the flight test.
By the second flight the student should have previewed the aircraft manual. The manual checklist material must be completely incorporated into that of the student. The next flight's preflight will use the scratch checklist with the instructor reading the items while the student does the checking. The student will make another revision from this tape and use it on the next preflight under the instructor's supervision. On all future flights the student will have the plane preflighted and ready at the appointed time. Fuel, oil, and weather status are confirmed to the instructor as well.
The first three flight lessons are designed to acquire competence in the four basic maneuvers, climbs, level, descent, power changes, trim, flaps, stall recognition, and associated turns. I make it a point to combine the basics with radio procedures, area familiarization, knowledge of aerodynamics, emergency procedures, and safety. The next two or three lessons uses ground reference flying to develop those skills required to fly airport patterns according to wind conditions.
With these lessons as the basis we now apply them to takeoff
and landings. These are initially practiced as a unified series
of maneuvers, including downwind, base, final, go-around, climb,
and crosswind. Patterns are practiced with power, airspeeds,
trim, and flaps to both the left and right. This is done initially
at altitude to remove the inhibitions caused by ground proximity.
Then it is practiced at a neighboring tower airport with the
go-around occurring progressively closer to the ground.
The next four or five flights are planned as landing practice at nearby airports in different directions from the home field. These flights include the procedures of departure, arrival, radio, checkpoint selection, as well as the actual takeoff/landing procedure. During the actual closed pattern the instructor takes all responsibility for communications and traffic watch. This reduction of burden is important to the success of the student.
The landing lessons are then concentrated at the home field. The landing lesson just prior to solo consists of an airport exercise utilizing all runways and common pattern maneuvers. Normally two or perhaps three supervised solo flight follow at the home field. The instructor next flies with the student to and from one of the local fields that have been used previously for landing instruction. On return, the student is allowed to immediately duplicate the flight. This is repeated three or four times to all the local fields with the variety of radio procedures required. The student now has a circular region of 40-50 mile radius in which he would be knowledgeable of the area, airports and appropriate procedures.
About this time there will be a change in the instructional approach. Initially, the instructor will become more strident and demanding in all parameters. Airspeed is now expected to be within 2 knots, altitude within 25 feet, headings within 5 degrees, power settings right on, trim for hands off, ball centered and banks at 30 degrees. Aircraft control, situational awareness and assertive communications are now the goal of every lesson.
Suddenly, there is silence. The instructor just sits there and watches or at most, only points. The student is expected to note and correct mistakes without intervention by the instructor. It is best when the student talks to himself so that the recorder notes what is transpiring. If deemed necessary, I will take over control, and speak briefly to make a point before again relinquishing control again.
The next two or three flights, other than local student solo training flights, cover proficiency in different types of landings. The first cross country training flight is an instructor/student prepared, planned, and flow flight. Everything works perfectly. The next flight is prepared, planned, and flown by the student with the instructor. Creative instruction presents realistic problems where they naturally occur and otherwise. Subsequent to these training flights the student prepared, plans and flies a minimum of ten hours of cross country with one extended flight. About this time the studying required to take the written examination should be completed and the test taken and passed. There are advantages to making the written test and the flight test close together.
When the cross country requirements have been flown, the proficiency phase begins. All flight maneuvers are reviewed and practiced in dual and solo flights to meet the Practical Test Standard requirements. Preparation is for the oral part of the PTS. This includes knowledge of weather, sectional, aircraft, manual, computer, FARs, navigation, radio, and airspace. The skillful pilot is smooth. Aircraft control is done in anticipation and not reaction. You should know ahead of time what to expect of the airplane, the atmosphere, and yourself.
One aspect of preparation that I very much recommend is having the student take a phase check from another local instructor. This check should include parts of the oral as well as the flying. This is the student's first experience with another pilot in the cockpit and will be stressful but not nearly as muck as the flight test.
If the instruction has been as it should be, the actual flight
test is anti-climatic. Everything on the test is published as
to what is expected in performance parameters. You are expected
to have and use a checklist for almost everything you do. The
oral part can be more or less difficult, depending on your background
and preparation. Any test is easy when you know the answers.
Don't try to fake your way through a response. Offer to find
the answer by indicating what source you would use to get it.
A Course reversal Is Not a 180
Interesting thing about knowledge. You dont know what you dont know. So...making a 180 is NOT a course reversal it is a heading reversal. Big difference.
This history of the compass rose of 360 degrees begins in the Mediterranean Sea. As with much of my knowledge, it is difficult to determine the exact origin. The sailors used wind directions and from them drew lines between the Mediterranean ports. These lines began to cross and wind directions acquired names. The ultimate selection of 360 equal divisions to make the full circle was a stroke of genius. There is no other number below 720 with so many even divisors. (24) The whole story is fascinating.
I once started to explain the operation of a compass and heading indicator to the student who was the supervising ships captain of American President Lines. The lesson was over quickly. However, he did learn a hidden technique that I have always taught my students.
There is an old arithmetic system (In Encyclopedia Britannica) that allows a very quick check of your correct answer probability. The system is called "Casting out Nines". As an math teacher I used it on test papers to give the victims a way to give their answers a probability check without doing the whole problem over. The process used is called "sum of the digits". If youve got a youngster suffering in math, take a look. I have a version I could email.
The "sum of the digits" method of doing many flight maneuvers simplifies using the heading indicator. The process requires that you add together the digits of a heading to get a single digit. 345 becomes 3+4+5 equals 12 becomes 1+2 equals 3. Helps if you have an E6B or compass rose handy. The reciprocal and 90 degree headings from this 345 heading all equal a sum of the digits 3 as well. Lets do an easy one.
Any four headings 90 degrees away from another equals the same sum of the digits total. 300, 030, 120 and 210 all equal 3. Even the 45 degree sums equal three as in 345 above. Once you see this relationship 90 degree turns become simple and you know what to look for when doing 270s
In basic turn maneuver practice, I always teach 30 degree banks and 90 degree turns. From a 360 heading a 90 degree turn left or right will total 9. Left is 270 =9 and 090 = 9. The 45 degree combinations are not of practical value but they do exist..
I assume that even the three hour student has been taught how to get a reciprocal heading. Just look at the bottom of the heading indicator. The compass (and older HIs) require the +2/-2 method. Just in case: You can get the opposite or reciprocal heading of most existing headings easily by using + 2/ + 2 on the first two digits of headings. Only the first two digits of a heading are changed. The last digit remains the same. For a heading of 235 degrees you subtract 2 from the first digit and add two to the middle digit. Result 055 to get the reciprocal of 055 you add 2 to the 0 and subtract 2 from the 5. The result is 235. If you add first then you subtract, if you subtract first then you add. Simple. This works except at 001 to 019 degrees to the north and 181 to 199 degrees to the south. On these headings just + 180
I have just recently flown with two pilots who I took to uncontrolled airports. Of different levels of experience but both having been to uncontrolled airports, I was surprised to find that, while their overhead arrivals and outbound 45 entries were identical, neither were familiar with the course reversal which is now a required maneuver of the Practical Test Standards. The "sum of the digits" is a very easy and practical way of making a precision course reversal. A course reversal consists of first a 90 degree turn followed by an immediate 270 with the same opposite bank.
The introduction and practice of the course reversal should be while doing ground reference maneuvers. After doing left turns around a point, you fly up-wind for about minute tangent to the circle and make note of your reciprocal heading. That is the direction you will return for you right turns about the original point. You have a choice of making either a left or right initial 30 degree bank and 90 degree turn. The course reversal will only work with precision if you are flying directly into the wind, fly constant 30 degree banks first on the 90 degree and then as you reverse back into the 270 to the reciprocal of your initial heading.
Performing the course reversal on an uncontrolled airport arrival probably means that your 45 outbound and inbound will most likely be dealing with a cross-wind. Thus, you will be unlikely to make them as well as you did in practice. Because of the wind corrections required and terrain, you must select your initial r/l 90 degree turn as well as your adjusted outbound 45 for the situation as it exists.
ground reference procedure for PTS 1998
The FAA has revised the procedure for rectangular patterns in the PTS.
The initial entry is to be on a left 45° entry to the downwind just as would occur at an uncontrolled field. The departure would also be on a left 45 on the downwind.
The reversal of direction is rather convoluted but may be accomplished as directly the the Examiner. You are expected to fly around the field and enter on a right 45^ entry to the downwind and again after flying one or two circuits depart on a right 45° .
The latest FAA version of Instrument Flying now incorporates the course reversal performed by the 80/260 maneuver as acceptable way to change direction. This does much to simplify both the procedure turn and the entries into a holding pattern. For the PTS you must show you know how to make these maneuvers as published or as expected in the AIM. After then you're on your own.
Return to whittsflying
continued on 6.55Thirteen More Training Articles