All posts tagged 'flight training'

Understanding Spins and How to Properly Recover From Them

So, as promised, I did spin training within the last 2 weeks and got my endorsement. October 3rd to be precise, and it was an absolute blast.

Pictured above is my instructor and I in the Decathlon (excuse my chipmunk cheeks, courtesy of my DC headset pushing on them).

I learned a lot more once I actually went through the ground and flight training with him than I had thought I would. So, let's talk about some concepts that can be overlooked but are still important:

1) In the last post about spin training I wrote about PARE; 

Power idle

Ailerons neutral

Rudder full opposite the direction of the turn

Elevator briskly down

That's pretty much the general knowledge that everyone knows, not much else. Well, what about after the spin is broken? Do you just keep holding in those controls? No.

After applying rudder, you hold it in the opposite direction of the turn. This is what breaks the spin itself. Taking away power and ailerons is only to stay away from aggravating the spin, but those steps won't break it. After breaking the spin, meaning you've stop the turn in that direction, neutralize the rudder. If you don't you'll start a spin in the other direction. Because remember, you're still stalled

As you see the plane breaking out of the spin, then apply your elevator down. Most people think you do all 4 steps at once, but there's a precise time to do each one. Applying the elevator down will then break the stall (if you remember basic stall characteristics, this is reducing the angle of attack). Now smoothly apply your power back in to gain altitude (as you lose it very quickly in a spin) and smoothly bring the nose back up just above to horizon to start climbing.

So, to recap:

After inducing a spin you-

Power idle

Ailerons neutral

Rudder full opposite and hold it until the spin breaks

Elevator down as the spin breaks to then break the stall

Neutralize rudder after breaking spin to stop turn in other direction

Smoothly apply power and bring the nose back up to just above the horizon and start a gentle climb.

Remember that in a real situation to stay calm and remember these procedures, don't panic and try to turn the ailerons or yank the nose up. Follow these steps then be smooth in your recovery so you don't stress out the plane too much. Flying with structural damage would be a whole different ballgame. 

2) Entry into a spin. I feel like that needs to be talked about more! What are the signs you're about to enter a spin? Does it immediately start spiraling to the ground?

To help show what it looks like here's the video I took: https://www.instagram.com/p/B3LQjLpgazG/?utm_source=ig_web_copy_link 

I hate to include a link to Instagram but it's the easiest way to share a video!

If you watch it, you'll notice it actually takes some work to induce a spin. First, both wings of the plane have to be stalled. In most spin training flights instructors us a cross-control stall to induce this because it's an easy way to bring it the lack of coordination.

So, you bring the nose up and exceed the critical angle of attack. In a demonstration, you're keeping this coordinated until you're about to induce the actual stall. Then you step on rudder in either direction (the direction you want to spin in) and keep it uncoordinated (ball out of center on your turn coordinator) until the plane buffets and a wing drops. Now, after the wing drops the plane does not immediately enter a crazy death-defying spin to the ground. It's actually a somewhat slow process.

Here, you still have time to react. There are 4 phases of a spin: entry, incipient, developed and recovery. Right here you're in the incipient phase. You've already induced a stall and applied too little/too much rudder. Now as the wing falls it has to have 2-3 turns before it's a fully developed spin. These are somewhat slow turns, when you're in the plane these feel slower than the ones when the plane is in stabilized autorotation. This can also be noted in the video.

These are all some concepts that should be noted for spin training and spin avoidance/recovery. Even if you're not going for a CFI certificate, I recommend to everyone taking at least one spin training course. We, as pilots, make errors. We're not perfect, but we can learn how to counteract our mistakes. 

Not to mention, it's super fun. 

While you may not go do spin training this weekend, you should go do something fun. Check out our calendar and see if there's any fun events going on near you, as I know this weekend we'll be having Wings Over Houston with us at Ellington! 

Happy Landings from all of us at Globalair.com,

-Addi

 

Preparing for Spin Training

Well well well.....the time has come for me and I am so excited. Almost immediately after I got my multi rating I started on CFI training, and so far it's been an absolute blast. A lot of work but such a fun adventure. And what does every CFI applicant have to do as part of their curriculum?

You guessed it....spin training.

I won't lie, I'm actually pretty nervous about it. The thought of spiraling towards the ground isn't necessarily a settling thought. 

But, I want to be prepared so I can have a good experience. Studying procedures to break out of a spin and understanding what induced a spin in the first place is a good place to start. So, if you're like me and soon to do spin training (or know you will have to in the future), let's discuss a few things.

First, what IS a spin exactly?

Well, you just need two magical ingredients to induce a spin. A stall, and lack of coordination in the plane. Kind of scary to think that's all it takes!

So visual you're teaching a student a power-on stall (I find this one is hardest to keep coordinated). You have full throttle and a high pitch-up attitude. The stall is induced and you look over to realize the ball is wayyyy out of the center of the turn coordinator. You don't recover from the buffet fast enough and with the ball still out of center, you can literally feel the plane wanting to start its roll (this is actually how it would happen). This is because one of the wings stalled first, and so it dropped. What keeps the spin rotating is one of the wings regaining lift while the other (the dropped wing) remains stalled. So what do you do next (besides scream if we're being honest)?

PARE PARE PARE PARE PARE PARE PARE PARE PARE

Did I mention this acronym called PARE?

PARE is what's going to save your life and break the spin so you can recover. Here's what it stands for:

Power idle

Ailerons neutral

Rudder full opposite the direction of the turn

Elevator down (briskly push that yoke forward)

I'll be writing a blog post after I complete my spin training more in depth on these concepts, so we'll discuss then WHY exactly these procedures exist and how they break the spin.

I've been taught PARE since the beginning of my private training and have never actually performed it, so next week will be interesting. But every time someone even mentions a spin, my mind is screaming PARE.

Pictured below is the plane I'll be performing mine in, so I'll also be working to get that tailwheel endorsement signed off!

My flight school, which is Harvey-Rihn out of T41, uses this Decathlon for all their CFI students spin training. 

Need help finding a flight school to do yours out of? Or maybe you're just wanting anything from recurrent training to a new license? Use our Flight School Directory to find a flight school near you. This directory is kept up-to-date and is NOT just for finding schools within the USA, there's other countries on that list as well. 

Anyone have any good spin training stories or tips for flying? Share below in the comments!! We'd love to hear. Stay tuned for the next post on how it goes. 

MISSING: What to do when your pilot logbook is MIA

 

By: Travis K. Kircher

It was past midnight on Dec. 17, 2016, and I was walking out of the theater after having just seen, "Rogue One: A Star Wars Story."

When I got to my car, I imagine I was still whistling the John Williams score and basking in the coolness of that Darth Vader scene -- you know the one I'm talking about -- when I noticed my driver's side door was unlocked.

I always lock my doors. All of them.

Confusion gave way to panic as I quickly realized what had happened: some lout had apparently used a hammer and screwdriver to pop out the lock on my car, open the door, pop the trunk and make off with my loot. The cretin nabbed my laptop, my DSLR camera, and a backpack.

Thankfully, the perp -- no doubt a scruffy-looking nerf-herder -- had completely passed over one of my most valuable possessions. To my great relief, my pilot's headset bag, along with my logbook, was still tucked away -- rather lonesomely I might add -- in the back of the trunk.

His oversight was my gain, but it got me thinking: I was still a student pilot then. Many student pilots are not so lucky. What would I have done if he had taken my logbook? What would have become of my (then) 14 solo hours? My cross-country flights? My night hours? The time I logged wearing the foggles?

How would I one day prove to my checkride examiner -- not to mention the FAA -- that I have the experience I claim to have?

Retracing your steps

The pilot's log is a student pilot's most treasured possession. It records not only the dates and durations of flights but also the activities that took place during those flights -- and it tabulates the total time spent flying dual and solo. Without that information, the student would be unable to eventually take his or her checkride.

That said, a student whose logbook is lost or stolen does have options other than simply starting all over again. FAA Order 8900.1 5-172 states that students can reconstruct their flight history -- using among other things, aircraft logbooks and aircraft rental receipts -- and then submit a signed statement outlining that flight history.

Ed Bryce, a CFI of more than 30 years who is currently based in Seattle's Boeing Field (KBFI), says he himself was able to come to the rescue when thieves stole one of his students' logbooks.

"As a flight instructor, I'm required to keep a record of my instruction given," Bryce explained. "So since he had only flown with me, I had 100 percent of his dual time in my logbook. So I just simply typed it into an Excel spreadsheet and mailed it to him."

Flight school invoices and receipts also came in handy, Bryce said.

"He had minimal solo time, but he had the receipts for the flights when he paid for it, so he could reconstruct how long those flights were, even if he couldn't reconstruct exactly what he did on them."

Daniel Diamond, a CFI based at Fort Lauderdale Executive Airport (KFXE), says he encourages students who own their own aircraft to keep a detailed aircraft logbook in addition to their pilot logbook.

"They can always go ahead and write down the Tach time or Hobbs time in their aircraft, the date that they flew, where they went, what airport and what time," Diamond said. "That way they would always have somewhat of a secondary backup for them to go ahead and kind of recoup that lost time."

He adds that students who have recently completed a rating are at a particular advantage since part of the IACRA rating application requires them to complete FAA Form 8710-1, which includes a legally binding record of pilot time that can suffice as the student's signed statement.

Taking no chances

But both instructors agree the best way to protect yourself is to always create and maintain a backup -- either a digital backup or a hard copy -- before a loss or theft occurs.

GlobalAir.com offers a digital pilot logbook that is free and can be accessed from anywhere in the world. There's no limit to the number of entries you can have! 

"What I advise them is, whenever they finish a page, take a photo of it and e-mail the photo to themselves," Bryce said. "Your e-mail is usually backed up -- either at home or on a server somewhere -- so even if you lost your logbook, you would have all your e-mailed photos…That way you never lose more than a page."

"You can even go and make photocopies of each page, and keep that in a secondary location," Diamond adds.

Sound advice. And if you happen to see a scruffy-looking nerf-herder around, tell him I want my laptop back.

TRAVIS K. KIRCHER is a private pilot based at Bowman Field (KLOU) in Louisville, Kentucky. 

Popular Topics on the Multi Engine Oral Exam

Whether you're going for a multi add-on to a previous certificate or doing a "fresh" multi certificate so to speak, you'll need to know these popular topics that almost every examiner will ask. They're the most important factors about multi flying and knowing them also keeps you safe.

center

a. What's the difference between a single engine and multi engine plane? Well the most obvious answer here is one has one engine and the other has 2 or more. Tell that to your DPE and see if you can get a laugh out of them (and then follow with this elaboration). On a single engine plane when you lose an engine, you can no longer climb. You pitch for airspeed, find a spot to land, run through your checklist to diagnose the problem and then try to restart the engine. The danger here is stalling if you lose too much airspeed. In multi engine planes, the danger is the yaw that becomes uncontrollable until it rolls the plane over. You very quickly have to bring pitch to Vyse, manage your power settings, clean up any drag (like landing gear and flaps) and then the famous identify, verify and feather. These are life saving procedures that prevent you from becoming an accident statistic. You're preventing the yaw and stopping the plane from going below Vmc.

b. Describe Vmc. The definition for Vmc is that it is "the minimum control speed with the critical engine inoperative" and is marked by a red line on most airspeed indicators. You can find this on page 12-2 of the Airplane Flying Handbook along with all other V speed definitions. This goes back to what I previously wrote, that if you get below this speed you likely won't be able to recover from the aircraft yaw in the event of an engine loss. This also relates to Vsse, the safe intentional OEI speed. This is on the same page as Vmc in the AFH where it states it's the "minimum speed to intentionally render the critical engine inoperative." So when an MEI is demonstrating engine loss during flight, they don't go below this speed. It gives the pilot a safe margin to keep away from going below Vmc during the demonstration. 

c. How is Vmc determined? This is something that's set by the manufacturer. To memorize how, use the COMBATS acronym.

Critical engine inoperative

Operating engine full power

Max takeoff weight

Aft CG

Takeoff configuration (gear and flaps down)

Standard day: standard temp and standard pressure

To add onto this, WHY does the manufacturer do this? All of these conditions are set for the worst scenario. The critical engine is obviously the worst to lose because of airplane controllability, and with full power on the good engine the airplane is now hardest to control. Max takeoff weight and an aft CG can make the airplane unstable and hardest to recover from. As for the takeoff configuration, with gear and flaps down this exhibits the most drag. 

d. Know your plane. By this I mean know what type engines you have (horsepower, which one is a critical engine if there is one and why), propellers, max takeoff and landing weights, service/absolute ceilings etc. When you go through these items in the operating handbook, pretend you're teaching it to someone else. This will help you understand it better and point out weak spots that you wouldn't be able to explain to a DPE. For example, the multi plane I fly has constant speed, hydraulically actuated, full feathering props. When an engine is lost, I'm still able to feather the plane without oil pressure (which keeps the prop at a low pitch) from the propellor governor. Without oil pressure the propellers go back to feathered position, and to fully feather them is where dry nitrogen kicks into place. Here's the best photo I could find to help illustrate the propeller system: 

center

If you're like me and taking a multi check ride soon, then study study study ALL of this and be ready to explain it to a DPE! Stay calm, ask questions to clarify anything you don't understand, and most of all believe in yourself.

After your check ride if you're in the market to buy a multi engine, then you know where to go! Head over to our main page on Globalair.com and click the "aircraft for sale" drop down arrow and start searching. 

Any other tips you'd like to add on from your check ride experience? Comment below!

 

Remembering my first soft field landing

In flying, as with anything else, when you have a goal, it helps to stay laser-focused. It helps to avoid distractions.

This is especially true when you're working on earning a new rating or trying to learn a new skill.

Take soft field landings, for instance.

I did my first soft field landing in April 2018. It was several months before I would get my private pilot ticket, and my instructor at the time, Justin, was intent on teaching me soft field landings on actual SOFT FIELDS.

That's the only way to learn it if you want my opinion. Simulated soft field landings might get you checkride-ready, but there's nothing like having some actual grass and hard dirt under the wheels to show you what it's really like.

The field in question was Lee Bottom Airport (64I), a gorgeous 4,000-foot-long nicely kept grass strip tucked away among trees in Hanover, Indiana. While it made some instructors nervous, Justin loved that field, and would often be happy for any excuse to touch down there, as long as the grass wasn't wet.

I still have video of my first landing there. With my Go-Pro pointed out the window – slightly crooked, as always seemed to be the case – I swung the plane onto final, at Justin's direction. Nervously, I could see the tops of the 60-foot trees passing below me as our aircraft glided closer to the airstrip's threshold, the branches seemingly reaching up trying to snatch our little Cessna in their clutches.

I was always nervous at this point -- particularly on days when there was a strong headwind and the airplane appeared to be moving slowly over those trees. On days like this, I was tempted to add power and come in too fast, floating down the length of the airstrip.

"I just feel soooo slow coming in over those trees," I once quipped.

"That's because we've got the headwind," Justin replied. "Don't worry about your groundspeed. Your airspeed is what is important."

But invariably I would glide over the trees and come down beyond them, landing just past the white cones of the airstrip's threshold. I'd try to add just a little bit of power just before the wheels would touch down on the grass.

The rough feeling of the grassy strip just rushing by under the wheels was so alien to a student pilot like me, who was so used to the smooth concrete of runways at controlled airports.

But I thoroughly enjoyed applying full back pressure to the yoke as I held the nose up and gently pumped the throttle so as not to lose momentum before turning the plane around near the end of the grass strip. Using no brakes, to avoid getting stuck in the grass, I'd taxi back to the threshold, set the flaps at 10 degrees and take off again.

We did this over and over again, in all types of winds, lesson after lesson. Because I was determined. I wanted to get my soft field landings down perfectly. I had a goal. I had a checkride. And I wasn't going to let anything distract me.

But one evening was different.

It was June 16 of 2018. It was sometime around 7 o'clock in the evening, and Justin and I were once again returning to Lee Bottom Airport to do some soft field landings. It was supposed to be a short lesson, and after one or two landings, we were going to fly back to the flight school and head for home.

But as we were gliding down on final, something caught our eye. A small plane was parked midway down the field, off to the side of the airstrip. We couldn't tell what it was. As we drifted closer, we could begin to make it out.

"It's a Pietenpol!" Justin said.

As we touched down on the grass strip and rolled passed the airplane, it grabbed my attention.Pitenpol

"You wanna stop?" I asked.

"You wanna?" Justin replied.

Thankfully, no one else was scheduled to rent the plane after us that evening, so there was no need to get back to the flight school right away. Sure, I had a lesson, but we could get back to that later. Right now, I wanted to check out the classic plane. After landing, we pulled our plane over into the grass on the side of the strip and climbed out.

The kind owner of the aircraft -- I don't recall his name, unfortunately -- had flown in from the north that afternoon and was more than happy to show us his plane. It was bright yellow taildragger with an open-air cockpit, with two big front wheels that reminded me of oversized wheels that came from a child's wagon.

On the side of the aircraft was mounted a device we could tell was the pilot’s pride and joy. It was labeled the "Bacon Savor" -- a simple pointer that warned the pilot when he was about to exceed the critical angle of attack and stall out.

On the ground next to the airplane was a simple blue mat. The pilot had actually flown in and planned to camp out that night under the stars – perhaps making use of the fire pit near the airfield to cook some grub.

It seemed like the perfect life.

Of course, we had to get going. I had a lesson to finish -- more stuff to learn -- I had to get ready for that checkride. But just as we were about to head back to our plane, we spotted another aircraft about to land on the field.

It turned out it was Elijah -- another pilot who flew out of our flight school. Cheerfully, he landed and taxied over to where we stood.
Quickly joining the conversation, the four of us found ourselves laughing about the things pilots and student pilots often joke about: Eccentric flight instructors, strange airplanes, predicaments we shouldn't have gotten ourselves into but did anyway, upcoming checkrides, stupid oral exam questions, etc.

Before we knew it, two more hours had elapsed.

By the time Justin and I climbed back into the plane and took off, the sun was setting -- and we were way later than we planned. As we flew west, we followed the Ohio River with the burning horizon in front of us. Behind us in his airplane, Elijah tried to race us back. He lost, but to be fair, we had a pretty big head start.

So much for avoiding distractions. Truth be told, I wasn’t very focused that night. We didn’t spend a whole lot of time practicing landings or doing maneuvers like I originally planned.

But we did have a whole lot of fun. And in the final analysis, I guess those are the lessons you remember most.

Travis K. Kircher is a private pilot based out of Louisville, Kentucky.

 

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