All posts tagged 'planes'

Tips Your Instructor Wish You Knew

Line of Piston Aircraft

Flying Tigers at KEFD

 

Writing this for all the frustrated instructors out there who want better for their students and wish they would listen when you give advice- you're welcome.

As a student, flight training is expensive, time consuming, and sometimes stressful. You want to be a good student for your benefit and for the benefit of others, but it just doesn't always work out that way.

What if I told you I can help? What if I said instructors secretly hang out outside of the flight school and share all the wisdom they wish their students knew? Would you believe me? Well, pull out your pen and paper because I have some super top secret advice to give. Some of it is obvious, some of it you may not have thought about. 

1) Flight Training & Personal Life Shouldn't Mix

For clarification, I do not mean to not become friends with your instructor. In fact, getting along with and liking your instructor is really important. Having a bond with who you're flying with makes it fun and you retain a higher quality of learning.

Girls Jumping In Front of Airplane

But don't get in the plane to start the prop and begin crying about how you and your spouse had a fight that morning. Your instructor has skills in flying and teaching, but hardly any skills in being a therapist. So don't make them be one! Especially during a flight lesson, because now you're just paying to not learn how to fly. 

When you walk into the flight school, leave your emotions behind and just be ready to learn and dominate your lesson(s). If you can't do that, think of I'M SAFE. Are you really good to fly that day then?

This also goes for ground lessons - try not to interrupt with too many personal stories or get off-topic talking about yourself. Yes, you are paying for that time but is it really getting you somewhere at that point? Not every minute will be spent learning and discussing aviation but there's a fine line between learning a topic and wasting time.

2) Stop Cancelling

Go back and read that again. Okay, now one more time. Did you get it yet? This is so important! There are so many reasons why you shouldn't do this. Will you have canceled lessons due to weather and maintenance? Absolutely. Are there some days your instructor has to take off work for something important too? Absolutely. But DO NOT be the student that cancels half their lessons each week.

- If you have something going on in your personal life, it is best to take care of it and fly again when you're ready.

- If finances are an issue, stop and save up so you can pay for multiple lessons at a time rather than having just enough to pay for each lesson. If you schedule 4 lessons a week then always cancel 2 because you can only afford the other 2, your instructor is not going to be happy with you and in fact, you may face cancellation charges which would make canceling pointless then. Remember too that there are lots of scholarships out there for this, and the ones that are less than $5,000 usually have the least amount of applicants so you have a better chance at receiving these. Winning multiple small scholarships adds up! We even offer a Globalair.com Scholarship for $1,000 to 4 students each year and are always happy to see more people apply. 

3) Be Prepared for Your Lesson

You should almost never show up to a ground or flight lesson without knowing what you're doing. So be ready by knowing what's coming (asking your instructor or, if able, refer to the syllabus), study for it, and if you need to chair fly it! Even seasoned airline pilots will say chair flying is a valuable technique to learn a new maneuver and use it towards mastering it for a check ride. 

4) Don't Blame Mistakes on Your Instructor

Unless you have an awful instructor who has no business teaching, don't blame all of your mistakes on the fact that you weren't taught something. Each instructor has different techniques for how they do things, so if you fly with different people, just expect it. Don't be upset when they show you something new - usually, it's not to you're wrong, but instead to just give you multiple ways to do things so you develop your own style of flying.

If you're on a stage check or something similar and mess something up, don't sweat it, just ask to do it again. Try to always avoid "I messed up because that's how I was taught to do it." Remember instructors are in the right seat for a reason, and we've just about seen it all! We can tell the difference between having been taught something completely wrong and just messing up and trying to cover it up. Read this: it is okay to make mistakes. Everyone does. We are human. Breathe!

5) Right Rudder

That's it. That's all I have to say about that. You know what I'm talking about. So don't forget it!

6) Speak the Native Language Fluently

This truly goes for flight training in all countries, wherever you decide to do yours. English is the international language of aviation but that does not mean everyone truly speaks it fluently. Common phrases might be the bare minimum they know. So just because you may be fluent in English does not mean you are set up for success. So, the best advice is to just learn the native language to where you're at, which may be English but it may not be.

You need to be able to ask questions and have detailed conversations on things like debriefing after a flight, and if there's a language barrier that is a HUGE stump to your training. More time, more money, and lots of frustration will make it a not so fun experience anymore. 

7) Relax and Have Fun

Lastly, don't forget to breathe. Whether you're in a strict academy, military program, private part 61 instructor, etc. flying should put a smile on your face, otherwise, you need to question whether being a pilot is right for you. So remember to work hard but have fun doing it. Flying is a blast, so let it be.

Breathe, let your shoulders down, add more right rudder and keep on keepin' on. 

5 Mistakes to Avoid a Bad Steep Turn

Steep turns: you have to do them on every check ride all the way from private to CFI, CFII and MEI. So you might as well learn to get good at them. Here are some tips on how:

1) Becoming fixated on something

Okay, rule number one in aviation: NEVER BECOME FIXATED ON ONE THING. I put this in all capitals because it's a huge mistake I see tons of students make. They become too focused on one task or one instrument and everything else around it starts to suffer. 

When it comes to steep turns, there's a lot of things to focus on. Your fast changing heading, altitude, bank angle, and looking for traffic outside at a minimum. Keep those eyes scanning!!!

If you keep your scan looking outside at your reference to the horizon and back inside to all your instruments you'll catch something as soon as it starts to change, which keeps you from letting any problem become too hard to correct.

The rate of your scan should be like they teach in CPR classes, to the rate of Stayin' Alive by the Bee Gees. I sing it in the cockpit if I have to when I teach, it engrains that rhythm and really improves your scanning method. Trust me!

2) Using the wrong visual sight cues

The key to being able to do awesome steep turns is knowing what to look for both outside and inside. Outside of the windshield, put your cowling right through the horizon as you enter the turn and keep it there. Remember that it will look slightly different on your left and right turns. Once you have the 45-degree bank established and can get the altimeter stable on your altitude take a mental picture of what it looks like outside and then work to maintain that picture. This will help TREMENDOUSLY.

3) Forgetting to compensate for loss of vertical lift

Okay, let's bring it back to basic aerodynamics here.

 

When you're flying straight and level, you have vertical lift (up and down). When you start turning the wings, that's transferred to horizontal lift (side to side). So, therefore you're losing vertical lift and will experience a small loss in altitude. 

So what's this mean to you? The more bank you add, the more back pressure you will need to add to compensate for that loss of vertical lift so you don't lose altitude. On a check ride your altitude on a steep turn is limited to +/- 100 feet of your starting altitude. To keep yourself from even getting close to that margin, the SECOND that you add a lot of bank and your nose starts to fall, pick it back up. Don't let the problem get worse and worse before you fix it, fix it right then and there. That's one reason you have to demonstrate steep turns, there's a lot of multitasking and flying skills that go into the maneuver itself. 

4) Being uncoordinated

This one speaks for itself. Don't be uncoordinated. Keep that ball centered on the turn coordinator always. In steep turns, you're closer to the margin of stalling (read why on the next bullet point) and remember that if you're uncoordinated and you stall, these two factors are the ingredients for a spin which you WILL begin to enter unless you counteract it properly. 

Whether you're flying a Cessna 172 that is approved for spins versus a Piper Cherokee that's not approved for spin recovery....don't even get near that area. Be a good pilot, add some rudder and keep that relative wind at the center of the prop.

5) Accidentally entering an accelerated stall

With any amount of bank, especially anything past 30 degrees, your load factor increases and therefore so does your stall speed. I think of it as the plane being more sensitive, so I need to have good controllability and be smooth (not aggressive) with my control inputs. 

I'm harping on load factor because being in 45 degrees of bank you have a higher load factor and your nose can start to feel heavier, so it's very easy to lose altitude. If you lose a lot of altitude then try to hurry and yank the nose up, you'll likely hear the stall warning system start to go off. This is an automatic failure in steep turns because you're not performing a stall, therefore you shouldn't get near one. 

So go back to bullet point one, keep your visual scan moving and catch an altitude loss before it becomes too big. And if you feel the nose is too heavy and you can't stop the descent...take out some bank! That's what made the nose feel heavy in the first place. Take out bank, bring your altitude back up, then add it back in. Magic!

Hopefully, these tips help the next time you perform steep turns. Remember to get better at something keep practicing and practice diligently, use a good method for performing maneuvers and come up with your own tricks too if that helps. Study the maneuver on the ground (don't expect to learn everything in the air, you're flying so your brain can't take in as much as you'd think) and then go try and fly it. And if you're having a lot of trouble with it, take a break for a few flights then give it a shot the next time. You may have reached a learning plateau and just needed to break away from it for a bit. 

Keep flying and happy landings everyone! Happy Fall!

How to Counteract an Engine Failure in Flight

First, let me start out by saying that this article is for single engine flying. I'll write another one on multi engine plane engine failures in the future.

I had this talk recently with a fellow CFI I work with on the biggest issues we see in student training. Engine failures aren't taken seriously because they don't happen too often. It's also because in your typical general aviation planes you have a good glide ratio, so rather than being quick people take their time running checklists and securing the plane in simulated engine outs. 

I GUARANTEE you during an ACTUAL engine failure you won't be taking your time, but instead immediately going through how you trained it. Did you train it nonchalantly and running checklist super slow? I hope not. So let's talk about what to do:

The acronym you want to memorize for engine failures is ABC. Kinda comical how simple it is, but it could save your life one day!

A is for airspeed. The VERY SECOND your engine fails, pitch for glide speed. Glide speed is published by the manufacturer to be at the maximum lift/drag ratio to give the pilot the greatest gliding distance available. At this point, you're not gaining any altitude. But giving yourself the most horizontal distance available to find a good spot to land is key.

B is for best place to land. As soon as you start bringing the nose up or down for glide speed and trimming for it, take a look outside and see where you're going to land. If you're struggling to find an airport, glance at your GPS if you have a screen onboard. You might be right on top of an airport without knowing it. If not, then keep looking outside. Anything like a field, road, coastline etc. can be a good spot. Some tips on what to watch out for is if you can help it don't pick a field full of trees, a marshy area, watch out for power lines over the road, and of course the obvious always avoid buildings/structures. 

C is checklist. Yes, now that the plane is secured lets see why we lost that engine! Commit your checklist to memory and do it from memory first and then check yourself on paper after doing one run through. This way you aren't stuck reading one item at a time and wasting time as you're losing altitude. Commit your checklists and run them like a machine: no time is wasted that doesn't need to be.

The same CFI I talked with about this experienced a real engine failure once. He told me "wow, no one prepared me for how absolutely quiet it gets when that engine stops." And I guess that's something I never thought about before. What will it be like when it actually happens? A CFI won't be there next to you with their favorite "you just lost an engine" grin.....no, just you and some dead pistons. He immediately did ABC and once he switched fuel tanks and restarted the plane it refired. Turns out there was a clog in the fuel lines on one tank, and switching to another fixed the issue. He was able to do this from memory and pretty much had no need for the paper checklist, although he still went through after to verify everything was secured as called for. 

He stuck to his training, and it saved his life.

So to end this post I ask, how do you train for an engine failure? Do you think it would save your life the method you're using? Have fun with flight training, but also take it seriously and make sure you learn something valuable each time you go up!



Don't forget our Globalair.com Scholarship is accepting applications through August, we hope to see you apply!

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