Aircraft instruments, IFR, IMC, safety Aviation Articles

Lesson Plans from a CFI for Steep Turns

I am on a new yet exhausting journey of writing lesson plans for my CFI binder. It is very exciting to think that by the end of this year I will be able to teach other people how to fly an airplane. I have learned so much over the past 2 and a half years of flying and soon I will take that knowledge and share it with others. Someone told me once that being a CFI means that you are simply a certified learner. In the pursuit of creating lesson plans, I can say I have expanded my understanding exponentially. I mean think about it, for you to teach someone and answer the unfiltered questions and different levels of learning you have to continually learn the material for yourself to provide a deep understanding to your students.

One of my very first lesson plans is over steep turns and what better way to start sharing my newly acquired knowledge than to share it with you all? Feel free at any point to leave advice and comments to improve my lesson plan. This is not the full version as it turned out to be roughly 10 pages of material. This post will be one of a two-part series to provide that information. This first post will cover coordinated turns, uncoordinated turns, and over banking tendencies. Enjoy and let me know what you think!

Steep Turns

Purpose of Steep Turn

The purpose of this maneuver is to develop the pilot’s smoothness, coordination, orientation, control technique, and division of attention by executing maximum performance turns.

Set-up of Maneuver

CLEARING TURN

To ensure that the immediate practice area is free of conflicting air traffic and obstacles and to select an emergency landing site.

PRE-MANEUVER FLOW 

Single engine PA28-161

  1. Area Clear
  2. Fuel Selector Proper Tank
  3. Mixture Full Rich
  4. Fuel Pump On
  5. Carb Heat Off
  6. Power Set for Va, (Specific to aircraft determined Va for specific weight)

Memory Aid: GUMP

  • Gas (Fuel selector & fuel pump)
  • Under carriage (Gear up/down)
  • Mixture (Full rich/ lean)
  • Power (Va)

PA28-161 Piper Warrior III SOP (Standard Operating Procedure)

  1. Enter the maneuver on a cardinal heading at least 1,500 AGL  at Va.
  2. Execute a coordinated turn, using a 45-degree bank (50-degree bank for advanced students).
  3. As the bank angle approaches 30 degrees, simultaneously increase back elevator pressure to maintain level flight and add approximately 100 to 200 RPM as necessary to maintain entry airspeed, and apply trim to support the desired flight attitude and airspeed.
  4. Execute a steep turn in the opposite direction (advanced students must immediately execute a steep turn in the opposite direction).
  5. Begin rollout approximately one-half the bank angle in degrees before the entry heading, e.g. in a 45-degree bank, begin rollout while passing through a heading approximately 20-degrees before entry heading.
  6. Roll out of the turn at entry heading and altitude, while simultaneously relaxing back elevator pressure and reducing power to a normal cruise setting.
  7. Fuel pump off if no more maneuvers are to be practiced on that flight.

Forces in Turns
Coordinated and Uncoordinated Flight

Coordinated Flight

Centrifugal force is equal to the horizontal component of lift.

Basics of a Turn

In a turn, the lift component is broken into vertical and horizontal components.

The horizontal component of lift is a force involved with turning the aircraft to either side.

Centrifugal force is the “equal and opposite reaction” of the aircraft to the change in direction during a turn and acts equal and opposite to the horizontal component of lift.

 The vertical component of lift acts opposite to weight (gravity acting downward). “Since the lift during the bank is divided into vertical and horizontal components, the amount of lift opposing gravity and supporting the aircraft’s weight is reduced.” (PHAK Ch. 5) Consequently, more lift needs to be generated by increasing the coefficient of lift requiring back pressure on the elevator to maintain a higher A.O.A.

It is important to note that the AOA must be progressively increased to produce sufficient vertical lift to support the aircraft’s weight due to the vertical component of lift decreasing as the bank angle increases. The pilot should keep in mind that when making constant altitude turns, the vertical component of lift must be equal to the weight to maintain altitude.

Also during the turn, since the drag of the airfoil is directly proportional to its AOA, the airplane will lose airspeed proportional to the angle of bank executed. To maintain the required 45 degree (50 degrees for advanced), Va, and altitude rolling past 30 degrees added power is required to compensate added drag due to increased AOA.

 Uncoordinated Flight

Slip

Slipping Turns

The horizontal lift component is greater than the centrifugal force

  • Aircraft yaws to the outside of turn
  • Bank angle too much for the rate of turn
  • The outside wing has a higher A.O.A, stalls first, drops and levels the wings

Recovery: decrease the bank angle, increasing the Rate of Turn, or a combination of the two changes.

Note* Slips may result in inaccurate airspeed due to the pitot tube/ mass not being Skidding Turnsaligned with the relative wind.

Skid

 

An excess of centrifugal force over the horizontal lift component

  • Turning too fast for bank angle
  • Fuselage blankets lower wing, lower wing stalls, spin is created

Recovery: reduce the rate of turn, increase bank angle or a combination of the two changes.

Over banking tendencies

  • During a steep turn maneuver, the outer wing of the aircraft moves slightly faster through the air than the inner wing. This lack of symmetrical lift between both wings, causing the aircraft to steepen its bank angle in the initial direction. To counteract this over banking tendency, apply opposite aileron as necessary to maintain your bank angle.
  • Negative static stability about the longitudinal axis.

Okay, that’s just the first portion of this lesson plan. Stay tuned for my next post that will go into Va (maneuvering speed), weight impact, load factor, and accelerated stalls, and rate and radius of turns. Your critics make me a better learner therefore a better teacher so feel free to leave any thoughts!

Flight Training — Same Fleet Avionics or Multiple Avionics Systems?

Aircraft Avionics

What type of avionics did you use during your flight training? One aspect that I have found to be very difficult for many students during their flight training is the use of avionics and automation management. Personally, the automation in our fleet at BGSU consists of Warriors with G500 Garmin 650, Avidyne with Garmin 430, Steam gauge with Garmin 430, Archers with Glass panel G1000, and Seminoles with Glass panel G1000 with autopilot. It is the university's plan to consolidate their fleet to an all Archer G1000 and Seminole G1000 fleet. So the question at hand is this: is fleet variation a benefit or disadvantage?

Hazard Consideration

  • Challenges (variation consistency and understanding)
  • Technical knowledge
  • Proficiency across avionics
  • Mode awareness
  • Expectation Bias
  • Pilot & Aircraft Experience level
  • Depth of knowledge/ familiarity
  • Situational awareness
  • Environment
  • Conditions of flight: Dual/Solo, Day/Night, IFR/VFR

Garmin 430’s are not WAAS equipped. Therefore, during instrument training, you can only use non-precision approach minima (Ex. LNAV). Garmin 650’s are WAAS equipped therefore during instrument training, you can use precision approach minima (Ex. LPV). For your Garmin avionics (650’s and 430’s) with dual GPS you can disconnect the “Cross-Fill” option and overlay two approaches. G1000 you are not given the option to disconnect the “Cross-Fill” option, therefore dual GPS overlaying isn’t an option. Different avionics have sometimes very different functions as well as ways to program.

Solution Consideration

  • Fleet continuity
  • Differences training
  • Aircraft equipment guide
  • Avionics supplements and online simulation tools
  • Initial and recurrent instructor Standardization
  • Flight simulator training
  • Emergency procedures training

Piston in Flight

I have always personally loved the challenge posed by learning different avionics. With some of the steam gauges, you can practice NDB approaches and learn firsthand compass errors. These are all things G1000’s don’t have. But I do actively see possible risks and importance to mitigation. As you all know, safety first is a must!

 Anthony Foxx, the U.S. Transportation Secretary stated in an FAA compliance policy that “Aviation is incredibly safe, but continued growth means that we must be proactive and smart... to detect and mitigate risk.” Establishing “proactive behavior” is about controlling a situation through progressive mitigation rather than responding after something undesirable has happened. Proactivity is not just for pilot risk mitigation but for community wellbeing. As for pilots in all levels of training, safety is a decision and a shared mindset that must be trained and maintained. 

Here are a couple of takeaways to think about.

  1. Fly the airplane… Aviate, Navigate, Communicate, then and only then automation. How can automation assist me? Do not let it degrade performance further.
  2. Make sure your habit formation in your training environment, is constantly improving and growing stronger.
  3. Maintain a high level of proficiency. You will get out of it what you put into it. Challenge yourself to understand the avionics and automation you are using.
  4. Lastly, Be the PIC! You are the final authority and the keeper of safety for that flight. Prepare and gain understanding accordingly for safe operation.

What do you think? Should there be the same fleet avionics or multiple avionics systems in a flight training environment?

Ready to File a Flight Plan? Here’s What You Need to Know!

              Flight Planning

What is a flight plan? A flight plan is pretty much the product of thorough flight planning that the pilot is responsible to do before every flight. There are certain flight plans though that require you to file them to FSS so that ARTCC can process the information for route sequencing. This precise planning, in other words, provides written intentions to ATC outlining their (the pilots) intended plan of flight.

There are five types of flight plans—VFR flight plan, IFR flight plan, composite flight plan, defense VFR flight plan, and International flight plan. Today, we will be discussing the two flight plans primarily used—VFR and IFR flight plans. If you are interested in learning more about composite flight plans, defense VFR flight plans, and International flight plans, check out AIM 5-1-6 through 5-1-9.

Even though filing VFR is not necessary unless you plan to fly through an Air Defense Identification Zone (ADIZ), there are still benefits to it. It’s purpose is to activate search and rescue procedures in the event that your flight plan is not closed 30 minutes after your proposed time of arrival. This is why it is very important to remember to always close your flight plan as soon as it is safe to do so!

         Filing Flight Plan

Your IFR flight plan works a little bit differently. Before you enter into IMC conditions that lower visibility below VFR (1000 ft ceilings and 3SM) or entering Class A airspace you must file a flight plan to FSS. It is recommended that the pilot file their IFR flight plan at least 30 minutes prior to estimated time of departure to preclude possible delay in clearance received from ATC. If nonscheduled operators are conducting an IFR flight above Flight Level (FL 230) they are asked to voluntarily file their IFR flight plan 4 hours prior to Estimated Time of Departure (ETD) to allow the FAA to provide traffic management and routing strategy. Be sure to pay close attention to the clearance you are given! If you are on the ground at your controlled departure airport contact clearance deliveries frequency to receive your clearance. (REMEMBER the acronym CRAFT)

  • Clearance Limit
  • Route (Via route, via direct…, via radar vectors)
  • Altitude 
  • Frequency
  • Transponder Code

In the event that your airport is uncontrolled, there’s still a way to open it before you get into IFR conditions. Take note that the methods in which you can open your flight plan, are similar to the ways you can close your flight plan.

OPEN FLIGHT PLAN                                                                               

  • Contact Clearance Delivery via frequency on the ground
  • Call FSS via 1-800-WX-BRIEF or radio frequency (On the ground or in the air)
  • Call your local tower controller (On the ground or in the air)
  • Open with Electronic Devices (ForeFlight, FLTPlan Go, etc.) 

CLOSE FLIGHT PLAN 

  • If your at a controlled field, the tower will close it upon your landing
  • As long as you can guarantee you are in VFR conditions, can maintain VFR altitudes for involved airspace, and can remain in VFR conditions all the way to landing, you can close your flight plan in the air (Via approach controller or FSS).
  • Once we land at a uncontrolled field, you can close your flight plan via FSS or controlled tower of local region.
  • Close with Electronic Devices (ForeFlight, FLTPlan Go, etc.)

  Flight Plan

Which way do you prefer to open and close your flight plans?

 

 

ATC, ATCT, TRACON, ARTCC -- Who are We Talking to and Why?

AirTrafficControl

ATC (Air Traffic Control) is a really big part of the safe operation of a flight. Even though their goals are similar, ATC assists pilots in different phases of reaching their destination utilizing different specialties and methods. So, who are we talking to and why?

What Does Air Traffic Control Do?

  • The controller’s responsibility is to provide a safe, orderly, and expeditious flow of air traffic
  • Provide safety alerts to aircraft
  • Properly sequence aircraft while ensuring that traffic remains a safe distance from each other

Where do ATC controllers Work?

Controllers work in three different specializations:

(1) Air Traffic Control Tower (ATCT)

  • They have windows! ATCTs monitor aircraft that are on the ground or airborne within 5 miles of the airport. Due to the close proximity and range of service, these controllers use line of sight to help aid in the safe flow of traffic.
  • They even have light guns to serve as another means of communication with airborne or ground-based traffic.

ATC Light Gun Signals

  • Clearance delivery— Clears a pilot to fly a specific predetermined or amended route
  • Ground control— provides pilots with taxi instructions to or from the active runway
  • Local control—they are responsible for controlling aircraft that are prepared for departure or approach (“Cleared for takeoff Runway… or cleared for landing runway…”). They are usually referred to as just ATC.

  (2) Terminal Radar Approach Control (TRACON)

  • They once used large vacuum tube radar scopes to watch dots (aircraft) transition across the screen via the radar line of sight. 

Terminal Radar Approach Control

  • They provide en-route air traffic services to low altitude aircraft VFR or IFR flight plans.
  • TRACON controllers have airspace of a 50-mile radius centered at the primary airport usually from the surface to approximately 10,000 ft.

(3) Air Route Traffic Control Center (ARTCC or “Center”)

  • A Center does not have to be at or even near an airport. They are usually in less populated or more rural areas. There are 21 centers across the United States. The responsibilities of a TRACON controller and ARTCC are similar. They both provide air traffic services to aircraft, but more specifically ARTCC provides services for flights operating at high altitudes on IFR flight plans during an en-route phase of flight. According to the FAR/AIM Pilot/Controller Glossary, it states that “when equipment capabilities and controller workload permit, certain advisory/assistance services may be provided to VFR aircraft.”
  • Several hundred controllers controlling several million square miles of airspace.
  • Usually from 11,000 ft to the edge of outer space (60,000 feet)!

Trivia Question: Why aren’t ARTCC’s Located near an airport? Provide your answers in the comments below!

6 Ways the Garmin Autoland Determines the Most Suitable Airport

Photo courtesy of Elliot Jets

The Garmin G3000 Autoland System (HomeSafe) is the first of its kind to receive certification from the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the European Union Aviation Safety Agency (EASA). HomeSafe selects an airport to autonomously land at in an emergency. The system ensures stable flight while navigating, descending, and landing at the most suitable airport. At a starting price of $85,000 USD, this system can be installed in the 2020 Daher TBM 940, Piper M600 MLS, and Cirrus Vision Jet.  Several 2019 models can be retrofitted with the system. Garmin's intentions are to expand the autoland system into other airplanes that have a G3000, such as the Honda HA-420, Embraer Phenom 100 and 300, Curtis Vision SF50, and the Cessna Citation CJ3+. The autoland system is only certified in the G3000. However, Garmin's goal is to expand autonomous flight into more modes of aviation, according to Garmin's Executive Vice President, Phil Straub. 

 

The autoland system is activated through a button in the cockpit. The system can automatically activate if it renders the pilot unable to fly. HomeSafe is designed to only be activated in an emergency, such as an incapacitated pilot. The system will then pick the most suitable airport to autonomously land at. The factors that determine which airport the airplane selects are listed below.

 

1. Airport is Within 200 NM

HomeSafe system will pick an airport in a 200 NM radius from where the the autoland system was enabled.

 

2. Fuel Reserves

HomeSafe will determine if the airplane has the range to reach a specific airport. A plane may not have the fuel reserve to reach an airport that is within the 200 NM radius, thus fuel range is used to consider a closer airport.

 

3. GPS Approach

Contrary to CAT III ILS approaches, HomeSafe is the first certified system that can autoland on a GPS approach. The airport chosen by the system must be equipped with a suitable GPS approach.

 

4. Weather

The G3000 will select an airport based on the weather and winds. The GPS will avoid adverse weather once the emergency autloand system is enacted.

 

5. Runway Length

The runway used for the approach must be at least 4,500 feet long for most airplanes. However, the exact runway length is dependent upon the aircraft being used. For example, the Cirrus VisionJet requires a runway of 5,836 feet or loner.

 

6. Terrain Considerations

When choosing an airport to land at, the GPS will consider the terrain of a given airport and its surrounding area.

 

There are approximately 9,000 airports where HomeSafe can land autonomously at. In an emergency, the system picks the most suitable airport based on distance, fuel range, instrument approaches, weather, runway length, and terrain. Only time will tell if more airplanes will be equipped with this technology and if more airports will accommodate to the requirements needed for HomeSafe landings.

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