GlobalAir.com Aviation Articles

Concepts to Think About When Using Flaps

A hilarious but actually really important concept featured above in this meme. I can't say how many times a student has done this with me in the plane on a go around, once about 8 feet above the runway where I had to immediately take controls to avoid slamming back in the pavement. 

If I could create a national movement about bringing flaps up in increments always, I would. I'd be extra dramatic and have t-shirts made, posters, a Facebook group...the whole 9 yards. 

But, let's talk about some concepts here. WHY is it dangerous for flaps to be brought up or down all at once???

Flaps serve several purposes for flying and can affect the plane in multiple ways:

  1. they change the camber of the wing, so when you bring them down they increase lift
    1. because they're changing the camber they also decrease stall speed (therefore it becomes harder to stall the plane)
  2. although they increase lift, drag is also increased
  3. when coming in to land, descent angle is increased without increasing airspeed
  4. as flaps are brought up, lift and drag are decreased back to normal

Pictured below is the concept of descent angle using flaps:

In all 3 scenarios constant airspeed and constant power is kept (so the nose isn't pushed down more to compensate, and power is also not taken out) and as more flaps are added the plane is able to reach the runway at an earlier touchdown point.

All of this is taken into account in the factor of why we teach to never just put in or take out all of your flaps at once.

To simplify these terms, let's say that we're coming in to land on final. You realize on short final you forgot to put in any flaps so you hit the switch to put them all down. If flaps increase lift, this means your nose is going to pop up and you're going to have to counteract it by pushing back down. BUT because it increased that lift in that time span, now you're going to land farther down the runway because it increased your altitude! This is an important concept to avoid, however a trick where you can use this to your advantage is if you lost your engine and need an extra 40-50 feet to make your landing point. Dump all the flaps in at once! Practice a power off 180 in the pattern one day and don't put in any flaps until short final, them dump them all in and you'll see what this does. It's actually very cool. 

Now let's say we're coming in to land and about 10 feet above the runway (so pretty low) another plane crosses the runway in front of us. If we continue the landing, bad things happen so therefore we execute a go around.

On the go around our steps are:

-full power

-carb heat off (if carb heat was on)

-ONE knotch of flaps comes up

-wait for positive rate of climb (+VSI), then 2nd and 3rd knotches of flaps come out in increments.

The reason this happens is because let's say we're on our very initial climb out above the runway and I hit all the flaps to come up at once. All that lift is immediately lost, therefore the nose sinks down. You can counteract this by pulling the yoke back of course but it has to be at such a fast right that you'll stall. So, if you execute a go around the WRONG WAY like this then basically you'll come back down to a not-so-soft touchdown on the runway. 

For all the readers out there who have seen Surf's Up (the world's best Disney movie) and remember Chicken Joe, think to yourself to be like Chicken Joe when you fly. For those who have not seen it....I'm sorry for what you're missing. Chicken Joe is always very relaxed, never panics, and does everything smooth when he surfs. On a go around when you're reaching for that flap switch to bring it straight up, think about Chicken Joe. What would Chicken Joe do? He'd be smooth and take them out in increments. Be like Chicken Joe.

To conclude everything, flaps have multiple functions and affects on the aerodynamics of the airplane. Understand these concepts before you use them, because if you don't understand what's happening then you could be putting yourself in danger. 

Always fly smooth, never panic when you fly, and no matter what maintain positive control of the airplane. This is what makes safe pilots. 

For those sitting at home waiting out this pandemic, itching to fly again, check out the other posts and features on our home page for some interesting reads. Stay safe out there and to our fellow pilots, the industry is only going to get better after the pandemic is over. Keep your heads up!

Questions and/or comments? Let us know below!

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!

Tips for Becoming a CFI That You Don't Learn in Training

Okay...some of these tips you actually are likely to learn in training BUT I'm writing to give you all of these just in case you don't. 

1) Congrats on deciding to become a CFI! It's a lot of work, it's not always the easiest job, but it is so rewarding and is a great way to give back to aviation. If there is a NUMBER ONE tip that I can give you, it's to make each flight lesson fun and positive if you can.

Now...by this I don't mean to make it your goal to have students laughing and to "baby their feelings" so to speak. But students learn through positive affirmation and feeling association. If you make every lesson 100% serious the entire time where they never have fun, make them feel like they're a terrible pilot by only giving negative feedback and create a stressful environment for them to learn in....they're not going to learn well and may even leave you for another instructor. 

Flight training is dangerous and expensive, meaning you always want to be safe and stay as productive as possible to keep someone moving forward in their training. But this can be done while having a good time and having students look forward to lessons with you.

You'll learn this when reading through Fundamentals of Instruction (FOI's). But this is what you should take away from it. It's important to understand how students learn. Thank back to you when you were a student pilot. What did you like from your training and what did you not like? What constituted a productive day for you and made you confident in your flying? Take these characteristics and use it to make yourself a better instructor.

 This meme of Bob Ross is comical but it applies to this! If a student has a bad landing that wasn't super dangerous and broke anything but it just could've been a lot better.....are you going to yell at them or give them a good critique to make it better next time? Think about what will be most beneficial for THEM. This is their training and it's our job to make it great. If they keep making the same mistake over and over again....maybe it's time for a firm critique that lets them know you're serious. If this is the first time they did this....let them know to stay away from those "happy little impacts" ;)

2) Learn to have patience. Mannnnnnnn ohhhhhhhhhhhh mannnnnnnnnnnnn did I wish someone had prepared me for this more! There will almost ALWAYS be those students who don't study, don't pay attention to what you teach, don't take your advice....the list goes on. It's not worth your peace to lose your nerve every single time it happens. If you have a bad student you have a bad student. At some point the effort to shape them into something better ends and you give them an ultimatum of either: make a change or don't continue flight training. At the end of the day you still have to put yourself first. Becoming an instructor shouldn't mean you lose your sanity. So you HAVE to have patience with people.

3) Learn to have a crazy schedule. As much as you will try to have a set work schedule to follow, it just is hard to keep. Students will cancel, aircraft will break, weather will turn bad...the list goes on. Expect there to always be change and embrace (and that goes for the rest of your career in aviation too). 

4) Take a day off here and there and treat yourself. For anyone who watches Parks & Rec, it's like Donna and Tom would do: treat yo self day! Because you deserve it. This will be something that you'll learn is essential 2-3 months into being an instructor with a pretty good going schedule. Like I said earlier, being an instructor is not easy. You can have a crazy work schedule, bad students who test your sanity, you'll fight with weather and maintenance on almost a daily basis etc. And remember this: your students will almost always want to fly but that doesn't mean you have to. Learn to say no! If you work 12 hour days 7 days a week, you'll be burned out before you know it. And then you'll need a serious treat yo self day. So, take a day off here and there from flying and go do something you enjoy doing that allows you to relax. It'll be amazing the refresh it can give you. 

And of course, the best way to treat yourself is to buy a plane from your favorite website ever Globalair.com. It's okay...we know you love us, you don't have to admit it out loud ;)

If you have any tips you want to add or personal learning experiences that shaped you into a better instructor feel free to add! We're an aviation community and all here to help each other. 

Until next time, blue skies and tailwinds!

8 Tips to Pass a Check Ride That Your CFI May Forget to Tell You

We've all been there before....sitting down thinking about an upcoming check ride and feeling the "checkriditis" (as we call it) set in. It's a mix of stress, anxiety and excitement all at once and you can't decide whether you just wanna cancel it forever or get it over with and get your license. 

Have no fear though, you're not the first person to go through this and you definitely won't be the last. 

The worse that can happen is you get disapproved. What you don't want to do is get disapproved and take it and never fly again. Get up and get back at it to go get your approval the second time.

Aside from knowing how to fly to meet ACS standards, here's some tips to help out in case your CFI forgets to tell you:

1) Know your examiner 

It's always best to test with an examiner that you have an idea of who they are and how they test. Not that you're setting yourself up for failure by testing with someone you don't know, but it definitely helps to do your research. Talk to other pilots who have used that DPE before and find out which maneuvers, procedures etc. they're really big on and typical questions they tend to ask. 

An example of this would be a DPE who is famous for blocking the navigation screen when shooting an approach so you have to strictly fly it "by the needles" so to speak and not be able to see the magenta line plotted on the screen. That's a good thing to know beforehand so if it happens during the flight it doesn't catch you off guard. 

2) Vocalize everything you're doing

This is seriously some of the best advice I can give. I was given this advice and have taken check rides barely saying anything and taken some talking myself through everything I did. The ones where I stay vocal have always ended with a pass and with positive comments from the DPE. 

The reason I say to vocalize everything is if you talk yourself through everything you're doing, the examiner knows what you're thinking and can see that you're a confident pilot who knows what they're doing.

An example would be a soft field takeoff:

"Okay I'm holding the nosewheel up until rotation, now I'll reduce the pitch and hold my ground effect and bring the nose up at Vy."

This also reminds you of what you're doing and keeps your flying at its best. It helps you catch yourself if you start to make a mistake and fix it before they notice it.

3) Memorize the ACS

Know your standards! Don't get out there ready to do a maneuver and just hope that it's within standard. Know the altitude, heading allowance, speed etc. everything about what the examiner will be expecting!

 

4) Have an airport diagram in your lap-even if you fly out of that airport every day

THIS.

As a CFI this is such a struggle is creating the habit to make students taxi with an airport diagram even if they have everything about that airport memorized. If you create this habit at your home airport, flying into or out of an unfamiliar airport will be easier because you'll already know to keep a diagram on hand and plan out your taxi clearance before you start taxiing. This stops the trend of taxiing with barely any idea of where you're going and then possible creating a runway incursion. 

5) Don't test unless you're ready

It doesn't matter if you instructor says you're ready, your dad who is an airline pilot, your grandma just because she believes in you.....the list goes on. YOU know when you're ready. Maybe someone will sign you off and start getting your ride scheduled, but until you feel 100% confident that you're ready to go test then push that test date back. 

6) Get a good rest and meal beforehand

Make sure the night before that you get a good nights rest and eat breakfast or a good meal before you meet with your examiner. It's the oldest trick in the book. You can't think on an empty stomach or with a tired brain, and you're already nervous enough as it is. Don't add to that stress for yourself. Make sure you're hydrated and fully ready to go that day of your ride! 

7) Take your time

In case no one else tells you this, you don't have to rush through everything to impress your examiner. As you're going from one task to another, especially maneuvers, take your time. Set the plane up for it, make sure your altitude and heading and everything is how you want it. The more you rush yourself, the more likely you are to forget something and fly outside of the standard. 

This doesn't necessarily mean to take 10 minutes to set up the plane, but take an extra 5 seconds to breathe and double check yourself. 

8) Don't suck!

 Best advice an instructor ever gave me before a check ride: don't suck. This is all in good humor! You've prepared for this day so much, you know how to fly, now just....don't suck today ;)

 

Should I Become a Pilot?

Well, the very short answer is yes. Yes 1,000 times.

Becoming a pilot is the most fun, insightful journey and deciding to extend that to making it a career makes that the journey of a lifetime (see what I did there ;) ).

But the harsh truth is not everyone is meant to be a pilot. Flight training isn't easy and can become very time consuming. Those who make it through have to be dedicated, motivated and self-disciplined. Even then, someone can have all the dedication it takes and just not have the skills needed to safely fly an aircraft. These skills are partly developed over time and partly come from the abilities you carry as a person. Let's talk about them:

1. Can you multi task?

Being a safe pilot means you have to be able to handle multiple things at once. Takeoff is a perfect example, especially on an IFR flight when you're single-pilot. Power settings are in, gear comes up, you're having to monitor all the engine instruments have good readings, ATC comes in with new instructions that you have to repeat back and then comply with, and throughout all this you're still having to fly the plane and be ready for any emergency. Imagine doing this in a jet...all that happens in about less than 20 seconds. 

Even as a VFR only pilot in a small fixed-gear plane it's still busy. During the takeoff you're ready to abort it or do an emergency landing at any time, respond back to ATC and comply, then don't forget after takeoff checklists. This sounds simple but in the air it can be a lot to handle. I find students struggle the most with remembering their after takeoff checklist and on a cross country keeping up with their checkpoints as soon as we're off the ground. It's like as soon as you rotate, everything is forgotten and you get tunnel vision.

2. Can you work under pressure?

With everything I just described on multi tasking, this doesn't come without a drop of sweat or two. As you're keeping up with all of your tasks you can feel the pressure sitting on your shoulders to get everything done and keep flying the plane safely. During flight training, you'll feel the pressure of your instructor sitting next to you watching everything you do and being ready to point out the first mistake you make (it's literally our job, that's how you learn!). You can have an instructor who points them out nicely, or not so nice one.....but at some point you have to learn to be able to do it all yourself. The same pressure is there when you carry passengers. They may not know as much of what's going on as your instructor did, but sometimes you can still feel them watching and listening to everything you do. They don't know how to fly, so they're relying on you to get them somewhere safely!

Now imagine if an emergency occurs, the pressure is REALLY on there. This isn't being said to scare you, but a good pilot always expects the unexpected and handles it without panic. They go through their checklists with ease, keep everyone onboard calm and then neutralize the situation as much as possible in order to land safely. Remember that story about Captain Tammie Jo Shults who lost an engine on a Southwest flight? Here is the article link of her story and an attached audio link. Listen to how calm her voice is. If she didn't say there was an emergency, you would've never guessed what had been going on. 

3. Are you motivated and self-disciplined? 

This one is most important when it comes to flight training. I see time and time again students who come in and say "I want to be a pilot" and then 6 months later they have like 2 flight lessons under their belt. Let's be honest, flight lessons aren't cheap. If you're going to pay out of pocket try and save up a lot first and apply for as many scholarships as possible, this way you don't have to slow down training and only be able to pay for one lesson at a time. Second is when you have the finances available, schedule flight lessons for at least several times a week and show up to each one prepared! It will do you no good to rarely fly (like once a month for example) and to never study. Don't show up to each lesson and depend on your instructor to teach you everything. Teach yourself as much as you can at home and let them fill in the gaps. This helps you progress much faster and also save money if finances are tight. 

Being able to multi task, work under pressure, be motivated and be self-disciplined are some of the most important factors that create a good pilot. Of course there's a few others that could fall into desired aspects, but without these you'll never "lift off the ground."

Think you meet these though and want to become a pilot? Go for it and don't let anything stop you. If you need some help paying for lessons go to Globalair.com/scholarships/ and apply for ours! Applications accepted until August 15th this year. 

Have anymore questions about if being a pilot is right for you? Maybe some tips to add? Comment below! 

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