Piper 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!

How to Manually Extend Your Gear in an Emergency

Complex airplanes can be a large variety of different types of planes. Federal Aviation Regulations in the Airplane Flying Handbook define a complex aircraft to be "an airplane that has a retractable landing gear, flaps, and a controllable pitch propeller." So, this can be different types of jets and especially general aviation planes.

Most commonly, we see general aviation planes such as a Piper Cherokee featured here on the GlobalAir.com Aircraft for Sale area. Planes like these are usually the roots of most pilots when they were working towards a complex endorsement. Nonetheless, every pilot should be ready for a gear extension failure regardless of the plane they're flying. 

The first step to realizing you've had a gear extension failure is after vocalizing gear in transition, checking to see that the gear is fully down. There will be an absence of a light on the indicator (in most cases it's green). Some planes may have 3 green lights for each wheel, and some may just have one. Regardless, if any of the required indicator lights are absent, you've got an issue.

Here, you want to do a quick check to see if it's the lightbulb that's the issue and not the gear itself. Ensure your master and alternator switches are on, and if able pull the outer cover of the light off to see the lightbulb. You can easily touch it or lightly twist it and if it comes on, then it's the lightbulb that's malfunctioning. Always check your circuit breakers as well. If the gear circuit is out, push it back in one time. If the light comes on, again it's an electrical issue there and not the gear. However, if the circuit pops back out again leave it alone. It's popping out for a reason, so don't push it in again and especially don't hold it in. 

If you've ran through these first steps and have diagnosed it's not the landing gear position indicators that are out, now it's time for a manual gear extension. Let ATC know (if you're talking to them) what's going on and what you're about to do, and if you're coming in to land (which you most likely are) that you'll be going ahead with a go around. It doesn't matter if you get the gear down safely in time for touchdown, take another lap in the pattern. This reverts back to safe decision making.

Next, follow your emergency checklist according to your POH here to start emergency gear extension. Check airspeed is below what's published-because the gear may not be able to drop down without hydraulic power if you're too fast-and hit the landing gear selector down. Now grab your emergency gear extension lever and drop it down. Here you should feel the gear drop down, as you'll feel the drag and airspeed will slow.

You're not done yet. Now, you have to make sure the gear is locked in place. The last thing you'd want is to have followed a good emergency gear extension checklist, then touchdown and have a wheel collapse. You can ensure this by checking your landing gear lights are all lighted. 

But what if you have an electrical problem (reverting back to earlier) and can't see a light, or it still isn't lighted? That means you have to "wiggle the plane" so to speak and push the gear into place. Yaw the aircraft with rudder to both sides, and this should push the sides into locking. The nosewheel should have locked into place given that you let the gear down below airspeed. 

Now, you're ready to land. Again, let ATC now know what is going on. On a VFR day at a controlled airport, tower can even help you out by spotting you and letting you know if they see all your gear is down. This also goes at an uncontrolled field if someone else is in the vicinity and talking on the CTAF. Think of out of the box ideas like this to help you, it's all about managing the resources available and making safety a priority. 

In the worst case scenario that gear still isn't down, go then to your gear up landing checklist. If you haven't already, now it's time to officially declare an emergency.

Now matter what follow your checklists, use your available resources, revert back to your training, and most of all stay calm. Panicking is the worst thing to do in any emergency because you can't think straight and can now easily stray away from your procedures. 

Have any stories about doing a manual gear extension or any emergency scenario stories in general? Comment below and stay tuned for more posts!

Where Are They Now?

Ever wondered what happens to students after they graduate?  Ever notice how their news on lives suddenly tapers off in our modern-day world where social media this time of year used to be filled with this class and that class, hockey games, football games, etc.?  Well, this summer I had the chance to catch up with a recent University of North Dakota (UND) graduate, Tony Batson, at the 2016 AirVenture in Oshkosh and learn about how he started at UND and what he’s up to these days.  

That Chicago Kid…

Tony grew up in the suburbs of Chicago, IL and not surprisingly, had exposure to aviation from a young age.  His father was a big part of his interest in aviation as he was told stories about aviation in World War II as a young kid.  Tony was also into model aircraft building as well as Remote Controlled Aircraft (RCA).  His interest for aviation piqued in high school when he had his first Discovery Flight at Chicagoland Aviation and soon he was working for the company as an aircraft detailer and in their office at the Lewis University Airport (KLOT).

Tony began his search for an aviation university in high school and looked at schools such as Purdue University, and others.  One of his managers was actually a UND alumni which greatly factored in his decision as he heard of how professors at UND would go above and beyond for their students. On a “freezing, cold October day”, Tony made the trip to the upper Midwest and the rest was history.

Being at UND…

Like most students, Tony’s first year was a bit of a culture shock – especially coming to the Midwest after living in the suburbs of a major U.S. city.  His roommate, a local to Grand Forks, took him under his wing.  Tony remembers when they first met his roommate offering his cars and spare keys for whenever he needed to use it.

Flying didn’t always come naturally for Tony and sometimes lessons were challenging, but Tony “hit the ground running”.   He wasn’t just involved in flying – he was also involved in different student groups on campus.

There were many groups that focused on aviation at UND, but Tony remembers Alpha Eta Roe as the “one club I really stuck with”.   As soon as he joined, he had a position – he worked his way through different leadership positions and ended up as the President of the aviation fraternity.  He remembers it as a way to network with leaders of other student groups on campus and what a benefit it was.

After UND…

College wasn’t always about Alpha Eta Ro as he remembers advisers and professors alike as being a positive influence on his time at UND.  However, the fraternity proved to be more than just a spare time activity as his work with the president of Piper Aircraft on a recent visit to UND landed him a job as a graduate intern in the Marketing Department.

He enjoys working with Piper Aircraft as it is something new every day.  Some days he could be working on developing checklists, or he’s working with Sales and matching sales leads with regional dealers or making that first contact.  Recently, he’s been working on marketing the new fleet of Piper aircraft being built to replace the aircraft at UND (and doing a great job, by the way).

Some Words for Students…

I often wonder what graduates would say to students at UND, almost at UND, or fellow graduates.  Tony advises prospective students to get involved and get to know people while his advice to current students is to work hard because it’s a great time for pilots right now.  Grads have some special advice that he tries to embody on a day-today basis:  pay it forward and help the people behind you.

Where Are They Going?

After catching up with Tony, I couldn’t help but be excited about his aviation journey which is just beginning.  I also ruminated on how his current job and experiences were because of UND and the groups he was involved in while a student there – UND is truly a great place to be.

Are you a UND alumni?  Feel free to comment with your memories as a student there or any other school you attended!

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