Be a Better Pilot

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Big Pistons Forever
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Be a Better Pilot

#1 Post by Big Pistons Forever » Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:21 am

Here is a condensed and revised edition of what I introduced in an old thread called Tips for CPL Instructors. Recent discussions with some lower time pilots and students caused me to dig this out for them and so I thought I would post it here as well

They represent one data point and are meant to spark some discussion and get folks thinking about the what and more importantly the why of what they are doing. For simplicity sake I will presume the aircraft in use is the C 172.

The walk around:

-This used to called the "daily inspection" as in once a day on the first flight. There is no need to do an equivalent of an "A" inspection for the 11th flight of the day. Not everything on the walk around should be afforded the exact same levels of importance, so learn what matters. Some things to think about:

- Aircraft are delicate: All surfaces/doors/controls should be moved gently

-When in the cabin do two things generally not on the checklist. First organize the cabin (stow all the loose stuff, cross the seatbelts, throw out any garbage, and organize you maps books and other flight info because passengers get nervous when your stuff is laying all over the cabin and you are rooting around trying to find what you needs) second set the trim wheel to the TO setting so you can see where the tab actually is on the walkaround.

-Consumables. Fuel and oil should be checked on every flight. Big airplanes have reliable fuel gauges (heck $9999.00 cars have reliable fuel gauges) little airplanes not so much. However comparing the gauges to what the dip stick shows will give you an indication of how good they are. But be reasonable, you don't need a dipstick to check full tanks. As for oil, if at all possible you should know/find out what the oil level was on the last flight. A sudden reduction in the oil level is always bad. Either you have a bad leak or the engine is showing the first symptom of a potentially catastrophic failure.

-The most likely things wrong you are going to see in the walk around fall in the "hanging or dripping " category, so that's what you should be looking for.



Taxing:

- there is no one universal taxi speed. The airplane speed should be adjusted to suit the situation. Slow down for corners or tight spots, speed up on the straight parts and when crossing runways. Stuff that matters:

-IMO the number one indication of good airmanship on the ground is managing your propwash. Even a C172 can create damaging amounts of wind yet I believe this issue is not always well addressed in training. This is especially egregious since the C 172 has a back window so you can see who you are about to blast

- Follow the yellow line ! When you are at a strange airport it will save you from turning when you shouldn't.

- Don't ride the brakes and the aircraft should not be bobbing up and down every time brakes are applied. When stopping ease up on the brakes just before the aircraft comes to a complete stop, this will ensure a smooth stop.

- If there is significant wind, know where it is coming from and position the controls properly.

-Lights: Virtually all large aircraft operators have the same SOP for the use of lights. It is as follows:

position lights: On when electrical power aplied to aircraft (Not IMO required for small aircraft during day but should be done at night)

rotating beacon: On just prior to engine start

strobe lights: On when crossing runways and when entering active

landing lights: On when cleared for take off or starting take off roll (uncontrolled airports)

And the reverse when landing and for the taxi in.

I did not mention taxi light (usually located on the nose gear leg of large aircraft) as it is not usually applicable or practical for small aircraft. However you should know that if you are near a large aircraft it will switch on the taxi light when it is about to start moving and turn it off when it is stopped.

Since you have to use the lights somehow I figure if it is good enough for the big boys it is good enough for me and I think every pilot should use this SOP

Runup:

- Pick a sensible spot to do your runup. At my home field the runup bay can hold 3 airplanes, or just one if you park right in the middle..... it is not absolutely necessary to be exactly into the wind before starting the runup. A related point is wind direction. If aircraft position is irrelevant then you should certainly do an into the wind runup for reasons of improved engine cooling and more accurate engine settings......however if the wind isn't really strong (say less than 15 kts) and the aircraft can be better positioned to avoid propwash issues or not block taxiways, than that should determine how you park your aircraft.

The checklist is not a bunch of rote actions. Critical thought should be used. The most abused runup item IMO is the mixture check

- In my experience most pilots yank the mixture knob out until the engine dies and then shoves it back in. This often causes a backfire which is very hard on the muffler baffles and only proves the mixture cut off works. This is how I teach this item

- after the carb air check leave the carb heat on

- slowly lean. This is to allow the engine time to adjust to the changing fuel/air ratio and the RPM should rise as the overly rich mixture caused by the hot air gets corrected. Continue leaning until the RPM drops about 100 revs and the engine starts to run a bit rough indicating an excessively lean mixture. Slowly push the knob back to full rich and observe the RPM return to the starting value. You have now proven that the carb is properly set up and the mixture control actually controls the mixture.

Takeoff:

- Intersection takeoffs are almost never a good idea for single engine aircraft.

- Do a silent formal pretakeoff brief before every takeoff. This brief should IMO cover the following items :

a) Review the published departure procedure or noise abatement procedure if required

b) Run through the actions you will do if the engine either fails before liftoff, or if you have an EFATO below 1000 ft AAE including where you are going to point the aircraft. This should be involve a review of the immediate vital actions you need to carry out including touching each control to build the muscle memory. If you do nothing else make a point of saying "in the event of an engine failure I will pitch down" and then physically push the wheel forward

- When you ready for take off you should be ready in all respects.

- The airplane should be lined up exactly on the centerline and it should stay there throughout the take off run. Don't accept inaccurate aircraft control.

-The throttle should be advanced slowly but steadily. It should never be jammed in.

- Before power is applied the elevator should be always slightly nose up (for a normal takeoff ) so as the prop wash flowing over the elevator unloads the nose wheel

- When the throttle is fully in the student should note that all engine instruments are in the green and the engine is showing full static RPM (not Redline RPM, the static RPM value will be in the POH and will always be lower than Redline). At which point the call I teach is " good engine "

The aircraft to be rotated to a nose up attitude and lift off at the POH speeds. If it isn't, correct it ! (hint if the aircraft levitates with all three wheels leaving the ground at the same time than the rotate speed is too high )

The briefings may seem a bit over the top but I think it is very important to build good habits. If you perform a full but efficient briefing on every flight than the habit about thinking ahead will become ingrained.

The climb:

- After lift off work hard at holding a consistent pitch attitude that will give you the briefed speed.
( I like Vy to 1000 ft AAE as altitude is your friend. I do not use Vx for a normal take off as it requires a very nose high attitude which makes it hard to see ahead and is at a speed not very far from stall speed. In the event of an engine failure at Vx a very aggressive pitch down is immediately required to maintain safe speed.

- The aircraft should track the runway centre line as you climb away, don't accept the aircraft being pushed to one side or the other.

- In performance challenged aircraft the difference between climbing with the wings level and the ball in the center can be as much as 20 % over a feet on the floor wing low climb. Keep the ball in the middle !

- Through 1000 ft AAE , or when prudent/practicable transition to a cruise climb. I like to use a speed which gives a climb rate of 500 ft per minute for the C172 ( flying from a sea level airport). This will usually give a good compromise between engine cooling, visibility ahead, and achieving track miles. It also requires you to think about what airspeed to use rather than mindlessly using the same climb speed for every flight.

- If you are going to have a mid air on initial climb out it will most likely be as you pass through circuit height particularly at uncontrolled airports.

- Make sure you learn and understand the effect airspeed and mixture settings have on oil temp/ cylinder temp and what to do to manage engine cooling


enroute phase :

-When transitioning from climb to cruise, allow the aircraft to accelerate to cruise speed before setting cruise power, then trim. I know this is pretty basic and is covered in the PPL course, but it seems to be an item that frequently gets forgotten after the PPL .

- Most of the time your chart works best folded down giving a square about 8 inches across.

-The cockpit should always be neat and ordered. Passengers do not want to see charts all over the place and the pilot scrabbling around looking for his stuff. Similarly in small airplanes (like C172) I discourage the purchase of those airline style big leather flying bags. There is no good place to store it and if you are flying day VFR within the range of a C172 you don't need a lot of stuff. A small fabric tote is plenty and can be squeezed between the seats frames. Similarly those 50 dollar so called professional pilot knee boards are IMO a waste of money. A small clipboard available at Staples costs $ 1.99 and you just need to tie a pencil to it and you are set.

-When you are going somewhere in slow airplanes one of the most important thing to keep track of (aside from your present position obviously) is your ground speed.
Even a small increase in a head wind can have a significant increase in your trip time. This matters for your fuel reserves. Altitude can have a significant effect on the wind so while you should flight plan an optimal altitude you should also think about changing altitude to get a better speed.

- passengers want a smooth ride so if it is bumpy do something like changing altitude or route of flight. Some days you have just got to suck it up but if for example your planned altitude puts you 500 ft below a layer of scattered cumulus clouds it is probably going to bumpy and so if you just drone along anyway then you are not doing your best.

- make a big point about comparing the weather you see out the windshield versus what the weather guy said, and what it means if what you see is not what you were expecting.

- Fuel gauges are calibrated every year so that they when they show "E" or "Zero" the tank is indeed empty. My experience with Cessna fuel gauges is that they get more accurate as the fuel quantity decreases and they will be very close at quantities below 1/3 tanks. So if the gauges are showing significantly less than you think they should it is time to go to plan B and land at a closer airport.

- Get in the habit of carrying an energy bar and a small bottle of water. Being dehydrated and with low blood sugar levels diminishes your decision making abilities.

Descent:

- Plan your descent for a maximum of 500 feet/min. The easy way to do this is determine how many thousands of feet between your cruising altitude and circuit height, double that and start down when that number equals time to destination (EG 6000 feet to loose, start down 12 mins from destination).

- The most efficient way to descend is to leave cruise RPM on and trim for a 500 fpm descent. Reduce the power as you descent to maintain the cruise RPM setting

- Don’t start a long descent by going to full rich mixture !

- Most of the time you will have a good idea of the runway in use, so plan your route of flight to minimize track miles.

- If you are ever going to have a mid air it will probably entering the circuit at an uncontrolled airport, This is where emphasizing a lookout is really important

General points :

Operational efficiency:
When flying, operational efficiency is desirable. In general the most efficient flight is one that is safely accomplished with the minimum amount of flight and air time. Be organized and proactive.

Radio work:
- Pilots will soon get a reputation, good....or bad. One factor which will determine this IMO is how he or she handles the radio. So set a personal high standard and don't make the common unnecessary mistakes:

- When you change freq's listen for a few seconds before speaking so you do not step on another conversation

- engage brain before mouth. There should be no UMMs or ERR's

- Use standard phraseology and avoid slang


Monitoring Engine Gauges:

When I was a young commercial pilot I got an piece of excellent advice from a gentleman who had been flying since the 1930's. He told me to note the actual position of each engine gauge needle for each phase of flight. This is especially valuable if you normally fly the same airplane. Any significant change in an engine gauge indication should be monitored and investigated. This advice saved me from a force landing as I was climb out in a C150 on a routine instructional flight one day. I noticed that the oil pressure gauge was one full needle width below the the mid gauge white line. Every other flight the needle had had sat exactly over the white line mark. As we were only a few miles from the airport, I told the student to turn back. Over the next 2 minutes the oil pressure slowly rolled back to zero. By this time we were on short final so I shut the engine down and we completed an uneventful landing. It turned out the oil pump drive gear had failed.

To build good habits, at random intervals, cover the engine gauges and ask if yourself where the needles were sitting. I found that if you practice this pretty soon you get good at including the engine instruments in your scan.

GPS:

-Having GPS positional data is one of the best ways to improve flight safety and efficiency. Every pilot should have a personal portable GPS (second hand serviceable units are available on e-bay for a few hundred dollars) and should be taught and encouraged to use fitted GPS systems.

If any of the above was of value that is great; if you don't agree then I look forward to any and all constructive comments.
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Last edited by Big Pistons Forever on Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:50 pm, edited 9 times in total.

Chris M
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#2 Post by Chris M » Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:42 am

Excellent info, thanks for posting. I know my engine instrument scan is a bit of a weak item for me, so that's a good way to get some practise in.

One question: On approach, should priority go to maintaining attitude or airspeed? The reason I ask is that at my field we get a decent amount of wind shear. Just part of having large buildings around and a predominant crosswind. Chasing an airspeed can result in quite a lot of pitch movement, while maintaining attitude can result in some fairly sharp airspeed drops before I gain the momentum back. I try to aim for the best middle ground, accepting a +/- range in my approach speed in order to minimize the ups and downs, particularly with passengers on board.
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#3 Post by I_Drive_Planes » Thu Aug 28, 2014 9:52 am

Excellent post, every student and light airplane pilot should receive a copy.

This is the sort of post that makes me wish we had a "like" button. I have absolutely nothing to add and I want to express my approval without clogging up the thread like a verbose yahoo on 126.7
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#4 Post by Big Pistons Forever » Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:02 am

Chris M wrote: Chasing an airspeed can result in quite a lot of pitch movement, while maintaining attitude can result in some fairly sharp airspeed drops before I gain the momentum back.
You should never be chasing the airspeed. If you are holding the correct attitude then turbulence induced airspeed changes will quickly dampen out and the airspeed will return to the correct value without you having to do anything. In extreme conditions it may be necessary to temporarily adjust the attitude to maintain a safe speed but the normal attitude should immediately be re-established when the gust passes.
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#5 Post by Rookie50 » Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:03 pm

Great list BPF. Struggling to add to it from my perspective. Couple of small things -- it's my belief a fair percentage of accidents are caused by fatigue in some form.

Don't ever push the weather for your experience, and don't push your own endurance, which will build with experience. When I was a new PPL, I flew from Toronto to Ottawa for the first time, and between all of the aviating, navigating, communicating, I was so bushed when I arrived, had to practically have a nap on a park bench! First time for all of it.

Recently, I flew from north of Calgary, to Green bay Wisconsin, in one day with one stop, over 8.5 hours Hobbs 1200 nm and deviating around a nasty storm to boot. Also flew the day before, and the next day -- and didn't feel as tired as that 2 hour Ottawa flight. Build up to it.

I would also add, if you are using VOR tracking plug in the NDB freq, if there is one. Practice using all the methods, in case that nice GpS dies.

I like the comment about the gauge position. I have an analyzer, and I know the correct numbers. If there was a big change, I'd know it.
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#6 Post by ahramin » Thu Aug 28, 2014 2:51 pm

Big Pistons Forever wrote:- The most efficient way to descend is to leave cruise RPM on and trim for a 500 fpm descent. Reduce the power as you descent to maintain the cruise RPM setting
When I had a C-150, this is how I did things. When fuel was 60 cents a litre, this is how I did things. If I was flying an aircraft where the Hobbs mattered, this is how I would do things.

Unfortunately in all the airplanes I fly nowadays big and small fuel is by far the biggest cost. The most fuel efficient way to descend is to plan for an idle descent at your LRC speed. This isn't advisable in a piston due to shock cooling problems so in my plane I descend at 500 fpm and reduce power progressively but early (to 2000 rpm in my case) during the descent.
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#7 Post by photofly » Thu Aug 28, 2014 4:07 pm

At the risk of being accused of being argumentative, or of heresy, you did ask for thoughtful comments, so here's one.

On a Cessna trainer, the attitude for a decent glide speed, engine out, is pretty much the same as the attitude in cruise flight. Certainly not much lower. In the event of an EFATO it's not necessary to push since the loss of power means the nose will try to fall. It's necessary only to allow the nose to fall to the cruise attitude, and retrim. I agree that one should avoid the inclination to hold the nose up as if climbing, but watching students slam the nose earthwards and enter a steep dive, thereby throwing away what precious altitude they already have, suggests to me that the "push" word is a little strong. If anyone is in doubt over this, I suggest they try it, before telling me just how wrong and heretical I am.

May I also say I'm relieved we're allowed to use the word "rotate" in respect of small aircraft, once again. Even if only occasionally.

(That not withstanding, I like the list very much.)
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#8 Post by PilotDAR » Thu Aug 28, 2014 6:32 pm

If you do nothing else make a point of saying "in the event of an engine failure I will pitch down" and then physically push the wheel forward
I like it, as I like the rest of the information. In the event of an EFATO, getting the nose down, and recovering (which may actually involve accelerating to) a suitable glide speed. If altitude is surrendered in this process, that's what was necessary. If altitude is thrown away, and you can get the plane back onto the runway or over run - perfect. There is no one size fits all as to where you're going after an EFATO, and you might not even be able to formulate a plan until you're up, but achieving and maintaining the suitable glide speed, and control in general, is of the highest importance, and everything else must be surrendered to assure this. Don't loose control, stall and spin, trying to stretch to the golf course, land under control in the trees, if that's where controlled takes you.
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#9 Post by Big Pistons Forever » Thu Aug 28, 2014 7:45 pm

photofly wrote:

On a Cessna trainer, the attitude for a decent glide speed, engine out, is pretty much the same as the attitude in cruise flight. Certainly not much lower. In the event of an EFATO it's not necessary to push since the loss of power means the nose will try to fall. It's necessary only to allow the nose to fall to the cruise attitude, and retrim. I agree that one should avoid the inclination to hold the nose up as if climbing, but watching students slam the nose earthwards and enter a steep dive, thereby throwing away what precious altitude they already have, suggests to me that the "push" word is a little strong. If anyone is in doubt over this, I suggest they try it, before telling me just how wrong and heretical I am.
In theory you are quite correct. Done as a gentle exercise where the power is smoothly pulled back things will work as you described. Unfortunately however the accident record has a discouraging number of accidents where when the engine failed after takeoff, pilots simply froze and held the nose up elevator they had applied until the aircraft stalled. Training can not duplicate the shock factor of something like a EFATO particularly for pilots that do not fly on a very frequent basis. I feel that automatic muscle memory actions like "push forward on the wheel" are the key for low experience pilots to get over the initial OMG and give them the time to let their brain catch up with events.

In any case to expand the discussion if the choice is push or pull on the wheel when bad things are happening, pushing on the wheel will makes things better and pulling on the wheel will make things worse in most situations.
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#10 Post by Big Pistons Forever » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:16 pm

ahramin wrote:
Big Pistons Forever wrote:- The most efficient way to descend is to leave cruise RPM on and trim for a 500 fpm descent. Reduce the power as you descent to maintain the cruise RPM setting
When I had a C-150, this is how I did things. When fuel was 60 cents a litre, this is how I did things. If I was flying an aircraft where the Hobbs mattered, this is how I would do things.

Unfortunately in all the airplanes I fly nowadays big and small fuel is by far the biggest cost. The most fuel efficient way to descend is to plan for an idle descent at your LRC speed. This isn't advisable in a piston due to shock cooling problems so in my plane I descend at 500 fpm and reduce power progressively but early (to 2000 rpm in my case) during the descent.
I would agree with you for large aircraft but I in the introduction I made a caveat that I was orienting the list around the C 172. For that aircraft I do not believe the reduction in fuel flow overcomes the increase in flight time enough to be significant because the aircraft is so slow and the fuel flows so low. A cruise decent power 500 FPM descent will give you 120 kts. A 2000 RPM 500 FPM descent will give about 100 kts.

So lets say we have 6000 feet to loose. That is 12 min flight time at 500 FPM. A C 172N will burn 7.2 gal/her at 65 % power and 5.2 Gal/ht at 45 % power (eg about 2000 RPM). So in the cruise power descent you will have gone 24 miles and burned 1.45 gal. In the 2000 RPM descent you will have gone only 20 miles and burned 1.05 gal. But you will have made 4 additional miles at cruise power before descending which will require .25 gal so the difference is only .2 gals. If there is a headwind on the descent the difference is even less as the head wind affects the slow descent GS more than the faster descent. So to me it is so close on the fuel that it is a wash and my method gets you on the ground faster.

I guess because I have a commercial flying background my default is to lean toward flying practices that reduces flight time, unless there is an obvious significant advantage to slowing down. But that is a personal practice and like most things in aviation there is usually more than one "right" way to do something.
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#11 Post by ahramin » Thu Aug 28, 2014 8:38 pm

0.2 gallons is 0.75 litres, at $2 a litre that's a buck fifty every flight. In a slippery aircraft like mine I'd guess it's even more.

I have noticed that while airlines have gone to a minimum fuel burn policy, smaller commercial aviation has not. Every time I take Harbour Air I get the feeling I should talk to the chief pilot and offer to save him 5% a year on fuel costs.

If you are renting an airplane wet and paying on the hobbs I totally agree; high speed from takeoff to short final. But for those of us paying our own fuel or with an interest in the bottom line of the company, I really think it's time for us to slow down and start conserving fuel.

But then again, I'm the guy in the Caddy doing 80-100 on the highway while everyone in their rusted out Hondas and new 1 ton Fords scream by me at 120+. I'm used to being the only guy in the room who drives as if fuel was expensive.
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#12 Post by Ceòl Beag » Thu Aug 28, 2014 10:52 pm

Another one I would add is to wait until you're actually ready to taxi before doing your brake test on a busy ramp.

I have seen pilots pull forward and do the brake test before even calling ground. Leaving them in a position that prevents other aircraft from getting by. Then we have to wait until they get their clearance, which can sometimes take awhile, and finally get out of the way. Call ground and finish your checks before you start moving.
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#13 Post by ahramin » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:38 am

This brake check business ... has anyone here ever had a brake failure that was discovered during the taxi brake check?
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#14 Post by Gene Hasenfus » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:50 am

Yup. Many times, I have found that one pedal
goes down a lot further than the other one,
which is of marginal airworthiness. This is
generally caused by worn pads (and is solved
by topping up the fluid) but is also caused by
the o-ring on the piston squaring off and leaking.

A friend of mine had a flat right brake, and
wasn't going to go flying. I pointed out to him
that the strong crosswind was from the right,
so he only really needed a good left brake,
and if he needed to turn right when he was
taxiing, he could turn 270 left.

Again, marginal airworthiness, when there
is little (but not no) braking action available
on one side. Seen the same thing on many
piston twins, which eat brake pads. You can
use differential power to try to stay straight
when you brake, against the crosswind, but
you're really working the good brake pretty
hard. It's not that difficult to add a little fluid,
but the problem often is, if you let it get that
bad, you have air in the line, and when you
add fluid on top of it to the master cylinder,
you end up with a mushy brake. Most people
don't know how to bleed aircraft brakes.
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#15 Post by ahramin » Fri Aug 29, 2014 8:58 am

Ok but wouldn't you discover this before starting the engine? If a pedal is mushy, I would think at the latest I'd notice when pushing on the brakes right before hitting the starter. The one time I had a leaking o-ring it was obvious from the brake fluid on the ground.
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#16 Post by Shiny Side Up » Fri Aug 29, 2014 10:18 am

photofly wrote:On a Cessna trainer, the attitude for a decent glide speed, engine out, is pretty much the same as the attitude in cruise flight.
Most light trainers if you dial in the full amount of nose up trim, with power off, the airplane will then fly at its best glide speed, or very close. Either way, it takes a lot of the workload off the pilot when it comes to gliding.
In the event of an EFATO it's not necessary to push since the loss of power means the nose will try to fall. It's necessary only to allow the nose to fall to the cruise attitude, and retrim. I agree that one should avoid the inclination to hold the nose up as if climbing, but watching students slam the nose earthwards and enter a steep dive, thereby throwing away what precious altitude they already have, suggests to me that the "push" word is a little strong. If anyone is in doubt over this, I suggest they try it, before telling me just how wrong and heretical I am.
You're not wrong, but this is where how you say something as the instructor is important. If you use the word "push" the student is going to push. I just use the phraseology, "get the nose down to the glide attitude" which ends up in better results. YMMV. Students can be painfully litteral.
ahramin wrote:Ok but wouldn't you discover this before starting the engine? If a pedal is mushy, I would think at the latest I'd notice when pushing on the brakes right before hitting the starter. The one time I had a leaking o-ring it was obvious from the brake fluid on the ground.
I've had it happen where you lose brake pressure later on after you're moving a bit. Small "gotcha" if someone had the park brake on before you started, the brake has already been "pumped up" and give the illusion of being harder than it is, so after its released and then you move, then you'll lose some of the pressure. One of the reasons - amongst many - that I don't like using the park brake unless absolutely necessary. The Cessna mechanism for one is terribly prone to jamming the brakes on. Usually this occurs if the previous pilot had a soft brake, didn't care about it, then jammed the park brake on.

Tip to add to BPF's list. Most hangars are landscaped so the ramp slopes away from the hangar. This makes airplanes easy to get out, but a pain to put away. So you don't have to use the park brake, when you pull up to the hangar, park so you're crossways when possible so a) you don't do the dirt blasting turn around in front of the door, and b) so the airplane ain't going to start rolling away when you shut it down necessitating the use of those terrible parking brakes. Now one might ask why ramps aren't perfectly level, and I know a fellow who built his this way, but he gets water that runs in his hangar when it rains.
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Big Pistons Forever
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#17 Post by Big Pistons Forever » Fri Aug 29, 2014 7:35 pm

Shiny Side Up wrote:
You're not wrong, but this is where how you say something as the instructor is important. If you use the word "push" the student is going to push. I just use the phraseology, "get the nose down to the glide attitude" which ends up in better results. YMMV. Students can be painfully literal.
My experience is that students are usually reluctant to make positive control movements, and let the aircraft fly them instead of the other way around and so are reticent to make the airplane do what they want it to do particularly when under stress. I have had far more students freeze on the controls than over control and when they do over control they tend to immediately undo the control input.

The bottom line from my POV is too much push is always going to be better than not enough in the low altitude EFATO scenario. But like you said YMMV.
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LousyFisherman
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#18 Post by LousyFisherman » Sat Aug 30, 2014 8:42 am

I agree with 90% of what you say but there are a couple points I have to disagree with
Big Pistons Forever wrote: Snip.......
-Lights: Virtually all large aircraft operators have the same SOP for the use of lights. It is as follows:
position lights: On when electrical power aplied to aircraft (Not IMO required for small aircraft during day but should be done at night)
rotating beacon: On just prior to engine start
strobe lights: On when crossing runways and when entering active
landing lights: On when cleared for take off or starting take off roll (uncontrolled airports)
And the reverse when landing and for the taxi in.
Thank you, after 5 years of flying I have a clue on how to use the lights :)
Big Pistons Forever wrote: Snip.......
Takeoff:
- Intersection takeoffs are almost never a good idea for single engine aircraft.
For a CPL? I beg to differ. I understand the rational for the blanket ban but in my, admittedly small, experience there are 2 types of intersections. Those at relatively "big" airports with runways of 5000 feet or longer and those at airports with runways of 3000 feet or shorter.

The first type the intersection takeoff should just about always be accepted because there is enough remaining runway for even the dreaded C150. Lethbridge is a perfect example. My first takeoff there, I was airborne 1/3 of the way down the runway. about where the intersection was :) In my mind it would be a misuse of resources to force everyone to wait while I backtrack for each takeoff instead of use the 2/3 accessible from the intersection.
.
At most small airports the question does not arise and if it does, it should be declined :)

Therefore, to be a better pilot, even as an amateur, most times an intersection takeoff is the proper choice. After a proper assessment of course
Big Pistons Forever wrote: Snip.......

- Most of the time your chart works best folded down giving a square about 8 inches across.

Snip .....

GPS:

-Having GPS positional data is one of the best ways to improve flight safety and efficiency. Every pilot should have a personal portable GPS (second hand serviceable units are available on e-bay for a few hundred dollars) and should be taught and encouraged to use fitted GPS systems.

If any of the above was of value that is great; if you don't agree then I look forward to any and all constructive comments.
Well, I prefer my charts folded 6 x 12 but, I don't use a GPS :)
I have an ancient Magellan which gives me lat, long numbers. I use it to check altimeter readings :)
I fly in the mountains where you better not need a GPS to know where you are. Use of the direct button has killed people.
I expect it will be extremely useful in Manitoba and NWO next month though.
Those numbers? We must be on this lake here. We are only one lake away now :)

Should a CPL know how to use or be trained on a GPS system? Certainly. However, I think while getting your CPL you should be focused on the skills you will need when the GPS system fails.

IMHO
LF
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CpnCrunch
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#19 Post by CpnCrunch » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:56 am

LousyFisherman wrote: For a CPL? I beg to differ. I understand the rational for the blanket ban but in my, admittedly small, experience there are 2 types of intersections. Those at relatively "big" airports with runways of 5000 feet or longer and those at airports with runways of 3000 feet or shorter.

The first type the intersection takeoff should just about always be accepted because there is enough remaining runway for even the dreaded C150. Lethbridge is a perfect example. My first takeoff there, I was airborne 1/3 of the way down the runway. about where the intersection was :) In my mind it would be a misuse of resources to force everyone to wait while I backtrack for each takeoff instead of use the 2/3 accessible from the intersection.
.
At most small airports the question does not arise and if it does, it should be declined :)
I disagree. I always use the full length even with 5000-6000ft runways. It just gives you the option to land on the remaining runway if the engine quits. Of course I do still take off on 1800ft runways. However if I have the option of 6000ft or 4000ft I'll spend an extra minute taxiing to get the 6000ft. Generally you should never have to backtrack on a 5000+ ft runway - that would be pretty poor airport design :)

It's all about risk tolerance. Last time I was at Powell River (3600ft runway) someone asked if they could take off from the intersection (2000ft) in their 150 while we were backtracking for takeoff. Sure, if you want to be at 300ft over a densely populated residential/industrial area after takeoff in your buck 50 with a 40 year old engine, that's fine with me!
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CpnCrunch
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#20 Post by CpnCrunch » Sat Aug 30, 2014 9:59 am

Great post, BPF!

The only thing I would add is to lean the mixture as far as you can without the engine quitting any time you're taxiing or idling.
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Big Pistons Forever
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#21 Post by Big Pistons Forever » Sat Aug 30, 2014 4:29 pm

LousyFisherman wrote:
Big Pistons Forever wrote: Snip.......
-Lights: Virtually all large aircraft operators have the same SOP for the use of lights. It is as follows:
position lights: On when electrical power aplied to aircraft (Not IMO required for small aircraft during day but should be done at night)
rotating beacon: On just prior to engine start
strobe lights: On when crossing runways and when entering active
landing lights: On when cleared for take off or starting take off roll (uncontrolled airports)
And the reverse when landing and for the taxi in.
Thank you, after 5 years of flying I have a clue on how to use the lights :)

LF
LF


Well then that part of the post was not intended for you. There seems to be a lot of different opinions on use of the lights, some appear to be FTU generated SOP's that are mindlessly passed down the line and constitute some rather bizarre practices. What I posted is what I would suggest is the "industry standard". Therefore it would seem reasonable to apply the same practices to the operation of light aircraft and could be of value for those pilots who are reading this who are confused as to what to believe.

As for your comments regarding intersection takeoffs, well we are going to have to agree to disagree on this one. I firmly believe that "better pilots" work to mitigate risks where practicable. Availing yourself of the maximum amount of runway increases your options if bad things start happening. I always use the full length, even if this requires a back track except for very long runways.
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Big Pistons Forever
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#22 Post by Big Pistons Forever » Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:32 pm

I can't believe I didn't include this in the original post. :oops:

Be a Better Pilot: Stop saying "Any Conflicting Traffic Please Advise" !
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Rookie50
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#23 Post by Rookie50 » Mon Sep 01, 2014 3:59 pm

Big Pistons Forever wrote:I can't believe I didn't include this in the original post. :oops:

Be a Better Pilot: Stop saying "Any Conflicting Traffic Please Advise" !
:mrgreen: :mrgreen: :mrgreen:
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Oxi
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#24 Post by Oxi » Mon Sep 01, 2014 7:39 pm

I seem to see this more and more now and cannot remember if its in a POH or not. It is putting the flaps down to full during the walk around, particularly in the winter. Checking the tracks and pins can be done without this and can be done with the engine on. Thoughts?
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halfmilevis
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Re: Be a Better Pilot

#25 Post by halfmilevis » Mon Sep 01, 2014 8:06 pm

As a new PPL holder, this post is extremely informative!

Thanks for the great read!

Cheers,

HMV
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