Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Flight At Less Than Cruise Airspeeds

Maneuvering during slow flight demonstrates the flight
characteristics and degree of controllability of an
airplane at less than cruise speeds. The ability to
determine the characteristic control responses at the
lower airspeeds appropriate to takeoffs, departures,
and landing approaches is a critical factor in
stall awareness.

As airspeed decreases, control effectiveness decreases
disproportionately. For instance, there may be a certain
loss of effectiveness when the airspeed is reduced from
30 to 20 m.p.h. above the stalling speed, but there will
normally be a much greater loss as the airspeed is
further reduced to 10 m.p.h. above stalling. The
objective of maneuvering during slow flight is to
develop the pilot's sense of feel and ability to use the
controls correctly, and to improve proficiency in
performing maneuvers that require slow airspeeds.

Maneuvering during slow flight should be performed
using both instrument indications and outside visual
reference. Slow flight should be practiced from straight
glides, straight-and-level flight, and from medium
banked gliding and level flight turns. Slow flight at
approach speeds should include slowing the airplane
smoothly and promptly from cruising to approach
speeds without changes in altitude or heading, and
determining and using appropriate power and trim
settings. Slow flight at approach speed should also
include configuration changes, such as landing gear
and flaps, while maintaining heading and altitude.

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