Saturday, October 24, 2009

Vertical Stability (Yawing)

Stability about the aircraft’s vertical axis (the sideways moment) is called yawing or directional stability. Yawing or directional stability is the most easily achieved stability in aircraft design. The area of the vertical fin and the sides of the fuselage aft of the CG are the prime contributors which make the aircraft act like the well known weather vane or arrow, pointing its nose into the relative wind.

Stability (Rolling)

About the aircraft’s longitudinal axis, which extends nose of the aircraft to its tail, is called lateral This helps to stabilize the lateral or “rolling effect” wing gets lower than the wing on the opposite side aircraft. There are four main design factors that make laterally stable: dihedral, sweepback, keel effect, weight distribution.

Friday, October 23, 2009

Longitudinal Stability (Pitching)

In designing an aircraft, a great deal of effort is spent in developing the desired degree of stability around all three axes. But longitudinal stability about the lateral axis is considered to be the most affected by certain variables in various flight conditions.

Dynamic Stability

Static stability has been defined as the initial tendency to return to equilibrium that the aircraft displays after being disturbed from its trimmed condition. Occasionally, the initial tendency is different or opposite from the overall tendency, so a distinction must be made between the two. Dynamic stability refers to the aircraft response over time when disturbed from a given AOA, slip, or bank. This type of stability also has three subtypes: [Figure 4-19]

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Static Stability

Static stability refers to the initial tendency, or direction of movement, back to equilibrium. In aviation, it refers to the aircraft’s initial response when disturbed from a given AOA, slip, or bank.


Stability is the inherent quality of an aircraft to correct for conditions that may disturb its equilibrium, and to return to or to continue on the original flightpath. It is primarily an aircraft design characteristic.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Aircraft Design Characteristics

Each aircraft handles somewhat differently because each resists or responds to control pressures in its own way.

Moment and Moment Arm

A study of physics shows that a body that is free to rotate will always turn about its CG. In aerodynamic terms, the mathematical measure of an aircraft’s tendency to rotate about its CG is called a “moment.” A moment is said to be equal to the product of the force applied and the distance at which the force is applied. (A moment arm is the distance from a datum [reference point or line] to the applied force.) For aircraft weight and balance computations, “moments” are expressed in terms of the distance of the arm times the aircraft’s weight, or simply, inch-pounds.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Axes of an Aircraft

The axes of an aircraft are three imaginary lines that pass through an aircraft’s CG. The axes can be considered as imaginary axles around which the aircraft turns. The three axes pass through the CG at 90° angles to each other. The axis from nose to tail is the longitudinal axis, the axis that passes from wingtip to wingtip is the lateral axis, and the axis that passes vertically through the CG is the vertical axis. Whenever an aircraft changes its flight attitude or position in flight, it rotates aeronautical terminology due to the similarity of motion of aircraft and seagoing ships. The motion about the aircraft’s longitudinal axis is “roll,” the motion about its lateral axis is “pitch,” and the motion about its vertical axis is “yaw.” Yaw is the horizontal (left and right) movement of the aircraft’s nose.

Aircraft Ground Effect

It is possible to fly an aircraft just clear of the ground (or water) at a slightly slower airspeed than that required to sustain level flight at higher altitudes. This is the result of a phenomenon better known of than understood even by some experienced pilots.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Wake Turbulence

Vortices are greatest when the generating aircraft is clean, and slow.” This condition is most commonly during approaches or departures because an AOA is at the highest to produce the lift necessary take off. To minimize the chances of flying through wake turbulence:

Formation of Vortices

At the same time, the air on the upper surface has a tendency to flow in toward the fuselage and off the trailing edge. This air current forms a similar vortex at the inboard portion of the trailing edge of the airfoil, but because the fuselage limits the inward flow, the vortex is insignificant. Consequently, the deviation in flow direction is greatest at the outer tips where the unrestricted lateral flow is the strongest.


The flightpaths and attitudes in which an airplane can fly are limited only by the aerodynamic characteristics of the airplane, its propulsive system, and its structural strength. These limitations indicate the maximum performance and maneuverability of the airplane. If the airplane is to provide maximum utility, it must be safely controllable to the full extent of these limits without exceeding the pilot’s strength or requiring exceptional flying ability.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Lift/Drag Ratio

Drag is the price paid to obtain lift. The lift to drag ratio (L/D) is the amount of lift generated by a wing or airfoil compared to its drag. A ratio of L/D indicates airfoil efficiency. Aircraft with higher L/D ratios are more efficient than those with lower L/D ratios. In unaccelerated flight with the lift and drag data steady, the proportions of the CL and coefficient of drag (can be calculated for specific AOA. [Figure 4-9]

Aircraft Drag

Drag is the force that resists movement of an aircraft through the air. There are two basic types: parasite drag and induced drag. The first is called parasite because it in no way functions to aid flight, while the second, induced drag, is a result of an airfoil developing lift.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

Induced Drag

The second basic type of drag is induced drag. It is an established physical fact that no system that does work in the mechanical sense can be 100 percent efficient. This means that whatever the nature of the system, the required work is obtained at the expense of certain additional work that is dissipated or lost in the system. The more efficient the system, the smaller this loss.

How Forces Acting on the Aircraft

Thrust, drag, lift, and weight are forces that act upon all aircraft in flight. Understanding how these forces work and knowing how to control them with the use of power and flight controls are essential to flight. This chapter discusses the aerodynamics of flight—how design, weight, load factors, and gravity affect an aircraft during flight maneuvers.

Friday, October 16, 2009

Pitch and Power

No discussion of climbs and descents would be complete without touching on the question of what controls altitude and what controls airspeed. The pilot must understand the effects of both power and elevator control, working together, during different conditions of flight. The closest one can come to a formula for determining airspeed/altitude control that is valid under all circumstances is a basic principle of attitude flying which states:

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Descent and Descending Turns

When an airplane enters a descent, it changes its flightpath from level to an inclined plane. It is important that the pilot know the power settings and pitch attitudes that will produce the following conditions of descent.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Climbs and Climbing Turns

When an airplane enters a climb, it changes its flightpath from level flight to an inclined plane or climb attitude. In a climb, weight no longer acts in a direction perpendicular to the flightpath. It acts in a rearward direction. This causes an increase in total drag requiring an increase in thrust (power) to balance the forces. An airplane can only sustain a climb angle when there is sufficient thrust to offset increased drag; therefore, climb is limited by the thrust available.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Level Turns

Aturn is made by banking the wings in the direction of the desired turn. Aspecific angle of bank is selected by the pilot, control pressures applied to achieve the desired bank angle, and appropriate control pressures exerted to maintain the desired bank angle once it is established. [Figure 3-5]

Monday, October 12, 2009

Trim Control

The airplane is designed so that the primary flight controls (rudder, aileron, and elevator) are streamlined with the nonmovable airplane surfaces when the airplane is cruising straight-and-level at normal weight and loading. If the airplane is flying out of that basic balanced condition, one or more of the control surfaces is going to have to be held out of its streamlined position by continuous control input. The use of trim tabs relieves the pilot of this requirement.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Straight-and-Level Flight

It is impossible to emphasize too strongly the necessity for forming correct habits in flying straight and level. All other flight maneuvers are in essence a deviation from this fundamental flight maneuver. Many flight instructors and students are prone to believe that perfection in straight-and-level flight will come of itself, but such is not the case.

When and Where to Take Pilot Examination

When to Take the Examination
The knowledge test is more meaningful to the applicant and more likely to result in a satisfactory grade if it is taken after beginning the flight portion of the training. Therefore, the FAA recommends the knowledge test be taken after the student pilot has completed a solo cross-country flight.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Integrated Flight Instruction

When introducing basic flight maneuvers to a beginning pilot, it is recommended that the “Integrated” or “Composite” method of flight instruction be used. This means the use of outside references and flight instruments to establish and maintain desired flight attitudes and airplane performance. [Figure 3-2] When beginning pilots use this technique, they achieve a more precise and competent overall piloting ability. Although this method of airplane control may become second nature with experience, the beginning pilot must make a determined effort to master the technique. The basic elements of which are as follows.
  • The airplane’s attitude is established and maintained by positioning the airplane in relation to the natural horizon. At least 90 percent of the pilot’s attention should be devoted to this end, along with scanning for other airplanes. If, during a recheck of the pitch and/or bank, either or both are found to be other than desired, an immediate correction is made to return the airplane to the proper attitude.

Becoming a Pilot

The course of instruction a student pilot follows depends on the type of certificate sought. It should include the ground and flight training necessary to acquire the knowledge and skills required to safely and efficiently function as a certificated pilot in the selected category and class of aircraft. The specific knowledge and skill areas for each category and class of aircraft are outlined in 14 CFR parts 61. Eligibility, aeronautical knowledge, proficiency, and aeronautical requirements can be found in 14 CFR parts 61, Certification: Pilots, Flight Instructors, and Ground Instructors.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Attitude Flying

In contact (VFR) flying, flying by attitude means visually establishing the airplane’s attitude with reference to the natural horizon. [Figure 3-1] Attitude is the angular difference measured between an airplane’s axis and the line of the Earth’s horizon. Pitch attitude is the angle formed by the longitudinal axis, and bank attitude is the angle formed by the lateral axis. Rotation about the airplane’s vertical axis (yaw) is termed an attitude relative to the airplane’s flightpath, but not relative to the natural horizon.

In attitude flying, airplane control is composed of four components: pitch control, bank control, power control, and trim.
  • Pitch control is the control of the airplane about the lateral axis by using the elevator to raise and lower the nose in relation to the natural horizon.

The Student Pilot

The first step in becoming a pilot is to select a type of aircraft. FAA rules for getting a pilot’s certificate differ depending on the type of aircraft flown. Individuals can choose among airplanes, gyroplanes, weight-shift, helicopters, powered parachutes, gliders, balloons, or airships. A pilot does not need a certificate to fly ultra light vehicles.

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Feel of the Airplane

The ability to sense a flight condition, without relying on cockpit instrumentation, is often called “feel of the airplane,” but senses in addition to “feel” are involved.

How to Choose a Certificated Flight Instructor (CFI)

Whether an individual chooses to train under 14 CFR part 141 or part 61, the key to an effective flight program is the quality of the ground and flight training received from the CFI. The flight instructor assumes total responsibility for training an individual to meet the standards required for certification within an ever-changing operating environment.

A CFI should possess an understanding of the learning process, knowledge of the fundamentals of teaching, and the ability to communicate effectively with the student pilot. During the certification process, a flight instructor applicant is tested on the practical application of these skills in specific teaching situations. The flight instructor is crucial to the scenario-based training program endorsed by the FAA. He or she is trained to function in the learning environment as an advisor and guide for the learner. The duties, responsibilities, and authority of the CFI include the following:
• Orient the student to the scenario-based training system.
• Help the student become a confident planner and in-flight manager of each flight and a critical evaluator of their own performance.
• Help the student understand the knowledge requirements present in real world applications.
• Diagnose learning difficulties and helping the student overcome them.
• Evaluate student progress and maintain appropriate records.
• Provide continuous review of student learning.

Should a student pilot find the selected CFI is not training in a manner conducive for learning, or the student and CFI do not have compatible schedules, the student pilot should find another CFI. Choosing the right CFI is important because the quality of instruction and the knowledge and skills acquired from this flight instructor affect a student pilot’s entire flying career.

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Effects and Use of the Controls

In explaining the functions of the controls, the instructor should emphasize that the controls never change in the results produced in relation to the pilot. The pilot should always be considered the center of movement of the airplane, or the reference point from which the movements of the airplane are judged and described. The following will always be true, regardless of the airplane’s attitude in relation to the Earth. 
  • When back pressure is applied to the elevator control, the airplane’s nose rises in relation to the pilot.
  • When forward pressure is applied to the elevator control, the airplane’s nose lowers in relation to the pilot.
  • When right pressure is applied to the aileron control, the airplane’s right wing lowers in relation to the pilot.
  • When left pressure is applied to the aileron control, the airplane’s left wing lowers in relation to the pilot.
  • When pressure is applied to the right rudder pedal, the airplane’s nose moves (yaws) to the right in relation to the pilot.
  • When pressure is applied to the left rudder pedal, the airplane’s nose moves (yaws) to the left in relation to the pilot.

The preceding explanations should prevent the beginning pilot from thinking in terms of “up” or “down” in respect to the Earth, which is only a relative state to the pilot. It will also make understanding of the functions of the controls much easier, particularly when performing steep banked turns and the more advanced maneuvers. Consequently, the pilot must be able to properly determine the control application required to place the airplane in any attitude or flight condition that is desired.

The flight instructor should explain that the controls will have a natural “live pressure” while in flight and that they will remain in neutral position of their own accord, if the airplane is trimmed properly.

With this in mind, the pilot should be cautioned never to think of movement of the controls, but of exerting a force on them against this live pressure or resistance. Movement of the controls should not be emphasized; it is the duration and amount of the force exerted on them that effects the displacement of the control surfaces and maneuvers the airplane.

The amount of force the airflow exerts on a control surface is governed by the airspeed and the degree that the surface is moved out of its neutral or streamlined position. Since the airspeed will not be the same in all maneuvers, the actual amount the control surfaces are moved is of little importance; but it is important that the pilot maneuver the airplane by applying sufficient control pressure to obtain a desired result, regardless of how far the control surfaces are actually moved.

The controls should be held lightly, with the fingers, not grabbed and squeezed. Pressure should be exerted on the control yoke with the fingers. A common error in beginning pilots is a tendency to “choke the stick.” This tendency should be avoided as it prevents the development of “feel,” which is an important part of aircraft control.

The pilot’s feet should rest comfortably against the rudder pedals. Both heels should support the weight of the feet on the cockpit floor with the ball of each foot touching the individual rudder pedals. The legs and feet should not be tense; they must be relaxed just as when driving an automobile.

When using the rudder pedals, pressure should be applied smoothly and evenly by pressing with the ball of one foot. Since the rudder pedals are interconnected, and act in opposite directions, when pressure is applied to one pedal, pressure on the other must be relaxed proportionately. When the rudder pedal must be moved significantly, heavy pressure changes should be made by applying the pressure with the ball of the foot while the heels slide along the cockpit floor. Remember, the ball of each foot must rest comfortably on the rudder pedals so that even slight pressure changes can be felt.

In summary, during flight, it is the pressure the pilot exerts on the control yoke and rudder pedals that causes the airplane to move about its axes. When a control surface is moved out of its streamlined position (even slightly), the air flowing past it will exert a force against it and will try to return it to its streamlined position. It is this force that the pilot feels as pressure on the control yoke and the rudder pedals.

Basic Flight Manuevers Fundamntals

There are four fundamental basic flight maneuvers upon which all flying tasks are based: straight-andlevel flight, turns, climbs, and descents. All controlled flight consists of either one, or a combination or more than one, of these basic maneuvers. If a student pilot is able to perform these maneuvers well, and the student’s proficiency is based on accurate “feel” and control analysis rather than mechanical movements, the ability to perform any assigned maneuver will only be a matter of obtaining a clear visual and mental conception of it. The flight instructor must impart a good knowledge of these basic elements to the student, and must combine them and plan their practice so that perfect performance of each is instinctive without conscious effort. The importance of this to the success of flight training cannot be overemphasized. As the student progresses to more complex maneuvers, discounting any difficulties in visualizing the maneuvers, most student difficulties will be caused by a lack of training, practice, or understanding of the principles of one or more of these fundamentals.

How to Find a Reputable Flight Program

To obtain information about pilot training, contact the local FSDO, which maintains a current file on all schools within its district. The choice of a flight school depends on what type of certificate is sought, whether an individual wishes to fly as a sport pilot or wishes to pursue a career as a professional pilot. Another consideration is the amount of time that can be devoted to training. Ground and flight training should be obtained as regularly and frequently as possible because this assures maximum retention of instruction and the achievement of requisite proficiency.

Do not make the determination based on financial concerns alone, because the quality of training is very important. Prior to making a final decision, visit the schools under consideration and talk with management, instructors, and students.

Be inquisitive and proactive when searching for a flight school, do some homework, and develop a checklist of questions by talking to pilots and reading articles in flight magazines. The checklist should include questions about aircraft reliability and maintenance practices, questions for current students such as whether or not there is a safe, clean aircraft available when they are scheduled to fly.

Questions for the training facility should be aimed at determining if the instruction flits available personal time. What is the school’s operating hours? Does the facility have dedicated classrooms available for ground training required by the FAA? Is there an area available for preflight briefings, post flight debriefings, and critiques? Are these rooms private in nature in order to provide a no threatening environment in which the instructor can explain the content and outcome of the flight without making the student feel self-conscious?

Examine the facility before committing to any flight training. Evaluate the answers on the checklist, and then take time to think things over before making a decision. This proactive approach to choosing a flight school will ensure a student pilot contracts with a flight school or flight instructor best suited to individual needs.

Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Postflight, Securing, and Servicing

Aflight is never complete until the engine is shut down and the airplane is secured. Apilot should consider this an essential part of any flight.

After engine shutdown and deplaning passengers, the pilot should accomplish a postflight inspection. This includes checking the general condition of the aircraft. For a departure, the oil should be checked and fuel added if required. If the aircraft is going to be inactive, it is a good operating practice to fill the tanks to the top to prevent water condensation from forming. When the flight is completed for the day, the aircraft should be hangared or tied down and the flight controls secured.

Selecting a Flight School

Selection of a flight school is an important consideration in the flight training process. FAA-approved flight schools, non-certificated flying schools, and independent flight instructors conduct flight training in the United States. All flight training is conducted under the auspices of the FAA following the regulations outlined in either 14 CFR parts 141 or 61. 14 CFR part 141 flight schools are certificated by the FAA. Application for certification is voluntary and the school must meet stringent requirements for personnel, equipment, maintenance, facilities, and teach an established curriculum, which includes a training course outline (TCO) approved by the FAA. The certificated schools may qualify for a ground school rating and a flight school rating. In addition, the school may be authorized to give its graduates practical (flight) tests and knowledge (computer administered written) tests. AC 140-2, as amended, FAA Certificated Pilot Schools Directory, lists certificated ground and flight schools and the pilot training courses each school offers. AC 140-2, as amended, can be found online at the FAA’s Regulations and Guidance Library located on the FAA’s web site at

Enrollment in a 14 CFR part 141 flight school ensures quality and continuity, and offers a structured approach to flight training because these facilities must document the training curriculum and have their flight courses approved by the FAA. These strictures allow 14 CFR part 141 schools to complete certificates and ratings in fewer flight hours, which can mean a savings on the cost of flight training for the student pilot. For example, the minimum requirement for a Private Pilot Certificate is 35 hours in a part 141-certiflcated school and 40 hours in part 61 schools. (This difference may be insignificant for a Private Pilot Certificate because the national average indicates most pilots require 60 to 75 hours of flight training.)

Many excellent flight schools find it impractical to qualify for the FAA part 141 certificates and are referred to as part 61 schools. 14 CFR part 61 outlines certificate and rating requirements for pilot certification through non-certificated schools and individual flight instructors. It also states what knowledge-based training must be covered and how much flight experience are required for each certificate and rating. Flight schools and flight instructors who train must adhere to the statutory requirements and train pilots to the standards found in 14 CFR parts 61.

One advantage of flight training less than 14 CFR parts 61 is its flexibility. Flight lessons can be tailored to the individual student, because 14 CFR part 61 dictates the required minimum flight experience and knowledge-based training necessary to gain a specific pilot’s license, but it does not stipulate how the training is to be organized. This flexibility can also be a disadvantage because a flight instructor who fails to organize the flight training can cost a student pilot time and expense through repetitious training. One way for a student pilot to avoid this problem is to insure the flight instructor has a well-documented training syllabus.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Parking and Engine Shutdown

Unless parking in a designated, supervised area, the pilot should select a location and heading which will prevent the propeller or jet blast of other airplanes from striking the airplane broadside. Whenever possible, the airplane should be parked headed into the existing or forecast wind. After stopping on the desired heading, the airplane should be allowed to roll straight ahead enough to straighten the nosewheel or tailwheel.

Finally, the pilot should always use the procedures in the manufacturer’s checklist for shutting down the engine and securing the airplane. Some of the important items include: 
  • Set the parking brakes ON.
  • Set throttle to IDLE or 1,000 r.p.m. If turbocharged, observe the manufacturer’s spool down procedure.
  • Turn ignition switch OFF then ON at idle to check for proper operation of switch in the OFF position.
  • Set propeller control (if equipped) to FULL INCREASE.
  • Turn electrical units and radios OFF.
  • Set mixture control to IDLE CUTOFF.
  • Turn ignition switch to OFF when engine stops.
  • Turn master electrical switch to OFF.
  • Install control lock.

Pilot Certifications

The type of intended flying will influence what type of pilot’s certificate is required. Eligibility, training, experience, and testing requirements differ depending on the type of certificates sought. [Figure 1-22]

Sport Pilot
To become a sport pilot, the student pilot is required to have the following hours depending upon the aircraft:
• Airplane: 20 hours
• Powered Parachute: 12 hours
• Weight-Shift Control (Trikes): 20 hours
• Glider: 10 hours
• Rotorcraft (gyroplane only): 20 hours
• Lighter-Than-Air: 20 hours (airship) or 7 hours (balloon)

To earn a Sport Pilot Certificate, one must:
• Be at least 16 to become a student sport pilot (14 for glider).
• Be at least 17 to test for a sport pilot certificate (16 for gliders).
• Be able to read, write, and understand English.
• Hold a current and valid driver’s license as evidence of medical eligibility.

Recreational Pilot
To become a recreational pilot, one must:
• Be at least 17 years old (16 to be a private glider pilot or be rated for free flight in a balloon.)
• Be able to read, write, speak and understand the English language
• Pass the required knowledge test
• Meet the aeronautical experience requirements
• A logbook endorsement from an instructor
• Pass the required practical test
• Third-class medical certificate issued under part 14 CFR part 67, except for gliders and balloons—medical eligibility not required

As a recreational pilot, cross-country flight is limited to a 50 NM range from departure airport but is permitted with additional training per 14 CFR sections 61.101(c). Additional limitations include flight during the day and no flying in airspace where communications with air traffic control are required.

The aeronautical experience requirements for a recreational pilot license
• 30 hours of flight time including at least:
• 15 hours of dual instruction
• 2 hours of enrooted training
• 3 hours in preparation for the practical test
• 3 hours of solo flight

Private Pilot
A private pilot is one who flies for pleasure or personal business without accepting compensation for flying except in some very limited, specific circumstances. The Private Pilot Certificate is the certificate held by the majority of active pilots. It allows command of any aircraft (subject to appropriate ratings) for any noncommercial purpose, and gives almost unlimited authority to fly under VFR. Passengers may be carried, and flight in furtherance of a business is permitted; however, a private pilot may not be compensated in any way for services as a pilot, although passengers can pay a pro rata share of flight expenses, such as fuel or rental costs. If training under 14 CFR part 61, experience requirements include at least 40 hours of piloting time, including 20 hours of flight with an instructor and 10 hours of solo flight. [Figure 1-23]

Commercial Pilot
A commercial pilot may be compensated for flying. Training for the certificate focuses on a better understanding of aircraft systems and a higher standard of airmanship. The Commercial Certificate itself does not allow a pilot to fly in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC), and commercial pilots without an instrument rating are restricted to daytime flight within 50 nautical miles (NM) when flying for hire.

A commercial airplane pilot must be able to operate a complex airplane, as a specific number of hours of complex (or turbine-powered) aircraft time are among the prerequisites, and at least a portion of the practical examination is performed in a complex aircraft. A complex aircraft must have retractable landing gear, movable flaps, and a controllable pitch propeller. See 14 CFR parts 61; section 61.31(c) for additional information. [Figure 1-24]

Airline Transport Pilot
The airline transport pilot (ATP) is tested to the highest level of piloting ability. The ATP Certificate is a prerequisite for acting as a pilot in command (PIC) of scheduled airline operations. The minimum pilot experience is 1,500 hours of flight time. In addition, the pilot must be at least 23 years of age, be able to read, write, speak, and understand the English language, and be “of good moral standing.” [Figure 1-25]

Sunday, October 4, 2009

After Landing and Clear of Runway

During the after-landing roll, the airplane should be gradually slowed to normal taxi speed before turning off the landing runway. Any significant degree of turn at faster speeds could result in ground looping and subsequent damage to the airplane.

To give full attention to controlling the airplane during the landing roll, the after-landing check should be performed only after the airplane is brought to a complete stop clear of the active runway. There have been many cases of the pilot mistakenly grasping the wrong handle and retracting the landing gear, instead of the flaps, due to improper division of attention while the airplane was moving. However, this procedure may be modified if the manufacturer recommends that specific after-landing items be accomplished during landing rollout. For example, when performing a short-field landing, the manufacturer may recommend retracting the flaps on rollout to improve braking. In this situation, the pilot should make a positive identification of the flap control and retract the flaps.

Because of different features and equipment in various airplanes, the after-landing checklist provided by the manufacturer should be used. Some of the items may include:
  • Flaps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Identify and retract
  • Cowl flaps . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Open
  • Propeller control . . . . . . . . . . . Full increase
  • Trim tabs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . Set

Aircraft Types and Categories

Ultra light Vehicles
An ultra light aircraft [Figure 1-20] is referred to as a vehicle because the FAA does not govern it if it:
• Is used or intended to be used by a single occupant.
• Is used for recreation or sport purposes.
• Does not have an airworthiness certificate.
• If un-powered, weighs less than 155 pounds.
• If powered, weighs less than 254 pounds empty weight, excluding floats and safety devices that are intended for deployment in a potentially catastrophic situation.
• Has a fuel capacity not exceeding 5 gallons.
• Is not capable of more than 55 knots calibrated airspeed at full power in level flight.
• Has a power-off stall speed, which does not exceed 24 knots calibrated airspeed.

Ultra light vehicles do not require any form of pilot license or certification if they are flown within 14 CFR 103 operating rules which generally limit the ultra light vehicle to uncontrolled airspace and no flight over populated areas. Every person flying an ultra light should be familiar to the rules specified in 14 CFR 103.

Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) Category
In 2004, the FAA approved a new pilot certificate and aircraft category program to allow individuals to join the aviation community by reducing training requirements that affect the overall cost of learning to fly. The Sport Pilot Certificate was created for pilots flying light-weight; simple aircraft and offers limited privileges. The category of aircraft called the Light Sport Aircraft (LSA) includes Airplane (Land/Sea), Gyroplane, Airship, Balloon, Weight-Shift Control (Land/Sea), Glider, and Powered Parachute. [Figure 1-21]

In order for an aircraft to fall in the Light Sport Category, it must meet the following criteria:
• The maximum gross takeoff weight may not exceed 1,320 pounds, or 1,430 pounds for seaplanes. Lighter-than-air maximum gross weight may not be more than 660 pounds.
• The maximum stall speed may not exceed 45 knots, and the in-flight maximum speed in level flight with maximum continuous power is no greater than 120 knots.
• Seating is restricted to single or two-seat configuration only.
• The power plant may be only a single, reciprocating engine (if powered), but may include rotary or diesel engines.
• The landing gear must be flexed, except gliders or those aircraft intended for operation on water.
• The aircraft can be manufactured and sold ready-to-fly under a new special LSA category, and certification must meet industry consensus standards. The aircraft may be used for sport, recreation, flight training, and aircraft rental.
• The aircraft will have an FAA registration N-number and may be operated at night if the aircraft is properly equipped and the pilot holds at least a private pilot certificate with a minimum of a third-class medical.

Saturday, October 3, 2009


The following basic taxi information is applicable to both nosewheel and tailwheel airplanes.

Taxiing is the controlled movement of the airplane under its own power while on the ground. Since an airplane is moved under its own power between the parking area and the runway, the pilot must thoroughly understand and be proficient in taxi procedures.

An awareness of other aircraft that are taking off, landing, or taxiing, and consideration for the right-ofway of others is essential to safety. When taxiing, the pilot’s eyes should be looking outside the airplane, to the sides, as well as the front. The pilot must be aware of the entire area around the airplane to ensure that the airplane will clear all obstructions and other aircraft. If at any time there is doubt about the clearance from an object, the pilot should stop the airplane and have someone check the clearance. It may be necessary to have the airplane towed or physically moved by a ground crew.

It is difficult to set any rule for a single, safe taxiing speed. What is reasonable and prudent under some conditions may be imprudent or hazardous under others. The primary requirements for safe taxiing are positive control, the ability to recognize potential hazards in time to avoid them, and the ability to stop or turn where and when desired, without undue reliance on the brakes. Pilots should proceed at a cautious speed on congested or busy ramps. Normally, the speed should be at the rate where movement of the airplane is dependent on the throttle. That is, slow enough so when the throttle is closed, the airplane can be stopped promptly. When yellow taxiway centerline stripes are provided, they should be observed unless necessary to clear airplanes or obstructions.

When taxiing, it is best to slow down before attempting a turn. Sharp, high-speed turns place undesirable side loads on the landing gear and may result in an uncontrollable swerve or a ground loop. This swerve is most likely to occur when turning from a downwind heading toward an upwind heading. In moderate to high-wind conditions, pilots will note the airplane’s tendency to weathervane, or turn into the wind when the airplane is proceeding crosswind.

When taxiing at appropriate speeds in no-wind conditions, the aileron and elevator control surfaces have little or no effect on directional control of the airplane. The controls should not be considered steering devices and should be held in a neutral position. Their proper use while taxiing in windy conditions will be discussed later. [Figure 2-10]

Steering is accomplished with rudder pedals and brakes. To turn the airplane on the ground, the pilot should apply rudder in the desired direction of turn and use whatever power or brake that is necessary to control the taxi speed. The rudder pedal should be held in the direction of the turn until just short of the point where the turn is to be stopped. Rudder pressure is then released or opposite pressure is applied as needed.

More engine power may be required to start the airplane moving forward, or to start a turn, than is required to keep it moving in any given direction. When using additional power, the throttle should immediately be retarded once the airplane begins moving, to prevent excessive acceleration.

When first beginning to taxi, the brakes should be tested for proper operation as soon as the airplane is put in motion. Applying power to start the airplane moving forward slowly, then retarding the throttle and simultaneously applying pressure smoothly to both brakes does this. If braking action is unsatisfactory, the engine should be shut down immediately.

The presence of moderate to strong headwinds and/or a strong propeller slipstream makes the use of the elevator necessary to maintain control of the pitch attitude while taxiing. This becomes apparent when considering the lifting action that may be created on the horizontal tail surfaces by either of those two factors. The elevator control in nosewheel-type airplanes should be held in the neutral position, while in tailwheel-type airplanes it should be held in the aft position to hold the tail down.

Downwind taxiing will usually require less engine power after the initial ground roll is begun, since the wind will be pushing the airplane forward. [Figure 2-11] To avoid overheating the brakes when taxiing downwind, keep engine power to a minimum. Rather than continuously riding the brakes to control speed, it is better to apply brakes only occasionally. Other than sharp turns at low speed, the throttle should always be at idle before the brakes are applied. It is a common student error to taxi with a power setting that requires controlling taxi speed with the brakes. This is the aeronautical equivalent of driving an automobile with both the accelerator and brake pedals depressed.

When taxiing with a quartering headwind, the wing on the upwind side will tend to be lifted by the wind unless the aileron control is held in that direction (upwind aileron UP). [Figure 2-12] Moving the aileron into the UP position reduces the effect of the wind striking that wing, thus reducing the lifting action. This control movement will also cause the downwind aileron to be placed in the DOWN position, thus a small amount of lift and drag on the downwind wing, further reducing the tendency of the upwind wing to rise.
When taxiing with a quartering tailwind, the elevator should be held in the DOWN position, and the upwind aileron, DOWN. [Figure 2-13] Since the wind is striking the airplane from behind, these control positions reduce the tendency of the wind to get under the tail and the wing and to nose the airplane over.
The application of these crosswind taxi corrections helps to minimize the weathervaning tendency and ultimately results in making the airplane easier to steer.
Normally, all turns should be started using the rudder pedal to steer the nosewheel. To tighten the turn after full pedal deflection is reached, the brake may be applied as needed. When stopping the airplane, it is advisable to always stop with the nosewheel straight ahead to relieve any side load on the nosewheel and to make it easier to start moving ahead.

During crosswind taxiing, even the nosewheel-type airplane has some tendency to weathervane. However, the weathervaning tendency is less than in tailwheel-type airplanes because the main wheels are located farther aft, and the nosewheel’s ground friction helps to resist the tendency. [Figure 2-14] The nosewheel linkage from the rudder pedals provides adequate steering control for safe and efficient ground handling, and normally, only rudder pressure is necessary to correct for a crosswind.

A Third Dimension

To this point the discussion has centered on the flow across the upper and lower surfaces of an airfoil. While most of the trailing edge of the airfoil. This downwash results in an overall reduction in lift for the affected portion of the airfoil.

Manufacturers have developed different methods to counteract this action. Winglets can be added to the tip of an airfoil to reduce this flow. The winglets act as a dam preventing the vortex from forming. Winglets can be on the top or bottom of the airfoil. Another method of countering the flow is to taper the airfoil tip, reducing the pressure differential and smoothing the airflow around the tip.

Modern general aviation aircraft have what may be considered high performance characteristics. Therefore, it is increasingly necessary that pilots appreciate and understand the principles upon which the art of flying is based. For additional information on the principles discussed in this chapter, visit the National Aeronautics and Space Administration (NASA) Beginner’s Guide to Aerodynamics at

lift is produced by these two dimensions, a third dimension, the tip of the airfoil also has an aerodynamic effect. The high-pressure area on the bottom of an airfoil pushes around the tip to the low-pressure area on the top. [Figure 3-9] This action creates a rotating flow called a tip vortex. The vortex flows behind the airfoil creating a downwash that extends back to the vortex tip.

Airfoil Design Continued

An airfoil is a structure designed to obtain reaction upon its surface from the air through which it moves or that moves past such a structure. Air acts in various ways when submitted to different pressures and velocities; but this discussion is confined to the parts of an aircraft that a pilot is most concerned with in flight—namely, the airfoils designed to produce lift. By looking at a typical airfoil profile, such as the cross section of a wing, one can see several obvious characteristics of design. [Figure 3-6] Notice that there is a difference in the curvatures (called cambers) of the upper and lower surfaces of the airfoil. The camber of the upper surface is more pronounced than that of the lower surface, which is usually somewhat flat.

A practical tube. The venturi (constricted diameter toward same as that of and the pressure and the pressure Since air is follow the above airplane wing air, the flow of velocity creating the leading edge, and is rounded; the other end, the trailing edge, is quite narrow and tapered.

A reference line often used in discussing the airfoil is the chord line, a straight line drawn through the profile connecting the extremities of the leading and trailing edges. The distance from this chord line to the upper and lower surfaces of the wing denotes the magnitude of the upper and lower camber at any point. Another reference line, drawn from the leading edge to the trailing edge, is the mean camber line. This mean line is equidistant at all points from the upper and lower surfaces.

An airfoil is constructed in such a way that its shape takes advantage of the air’s response to certain physical laws. This develops two actions from the air mass: a positive pressure lifting action from the air mass below the wing, and a negative pressure lifting action from lowered pressure above the wing.

As the air stream strikes the relatively .at lower surface of a wing or rotor blade when inclined at a small angle to its direction of motion, the air is forced to rebound downward, causing an upward reaction in positive lift. At the same time, the air stream striking the upper curved section of the leading edge is defected upward. An airfoil is shaped to cause an action on the air, and forces air downward, which provides an equal reaction from the air, forcing the airfoil upward. If a wing is constructed in such form that it causes a lift force greater than the weight of the aircraft, the aircraft will fly.

If all the lift required were obtained merely from the defection of air by the lower surface of the wing, an aircraft would only need a flat wing like a kite. However, the balance of the lift needed to support the aircraft comes from the flow of air above the wing. Herein lies the key to flight.

It is neither accurate nor useful to assign specific values to the percentage of lift generated by the upper surface of an airfoil versus that generated by the lower surface. These are not constant values and vary, not only with flight conditions, but also with different wing designs.

Different airfoils have different flight characteristics. Many thousands of airfoils have been tested in wind tunnels and in flight, but no one airfoil has been found that satisfies flight requirement. The weight, speed, and purpose each aircraft dictate the shape of its airfoil. The most efficient airfoil for producing the greatest lift is one that has concave, or “scooped out” lower surface. As a fixed design, type of airfoil sacrifices too much speed while producing and is not suitable for high-speed flight. Advancements in engineering have made it possible for today’s high-speed jets to take advantage of the concave airfoil’s high lift characteristics. Leading edge (Kreuger) flaps and trailing edge (Fowler) flaps, when extended from the basic wing

Low Pressure Above
In a wind tunnel or in flight, an airfoil is simply a streamlined object inserted into a moving stream of air. If the airfoil profile were in the shape of a teardrop, the speed and the pressure changes of the air passing over the top and bottom would be the same on both sides. But if the teardrop shaped airfoil were cut in half lengthwise, a form resembling the basic airfoil actual every of this lift structure, literally change the airfoil shape into the classic concave form, thereby generating much greater lift during slow flight conditions. On the other hand, an airfoil that is perfectly streamlined and offers little wind resistance sometimes does not have enough lifting power to take the airplane off the ground. Thus, modern airplanes have airfoils that strike a medium between extremes in design. The shape varies according to the needs of the airplane for which it is designed. Figure 3-7 shows some of the more common airfoil sections.

If the airfoil were then inclined so the airflow strikes it at an angle (angle of attack (AOA)), the air moving over the upper surface would be forced to move faster than the air moving along the bottom of the airfoil. This increased velocity reduces the pressure above the airfoil.

Applying Bernoulli’s Principle of Pressure, the increase in the speed of the air across the top of an airfoil produces a drop in pressure. This lowered pressure is a component of total lift. The pressure difference between the upper and lower surface of a wing alone does not account for the total lift force produced.

The downward backward flow from the top surface of an airfoil creates a downwash. This downwash meets the flow from the bottom of the airfoil at the trailing edge. Applying Newton’s third law, the reaction of this downward backward flow results in an upward forward force on the airfoil.

High Pressure Below
A certain amount of lift is generated by pressure conditions underneath the airfoil. Because of the manner in which air flows underneath the airfoil, a positive pressure results, particularly at higher angles of attack. But there is another aspect to this airflow that must be considered. At a point close to the leading edge, the airflow is virtually stopped (stagnation point) and then gradually increases speed. At some point near the trailing edge, it again reaches a velocity equal to that on the upper surface. In conformance with Bernoulli’s principle, where the airflow was slowed beneath the airfoil, a positive upward pressure was created i.e., as the fluid speed decreases, the pressure must increase. Since the pressure differential between the upper and lower surface of the airfoil increases, total lift increases. Both Bernoulli’s Principle and Newton’s Laws are in operation whenever lift is being generated by an airfoil.

Pressure Distribution
From experiments conducted on wind tunnel models and on full size airplanes, it has been determined that as air flows along the surface of a wing at different angles of attack, there are regions along the surface where the pressure is negative, or less than atmospheric, and regions where the pressure is positive, or greater than atmospheric. This negative pressure on the upper surface creates a relatively larger force on the wing than is caused by the positive pressure resulting from the air striking the lower wing surface. Figure 3-8 shows the pressure distribution along an airfoil at three different angles of attack. The average of the pressure variation for any given angle of attack is referred to as the center of pressure (CP). Aerodynamic force acts through this CP. At high angles of attack, the CP moves forward, while at low angles of attack the CP moves aft. In the design of wing structures, this CP travel is very important, since it affects the position of the air loads imposed on the wing structure in both low and high AOA conditions. An airplane’s aerodynamic balance and controllability are governed by changes in the CP.

Airfoil Behavior
Although specific examples can be cited in which each of the principles predict and contribute to the formation of lift, lift is a complex subject. The production of lift is much more complex than a simple differential pressure between upper and lower airfoil surfaces. In fact, many lifting airfoils do not have an upper surface longer than the bottom, as in the case of symmetrical airfoils. These are seen in high-speed aircraft having symmetrical wings, or on symmetrical rotor blades for many helicopters whose upper and lower surfaces are identical. In both examples, the relationship of the airfoil with the oncoming airstream (angle) is all that is different. A paper airplane, which is simply a .at plate, has a bottom and top exactly the same shape and length. Yet these airfoils do produce lift, and “flow turning” is partly (or fully) responsible for creating lift.

As an airfoil moves through air, the airfoil is inclined against the airflow, producing a different flow caused by the airfoil’s relationship to the oncoming air. Think of a hand being placed outside the car window at a high speed. If the hand is inclined in one direction or another, the hand will move upward or downward. This is caused by de.ection, which in turn causes the air to turn about the object within the air stream. As a result of this change, the velocity about the object changes in both magnitude and direction, in turn resulting in a measurable velocity force and direction.

Pilot and Aeronautical Information

Notices to Airmen (NOTAMs)
Time-critical aeronautical information, which is of either a temporary nature or not sufficiently known in advance to permit publication on aeronautical charts or in other operational publications, receives immediate dissemination via the National Notice to Airmen (NOTAM) System. NOTAMs contain current notices to airmen, which are considered essential to the safety of flight, as well as supplemental data affecting other operational publications. NOTAM information is classified into two categories: NOTAM (D) or distant and Flight Data Center (FDC) NOTAMs.

NOTAM (D) information is disseminated for all navigational facilities that are part of the NAS, all public use airports, seaplane bases, and heliports listed in the Airport/Facility Directory (A/FD). NOTAM (D) information now includes such data as taxiway closures, personnel and equipment near or crossing runways, and airport lighting aids that do not affect instrument approach criteria, such as visual approach slope indicator (VASI).

FDC NOTAMs contain such things as amendments to published Instrument Approach Procedures (IAPs) and other current aeronautical charts. They are also used to advertise temporary flight restrictions caused by such things as natural disasters or large-scale public events that may generate a congestion of air traffic over a site.

NOTAMs are available in printed form through subscription from the Superintendent of Documents, from an FSS, or online at The Pilot Web Site (, which provides access to current NOTAM information. [Figure 1-19]

Safety Program Airmen Notification System (SPANS)

The FAA recently launched the Safety Program Airmen Notification System (SPANS), an online event notification system that provides timely and easy-to-assess seminar and event information notification for airmen. The SPANS system is taking the place of the current paper based mail system. This transition will provide better service to airmen while reducing costs for the FAA. Anyone can search the SPANS system and register for events. To read more about SPANS, visit

Theories in the Production of Lift

Newton’s Basic Laws of Motion
The formulation of lift has historically been the adaptation over the past few centuries of basic physical laws. These laws, although seemingly applicable to all aspects of lift, do not answer how lift is formulated. In fact, one must consider the many airfoils that are symmetrical, yet produce significant lift.

The fundamental physical laws governing the forces acting upon an aircraft in flight were adopted from postulated theories developed before any human successfully flew an aircraft. The use of these physical laws grew out of the Scientific Revolution, which began in Europe in the 1600s. Driven by the belief the universe operated in a predictable manner open to human understanding, many philosophers, mathematicians, natural scientists, and inventors spent their lives unlocking the secrets of the universe. One of the best known was Sir Isaac Newton, who not only formulated the law of universal gravitation, but also described the three basic laws of motion.

Newton’s First Law: “Every object persists in its state of rest or uniform motion in a straight line unless it is compelled to change that state by forces impressed on it.”

This means that nothing starts or stops moving until some outside force causes it to do so. An aircraft at rest on the ramp remains at rest unless a force strong enough to overcome its inertia is applied. Once it is moving, its inertia keeps it moving, subject to the various other forces acting on it. These forces may add to its motion, slow it down, or change its direction.

Newton’s Second Law: “Force is equal to the change in momentum per change in time. For a constant mass, force equals mass times acceleration.”

When a body is acted upon by a constant force, its resulting acceleration is inversely proportional to the mass of the body and is directly proportional to the applied force. This takes into account the factors involved in overcoming Newton’s First Law. It covers both changes in direction and speed, including starting up from rest (positive acceleration) and coming to a stop (negative acceleration or deceleration).

Newton’s Third Law: “For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction.”

In an airplane, the propeller moves and pushes back the air; consequently, the air pushes the propeller (and thus the airplane) in the opposite direction—forward. In a jet airplane, the engine pushes a blast of hot gases backward; the force of equal and opposite reaction pushes against the engine and forces the airplane forward.

Magnus Effect
In 1852, the German physicist and chemist, Heinrich Gustav Magnus (1802–1870), made experimental studies of the aerodynamic forces on spinning spheres and cylinders. (The effect had already been mentioned by Newton in 1672, apparently in regard to spheres or tennis balls). These experiments led to the discovery of the Magnus Effect, which helps explain the theory of lift.

Flow of Air Against a Nonrotating Cylinder
If air flows against a cylinder that is not rotating, the flow of air above and below the cylinder is identical and the forces are the same. [Figure 3-3A]

A Rotating Cylinder in a Motionless Fluid
In Figure 3-3B, the cylinder is rotated clockwise and observed from the side while immersed in a fluid. The rotation of the cylinder affects the fluid surrounding the cylinder. The flow around the rotating cylinder differs from the flow around a stationary cylinder due to resistance caused by two factors: viscosity and friction.

Viscosity is the property of a fluid or semifluid that causes it to resist flowing. This resistance to flow is measurable due to the molecular tendency of fluids to adhere to each other to some extent. High-viscosity fluids resist flow; low-viscosity fluids flow easily.

Similar amounts of oil and water poured down two identical ramps demonstrate the difference in viscosity. The water seems to flow freely while the oil flows much more slowly. (An excellent website to demonstrate types of viscosity is found at the Cornell University website on viscosity, located at

Since molecular resistance to motion underlies viscosity, grease is very viscous because its molecules resist flow. Hot lava is another example of a viscous fluid. All fluids are viscous and have a resistance to flow whether this resistance is observed or not. Air is an example of a fluid whose viscosity can not be observed.

Since air has viscosity properties, it will resist flow to some extent. In the case of the rotating cylinder within an immersed fluid (oil, water, or air), the fluid (no matter what it is) resists flowing over the cylinder’s surface.

Friction is the second factor at work when a fluid flows around a rotating cylinder. Friction is the resistance one surface or object encounters when moving over another and exists between a fluid and the surface over which it flows.

If identical fluids are poured down the ramp, they flow in the same manner and at the same speed. If one ramp’s surface is coated with small pebbles, the flow down the two ramps differs significantly. The rough surface ramp impedes the flow of the fluid due to resistance from the surface (friction). It is important to remember that all surfaces, no matter how smooth they appear, are not smooth and impede the flow of a fluid. Both the surface of a wing and the rotating cylinder have a certain roughness, albeit at a microscopic level, causing resistance for a fluid to flow. This reduction in velocity of the airflow about a surface is caused by skin friction or drag.

When passing over a surface, molecules actually adhere (stick, cling) to the surface, illustrated by the rotating cylinder in a fluid that is not moving. Thus,

1. In the case of the rotating cylinder, air particles near the surface that resist motion have a relative velocity near zero. The roughness of the surface impedes their motion.

2. Due to the viscosity of the fluid, the molecules on the surface entrain, or pull, the surrounding flow above it in the direction of rotation due to the adhesion of the fluid to itself.

There is also a difference in flow around the rotating cylinder and in flow around a nonrotating cylinder. The molecules at the surface of the rotating cylinder are not in motion relative to the cylinder; they are moving clockwise with the cylinder. Due to viscosity, these molecules entrain others above them resulting in an increase in fluid flow in the clockwise direction. Substituting air for other fluids results in a higher velocity of air movement above the cylinder simply because more molecules are moving in a clockwise direction.

A Rotating Cylinder in a Moving Fluid
When the cylinder rotates in a fluid that is also moving, the result is a higher circulatory flow in the direction of the rotating cylinder. [Figure 3-3C] By adding fluid motion, the magnitude of the flow increases.

The highest differences of velocity are 90° from the relative motion between the cylinder and the airflow. Additionally, and as shown in Figure 3-4, at point “A,” a stagnation point exists where the air stream impacts (impinges) on the front of the airfoil’s surface and splits; some air goes over and some under. Another stagnation point exists at “B,” where the two airstreams rejoin and resume at identical velocities. When viewed from the side, an upwash is created ahead of the airfoil and downwash at the rear.

In the case of Figure 3-4, the highest velocity is at the top of the airfoil with the lowest velocity at the bottom. Because these velocities are associated with an object (in this case, an airfoil) they are called local velocities as they do not exist outside the lift-producing system, in this case an airfoil. This concept can be readily applied to a wing or other lifting surface. Because there is a difference of velocity above and below the wing, the result is a a higher pressure at the bottom of the wing and a lower pressure on the top of the wing.

This low-pressure area produces an upward force known as the Magnus Effect, the physical phenomenon whereby an object’s rotation affects its path through a fluid, to include air. Two early aerodynamicists, Martin Kutta and Nicolai Joukowski, eventually measured and calculated the forces for the lift equation on a rotating cylinder (the Kutta-Joukowski theorem).

To summarize the Magnus effect, an airfoil with a positive AOA develops air circulation about the upper surface of the wing. Its sharp trailing edge forces the rear stagnation point to be aft of the trailing edge, while the front stagnation point falls below the leading edge. [Figure 3-4]

Bernoulli’s Principle of Differential Pressure
A half-century after Newton formulated his laws, Daniel Bernoulli, a Swiss mathematician, explained how the pressure of a moving fluid (liquid or gas) varies with its speed of motion. Bernoulli’s Principle states that as the velocity of a moving fluid (liquid or gas) increases, the pressure within the fluid decreases. This principle explains what happens to air passing over the curved top of the airplane wing.

Application of Bernoulli’s Principle is the venturi tube has an air inlet that narrows to a throat point) and an outlet section that increases in the rear. The diameter of the outlet is the the inlet. At the throat, the airflow speeds up decreases; at the outlet, the airflow slows increases. [Figure 3-5]

recognized as a body and it is accepted that it must laws, one can begin to see how and why an develops lift. As the wing moves through the air across the curved top surface increases in a low-pressure area.

Although Newton, Magnus, Bernoulli, and hundreds of other early scientists who studied the physical laws of the universe did not have the sophisticated laboratories available today, they provided great insight to the contemporary viewpoint of how lift is created.

Friday, October 2, 2009

Hand Propping

Even though most airplanes are equipped with electric starters, it is helpful if a pilot is familiar with the procedures and dangers involved in starting an engine by turning the propeller by hand (hand propping). Due to the associated hazards, this method of starting should be used only when absolutely necessary and when proper precautions have been taken.

An engine should not be hand propped unless two people, both familiar with the airplane and hand propping techniques, are available to perform the procedure. The person pulling the propeller blades through directs all activity and is in charge of the procedure. The other person, thoroughly familiar with the controls, must be seated in the airplane with the brakes set. As an additional precaution, chocks may be placed in front of the main wheels. If this is not feasible, the airplane’s tail may be securely tied. Never allow a person unfamiliar with the controls to occupy the pilot’s seat when hand propping. The procedure should never be attempted alone.

When hand propping is necessary, the ground surface near the propeller should be stable and free of debris. Unless a firm footing is available, consider relocating the airplane. Loose gravel, wet grass, mud, oil, ice, or snow might cause the person pulling the propeller through to slip into the rotating blades as the engine starts.

Both participants should discuss the procedure and agree on voice commands and expected action. To begin the procedure, the fuel system and engine controls (tank selector, primer, pump, throttle, and mixture) are set for a normal start. The ignition/ magneto switch should be checked to be sure that it is OFF. Then the descending propeller blade should be rotated so that it assumes a position slightly above the horizontal. The person doing the hand propping should face the descending blade squarely and stand slightly less than one arm’s length from the blade. If a stance too far away were assumed, it would be necessary to lean forward in an unbalanced condition to reach the blade. This may cause the person to fall forward into the rotating blades when the engine starts.

The procedure and commands for hand propping are: 
  • Person out front says, “GAS ON, SWITCH OFF, THROTTLE CLOSED, BRAKES SET.”
  • Pilot seat occupant, after making sure the fuel is ON, mixture is RICH, ignition/magneto switch is OFF, throttle is CLOSED, and brakes SET, says, “GAS ON, SWITCH OFF, THROTTLE CLOSED, BRAKES SET.”
  • Person out front, after pulling the propeller through to prime the engine says, “BRAKES AND CONTACT.”
  • Pilot seat occupant checks the brakes SET and turns the ignition switch ON, then says, “BRAKES AND CONTACT.”

 The propeller is swung by forcing the blade downward rapidly, pushing with the palms of both hands. If the blade is gripped tightly with the fingers, the person’s body may be drawn into the propeller blades should the engine misfire and rotate momentarily in the opposite direction. As the blade is pushed down, the person should step backward, away from the propeller. If the engine does not start, the propeller should not be repositioned for another attempt until it is certain the ignition/magneto switch is turned OFF.

The words CONTACT (mags ON) and SWITCH OFF (mags OFF) are used because they are significantly different from each other. Under noisy conditions or high winds, the words CONTACT and SWITCH OFF are less likely to be misunderstood than SWITCH ON and SWITCH OFF.

When removing the wheel chocks after the engine starts, it is essential that the pilot remember that the propeller is almost invisible. Incredible as it may seem, serious injuries and fatalities occur when people who have just started an engine walk or reach into the propeller arc to remove the chocks. Before the chocks are removed, the throttle should be set to idle and the chocks approached from the rear of the propeller. Never approach the chocks from the front or the side.

The procedures for hand propping should always be in accordance with the manufacturer’s recommendations and checklist. Special starting procedures are used when the engine is already warm, very cold, or when flooded or vapor locked. There will also be a different starting procedure when an external power source is used.

Structure of the Atmosphere

The atmosphere is an envelope of air that surrounds the Earth and rests upon its surface. It is as much a part of the Earth as the seas or the land, but air differs from land and water as it is a mixture of gases. It has mass, weight, and inde.nite shape.
The atmosphere is composed of 78 percent nitrogen, 21 percent oxygen, and 1 percent other gases, such as argon or helium. Some of these elements are heavier than others. The heavier elements, such as oxygen, settle to the surface of the Earth, while the lighter elements are lifted up to the region of higher altitude. Most of the atmosphere’s oxygen is contained below 35,000 feet altitude.

Air, like fluid, is able to flow and change shape when subjected to even minute pressures because it lacks strong molecular cohesion. For example, gas completely .lls any container into which it is placed, expanding or contracting to adjust its shape to the limits of the container.

Atmospheric Pressure
Although there are various kinds of pressure, pilots are mainly concerned with atmospheric pressure. It is one of the basic factors in weather changes, helps to lift an aircraft, and actuates some of the important flight instruments. These instruments are the altimeter, airspeed indicator, vertical speed indicator, and manifold pressure gauge.

Air is very light, but it has mass and is affected by the attraction of gravity. Therefore, like any other substance, it has weight, and because of its weight, it has force. Since it is a fluid substance, this force is exerted equally in all directions, and its effect on bodies within the air is called pressure. Under standard conditions at sea level, the average pressure exerted by the weight of the atmosphere is approximately 14.70 pounds per square inch (psi) of surface, or 1,013.2 millibars (mb). Its thickness is limited; therefore, the higher the altitude,

A standard temperature lapse rate is one in which the temperature decreases at the rate of approximately 3.5 °F or 2 °C per thousand feet up to 36,000 feet which is approximately -65 °F or -55 °C. Above this point, the aircraft performance is compared and evaluated with to the standard atmosphere, all aircraft instruments calibrated for the standard atmosphere. In order to account for the nonstandard atmosphere, certain related must be defined.

Altitude is the height above a standard datum plane which is a theoretical level where the weight is 29.92 "Hg (1,013.2 mb) as measured by an altimeter is essentially a sensitive barometer to indicate altitude in the standard atmosphere. If altimeter is set for 29.92 "Hg SDP, the altitude indicated is the pressure altitude. As atmospheric pressure changes, the SDP may be below, at, or above sea level. Pressure altitude is important as a basis for determining airplane performance, as well as for assigning flight levels to airplanes operating at or above 18,000 feet.

Temperature is considered constant up to 80,000 feet. A standard pressure lapse rate is one in which pressure decreases at a rate of approximately 1 "Hg per 1,000 feet of altitude gain to 10,000 feet. [Figure 3-2] The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) has established this as a worldwide standard, and it is often referred to as International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) or ICAO Standard Atmosphere. Any temperature or pressure that differs from the standard lapse rates is considered nonstandard temperature and pressure the less air there is above. For this reason, the weight of the atmosphere at 18,000 feet is one-half what it is at sea level. The pressure of the atmosphere varies with time and location. Due to the changing atmospheric pressure, a standard reference was developed. The standard atmosphere at sea level is a surface temperature of 59 °F or 15 °C and a surface pressure of 29.92 inches of mercury ("Hg), or 1,013.2 mb. [Figure 3-1] Since respect are properly terms Pressure Pressure (SDP), atmosphere barometer.

The pressure altitude can be determined by either of two methods:
1. Setting the barometric scale of the altimeter to 29.92 and reading the indicated altitude.
2. Applying a correction factor to the indicated altitude according to the reported altimeter setting.

Density Altitude
SDP is a theoretical pressure altitude, but aircraft operate in a nonstandard atmosphere and the term density altitude is used for correlating aerodynamic performance in the nonstandard atmosphere. Density altitude is the vertical distance above sea level in the standard atmosphere at which a given density is to be found. The density of air has significant effects on the aircraft’s performance because as air becomes less dense, it reduces:

• Power because the engine takes in less air.
• Thrust because a propeller is less ef.cient in thin air.
• Lift because the thin air exerts less force on the airfoils.

Density altitude is pressure altitude corrected for nonstandard temperature. As the density of the air increases (lower density altitude), aircraft performance increases and conversely as air density decreases (higher density altitude), aircraft performance decreases. A decrease in air density means a high density altitude; an increase in air density means a lower density altitude. Density altitude is used in calculating aircraft performance, because under standard atmospheric conditions, air at each level in the atmosphere not only has a specific density, its pressure altitude and density altitude identify the same level.

The computation of density altitude involves consideration of pressure (pressure altitude) and temperature. Since aircraft performance data at any level is based upon air density under standard day conditions, such performance data apply to air density levels that may not be identical with altimeter indications. Under conditions higher or lower than standard, these levels cannot be determined directly from the altimeter.

Density altitude is determined by first finding pressure altitude, and then correcting this altitude for nonstandard temperature variations. Since density varies directly with pressure, and inversely with temperature, a given pressure altitude may exist for a wide range of temperature by allowing the density to vary. However, a known density occurs for any one temperature and pressure altitude. The density of the air has a pronounced effect on aircraft and engine performance. Regardless of the actual altitude at which the aircraft is operating, it will perform as though it were operating at an altitude equal to the existing density altitude.

Air density is affected by changes in altitude, temperature, and humidity. High density altitude refers to thin air while low density altitude refers to dense air. The conditions that result in a high density altitude are high elevations, low atmospheric pressures, high temperatures, high humidity, or some combination of these factors. Lower elevations, high atmospheric pressure, low temperatures, and low humidity are more indicative of low density altitude.

Effect of Pressure on Density
Since air is a gas, it can be compressed or expanded. When air is compressed, a greater amount of air can occupy a given volume. Conversely, when pressure on a given volume of air is decreased, the air expands and occupies a greater space. At a lower pressure, the original column of air contains a smaller mass of air. The density is decreased because density is directly proportional to pressure. If the pressure is doubled, the density is doubled; if the pressure is lowered, the density is lowered. This statement is true only at a constant temperature.

Effect of Temperature on Density
Increasing the temperature of a substance decreases its density. Conversely, decreasing the temperature increases the density. Thus, the density of air varies inversely with temperature. This statement is true only at a constant pressure.

In the atmosphere, both temperature and pressure decrease with altitude, and have conflicting effects upon density. However, the fairly rapid drop in pressure as altitude is increased usually has the dominating effect. Hence, pilots can expect the density to decrease with altitude.

Effect of Humidity (Moisture) on Density
The preceding paragraphs refer to air that is perfectly dry. In reality, it is never completely dry. The small amount of water vapor suspended in the atmosphere may be almost negligible under certain conditions, but in other conditions humidity may become an important factor in the performance of an aircraft. Water vapor is lighter than air; consequently, moist air is lighter than dry air. Therefore, as the water content of the air increases, the air becomes less dense, increasing density altitude and decreasing performance. It is lightest or least dense when, in a given set of conditions, it contains the maximum amount of water vapor.

Humidity, also called relative humidity, refers to the amount of water vapor contained in the atmosphere, and is expressed as a percentage of the maximum amount of water vapor the air can hold. This amount varies with temperature. Warm air holds more water vapor, while colder air holds less. Perfectly dry air that contains no water vapor has a relative humidity of zero percent, while saturated air, which cannot hold any more water vapor, has a relative humidity of 100 percent. Humidity alone is usually not considered an important factor in calculating density altitude and aircraft performance, but it does contribute.

As temperature increases, the air can hold greater amounts of water vapor. When comparing two separate air masses, the first warm and moist (both qualities tending to lighten the air) and the second cold and dry (both qualities making it heavier), the first must be less dense than the second. Pressure, temperature, and humidity have a great influence on aircraft performance because of their effect upon density. There are no rules of thumb that can be easily conveyed but the affect of humidity can be determined using online formulas. In the first case, the pressure is needed at the altitude for which density altitude is being sought. Using Figure 3-2, select the barometric pressure closest to the associated altitude. As an example, the pressure at 8,000 feet is 22.22 "Hg. Using the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) website ( for density altitude, enter the 22.22 for 8,000 feet in the station pressure window. Entering a temperature of 80° and a dew point of 75°. The result is a density altitude of 11,564 feet. With no humidity, the density altitude would be almost 500 feet lower.

Another site ( provides a more straight forward method of determining the effects of humidity on density altitude without using additional interpretive charts. In any case, the effects of humidity on density altitude include a decrease in overall performance in high humidity conditions.

Global Positioning System (GPS) and Summary

GPS is a satellite-based navigation system composed of a network of satellites placed into orbit by the United States Department of Defense (DOD). GPS was originally intended for military applications, but in the 1980s the government made the system available for civilian use. GPS works in all weather conditions, anywhere in the world, 24 hours a day. A GPS receiver must be locked onto the signal of at least three satellites to calculate a two-dimensional position (latitude and longitude) and track movement. With four or more satellites in view, the receiver can determine the user’s three-dimensional position (latitude, longitude, and altitude). Other satellites must also be in view to offset signal loss and signal ambiguity. The use of the GPS is discussed in more detail in Chapter 15, Navigation. Additionally, GPS is discussed in the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM).

Aircraft Structure Summary
This chapter provides an overview of aircraft structures. A more in-depth understanding of aircraft structures and controls can be gained through the use of flight simulation software or interactive programs available online through aviation organizations such as the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association (AOPA). Pilots are also encouraged to subscribe to or review the various aviation periodicals which contain valuable flying information. As discussed in Chapter 1, the National Air and Space Administration (NASA) and the FAA also offer free information for pilots.

FAA Reference Material

The FAA provides a variety of important reference material for the student, as well as the advanced civil aviation pilot. In addition to the regulations provided online by the FAA, several other publications are available to the user. Almost all reference material is available online at in downloadable format. Commercial aviation publishers also provide published and online reference material to further aid the aviation pilot.

Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM)
The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) is the official guide to basic flight information and ATC procedures for the aviation community flying in the NAS of the United States. [Figure 1-14] An international version, containing parallel information, as well as specific information on international airports, is also available. The AIM also contains information of interest to pilots, such as health and medical facts, flight safety, a pilot/controller glossary of terms used in the system, and information on safety, accidents, and reporting of hazards.

This manual is offered for sale on a subscription basis or is available online at:

Order forms are provided at the beginning of the manual or online and should be sent to the Superintendent of Documents, United States Government Printing Office (GPO). The AIM is complemented by other operational publications, which are available via separate subscriptions or online.
Handbooks are developed to provide specific information about a particular topic that enhances training or understanding. The FAA publishes a variety of handbooks that generally fall into three categories: Aircraft, Aviation, and Examiners and Inspectors. [Figure 1-15] These handbooks can be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents or downloaded ( Aviation handbooks are also published by various commercial aviation companies. Aircraft flight manuals commonly called Pilot Operating Handbooks (POH) are documents developed by the airplane manufacturer, approved by the FAA, and are specific to a particular make and model aircraft by serial number. This subject is covered in greater detail in Chapter 8, Flight Manuals and Other Documents, of this handbook. [Figure 1-16]

Advisory Circulars (ACs)
Advisory circulars (ACs) provide a single, uniform, agency-wide system that the FAA uses to deliver advisory material to FAA customers, industry, the aviation community, and the public. An AC may be needed to:

• Provide an acceptable, clearly understood method for complying with a regulation.
• Standardize implementation of the regulation or harmonize implementation for the international aviation community.
• Resolve a general misunderstanding of a regulation.
• Respond to a request from some government entity, such as General Accounting Office, NTSB, or the Office of the Inspector General.
• Help the industry and FAA effectively implements a regulation.
• Explain requirements and limits of an FAA grant program.
• Expand on standards needed to promote aviation safety, including the safe operation of airports.
There are three parts to an AC number, as in 25-42C. The first part of the number identifies the subject matter area of the AC and corresponds to the appropriate 14 CFR part. For example, an AC on certification: Pilots and Flight and Ground Instructors is numbered as AC 61-65E. Since ACs is numbered sequentially within each subject area, the second part of the number beginning with the dash identifies this sequence. The third part of the number is a letter assigned by the originating office and shows the revision sequence if an AC is revised. The first version of an AC does not have a revision letter. In Figure 1-17, this is the fifth revision, as designated by the “E.”

Flight Publications
The FAA, in concert with other government agencies, orchestrates the publication and changes to publications that are key to safe flight. Figure 1-18 illustrates some publications a pilot uses.