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Mary Latimer as a previous Designated pilot examiner helped create this video of a mock checkride the ground portion. This video is the full length version. or You Tube - youtu.be/cDONX7yGbvw
Woman Wise AWEsome Adventures Workshop!
Christina Tindle’s 2017 Woman Wise AWEsome Adventures Workshop! July 6 – 9, 2017 Cascade, Idaho In this workshop, Aviation is a tool that propels participants to push performance ….and joy, the Adventure-STEM way. WWAA 2017 will be in Cascade, Idaho this summer for access to Cascade Lake (about 60 miles N of Boise) for float plane instruction. Everyone will stay at the lovely Ashley Inn with a group rate just for this event. Ladies may bunk as many as 4 per room to help with costs. Colleen, the massage therapist, returns again with her outdoor tent. And new this year is optional sunrise yoga. Floatplane instruction will be by OUR OWN Lisa Martin, Rich Stowell on aerobatics-spin-emergency maneuvers, Rich Bush on backcountry aviation, and Cammie Patch with Gyro. Currency and tailwheel transitions available also so there’s something for everyone! Click Here for the brochure and information on a great confidence and skills adventure in aviation!
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Having a relationship with Slow Flight
My students often have concerns about setting up for slow flight when practicing and perfecting their skills for a checkride. So this lesson isn’t about so much how to do slow flight as maybe an easy plan to setting up and its relationship to the rest of our flight. It’s a demonstration of controlling the relationships of Lift and weight and thrust and drag or the relationship of you controlling your minimum airspeed (or whatever speed requested to use)through angle of attack with the power creating just the right amount of thrust over drag to not sink or climb unless called for. Usually this happens in the so called dirtiest configuration of your aircraft such as max flaps in my C152 trainer. So my recommended set up is to start as if setting up for a landing. Start by pulling your power to or close to your normal power setting or other recommended setting that you use to get ready to lower the airspeed into white arc and lower flaps. This will mean raising the nose some to prevent loss of altitude, but we reduce power so we don’t climb either. You can see the similarities already. (You can sometimes go straight to full flaps if can keep up with the ballooning tendency and power requirement to prevent altitude loss etc, but in the beginning you probably need to take it in steps, and for a checkride your under stress anyways so take the steps.) As the plane begins to stabilize and approach the slow speed desired, usually go ahead with next set of flaps. Do expect a slight more ballooning affect then be prepared to add some power to prevent loss of altitude. This means you will likely have to use some muscle of maintaining the slower settings. Then at this point usually adding the last of your flaps unless you have the lucky plane that have that fourth setting. Now don’t forget the power, just enough to prevent a loss of altitude. Don’t forget to trim the plane to keep the controls within your comfortable feeling of pressure, don’t try to muscle the plane which you will often over control. I usually have mine trimmed for the typical climb which is well above the minimum speed so if you let go of the controls the plane will drop the nose to gain speed but start trying to hold that speed say in my C152 of 70-80kts. This means you will likely have to use some muscle of maintaining the slower settings. Everyone may have a slightly different preference but I d prefer a student to not set trim trying to relieve all pressure you must know what the little details feel like, the buffeting, the mushy controls and not too much trim you struggle to push the nose over to recover, most trainers this isn’t an issue but can be in some planes. Think moving your fingers for tiny airspeed corrections rather than whole arm movements (squeeze to raise nose and relax your grip to lower nose and this works for landing flare also) My version of practice (per ACS standards) is to take the speed as a slow as just the edge of turning on the stall indicator, that’s a typical 5kt buffer from actual stall. If it is turbulent I will end up using a higher number then and when extra calm its right at that just chirping the stall horn in my plane. We practice with horn blaring occasionally seeing how slow of airspeed might get before actual stall is induced. (The new standard has changed, but I have my methods and if can do my method of the slowest without a stall then you’ll pass that portion of the test easily.) Then you must make some turns. Now without adding power sometimes you will begin a descent or even induce a stall if used the yoke first to stop the sink or turned too steep initially. Turning with a very shallow and slow turn with rudders usually works best. Yes likely still using a bit of aileron, but this is slowest flight so these turns should be just as slow as the slowest turtle you can be too.
This lesson is to teach how your power can be manipulated minutely to make small corrections, this is a finesse skill your learning. Anytime you’re at your slowest and or the closest to the ground finesse is called for. Good coordination of ailerons and rudders and elevator and feathering of your speed and power. It’s not about perfection either, but seeing the indications of unwanted changes and adjusting to stop them and even reverse them if required or even do a full recovery and start over. Always stop the unwanted from getting worse before correcting it. Think making those corrections as if hoping your DPE or Instructor won’t notice (we do but if you’re smooth we might not let it count against you) or correcting so you don’t disturb your passenger from their nap or their Facebook live video.
Real World Scenario applications Now in setting up this maneuver we did not do pattern turns. Yet this is exactly when you may find yourself slow flying either intentionally or unintentionally which should be avoided or corrected ASAP. Improper handling of your airspeed and altitude and directional control during reduced speed and power settings is when Loss of control incidences occurs. Usually you have become distracted with radio calls or worrying about someone else’s plane and not yours. Often happens in a Towered field if tower asks you to extend downwind or give other traffic space. Know what your slowest safe speed is beforehand like my C152 I say its 65kt which means I can safely make steeper turns avoiding stall conditions. Yes it will go slower but if I’m still possibly maneuvering the pattern or traffic avoidance this speed is that minimum speed. This is also applies to an uncontrolled field in which your also giving other traffic room for their landing etc. You might even find yourself flying a photographer wanting photos which they prefer slow flying so knowing what your safe zone to allow them to get their best shot but not endanger you when they want you to turn back or closer or lower etc… set your limits before flight and there will be less issues in flight. It applies when find yourself dealing with a high density altitude takeoff/climb that you forgot to check for… understanding that feel helps you both not pull nose up and stalling, but also if need to maneuver to return to a landing or even land off field and or maybe avoid an obstacle. Course once that ordeal is over you likely won’t forget that lesson on density altitude! Or maybe you’re dealing with a loss of some power but not yet all. Many reasons and when and where this could be happening. Understanding how to slow fly will help with you understanding and making those soft field landings also. Learning to just barely have enough power to barely sink through that ground effect yet not firmly tap the ground and keep that nose in that angle of attack so you don’t let it touch the ground too soon… yeah that skill! Ok now you’re just showing off!
Now go have a great relationship with slow flight and your airplane!
Knowledge (Written) Tests
Tip 1: How to study for the written test. Get a question and answer book (we have a preference for ASA as the supplement is same as would get in actual testing, a highlighter and a pad of sticky notes. Read the explanation at the beginning of each topic. Read the question and highlight the correct answer. DO NOT READ THE INCORRECT ANSWERS. You can highlight before you start reading but only read the question and correct answers. Then you can try to understand how they got that answer. If you do not understand the material, mark the page with the sticky note and move on. Get someone to help you with the problem areas. You may be able to understand some topics by reading additional material, watching DVDs or other independent study. Instead of trying to read or study all the books, use them more like an encyclopedia. Find the topic you need help with and concentrate on just what you need to answer the question. If you find some of the material interesting, then keep on reading but trying to absorb all the material is impossible and can be so frustrating. Same thing with videos. If you enjoy them, watch them. If they put you to sleep, then just try to watch the segments that relate to what you need. At some point, a lot of the material will start to make more sense and it won’t be so overwhelming. Once you have gone through the book, you can start taking online practice tests. (http://www.sportys.com/studybuddy ). Keep notes of your weak areas and get some explanations. When you are consistently making 80 or better ( We say 85 or better 3 time in a row) then you can go take the actual test. Several questions or even material is outdated or the answer choices and map not to proper scale can make for confusion and frustration! Ask us and we will help you through them! Tip 2: for the Instrument written. The above tips work, but get to know the supplement book as often many questions can be answered even though the question did not refer you to the supplement. Again we still prefer the ASA book. and if you have bought the cd or app, you can often buy the supplement and use and may find it easier than trying to switch back an forth between screens or such, plus get to use our method of looking at the supplement for answers or information leading to answers!
Don’t worry about how many hours you have when you solo, its not a competition, its about making consistently safe landing. Its not about making perfect or soft landings, but being in control of the aircraft as all variables change as you land(wind is always changing) If you can fly more often that will help a lot. Especially while you are trying to master the landings. Two or three time a week or even twice a day for a few days will help you put all the pieces together and get the landings down. So many things happening at once that you have to manage and control: AIRSPEED, when to flare, how much to pull back and how fast, keeping the nose pointed straight down the runway (rudders), correcting for a crosswind.
Think of landing is a bit like making chili. Same recipe every time, but often with tweaks. You start off with the meat, then add the sauce, then maybe add onions, then the seasonings, etc. each time it may come out slightly different despite you started with same recipe. usually still good just spicier one time than before, or more sauce another time. Our landings are like that too, even us pros, are still tweaking every landing, we just hide it more in the smaller movements due to practice! much like you hide the extra spice with a little sweet. Don't judge your landings based on all the little corrections you input. have someone video from say the FBO or such so you can see that even if your putting all those corrections not everyone sees that part and landing looks good.. Even the pros much constantly adjust their corrections to make it appear good. A couple of tips: Number 1, make sure you are able to control your airspeed using the elevator. (the throttle controls your altitude). (if speed is good but too low add power, too high reduce power, increasing speed to come down increases your float and roll out not good on short runways, and too slow causes a stall) Not sure how tall you are but if you are sitting too low, it might be very hard to judge the flare and sink. Try using a cushion if your eye level is lower than your instructor’s. As the nose height begins to block your view of the runway, don't try to look over the nose as you will unintentionally push the yoke pushing the nose further down, let your view shift to side of windshield and engage the peripheral view which is how those who fly tail draggers view the taxi and landings anyways! Have the instructor make a few landings so you can learn the view you should see on normal flare on landings and find your best view picture, even look at the main gear if in a high wing aircraft once! First is to be in control of the speed and the pattern. with a good set up you will have set yourself up for a better chance for a good outcome. Have a aiming point, even before entering final. now this point might be adjusted if for some reason find yourself staying high. As the nose begins to come close to touching the aiming point you look further up the runway (and maybe slightly tweaking the nose up toward the next point to another point, maybe a couple stripes up or more midfield if a non standard markings. Again once as the nose begins to approach the new point, you begin to look at the end of the runway and then start to ease nose to horizon covering the end of the runway. you can find lots of videos on the internet that likely demonstrate this. ( this link to a blog with a the jacobson flare video is onehttp://www.golfhotelwhiskey.com/improve-your-landings-with-jacobson-flare/ ) Try to imagine NOT allowing the airplane to land. Try to hold it 6 inches above the ground instead of trying to land. With no power it will settle onto the runway but you will have the elevator back as you try to hold it off and bleed off all the airspeed. Don’t relax the controls after it is on the ground, especially in a cross-wind. The slower you are going, the more rudder and aileron you need because they are less effective and the wind has a greater effect when you are moving slower. as Mary sometimes says make the baby cry a little, which means let that stall horn just start to whine prior to actual touchdown. Pay attention when you shift your focus point and when you move your feet up from the rudders onto the brakes. Easy to allow the plane to shift direction when you are changing where you are looking or shifting your feet up to the brakes. When learning to not over control the rudders on takeoff and landing roll out (or in taildraggers) push the rudders with just the toe/toes on the bottom of the rudder pedals. means sliding the feet and feeling it, so big clunky work boots or shoes can limit your feeling the position your feet are in. Once your consistent you'll find can wear most any shoes while flying, but avoid shoes with high/skinny heels or flip flops. (Tamara has been known to fly barefoot on rare occasion and loves flying in her Vibram shoes). On the takeoff roll, add about 1/3 power allowing for you to straighten aircraft and tap brake slightly if required then once rolling straight slide feet down leaving toes on bottom of rudder then add full power for takeoff. When adjusting elevator in landing and flare think fingers and thumbs. Try and keep elbow on armrest or against door etc to limit moving whole arm, just adjusting with fingers and hand. If nose begins to rise to quick first relax the hand allowing the nose to possibly drop slightly, if still too high then push with thumb, then if still too high push with hand then if critical use arm. If you are holding the yoke with a death grip (and everyone does in the beginning) you will not make small changes as you wrist and hand are stiff meaning all movement comes from the arm. If nose too low or your in the flare sink, use fingers to squeeze and begin the nose to come up and as it sinks just keep the pace coming up close to the sink rate. when an aircraft balloons during a flare likely means just have still too much speed for the change you made, again don't push the nose over first just relax your grip then push in the order as needed, relax hand, push thumb, hand, arm. to raise nose is squeeze grip, then pull fingers, hand, arm. This can be applied in most maneuvers and level flying also.
Finding the right Flight Instructor
Finding good flight instruction overall may not be that difficult, but individually its daunting task that is often not researched well before starting training. Its often assume the local school and those instructors have all the requirements to teach. By indications of their licenses they do, but same as some of your kids teachers (or even your previous school teachers) were not always the best person to teach a subject for you despite that seems the majority around you learned just fine from them. Same applies. Rule one listen to your gut feeling. IF you are not comfortable around that person there may be a good reason. It could be just a quirky personality, but if your not comfortable you will not learn well. You will be spending time with this person is fairly close quarters of the aircraft during training. Ask around, not just a that pilot person you know, but even the person at the pilot supply shop, or FBO, even the local maintenance shop. These folks often will see a variety of students and pilots from both the local flight school as well as any independent instructors that not as well advertised. Not only a maintenance shop might tell you about an instructor, but will know something of the flight school/instructors aircraft used. Ask them if they would send their kids/spouse to that school or instructor even. Interview them. You are hiring them to train you. Find out how long they have been in aviation and an instructor. Do not let age fool you, a 20 something age instructor may have more experience than that seemingly middle age instructor. Many folks begin their aviation careers later in life so a 45 yr old instructor might only have a few years of experience total, where a 20 something who was raised in aviation might have a broader understanding of flying than the average instructor, and both may have the same goals in careers. If at all possible ask students of a flight school especially if a large flight school about their experience, how long it took, and even total cost if their willing to tell. former and current students of a instructor or school is a big indicator of your result. if the students complain about scheduling time, or being bounced from one instructor to another this can be a red flag. Many larger schools are oriented towards training large amounts towards careers in airlines, if your goal is personal and also quickly you may need to look elsewhere. Ask about time frame average, and requirements of your license. Often some will say it requires 40 hours of training and yes that is the FAA minimum, but push to get an answer as to how long their students really take. some independent instructors may take longer than others which could be either the style of training or the aircraft being used or if most of their students are older ( usually over 40) . An older person will take longer than the 20 year old on average. We just tend to lose that learning ability as we age. Some larger schools may also seem to take longer. Scheduling once a week or less no matter where training will delay and add cost to your training. ask about cost toward pre and post flight. Most places will charge you ground time, this might even include the time you are preflighting the plane, fueling it etc and the instructor may not even left their desk yet. (best to remember most school instructors are not making that hourly rate your paying and often not even half of that rate) Ask them about their first lessons focus. Is it airspeed control, basic functions of the controls, or instruments, etc. you may find a theme among instructors/ schools and take heart this is good sign. If they are focused on the syllabus as to what you will do each lesson, this may not be the best option. You want to master certain skills prior to moving on, and certainly don't want to linger too long on a subject, but also see if they ever talk about how that lesson fits into the big picture of flying. (heading control by turning to heading based on an instrument then looking outside for something to fly towards to stay on track without getting stuck looking only inside). Women often like seeing application to the bigger picture along with breaking it down in bite size pieces. Men generally are very linear in their thinking, so a common syllabus usually works for them. Determine how flexible their syllabus is. some may not have a standard syllabus written out (usually independents) but will still lay out a similar progression plan, and often willing to tailor to your needs. Ask about scheduling. an independent instructor may not have a fancy schedule calendar, might be pretty informal method of calling/texting etc for an opening, most will still schedule ahead so have some sort of calendar they use, maybe even a google calendar or their phone even. A larger school will have a more interactive calendar possibly once you can even schedule yourself some, or at least see prior to booking your training slots. IF they cant book you in more than one hour at a time and or once a week, you may need to keep looking, Often a student after first couple hours will find that they are just starting to grasp the lesson right about when an hour is up. If a school book as two hour slot that does not mean you will fly two hours it means you have that instructor and plane for two hours, it could be 30 min pre flight chat, then 45 minutes of flight and 45 minutes of more post flight (including a restroom break) Many are just grasping the lesson about the hour mark in our experience. its not wrong, but is it right for you. Also a Biggie in our books. Don't be afraid to just leave an instructor/ school if not the right fit. A good instructor may catch on that you both are not the right fit, and even if doesn't right away, should be willing to make sure you do find a good fit and may also give you a good recommendation of a few that are a better fit. A larger flight school can help change up flight instructors within their school also. As an independent instructor I prefer not to lose business, but I also prefer to have a happy and good pilots produced than the income. If you do find your instructor is unhappy about you even getting a second opinion, don't play nice, leave. A good instructor wants you to progress. Flip side of that is not to be constantly flying with just every flight instructor you meet and whatever plane they have.... you need a good solid consistent foundation also... so even if must have more than one instructor try to make sure using same planes or similar and they have similar styles or methods of how they teach. Contracts... some flight schools may ask for training contracts. we personally do not recommend signing one until are certain of all the information in it. Many schools even request money upfront. Do not do this till you are certain this is the right place for you. We often say fly with an instructor or school 2-5 hours first before considering longer term. Much like dating you don't move in on the first date, don't sign a contract with the first school/instructor you meet. Also to instructors, we shouldn't be afraid to "fire" a student. Now this isn't done lightly, this is our livelihood. But we should not put up a with a student who doesn't respect our time (ie showing up late most of the time), those who spend more time on their phone than learning during ground school (students apply that to instructors also), students who disrespect your progression decisions, (ie solo or not, wx minimums you set) and students whom you discover breaking rules, like flying other aircraft not signed off in, or flying with another non licensed pilot etc. Its more than business in some ways a flight instructor/ student often is a relationship. this person could become your next employer (and that applies either one) your reference, and referral of future business. But one should never date the other while training with each other. Students if your instructor begins to initiate interest in dating and its mutual, change up instructors, if not mutual, you may still need to find a new instructor. And instructor The same applies. Never allow the other to harass you in any matter that is detrimental. Sometimes we have to place ourselves in a what if situation to gain perspective, (ie if this was happening to my child, mother, sibling etc what would I tell them to do... then do that). Go enjoy your lessons and flying...yes sometimes its not all fun, sometimes boring, frustrating, even occasionally scary moments, but overall you should be having some fun. those moments when just flying to the training area and seems nothing to learn, take a deep breath look around and enjoy the view and remember this is the reason why you do this!