1. For over thirty years now I have made thousands of landings with hundreds of students. I have made a practice of asking this one question. "Why do you and every other of my students go through this beginning phase of always landing on the left side of the runway." I have yet to find the answer. Do you know?
In the year 2000 I had a student in a Skipper teach me the cause. When raising the nose students fail to apply enough right rudder so the aircraft drifts to the left.
2. One of my favorite students was able to remain airborne for only 20 minutes or so for the first six lessons or so. She never gave up and later used her license to fly across the country. Remember a basic education premise is, "Students don't fail; teachers do".
3. Concept: The more time spent doing something the better it will be done. Fact: An efficient, organized, and checklist mandated preflight is the best accident preventative. The pilot who wanders back and forth about the airplane, in and out of the cockpit, without a checklist will sooner or later abbreviate and give an inadequate preflight. Conclusion: Use a checklist.
4. Concept: If the plane goes fast on takeoff it will give a smoother takeoff. Fact: A takeoff at greater than minimum safe operating speed is wasteful of runway and altitude that may make an emergency landing possible. Making 10" tires rotate at high speeds are conducive to blowouts and loss of control on the ground. The shock of ground contact at higher speeds is more damaging to the airplane. Conclusion: Get off the ground at the correct speed which is called minimum controllable or Vso.
5. Concept: If I can see over the nose of the plane I am safer. Fact: Any climb at faster than best rate increases the distance from the airport without acquiring the altitude needed for a safe return. Conclusion: The initial climb speed should be at best rate. This may be mandated by local ordinance for noise abatement. This gets the plane to the most altitude in the least time and provides an emergency margin not otherwise possible.
6. Concept: When I make maneuvers at high speed more skill is required. Fact: Maneuvers at higher speeds may demonstrate skill. The highest degree of flying skill is best demonstrated at slow speeds. Conclusion: It is more important to acquire skill in slow speed flight. Slow speed flight skill is required for takeoff, landings and emergencies. Most accidents seem to occur where slow speed flying skills are at a premium.
7. Concept: A landing made from a flat approach, without flaps, 80 knots at ground contact, and a smooth landing is considered a good landing. That's the way I did it as a child with toy planes. Fact: The most accurate landing can be made from a steep approach. The primary purpose of flaps is to make a steep approach possible. Any ground contact with an airplane should be done at as slow a speed as possible. Low speed ground contact greatly lessens the severity of shock to the aircraft frame and landing gear. Less shock, less potential damage. The slower the ground contact speed the less likely loss of control on the ground. Slow speed reduces the probability of "wheelbarrowing", ballooning, porpoising, or ground looping. Any landing made without the yoke full back and up increases the probability of being able to see the runway and reduces the probability of a minimum speed landing. Conclusion: The best landing is normally accomplished with maximum allowable flaps, placarded or manual airspeed, partial power until ground contact at minimum controllable speed is made.
8. Concept: Since the C-150 can be flown without the trim, why bother. Also, the direction to move the trim can be confusing. Fact: The student should not be just learning to fly the C-150. The instructor should not teach as though flying the C-150 is the ultimate end. The instructor and pilot should take the long view and teach skills and procedures that will carry realistically over into complex aircraft. Failure to teach correct and efficient use of the trim is an affront to safety. The engineering design and logical relationship between trim movement and flap settings is essential knowledge. This relationship in conjunction with selected power settings makes for easier more controlled flying. Conclusion: Failure of the instructor to teach trim movement from the very first flight is a disservice.
9. Two of the most capable student pilots I have ever encountered were having
difficulty only because their previous instructors had not detected their lack
of visual orientation. The lost or disoriented student often has unrecognized
stress that affects all aspects of flight instructions. I have found that
disorientation during training is one of the greatest inhibitors of effective
learning. Every flight must include periodic visual orientations covering all
major visual reference points in all directions. Knowing where you are is
a superb security blanket. Call it situational awareness.
10. A few years ago I had a young lady ready to solo except for one difficulty. Just before touchdown the nose would start to wave to each side of the center line. The wings would rock and the rudder would kick for reasons that had nothing to do with the landing or touchdown. At the end of one flight I suggested that we have coffee. Over coffee, we discussed the problem as I saw it. She provided the solution, A flying friend had told her that the only good landing put the nosewheel on the center line. Her swerves in the flare were efforts to find the center line. On discovery, a brief conversation and three landings to solo. A preoccupation with landing at the end of the runway can make the student unaware of airspeed changes. Only the airplane knows exactly when and where it will land in a given situation. The manipulator of the controls can only establish desirable conditions. More succinctly, landing is like making love.
11. The Jeppesen Flight Training Syllabus does not even mention trim. I have attended numerous pilot seminars where trim as a flight skill is never mentioned. I once flew with a 31 hour student who did not know what the trim wheel was.
12. The planes that I fly in are usually fueled immediately on landing. After the third supervised preflight I expect the student to have completed the preflight on my arrival. Imagine my shock on having the student tell me as we started off that the previous flight had used over two hours of fuel. NOW, I always confirm the fuel and oil status before entering the plane.
13. My first instructional emergency occurred just as we turned on our downwind departure. A very loud banging and knocking was being applied to the student's side of the aircraft. I was unable to see the problem from my side. I declared an emergency and was cleared to land. The noise ceased as soon as we slowed down. On landing I discerned that the THIN student had closed the door so that about eight inches of his seat belt hung outside into the slipstream. With my waist, such an event was an impossible prior experience.
14. I had arranged to meet a private pilot at the flight service station prior to a cross country. He failed to show and I proceeded to discuss the weather of the flight with the briefer. Another briefer overheard us and remarked that he had just done the same briefing over the phone with a pilot who was waiting for an instructor at the line service pit. Moral: One man's flight service station may be a gas pump. Instructor's moral: After 10 minutes wait, go home.
15. Flying on cross-country flight with experienced pilot who is weak in certain flying skills. Pilot has made no effort to fly routes to develop skills beyond use of Loran and GPS. Plan and fly airport vicinity routes. Fly right side of freeways and valleys. Fly at odd altitudes when within 3000 feet of the ground. In the pattern this pilot turned his head and leaned forward while making pattern turns. He held this vertigo producing attitude throughout the turn and never realized that his airspeed would vary a full ten knots to either side of the proper speed. Such bad and dangerous habits are going to cause an accident. Clear before the turn. The airspeed will not remain constant unless the nose is stable. Watch the nose during turns. The airport is a non-moving constant. It will be there when you complete the turn. Pilot has made no effort to learn visual reporting and reference points around airport. knows only most commonly used (high volume traffic) references.
16. The student and instructor made a half-hour pre solo flight consisting of a least one go-a-round and three consecutive satisfactory landings. The student was signed off for solo and told to proceed solo making two touch-and-go's followed by a full stop. The instructor disembarked and went to the tower. The preliminaries proceeded as planned with a beautiful approach only to be terminated, unexpectedly, with a go-a-round. The second approach also produced a go-a-round to be followed by a most satisfactory full stop landing. The bewildered instructor proceeded to the ramp in time to see the student get out of the plane. A war dance ensued. The gist of which seemed to indicate that the student had mixed up go-arounds with touch-and go's. An immediate corrective flight produced excellent results.
17. The cross-country from the valley to the foothills. The altitude selected by the student was fine for the valley but too low to easily locate the airport in the hills. The fact that the instructor makes a practice of never looking directly at the destination didn't help any. Moral: The visual reference of your passenger can be deceptive especially if an instructor.
18. The cross country student had persisted in his request for an accompanied flight to Lake Tahoe, CA. The student planned flight would be (small) ifr (I follow roads) once into the Sierras. The student selected altitude made the wooded roads easily visible. A moment of instructor induced inattention caused a fork in the road to be followed to the right instead to the left. It is not impossible to fly right by Lake Tahoe without seeing it.
19. Student came to plane admitting that he had failed to do the recommended reading and review of previous tape recorded lesson. Instructor extended discussion time to compensate for lack of preparation. Flight to neighboring field for landings and back did not go well. Student remarked, "That was not a very good lesson. Was it?" IT WAS A VERY GOOD LESSON.
20. The review lesson of the four basics, slow flights, and stalls by the pre-solo student had been a disaster. The pre-flight discussion had gone reasonably well but the actual performance had regressed to the unsatisfactory level. As we taxied in I inquired as to his previous night's activities. He replied, "Oh, a couple of old high school buddies dropped by and we hoisted a few. IT WAS A VERY GOOD LESSON.
21. Freezing weather in California caused radio failure. Reception
possible for 10 second intervals by using radio master on/off switch. Copied
ATIS. Transmitted in blind of positions and intentions. Entered on 45, downwind,
base and final. Received "GREEN" on downwind. Radio 'thawed' out at
200' when we heard tower advise other traffic of our position. 500 hour IFR
student found lesson much more helpful than just talking about it. Moisture
froze in transmitter relay.
22. Prior to arrival I radioed my friends in tower and request approval for making a NORDO airport arrival with a student while I maintain a listening watch. Since I teach with headsets, intercom and tape recorders, this is easy to do by simply removing the student's headset. I have the student overfly the airport at twice pattern altitude and determine the runway. We descend and enter on 45 turn downwind, base and final while watching for the green light. It should be a part of every instructors post-solo training program. It relieves a source of anxiety for the student and adds variety.
23. Have student take off with full flaps. Then initiate recovery to normal flight configuration. Requires considerable skill to do smoothly. In 172 at altitude and gross. Have student attempt go around and climb with full flaps. 145 and 150 H.P. C-172 have little reserve power for this maneuver. Make no flap landings a normal part of pre-solo practice.
24. Actual: Seat slid back during takeoff acceleration. Took throttle back with me. Simulation: I have no quarrel with aborted takeoff simulations that preclude such severe applications of brakes which would cause skidding or extreme depression of nose gear struts. Save this for the real thing.
25. Actual: Due to low fuel we landed at home field rather late at night. We were going to take owner's second plane that had fuel. He pre-flighted with a flashlight while I tied down. Taxied out and did runup with no problem. On departure, as we passed through 500' we had total electrical failure. I told pilot to put his flashlight on the panel. "The batteries died as I finished the preflight", he said. I took over and proceeded to fly and land by sound and feel. As we taxied in we passed in front of a large twin. I have often wondered what might have been said in that cockpit. Simulation: Turn off master switch and see how long it takes student to find problem. Go through options.
26. Actual: My first instructional emergency occurred when thin student let 8 inches of seat belt hang out the bottom of the door. No problem until we accelerated in level flight. Then noise and clatter of belt made it seem that something was about to fall off. Landed without incident. Discovered and corrected problem prior to next departure.
27. Simulation: I make a point of opening door on takeoff for
student prior to solo. I teach them to ignore problem until at altitude.
Alternative is to land. Cessna doors can usually be closed without problem.
Piper doors require combination of opening small pilot's window, slow flight and
slipping. Should never be done solo.
28. Simulation: I show students how to read fog layers as they reflect power plants, cities and terrain. I take them through the process of configuring the aircraft for minimum safe operational speed and initiating descent down through fog into unknown terrain. Direction should be into last known wind direction. Occupants should be secured and cushioned. Doors should be opened. Aircraft design makes it possible for a properly secured occupant to survive a controlled landing configuration crash.
29. The first element of my student's emergency checklist is 'checklist'. Emergency checklist is the last element of the pre-takeoff checklist. The list is colored red and kept available/visible at all times except when other checklists are in use.
30. Actual: Years ago in a very isolated airport in the Ozarks I departed and had the engine quit before reaching 800' AGL. The only open area was a sludge pond from a lead mine. I did every thing that time would allow and finally backed off the mixture an inch. The engine fired up and ran fine. Never did find out why this worked. Moral: It's great to be good, it's better to be lucky. (Found out in 1998 was caused by stuck carburetor float.)
31. Student questioned interpretation of remark regarding 240 degree emergency turn back to runway. Talked/walked through effect of 180 vs. 240 turn. Discussed angle of bank and wind effect. Climbed to 4,200' three times and while in climb on North heading reduced power to idle. Had student immediately count out loud to 10 and initiate 240 degree turn to right. (1) Student did not trim for airspeed and initiated 30 degree bank. At 240 degrees had lost 500' mostly due to excess airspeed. (2) Student trimmed for best glide and initiated 30 degree bank to 240 degrees while losing 300'. (3) Student trimmed for best glide and initiated 45 degree bank to 240 degrees while losing 200'. Do exercise both left and right. We check altitude loss in each situation. This gives student altitude parameter for his likely performance when experiencing engine failure on take off. He can set own altitude, bank and airspeed limits for going straight ahead or turning back.
32. Years ago I asked my instructor how fast an airplane had to go in order to start the propeller turning. He didn't know. Do you? We climbed a C-150 to 9000' and proceeded to stop both the engine and the propeller. I don't know what the terminal power off velocity for a C-150 is but the propeller finally turned and the engine started when we reached 120 mph.
33. Simulation: At altitude I reduce power to idle and have student practice setting up best glide until little or no loss of altitude occurs. Preconceptions of aircraft attitude while in a glide need to be overcome.
34. Simulation: I have a local "cow pasture international" which I have used many times with students during simulated emergencies. Wind velocities tend to be high so it is a very good location to make students keep within gliding range of the field. Very worthwhile confidence builder.
35. Simulation: About the sixth lesson concentrated instruction in landing is supposed to commence. But not with this instructor. Students react in an emergency the way they are first taught. For this reason, I initiate landing instruction in the technique and procedures required for the go-around and low approach. I do this in both left and right patterns, in ever decreasing altitudes, in widely different configurations, and finally from full flares prior to touchdown.
Student just prior to solo had been overly anxious to solo but was not meeting my frequency-of-flight requirements. On second landing was in hurry to takeoff but forgot to remove flaps. Like Brer' Rabbit, I sat there and didn't say 'nothin'. Student complained that aircraft was acting funny on the runway. Student left power on. Instructor, he just sat there saying 'nothin'. Student left power in as aircraft left ground but refused to fly normally. With a little coaching normal flight was attained. Student solo anxiety cured.
37. Simulation: Will set student upon four/five mile final to runway. With power at 1500 and airspeed at 60, I have student learn to recognize his glide angle and capability of reaching the airport. We then make airspeed changes and attitude changes with this constant power so as a better understand how approach illusions can be created which affect your ability to reach an airport. Really demonstrates importance of stabilized approach.
38. Actual: Recently went though the process of calibrating back up vacuum pump. Required disconnecting regular system. Gyros really act funny under low or partial vacuum. Backup developed good pressure only when power reduced. There ought to be a way to simulate such failure.
39. Actual: Once flew in and out of Susanville, CA twice in the same summer day. Once in the early AM and later in mid-afternoon. What a difference. Best personal lesson I ever had on density altitude performance effects.
40. Actual: At high density altitude airport. On departure student over rotated too soon because of trees at end of runway. Psychologically very difficult to keep nose down to acquire speed needed to achieve best angle of climb.
41. Actual: Elko, NV at 110 degrees. GA-5A at gross. Got into air but flew in ground effect two miles before being able to climb.
42. Actual: Departed South Lake Tahoe in 180 hp Piper. Preceded by another aircraft which proceeded straight up valley. We circled for 20 minutes in ridge lift to gain sufficient altitude to make easy crossing of ridge. Read next day other plane did not make it. Simulation: Home field is sea level but a 90 degree plus day puts density altitude at 3000. I have student make partial power takeoff and climb from 5000' runway.
43. Simulation: Try to get my students to take several glider flights to learn rudder use, wind effects and ground effect.
44. Actual: Black cumulus on three sides at 9000' over Ozarks. Ask center for nearest airport. Verburimum, MO is 4 miles. Initiate tight spiral descent to unmarked paved strip and uneventful landing. Check with FSS from ground and they suggest immediate SE departure. Hurried departure and find that compass has failed due to expansion of air bubble during rapid descent. Immediately contact center on previously recorded frequency. I outline the problem and establish heading. I set gyro from their information and proceed. At Springfield, MO use brake fluid to make fix of compass and proceed. Moral: The hurrieder you want to go the behinder you get.
Five years later I had C-150 engine stop on takeoff at 800' at same airport. Crash preparation included pulling mixture. For reasons unknown engine started and continued to run. In 1996 found out that AOPA's TriPacer prize aircraft had similar stoppage caused by carburetor float sticking. Had they leaned, the engine would have re-started, too. .
45. Actual: My normal night checkout of student or pilot consists of night landings at a variety of airports. For every landing made with a landing light one is made without. A landing light failure is not a problem to a properly trained pilot.
46. I have found that when the landing light reflects off moisture in the air
it creates a visual illusion which results in a landing flare too far above the
runway. If you are able to see the light beam in front of the plane while
landing, you may be better off without it.
47. I have made an instructional practice of breaking habit students may develop of focusing too intently on airspeed indicator. I cover airspeed indicator so student cannot see speed but I can. Fly approach pattern and landing without reference to airspeed indicator. Student can be trained to recognize airspeed and performance by reference only to power settings, trim and flap position.
48. At this particular airport an intersection departure was the most practical departure. For several flights I had tutored the student on the radio procedure to contact ground ending in ...request Hotel. After a few more flights, the student remarked, "Where is this hotel we keep asking for?"
49. Many years ago there was a bright full moon, I prepared for a night departure. I completed my run-up and switched to tower. The aircraft ahead proceeded to take off. The controller remarked, "Mooney 34X you just took off without clearance." I was then cleared in my Mooney. I made an immediate left turn and used the parallel moonlit taxiway to depart. At which I heard over the radio, "The looneys are really out in their Mooneys tonight."
50. I have often warned students of the hazards of confidence. I have said, "When you think you know how to fly be twice as careful". On this particular flight we were practicing short field landings and takeoffs. After several student efforts I decided to demonstrate, successfully, of course. On my arrival home I described the flight to my wife. She remarked, "Now that you think you can fly, will you be twice as careful? I have not shown-off since.
51. Had my family aboard with wife in back seat. On two mile final was directed to do a right 360 for spacing from base traffic. This instruction and maneuver occurred in middle of landing checklist. Proceeded on approach to short final only to feel a tap on the shoulder. Wife says, "Funny, but I don't see the shadow of the wheels on the ground. Moral: There are gear warning systems and gear warners.
52. At social gathering met lady who was taking flight instruction. She had over 60 hours and had soloed nine-tenths of a hour. Suggested that we go for a ride. Lady flew beautifully. Discovered she habitually became lost on freeways and roads. She had absolutely no concept of direction or orientation. Previous instructors had completely overlooked her disability. Several checkpoint familiarization flights and taxi trips about the airport solved difficulty. Lady now instrument rated flying Mooney 201.
53. Make a practice of finding out how well a student is oriented. Ask to
locate north, direction to nearby cities and airports. Take to the tower and
point out checkpoints used by ATC and local pilots. Expect student to visit
tower for 1/2 hour for every three hours of flight. Occasional can of coffee to
ATC helps. Purchase Airport Guide for state if available. Prefer for students to
know reference points for all runways, 45 entry, base, straight in.
54. Most students are not aware that radio communications should not have punctuation pauses. Practice communications before starting the plane. Have student hold microphone to lips while practicing. Use telegraphic brevity generally without prepositions. Clarity essential. Play private game with controllers by trying to get them to respond with, "Approved as requested" You can get this if you state your message so as to include all the expected elements of the ATC clearance. Addendum: Operated at two Bay Area airport with two different students. 1st instance: I responded to tower before my student had a fair opportunity. Tower said, "Gene you keep quiet and let your students handle the radio." 2nd instance: Had rehearsed student as to callup and request. Tower gave student, "Approved as requested" clearance but added, "You wouldn't be Gene Whitt's Student by any chance? I acknowledged my presence. Response was, "Gene, your students have your trademark on them."
55. Do you want to be a good pilot or lucky? Planning family trip across mountains. Teen-age son refuses to fly, insists on driving. Two days later find that aircraft lost all oil due to non-safety-wired drain plug. Plane had made safe valley landing at time/distance which would have put us in desolate mountain region. Moral: Nice to be good, better to be lucky.
56. High time pilot once low time pilot, first flight after checkout in C182. Hot day, short field, too much speed. Barely able to stop. It takes time to develop proficiency. Once normal landings are satisfactory put time and emphasis on short and soft field proficiency. A single flight checkout can be worse than none at all. Moral: First ten hours in type are most dangerous.
57. Taxied out for takeoff at isolated airport. At first turn found that the brakes would allow only right turns. Taxi route was sight to behold. Consisted of series of right 360's joined by curves. Thanks to P-factor takeoff went well.
58. I make a practice of having students use the small post-it stick-on to make a radio frequency list for each flight. I further insist that all x-ponder codes and unfamiliar frequencies be written down before verifying back to ATC. This initial training and skill development eases the transition to IFR.
59. After seeing the problems created by large knee and lap boards I now encourage the use of a long narrow board with permanent data written with felt tip pen. Several clips along the board will hold other papers. I encourage students to write ATIS and radio frequencies on hand held up to window level. Hold folded sectionals up to window as well. Minimize head down in the cockpit time.
60. Giving check ride to pilot. Consistently and persistently lands nose wheel first. Know this pilots instructor and the instructor's instructor. Instructors both have history of students who have collapsed nose wheels on landings. Moral: Instructing gives one the ability to perpetuate his knowledge or lack of it.
61. First flight to hard to find mountain airport. Airport becomes misplaced so I call Unicom. Am asked to describe any landmark. Proceed to describe fork in road with one store and several homes. Apparently only one of very many similar forks.
62. Low ceiling flight. Call tower in Oregon to advise tower of intention to
transit their ATA. Am asked for position. Describe small city with large lumber
yard warehouse with distinctive name. Identical buildings in every city of
valley. Moral: Just because you say, "Its gotta' be" doesn't mean
63. Called FSS and give location as large tank farm in Texas. Am advised that tank farms are not valid checkpoints in Texas even if you think you know where you are.
64. Call tower and ask if their mid-western facility looks like a silo. It is confirmed that the tower does indeed look like a silo. I proceed five miles en-route and find a silo.
65. Cessna pilot in last phase of PA 28 checkout. Have completed a series of touch-and go's. Student requests full stop. During roll-out student puts toes and pressure above the brake pedals' toestop on to the crossbar. No brakes on instructors side and maximum steering pressure to no avail as student has full pressure on bar. Aircraft veers off runway and takes out taxiway marker. Moral: Touch-and go's are not 'real world'. The brake system of one aircraft can break a different type.
66. Student having difficulty organizing radio work. Took time on ground to write out with two colored ink expected communications. Flew flight to correspond to both departure and arrival communications. Had student read and rehearse transmittals until smooth and not punctuated. Moral: The time taken to write out and fly a communications lesson removes stress and establishes confidence.
67. X-country at cruise speed with pilot. Inquired as to last time of doing power on stall. Pilot immediately pulled yoke to produce vertical flight. Needed acquired altitude to recover from resulting spin. Moral: Ask a dumb question anticipate a dumb answer.
68. When to start flying lessons? Suggest a late Fall start so that adverse condition experience can be gained with and under guidance of instructor. License by late spring gives generally good weather to gain additional experience. Helps avoid that sudden rash of low time pilot crashes with first winter storm. Helps avoid the winter time pilot dropout rate.
69. Have completed pre-lesson discussion and started engine when student asks question that required several minutes discussion. Bang on door and yell tells us of severe oil leak. Oil filter seal has just blown. Time duration was sufficient to have become airborne. It's good to be lucky.
70. Asked by former student to meet and discuss progress with friend who has 27 hours and still unable to solo. Have meeting and discussion. Everything seems O.K. as far as ability to verbalize. Finally recheck logbook and see that flights are generally a week or longer apart. Moral: Normal progress cannot be expected if frequency of lessons is not at least two flights per week and sometimes three.
71. There is no reason that the hand mike cannot be kept in the hand while taxiing and flying. On the ground, as experience will demonstrate, it is best to use the left hand. Prior to takeoff and in the air the right hand is preferable. It is surprising how many pilots find that they can talk with only one hand or the other unless initially trained in ambidextrous communications. Likewise, when a head mike is used, a pen can be kept in the hand for immediate use and not interfere with control usage. Moral: Practice cockpit economy and efficiency it is considered during flight tests and it saves you money.
73. Since most aircraft operation is almost as expensive on the ground as in the air, efficiency in run up can save money on ever flight. A complete control check can be made is a few seconds as follows: The left thumb always points to the up aileron. Yoke right, look right up aileron, look left down aileron, yoke left up aileron look right down aileron, look rear, yoke back up elevator, yoke forward down aileron, left right feet for rudder movement. Moral: Left handers fly in a right handed world.
74. With throttle at idle, index finger held fingernail distance back on throttle rod and throttle applied until finger touches clutch give 1700 rpm. Likewise, power change from cruise to 1500 RPM can be made using the index finger as a guide while the throttle is moved back. Practice until you can do it every time just by feel and sound. Moral: The more you can index the sounds, feel and performance of your aircraft the more efficient you flying will be.
75. There is a basic skill inherent to proficiency in making crosswind landings if you use the cross controlled (wing low with opposite rudder) technique. This basic skill is the so-called 'Dutch roll'. The Dutch roll can be efficiently taught during two minutes of climb after leaving pattern altitude. The beginning student should be informed that reasonable skill in the Dutch roll will take about five flights. The Dutch roll consists of rocking the wings the same degree to each side in the rhythm of the Tennessee Waltz while keeping the nose straight. Airspeed must be kept constant for uniformity of rudder pressure. Start to the left.
76. Just as it is impossible to intellectualize how to move the feet to roller skate, so with the Dutch roll. You have to try it from wings level over and over as the standing start of skating. After five lessons the Dutch roll usually falls into place as does roller skating. When applied to the crosswind landing the Dutch roll allows instinctive use of aileron and rudder needed to maintain runway alignment, nose straight and constant airspeed. It is my firm belief that you cannot intellectualize crosswind landings, swimming, or skating. Once the 'dutchroll' is mastered successful crosswinds follow as the night the day. Moral: Trying to think control applications needed for crosswind landings is like learning to roller skate by reading a book. It can't be done.
77. Introduction to the power on stall need not be a violent traumatic experience. Just set power at 2000 RPM and emphasize smoothness of entry and gentleness in recovery. A long series of these stalls can be both demonstrated and performed at 60 knot entry within a one hundred foot altitude range. Full power stalls should come later. Moral: Keep it gentle and smooth.
77a. At what point is a G.A. tire not airworthy? Operations with low tire pressures do seen and unseen damage. You will not be held accountable until something happens.
78. Pre-stall clearing should be preceded with both a look and verbal clearing in both directions. Make first turn to left because any following traffic should pass to your right. In high wing aircraft it is important to search the sky toward the raised wing prior to bank reversal. Flying the turn should be done by reference to the nose. All to often, students try to see in the direction of the turn during the turn with resulting altitude and airspeed deviations. Moral: Don't let driving habits interfere with flying techniques.
79. The willingness to admit to ATC a problem, lack of familiarity, or need for help needs to be taught. Neither the student nor the high time pilot can be expected to be all knowing in all situations. The instructor should set up a training situation to demonstrate this neglected skill of flying proficiency. Marginal weather conditions make the lesson real to the student. Moral: Only one Being knows it all.
80. The student will learn best if he comes to the lesson prepared. The instructor must make sure the student knows, before the lesson, the elements to be reviewed and introduced. The prepared student gets a better lesson at less cost. Moral: Pupils don't fail. Teachers do.
81. The voice recorder is the most neglected single instructional aid in flight instruction. Recorded flight instruction both in and out of the airplane provides the student with a reusable learning experience. The actual reliving of a flight while driving to work brings to light instructions and ATC communications not realized at the time. While the recording can be used without an intercom, an intercom plug cuts out all engine noise. The cost is minimal when compared with the lost instruction that relies on memory. Moral: Try it; you'll like it.
82. Trim is the power steering of flying. The pressure of holding an untrimmed flight configuration will eventually bring about an unplanned airspeed or altitude deviation. Learn to use large trim movements to quickly approximate position and then make fine changes. Cessna has an engineering relationship between power setting, flap position and airspeed. Piper has a different but useable system. Moral: You shouldn't have to work hard to make flying easy.
82. The student should be taught, from the very beginning, that the yoke is held with a very light TWO finger touch. Four fingers behind the yoke will cause a climb, every time. Holding the yoke with a full grip just compounds any tensions. The sense of pressure from the yoke is best felt through the finger tips. Every pilot will adjust trim for the finger pressure he has come to expect. Instructor should normally require trim for hands off for every new flight configuration. Invariably, a change in pilot results in a trim change for the individual touch. Moral: Practice, of the right kind, makes perfect.
83. Recently flew with neophyte flight instructor. Tried to demonstrate different trim technique which I feel increases efficiency and would reduce airspeed deviations. Lack of acceptance due to concern that NIH (not invented here) syndrome at FBO would get him in trouble and make him different. Is it just possible that rigidity of instruction is deliberately increasing instructional costs?. Moral: We don't know what we don't know._
84. We tend to teach the way we have been taught. Only a few of us have been so fortunate as to find a way to break away. Changes in technology have made changes in teaching possible. Such is the case with the Cessna engineering of flaps and trim. For every ten degrees of flap there is a full turn of trim which will exactly compensate to maintain airspeed. Still instructors perpetuate the flip/feel trim technique without acknowledging even the existence of the engineered relationship.
85. Experienced pilot made his soft field approach reasonably well but in the flare the yoke began a rapid series of short jerks and turns. The landing was relatively flat and not soft. How many of you remember the little old green flight test guide of twenty plus years ago that indicated every yoke movement while landing should be back and every power change a reduction. Works now, as well as then.
86. Vertigo can be demonstrated on the ground. Select large open space. Hold
a yard-stick to the nose with the head tilted well back. Make about three smooth
turns left or right with the eyes focused on the far end of the yardstick. Stop,
bend down and place yard-stick on ground, remain bent over as you step across
stick and then straighten up quickly. Be prepared to fall.
87. Had occasion to teach distinction between Class C and Class B procedures. Class C underlies Class B. Went to approach frequency just as ATC chastised pilot for entering Class B without clearance although on Class C frequency. Used Class C for arrival to airport. Departed and then used Class C frequency to request clearance into Class B for orientation flight. Same frequency for Class C and Class B. Interesting, that it is possible to enter Class B from Class C, enter Class B directly, enter Class C clear of Class B, enter Class B clear of Class C, leave Class B into Class C, leave Class B clear of Class C, leave Class C clear of Class B, fly below Class B clear of Class C, and variations thereof. Flying below Class C requires flight at nearly unsafe altitudes. What could have been done to make it more confusing?
88. Took post solo student from CCR to APC on a low visibility, rainy day. Half way we had a vacuum pump failure. HI and AI died. Very good lesson for instructor and student. All at once student became disoriented as to where everything was. The student was unable to orient his arrival to APC even when set up on 45 degree entry point. On return to CCR, student unable to plan a base arrival. Next day, over the phone, both student and instructor realize that student had almost total reliance on HI for orientation. Plan in future to cover HI and use interrelationship of geographic points for orientation.
89. Geographic and tower considerations may affect this suggestion. With that
caveat, on every instructional flight deliberately depart and arrive using a
different route and technique. Teach reporting points, entry points for 45
degree, base, and straight. The 270 overhead departure and direct entry to
downwind should come later. For cross country flying the 270 overhead departure
avoids many of the initial off course problems. For airwork lessons fly
against the winds so that return home will be expedited.
90. The student mind does not seem to function well in low visibility. The uncertainty, insecurity and sense of 'lostness' overwhelm the thinking process. The instructional emphasis on visual reference points in a wide circle about the home field provide excellent insurance from this syndrome. I teach airport procedures and landings by making a number of short trips to outlying fields. After student solo these fields are again visited with the student followed by a solo sign off. The checkpoints and procedures at these other airports provide a head start for safe x-country work.
91. Since the advent of fully transistorized radios the infrequency of radio failure has reduced the required instructional time, but it does happen. I make a practice to contact the tower some twenty miles out and request a NORDO arrival with the agreement that I will maintain a listening watch. I have yet to be refused by ATC. Technique is to over fly above pattern altitude, select the longest runway in use, fly out from airport and enter on 45 at pattern altitude. Watch for light on 45, downwind, base, and final, Acknowledge light by wing waggle. Moral: Some things need not be learned the hard way.
92. Would you believe that, as an instructor, you are more likely to do your best instruction covering those areas of flying that caused you, personally the most difficulty. You will have a better understanding and appreciation of the difficulties of the student. You will anticipate and explain more fully, be more patient, and be a better instructor thereby. You will explain the feeling of being lost best if you have been lost. You will approach stalls gently if you had initial fears of the stall. You will, hopefully, teach radio procedures that avoid the problems you had. Moral: The good instructor learns as much from and about the student as the student learns from him.
93. There is hope for even the worst of us. The student subjected to vile language and yelling is learning. The demonstrated violent stall with abrupt recovery is certainly teaching the student something. The instructor unwilling to trust the student with the controls or the radio is teaching as well. The instructor who gets the engine started before talking about the lesson is getting a point across. The impatient abusive instructor who has only criticism for the student's effort is having an effect on the behaviors and attitudes of the pupil. B.O. and cigarette smoke residue is quite informative. The lack of promptness or consideration for the time constraints of others produces results. Yet we ask, "Why is the student drop out rate so high?"
93a. Am frequently reminded of instructional differences. There is no ONE way to perform a given flight maneuver. However, I feel that if a particular procedure is demonstrably more efficient, safer, or cost effective then it is a preferable.
94. Have had occasion to take a number of new pilots on their first SVFR flight. This is after they have 'completed' their flight instruction. SVFR must be taught. It should be as required is as night instruction. The basics of proper communication, copying a clearance, checkpoint identification, Class D airspace, and SVFR requirements can only be fully realized by actual experience. Know anyone who ever enjoyed their first SVFR solo?
95. Five hundred hour pilot want to become flight instructor. Throughout turns pilot leans forward and looks around cabin post. He is able to maintain bank and airspeed while doing this. Told future instructor/examiner that while he might be able to perform satisfactorily doing this, a student pilot emulating his technique would be in great difficulty. Still see this problem in his students. Moral: Do as I say not as I do is not effective as a correct example.
96. Since most stalls are performed in trainers, consider executing your first clearing turn to the left. Why? The rear quadrant is most difficult to clear. Any following aircraft should be passing to your right. Both visually clearing about 130 degrees to the rear and then loud enough for a passenger to hear state that it is clear before turning. This is both FAR safe and giving your passengers assurance as to your safe technique. It plays back well into a tape recorder, too.
97. Making 40 mile cross country night flight with low time pilot. Very clear night. Pilot initiates right 60 degree turn toward destination. Looks down into cockpit and inadvertently banks back to left about 40 degrees. Over the nose is a large collection of lights which the pilot identifies as our destination. Pilot being fooled by exceptional visibility, lack of basic IFR skills needed for night flying, and optimistic assumptions of time and distance. If you fly at night, do a lot of it.
98. Given all druthers, I'd fly at night. Nights that have at least 1/4 moon. Other planes seem far more visible and the moon lights the clouds and ground. Would suggest avoiding the high mountains at night, however. Your emergency options are greatly reduced at night. Even the most area familiar pilot can become confused if over flying area covered by patches of fog.
99. Every area at some times experiences very strong winds which exceed the
cross wind capability of planes and pilots. Had occasion to hear student pilot
tell tower that she was unable to handle the existing winds. Tower authorized
landing into wind using abandoned runway used as taxiway. Immediately
several inbound pilots requested the same consideration. From the mouths of
100. While departing airport IFR requested to hold at fix. Published hold to the Northwest, we requested to hold to the Southeast since that would align us with our next route of flight. Requested refused. When we advised we were ready to proceed we were told to intercept airway. Easiest way was to make a 270 at the fix and then a 90 on course. This is a variation of the course reversal that worked very well. Draw it out and see.
Return to whittsflying Home Page
Continued on PAGE 6.52 Second Hundred Quickie Lessons