CLEAR PROP - Turning the Master Switch On!
Most pilots check the prop area before starting but you should really also check the prop area before turning the battery master switch on because a jammed starter relay will cause the prop to turn over and yes it has happened!
I was just about to start a Cessna 150 engine many years ago near the airfield fuel bay and just as I was about to turn they key I heard a voice say, “ I will just push you a bit further back”. I looked up to see a student with both hands on the prop. He doesn’t know to this day that I nearly took both of his arms off. He didn’t learn a lesson that day but I did!
One of our FIC students suggested that we should supply some tips and as we are great fans of UKGA.Com we thought, why not!
Our first tip is:
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40 years in professional aviation has taught me that you can learn from anybody regardless of their experience or licence type. It takes humility to accept sometimes that someone with less experience than yourself can come up with a better way of doing something. I am constantly looking at ways to improve my own performance and improve my teaching. I spent the first 10 years in aviation thinking I was a pretty hot pilot but the last 30 years realising I still have some way to go!
Reducing visibility ahead. I was taught this when training to become an Army Helicopter Pilot in the mid 80's "Whites alright, Grey OK? Black turn back"
Leaving the Master switch on
Easy to do, but leave the beacon on, always. It can stand the jolt of the start sequence. As you leave the aircraft, a quick glance tells you the electrics are off, no flashing beacon.
Be scared of crashing
I am a student, doing my microlight 3-axis on a C-42 Ikarus.
The first ground school lesson I had, my instuructor gave me a variation on the old joke "I'm not scared of flying, I'm scared of crashing"
He said "I'm not here to teach you how to fly, I'm here to teach you how not to plummet!"
So far, so good!!
Bugs in residence
SIMPLE TIP OF THE DAY!
Now summer is here, those cheeky little bugs like to take up residence in the pitot head.
REMEMBER....A blocked static port during descent will cause your ASI to over-read............EEEK....look out, your aircraft could be nearer stall speed than you think!
Quote from a wartime flying instructor:-
Flying is safe so long as you remember that it is dangerous!
LANDING MADE EASY
When you have arrived near TOUCHDOWN point
Don't let the aircraft SLAM into the ground & bouncing
Try to hold the aircraft OFF thE ground as long as possible by GENTLY pulling the nose upwards.
When the wings have COMPETELY stopped giving lift
Your aircraft will settle gently onto the main gear
This works for nose wheels and tail draggers
If you want to low fly there are 2 rules.
1. Fly towards the sun. People on the ground may not hear you approaching and by the time they hear or see you they will be looking towards the sun and not able to see your registration.
2. Only low fly over an area once.
During climbs, when altimeter at 12'o'clock, lower nose or do clearing turn. When altimeter at 6'o'clock, check engine T's & P's
Useless things in aviation
My instructor used to like saying
"Useless things in aviation:
I'm sure there were more. Can anyone add to this?
When you do a "FREDA", don't forget the pilot and passengers - I add an "S" for Sip & Sugar". Liquids and food are essential to keep attention going!
On Cockpit Clocks
SSDR microlights don't usualy have such a clock, don't even have a dash board some times
Just making a fiberglass 'T' shaped board to hold essential instruments and having a spare corner on the board and a spare Christmas gift of a 30mm white faced wrist watch I thought that I would fit that. Allways have a problem looking at the time of take off and any other time whilst in the air. On top of this the watch keeps spot on tme and never needs adjusting, winding etc.
Check Weather & NOTAMs together
BLACK & WHITE
CHAS & DAVE
WEATHER & NOTAMS
Get into the habit of checking Weather & NOTAMs together because one isn't any good without the other. No point in checking Wx for an airfield that isn't available or planning to do a let down on an aid which is unservicable.
Perform your run up checks every time as if you were a test pilot using that engine for the very first time.
Max drift & crosswind calculations
You probably already know this one, as it's very standard, but if not;
Max drift (ie with a direct 90 deg crosswind) = wind speed x 60 / KTAS ie half @ 120, 2/3 @ 90, 0.6 @ 100 etc
Then actual drift by rule of sixths;
max drift = say 15 deg, and wind angle = 30 deg off nose, then drift = 15 x 30/60 or 3/6 = 1/2 = 7.5 deg (call it 7 or 8 - your heading keeping won't be that good!
Accurate enough, but you can finesse it a bit by calling 45 deg 0.7, and 60 deg 0.9
It's a good idea to note the forecast max drift at cruise speed on your chart (and again at holding speed if you're doing instrument stuff), and headings for each leg can then be easily worked out by the sixths rule.
Wondering how high the cloud base is? This is the technique I regularly teach to my students... It works!
Temperature - dew point multiplied by 400.
E.g. temp 15°C - dew point 11°C = 4 (i.e the difference)
4 x 400 = 1600
The cloud base is likely to be at 1600ft.
Try it out!
Airfield windsocks can give very useful information if you look at them! Make them part of your taxy checks.
Calculating rate of descent for glidepath
Ref the groundspeed on approach tip: Divide your groundspeed by 2 and add a zero. ie 70kts / 2 = 35, add the 0 = 350 your rate of descent for a 3° glidepath.
Know Your Fuel Drains
Are you sure that you know all the fuel drains in your aircraft where you should sample fuel from before every flight ?
Some aircraft also have drain points which are at the lowest part of the fuel system, as well as the tanks.
GPS and Avoiding Airspace Busts
You shouldn't need a GPS to avoid busting airspace, but with the availabilty of cheap GPSs, there really is no excuse to be caught out.
Cluttering the Airwaves
Don't spend too much time with friendly chatter to the tower.
Keep communication concise.
This will allow others getting their (sometimes critical) call in.
Pilots performing large slow circuits are:
a) a risk to themselves as there is no way they would reach the runway if there was an engine failure, and
b) because everyone in the circuit then have to follow, causing some faster aircraft to abort the circuit and take avoiding action.
Straight in Approaches
In busy circuits, pilots requesting straight in approaches can be a real pain, upsetting those joining overhead or already in the circuit. Try to use the standard join whenever you can.
Crtical Weight and Balance Calculations
Don't assume that you can have one or two passengers and have the aircraft in balance in a four seat aircraft, without extra ballast.
In my Trinidad with two in the front and full fuel, the aircraft would be out of the balance limits, without loading in the baggage compartment or rear seats.
How many of you are not doing weight and balance calculations because you don't have many people in the plane, so you are obviously less than MTWA ? Again, you can be well under MTWA, but hugely out of balance. Be warned !
Pre-take off check: ATPL!
Pre-take off check
- Pitot heat
When lined up on the runway make sure the DI is properly aligned with the compass before take off.
When "unsure of a suitable heading" to your destination airfield using the qte/qdm comms calls are useful for a good heading to take.
QTE - them to me.
QDM - me to them.
Don't become complacent
Be patient when planning a flight be a long or short distance. Be sure, even if you think its trivial and don't become complacent.
Having trouble landing? Do a night rating. You will aquire a technique that many airline pilots use and works every time. I had a stroke in 2007, left blind in one eye and have litle visual perception of distance or height but still continue flying. OK. with only a restricted NPPL(A) but it was one of the best aviation investments I ever made.
Re Roger Piper's mnemonic/acronym - I use SWATCH when lined up and cleared for take-off. A little less graphic, I know, but -
SW - Stopwatch set running; makes calculating take-off time time easy as I invaribly forget to log it.
A - Altimeter set to QNH/QFE as applicable.
T - T's and P's checked, transponder ON.
CH - Compass heading matching DI setting and runway numbers.
I'm sure there are many other variations.......
PS - Mentioning QNH/QFE reminds me that my first Instructor, Ray Webb, was fond of using QNR. Give in? It stands for 'Quick Nip Round'....
Quick and dirty (dead reconning) direction finder.
If you have need of an impromtu divert off your planned track, here's a little tip given to me by a 747 pilot.
Draw a line on a map, then apply the direction to a clock face and multilpy X 30.
direction of 2 O'Clock * 30 = 60 (degrees).
direction of 6 O'clock * 30 = 180 (degrees).
direction of 12 o' clock * 30 = 360 (degrees)
and so on. easypeasy. It got me through the Nav test!
If you aircraft has 2 x VHF radios or 2 x Nav equipment turn them ALL ON after start even if you only ever use 'VHF Box 1'. I have seen many a polot have problems with Box 1 and then try transmitting on 'Box 2' with it turned OFF. If it's fitted in your aircraft have it switched ON or Standby, one day it will be very useful.
Landing is take-off backwards
For students struggling with their landing technique review the take off:
Building speed, raising nose-wheel and balancing on the mains, then after the plane takes off holding it in ground effect for moment to allow speed to increase before climbing.
Now just do it backwards - hold in ground effect until the speed reduces, lower down to balance on the mains, let the nosewheel sink and then reduce speed. Easy!
For Aeros Squawk 7004
For Aeros Squawk 7004
Five minutes before you start aeros set squawk to 7004. Also inform anyone you are getting service from what area and height range you are operating in. Also call when complete and reset squawk.
A light crosswind of about 2-4 knots may hold the upwind vortex of a heavy aircraft in place at the runway where it was created. Any crosswind greater than 5 knots will more likely break up the wake vortex.
In zero crosswind conditions the vortex from the left wing will move to the lef, and the vortex from the right wing will move to the right.
(temp - dewpoint) x 400
example: temp 15 deg, DP 10 deg Diff:5X400=2000'
Lights, Camera, Action
Mixture Rich (Action
After doing your power checks at the hold point, return carb heat to hot and complete the rest of your cockpit checks. One of the last checks is to check that carb heat is cold. Set carb heat to cold at this point. You can now be sure that there is no ice in the induction system.
A bit like blues, reds, greens on finals, when lining up prior to take off roll I check:
Strobes - on
Heading - check DI against compass (when stopped turning), this also confirms correct runway
Instruments - check t&p's good to go still
Transponder - on (from standby)
When flying along the coast, be aware birds use the coastline for navigation too. Consider flying above 2500 ft when flying along coasts particulary during July and August when young birds are at their peak trying to fly!
All birdstrikes are reportable!
"Proper Planning and Preparation Prevents Poor Performance."
degreesXwind (modulo 90) times windspeed divided by IAS.
Given a wind speed of 30 knots which is 15 degrees off track (whether from behind or from infront) and an IAS of 90 knots you get a heading correction of 5 degrees (and the computer says you need 5). For a wind 30 deg off heading you need 10 degs and you get 10. For 60 degrees need 17 but it gives 20, and then at 75 if goes 20 which is right.
It is surprisingly its close to the correct heading correction all the way round and for speeds 60-120 knots. So this might be good for calculating the heading for an alternate say. I've never seen it before but I can't believe it isn't out there
As you walk past your aircraft on the way back to the clubhouse get into the habit of quickly "flicking" the stall warner vane up - If you hear the sound of the stall warner from the cockpit you know that you have left the battery master switch on. This wouldn't of course work with a Cessna 172 or similar, so instead, leave your beacon switch permanently ON. You will then have a visual clue that the master switch has been left on.
Gauge progress relative to NDBs.
Gauge progress relative to NDBs.
Even if not tracking an NDB, they can be useful in gauging relative position whilst enroute. This requires a bit of thought and care, but is useful, I find.
Simply tune the ADF to a nearby NDB (and ident it, of course), and then watch the rate at which the needle moves. If you are aware of where the NDB is, you can gauge your progress according to the needle movement rate.
This is NOT to be used for position fixing (it is a 'non-precision' technique) - but, with practice can provide an additional useful input to your situational awareness.
It's a fantastic way to get the 'picture' fixed in your brain, and it lets you isolate the bits that you find most difficult and focus on them. Plus it's a heck of a lot cheaper than doing it for real.
If you have two radios, call for taxi on one, mid-way through ATC's instructions switch to the other, and listen to the rest of the instructions, then do the readback on the other. You have now transmitted and listened on both boxes and know they both work or not.
Most instructors wil teach the old method of rotating the RBI card to find your radial on an NDB. This method can leave you for dead in an approach.
I must admit I did'nt invent this, and it'd be wrong of me to say that i did, but here goes.
Firstly some general theory. Divide the NDB into 4 imaginary sections, just like the quadrantal rule. first quater, i.e from 000-090 being + 090-180 being - 180-270 being - 270-360 being +
1. Firstly compare your position and heading relative to the
radial you want.
Lets say for argument's sake I am approaching the NDB on the 270 and I actually want the 000 radial or the 180 track to the NDB. so comparing the position to the bearing I know for sure I have to turn left. Lets assume I take up the heading of 200 (i wouldn't really, but just for simplicity).
2. Now compare the desired track to your heading.
DTK = 180
RBI= -20 in this case the RBI should read 160 to tell you that you have reached the 180 radial.
Hope this helps
Pull carb heat at first item,
carry out Fuel,Radio,engine Ts & Ps, DI check, Altimeter check,
restore carb heat last
M way signs are blue
A road signs are green
So if the wind is:
15 deg off use a quarter of it as cross wind
30 deg off is a half
45 deg off is three quarters
60 deg off use the whole.
This works for cross wind, drift (calculate the maximum drift for your TAS and apply the RoT) and for ground speed adjustment.
Once you have worked out the principle in your head, flight without formulae is yours!
NEVER EVER let someone convince you that the fuel's ok without dipping or otherwise checking the tanks yourself. If you run out of fuel it is YOUR LIFE.
If you are unhappy with an a/c for whatever reason sort it whilst on the ground
For a 3 degree glideslope a descent of 300ft/nm is required. However there is no instrument in the cockpit to easily measure ft/nm.
If we know the headwind we can use the VSI and here's how:
1. Calculate your ground speed (GS) on approach.
GS = IAS - headwind speed
2. Multiply this by 5 and this gives your required rate of descent.
ROD = 5 x GS (ft/min)
Headwind = 10 kts
IAS = 60 kts
GS = 60 - 10 = 50 kts
ROD = 5 x 50 = 250 ft/min
I.F.R.E.D.A.I --- I = Ice ON Carb Heat to Hot, go through the remainder of the checks and last of all I = Ice OFF Carb Heat to Cold.
This gives the heater time to eliminate any ice or draw your attention to any icing which may exist, as opposed to a 'Quick' Heat 'On' and 'Off' as the first item on the check list.
Same with the Pre-landing checks--
At first I = Ice -- On Carb Heat to Hot -- remainder of checks carried out -- Last item I -- Ice Carb Heat Cold (if required some aircraft keep it on below certain RPM).
In my check list for the Pup it states 15 secs Carb heat applied for the carb heat ground check.
Not a quick On -Off --- 'See if it's working' type check.
Another Carb Ice / Fog warning tip.
Ambient Temperature and Due point Temperature -- close together --- Beware !!!!!
If you are exploring a valley, always start from the top down, as many aviators have found themselves facing a valley wall that is climbing at a faster rate than their aircraft can manage. Instinct is to try and pull out of it, but this normally results in a stall followed by a spin. If you do find yourself facing a valley wall, simply fly as slowly as possible onto the area ahead of you and you stand a far better chance of survival than trying to pull out in a turn.
Sobering stuff, but it would surprise you the number of pilots, particularly in Alaska who have lost their lives without knowing this simple advice.
If it says "quartz" you fly much more modern planes than me, and they probably keep excellent time.
Back up with an occasional glance at your own in a quiet moment just in case just to check it's keeping time.
ie., 12 miles to run = 36 x100 = 3,600 feet AAL.
"Turn to new heading" estimate
eg: Fly from Manchester to Birmingham - your current position is overhead Stafford, Your flight is diverted to East Midlands. What heading do you take up?
Turn map right way up - East Midlands is in the 3 O'clock position so, 3 X 3 =9 New heading = 090
Diverted to Liverpool - Liverpool lies about 11 O'clock so, 11 X 3 = 33 new heading 330 deg
Check the tanks Visually
Turned out that when i booked the aircraft out, i was told "It's had an hour out of full tanks" - It turns out the aircraft had been out twice after that and not recorded in the log book - So, DONT take anybody's word for it. Always CHECK.
Some useful ballpark methods...
Max wind drift = 2/3 of wind speed, then eyeball the cross-wind components by projecting on the map track.
(e.g. wind 30kts -> max correction angle is 20deg)
Minutes to waypoint = 2/3 of nm (e.g. 40nm -> 27min)
Both rules are calibrated for 90kts and are still good around this value. The latter in particular, needs to be adjusted for ground speed if far from this figure. I use a simple linear rule: if speed is 10% above 90 then decrease time and angle by 10%. For slower I increase time angle in the same way.
Wind forecasts are not that accurate so there's little point in being too accurate in your calculations. However keep in mind that these rules become less accurate as wind speed or distance increases or speed decreases.
Air Safety Circulars
Primarily for Students, but equally applicable for licensed pilots.
Check out the AIS AIC updates regularly as they do change, this is especially relevant to students who are about to take their exams, for example in the latest (2002) edition of Thoms the following have already changed.
AIC 12/1997(Pink 134) is now 39/2002 (Pink 30)
AIC 15/1999 (Pink 186) is now 87/2002 (Pink 39)
AIC 104/1998 (Pink 176) is now 93/2002 (Pink 8)
AIC 12/1996 (Pink 120) is now 67/2002 (Pink 36)
so make sure you revise the correct information.
This is just an example of the changes in the Pink section, which is one of five sections.
Don't ever let the plane get somewhere that your mind didn't get to 5 minutes earlier!
Final Approach wind, Method Two: The Rule of 6
10° of difference between Runway direction and wind = 1/6th
20° of difference between Runway direction and wind = 1/3rd
30° of difference between Runway direction and wind = 1/2
40° of difference between Runway direction and wind = 2/3rd
50° of difference between Runway direction and wind = 5/6th
60° of difference between Runway direction and wind = 6/6th
The fractions are what amount of the wind is a cross wind....so, if it is a 20kt wind, with 20° of difference, it is 2/6th = 1/3, which is a bit under 7kts......
This method can be used to assess the afternoon wind speed and direction from the predictive isobar chart on the top right of the mornings Met Form 215
Daytime Wind Estimation
e.g. surface wind = 270°/12kts gives 2000' wind of 300°/23kts (approx)
To fly, or not to fly...
"It is better to be down on the ground wishing you were up in the air, than it is to be up in the air wishing you were down on the ground!"
Pre-start altimeter check
Forecasting Cloud Height
A packet of dry-air cools at a standard rate of approximately 3 degrees per 1000’; this is called the Dry Adiabatic Lapse Rate (DARL)
The dew-point temperature decreases with increasing height at approximately 0.5° per 1000’
These two decreasing temperatures converge at a rate of approximately 2.5° per 1000’
Divide the difference between the dry temperature and dew-point temperature by 2.5 and multiply the result by 1000 and this will give an approximate height above ground level (AGL) at which to expect the cloud base that day.
e.g. Dry/Dew-point of 15°/10° = 5° / 2.5 x 1000' = 2000’
"G-ABCD is at 2500ft on 998mb"
Altitude vs TAS
At 5000' TAS = IAS + 9% (3 squared) %
At 10,000' TAS = IAS + 16% (4 squared) %
At 15,000' TAS = IAS + 25% (5 squared) %
At 20,000' TAS = IAS + 36% (6 squared) %
At 25,000' TAS = IAS + 49% (7 squared) %
At 30,000' TAS = IAS + 64% (8 Squared) %
'D' is for...
Happy Landings !
Also relevant for trainee pilots approaching circuits; ensure you realign your DI and compass as part of your rejoin checks - Ed
Head/Tail Winds & Groundspeed
Now if the wind is 120/15, use the clock face to assess the proportion of head/tail wind using the angle off beam i.e. 160(beam) - 120(wind) = 40 deg = 2/3 the clock face so 2/3 x 15kts = 10kts. The headwind is 10kts.
If your TAS in the cruise is 100 kts then the groundspeed will be TAS - headwind = 90kts. From this figure timings on the diversion leg may be accurately calculated.
Wind Drift Calculation
Max Drift (kts)=Wind Speed (kts) x 60/TAS
e.g. for 100kts cruise Max drift = Windspeed x 0.6
Then use the clockface method to assess the required heading correction
e.g. if the required track is 250deg and the wind is 280/20 max drift = 0.6 x 20 = 12kts and 280deg - 250 deg = 30 deg or half way round the clock face so you need to turn into wind by half of 12 or 6deg therefore 250 + 6 = 256deg heading should be steered for a 250deg track
Final Approach Crosswind
e.g. 240/15 landing on R26 gives 20° difference. The 20 minute point on a watch face is a third of the way round the hour, so the cross wind blowing is one third of 15kts = 5kts crosswind
e.g. 215/12 landing on R26 gives 45° difference. The 45 minute point on a watch face is three quarters of the way round the hour, so the cross wind blowing is three quarters of 12kts = 9kts crosswind.
Eg, groundspeed is 70 knots on the approach. 70 x 5 = 350
Rate of descent required to maintain 3 degrees of descent is 350 feet per minute.
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