Friday, October 10, 2008


Particular attention should be paid to the fuel quantity, type and grade, and quality. [Figure 2-7] Many fuel tanks are very sensitive to airplane attitude when attempting to fuel for maximum capacity. Nosewheel strut extension, both high as well as low, can significantly alter the attitude, and therefore the fuel capacity. The airplane attitude can also be affected laterally by a ramp that slopes, leaving one wing slightly higher than another. Always confirm the fuel quantity indicated on the fuel gauges by visually inspecting the level of each tank.

The type, grade, and color of fuel are critical to safe operation. The only widely available aviation gasoline (AVGAS) grade in the United States is low-lead 100-octane, or 100LL. AVGAS is dyed for easy recognition of its grade and has a familiar gasoline scent. Jet-A, or jet fuel, is a kerosene-based fuel for turbine powered airplanes. It has disastrous consequences when inadvertently introduced into reciprocating airplane engines. The piston engine operating on jet fuel may start, run, and power the airplane, but will fail because the engine has been destroyed from detonation.

Jet fuel has a distinctive kerosene scent and is oily to the touch when rubbed between fingers. Jet fuel is clear or straw colored, although it may appear dyed when mixed in a tank containing AVGAS. When a few drops of AVGAS are placed upon white paper, they evaporate quickly and leave just a trace of dye. In comparison, jet fuel is slower to evaporate and leaves an oily smudge. Jet fuel refueling trucks and dispensing equipment are marked with JET-A placards in white letters on a black background. Prudent pilots will supervise fueling to ensure that the correct tanks are filled with the right quantity, type, and grade of fuel. The pilot should always ensure that the fuel caps have been securely replaced following each fueling.

Engines certificated for grades 80/87 or 91/96 AVGAS will run satisfactorily on 100LL. The reverse is not true. Fuel of a lower grade/octane, if found, should never be substituted for a required higher grade. Detonation will severely damage the engine in a very short period of time.

Automotive gasoline is sometimes used as a substitute fuel in certain airplanes. Its use is acceptable only when the particular airplane has been issued a supplemental type certificate (STC) to both the airframe and engine allowing its use.

Checking for water and other sediment contamination is a key preflight element. Water tends to accumulate in fuel tanks from condensation, particularly in partially filled tanks. Because water is heavier than fuel, it tends to collect in the low points of the fuel system. Water can also be introduced into the fuel system from deteriorated gas cap seals exposed to rain, or from the supplier’s storage tanks and delivery vehicles. Sediment contamination can arise from dust and dirt entering the tanks during refueling, or from deteriorating rubber fuel tanks or tank sealant.

The best preventive measure is to minimize the opportunity for water to condense in the tanks. If possible, the fuel tanks should be completely filled with the proper grade of fuel after each flight, or at least filled after the last flight of the day. The more fuel there is in the tanks, the less opportunity for condensation to occur. Keeping fuel tanks filled is also the best way to slow the aging of rubber fuel tanks and tank sealant.

Sufficient fuel should be drained from the fuel strainer quick drain and from each fuel tank sump to check for fuel grade/color, water, dirt, and smell. If water is present, it will usually be in bead-like droplets, different in color (usually clear, sometimes muddy), in the bottom of the sample. In extreme cases, do not overlook the possibility that the entire sample, particularly a small sample, is water. If water is found in the first fuel sample, further samples should be taken until no water appears. Significant and/or consistent water or sediment contamination are grounds for further investigation by qualified maintenance personnel. Each fuel tank sump should be drained during preflight and after refueling.

The fuel tank vent is an important part of a preflight inspection. Unless outside air is able to enter the tank as fuel is drawn out, the eventual result will be fuel gauge malfunction and/or fuel starvation. During the preflight inspection, the pilot should be alert for any signs of vent tubing damage, as well as vent blockage. A functional check of the fuel vent system can be done simply by opening the fuel cap. If there is a rush of air when the fuel tank cap is cracked, there could be a serious problem with the vent system.

The oil level should be checked during each preflight and rechecked with each refueling. Reciprocating airplane engines can be expected to consume a small amount of oil during normal operation. If the consumption grows or suddenly changes, qualified maintenance personnel should investigate. If line service personnel add oil to the engine, the pilot should ensure that the oil cap has been securely replaced.


The pilot should inspect for any signs of deterioration, distortion, and loose or missing rivets or screws, especially in the area where the outer skin attaches to the airplane structure. [Figure 2-6] The pilot should look along the wing spar rivet line—from the wingtip to the fuselage—for skin distortion. Any ripples and/or waves may be an indication of internal damage or failure.

Loose or sheared aluminum rivets may be identified by the presence of black oxide which forms rapidly when the rivet works free in its hole. Pressure applied to the skin adjacent to the rivet head will help verify the loosened condition of the rivet.

When examining the outer wing surface, it should be remembered that any damage, distortion, or malformation of the wing leading edge renders the airplane unairworthy. Serious dents in the leading edge, and disrepair of items such as stall strips, and deicer boots can cause the airplane to be aerodynamically unsound. Also, special care should be taken when examining the wingtips. Airplane wingtips are usually fiberglass. They are easily damaged and subject to cracking. The pilot should look at stop drilled cracks for evidence of crack progression, which can, under some circumstances, lead to in-flight failure of the wingtip.

The pilot should remember that fuel stains anywhere on the wing warrant further investigation—no matter how old the stains appear to be. Fuel stains are a sign of probable fuel leakage. On airplanes equipped with integral fuel tanks, evidence of fuel leakage can be found along rivet lines along the underside of the wing.

Thursday, October 9, 2008


The inspection should start with the cabin door. If the door is hard to open or close, or if the carpeting or seats are wet from a recent rain, there is a good chance that the door, fuselage, or both are misaligned. This may be a sign of structural damage.

The windshield and side windows should be examined for cracks and/or crazing. Crazing is the first stage of delamination of the plastic. Crazing decreases visibility, and a severely crazed window can result in near zero visibility due to light refraction at certain angles to the sun.

The pilot should check the seats, seat rails, and seat belt attach points for wear, cracks, and serviceability. The seat rail holes where the seat lock pins fit should also be inspected. The holes should be round and not oval. The pin and seat rail grips should also be checked for wear and serviceability.

Inside the cockpit, three key items to be checked are: (1) battery and ignition switches—off, (2) control column locks—removed, (3) landing gear control— down and locked. [Figure 2-3]

The fuel selectors should be checked for proper operation in all positions—including the OFF position. Stiff selectors, or ones where the tank position is hard to find, are unacceptable. The primer should also be exercised. The pilot should feel resistance when the primer is both pulled out and pushed in. The primer should also lock securely. Faulty primers can interfere with proper engine operation. [Figure 2-4] The engine controls should also be manipulated by slowly moving each through its full range to check for binding or stiffness.

The airspeed indicator should be properly marked, and the indicator needle should read zero. If it does not, the instrument may not be calibrated correctly. Similarly, the vertical speed indicator (VSI) should also read zero when the airplane is on the ground. If it does not, a small screwdriver can be used to zero the instrument. The VSI is the only flight instrument that a pilot has the prerogative to adjust. All others must be adjusted by an FAA certificated repairman or mechanic.

The magnetic compass is a required instrument for both VFR and IFR flight. It must be securely mounted, with a correction card in place. The instrument face must be clear and the instrument case full of fluid. A cloudy instrument face, bubbles in the fluid, or a partially filled case renders the instrument unusable. [Figure 2-5]

The gyro driven attitude indicator should be checked before being powered. A white haze on the inside of the glass face may be a sign that the seal has been breached, allowing moisture and dirt to be sucked into the instrument.

The altimeter should be checked against the ramp or field elevation after setting in the barometric pressure. If the variation between the known field elevation and the altimeter indication is more than 75 feet, its accuracy is questionable.

The pilot should turn on the battery master switch and make note of the fuel quantity gauge indications for comparison with an actual visual inspection of the fuel tanks during the exterior inspection.


The accomplishment of a safe flight begins with a careful visual inspection of the airplane. The purpose of the preflight visual inspection is twofold: to determine that the airplane is legally airworthy, and that it is in condition for safe flight. The airworthiness of the airplane is determined, in part, by the following certificates and documents, which must be on board the airplane when operated. [Figure 2-1]
  • Airworthiness certificate.
  • Registration certificate.
  • FCC radio station license, if required by the type of operation.
  • Airplane operating limitations, which may be in the form of an FAA-approved Airplane Flight Manual and/or Pilot’s Operating Handbook (AFM/POH), placards, instrument markings, or any combination thereof.
Airplane logbooks are not required to be kept in the airplane when it is operated. However, they should be inspected prior to flight to show that the airplane has had required tests and inspections. Maintenance records for the airframe and engine are required to be kept. There may also be additional propeller records.

At a minimum, there should be an annual inspection within the preceding 12-calendar months. In addition, the airplane may also be required to have a 100-hour inspection in accordance with Title14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 91, section 91.409(b).

If a transponder is to be used, it is required to be inspected within the preceding 24-calendar months. If the airplane is operated under instrument flight rules (IFR) in controlled airspace, the pitot-static system is also required to be inspected within the preceding 24-calendar months.

The emergency locator transmitter (ELT) should also be checked. The ELT is battery powered, and the battery replacement or recharge date should not be exceeded.

Airworthiness Directives (ADs) have varying compliance intervals and are usually tracked in a separate area of the appropriate airframe, engine, or propeller record.

The determination of whether the airplane is in a condition for safe flight is made by a preflight inspection of the airplane and its components. [Figure 2-2] The preflight inspection should be performed in accordance with a printed checklist provided by the airplane manufacturer for the specific make and model airplane. However, the following general areas are applicable to all airplanes.

The preflight inspection of the airplane should begin while approaching the airplane on the ramp. The pilot should make note of the general appearance of the airplane, looking for obvious discrepancies such as a landing gear out of alignment, structural distortion, skin damage, and dripping fuel or oil leaks. Upon reaching the airplane, all tiedowns, control locks, and chocks should be removed.

Wednesday, October 8, 2008


During flight training, there must always be a clear understanding between the student and flight instructor of who has control of the aircraft. Prior to any dual training flight, a briefing should be conducted that includes the procedure for the exchange of flight controls. The following three-step process for the exchange of flight controls is highly recommended.

When a flight instructor wishes the student to take control of the aircraft, he/she should say to the student, “You have the flight controls.” The student should acknowledge immediately by saying, “I have the flight controls.” The flight instructor confirms by again saying, “You have the flight controls.” Part of the procedure should be a visual check to ensure that the other person actually has the flight controls. When returning the controls to the flight instructor, the student should follow the same procedure the instructor used when giving control to the student. The student should stay on the controls until the instructor says: “I have the flight controls.” There should never be any doubt as to who is flying the airplane at any one time. Numerous accidents have occurred due to a lack of communication or misunderstanding as to who actually had control of the aircraft, particularly between students and flight instructors. Establishing the above procedure during initial training will ensure the formation of a very beneficial habit pattern.


Checklists have been the foundation of pilot standardization and cockpit safety for years. The checklist is an aid to the memory and helps to ensure that critical items necessary for the safe operation of aircraft are not overlooked or forgotten. However, checklists are of no value if the pilot is not committed to its use. Without discipline and dedication to using the checklist at the appropriate times, the odds are on the side of error. Pilots who fail to take the checklist seriously become complacent and the only thing they can rely on is memory.

The importance of consistent use of checklists cannot be overstated in pilot training. A major objective in primary flight training is to establish habit patterns that will serve pilots well throughout their entire flying career. The flight instructor must promote a positive attitude toward the use of checklists, and the student pilot must realize its importance. At a minimum, prepared checklists should be used for the following phases of flight.

  • Preflight Inspection.
  • Before Engine Start.
  • Engine Starting.
  • Before Taxiing.
  • Before Takeoff.
  • After Takeoff.
  • Cruise.
  • Descent.
  • Before Landing.
  • After Landing.
  • Engine Shutdown and Securing.

Tuesday, October 7, 2008


14 CFR part 61 requires that a student pilot receive and log flight training in stalls and stall recoveries prior to solo flight. During this training, the flight instructor should emphasize that the direct cause of every stall is an excessive angle of attack. The student pilot should fully understand that there are any number of flight maneuvers which may produce an increase in the wing’s angle of attack, but the stall does not occur until the angle of attack becomes excessive. This “critical” angle of attack varies from 16 to 20° depending on the airplane design.

The flight instructor must emphasize that low speed is not necessary to produce a stall. The wing can be brought to an excessive angle of attack at any speed. High pitch attitude is not an absolute indication of proximity to a stall. Some airplanes are capable of vertical flight with a corresponding low angle of attack. Most airplanes are quite capable of stalling at a level or near level pitch attitude.

The key to stall awareness is the pilot’s ability to visualize the wing’s angle of attack in any particular circumstance, and thereby be able to estimate his/her margin of safety above stall. This is a learned skill that must be acquired early in flight training and carried through the pilot’s entire flying career. The pilot must understand and appreciate factors such as airspeed, pitch attitude, load factor, relative wind, power setting, and aircraft configuration in order to develop a reasonably accurate mental picture of the wing’s angle of attack at any particular time. It is essential to flight safety that a pilot take into consideration this visualization of the wing’s angle of attack prior to entering any flight maneuver.


A runway incursion is any occurrence at an airport involving an aircraft, vehicle, person, or object on the ground that creates a collision hazard or results in a loss of separation with an aircraft taking off, landing, or intending to land. The three major areas contributing to runway incursions are:

  • Communications,
  • Airport knowledge, and
  • Cockpit procedures for maintaining orientation.
Taxi operations require constant vigilance by the entire flight crew, not just the pilot taxiing the airplane. This is especially true during flight training operations. Both the student pilot and the flight instructor need to be continually aware of the movement and location of other aircraft and ground vehicles on the airport movement area. Many flight training activities are conducted at non-tower controlled airports. The absence of an operating airport control tower creates a need for increased vigilance on the part of pilots operating at those airports.

Planning, clear communications, and enhanced situational awareness during airport surface operations will reduce the potential for surface incidents. Safe aircraft operations can be accomplished and incidents eliminated if the pilot is properly trained early on and, throughout his/her flying career, accomplishes standard taxi operating procedures and practices. This requires the development of the formalized teaching of safe operating practices during taxi operations. The flight instructor is the key to this teaching. The flight instructor should instill in the student an awareness of the potential for runway incursion, and should emphasize the runway incursion avoidance procedures contained in Advisory Circular (AC) 91-73, Part 91 Pilot and Flightcrew Procedures During Taxi Operations and Part 135 Single-Pilot Operations.

Monday, October 6, 2008


All pilots must be alert to the potential for midair collision and near midair collisions. The general operating and flight rules in 14 CFR part 91 set forth the concept of “See and Avoid.” This concept requires that vigilance shall be maintained at all times, by each person operating an aircraft regardless of whether the operation is conducted under instrument flight rules (IFR) or visual flight rules (VFR). Pilots should also keep in mind their responsibility for continuously maintaining a vigilant lookout regardless of the type of aircraft being flown and the purpose of the flight. Most midair collision accidents and reported near midair collision incidents occur in good VFR weather conditions and during the hours of daylight. Most of these accident/incidents occur within 5 miles of an airport and/or near navigation aids.

The “See and Avoid” concept relies on knowledge of the limitations of the human eye, and the use of proper visual scanning techniques to help compensate for these limitations. The importance of, and the proper techniques for, visual scanning should be taught to a student pilot at the very beginning of flight training. The competent flight instructor should be familiar with the visual scanning and collision avoidance information contained in Advisory Circular (AC) 90-48, Pilots’ Role in Collision Avoidance, and the Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM).

There are many different types of clearing procedures. Most are centered around the use of clearing turns. The essential idea of the clearing turn is to be certain that the next maneuver is not going to proceed into another airplane’s flightpath. Some pilot training programs have hard and fast rules, such as requiring two 90° turns in opposite directions before executing any training maneuver. Other types of clearing procedures may be developed by individual flight instructors. Whatever the preferred method, the flight instructor should teach the beginning student an effective clearing procedure and insist on its use. The student pilot should execute the appropriate clearing procedure before all turns and before executing any training maneuver. Proper clearing procedures, combined with proper visual scanning techniques, are the most effective strategy for collision avoidance.


Practical tests for FAA pilot certificates and associated ratings are administered by FAA inspectors and designated pilot examiners in accordance with FAA-developed practical test standards (PTS). [Figure 1-3] 14 CFR part 61 specifies the areas of operation in which knowledge and skill must be demonstrated by the applicant. The CFRs provide the flexibility to permit the FAA to publish practical test standards containing the areas of operation and specific tasks in which competence must be demonstrated. The FAA requires that all practical tests be conducted in accordance with the appropriate practical test standards and the policies set forth in the Introduction section of the practical test standard book.

It must be emphasized that the practical test standards book is a testing document rather than a teaching document. An appropriately rated flight instructor is responsible for training a pilot applicant to acceptable standards in all subject matter areas, procedures, and maneuvers included in the tasks within each area of operation in the appropriate practical test standard. The pilot applicant should be familiar with this book and refer to the standards it contains during training. However, the practical test standard book is not intended to be used as a training syllabus. It contains the standards to which maneuvers/procedures on FAA practical tests must be performed and the FAApolicies governing the administration of practical tests. Descriptions of tasks, and information on how to perform maneuvers and procedures are contained in reference and teaching documents such as this handbook. A list of reference documents is contained in the Introduction section of each practical test standard book.

Practical test standards may be downloaded from the Regulatory Support Division’s, AFS-600, Web site at Printed copies of practical test standards can be purchased from the Superintendent of Documents, U.S. Government Printing Office, Washington, DC 20402. The official online bookstore Web site for the U.S. Government Printing Office is

Sunday, October 5, 2008


The major sources of flight training in the United States include FAA-approved pilot schools and training centers, non-certificated (14 CFR part 61) flying schools, and independent flight instructors. FAA “approved” schools are those flight schools certificated by the FAA as pilot schools under 14 CFR part 141. [Figure 1-2] Application for certification is voluntary, and the school must meet stringent requirements for personnel, equipment, maintenance, and facilities. The school must operate in accordance with an established curriculum, which includes a training course outline (TCO) approved by the FAA. The TCO must contain student enrollment prerequisites, detailed description of each lesson including standards and objectives, expected accomplishments and standards for each stage of training, and a description of the checks and tests used to measure a student’s accomplishments. FAA-approved pilot school certificates must be renewed every 2 years. Renewal is contingent upon proof of continued high quality instruction and a minimum level of instructional activity. Training at an FAA certificated pilot school is structured. Because of this structured environment, the CFRs allow graduates of these pilot schools to meet the certification experience requirements of 14 CFR part 61 with less flight time. Many FAA certificated pilot schools have designated pilot examiners (DPEs) on their staff to administer FAA practical tests. Some schools have been granted examining authority by the FAA. A school with examining authority for a particular course or courses has the authority to recommend its graduates for pilot certificates or ratings without further testing by the FAA. A list of FAA certificated pilot schools and their training courses can be found in Advisory Circular (AC) 140-2, FAA Certificated Pilot School Directory.

FAA approved pilot school certificate

FAA-approved training centers are certificated under 14 CFR part 142. Training centers, like certificated pilot schools, operate in a structured environment with approved courses and curricula, and stringent standards for personnel, equipment, facilities, operating procedures and record keeping. Training centers certificated under 14 CFR part 142, however, specialize in the use of flight simulation (flight simulators and flight training devices) in their training courses.

The overwhelming majority of flying schools in the United States are not certificated by the FAA. These schools operate under the provisions of 14 CFR part 61. Many of these non-certificated flying schools offer excellent training, and meet or exceed the standards required of FAA-approved pilot schools. Flight instructors employed by non-certificated flying schools, as well as independent flight instructors, must meet the same basic 14 CFR part 61 flight instructor requirements for certification and renewal as those flight instructors employed by FAA certificated pilot schools. In the end, any training program is dependent upon the quality of the ground and flight instruction a student pilot receives.


The flight instructor is the cornerstone of aviation safety. The FAA has adopted an operational training concept that places the full responsibility for student training on the authorized flight instructor. In this role, the instructor assumes the total responsibility for training the student pilot in all the knowledge areas and skills necessary to operate safely and competently as a certificated pilot in the National Airspace System. This training will include airmanship skills, pilot judgment and decision making, and accepted good operating practices.

An FAA certificated flight instructor has to meet broad flying experience requirements, pass rigid knowledge and practical tests, and demonstrate the ability to apply recommended teaching techniques before being certificated. In addition, the flight instructor’s certificate must be renewed every 24 months by showing continued success in training pilots, or by satisfactorily completing a flight instructor’s refresher course or a practical test designed to upgrade aeronautical knowledge, pilot proficiency, and teaching techniques.

A pilot training program is dependent on the quality of the ground and flight instruction the student pilot receives. A good flight instructor will have a thorough understanding of the learning process, knowledge of the fundamentals of teaching, and the ability to communicate effectively with the student pilot.

A good flight instructor will use a syllabus and insist on correct techniques and procedures from the beginning of training so that the student will develop proper habit patterns. The syllabus should embody the “building block” method of instruction, in which the student progresses from the known to the unknown. The course of instruction should be laid out so that each new maneuver embodies the principles involved in the performance of those previously undertaken. Consequently, through each new subject introduced, the student not only learns a new principle or technique, but broadens his/her application of those previously learned and has his/her deficiencies in the previous maneuvers emphasized and made obvious.

The flying habits of the flight instructor, both during flight instruction and as observed by students when conducting other pilot operations, have a vital effect on safety. Students consider their flight instructor to be a paragon of flying proficiency whose flying habits they, consciously or unconsciously, attempt to imitate. For this reason, a good flight instructor will meticulously observe the safety practices taught the students. Additionally, a good flight instructor will carefully observe all regulations and recognized safety practices during all flight operations.

Generally, the student pilot who enrolls in a pilot training program is prepared to commit considerable time, effort, and expense in pursuit of a pilot certificate. The student may tend to judge the effectiveness of the flight instructor, and the overall success of the pilot training program, solely in terms of being able to pass the requisite FAA practical test. A good flight instructor, however, will be able to communicate to the student that evaluation through practical tests is a mere sampling of pilot ability that is compressed into a short period of time. The flight instructor’s role, however, is to train the “total” pilot.

Saturday, October 4, 2008


Pilot and flight instructor certificates are issued by the FAA upon satisfactory completion of required knowledge and practical tests. The administration of these tests is an FAA responsibility normally carried out at the FSDO level by FSDO inspectors. The FAA, however, being a U.S. government agency, has limited resources and must prioritize its responsibilities. The agency’s highest priority is the surveillance of certificated air carriers, with the certification of airmen (including pilots and flight instructors) having a lower priority.

In order to satisfy the public need for pilot testing and certification services, the FAAdelegates certain of these responsibilities, as the need arises, to private individuals who are not FAA employees. A designated pilot examiner (DPE) is a private citizen who is designated as a representative of the FAAAdministrator to perform specific (but limited) pilot certification tasks on behalf of the FAA, and may charge a reasonable fee for doing so. Generally, a DPE’s authority is limited to accepting applications and conducting practical tests leading to the issuance of specific pilot certificates and/or ratings. A DPE operates under the direct supervision of the FSDO that holds the examiner’s designation file. A FSDO inspector is assigned to monitor the DPE’s certification activities. Normally, the DPE is authorized to conduct these activities only within the designating FSDO’s jurisdictional area.

The FAA selects only highly qualified individuals to be designated pilot examiners. These individuals must have good industry reputations for professionalism, high integrity, a demonstrated willingness to serve the public, and adhere to FAA policies and procedures in certification matters. A designated pilot examiner is expected to administer practical tests with the same degree of professionalism, using the same methods, procedures, and standards as an FAA aviation safety inspector. It should be remembered, however, that a DPE is not an FAA aviation safety inspector. A DPE cannot initiate enforcement action, investigate accidents, or perform surveillance activities on behalf of the FAA. However, the majority of FAApractical tests at the recreational, private, and commercial pilot level Figure 1-1. FAA FSDO. are administered by FAA designated pilot examiners.


The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) is empowered by the U.S. Congress to promote aviation safety by prescribing safety standards for civil aviation. This is accomplished through the Code of Federal Regulations (CFRs) formerly referred to as Federal Aviation Regulations (FARs).

Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 61 pertains to the certification of pilots, flight instructors, and ground instructors. 14 CFR part 61 prescribes the eligibility, aeronautical knowledge, flight proficiency, and training and testing requirements for each type of pilot certificate issued.

14 CFR part 67 prescribes the medical standards and certification procedures for issuing medical certificates for airmen and for remaining eligible for a medical certificate.

14 CFR part 91 contains general operating and flight rules. The section is broad in scope and provides general guidance in the areas of general flight rules, visual flight rules (VFR), instrument flight rules (IFR), aircraft maintenance, and preventive maintenance and alterations.

Within the FAA, the Flight Standards Service sets the aviation standards for airmen and aircraft operations in the United States and for American airmen and aircraft around the world. The FAAFlight Standards Service is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and is broadly organized into divisions based on work function (Air Transportation, Aircraft Maintenance, Technical Programs, a Regulatory Support Division based in Oklahoma City, OK, and a General Aviation and Commercial Division). Regional Flight Standards division managers, one at each of the FAA’s nine regional offices, coordinate Flight Standards activities within their respective regions.

Within the FAA, the Flight Standards Service sets the aviation standards for airmen and aircraft operations in the United States and for American airmen and aircraft around the world. The FAAFlight Standards Service is headquartered in Washington, D.C., and is broadly organized into divisions based on work function (Air Transportation, Aircraft Maintenance, Technical Programs, a Regulatory Support Division based in Oklahoma City, OK, and a General Aviation and Commercial Division). Regional Flight Standards division managers, one at each of the FAA’s nine regional offices, coordinate Flight Standards activities within their respective regions.

Each FSDO is staffed by aviation safety inspectors whose specialties include operations, maintenance, and avionics. General aviation operations inspectors are highly qualified and experienced aviators. Once accepted for the position, an inspector must satisfactorily complete a course of indoctrination training conducted at the FAA Academy, which includes airman evaluation and pilot testing techniques and procedures. Thereafter, the inspector must complete recurrent training on a regular basis. Among other duties, the FSDO inspector is responsible for administering FAA practical tests for pilot and flight instructor certificates and associated ratings. All questions concerning pilot certification (and/or requests for other aviation information or services) should be directed to the FSDO having jurisdiction in the particular geographic area. FSDO telephone numbers are listed in the blue pages of the telephone directory under United States Government offices, Department of Transportation, Federal Aviation Administration.

Friday, October 3, 2008


The overall purpose of primary and intermediate flight training, as outlined in this handbook, is the acquisition and honing of basic airmanship skills. Airmanship can be defined as:

  • Asound acquaintance with the principles of flight,
  • The ability to operate an airplane with competence and precision both on the ground and in the air, and
  • The exercise of sound judgment that results in optimal operational safety and efficiency.
Learning to fly an airplane has often been likened to learning to drive an automobile. This analogy is misleading. Since an airplane operates in a different environment, three dimensional, it requires a type of motor skill development that is more sensitive to this situation such as:
  • Coordination—The ability to use the hands and feet together subconsciously and in the proper relationship to produce desired results in the airplane.
  • Timing—The application of muscular coordination at the proper instant to make flight, and all maneuvers incident thereto, a constant smooth process.
  • Control touch—The ability to sense the action of the airplane and its probable actions in the immediate future, with regard to attitude and speed variations, by the sensing and evaluation of varying pressures and resistance of the control surfaces transmitted through the cockpit flight controls.
  • Speed sense—The ability to sense instantly and react to any reasonable variation of airspeed.
An airman becomes one with the airplane rather than a machine operator. An accomplished airman demonstrates the ability to assess a situation quickly and accurately and deduce the correct procedure to be followed under the circumstance; to analyze accurately the probable results of a given set of circumstances or of a proposed procedure; to exercise care and due regard for safety; to gauge accurately the performance of the airplane; and to recognize personal limitations and limitations of the airplane and avoid approaching the critical points of each. The development of airmanship skills requires effort and dedication on the part of both the student pilot and the flight instructor, beginning with the very first training flight where proper habit formation begins with the student being introduced to good operating practices.

Every airplane has its own particular flight characteristics. The purpose of primary and intermediate flight training, however, is not to learn how to fly a particular make and model airplane. The underlying purpose of flight training is to develop skills and safe habits that are transferable to any airplane. Basic airmanship skills serve as a firm foundation for this. The pilot who has acquired necessary airmanship skills during training, and demonstrates these skills by flying training-type airplanes with precision and safe flying habits, will be able to easily transition to more complex and higher performance airplanes. It should also be remembered that the goal of flight training is a safe and competent pilot, and that passing required practical tests for pilot certification is only incidental to this goal.

Tuesday, August 5, 2008


The action of the airfoil that gives an airplane lift also causes induced drag. It was determined that when a wing is flown at a positive angle of attack, a pressure differential exists between the upper and lower surfaces of the wing. That is, the pressure above the wing is less than atmospheric pressure and the pressure below the wing is equal to or greater than atmospheric pressure. Since air always moves from high pressure toward low pressure, and the path of least resistance is toward the airplane's wingtips, there is a span wise movement of air from the bottom of the wing outward from the fuselage around the wingtips. This flow of air results in "spillage" over the wingtips, thereby setting up a whirlpool of air 3-7 called a "vortex." At the same time, the air on the upper surface of the wing has a tendency to flow in toward the fuselage and off the trailing edge. This air current forms a similar vortex at the inboard portion of the trailing edge of the wing, but because the fuselage limits the inward flow, the vortex is insignificant. Consequently, the deviation in flow direction is greatest at the wingtips where the unrestricted lateral flow is the strongest. As the air curls upward around the wingtip, it combines with the wing's down wash to form a fast spinning trailing vortex. These vortices increase drag because of energy spent in producing the turbulence. It can be seen, then, that whenever the wing is producing lift, induced drag occurs, and wingtip vortices are created.

Just as lift increases with an increase in angle of attack, induced drag also increases. This occurs because as the angle of attack is increased, there is a greater pressure difference between the top and bottom of the wing, and a greater lateral flow of air; consequently, this causes more violent vortices to be set up, resulting in more turbulence and more induced drag. The intensity or strength of the wingtip vortices is directly proportional to the weight of the airplane and inversely proportional to the wingspan and speed of the airplane. The heavier and slower the airplane, the greater the angle of attack and the stronger the wingtip vortices. Thus, an airplane will create wingtip vortices with maximum strength occurring during the takeoff, climb, and landing phases of flight.

Monday, July 21, 2008


On most modern turbocharger engines, the position of the waste gate is governed by a pressure-sensing control mechanism coupled to an actuator. Engine oil directed into or away from this actuator moves the waste gate position. On these systems, the actuator is automatically positioned to produce the desired MAP simply by changing the position of the throttle control.

Other turbo charging system designs use a separate manual control to position the waste gate. With manual control, you must closely monitor the manifold pressure gauge to determine when the desired MAP has been achieved. Manual systems are often found on aircraft that have been modified with after market turbo charging systems. These systems require special operating considerations. For example, if the waste gate is left closed after descending from a high altitude, it is possible to produce a manifold pressure that exceeds the engine's limitations. This condition is referred to as an over boost, and it may produce severe detonation because of the leaning effect resulting from increased air density during descent.

Although an automatic waste gate system is less likely to experience an over boost condition, it can still occur. If you try to apply takeoff power while the engine oil temperature is below its normal operating range, the cold oil may not flow out of the waste gate actuator quickly enough to prevent an over boost. To help prevent over boosting, you should advance the throttle cautiously to prevent exceeding the maximum manifold pressure limits.

Tag: Flying instrument, instrument flight, aviation, piloting, instrument rating, instrument flying training, instrument flight rating, instrument rating requirement, instrument rating regulation, aircraft, aeronautic, airplane, and aeronautical knowledge.

There are system limitations that you should be aware of when flying an aircraft with a turbocharger. For instance, a turbocharger turbine and impeller can operate at rotational speeds in excess of 80,000 r.p.m. while at extremely high temperatures. To achieve high rotational speed, the bearings within the system must be constantly supplied with engine oil to reduce the frictional forces and high temperature. To obtain adequate lubrication, the oil temperature should be in the normal operating range before high throttle settings are applied. In addition, you should allow the turbocharger to cool and the turbine to slow down before shutting the engine down. Otherwise, the oil remaining in the bearing housing will boil, causing hard carbon deposits to form on the bearings and shaft.

These deposits rapidly deteriorate the turbocharger's efficiency and service life. For further limitations, refer to the AFM/POH.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Basic Instrument Proficiency through Practice

You can expect to make many of the following common scanning errors, both during training and at any subsequent time, if you fail to maintain basic instrument proficiency through practice:
  1. Fixation, or staring at a single instrument, usually occurs for a good reason, but has poor results. For instance, you may find yourself staring at your altimeter, which reads 200 feet below the assigned altitude, wondering how the needle got there. While you gaze at the instrument, perhaps with increasing tension on the controls, a heading change occurs unnoticed, and more errors accumulate. Another common fixation is likely when you initiate an attitude change. For example, you establish a shallow bank for a 90° turn and stare at the heading indicator throughout the turn, instead of maintaining your cross-check of other pertinent instruments. You know the aircraft is turning and you do not need to recheck the heading indicator for approximately 25 seconds after turn entry, yet you cannot take your eyes off the instrument. The problem here may not be entirely due to cross-check error. It may be related to difficulties with one or both of the other fundamental skills. You may be fixating because of uncertainty about reading the heading indicator (interpretation), or because of inconsistency in rolling out of turns (control).
  2. Omission of an instrument from your cross-check is another likely fault. It may be caused by failure to anticipate significant instrument indications following attitude changes. For example, on your roll-out from a 180° steep turn, you establish straight-and-level flight with reference to the attitude indicator alone, neglecting to check the heading indicator for constant heading information. Because of precession error, the attitude indicator will temporarily show a slight error, correctable by quick reference to the other flight instruments.
  3. Emphasis on a single instrument, instead of on the combination of instruments necessary for attitude information, is an understandable fault during the initial stages of training. You naturally tend to rely on the instrument that you understand most readily, even when it provides erroneous or inadequate information. Reliance on a single instrument is poor technique. For example, you can maintain reasonably close altitude control with the attitude indicator, but you cannot hold altitude with precision without including the altimeter in your crosscheck.
Tag: Flying instrument, instrument flight, aviation, piloting, instrument rating, instrument flying training, instrument flight rating, instrument rating requirement, instrument rating regulation, aircraft, aero plane, airplane, and aeronautical knowledge.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Instrument Systems Preflight Procedures: Taxiing, Takeoff and Engine Shut Down

Taxiing and Takeoff
  1. Turn coordinator—during taxi turns, check the miniature aircraft for proper turn indications. The ball should move freely. The ball should move opposite to the direction of turns. The turn instrument should indicate in the direction of the turn. While taxiing straight, the miniature aircraft should be level.
  2. Heading indicator—before takeoff, rechecks the heading indicator. If your magnetic compass and deviation card are accurate, the heading indicator should show the known taxiway or runway direction when the airplane is aligned with them (within 5°).
  3. Attitude indicator—if the horizon bar fails to remain in the horizontal position during straight taxiing, or tips in excess of 5° during taxi turns, the instrument is unreliable. Adjust the miniature aircraft with reference to the horizon bar for the particular airplane while on the ground. For some tricycle-gear airplanes, a slightly nose-low attitude on the ground will give a level flight attitude at normal cruising speed.
Tag: Flying instrument, instrument flight, aviation, piloting, instrument rating, instrument flying training, instrument flight rating, instrument rating requirement, instrument rating regulation, aircraft, aero plane, airplane, and aeronautical knowledge.
Tag: Types of Airspeed, Indicated Airspeed, Calibrated Airspeed, Equivalent Airspeed, True Airspeed, Mach number, Maximum Allowable Airspeed, and Airspeed Color Code.
Engine Shut Down
When shutting down the engine, note any abnormal instrument indications.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Venturi Tube and Wet-Type Vacuum Pump Systems

Venturi Tube Systems
Aircraft that do not have a pneumatic pump to evacuate the instrument cases can use venture tubes mounted on the outside of the aircraft, similar to the system shown in figure 3-26: "A venture tube". Air flowing through these tubes speeds up in the narrowest part, and according to Bernoulli's principle, the pressure drops. This location is connected to the instrument case by a piece of tubing. The two attitude instruments operate on approximately 4" Hg suction; the turn-and-slip indicator needs only 2" Hg, so a pressure-reducing needle valve is used to decrease the suction. Filtered airflow's into the instruments through filters built into the instrument cases. In this system, ice can clog the venturi tube and stop the instruments when they are most needed.
Tag: Electrical system, pneumatic system, venture tube system, wet-type vacuum pump system, dry-air pump system, pressure system,
Tag: Types of Airspeed, Indicated Airspeed, Calibrated Airspeed, Equivalent Airspeed, True Airspeed, Mach number, Maximum Allowable Airspeed, and Airspeed Color Code.
Tag: Flying instrument, instrument flight, aviation, piloting, instrument rating, instrument flying training, instrument flight rating, instrument rating requirement, instrument rating regulation, aircraft, aero plane, airplane, and aeronautical knowledge.
Wet-Type Vacuum Pump Systems
Steel-vane air pumps have been used for many years to evacuate the instrument cases. The discharge air is used to inflate rubber deicer boots on the wing and empennage leading edges. The vanes in these pumps are lubricated by a small amount of engine oil metered into the pump and this oil is discharged with the air. To keep the oil from deteriorating the rubber boots, it must be removed with an oil separator like the one in figure 3-27: "Single-engine instrument vacuum system".
The vacuum pump moves a greater volume of air than is needed to supply the instruments with the suction needed, so a suction-relief valve is installed in the inlet side of the pump. This spring-loaded valve draws in just enough air to maintain the required low pressure inside the instruments, as is shown on the suction gauge in the instrument panel. Filtered air enters the instrument cases from a central air filter. As long as aircraft fly at relatively low altitudes, enough air is drawn into the instrument cases to spin the gyros at a sufficiently high speed.

Friday, June 27, 2008

Vertical Speed Indicators (VSI)

The vertical speed indicator (VSI) in figure 3-14: "Vertical speed indicator" is also called a vertical velocity indicator (VVI) and was formerly known as a rate-of-climb indicator. It is a rate-of-pressure change instrument that gives an indication of any deviation from a constant pressure level.
Inside the instrument case is an aneroid very much like the one in an airspeed indicator. Both the inside of this aneroid and the inside of the instrument case are vented to the static system, but the case is vented through a calibrated orifice that causes the pressure inside the case to change more slowly than the pressure inside the aneroid. As the aircraft ascends, the static pressure becomes lower and the pressure inside the case compresses the aneroid, moving the pointer upward, showing a climb and indicating the number of feet per minute the aircraft is ascending.
When the aircraft levels off, the pressure no longer changes, the pressure inside the case becomes the same as that inside the aneroid, and the pointer returns to its horizontal, or zero, position. When the aircraft descends the static pressure increases and the aneroid expands, moving the pointer downward, indicating a descent.
The pointer indication in a VSI lags a few seconds behind the actual change in pressure, but it is more sensitive than an altimeter and is useful in alerting the pilot of an upward or downward trend, thereby helping maintain a constant altitude.
Some of the more complex VSIs, called instantaneous vertical speed indicators (IVSI), have two accelerometer-actuated air pumps that sense an upward or downward pitch of the aircraft and instantaneously create a pressure differential. By the time the pressure caused by the pitch acceleration dissipates, the altitude pressure change is effective.
Tag: Types of Airspeed, Indicated Airspeed, Calibrated Airspeed, Equivalent Airspeed, True Airspeed, Mach number, Maximum Allowable Airspeed, and Airspeed Color Code.
Position error: Error in the indication of the altimeter, ASI, and VSI caused by the air at the static system entrance not being absolutely still.
Kollsman window: A barometric scale window of a sensitive altimeter.
Calibrated orifice: A hole of specific diameter used to delay the pressure change in the case of a vertical speed indicator.
Memory Aid:
When flying from hot to cold, or from a high to a low, look out below!
Tag: Flying instrument, instrument flight, aviation, piloting, instrument rating, instrument flying training, instrument flight rating, instrument rating requirement, instrument rating regulation, aircraft, aero plane, airplane, and aeronautical knowledge.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Basic Flight Instruments

Aircraft became a practical means of transportation when accurate flight instruments freed the pilot from the necessity of maintaining visual contact with the ground. Safety was enhanced when all pilots with private or higher ratings were required to demonstrate their ability to maintain level flight and make safe turns without reference to the outside horizon.
The basic flight instruments required for operation under visual flight rules (VFR) are an airspeed indicator, an altimeter, and a magnetic direction indicator. In addition to these, operation under instrument flight rules (IFR) requires a gyroscopic rate-of-turn indicator, a slip-skid indicator, a sensitive altimeter adjustable for barometric pressure, a clock displaying hours, minutes, and seconds with a sweep-second pointer or digital presentation, a gyroscopic pitch-and-bank indicator (artificial horizon), and a gyroscopic direction indicator (directional gyro or equivalent).
Tag: Flying instrument, instrument flight, aviation, piloting, instrument rating, instrument flying training, instrument flight rating, instrument rating requirement, instrument rating regulation, aircraft, aero plane, airplane, and aeronautical knowledge.
Aircraft that are flown in instrument meteorological conditions (IMC) are equipped with instruments that provide attitude and direction reference, as well as radio navigation instruments that allow precision flight from takeoff to landing with limited or no outside visual reference.
The instruments discussed in this chapter are those required by Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) part 91, and are organized into three groups: Pitot-static instruments, compass systems, and gyroscopic instruments. The chapter concludes with a discussion of how to preflight these systems for IFR flight.

Monday, June 23, 2008

The Factors Affecting Aircraft Performance: Speed Stability

Normal Command
The characteristics of flight in the region of normal command are illustrated at point A on the curve in figure 2-7. If the aircraft is established in steady, level flight at point A, lift is equal to weight, and the power available is set equal to the power required. If the airspeed is increased with no changes to the power setting, a power deficiency exists. The aircraft will have the natural tendency to return to the initial speed to balance power and drag. If the airspeed is reduced with no changes to the power setting, an excess of power exists. The aircraft will have the natural tendency to speed up to regain the balance between power and drag. Keeping the aircraft in proper trim enhances this natural tendency. The static longitudinal stability of the aircraft tends to return the aircraft to the original trimmed condition.
An aircraft flying in steady, level flight at point C is in equilibrium. [Figure 2-7: Regions of speed stability] If the speed were increased or decreased slightly, the aircraft would tend to remain at that speed. This is because the curve is relatively flat and a slight change in speed will not produce any significant excess or deficiency in power. It has the characteristic of neutral stability; the aircraft's tendency is to remain at the new speed.
Reversed Command
The characteristics of flight in the region of reversed command are illustrated at point B on the curve in figure 2-7. If the aircraft is established in steady, level flight at point B, lift is equal to weight, and the power available is set equal to the power required. When the airspeed is increased greater than point B, an excess of power exists. This causes the aircraft to accelerate to an even higher speed. When the aircraft is slowed to some airspeed lower than point B, a deficiency of power exists. The natural tendency of the aircraft is to continue to slow to an even lower airspeed.
This tendency toward instability happens because the variation of excess power to either side of point B magnifies the original change in speed. Although the static longitudinal stability of the aircraft tries to maintain the original trimmed condition, this instability is more of an influence because of the increased induced drag due to the higher angles of attack in slow-speed flight.
Tag: Flying instrument, instrument flight, aviation, piloting, instrument rating, instrument flying training, instrument flight rating, instrument rating requirement, instrument rating regulation, aircraft, aero plane, airplane, and aeronautical knowledge.
Static longitudinal stability: The aerodynamic pitching moments required to return the aircraft to the equilibrium angle of attack.
Slow Airspeed Safety Hint
Be sure to add power before pitching up while at slow airspeeds to prevent losing airspeed.

Medical Factors on Flight Instruments

Tag: Flying instrument, instrument flight, aviation, piloting, instrument rating, instrument flying training, instrument flight rating, instrument rating requirement, instrument rating regulation, aircraft, aero plane, airplane, and aeronautical knowledge.
A "go/no-go" decision is made before each flight. The pilot should not only preflight check the aircraft, but also his/ herself before every flight. As a pilot you should ask yourself, "Could I pass my medical examination right now?" If you cannot answer with an absolute "yes," then you should not fly. This is especially true for pilots embarking on flights in IMC. Instrument flying can be much more demanding than flying in VMC, and peak performance is critical for the safety of flight.
Pilot performance can be seriously degraded by both prescribed and over-the-counter medications, as well as by the medical conditions for which they are taken. Many medications, such as tranquilizers, sedatives, strong pain relievers, and cough-suppressants, have primary effects that may impair judgment, memory, alertness, coordination, vision, and the ability to make calculations. Others, such as antihistamines, blood pressure drugs, muscle relaxants, and agents to control diarrhea and motion sickness, have side effects that may impair the same critical functions. Any medication that depresses the nervous system, such as a sedative, tranquilizer, or antihistamine, can make a pilot much more susceptible to hypoxia.
Title 14 of the Code of Federal Regulations (14 CFR) prohibits pilots from performing crewmember duties while using any medication that affects the faculties in any way contrary to safety. The safest rule is not to fly as a crewmember while taking any medication, unless approved to do so by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA). If there is any doubt regarding the effects of any medication, consult an Aviation Medical Examiner (AME) before flying.
14 CFR part 91 prohibits pilots from performing crewmember duties within 8 hours after drinking any alcoholic beverage or while under the influence. Extensive research has provided a number of facts about the hazards of alcohol consumption and flying. As little as one ounce of liquor, one bottle of beer, or four ounces of wine can impair flying skills and render a pilot much more susceptible to disorientation and hypoxia. Even after the body completely metabolizes a moderate amount of alcohol, a pilot can still be impaired for many hours. There is simply no way of increasing the metabolism of alcohol or alleviating a hangover.
Tag: Flying instrument, instrument flight, aviation, piloting, instrument rating, instrument flying training, instrument flight rating, instrument rating requirement, instrument rating regulation, aircraft, aero plane, airplane, and aeronautical knowledge.
Fatigue is one of the most treacherous hazards to flight safety, as it may not be apparent to a pilot until serious errors are made. Fatigue can be either acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term). A normal occurrence of everyday living, acute fatigue is the tiredness felt after long periods of physical and mental strain, including strenuous muscular effort, immobility, heavy mental workload, strong emotional pressure, monotony, and lack of sleep. Acute fatigue is prevented by adequate rest, regular exercise, and proper nutrition. Chronic fatigue occurs when there is not enough time for a full recovery from repeated episodes of acute fatigue. Recovery from chronic fatigue requires a prolonged period of rest. In either case, unless adequate precautions are taken, personal performance could be impaired and adversely affect pilot judgment and decision making.
IMSAFE Checklist
The following checklist, IMSAFE, is intended for a pilot's personal preflight use. A quick check of the items on this list can help the pilot make a good self-evaluation prior to any flight. If the answer to any of the checklist questions is yes, then the pilot should consider not flying.
Illness—Do I have any symptoms?
Medication—Have I been taking prescription or over-thecounter drugs?
Stress—Am I under psychological pressure from the job? Do I have money, health, or family problems?
Alcohol—Have I been drinking within 8 hours? Within 24 hours?
Fatigue—Am I tired and not adequately rested?
Eating—Have I eaten enough of the proper foods to keep adequately nourished during the entire flight?
Tag: Flying instrument, instrument flight, aviation, piloting, instrument rating, instrument flying training, instrument flight rating, instrument rating requirement, instrument rating regulation, aircraft, aero plane, airplane, and aeronautical knowledge.
Hypoxia: A state of oxygen deficiency in the body sufficient to impair functions of the brain and other organs.

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Inner Ear Orientation on Flight

The inner ear has two major parts concerned with orientation, the semicircular canals and the otolith organs. [Figure 1-1: Inner ear orientation] The semicircular canals detect angular acceleration of the body while the otolith organs detect linear acceleration and gravity. The semicircular canals consist of three tubes at right angles to each other, each located on one of the three axes: pitch, roll, or yaw. Each canal is filled with a fluid called endolymph fluid. In the center of the canal is the cupola, a gelatinous structure that rests upon sensory hairs located at the end of the vestibular nerves.

[Figure 1-2: Angular Acceleration] illustrates what happens during a flight turn. When the ear canal is moved in its plane, the relative motion of the fluid moves the cupola, which, in turn, stimulates the sensory hairs to provide the sensation of turning. This effect can be demonstrated by taking a glass filled with water and turning it slowly. The wall of the glass is moving, yet the water is not. If these sensory hairs were attached to the glass, they would be moving in relation to the water, which is still standing still.

Tag: Flying instrument, instrument flight, aviation, piloting, instrument rating, instrument flying training, instrument flight rating, instrument rating requirement, instrument rating regulation, aircraft, aero plane, airplane, and aeronautical knowledge.

The ear was designed to detect turns of a rather short duration. After a short period of time (approximately 20 seconds), the fluid accelerates due to friction between the fluid and the canal wall. Eventually, the fluid will move at the same speed as the ear canal. Since both are moving at the same speed, the sensory hairs detect no relative movement and the sensation of turning ceases. This can also be illustrated with the glass of water. Initially, the glass moved and the water did not. Yet, continually turning the glass would result in the water accelerating and matching the speed of the wall of the glass.

The pilot is now in a turn without any sensation of turning. When the pilot stops turning, the ear canal stops moving but the fluid does not. The motion of the fluid moves the cupola and therefore, the sensory hairs in the opposite direction. This creates the sensation of turning in the opposite direction even though the turn has stopped.

The otolith organs detect linear acceleration and gravity in a similar way. Instead of being filled with a fluid, a gelatinous membrane containing chalk-like crystals covers the sensory hairs. When the pilot tilts his/her head, the weight of these crystals causes this membrane to shift due to gravity and the sensory hairs detect this shift. The brain orients this new position to what it perceives as vertical. Acceleration and deceleration also cause the membrane to shift in a similar manner. Forward acceleration gives the illusion of the head tilting backward. [Figure 1-3: Linear acceleration]

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Instrument Flying Rating Regulations

Although the regulations specify minimum requirements, the amount of instructional time needed is determined not by the regulation, but by the individual’s ability to achieve a satisfactory level of proficiency. A professional pilot with diversified flying experience may easily attain a satisfactory level of proficiency in the minimum time required by regulation. Your own time requirements will depend upon a variety of factors, including previous flying experience, rate of learning, basic ability, frequency of flight training, type of aircraft flown, quality of ground school training, and quality of flight instruction, to name a few. The total instructional time you will need, and in general the scheduling of such time, is up to the individual most qualified to judge your proficiency—the instructor who supervises your progress and endorses your record of flight training.

Holding the Instrument Rating does not necessarily make you a competent weather pilot. The rating certifies only that you have complied with the minimum experience requirements, that you can plan and execute a flight under IFR regulations, that you can execute basic instrument maneuvers, and that you have shown acceptable skill and judgment in performing these activities. Your Instrument Rating permits you to fly into instrument weather conditions with no previous instrument weather experience. Your Instrument Rating is issued on the assumption that you have the good judgment to avoid situations beyond your capabilities. The instrument training program you undertake should help you not only to develop essential flying skills but also help you develop the judgment necessary to use the skills within your own limits.

Once you hold the Instrument Rating, you may not act as pilot in command under IFR or in weather conditions less than the minimums regulations prescribed for VFR, unless you meet the recent flight experience requirements.

Instrument pilots rely strictly on instrument indications to precisely control the aircraft; therefore, they must have a solid understanding of basic aerodynamic principles and regulations in order to make accurate judgments regarding aircraft control inputs.

****for blog claim only****
Technorati Profile

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Aviation Instrument Rating

Is an instrument rating necessary? The answer to this question depends entirely upon individual needs. Pilots who fly in familiar uncongested areas, stay continually alert to weather developments, and accept an alternative to their original plan, may not need an Instrument Rating. However, some cross-country destinations may take a pilot to unfamiliar airports and/or through high activity areas in marginal visual or instrument meteorological conditions (IMC). Under these conditions, an Instrument Rating may be an alternative to rerouting, rescheduling, or canceling a flight. Many accidents are the result of pilots who lack the necessary skills or equipment to fly in marginal visual meteorological conditions (VMC) or IMC conditions and attempt flight without outside references.

Pilots originally flew aircraft strictly by sight, sound, and feel while comparing the aircraft’s attitude to the natural horizon. As aircraft performance increased, pilots required more inflight information to enhance the safe operation of their aircraft. This instrument flying information has ranged from a string tied to a wing strut, to development of sophisticated electronic flight information systems (EFIS) and flight management systems (FMS). Flight instrument interpretation and aircraft control have advanced from the “one, two, three” or “needle, ball and airspeed” system to the use of “attitude instrument flying” techniques.

Navigation began by using ground references with dead reckoning and has led to the development of electronic navigation systems. These include the automatic direction finder (ADF), very-high frequency omnidirectional range (VOR), distance measuring equipment (DME), tactical air navigation (TACAN), long range navigation (LORAN), global positioning system (GPS), instrument landing system (ILS), microwave landing system (MLS), and inertial navigation system (INS).

Perhaps you want an Instrument Rating for the same basic reason you learned to fly in the first place—because you like flying. Maintaining and extending your proficiency, once you have the rating, means less reliance on chance and more on skill and knowledge. Earn the rating—not because you might need it sometime, but because it represents achievement and provides training you will use continually and build upon as long as you fly. But most importantly—it means greater safety in flying.