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Editor’s Picks: Books for Every Aviator on Your List

ASA has an expanding library of aviation titles for everyone in the industry, whether you’re a student pilot, mechanic, instructor, or flying for a major airline. Here are three to consider this season:

For the student pilot…
Dictionary of Aeronautical Terms
Fifth Edition, by Dale Crane

The aviation industry has a language all its own, and the Dictionary of Aeronautical Terms (or “the DAT” as we call it here) is an essential reference to make sense of it all. ASA editorial and support staff even rely on it as a guide to industry-standard terminology and jargon. Now with over 11,000 terms, the DAT includes definitions from 14 CFR Part 1 and other parts, the Pilot/Controller Glassary from the AIM, glossaries from government handbooks and manuals, and more. We’ve also included useful tables (phonetic alphabet/Morse code, triginometric functions, and Periodic Table), an exhaustive list of acronyms, abbreviations, and V-speeds, and over 500 illustrations. The DAT is useful for anyone in the aviation industry, but it’s the perfect reference book for a student pilot who’s absorbing a lot of new and critical information. It is a reference that will serve a student pilot over the course of their training and aviation career.

For the flight instructor…
The Savvy Flight Instructor: Secrets of the Successful CFI
Second Edition, by Greg Brown

In the new edition of The Savvy Flight Instructor, Greg Brown shows not only how to make flight training engaging, effective, and rewarding for students, but also how to make flight instruction work as a business. Greg covers marketing, using social media and other internet tools to reach prospective and inactive pilots, and how to network and build relationships with local, regional, and national flying organizations without losing sight of the fact that flying is fun. Also included are guest perspectives from commercial pilot Heather Baldwin, CFI and DPE Jason Blair, flight training standardization expert Ben Eichelberg, flight school owner Dorothy Schick, and flight-training writer Ian Twombly.

For the flyer…
Severe Weather Flying
Fourth Edition, by Dennis Newton

In this brand-new fourth edition of Severe Weather Flying, author Dennis Newton continues to build on great resource that’s been in print for over 30 years. Weather continues to challenge aviation, but the scientific understanding, tools, and models have evolved making it easier to predict and survive severe weather. As a meteorologist, flight instructor, weather research and engineering test pilot, Dennis Newton believes that by understanding weather science, pilots can truly lessen their chances of encountering thunderstorms and other severe conditions. This is an excellent book for an aviator of any skill level, as it offers strategies for better airmanship and greater understanding of atmospheric sciences and insight into the weather research that shapes aviation policy.

Looking for a specific recommendation? Give ASA a call at 800-272-2359 or email us at asa@asa2fly.com or cfi@asa2fly.com. Check out past Editor’s Picks posts for more recommendations, including last year’s stocking stuffers!

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CFI Brief: Ice Induced Stall Safety Video

The Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) has recently released a new training aid, Ice Induced Stall Pilot Training. This 30-minute video covers the phenomenon of tailplane and wing stall icing conditions as well as icing certification rules and recommended cockpit procedures to mitigate ice induced stalls. As a pilot, it is crucial that you are well informed on the effects of aircraft icing, particularly as we approach the winter season and freezing levels begin to drop affecting general aviation aircraft to a greater extent.

“Icing is a cumulative hazard. The longer an aircraft collects icing, the worse the hazard becomes.” –  AC 00-6B

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Weather: Adverse Wind

Adverse wind is a category of hazardous weather that is responsible for many weather-related accidents. Adverse winds include: crosswinds, gusts, tailwind, variable wind, and a sudden wind shift. Takeoff and landing are the most critical periods of any flight and are most susceptible to the effects of adverse wind. The most at-risk group is general aviation (GA) pilots flying aircraft with lower crosswind and tailwind threshold values. Today, we’ll take a look at the subject with an excerpt from the new edition of Aviation Weather (AC 00-6B).

Crosswind. A crosswind is a wind that has a component directed perpendicularly to the heading of an aircraft. The potential of drift produced by crosswind is critical to air navigation, and can have its biggest impact during takeoff and landing. Airplanes take off and land more efficiently when oriented into the wind. The aircraft’s groundspeed is minimized, a shorter runway is required to achieve lift-off, and the pilot has more time to make adjustments necessary for a smooth landing. As the wind turns more perpendicular to the runway to become a crosswind, the airplane directional control is affected. If a pilot does not correctly compensate for the crosswind, the aircraft may drift off the side of the runway or sideload on landing gear might occur. In extreme cases, the landing gear may collapse (see the figure below).
15-3
Gust. A gust is a fluctuation of wind speed with variations of 10 knots or more between peaks and lulls.

Even if the airplane is oriented into the wind, gusts during takeoff and landing cause airspeed fluctuations which can cause problems for pilots. A gust increases airspeed, which increases lift, and may cause an aircraft to briefly balloon up. Once the gust ends, a sudden decrease of airspeed occurs, which decreases lift and causes the aircraft to sink. Gusty winds at the point of touchdown provide significant challenges to a safe landing.

Tailwind. A tailwind is a wind with a component of motion from behind the aircraft.

A tailwind can be hazardous during both takeoff and landing. A longer takeoff roll is necessary because a higher groundspeed is required to generate sufficient lift, and the aircraft may roll off the end of the runway before lift-off. Also, a smaller initial climb gradient occurs during takeoff, which may be insufficient to clear obstacles at the end of the runway. During a landing, a longer landing roll is required because the aircraft will touch down at a higher groundspeed. Wind should always be considered in takeoff performance planning.

Variable Wind/Sudden Wind Shift. A variable wind is a wind that changes direction frequently, while a sudden wind shift is a line or narrow zone along which there is an abrupt change of wind direction. Both, even at low wind speeds, can make takeoffs and landings difficult. A headwind can quickly become a crosswind or tailwind.

Wind Shear. Wind shear is the change in wind speed and/or direction, usually in the vertical. The characteristics of the wind shear profile are of critical importance in determining the impact for an aircraft on takeoff or landing. Please refer to the current edition of AC 00-54, Pilot Windshear Guide, for additional information.

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Happy Thanksgiving from ASA!
Happy Thanksgiving from ASA!

ASA will be closed for the holiday on Thursday and Friday.
The Learn to Fly Blog will be back with a new post on Monday.

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Procedures and Airport Operations: The Round Out (Flare)

Today’s post is excerpted from the brand-new edition of the Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3B) available now in print, PDF eBook, and eBundle from ASA as well as a combo pack with new edition of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge (FAA-H-8083-25B).

The round out is a slow, smooth transition from a normal approach attitude to a landing attitude, gradually rounding out the flightpath to one that is parallel with, and within a very few inches above, the runway. When the airplane, in a normal descent, approaches within what appears to be 10 to 20 feet above the ground, the round out or flare is started. This is a continuous process until the airplane touches down on the ground.

As the airplane reaches a height above the ground where a change into the proper landing attitude can be made, back-elevator pressure is gradually applied to slowly increase the pitch attitude and angle of attack (AOA). This causes the airplane’s nose to gradually rise toward the desired landing attitude. The AOA is increased at a rate that allows the airplane to continue settling slowly as forward speed decreases.

8083-3b-1

When the AOA is increased, the lift is momentarily increased and this decreases the rate of descent. Since power normally is reduced to idle during the round out, the airspeed also gradually decreases. This causes lift to decrease again and necessitates raising the nose and further increasing the AOA. During the round out, the airspeed is decreased to touchdown speed while the lift is controlled so the airplane settles gently onto the landing surface. The round out is executed at a rate that the proper landing attitude and the proper touchdown airspeed are attained simultaneously just as the wheels contact the landing surface.

The rate at which the round out is executed depends on the airplane’s height above the ground, the rate of descent, and the pitch attitude. A round out started excessively high must be executed more slowly than one from a lower height to allow the airplane to descend to the ground while the proper landing attitude is being established. The rate of rounding out must also be proportionate to the rate of closure with the ground. When the airplane appears to be descending very slowly, the increase in pitch attitude must be made at a correspondingly slow rate.

Visual cues are important in flaring at the proper altitude and maintaining the wheels a few inches above the runway until eventual touchdown. Flare cues are primarily dependent on the angle at which the pilot’s central vision intersects the ground (or runway) ahead and slightly to the side. Proper depth perception is a factor in a successful flare, but the visual cues used most are those related to changes in runway or terrain perspective and to changes in the size of familiar objects near the landing area, such as fences, bushes, trees, hangars, and even sod or runway texture. Focus direct central vision at a shallow downward angle from 10° to 15° toward the runway as the round out/flare is initiated. Maintaining the same viewing angle causes the point of visual interception with the runway to move progressively rearward as the airplane loses altitude. This is an important visual cue in assessing the rate of altitude loss. Conversely, forward movement of the visual interception point indicates an increase in altitude and means that the pitch angle was increased too rapidly, resulting in an over flare. Location of the visual interception point in conjunction with assessment of flow velocity of nearby off-runway terrain, as well as the similarity of appearance of height above the runway ahead of the airplane (in comparison to the way it looked when the airplane was taxied prior to takeoff), is also used to judge when the wheels are just a few inches above the runway.

8-7

The pitch attitude of the airplane in a full-flap approach is considerably lower than in a no-flap approach. To attain the proper landing attitude before touching down, the nose must travel through a greater pitch change when flaps are fully extended. Since the round out is usually started at approximately the same height above the ground regardless of the degree of flaps used, the pitch attitude must be increased at a faster rate when full flaps are used; however, the round out is still be executed at a rate proportionate to the airplane’s downward motion.

Once the actual process of rounding out is started, do not push the elevator control forward. If too much back-elevator pressure was exerted, this pressure is either slightly relaxed or held constant, depending on the degree of the error. In some cases, it may be necessary to advance the throttle slightly to prevent an excessive rate of sink or a stall, either of which results in a hard, drop-in type landing.

It is recommended that a pilot form the habit of keeping one hand on the throttle throughout the approach and landing should a sudden and unexpected hazardous situation require an immediate application of power.

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CFI Brief: Magnetic Compass

The magnetic compass is the most basic of all instruments you will find installed in your aircraft and is required under both Visual and Instrument Flight Rules (VFR and IFR). The function and purpose of a magnetic compass installed in an aircraft is no different then one you might use on a weekend hike with your friends. However, the design elements of your aviation compass may differ from one you might pick up at your local sporting goods store. In addition, there are some errors you should be familiar with in relation to a magnetic compass, many of which are unique to the compass being installed in an aircraft.

The compass consists of a float, which is free to turn on a hardened steel pivot that rides in a glass bearing. There are two small bar magnets attached to the bottom of the float, and a calibrated card is mounted around the float. The float assembly rides in a bowl of compass fluid, which is a highly refined kerosene-type liquid. The calibrated card is visible to the pilot through the glass front of the bowl, and the direction the aircraft is headed is read on the card opposite the vertical lubber line just behind the glass. The magnetic compass is subject to several errors and limitations:

Variation—This is the error caused by the compass pointing toward the magnetic north pole, while the aeronautical charts are oriented to the geographic north pole. Variation is not affected by changes in heading, but it does change with the location on the earth’s surface. Aeronautical charts show the amount of variation correction to be applied.

Deviation—This is the error caused by local magnetic fields produced by certain metals and the electrical systems within the aircraft. Deviation error is corrected for by “swinging” the compass. The aircraft is aligned with the directional marks on a compass rose on the airport, and the small magnets inside the compass housing are rotated to minimize the error between the compass reading and the direction of the mark with which the aircraft is aligned. Corrections are made on the four cardinal headings, and the errors are read every 30°. A compass correction card is made for each specific aircraft and installed near the compass to show the pilot the compass heading to fly for each magnetic heading. This error can be exasperated by pilot actions—be careful not to put metal items up on the dashboard (like a kneeboard) as the additional metal can affect the compass deviation error.

Magnetic dip error—This error is caused by the compass magnets pointing downward as they align with the earth’s magnetic field. This downward pointing is caused by the vertical component of the field, and is greatest near the magnetic poles.

Northerly turning error—This error is caused by the vertical component of the earth’s magnetic field. When flying in the northern hemisphere, on a northerly heading, and banking in either direction to start a turn, the vertical component of the magnetic field pulls on the north-seeking end of the magnets and rotates the compass card in the direction opposite that of the turn being started. When flying on a southerly heading, and banking in either direction to start a turn, the vertical component pulling on the magnets rotates the card in the same direction as the turn is being made. The card moves in the correct direction, but at a rate greater than the actual rate of turn.

northerly-turning-error

Southerly turning error—When turning in a southerly direction, the forces are such that the compass float assembly lags rather than leads. The result is a false southerly turn indication. The compass card, or float assembly, should be allowed to pass the desired heading prior to stopping the turn. As with the northerly error, this error is amplified with the proximity to either pole. To correct this lagging error, the aircraft should be allowed to pass the desired heading prior to stopping the turn. The same rule of 15° plus half of the latitude applies here (i.e., if the airplane is being operated in a position around the 30° of latitude, the turn should be stopped 15° + 15° + 30° after passing the desired heading).

southerly-turning-errors

Acceleration error—This error is caused by the center of gravity of the compass float being below its pivot. When the aircraft is flying in the northern hemisphere on an easterly or westerly heading and accelerates, the rear end of the float tips upward, and the magnetic pull on the compass magnets causes the card to rotate and indicate a turn toward the north. When the aircraft decelerates on an easterly or westerly heading, the rear end of the float dips down and the magnet is pulled in the direction that rotates the card to indicate a turn toward the south. This acceleration error does not occur when accelerating or decelerating on a northerly or southerly heading.

ands

When making turns by reference to the magnetic compass, these corrections should be made:

  1. If you are on a northerly heading and start a turn to the east or west, the indication of the compass lags or shows a turn in the opposite direction.
  2. If you are on a southerly heading and start a turn to the east or west, the indication of the compass leads the turn, showing a greater amount of turn than is actually being made.
  3. The amount of lead or lag depends upon the latitude at which you are flying. For all practical purposes, the lead or lag is equal to approximately 1° for each degree of latitude.
  4. When rolling out of a turn, using a coordinated bank. Start the rollout before the desired heading is reached by an amount that is equal to approximately one-half of the bank angle being used.

Two very useful acronyms to help you remember a couple of the compass areas are UNOS and ANDS:

UNOS: U
nder Shoot North and Overshoot South. This is used to help you remember northerly turning errors.

ANDS: Accelerate North Decelerate South. Discussed above, is an easy way to remember acceleration errors.

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Flight Instruments: The Heading Indicator and Magnetic Compass

Today’s post on flight instruments is an excerpt from the new fourth edition of The Pilot’s Manual: Ground School (PM-2C).

The magnetic compass is the primary indicator of direction in most airplanes. It is, however, difficult to read in turbulence and subject to acceleration and turning errors, making it a difficult instrument to fly by accurately. The heading indicator (HI) is a gyroscopic instrument that you should keep aligned with the magnetic compass in flight. Although it takes its directional reference from the compass, it is not subject to the same acceleration and turning errors. This makes accurate turns and a constant heading possible.
7-31
There are mechanical factors present in the HI (mainly friction) that will cause it to drift off its original alignment with magnetic north because of gyroscopic precession. This is called mechanical drift. In addition, because the airplane is flying over a rotating earth, a line in space from the airplane to north will steadily change. This causes apparent drift. Both mechanical and apparent drift can be corrected by simply realigning the HI with the magnetic compass periodically, as described below.

You should check the power source of the HI prior to flight and, when taxiing, check the correct turn indications on the HI (“turning right, heading increases—turning left, heading decreases”). The HI has a slaving knob that enables the pilot to realign the HI with the magnetic compass, correcting for both mechanical drift and apparent drift. This should be done every 10 or 15 minutes. Some older heading indicators have to be uncaged after realigning with the magnetic compass. Advanced airplanes have HI gyros that are aligned automatically.

To manually align the heading indicator with the magnetic compass:

  • choose a reference point directly ahead of the airplane, aim for it and fly steadily straight-and-level;
  • keep the nose precisely on the reference point, and then read the magnetic compass heading (when the compass is steady);
  • maintain the airplane’s heading toward the reference point and then refer to the HI, adjusting its reading (if necessary) to that taken from the magnetic compass; and
  • check that the airplane has remained steadily heading toward the reference point during the operation (if not, repeat the procedure).
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CFI Brief: Cold Weather Operations

We are well into fall and winter seems to be fast approaching, I am ever reminded by all the holiday décor already up around town. For the majority of us, baring you lucky few down south, we will notice drops in temperature and for many areas across the United States temperatures can drop well below freezing. With freezing conditions come additional weather hazards like frost, ice, and snow to name a few. Often times, new pilots overlook the fact that cold weather can also affect the aircraft itself, specifically aircraft systems. When an aircraft has been exposed to cold for any length of time, extra care should be taken when preparing the aircraft for flight. Your Pilots Operating Handbook (POH) or Information Manual will often list specifics for cold weather operations.

Some of the aircraft systems affected by cold weather include the engine, oil, fuel, and electrical systems. At low temperatures, changes occur in the viscosity of engine oil, batteries can lose a high percentage of their effectiveness and drain quicker, instruments and warning lights can stick in the pushed position when “pushed to test.” Therefore, preheating the engines, as well as the cockpit, before starting is advisable in low temperatures. The pilot should also be aware that at extremely low temperatures, the engine can develop more than rated takeoff power even though the manifold pressure (MAP) and RPM readings are normal.

Over-priming is a frequent cause of difficult starting in cold weather because oil is washed off the cylinder walls and poor compression results. Many POHs will outline different procedures and checklists for cold weather starting.

During cold weather preflight operations, be sure to check the oil breather lines. The vapors caused by combustion may condense, then freeze, clogging these lines.

Since most aircraft heaters work by using the engine to heat outside air, a pilot should frequently inspect a manifold type heating system to minimize the possibility of hazardous exhaust gases leaking into the cockpit.

In addition to your standard aircraft checklist, there are often many additional tasks that need to be followed for cold weather operations. You need to adjust and allow yourself extra time in your pre-flight to make sure everything is accomplished to allow for a safe flight.

Here are a few questions to test your knowledge on the material covered above.

1. During preflight in cold weather, crankcase breather lines should receive special attention because they are susceptible to being clogged by
A. congealed oil from the crankcase.
B. moisture from the outside air which has frozen.
C. ice from crankcase vapors that have condensed and subsequently frozen.

2. Which is true regarding preheating an aircraft during cold weather operations?
A. The cabin area as well as the engine should be preheated.
B. The cabin area should not be preheated with portable heaters.
C. Hot air should be blown directly at the engine through the air intakes.

3. Frequent inspections should be made of aircraft exhaust manifold-type heating systems to minimize the possibility of
A. exhaust gases leaking into the cockpit.
B. a power loss due to back pressure in the exhaust system.
C. a cold-running engine due to the heat withdrawn by the heater.

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Aircraft Performance: Air Density

Takeoff and landing are perhaps two of the most labor intensive tasks involved in piloting an airplane, and they start long before the wheels leave the ground.

Takeoffs involve much more than smooth piloting skills; they involve careful planning and preparation. A very smooth takeoff is of little value if the airplane, once airborne, is faced with obstacles impossible to avoid. The takeoff performance of the airplane needs to be matched to the runway and the surrounding obstacles prior to actually taking off. Today, we’ll take a look at one of the factors affecting takeoff performance: air density. This post is excerpted from the new fourth edition of The Pilot’s Manual: Ground School (PM-2C).

One cause of an increase in density altitude is a decrease in air density. This results in a longer ground run and takeoff distance to clear a 50-foot obstacle. A decrease in air density can be caused by a number of factors.

A lower air pressure will decrease the density and this can occur as a result of a different ground-level ambient pressure or as a result of a higher airport elevation. This effect is covered by pressure altitude, which relates the actual pressure experienced by the airplane to a level in the standard atmosphere that has an identical pressure. High elevation airports lead to longer takeoff distances.

A higher air temperature will also decrease the air density, reducing airplane and engine performance.

9-4

Hot, high and humid means decreased performance. (Click to view full-size!)

If the air density decreases, the engine–propeller combination will not produce as much power and so the takeoff distance will increase. In addition to the power-producing performance of the engine–propeller decreasing, the aerodynamic performance of the airplane will also decrease as air density becomes less.

To produce the required lift force (L = Lifting ability ½ρV2 × S), a decrease in air density (ρ) means that for the same required indicated airspeed, an increase in the velocity (true airspeed, V) is required and a longer takeoff distance will result. Not only does a lower air density affect the aerodynamic performance of the airframe (controlled by ½ρV2), it also decreases the weight of the fuel/air mixture in the engine cylinders, causing a decrease in engine power.

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CFI Brief: Speed Limits

I don’t know why I am even going to tempt Murphy’s Law, but I haven’t had a speeding ticket in many years. Of course now that I put it out there I can probably expect to get one on the way home this evening. The reason I even mention it (which I’m already regretting) is because today I want to discuss aircraft speed limits. This is essentially very similar to posted speed limits while driving, albeit don’t plan on seeing floating speed limit signs 10,000 feet in the air. This isn’t yet the Jetsons. Aircraft speed limits are outlined in 14 CFR §91.117 and is a regulation that needs to be memorized by the pilot.

Aircraft speed limits outlined in §91.117 have been established in the interest of safety. When we review the actual regulation below you will notice that speed limits tend to be lower in higher traffic or congested areas. Once again this is established for safety reasons, aircraft flying at slower airspeeds will have more time to react and prevent a possible midair collision.

§91.117 Aircraft speed.

(a) Unless otherwise authorized by the Administrator, no person may operate an aircraft below 10,000 feet MSL at an indicated airspeed of more than 250 knots (288 mph).

(b) Unless otherwise authorized or required by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft at or below 2,500 feet above the surface within 4 nautical miles of the primary airport of a Class C or Class D airspace area at an indicated airspeed of more than 200 knots (230 mph.). This paragraph (b) does not apply to any operations within a Class B airspace area. Such operations shall comply with paragraph (a) of this section.

(c) No person may operate an aircraft in the airspace underlying a Class B airspace area designated for an airport or in a VFR corridor designated through such a Class B airspace area, at an indicated airspeed of more than 200 knots (230 mph).

(d) If the minimum safe airspeed for any particular operation is greater than the maximum speed prescribed in this section, the aircraft may be operated at that minimum speed.

Ok, so we can breakdown this regulation into five essential aircraft speed limits, which you can see in the figure below by the corresponding letter (a through e).

  1.  Below 10,000 feet MSL, the speed limit is 250 knots indicated air speed (KIAS). (See Figure, a)
  2.  The speed limit within Class B airspace (See Figure, b) is also 250 KIAS.
  3.  The maximum speed authorized in a VFR corridor through Class B airspace (See Figure, c) or in airspace underlying Class B airspace (See Figure, d) is 200 KIAS.
  4.  In Class D airspace, aircraft are restricted to a maximum of 200 KIAS (See Figure, e).
  5.  Unless otherwise authorized or required by ATC, no person may operate an aircraft at or below 2,500 feet AGL within 4 NM of the primary airport of a Class C or Class D airspace area at an indicated airspeed of more than 200 knots.

tp-p-04-06

Notice the lower speed limits in higher traffic areas. There is one exception to this: in Class B airspace the aircraft speed limit is 250 knots. As I am sure you are aware, Class B is the busiest airspace. To understand why the limit is set much higher then C or D airspace you need to realize that Class B airspace is highly controlled airspace in which ATC provides traffic separation to all aircraft—from the Piper Cub to the B747, anyone passing through their airspace. Something else I am sure you noticed from the figure is the “No Speed Limit” above 10,000 ft. MSL. Wait did somebody say no speed limit!?!? Yep, sure did: airspace above 10,000 ft MSL is typically less congested and airspace above 18,000 ft. MSL is classified as Class A, which is controlled airspace and requires an IFR clearance and therefore traffic separation is provided by ATC.

You will be tested on this regulation in your initial training, but more than likely you will not be flying an aircraft that even has the capability to attain a speed over 200 knots. However, it is still important to get these aircraft speed limits drilled into your memory early on. Soon enough you will be behind the stick having to pull that throttle back to slow down, because hey you don’t want to get a ticket!

space-car-full

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