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CFI Brief: Pilot Certificates, What’s Right For Me?

Everybody starts off as a student pilot but the next step or progression to a higher level can be a bit confusing to some. You essentially have three choices: Private Pilot Certificate, Recreational Certificate, and Sport Pilot Certificate. Let’s break it down.

The student pilot certificate outlined in Part 61 Subpart C is often co-issued by your AME along with your medical and may also be obtained by visiting the local Flight Standards District Office. Eligibility requirements are fairly simple: be at least 16 years of age (14 for glider or balloon operations) and be able to read, speak, write and understand the English language. You may start your training prior to obtaining a student pilot certificate but it will become a required document prior to any solo flight in the aircraft so it’s best to just get it from the start.

The Private Pilot Certificate allows for the most amount of freedom between all three, however it also requires the highest level of training. Eligibility requirements can be found in 14 CFR §61.103. Applicants who often choose to obtain a Private Pilot’s license are on a career path in aviation or wish to fly with fewer limitations placed on them. There are no restrictions to the amount of passengers you can carry and you may fly just about anywhere regulations permit below 18,000 feet day or night.

The Recreational Certificate is best thought of as a step below Private and requires less training hours to earn. Part 61 Subpart D outlines eligibility requirements. This certificate allows for flight only within 50 nautical miles of the primary departure airport and the pilot must remain in either class G or E airspace. You are allowed to carry one passenger, must maintain constant contact with the ground in day VFR conditions, and operate aircraft not greater than 180 horse power. Pilots who earn their recreational certificate often use it as a stepping stone, eventually moving on to obtain a Private Pilot Certificate.

In 2004, the FAA created a new certificate level, the Sport Pilot Certificate, as an easier means to earning your wings. This certificate requires the least amount of training at only 20 hours (minimum), but also places the heaviest restrictions on the pilot. Part 61 Subpart J outlines information relating to Sport Pilots. Limitations and restrictions are similar to that of a recreational pilot, what differs is the type of aircraft a Sport Pilot Certificate holder can operate. The aircraft has to be considered a light sport aircraft (LSA) containing only 1 or 2 seats with a max speed of 120 knots. You are not required to hold a medical certificate to operate as a Sport Pilot which can be a huge draw for pilots who may not meet the requirements to obtain a medical certificate.

The choice is yours and the certificate you decide to earn will be based on your own specific goals and aspirations as a pilot. ASA’s offices will be closed on Friday, July 3rd, but we’ll be back to work on Monday. Have a great Fourth of July weekend!

 

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Regulations: Medical Certificates

The first step in becoming a pilot is selecting an aircraft (whether it’s airplanes, gyroplanes, weight-shift, helicopters, powered parachutes, gliders, balloons, or even airships). The second step is obtaining a medical certificate and Student Pilot’s Certificate if the choice of aircraft is an airplane, helicopter, gyroplane, or airship. Today, with help from the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge, we’ll look closely at obtaining the medical certificate.

A third-class medical certificate/student pilot certificate.

A third-class medical certificate/student pilot certificate.

The FAA suggests new students get their medical certificate before beginning flight training to avoid the expense of flight training that cannot be continued due to a medical condition. Applicants who fail to meet certain requirements or who have physical disabilities which might limit, but not prevent, their acting as pilots, should contact the nearest FAA office.

A medical certificate is obtained by passing a physical examination administered by a doctor who is an FAA authorized Aviation Medical Examiner (AME). There are approximately 6,000 FAA-authorized AMEs across the country. Medical certificates are designated as first class, second class, or third class. Generally, first class is designed for the airline transport pilot, second class for the commercial pilot, and third class for the student, recreational, and private pilot. FAA Knowledge Exam questions relating were addressed in an earlier CFI post.

A third-class medical certificate is valid for three years for those individuals who have not reached the age of 40; otherwise it is valid for two years. A second-class certificate is valid for one year, and a first-class certificate is valid for six months. The standards are more rigorous for the higher classes of certificates. A pilot with a higher class medical certificate has met the requirements for the lower classes as well. The standards for medical certification are contained in 14 CFR part 67 and the requirements for obtaining medical certificates can be found in 14 CFR part 61.

A Student Pilot Certificate is issued by an AME at the time of the student’s first medical examination. This certificate allows a student being trained by flight instructor to fly alone (solo) under limited circumstances and must be carried with the student pilot while exercising solo flight privileges. The student certificate is valid until the last day of the month, 24 months after it was issued.

More from our CFI this Thursday.

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CFI Brief: Magnetic Compass

However controversial, it is said that the magnetic compass first originated in China during the Qin Dynasty sometime between 212 and 206 B.C. as a Chinese fortune telling device. It wasn’t until the 13th Century that the magnetic compass began to be widely used as a directive aid during maritime and terrestrial navigation. But don’t worry, you are not required to know this information for your practical or knowledge test, I was just in the mood to fill your heads with some fun facts about the history of the magnetic compass.

Aviation Magnetic Compass

Aviation Magnetic Compass

Now let’s get to the important stuff, the things you will be required to know and understand. The magnetic compass is the most basic navigation tool installed in the cockpit and also a required instrument under Title 14 CFR Part 91 for all VFR and IFR flights. Above is a figure of one of the more common types of magnetic compasses you will find in your training aircraft. Internally the compass contains two small magnets attached to a metal float encased in a liquid similar to kerosene. The metal float is attached at a pivot able to move freely inside the liquid allowing each of the two magnets to align with the magnetic poles. Surrounding the float is a card containing the cardinal directions in letters N, E, S, W (“Never Eat Shredded Wheat” as someone once told me) with numbers marked for each 30 degrees between cardinal directions. For example N, 3, 6, E, as you can see the last digit “0” is removed from the direction card so 330 degrees would be displayed as 33. The front of the compass is glass and contains a line referred to as the “lubber line” the pilot reads the direction card as it relates to the lubber line. If W lines up with the lubber line you are flying on a westerly magnetic heading.

Magnetic Compass

Magnetic Compass

It is important to note that the magnetic compass does display some errors during changes in velocity and turning. You may have previously heard the term “UNOS” (“Undershoot North Overshoot South”), this is in relation to the northerly and southerly turning errors that a magnetic compass displays. When turning to a northerly heading the compass card will lead ahead of the turn so your turn should be stopped short of actually reaching the Northerly indication on the card. When turning to a Southerly heading the compass card lags and therefore your turn should pass through the desired heading prior to stopping your turn. As the aircraft’s proximity to the poles becomes less these errors become amplified.

Another acronym you may have heard is “ANDS” (Accelerate North Decelerate South). Acceleration/deceleration errors will be experience anytime the aircraft is on an easterly or westerly heading. When accelerating on one of these headings, the compass will initially show a turn to the north. As opposed to decelerating on an easterly or westerly heading the compass momentarily shows a turn to the South.

Both of the above discussed errors are caused in part by magnetic dip which is discussed in Chapter 7 of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. The above information is just a brief outline of the magnetic compass and I would encourage you read in detail about the variations and types of magnetic compasses and errors associated with each. You can find all relevant information in the Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge and Instrument Flying Handbook both available on the ASA website.

Below are some study questions to assist you in preparing for your FAA Private Pilot Knowledge Exam, it is very likely you will see questions very similar to these on your actual knowledge test.

1. In the Northern Hemisphere, a magnetic compass will normally indicate initially a turn toward the west if
A—a left turn is entered from a north heading.
B—a right turn is entered from a north heading.
C—an aircraft is accelerated while on a north heading.

2. In the Northern Hemisphere, a magnetic compass will normally indicate a turn toward the north if
A—an aircraft is decelerated while on an east or west heading.
B—a left turn is entered from a west heading.
C—an aircraft is accelerated while on an east or west heading.

3. What should be the indication on the magnetic compass as you roll into a standard rate turn to the right from a south heading in the Northern Hemisphere?
A—The compass will initially indicate a turn to the left.
B—The compass will indicate a turn to the right, but at a faster rate than is actually occurring.
C—The compass will remain on south for a short time, then gradually catch up to the magnetic heading of the airplane.

4. During flight, when are the indications of a magnetic compass accurate?
A—Only in straight-and-level unaccelerated flight.
B—As long as the airspeed is constant.
C—During turns if the bank does not exceed 18°.

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Flight Instruments: The Altimeter and Altitudes

Today we’re taking another look at flight instruments, specifically the altimeter. Understanding the instrument and altitudes is critical in learning to fly. This post comes from on of our favorite textbooks, Bob Gardner‘s The Complete Private Pilot.

Aircraft altimeters are aneroid (dry) barometers calibrated to read in feet above sea level. The altimeter gets its input from the static port, which is unaffected by the airplane’s movement through the air. An aneroid barometer contains several sealed wafers with a partial internal vacuum, so as the airplane moves vertically and the outside pressure changes, the wafers expand and contract much like an accordion. This expansion and contraction is transmitted through a linkage to the altimeter needles (Figure 1).

Figure 1. Altimeter/indicated altitudes.

Figure 1. Altimeter/indicated altitudes.

Barometers provide a means of weighing the earth’s atmosphere at a specific location. At a flight service station or National Weather Service office, an actual mercury barometer may be used, and on a standard day the weight of the atmosphere will support a column of mercury (Hg) 29.92 inches high at sea level. Inches of mercury are the units of measure for barometric pressure and altimeter settings. The equivalent metric measure is 1013.2 millibars; since our weather is transmitted internationally, the Weather Service uses both inches and millibars in its reports.

Up to 18,000 feet, altitude is measured above sea level, and sea level pressure may vary from 28.50″ to 30.50″ Hg (these are extremes). Your altimeter has an adjustment knob and an altimeter setting window (Figure 1), so that you can enter the sea level barometric pressure (altimeter setting) at your location as received from a nearby flight service station or air traffic control facility. The altimeter will, when properly set, read altitude above mean sea level (msl). As you increase the numbers in the altimeter setting window, the hands on the altimeter also show an increase: each .01 increase in the window is equal to 10 feet of altitude, each .1 is 100 feet, etc.

Above 18,000 feet (and after you get your instrument rating, since all operations above that altitude must be under instrument flight rules), you will set the window to 29.92″ Hg and you will be reading your altitude above the standard datum plane. By international agreement, a standard day at sea level is defined as having a barometric pressure of 29.92 (with the temperature 15°C or 59°F), and by setting your altimeter to 29.92 it will read altitude above that standard level. Below 18,000 feet, having the correct altimeter setting will keep you out of the trees, while above 18,000 feet (where there are no trees or mountains), the common altimeter setting of 29.92 provides altitude separation for IFR flights. There are several altitude terms with which you should be-come familiar:

Indicated altitude is simply what the hands on the altimeter point to. The long hand reads hundreds of feet (the calibrations are 20 feet), the next largest hand reads thousands of feet, and the third indicator reads in tens of thousands. The three-needle altimeter is easily misread, and many new airplanes are being equipped with a drum-pointer altimeter which has only one needle and a counter (Figure 2).

Figure 2. Drum-pointer altimeter.

Figure 2. Drum-pointer altimeter.

Absolute altitude is your actual height above the surface as read by a radar altimeter.

Pressure altitude is what the hands of the altimeter indicate when the altimeter setting window is set to 29.92″ Hg. You will use pressure altitude in computations of density altitude, true airspeed and true altitude.

Density altitude is a critically important altitude; however, you can’t read it on your altimeter but must calculate it, using pressure altitude and temperature. Density altitude is performance altitude — the airplane and engine perform as though they are at a different altitude than their true altitude.

True altitude is your height above sea level. When you set your altimeter setting window to the local altimeter setting, the altimeter should read field elevation (above sea level). If it doesn’t, record the instrument error. Differences of over 75 feet indicate that the instrument needs overhaul or replacement. (Before you take any drastic steps, be sure that your airplane is not simply located at a point below the published field elevation.) The illustration in Figure 3 shows an airplane with its altitude above the ground (absolute altitude), above sea level (true altitude), and above the standard datum plane of 29.92″ Hg (pressure altitude).

Figure 3. Altitude definitions.

Figure 3. Altitude definitions.

Any obstruction to the static port or static lines will make the altimeter unusable, so some aircraft have alternate static sources vented inside the cockpit. When using the alternate static source, there will be slight errors in the altimeter and airspeed indications. The pressure inside the cockpit is lower than the outside pressure—with the alternate static source selected, the altimeter will read slightly high, the airspeed indicator will read high, and the vertical speed indicator will read correctly after momentarily indicating a climb.

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CFI Brief: Summertime!

The official start to summer is just right around the corner, an exciting time particularly up here in the Pacific Northwest. With summer upon us we tend to see an increase in temperatures and more VFR weather, resulting in an increase in air traffic at and around airports. Changing seasons means a changing environment and pilots should be aware and understand the effects of seasonal changes. I’m sure you’ve heard the acronym “PAVE” before, right? Summer brings with it a new set of pilot, aircraft, and environmental challenges. Not to mention the external pressures of getting to the beach ASAP!

PAVE

PAVE

In regards to the operation of aircraft systems, warm weather presents new challenges that may not be as apparent during cold weather operations. Things like decreased engine performance due to higher temperatures, humidity, and density altitudes. As temperatures increase, air density decreases resulting in fewer air molecules. Think of it like this: less air molecules result in less air for your prop to grab onto and create thrust. What this boils down to is your takeoff roll will be increased and climb out performance will decrease during warm weather operations.

theromo_shutterstock

If you are operating a fuel injection engine you should be aware of issues like vapor lock which is experienced typically only on a hot day. Vapor Lock is a condition in which fuel vapors form in the fuel line between the tank and the engine. The pressure of the vapor is high enough that it prevents liquid fuel from flowing to the engine, and the engine dies of fuel starvation. Vapor lock is most likely to form on hot days when the engine is operated for a long time on the ground. The danger of vapor lock can be minimized by using a fuel boost pump, if installed, to maintain positive pressure on the fuel in the lines between the tank and the engine. Vapor can also be introduced into the fuel line by running one tank dry before selecting a full tank. This happens when the engine-driven fuel pump or electric boost pump draws air into the fuel lines, causing a vapor lock that prevents fuel from reaching the carburetor or fuel injection system.

Also be aware of warm weather operations that affect you as a pilot. Flying for long stretches in hot summer temperatures or at high altitudes increases your susceptibility to dehydration, since the dry air at altitude tends to increase the rate of water loss from the body. If this fluid is not replaced, fatigue may progress to dizziness, weakness, nausea, tingling of hands and feet, abdominal cramps, and extreme thirst. In other words, make sure to drink your fluids!

Still, you just can’t beat summertime flying. It’s a great time to get out there with your ASA headset. Just be cautions and aware of the often overlooked risks of flying in warm weather.

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Aircraft Systems: Fuel Induction Systems

In March we looked at the basics of how an internal combustion works. Your airplane’s engine is a four-cycle engine: on the intake stroke, a fuel/air mixture is drawn into the cylinder as the piston moves down; the mixture is then compressed on an upward piston stroke; a spark ignites the mixture driving the piston down; and finally, the piston rises again pushing the burned gasses out of the exhaust valve. Because your aircraft engine has at least four cylinders, each igniting at a different time, there is always one piston on a power stroke and the process is continuous. Today, we’ll look more closely at the fuel induction system which brings in outside air, mixes it with fuel, and delivers the fuel/air mixture to the cylinder. This post and images come from the Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.

Two types of induction systems are commonly used in small aircraft engines:

  1. The carburetor system, which mixes the fuel and the air in the carburetor before this mixture enters the intake manifold.
  2. The fuel injection system, which mixes the fuel and air immediately before entry into each cylinder or injects fuel directly into each cylinder.

Carburetor System
Carburetors are classified as either float type or pressure type. The float type of carburetor, complete with idling, accelerating, mixture control, idle cutoff, and power enrichment systems is probably the most common of all carburetor types. Pressure carburetors are usually not found on small aircraft. The basic difference between a float-type and a pressure-type carburetor is the delivery of fuel. The pressure-type carburetor delivers fuel under pressure by a fuel pump.

In the operation of the float-type carburetor system, the outside air first flows through an air filter, usually located at an air intake in the front part of the engine cowling. This filtered air flows into the carburetor and through a venturi, a narrow throat in the carburetor. When the air flows through the venturi, a low-pressure area is created, which forces the fuel to flow through a main fuel jet located at the throat. The fuel then flows into the airstream where it is mixed with the flowing air.

Float-type carburetor.

Float-type carburetor.

The fuel/air mixture is then drawn through the intake manifold and into the combustion chambers where it is ignited. The float-type carburetor acquires its name from a float, which rests on fuel within the float chamber. A needle attached to the float opens and closes an opening at the bottom of the carburetor bowl. This meters the correct amount of fuel into the carburetor. The flow of the fuel/air mixture to the combustion chambers is regulated by the throttle valve, which is controlled by the throttle in the flight deck.

The chief disadvantage of the float carburetor, however, is its icing tendency. Since the float carburetor must discharge fuel at a point of low pressure, the discharge nozzle must be located at the venturi throat, and the throttle valve must be on the engine side of the
discharge nozzle. This means the drop in temperature due to fuel vaporization takes place within the venturi. As a result, ice readily forms in the venturi and on the throttle valve. If water vapor in the air condenses when the carburetor temperature is at or below freezing, ice may form on internal surfaces of the carburetor, including the throttle valve.

The formation of carburetor ice may reduce or block fuel/air flow to the engine.

The formation of carburetor ice may reduce or block fuel/air flow to the engine.

Fuel Injection Systems
In a fuel injection system, the fuel is injected directly into the cylinders, or just ahead of the intake valve. The air intake for the fuel injection system is similar to that used in a carburetor system, with an alternate air source located within the engine cowling. This source is used if the external air source is obstructed. The alternate air source is usually operated automatically, with a backup manual system that can be used if the automatic feature malfunctions.

A fuel injection system usually incorporates six basic components: an engine-driven fuel pump, a fuel/air control unit, fuel manifold (fuel distributor), discharge nozzles, an auxiliary fuel pump, and fuel pressure/flow indicators.

Fuel injection system.

Fuel injection system.

The auxiliary fuel pump provides fuel under pressure to the fuel/air control unit for engine starting and/or emergency use. After starting, the engine-driven fuel pump provides fuel under pressure from the fuel tank to the fuel/air control unit.

This control unit, which essentially replaces the carburetor, meters fuel based on the mixture control setting, and sends it to the fuel manifold valve at a rate controlled by the throttle. After reaching the fuel manifold valve, the fuel is distributed to the individual fuel discharge nozzles. The discharge nozzles, which are located in each cylinder head, inject the fuel/air mixture directly into each cylinder intake port.

A fuel injection system is considered to be less susceptible to icing than the carburetor system, but impact icing on the air intake is a possibility in either system. Impact icing occurs when ice forms on the exterior of the aircraft, and blocks openings such as the air intake for the injection system.

Disadvantages of a fuel injection system include difficulty starting a hot engine, vapor lock during ground operations on hot days, and problems associated with restarting an engine that has quit due to fuel starvation.

We’ll have more on Thursday from our very own CFI.

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CFI Brief: Confidence on the Radios

Let me quote §61.103(b), “Be able to read, speak, write, and understand the English language…”. This here is one of the eligibility requirements for Private Pilots and every other Pilot Certificate for that matter. Throughout training, however, it seems as if we are learning an entirely new language consisting of proper ATC phraseology and technique that comes with its own set of rules. For example, you are not flying at ten thousand feet, you are at one zero thousand.  Communication plays such an important role in the aviation environment and as a pilot you will be held to a higher standard of speaking. It takes practice and confidence to get it right and you will make mistakes on the radios, everyone does. What’s important is that you take those mistakes and learn from them. The Aeronautical Information Manual (AIM) lays down the necessary knowledge to prepare you for communicating over the radio, let’s take a look at some of the information contained in Chapter 4 Section 2 (4-2-1).

Control Tower

Control Tower

When making an initial call or contact to an ATC facility you should use the following format.

  1. Name of the facility being called
  2. Your full aircraft identification
  3. Your position when operating on the airport surface
  4. The type of message to follow or your request
  5. The word “Over” if required.

So for example if I wanted to request VFR flight following. “SoCal Approach, Mooney One Zero Zero Alpha, request VFR Flight Following.”

The controller will likely respond requesting additional information from you like location and altitude. When transmitting an altitude you should always separate the digits in thousands so 7,500 would be “Seven Thousand Five Hundred” and not “Seventy Five Hundred”. Or 15,000 would be “One Five Thousand.”

Remember to always use the phonetic alphabet; this helps to prevent confusion when communicating.

Communications referring to heading directions are always given in magnetic unless follow by the word true. You should always use the full three digits of a bearing. If your heading is 70 degrees it should be stated as “zero seven zero”.

In addition, there are a plethora of new words and meanings you should understand like squawk, ident, or line-up-and-wait.

You can find some great information in the FAA brochure on Communication: A Key Component of Safe Flight found here.

Also, be sure to read through the AIM to brush up on all ATC Communication Procedures found in Chapter 4.

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Aerodynamics: Spins

This post on spins is derived from the FAA Airplane Flying Handbook, available from ASA in print and in PDF format.

A spin may be defined as an aggravated stall that results in what is termed “autorotation” wherein the airplane follows a downward corkscrew path. As the airplane rotates around a vertical axis, the rising wing is less stalled than the descending wing creating a rolling, yawing, and pitching motion. The airplane is basically being forced downward by gravity, rolling, yawing, and pitching in a spiral path.

Spin: an aggravated stall and autorotation.

Spin: an aggravated stall and autorotation.

The autorotation results from an unequal angle of attack on the airplane’s wings. The rising wing has a decreasing angle of attack, where the relative lift increases and the drag decreases. In effect, this wing is less stalled. Meanwhile, the descending wing has an increasing angle of attack, past the wing’s critical angle of attack (stall) where the relative lift decreases and drag increases.

A spin is caused when the airplane’s wing exceeds its critical angle of attack (stall) with a sideslip or yaw acting on the airplane at, or beyond, the actual stall. During this uncoordinated maneuver, a pilot may not be aware that a critical angle of attack has been exceeded until the airplane yaws out of control toward the lowering wing.

If stall recovery is not initiated immediately, the airplane may enter a spin. If this stall occurs while the airplane is in a slipping or skidding turn, this can result in a spin entry and rotation in the direction that the rudder is being applied, regardless of which wingtip is raised.

Many airplanes have to be forced to spin and require considerable judgment and technique to get the spin started. These same airplanes that have to be forced to spin, may be accidentally put into a spin by mishandling the controls in turns, stalls, and flight at minimum controllable airspeeds. This fact is additional evidence of the necessity for the practice of stalls until the ability to recognize and recover from them is developed.

Often a wing will drop at the beginning of a stall. When this happens, the nose will attempt to move (yaw) in the direction of the low wing. This is where use of the rudder is important during a stall. The correct amount of opposite rudder must be applied to keep the nose from yawing toward the low wing. By maintaining directional control and not allowing the nose to yaw toward the low wing, before stall recovery is initiated, a spin will be averted. If the nose is allowed to yaw during the stall, the airplane will begin to slip in the direction of the lowered wing, and will enter a spin. An airplane must be stalled in order to enter a spin; therefore, continued practice in stalls will help the pilot develop a more instinctive and prompt reaction in recognizing an approaching spin. It is essential to learn to apply immediate corrective action any time it is apparent that the airplane is nearing spin conditions. If it is impossible to avoid a spin, the pilot should immediately execute spin recovery procedures.

Spin entry and recovery -- click to enlarge!

Spin entry and recovery.


Entry Phase
The entry phase is where the pilot provides the necessary elements for the spin, either accidentally or intentionally. The entry procedure for demonstrating a spin is similar to a power-off stall. During the entry, the power should be reduced slowly to idle, while simultaneously raising the nose to a pitch attitude that will ensure a stall. As the airplane approaches a stall, smoothly apply full rudder in the direction of the desired spin rotation while applying full back (up) elevator to the limit of travel. Always maintain the ailerons in the neutral position during the spin procedure unless AFM/POH specifies otherwise.

Incipient Phase
The incipient phase is from the time the airplane stalls and rotation starts until the spin has fully developed. This change may take up to two turns for most airplanes. Incipient spins that are not allowed to develop into a steady-state spin are the most commonly used in the introduction to spin training and recovery techniques. In this phase, the aerodynamic and inertial forces have not achieved a balance. As the incipient spin develops, the indicated airspeed should be near or below stall airspeed, and the turn-and-slip indicator should indicate the direction of the spin.

The incipient spin recovery procedure should be commenced prior to the completion of 360° of rotation. The pilot should apply full rudder opposite the direction of rotation. If the pilot is not sure of the direction of the spin, check the turn-and-slip indicator; it will show a deflection in the direction of rotation.

Developed Phase
The developed phase occurs when the airplane’s angular rotation rate, airspeed, and vertical speed are stabilized while in a flightpath that is nearly vertical. This is where airplane aerodynamic forces and inertial forces are in balance, and the attitude, angles, and selfsustaining motions about the vertical axis are constant or repetitive. The spin is in equilibrium.

Recovery Phase
The recovery phase occurs when the angle of attack of the wings decreases below the critical angle of attack and autorotation slows. Then the nose steepens and rotation stops. This phase may last for a quarter turn to several turns.

You can learn more about spins and other maneuvers in the Airplane Flying Handbook, available from ASA. Additionally, ASA’s Visualized Flight Maneuvers Handbook for High Wing Aircraft is a great learning aid, covering all the flight maneuvers required for private certification (also available in a low wing edition).

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CFI Brief: UPS Flight 1354 Crash, Lessons Learned

You may remember back in 2013 a UPS Airbus A300-600 crashed while on final approach to Birmingham International Airport, both pilots were fatally injured. The National Transportation Safety Board has just wrapped up a nearly two year investigation into the accident and on Monday released the first ever video companion to an accident report. The purpose of the video is to help pilots understand exactly what went wrong and key lessons that can be learned from this tragic event. It doesn’t matter if you are a student pilot or flight instructor the video is a somber reminder of what can go wrong in the cockpit even to the most experienced of flight crews.

You can find the summary and full NTSB narrative of the accident investigation here.

http://www.ntsb.gov/investigations/AccidentReports/Pages/AAR1402.aspx

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Communication Procedures: Airport Traffic Area Communications and Light Signals

Things can happen, and part of being a good aviator is competently handling adverse situations when they arise. It is possible that a pilot might experience a malfunction of the radio. This might cause the transmitter, receiver, or both to become inoperative. Here’s how to handle landing at a towered airport in this scenario, as illustrated in the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge.

First, it is advisable to remain outside or above Class D airspace until the direction and flow of traffic is determined. A pilot should then advise the tower of the aircraft type, position, altitude, and intention to land. The pilot should continue, enter the pattern, report a position as appropriate, and watch for light signals from the tower.

PHAK_13-17

If the transmitter becomes inoperative, a pilot should follow the previously stated procedures and also monitor the appropriate ATC frequency. During daylight hours ATC transmissions may be acknowledged by rocking the wings, and at night by blinking the landing light.

When both receiver and transmitter are inoperative, the pilot should remain outside of Class D airspace until the flow of traffic has been determined and then enter the pattern and watch for light signals.

If a radio malfunctions prior to departure, it is advisable to have it repaired, if possible. If this is not possible, a call should be made to ATC the pilot should request authorization to depart without two-way radio communications. If authorization to depart without two-way radio communications. If authorization is given to depart, the pilot is advised to monitor the appropriate frequency and/or watch for light signals as appropriate.

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