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Category Archives: Aircraft Performance

Ground School: Preflight Inspection

The success of a flight depends largely on thorough preparation. In the course of your training, a pattern of regular preflight actions should be developed to ensure that this is the case. This includes planning the flight, and checking the airplane. These preflight actions must be based on the checks found in the pilot’s operating […]

Aerodynamics: Power

Today’s post is excerpted from the second edition of our textbook Aerodynamics for Aviators. This book features extensive illustrations and covers everything from the fundamentals of flight to high-speed flight, and includes an excellent compendium of formulae and equations used at all levels of aviation. Aircraft aerodynamics involves the interaction of the four forces: lift, […]

Aerodynamics: The Spin

Today on LTFB, we’re featuring an excerpt from The Pilot’s Manual: Ground School (PM-2C) on spins. A spin is a condition of stalled flight in which the airplane follows a spiral descent path. As well as the airplane being in a stalled condition, and yawing, one wing is producing more lift than the other, which […]

CFI Brief: Frost

It’s been cold here in Seattle and across many parts of the country over the last several days. All week long I have had the pleasure of scraping an inch of ice and frost off my windshield each morning. If my car’s windshield is icing over, the same can probably be said for all the […]

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 […]

CFI Brief: Maneuvering During Slow Flight (PA.VII.A)

Maneuvering during slow flight is a task required of all private pilot airplane applicants per 14 CFR §61.107(b). The applicant must be able to demonstrate this task to a set of evaluation standards outlined in the Airman Certification Standards (ACS-6). The Private Pilot ACS, effective June 15 2016, revised how slow flight should be conducted during […]

Aircraft Performance: Runway Surface and Gradient

The majority of pilot-caused aircraft accidents occur during the takeoff and landing phases of flight. So today on the Learn to Fly Blog, we’ll take a look at how runway conditions can effect takeoff and landing performance. Today’s post comes from The Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. Runway conditions affect takeoff and landing performance. Typically, performance chart […]

Aircraft Performance: Pitch Stability (Stability, part 2)

Before reading today’s post, go back and re-read our post on airplane stability from earlier this month. As promised, we’ll talk today about how static and dynamic stability applies to you as a pilot. We’ll pick up where we left off in Bill Kershner’s The Advanced Pilot’s Flight Manual. The elevators control the pitch (the movement around […]

Aircraft Performance: Airplane Stability (Sability, part 1)

Today, we’ll introduce airplane stability. As you’re well aware of by now, there are three axes around which the airplane moves (yaw, pitch, and roll). These axes pass through the airplane’s center of gravity, or the point where the airplane weight is considered to be concentrated. An airplane that is stable requires little pilot attention […]

CFI Brief: Torque

Today’s discussion is on torque. An airplane of standard configuration has an insistent tendency to turn to the left. This tendency is called torque, and is a combination of four forces: reactive force, spiraling slipstream, gyroscopic precession, and P-factor. Reactive force is based on Newton’s Law of action and reaction. A propeller rotating in a […]

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