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Category Archives: Aircraft Systems

CFI Brief: Four-Stroke Piston Engine

The majority of general aviation aircraft use what’s referred to as a reciprocating engine. Mechanical energy is created through the back and forth movement (hence the name reciprocating) of pistons located in each cylinder which in turn drive a crankshaft that is directly connected to the propeller creating the required thrust. In the figure below […]

Aircraft Systems: Flaps

It’s been a few weeks since we’ve talked specifically about your aircraft so let’s focus again this week on aircraft systems. Today, we’ll review flaps. This post has been excerpted from the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. Flaps are the most common high-lift devices used on aircraft. These surfaces, which are attached to the trailing […]

Aircraft Systems: Carburetor Ice

Today we’re taking a look at carburetor ice with the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge. As mentioned earlier, one disadvantage of the float-type carburetor is its icing tendency. Carburetor ice occurs due to the effect of fuel vaporization and the decrease in air pressure in the venturi, which causes a sharp temperature drop in the carburetor. […]

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 […]

CFI Brief: Pitot-Static Systems and Flight Instruments, Part I

Today’s posts is the first part in a two part series on the pitot-static system and associated pitot-static instruments. We will begin by covering a quick general overview of the pitot-static system as seen in the picture below. The pitot-static system is responsible for the operation of the airspeed indicator, altimeter, and vertical speed indicator—also […]

CFI Brief: Magnetos

So I’ve been told my airplane engine has two magnetos, but what the heck is a magneto? Well in a reciprocating airplane engine like that of Lycoming IO-360 found in many Cessna 172 aircraft the magnetos are a source of high-voltage electrical energy. This electrical energy is used to produce the spark to ignite the […]

Aircraft Systems: Ignition

You don’t have to be a mechanic to be a safe pilot, but a knowledge of how your engine works and what the engine instruments are telling you will make it easier to give your engine tender loving care and get long, reliable service from it. Today we’ll cover your airplane’s ignition system, with a […]

CFI Brief: AvGas

AvGas, or “aviation spirit” as it is affectionately referred to in the United Kingdom, is the topic of discussion today. Aviation gasoline (AvGas) is derived from the same principles as motor gasoline found in car engines although with a much higher performance requirement. Why you ask? Well the reason is simple: aircraft engines are typically required […]

Aircraft Systems: Propping the Plane

This week we’re thinking about aircraft systems. Here’s an excerpt from William Kershner‘s textbook The Student Pilot’s Flight Manual. Nearly all planes have starters these days, but the following is presented for your possible use. If you plan on doing any propping (cranking the propeller by hand), you should receive instruction from someone with experience; […]

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