From the March 2017 Issue

Taming The Taildragger

Taming The Taildragger

I’ve long wanted regular access to a tube-and-fabric taildragger, something to fly low and slow, with my arm hanging out the window. I’m happy with my go-places airplane, which fits most of my missions, but variety is a good thing. A few flights in a friend and neighbor’s nice, simple, original Aeronca 7AC Champ didn’t whet my appetite for that kind of flying. Instead, it was stronger than ever.


Current Issue

Some Extra Runway

From the beginning of our flight training, we spend many hours learning about and practicing landings. We often pay little attention to the beginning of a flight, though. Sure, we might pull out the handbook and compute what it tells us about takeoff performance—ground roll, distance required to clear obstacles—but we simple don’t put into takeoffs the kind of study and attention given to landings. I’ve always found that rather odd.

Re: When ATC Screws Up

I guess I’m a dodo, but I use “roger” all the time. And I hear it all the time from ATC. The term is in the Pilot/Controller Glossary (November 2016 edition): “ROGER—I have received all of your last transmission. It should not be used to answer a question requiring a yes or a no answer.” Buffalo Airways still flies a DC-4 so maybe the article’s statement is predicting “roger” will go out sometime in the future?

IPC Scenarios

A lot of attention has been directed at the FAA’s new airman certification standards (ACS), which prescribe how practical tests are conducted. Last year, the FAA implemented ACS for the private pilot-airplane certificate and instrument-airplane rating. A chief difference between the ACS and its predecessor practical test standards (PTS) is expanded integration of risk management principles. Another involves how slow flight is performed.

Circular Patterns

Your mission is complete. It’s time to return to the boat, refuel, get some chow and prepare for the next mission. As you come up the starboard side of the ship just above pattern altitude, the Air Boss clears you for the break. You break hard left, enter the pattern and begin your transition to land. You hit the 180, the 90, roll final, call the ball and continue lining up to land. Just as you land, take the trap and go to full military power, you...wake up. Drat! Another dream!

Instrument Issues

Instruments have been a part of aviation since the first flights by the Wright Flyer equipped with a stopwatch, an anemometer to measure wind speed and a “Veedor” to measure engine revolutions. With the increase of flight activity in the early years of aviation, aircraft instruments were invented that provided necessary information to pilots for precise control and navigation of their aircraft.

Flying Around Ice

As spring in the Northern Hemisphere tries to poke through the ice and snow winter is leaving behind, it’s tempting to think the calendar alone eliminates the threat of airframe icing. The fact is we can find icing in any season; we just need an airplane that can climb high enough to get us in freezing temperatures during the summer months. Depending on where your operations may take you, airframe icing can be a reality 12 months out of the year, or only a handful.

New Advisory Circulars

Three Advisory Circulars newly issued by the FAA in December 2016 and January 2017 may provide much-needed guidance to operators seeking answers to a wide range of certification and operational questions. Two of the ACs revise existing guidance on “Use of Flight Deck Displays of Digital Weather and Aeronautical Information” (AC 00-63A) and “Airworthiness Approval of Enhanced Vision System, Synthetic Vision System, Combined Vision System, and Enhanced Flight Vision System Equipment” (AC 20-167A).

Can’t You Read The Signs?

Airplanes are mechanical contrivances. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise to learn they sometimes break. The object, of course, is for them to break on the ground, preferably right in front of a maintenance shop at which you have a credit on your account. It rarely works out that way, of course. Instead, airplanes can and do break while we’re flying them. But even when they let us down, they usually have been signaling in some fashion what’s about to happen.

NTSB Reports: March 2017

After taking air samples at various altitudes, the airplane was returning to its base and overshot a turn to the Runway 36 localizer. Shortly thereafter, the pilot reported an on-board fire. The airplane, which was at 1700 feet, lost altitude rapidly and radar contact was lost. The accident site was consistent with the airplane striking the ground at a high velocity, low angle of impact in a left wing slightly low attitude. There was a ground fire after impact.

Listen Up

Last year, in the final stages of my student helicopter pilot training, I needed to complete the solo requirement of three takeoffs and landings at an airport with an operating control tower. The short cross-country to the towered airport went well. I negotiated with the tower controller to use the airport’s south helipad, which is near the tower and the approach end of one of the facility’s principal runways. First circuit from and back to the pad was uneventful, two trips to go.

Linked

The pilot could not pull the right engine’s condition lever into the fuel cutoff position; the firewall shutoff was used to shut down the engine. Inspection revealed the linkage between the power lever and the condition lever on the fuel control unit was corroded and the linkage jammed with residue. The linkage was cleaned and lubricated, and the aircraft returned to service.

Taming The Taildragger

I’ve long wanted regular access to a tube-and-fabric taildragger, something to fly low and slow, with my arm hanging out the window. I’m happy with my go-places airplane, which fits most of my missions, but variety is a good thing. A few flights in a friend and neighbor’s nice, simple, original Aeronca 7AC Champ didn’t whet my appetite for that kind of flying. Instead, it was stronger than ever.

Download the Full March 2017 Issue PDF

How will the new requirement to demonstrate specific knowledge and risk management proficiency for each task on the IPC be implemented? One example involves circling approaches: The pilot will be required to identify, assess and mitigate risks associated with executing a circling approach at night or in marginal visibility, conditions proven to be hazardous in the real world of IFR operations. Taking this example one step further, the new ACS risk management standards will help pilots think more strategically about certain risks, such as the advisability of performing circling approaches under any but the most benign conditions.

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