February 2003 Issue

Gender Bias

Chromosomes have nothing to do with an instructor’s ability to be thoughtful

Thanks, Ibolds, for the article on emergency pilot instruction [Reality Check, November]. I’ll recommend it to my wife.

However, I protest the male bashing that seems to not only be in vogue, but promulgated by Mrs. Ibold in “I Ride in Back.”

“...I wanted a woman instructor, so I wouldn’t punch him for speaking to me like I was an idiot.”

What Mrs. Ibold seems to need is a sensitive, thoughtful CFI, not necessarily one with XX chromosomes. Instruction should as a matter of course include awareness of what the student needs to hear, and encouragement is vital. As for punching out the instructor, why does she feel that’s a legitimate thing to say? It’s very insulting.

“...(after getting a booster seat), it never occurred to my husband that sitting in front was, to me, a face full of instrument panel.”

God helps those who help themselves. Do you want him to notice when you need to blow your nose too?

Imagine her statements with the genders reversed: “I wanted a male instructor, so I wouldn’t punch her...”

-David Johnson
Eden Prairie, Minn.

Mr. Ibold replies: Uh, I have to run out to the store now to buy some more tissues. We seem to be out. Mrs. Ibold replies: Male bashing is still in vogue? Who knew? My humor stems from working in a male-dominated industry with a bunch of male lawyers who typically deserve bashing. OK, now I’ve offended doctors, lawyers and guys in general. I’m on a roll!

I agree that a sensitive CFI who is tuned in to my emotional needs is the ideal, but I do not believe sensitivity training is a requirement for CFI status. And call me crazy, but as a reluctant student, I was a little nervous. I was more confident that a female instructor would meet my needs – wait, I think I need a tissue. However, if she had treated me like an idiot, I probably would have threatened to punch her, too. (That’s a figure of speech – there really would not have been any assault going on.)


Real Math
In “Landing Long” [Stick & Rudder, November], your explanation of the energy management aspects are technically correct, but misleading.

Looking at your graph, you can see that it is virtually linear. This is easy to explain with a little mathematics. If you increase velocity v by a fraction x, so you go from v to v(1+x), kinetic energy goes from mv^2/2 to m(v(1+x))^2/2= (mv^2/2)(1+2x+x^2), and the x^2 term is almost negligible in the range under consideration.

If you’re 10 percent fast, x=.1, so x^2=.01 and you increase kinetic energy by 21 percent, whereas if the increase were linear, it would be 20 percent. If you’re 20 percent fast, x=.2, so x^2=.04 and you increase kinetic energy by 44 percent, whereas if the increase were linear, it would be 40 percent. The fact that the linear approximation is good when x is small is what differential calculus is all about.

The point, however, is not whether the increase is linear or quadratic. The point is the following: Energy = Potential energy + Kinetic energy. If you’re high by a fraction of x, potential energy increases by a fraction of x, from P to P(1+x), so total energy increases by Px/E.

On the other hand, if you’re fast by a fraction of x, then even using the linear approximation, kinetic energy increases by a fraction of 2x, from K to K(1+2x), so total energy increases by 2Kx/E. Now for the situation under discussion, 2K is much larger than P, and that is why airspeed deviations are more critical than altitude deviations. This is the point made in the article, but by example.

I admit to being biased, as I’m a mathematician, but I think the discussion in the article would have been much clearer if this analysis, which uses only high-school algebra, were used, rather than picking numbers and calculating the effect for those numbers.

-Steven Weintraub
Bethlehem, Pa.


True, But not Realistic
“Landing Long” [Stick & Rudder, November] was a good article, but I don’t think it is reasonable to compare a 20 percent increase in speed to a 20 percent increase in altitude. Take the extreme; a pilot may come in over the numbers at 500 feet (900 percent higher) and still try to land, but no one would come in at 105 knots (75 percent faster) on final, which is above Vfe. Based on your formulas, both would result in about the same ft-lbs of energy that would need to be dissipated.

I think most of the time the problem is some combination of the two combined with the reluctance to use full flaps. I am a CFII and do quite a few BFRs and rental checkouts. When I ask for a slip to a landing, few pilots have done one in recent memory.

-Alan Krause
Via e-mail

We think you’re right in that the problem is generally a combination of being high and fast. We also believe it’s common for pilots to try to eliminate excess altitude by accepting excess airspeed when what they should do is slow to below best glide speed for a while or else go around. In any event, the problem is one of energy management, and we attempted to show the ramifications of different strategies.


Franklin Praise
I like Mr. Rosen [Unicom, December] was surprised by the comments made by Mr. Berge regarding Franklin engines [Aircraft Analysis, October]. I guess it boils down to the old saying “ask the man who owns one.”

I have owned the other brands and, while I have been satisfied with both, the Franklins I have owned have been better in all respects. What little service or parts I have needed have always been readily available. Don Macksfield of Little Red Aero, 308-234-1635, or Pete Asckland of Franklin Aircraft Engines, 970-224-4404, are always there with the kind of service not always available with the other brands.

The 6A350 Franklin that Mr. Rosen mentions transformed my C-175 into an economical, STOL, rough field, comfortable, cross-country machine with few equals.

-Larry Johnson
Cheyenne, Wyo.

We’re glad it’s worked out for you. History is filled with products that have not taken the market by storm despite having attributes some consider superior. For better or for worse, Franklins are a niche product, and that limits their appeal and salability.


When Left is Wrong
“Into the Weeds” [Stick & Rudder, December] was a nice article, but I think the author made one small mistake. I believe that when you raise the nose of an airplane with “normal” propeller rotation, the nose will move to the right, not the left.

Back in the olden days I got a fair amount of time in P-51s, which had a good-sized prop to accentuate the gyroscopic effects. I assure you that in the initial part of the takeoff roll, when you raised the tail, the nose would very definitely pull to the left. Ergo: If you raised the nose, as in Mr. Levy’s example, the gyroscopic effect would push the nose to the right.

The book called for 6 degrees of nose right rudder trim to counter all of the “nose to the left” forces, by the way. I know that a four-bladed Ham Standard throws a lot more weight than a two-bladed Hartzell, but you can still feel the effect. I notice it every time I go fly my Pitts.

At my age I suffer from near-terminal CRS, but I am right on this. If you don’t believe me, get a kids little gyro, spin it up in the correct direction, and see for yourself!

I would be curious as to how many letters you got about this.

-Jeff Cannon
Via e-mail

We got a lot of letters on this. Let’s just leave it at that. Our bad.