September 2007 Issue

Stepping Out

Okay, okay, I know there’s no such thing as "the step" ("Cruise Dynamics," August). Or is there? Our Glasair One + One Half (half Glasair I, half Glasair II) has a strange cruise characteristic. Other Glasair FT pilots have observed this on their planes too, so we’re not alone. At cruise, at altitude, you can fly in level flight at one of two airspeeds, separated by only five knots and obtained by an almost imperceptible pitch change. My partner always flies at the slower of the two speeds because the airplane stops accelerating there as she levels from climb. Whereas I will set the nose to the known level flight attitude and fly at the higher speed. The only way she can get herself to fly five knots faster is to overshoot her final altitude by 100 ft and "dive" to get past the first level flight cruise speed, just like the proverbial step technique.

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