January 2009 Issue

Pitch And Power Exercises

Some suggestions to help better understand the interrelationships of pitch and power to airspeed and altitude.

We’ve all struggled with it at some point. Maybe as a student you kept neglecting to add power when leveling off after a descent, or perhaps you couldn’t quite grasp whether to pull back or push forward. I’m currently helping a friend of mine teach a primary student to fly. Our student is really struggling to get a clear handle on how all this fits together. After I suggested some additional study and reading that didn’t produce the desired "Aha!" moment, I came up with a few new ways to try to get the concepts across. Figuring it never hurts to review the basics, perhaps this might help you or someone you know gain a better understanding of the sometimes subtle effects that even small changes in power or pitch can have on altitude and airspeed. This better understanding may help a VFR pilot simply maintain better control of their aircraft. It might even help an old pro keep the needles glued to the center. We’ll look at examples of both.

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