November 2010 Issue

Low And Slow

Thereís more to practicing our slow-flight skills than a takeoff and landing. Spending some time perfecting them can pay benefits on every flight.

Pilots like to talk about speed and how fast they fly, often to the exclusion of other aircraft characteristics; itís fun to go fast, no doubt. Witness how many aviators seek out the fastest flivver their finances can support. But the ability to power up to cruise, trim for speed, engage the autopilot and start fiddling with an iPod requires far less skill and hand-flying ability than working at the lower end of the airspeed dial. And we donít learn much at the top of the green. Demonstrating slow-flying skills takes up part of our training time; slow flying is an item in the FAAís Practical Test Standards for sport pilot certificates on up.

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