Features

February 2010 Issue

Five Airspeeds You’ve Got To Nail

Pitch and power equals performance, but when you need them most, you won’t have time to look them up.

So much of operating personal aircraft is a numbers game: How many gallons of fuel are required, how many inches aft is the center of gravity and how many more minutes until we arrive? The automation available in today’s avionics makes some of this child’s play, but we still need to know how to do the basic computations, if for no other reason than the day our expensive panel soils the bed. The same is true for just basic stick and rudder skills, also. For example, there are several performance airspeeds that, when the need arises, you’ve got to be able to predictably attain. Some may be obvious, others perhaps not, and some reference speeds we’ll address a little differently than you might have been taught. Unfortunately, recent NTSB accident histories show a growing trend away from proper airspeed control, so with that in mind, let’s review five speeds you’ve got to nail.

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