December 2011 Issue

Slips Who Needs ‘Em?

According to an informal poll of CFIs, slips not only help pilots learn to control the airplane but they also can come in handy, even in flap-equipped planes.

When was the last time you flew a slip? Are slips a necessary maneuver belonging in every pilot’s skill set? Or are they an aerial anachronism, a holdover from earlier flying days, with little application to the modern world? Slips originated in aviation’s early days, when most, if not all, airplanes lacked wing flaps. They were and are used to increase the angle of descent on approach, and to get the airplane’s nose out of the way of the pilot (who often sat well aft) to better see the runway ahead when landing. Given the genesis of the art of slipping, should we still be expected to master it?

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