December 2015 Issue

Airspeed & Turbulence: Easy Adjustments

The speed you aim for in turbulence probably isnít adjusted for weight, making it too fast. Thatís not hard to fix.

The airspeed indicator always has been one of a pilotís most useful tools for measuring aircraft performance. Itís colorful, with white and green, maybe a pair of red lines and a blue one, and maybe some yellow. And thereís that big white needle we use for bragging rights. Early on, we were taught some of the most important speeds we need to know and use arenít marked on it. One of them is the airplaneís design maneuvering speed (VA), sometimes confused with the turbulent air penetration speed, which perhaps is better known as design speed for maximum gust intensity (VB). But is there a difference between VA and VB? What is it, and when do you use them? Why? Which should we be concerned more with as a pilot, and when? And airplanes are stressed to lower negative-G limits than their positive G-load limitówhat about negative-G encounters in turbulence? Letís look at the operational reality of airspeed and G-load control in turbulent air.

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