Thursday, 23 November 2017

7 Steps To Make The Perfect Crosswind Landing

Thanks to Boldmethod for sharing...

7 Steps To Make The Perfect Crosswind Landing | Boldmethod

Crosswind landings can be intimidating, but these 7 steps will guide you from final approach to touchdown.

1) Wind Check
When you're on final at a towered airport, ask ATC for a wind check. An instantaneous wind reading gives you a good idea of what you're correcting for. And if you're at a non-towered airport, look for the wind sock. There's at least one visible from the end of each runway.Boldmethod

2) Monitor Your Speed
You should be established on your final approach speed (-0/+5 knots). When you fly the right speeds, you can spend more time focusing on the landing, and less on worrying about getting slow or fast on final.

3) Flying A High Wing Plane? Less Flaps Might Be The Key
Some aircraft manufacturers recommend using partial flaps in strong crosswinds. Check your POH. If they recommend it, you'll have an easier time managing your touchdown.

4) Transition From Crab To Slip
Initially on final, you're pointed into the wind, wings-level, to maintain a straight ground track on the extended centerline of the runway. But as you approach the threshold, you'll enter a side-slip for touchdown. Use rudder to align the nose with the runway, and use ailerons to prevent drifting upwind or downwind. It takes some practice, but we have great examples of what it should look like here.

5) As You Flare, Increase Control Inputs
As you flare, you're slowing down, and that makes your flight controls less effective. Slowly add more rudder and aileron during the flare to keep yourself aligned with the runway, all the way to touchdown.

6) Upwind Wheel First
In the perfect crosswind landing, you'll touch down on the upwind wheel first, followed by the downwind wheel, and then finally the nose wheel.

7) Wind Correction After Landing
Once the aircraft is on the runway, don't release the controls. Gradually increase your ailerons into the wind, so that a gust of wind doesn't lift your upwind wing.

Want to immediately improve your takeoffs and landings? Check out our Mastering Takeoffs and Landingsonline course. Plus, if you order now through Saturday, November 25th at 11:59PM Pacific, you'll get a free Boldmethod shirt with your order! Learn more and sign up now.

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Thursday, 26 October 2017

Rules of Thumb Every Pilot Should Know

Thanks to Boldmethod for sharing...
Rules-Of-Thumb Every Pilot Should Know | Boldmethod
1) When To Abort A Takeoff: The 50/70 Rule
A general rule for GA aircraft is if you haven't reached 70% of your takeoff speed by the time you've reached 50% of the length of the runway, you should abort your takeoff. Read the full article here.

Why do you need 70% of your takeoff speed by 50% of the runway? As you accelerate down the runway during takeoff, you start chewing up more feet of runway for every second you're rolling down the pavement. If you haven't achieved 70% of your takeoff speed by the time you're halfway down the runway, you may not have enough pavement left to get to rotation speed and lift off.

2) Course Corrections
The 1 in 60 rule states that if you're off course by 1NM after 60 miles flown, you have a 1 degree tracking error. Time to correct that heading!

Another tip: If you're 60 miles away from a VOR, and you're off course by one degree, you're off course by one mile. Last thing: if you fly a 60 mile arc around the VOR, you'd fly a total of 360 about a long instrument approach!

3) How To Calculate Windshear
Rule-of-thumb: the total shear is double the peak wind. If the outflow speed of a microburst is 30 knots, you'll experience about 60 knots of shear as you cross the microburst. And it all can happen in a very short period of time.

Think about what would happen to your Cessna 172 if you went from 100 knots to 40 knots in the matter of a few seconds...

4) Calculating Glideslope Descent Rates
If you're flying a 90 knot approach speed on a 3 degree glideslope, you'll need to descend at roughly 450FPM to maintain the glideslope. But how did we come up with that?

There's a pretty easy rule-of-thumb to figure that descent rate out. Divide your ground speed by 2, then add a 0 to the end. So if you take 90 knots / 2, you get 45. Add a zero to the end, and you get 450FPM. There's another way to approximate this. You can also multiply your groundspeed by 5 and you'll get an approximate descent rate for a 3 degree glideslope.

5) More Descent Calculations
At a 1 degree angle of descent, for every 1 mile you fly, you'll descend 100 feet. This ratio can be used to determine other aspects of descent. For instance, if you have 1 mile to descend 600 feet, you'll need a 6 degree nose-down descent.

While you may be able to chop and drop in a C172, a larger jet or turboprop usually can't do that. Plus, it's not safe. Try your best to plan a 3 degree arrival into all of your airports for the safest and most gentle descent.

6) Calculating Civil Twilight
A good rule-of-thumb for the calculating civil twilight is that it usually ends between 20-35 minutes after sunset. Today in Boulder, sunset is 6:05 PM, and civil twilight ends at 6:33 PM. That's a difference of 28 minutes.

7) Flying Gusty Approaches
In gusty conditions, use less flaps. With less flaps and a faster approach speed, you'll be less susceptible to gusty conditions, and you'll also have a safety margin if you encounter wind shear. Another rule-of-thumb you can use is to add half of the gust factor to your approach speed.

If your final approach speed is 80 knots, and the winds have a gust factor of 20 knots (for example, winds 10 gusting to 30), fly the approach at 90 knots.
Bernal Saborio

What other rules of thumb do you use? Tell us...

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Thursday, 19 October 2017

8 Easy-To-Forget Details Of Flight Planning

8 Easy-To-Forget Details Of Flight Planning | Boldmethod

They may not make the biggest difference, but it's easy to miss the fine details of planning.
1) Winds and Runway Heading

Winds reported in METARs and Winds Aloft Forecasts are true north. Runway headings are magnetic north.
2) Unusable Fuel
Basic Empty Weight accounts for unusable fuel. When you're doing your weight and balance, you don't need to add in unusable fuel.
3) Notes Section
When you do performance calculations before your flights, double check the notes section. Grass runways, sloped runways, headwinds and tailwinds can all make a difference.

You don't want to arrive at your destination and realize the runway is closed. Make sure you check the NOTAMs before you go. And if you need help reading them, we have the tool for you.

5) Night Currency
It's getting dark much earlier, and the end of Daylight Saving Time is right around the corner. If your flight is creeping up on an hour after sunset, and you have passengers, make sure you're night current.

6) Fuel Consumption
Most aircraft cruise performance values are calculated based off of the recommended leaning procedures. If you forget to lean or you don't lean according to the POH, you fuel consumption will be higher than planned.

7) Expired Charts

Charts do actually change. Whether it's a new tower on a VFR chart, or a change to an IFR procedure, make sure you have the most current charts with you.
Swayne Martin
8) Airspace
Watch out for special airspace along your route. After all, nobody wants to accidentally fly through a restricted area.

What other flight planning details are easy to miss? Tell us in the comments below.
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Monday, 18 September 2017

Two Easy Rules-of-Thumb For Calculating a Three Degree Glide Slope

Two Easy Rules-of-Thumb For Calculating a Three-Degree Glide Slope

Two Easy Rules-of-Thumb For Calculating a Three-Degree Glide Slope
By Swayne Martin (Thanks to boldmethod for sharing)

Have you ever found yourself chasing the glideslope on an ILS approach? There's an easier way to do it.Groundspeed has a significant effect on descent rate, and there's a formula you can use to ballpark your feet per minute (FPM) descent, even before you get on glideslope.

One of the most important parts of instrument flying is getting ahead of the airplane. The following formulas are a great way to do just that. In many glass cockpit aircraft, wind vectors and ground track diamonds mean you'll have a easily visible references to use. GPS groundspeed will make the following equations extremely easy to use...

Option 1: Multiply Your Groundspeed By 5
If you're flying your aircraft on a roughly 3 degree glideslope, try multiplying your groundspeed by 5 to estimate your descent rate. The result will be a FPM value for descent that you should target. As you capture the glideslope, make adjustments as necessary.

Option 2: Divide Groundspeed In Half, Add "0"Divide your groundspeed in half, add a zero to the end, and you'll have an approximate FPM of descent. This is another easy way to target an initial descent rate for a 3-degree precision approach, or even a VFR descent into an airport.

Both formulas leave you with the same result. Choosing which formula to use comes down to which mental math you're more comfortable with.
How Wind Affects Descent Rate

A tailwind on final will result in a higher groundspeed, thus requiring a higher descent rate to maintain glideslope. The opposite is true for headwinds. Let's take a look at a few examples:

Example 1: Headwind of 25 Knots, Final Approach Speed of 100 Knots Indicated Airspeed.

Example 2: Tailwind of 25 Knots, Final Approach Speed of 100 Knots.

Useful For More Than Just ILS Approaches

Looking for a good way to plan out your 3 degree glideslope? These formulas are great references for LPV approaches, LNAV+V, or even long VFR straight in approaches.

Have you used these formulas before? Tell us how you use them in the comments below.

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Thursday, 7 September 2017

The 10 Worst Distractions For Pilots

The 10 Worst Distractions For Pilots 
Thanks to Boldmethod for sharing...

Distractions inside the cockpit aren't just annoying, they're dangerous. Do everything you can to avoid these 10 distractions...
1) Traffic You Hear, But Can't See
There's nothing more unnerving than a traffic report close to your position. Your eyes instantly move outside the cockpit, scanning the sky for visual contact. While scanning outside is important, so is flying the airplane. Don't make an uncomfortable situation even worse by forgetting to manage flight parameters.
2) "Bad" Passengers
Loud kids, passengers talking nonstop over the intercom, and seemingly endless questions are typical when flying people around in a small GA airplane. Remember the "isolate" switch is there for a reason!

Colin, however, is a good passenger. Bringing water for your pilots is never a bad thing!
3) Back Seat Pilots
Pilots can be terrible passengers sometimes... Click here to find out why.
4) Unfamiliar Aircraft
Can't find a switch? Don't know how to follow the checklist flow? What's that speed limitation?

None of these are questions that are good to be answering in the air. Before you hop into an unfamiliar airplane, make sure you've done some chair flying.

5) Unfamiliar Airspace
We didn't get our pilot's certificates to fly circles over our house all day long. Inevitably, you'll fly into unfamiliar and busy airspace somewhere in the country. Know the regulations, airspace dimensions, and procedures before you take off. Click Here to check out an airspace training course we developed to help you out.

6) Non-Essential Electronics
Limit the use of personal electronics as much as possible. If it's not flight-critical, ask yourself, "is this something that can wait until I'm on the ground?" Most likely, the answer is yes. If you're flying Part 91 with mounted cameras, have them set and filming before the engine starts. Don't touch them until you're on the ground.

7) Unnecessary Radio Congestion

There's nothing worse than a radio hog. It's distracting for other pilots that might be in a critical phase of flight or need to make an announcement. Avoid unnecessary radio conversations, or switch to a discreet frequency... Give 123.45 a try!

8) Cluttered Avionics
De-clutter your avionics so only relevant information is shown. Too much clutter could result in you missing something important.
9) Foreign Object Debris
FOD, or foreign object debris is distracting and dangerous. Quite a few accidents have been caused by loose items in the cockpit getting jammed into flight controls.

10) Open Doors And Windows
As you accelerate down the runway, you notice the loud rush of air entering the cabin. Somewhere, a door or window is open. If you weren't able to abort the takeoff or can't shut it in-flight, circle and land to fix the problem. Could an open baggage door take down an airplane? In this accident, it's most likely the primary cause.

What else has distracted you? Tell us in the comments below.

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Tuesday, 22 August 2017

Why Every Pilot Should Practice Power-Off 180 Landings

Why Every Pilot Should Practice Power-Off 180 Landings 
Thanks to Boldmethod for sharing...

It's unlikely you'll ever have an engine failure abeam the aim point markers on why are power-off 180s so important to practice?
What Exactly Is A 'Power-Off 180?'

Performing a power-off 180 is just what it sounds like. Abeam an aiming point on downwind, engine power is cut to idle (at or below 1000 feet AGL per ACS standards), and you maneuver to land as close to that preselected point as possible. Most pilots pitch for best glide speed, at least initially, to improve chances of making the runway point.

While it's not usually a required maneuver for private pilots, it's a great maneuver to practice for any pilot. The ACS has the following standards for maneuver completion: "Touch down within -0/+200 feet from the specified touchdown point with no side drift, minimum float, and with the airplane's longitudinal axis aligned with and over the runway centerline."

But this maneuver doesn't realistically depict what to expect during an actual engine failure and emergency landing, so why are they so important? Bear with me...
Simulated Landing Points

Unless you fly in North Dakota, you can't just land anywhere. Water, forests, and densely populated areas make emergency landings tough. While power-off 180s may not accurately depict real-life landing conditions, they do hone in the importance of landing on a pre-selected spot.

Your goal during a power-off emergency landing is a descent to landing following the format of a traffic pattern. Straight-in power-off approaches are dangerous, because you start farther away from your landing point, and it's difficult to judge glide and sink rate.
Wind Correction

Headwinds, tailwinds, and crosswinds provide unique challenges when flying power-off 180s. Unlike a normal approach, you don't have the backup of adding power to adjust for poorly anticipated wind conditions. The power-off 180 is the perfect way to learn how to control your descent path, while adjusting to compensate for wind.

Example 1: As you fly your downwind, you notice a high groundspeed with a corresponding tailwind. As you pull the power back, you'll need to make a base turn towards the runway sooner than normal. You'll be fighting a headwind and low groundspeed the whole way in on final.

Example 2: On downwind, you experience a headwind. As the power is brought to idle, extend your downwind before making a base turn to prevent over-shooting your landing spot.

Adjusting for differing wind directions and speeds takes practice, and is one of the biggest reasons practicing power-off 180s is so important. Over time, you'll get a feel for how long you need to wait before making a base turn.

No matter the situation, improving this skill set important for any pilot.
Increasing Your Descent Rate

Need to lose altitude? Try entering a forward slip. In most airplanes, you'll add full rudder in the direction away from the wind, while simultaneously using ailerons to maintain safe bank and directional control. This maneuver exposes a larger portion of the airplane's fuselage to the free air stream, resulting in significantly increased parasite drag. You'll be able to descend quickly, and get back on glide path.

The best way to use forward slips in this case? Treat them as step-downs. Enter a forward slip for a few seconds, lose altitude, exit the slip, and re-consider your glidepath to the runway. If it looks like you'll need to lose more altitude, enter the slip again. Repeat. This way, you'll reduce your odds of undershooting the runway.

S-Turns are another way to increase descent rates for landing. By turning, you'll simultaneously increase ground track, while lift is directed horizontally. Both factors result in a greater descent compared to straight-and-level flight. Be careful not to over-bank or use s-turns as your only way of losing altitude. They're generally not the best option, because you de-stabilize your approach.

Each of these maneuvers exemplify another important lesson learned from power-off 180s. If you're caught in a situation where altitude loss is necessary, these skills will pay off in a big way.

When should you add flaps? It all comes down to descent path. If you feel that you're high, start adding flaps. But avoid putting flaps to full right away. Like the forward slip, use flaps incrementally, to ensure you don't overshoot or undershoot your target.

There's nothing worse than adding full flaps, only to discover you didn't actually need that high of a descent angle and risk undershooting your landing point. And once you add flaps, don't take them out, especially down low. Retracting flaps with no power results in a significant sink rate - and possibly more than you can recover from, even with power. Don't add flaps, and especially full flaps, until you're absolutely certain you'll make your landing point.

Ground Track

It's not all about how the plane is set up or which maneuvers you choose to fly. Your ground track directly affects your descent path.

Squared turns from downwind-base-final result in more time spent in the air, steeper turns, and more altitude loss. Making a continuous turn, or nearly continuous, typically sets you up for a better final approach.

Speed Control

Throughout the entire power-off 180, speed control is key. As power is brought to idle, pitch for best glide speed. It'll give you the best shot of making the runway, and helps you judge your best glide ratio. Flying too fast or too slow means risking gliding distance.

Be careful when flying over approach speed as you get close to the runway. You'll risk floating and missing your touchdown point entirely.

Differing Glide Ratios

Every airplane glides differently at idle power. Some fly like a glider, and some like a brick. Practicing power-off 180s in a variety of airplanes demonstrates the importance of understanding your airplane's aerodynamics.

That way, when you're ready to fly a new bird, you'll feel much more comfortable preparing for emergencies.


A lot goes into flying a perfect power-off 180. Getting proficient in this maneuver don't just apply to engine-out situations, it helps you plan out any approach to landing.

What else is important about flying power-off 180s? Tell us in the comments below.

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If Your Engine Fails, Should You Fly Best Glide Or Minimum Sink

If Your Engine Fails, Should You Fly Best Glide Or Minimum Sink?

Thanks to Boldmethod for sharing...

When you think about power off landings, there are probably a lot of things that go through your head, like finding an airport within gliding distance, finding an off-field landing site if there aren't any airports, and last-ditch efforts to get your engine running again before you're out of altitude.

In 2013, there were thirteen fatal accidents related to power off landings, according to the NTSB. You're faced with some very serious decisions during a power off landing. But after you've run your checklists and determined your engine isn't coming back to life, handling a power-off landing really comes down to three simple things: aviate, navigate, and communicate.
Maximizing Glide Range, Or Time Aloft?

The first question you need to answer in a power-off landing scenario is this: do you want to maximize the distance you can glide, or do you want to maximize the amount of time you can stay aloft?

Most often you want to maximize the distance you can glide, at least initially, as you set up for a power off landing. The airspeed you want to pitch for is best glide speed.

No matter what aircraft you fly, best glide speed is usually published in the aircraft POH, and it's the best airspeed to start with as you're setting up for a power off landing.

Best glide gives you the best glide angle as you drift down, which means that if you maintain best glide all the way to the ground, you'll travel the furthest distance possible without power.

There's something you need to keep in mind about best glide, though. Like most airspeeds in the POH, best glide is calculated at max gross weight. And as weight decreases, so does the speed that will maximize your distance. The change is minor, but if you're trying to get the most out of your glide and you're lighter than max gross weight, a slightly slower speed may help you out.
Maximizing Your Time Aloft

If you want to stay in the air for the longest time possible, you want to fly at the minimum sink speed. Unfortunately, there's a problem with that. The minimum sink speed is rarely published for powered aircraft. But there is a way you can figure it out: try it in your plane.

Minimum sink is always slower than best glide, because it's the point on the power required curve where the least amount of power is required. Keep in mind, though, you're going quite a bit slower than your best glide speed, and that can significantly impact your glide range.

Unless you have a good landing site below you, and you're trying to maximize your time aloft to troubleshoot the engine and talk to ATC, minimum sink isn't necessarily going to be as helpful as sticking with best glide will be.
Selecting A Landing Site: Airport

Once you've accomplished the "aviate" part of the flight by configuring the airplane, and pitching/trimming for best glide, your next step is to "navigate" and find a place to land.

When it comes to landing sites, you really have two choices. Land at an airport, or land somewhere else. Typically, you first choice is to land at an airport, if you can.

If you have GPS on board, whether it's panel mounted or an EFB like ForeFlight, the "Nearest Airport" function gives you a quick list of nearby airports.

Once you pick an airport and go direct to it, you'll know your distance to the runway. The next question is: can you get there? That's where some quick mental math comes in.

Most GA airplanes, whether they're a Cessna 172, or a Cirrus SR-22, glide about 1 1/2 miles for every 1,000' of altitude.

So for example, if you're 4,000' above the ground, you'll be able to glide about 6 nautical miles before your wheels are on the ground. You should always look at your POH maximum glide chart, but if you don't have it handy during your next engine failure, the 1 1/2 miles per 1,000' feet will at least get you close.

If you have ForeFlight's new "Glide Advisor" feature, that can tell you even faster what airports you're within gliding distance of.

Continue Reading...
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