Tuesday, 30 January 2018

How To Time Your Flare For A Perfect Landing

Thanks to Boldmethod for sharing...

How To Time Your Flare For A Perfect Landing | Boldmethod
How To Time Your Flare For A Perfect Landing.  By Colin Cutler

Have you ever felt like you can't figure out when you should flare? You're either flaring too early and leaving yourself high above the runway, or flaring too late and landing hard?

Flaring is by far the hardest part of your landing to master, and it takes the most finesse. But, if you set yourself up properly, with your airspeed on target and your glide path steady, it's really pretty simple.

To have a really great flare and landing, you need to have a couple things under control as you approach the runway: airspeed, and flare height.
First Things First: Airspeed

Let's start with airspeed. Your final approach airspeed depends on two things: your landing weight, and your flap configuration. For most aircraft, you'll find the published final approach speed in your Pilot's Operating Handbook or Airplane Flight Manual. It's often in Section Five, next to your landing distance information, or in Section Four, in your landing procedures.

For our SR-22T, Cirrus recommends that we fly final at 80-85 knots with full flaps. And as we cross the runway threshold, we should be at 79 knots. That's the speed required to achieve the published short field landing performance.

Cessna recommends 60-70 knots with full flaps on final, and 61 knots across the threshold for a short field landing distance for the 172. Again, that's the speed required to achieve the POH published landing performance.

Remember that these speeds are published for maximum gross weight. If you're lighter than max gross, you should fly a few knots slower. If you don't, you'll be too fast for your weight, and you'll float your landing.

If you're lighter than max gross and you're still floating down the runway when you flare, continue taking a couple knots off each time you cross the threshold, until you find the speed that works for you. Small changes in airspeed can make a big difference.

If your aircraft's manufacturer doesn't recommend a final approach speed, the FAA recommends that you use 1.3 x VS0.
Altitude: When Exactly Are We Supposed To Start Flaring?

Now that you're on speed for the flare, you need to judge the right altitude to start pulling the aircraft's nose up for the flare and landing.

For almost all general aviation aircraft, you should start the flare at about 10 feet above the runway. Unfortunately, 10 feet isn't very useful to any of us. That's because your altimeter isn't sensitive enough for you to pick out 10 feet above the runway.

Fortunately, there's a better way judge your flare, which leads us into the video below...
When The Runway Zooms In Size...

Watching for the runway to expand in your windscreen is the perfect way to judge your flare. As you fly down final, the runway grows steadily in your windscreen. But then, as you get about 10 feet above the ground, the runway grows at a rate of nearly 10 times faster than before. When you see the runway "zoom" in your windscreen, it's time to flare.

So what does the zoom look like, exactly? Watch the video below - we've mapped the runway width from short final to touchdown.

The Right Combination For A Perfect Landing

Airspeed and altitude control are the recipe for great landings. If you fly the published speed on final approach, and start your flare when the runway starts zooming in your windscreen, you're setting yourself up for a smooth, soft landing.

When you put it all together, you'll impress your passengers, and yourself.

Want to learn more about making great landings in all kinds of weather conditions? Check out our Mastering Takeoffs and Landings course. It's full of tips and techniques you can use to improve your takeoffs and landings on your next flight.

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Tuesday, 23 January 2018

How To Fix The Splitting Pain Of In-Flight Ear Block

Thanks to Boldmethod for sharing...

You've probably experienced ear block when climbing or descending when you've had a cold. It's an extremely painful experience and can lead to some nasty physical consequences. Here's what you need to know...

We spoke to Steve Martin, a professor of aerospace medicine and manager of the altitude chamber at the University of North Dakota to find out more.
Why Your Ears Won't Pop

If you've had a sinus infection, cold, or even allergies, you're at risk for a painful ear block. It's especially true when flying unpressurised airplanes.

Your sinuses are a series of connected hollow cavities in the skull surrounded by soft tissue. The largest is about an inch across. Experts don't really know why we have them, but a few theories suggest that sinuses help humidify and filter air. When you're sick and your sinuses become inflamed, it's difficult for air to pass in and out of the sinuses, leading to a buildup of pressure.

In addition to your sinuses, your Eustachian tubes help equalize the pressure around your eardrums. They're about the size of a pencil, and run from your nose to your ear. When you have a sinus infection or cold, the membranes in your nose block off the Eustachian tube, and your ear subsequently loses much of it's ability to manage pressure changes. This is why sounds become muffled and you begin to feel pressure around your ears.

As you climb in altitude, air pressure decreases, and the air within your sinuses and Eustachian tube also decreases. You typically won't notice pain during climbs, because it's easier for the Eustachian tube to push air out than to suck it in. Because of this, you and your passengers might go most of the flight without any pain.

But once you begin descending, the air around you increases in pressure. This increased pressure pushes on your ears and sinuses. Since they're inflamed, it's difficult for any air to pass back in. This high pressure air pushes in on your sinuses and ears, leading to a painful experience.

Left unchecked, a rapid descent can cause so much pressure buildup that an eardrum might become perforated. In rare cases, the tiny bones around an ear could go to the inner ear and cause a blowout of the "round window," leading to a loss of inner ear fluid and complete disorientation. This is the same fluid that surrounds the tiny hairs in your ears, and gives you a sense of motion.

How Long Should You Wait After Having A Cold?
After a bad cold, you may have to wait up to a week to fly comfortably again. Just because you feel better doesn't mean your sinuses have fully cleared. They could still be inflamed and unable to handle the pressure changes of flying.

You Fly Anyway, Now What?
If you get an ear block, there are a few steps you need to follow:
First, level off. When you or a passenger begin to experience pain, stop the pressure change. If necessary, initiate a climb back to higher altitude, which lowers the pressure on your sinuses and ears. Make sure to request your level off and climb with ATC, and keep them informed about your progress and timing requirements.
Second, attempt to equalize pressure in your sinuses and ears. Yawning, chewing gum, and swallowing are a few good ways to equalize pressure. (Keep reading below to learn how the valsalva maneuver and vasoconstriction can help).
Third, begin descending at a slower rate. Once you're ready to try a descent again, don't exceed a 500 feet per minute on descent. Your ears will likely clear themselves slowly. As long as the pain doesn't become too severe, you won't hurt yourself.

If you need extra time and distance, extend your route, slow your speed, or both. This will give your ears and sinuses more time to adjust to changing pressure.
Don't Do The Valsalva Maneuver Wrong
Avoid simply squeezing your nose and attempting to blow out the pressure. If your right ear is blocked:
Tuck your chin into your left shoulder while tilting your head forward.
Pinch your nose.
Close your mouth.
Give one good burst of air pressure from your lungs.

The key to success is a quick, gentle pop of pressure that will help open up the Eustachian tubes and sinuses. Reverse these directions when your left ear is blocked. When the valsalva doesn't work after a few tries, don't blow harder. If you do it wrong, you could risk over-pressurizing yourself and making the situation even worse...

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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 miles...talk 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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