Wednesday, September 16, 2020


Flying is a life-changing event. Every time you fly you leave the earth and eventually safely return to earth. I want to help enhance your flying in any way possible. Currently I don't have an aerobatic aircraft but the goal is to get you tailwheel experience (and endorsement), aerobatic experience, spin and/or upset training. I believe there is a big injustice to student pilots because many don't get to spin. As a result, they retain an unrealistic 'fear' of spins. Rather, I would have every pilot experience a spin and see that it is indeed possible to recover.

Monday, May 4, 2020

Newest Additions

- Flying IS Great -

Master Index

- fig -

Saturday, May 2, 2020

Musket Morsels

We all know you can't consolidate the internet or hundreds of peoples' insights, techniques, lessons into a single document.  So, I will consolidate the things I've learned, used, and shared to keep people flying right.  First, I'll start with terms...
  • Terms
    • "Abeam the numbers" - I call it the 'perch'.  It's where you (and birds) 'jump off the Perch.  I.e., you start your descent to base, to final, to landing.
    • "Back pressure" - pull back on the stick/yoke, or "Release back pressure" which is the opposite.
    • "Brick One" - meaning the very first inch (or brick width) of the runway.
    • "Buffet" - when the aircraft starts to shake prior to a stall
    • "Chair fly" - to rehearse a maneuver (or anything) before you actually do it.
    • "Grandma turns" - any turn with unnecessarily low bank angle.
      • VFR - anything less than 30 degrees (minus simulated IMC or slow flight)
      • IFR - anything less than 15 degrees (or standard rate which ever is lower) 
    • "Horn" - the stall warning horn - or however the aircraft is equipped
    • "Perch" - what everyone calls the "abeam the numbers" which is 4 syllables longer.  The Perch is certainly when you are abeam the numbers, but it also instills the idea that you "jump" off the perch.  I.e., you start your descent.  Birds don't fly up from a perch, they jump off (down).  Also see "Abeam the numbers" above.
    • "Roll Out" - means to reduce your bank (whatever it is) to zero, so as to roll out of bank.
    • "Unload" - lower AOA, push the yoke/stick forward
    • "VAPI" - I will use this when referencing VASIs or PAPIs.  They only differ in configuration, but the concept is the same.
    • "Wire".  This is the term I use for the approach angle.  3 degrees, right?  The 'wire' is a line between you and your aimpoint.  Ideally, it is always about a 3 degree wire.  You are either above, on, or below the wire.
  • 1-2-3 From the Knee
    • I use this at the perch.  1 is carburetor  heat, 2 is set your power, 3 is 10 degrees of flaps.  I return to power to refine it, but after it's refined, I leave it alone.
  • Aimpoint vs Landing Point.
    • First of all, I would argue there is no 'landing point' unless you're executing a precision landing.  Normally, the landing point is slightly beyond the aim point.  The aimpoint is where you would crash if you never changed your approach angle.  Since we transition to level, wait for the airplane to lose its lift and then roundout, we will certainly land beyond the aimpoint.  As soon as you transition to level, your aimpoint has served its purpose and you can say thank you as you fly past it.  You will land XXX (~400) feet beyond it.  If you wanted to land at brick one, your aimpoint could never be on the runway.  My aimpoint is very seldom short.  In fact, if there is a VASI/PAPI, it's an imaginary line directly across from the lights.  See my VASI/PAPI tutorial.  If there aren't lights, it's usually the first centerline dash after the numbers.  I only bring it closer if the runway is REALLY short.
    • Review the AIM discussion on runway markings
  • Crosswind controls on the ground
    • The text version in many POHs (such as shown here) take a bit of mental effort - at least they do for me.  So here's my technique...
      • Conventional Gear
        • "Turn Into, Dive Away From".  It's that simple.
        • You turn into (stick/yoke into) a quartering headwind and dive away from (stick/yoke away and forward) a quartering tailwind.
      • Tricycle Gear
        • "Climb Into, Dive Away From".
        • Only difference is 1) back stick/yoke for the headwinds and 2) watch the "diving" away from so you don't overcome prop wash.  Such as in moderate tailwinds.
      • AOPA has another technique if it works for you.
  • Illusions
    • Runways:
      • If it's "WIde" you'll be "HI", if it's "narROW" you'll be "LOW" (those are where you typically end up, not necessarily)
        • You're tying to make it look 'normal'
        • If they have VAPIs (VASI or PAPI) use them!
      • Slope - it's opposite of the slope
        • If it slopes down, you'll likely be higher (than you should be)
        • If it slopes up, you'll likely be lower (than you should be)
        • If they have VAPIs (VASI or PAPI) use them!
  • "Pitch for airspeed" - this implies an unmodified power setting and you can only maintain a speed with pitch (forward/aft stick/yoke).
  • Preflight / Walkaround:
    • The point here is to start from and end where you enter your aircraft.  Piper (and others) and Cessna are clearly different.  Both pics are from the POHs (with edits on the Piper):

  • Skid vs Slip
    • If you skid, you'll leave too much rubber on the road - TOO MUCH rudder.  You'll  leave a skid mark.
    • Slips then are the opposite - not enough rudder
  • Where do I put the keys?
    • My suggestion is on the fuel selector (or on the floor).  Placing it on the dashboard inevitably lets them slide out of view (and get hot).  Hanging them on a knob...painful.  Just put them on the center of the floor.
- FIG / Improve Every Flight -

Friday, April 24, 2020

Percent Power

We often see references to 75%, 65% or some other percent of max power setting.  It's easy if a pertinent chart/reference has the correlated RPM setting, but many do not.  When there isn't an RPM setting, it is completely frustrating.  For example, if your max RP is 2700 RPM, 75% power is NOT 2025 RPM.  It's actually 75% HP - which makes sense - but how do you calculate that?  It would seem if 2700 was 100% HP, 2025 would give you 75% HP...but it does not.  

In studying engines and this problem, I've come up with a possible equation to calculate your percentage RPM settings.  I underlined "possible" because I haven't correlated it to every engine.  It goes like this - and it's pretty simple:
  • Subtract the percentage from 100, multiply by 10, subtract from MAX
  • Example:  75% of 2700 and 65% of 2700
    • 100-75 = 25 x 10 = 250.  2700-250 = 2450 RPM (75% RPM)
    • 100-65 = 35 x 10 = 350.  2700-350 = 2350 RPM (65% RPM)
I hope this helps.  This question has bothered me for quite some time and it's a question students ask.

- FIG -

Thursday, April 23, 2020

Instruments : Approaches

In general
  • Approach Title:
    • If the procedure ends in "A, B, C..." there are multiple circling approaches
    • If the procedure ends in "Z, Y, X..." there are multiple ST-IN approaches
  • Briefing:
  • Chart review at
  • Charted Visual Approach (boldmethod)
  • ILS
    • If your right wing is on the shaded part of the feather, then steering is "right" (correct). If it's your left wing, steering is "wrong" or back course.
  • LP approach
  • LPV and LNAV/RNAV, the differences:
    • They’re both GPS approaches with vertical guidance, but similarities end there.
    • LPV
      • Use WAAS/GPS, but NOT precision.  They are APV (approach with vertical guidance) - it was less admin and cost to call them APVs.  BARO-aided GPS doesn’t suffice.
      • They get more sensitive as you get closer and are about 700’ at the threshold (like an ILS), but they essentially turn linear after the threshold
      • Can’t use precision alternate minimums.  You need WX that meets LNAV, circling or LNAV/VNAV DA
      • Actually, first GPS approaches with vert guidance – designed for BARO-aided GPS
      • Difference?  Don't have increasing angular guidance as you approach the runway.  They decrease to 0.3 nm sensitivity when w/in 2nm of FAF – all the way to MAP.
      • The lowest they can go is 250’ above touchdown, but due to obstacles it’s often higher
    • LNAV +V
      • Only shows on your GPS (if able), not on plates.  And the vertical glide path is advisory only…you still need to fly step-down altitudes and MDA
  • RNAV (GPS) Approaches:
    • Great explanations by:  FAA and boldmethod
    • Remember, even with vertical guidance, and while using a DA (decision altitude), these are NOT considered precision approaches.  They are APVs (APproaches with Vertical guidance).  If you remember "guidance" and "glideslope", it will help separate these from precision approaches.
    • LNAV - Lateral Navigation (uses an MDA)
    • LNAV/VNAV - Lateral Navigation/Vertical Navigation (uses a DA)
    • LP - Localizer Performance w/o Vertical Guidance (uses an MDA)
    • LPV - Localizer Performance w/ Vertical Guidance (uses a DA)
    • RNP, written "RNAV (RNP)", see below
  • RNP approach (FAA page)
    • When you see RNP in the approach label, it can be interpreted as 'authorization required' because in reality, any RNAV has some RNP.
  • Segments:
    • What is considered the Initial Approach Segment on an approach?
      • The initial approach segment begins at the initial approach fix and ends where it joins the intermediate approach segment.
    • What is considered to be the Intermediate Approach Segment?
      • The intermediate segment (normally aligned within 30 degrees of the runway) begins at the intermediate point and ends at the beginning of the final approach course.
    • What is the Final Approach Segment?
      • The final approach segment for a precision approach begins where the glide slope is intercepted at the minimum glide slope intercept altitude shown on the approach chart;
      • The final approach segment for a non-precision approach begins at either a designated Final Approach Fix (FAF) or at the point where you are established on the final approach course.
      • When the FAF is not designated, such as where there is a VOR or NDB on the field of intended landing as published, the Final Approach Point (FAP) is where the procedure turn intersects the final approach course inbound.
    • What is considered the Missed Approach Segment?
      • The missed approach segment begins at the MAP and ends at a designated point.
  • Understanding GPS approaches (Pilot Workshop)
  • AIM: cross DER > 35’, 400’ before first turn, 200 FPNM until minimum IFR altitude*
    • 200 FPNM = 233 FPM @ 60 GS, 267 @ 80, 300 @ 90
    • * unless specified different (crossing alt, DP) turn @ higher altitude or @ fix
  • DPs and ODPs (ODPs are normally narrative)
    • Obstacles w/in 1nm & < 200’ tall are “low close-in obstacles” and are generally NOT factored in ODP
  • Minimum takeoff WX?  There isn’t, but a technique is highest published circling mins 
- FIG -

Wednesday, April 22, 2020

Engines / Powerplants

  • Aspirated ROT:
    • Engine will lose about 3% of its power for every 1,000’ of altitude
  • CHT (cylinder head temperature)
    • If too high > Enrich mixture / decrease pitch attitude / reduce power / open cowl flaps
    • Shock cooling > avoid it by allowing CHT to drop slowly
  • EGT (exhaust gas temperature)
    • Lean to 100°F on rich side of peak EGT for best operation (technique)
  • Leaning
    • Whenever mixture is adjusted, rich or lean, it should be done slowly.
    • Use full rich mixture during take-off or climb below 5K density altitude (Lycoming).
    • Anytime power setting is 75% or less at any altitude
    • At high altitude airports (> 5K), lean for taxi, take-off, traffic pattern entry and landing. 
    • Landing at airports < 5K density altitude, adjust mixture for descent, but only as required.  You can't go wrong if you keep the engine running smoothly!
    • Before entering pattern, go full rich
    • Methods:
      • Fixed props: gradually lean mixture until either tachometer or airspeed peaks.
        • From a 1969 172 POH, “…the mixture should be leaded as follows:  pull mixture control out until engine RPM peaks and begins to fall off, then enrichen slightly back to peak RPM.
      • Controllable pitch props: lean until a slight increase of airspeed is noted.
        • Slowly lean mixture until engine becomes rough or until power rapidly diminishes as noted by undesirable decrease in airspeed.  When either occurs, enrich mixture to obtain an evenly firing engine or to regain most of the lost airspeed or engine RPM.
        • When leaned, roughness is caused by misfiring due to a mixture which can’t support combustion.  It’s eliminated by slightly enriching mixture.
    • With EGT: lean to 100°F on rich side of peak EGT for best operation.
    • At all times, caution must be taken not to shock cool the cylinders.  Maximum recommended temperature change should not exceed 50°F per minute.
    • FAA on leaning 
    • Lycoming on leaning 
  • Oil
    • Too warm > Enrich mixture / decrease pitch attitude / reduce power / open cowl flaps
  • Percent power RPM:  see separate post
- FIG -


Flying is a life-changing event. Every time you fly you leave the earth and eventually safely return to earth. I want to help enhance your ...