It is embarrassing to realize that most pilots (and even a majority of CFIs) don’t know which flight control powers the basic turn. Through no fault of your own, you may be among this group. Spoiler alert; the ailerons and rudder are neutral in a stable, coordinated level turn. We are all victims of the negative transfer from driving. As Rich Stowell testified to the NTSB, “The status quo in aviation education is unacceptable.”
The reality is surprisingly straightforward: airplanes are relegated to flight along straight lines and curves, and those paths are controlled primarily with the elevator. At the correlation level of learning, the myriad flight paths possible at a given angle of bank become readily apparent…
Even though pilots can cause rudimentary turns to happen under normal circumstances, it seems they have not been given the in–depth education and experience to master turning flight.
Given the confusion of most pilots, it is no surprise that Loss of Control is the resulting causal factor for so many aviation fatalities. This “stubbornly recurrent safety challenge” demands the antidote of correct understanding, followed by diligent practice. Danger lurks not in what you don’t know, but in what we think you know that is mistaken.
Flying doesn’t happen to us; it happens because of us. We interact with the airplane via the flight controls, and the inputs we make have performance consequences. Absent a complete understanding of the consequences of our inputs, we will be unable to apply the controls correctly, or to see the connections between the myriad forms of turning flight.
SAFE founder, Rich Stowell will launch his (FREE) “Learn to Turn” course on Community Aviation next week on Sept 10th (generously sponsored by Avemco and Hartzell Propellers). Please read the preview available HERE carefully and share these free materials when they become available next week. As Rich emphasizes in his course, reading is not enough. We need to apply and practice these suggestions in flight to be safer and defeat Loss of Control. Read it, practice it, and pursue excellence in your flying. Fly safely out there (and often)!
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