The Dangers of Timid Piloting

During a recent airplane owners’ gathering in Florida, I did a short poll of the audience on basic aerodynamics. One result reflected a common pattern: pilots fear banking past 30 degrees (especially in the pattern)!  Pilots at all levels erroneously believe 45-degree bank turn has much more “aerodynamic threat” (raises the stall speed much higher) … Continue reading “The Dangers of Timid Piloting”

Where Do We Lose It? The *Real* Threat!

Ask yourself a question: where do most stalls occur? Take a moment. Write down your answer. Almost everyone probably wrote down “in the base-to-final turn.” The ubiquitous stall scenario is overshooting the turn from base leg to final approach, and (perhaps subconsciously) adding too much rudder to try to slew the airplane’s nose into alignment … Continue reading “Where Do We Lose It? The *Real* Threat!”

*Practical* Aerodynamics; Facts Every Pilot Must Know

Pilots don’t need aerodynamics at the level of Greek Letters and many decimal places to be safe in flight. But understanding the basic physics of flight is essential. F-16 pilot and good friend AF General Mike Hall calls this “fighter pilot math;” a practical working knowledge ready for immediate use. Remember, gravity works tirelessly, day … Continue reading “*Practical* Aerodynamics; Facts Every Pilot Must Know”

Fancy Footwork; Yaw Canceling (for Safety)!

We had 45 professional aviation educators at the “You Can Fly Center” for our SAFE CFI-PRO™ workshop this week. These dedicated professionals (half with more than 20 years teaching) really inspired me to present some deeper flight fundamentals. Proper rudder usage – yaw canceling – is often skipped in early flight training but is critical … Continue reading “Fancy Footwork; Yaw Canceling (for Safety)!”

GA “Extended Envelope Training” (Required For Airlines!)

CFR 121.423 requires “Extended Envelope Training” for all airline flight crews to combat Loss of Control-Inflight. Practicing outside of the “comfort zone” of ordinary, comfortable flying is good preparation for a surprise encounter with upset. Unfortunately, this training has not been implemented (or even suggested) for GA flying except by SAFE. But since the average … Continue reading “GA “Extended Envelope Training” (Required For Airlines!)”

Is “Cross-Controlled” Dangerous?

We discussed the turning stall in the last SAFEblog and revealed the (often surprising) fact that in coordinated flight, with lift equal on both wings, a stall simply falls away from the lift vector and is very benign. There is only a burble and a drop of the nose, but no rolling or sudden departure … Continue reading “Is “Cross-Controlled” Dangerous?”

Flight Instruction At A Higher Level

This article is contributed by Dudley Henriques, a vastly-experienced retired CFI. It is longer than our usual blog but contains rare wisdom about effective flight instruction from an obvious pro; well worth your time and effort! We need good instructors in aviation generally and especially in the aerobatic community. Becoming a CFI isn’t really all … Continue reading “Flight Instruction At A Higher Level”

Stall Spin on Final; Are CFIs (Partly) to Blame?

Sorry, but yes we are. Read on to see why and how we can fix this. We all know that stall/spin “upset” incidents on final (some of which become accidents) – close to the ground – are a major hazard and a killer of pilots and, unfortunately, also passengers. We know that the onset of … Continue reading “Stall Spin on Final; Are CFIs (Partly) to Blame?”

Savvy CFI: “Baked In” Human Pilot Problems!

We humans contain “baked-in” reactions driven by our land-based biology that are extremely dangerous in flight. Our human “operating system” evolved over thousands of years of terrestrial existence and contains some unique inbred vulnerabilities that serve us poorly once airborne. Providing humans flight training, the only kind I have done incidentally :), is largely a concerted … Continue reading “Savvy CFI: “Baked In” Human Pilot Problems!”

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