Pilot Training and Group Think

Artistry of the Great Flyer - A Pilot’s Guide to Stick and Rudder and Managing Emergency Maneuvers.
In today’s pilot training, flying with reference to the horizon is often disregarded for dependence upon GPS and instruments. Instead, Alsip emphasizes how great flyers, with visual reference to the horizon, have developed good stuck and rudder skills. Alsip guides pilots towards mastery of the two fundamental skills of a great flyer: Don’t stall and control yaw. Artistry of the Great Flyer is available from Amazon and the E-Store page on Dylan Aviation web site.
Artistry of the Great Flyer - A Pilot’s Guide to Stick and Rudder and Managing Emergency Maneuvers. In today’s pilot training, flying with reference to the horizon is often disregarded for dependence upon GPS and instruments. Instead, Alsip emphasizes how great flyers, with visual reference to the horizon, have developed good stuck and rudder skills. Alsip guides pilots towards mastery of the two fundamental skills of a great flyer: Don’t stall and control yaw. Artistry of the Great Flyer is available from Amazon and the E-Store page on Dylan Aviation web site.

Pundits and educators are constantly using jargon, “generally accepted terminology”, and they never realize their “student” doesn’t fully understand the meaning of the words. I think aviation trainers, trainees and pilots alike routinely repeat words and phrases instead of defining the underlying concept. Over time fundamental stick and rudder concepts have been lost for too many pilots.

Pilots, especially student pilots, should avoid tired axioms and rote memory to define their stick and rudder skills. They must be wary of group think terminology, and seek complete and clear definition of words that define pilot skills and aviation science; for example, the FAA defines a spin as an “aggravated stall”. A pilot might ask “how the hell do you aggravate a stall?” I routinely meet licensed pilots that cannot explain their understanding of a “coordinated turn”. Your understanding of the fundamentals defines how you train, and in an emergency you fly like you train. In the case of a loss of control incident, your life could depend on it.

I invite you to have fun with the following examples of aviation fundamentals commonly distorted by group think. These questions are samples of airmanship subjects that I discuss with all of my students. The correct answers are at the end. If you know and understand most of the correct answers, you are probably a safe and skilled pilot most of the time. Use this quiz as a resource to help you develop your new year’s resolution as it applies to your continuing flight training.

1. Most pilots are familiar with the advice to “Just fly the thing”, a famous comment attributed to the late Bob Hoover. What exactly does
that mean?
2. An airplane (the wing) can stall in a steep dive at maneuvering speed. (true or false)
3. Certified airplanes do not stall. (true or false)
4. How does a pilot cause the airplane to stall?
a. Reduce power and fly slow
b. Cross control in a turn
c. Excessive deflection of elevator
5. How does a pilot recover a stall?
a. Add power
b. Lower the nose
c. Unload the elevator
6. What is the force that causes an airplane to turn (change direction)?
a. Newton’s force equation
b. Coordinated rudder
c. Horizontal component of lift
7. What is the rudder used for?
a. Coordinate drag and lift during a turn
b. Keep the tail behind the airplane
c. Control yaw
8. A pilot should apply back pressure to the stick when rolling into and especially rolling out of a level turn. (true or false)
9. During a turning maneuver, an airplane will go out of control if the pilot does not maintain control pressures on the yoke. (true or
false)
10. Which statement best describes a spin?
a. A spin happens when a pilot cross controls.
b. One wing stalls and the other doesn’t.
c. Stall and yaw.

Answers:
1. Don’t stall. A pilot’s #1 job, the prime directive, is don’t cause the airplane to stall.
2. True. An airplane can be made to stall in any attitude at any airspeed.
3. True. The condition of “certified” means airplanes are stable and do not stall. A pilot must cause the airplane to stall.
4. C. Elevator controls angle of attack. Pull or push the stick too much and the airplane will stall.
5. C. Stop pulling or pushing. Just let go.
6. C. Bank the airplane and lift will push airplane through a turn.
7. C. Use as much rudder as you need when you need it to control adverse, p-factor and gyroscopic yaw.
8. False. Never use the elevator when rolling. Use elevator as necessary to control altitude after the airplane is established in the bank.
9. False. The airplane is stable; it is not trying to kill you.
10. C. An airplane enters a spin if it yaws during a stall

This month’s featured video, Pilot Habits, is a reminder that if you practice poor technic, you get real good at being bad.
Click here.