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5 Rules of Thumb Every Pilot Should Know Boldmethod

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Source: 5 Rules-of-Thumb Every Pilot Should Know | Boldmethod

5 Rules of Thumb Every Pilot Should Know  Colin Cutler

1) Estimating Your Crosswind Component

When you’re on the ground, it’s easy to use the crosswind chart in your POH, or an E6B. But when you’re in the air, neither of those options are very practical.

Lucky of all of us, there’s an easier way. If the wind is 30 degrees off the runway, your crosswind component is about 50% of the wind speed.

If the wind is 45 degrees off the runway, the crosswind component is about 75% of the wind speed.

And if the wind is 60 degrees or more off the runway, the crosswind component is roughly the same as the total wind.

crosswind component

2) 10% Weight Increase = 20% Takeoff and Landing Distance Increase

The more weight you have, the more runway you need. And while this rule is far from exact, it gets you in the ball park for a normally aspirated plane.

Obviously, when it comes time to calculate your actual performance, you’ll want to pull out your POH.

distance weight

3) Takeoff roll increases about 10% for every additional 1,000 feet of density altitude

For most normally-aspirated airplanes, you add about 10% of takeoff roll distance for every 1,000′ of density altitude (DA).

For example, in Denver, with an increase of 3,200′ of density altitude, you’d increase your takeoff roll by about 32%.

So if you have a 1,500′ takeoff roll on a standard day in Denver (3 degrees C), you’ll increase that roll to almost 2,000′ on a 30C day.

Denver-Takeoff

4) When Should You Start Your Descent?

3 degrees is a comfortable descent rate in just about any aircraft. But when you’re approaching an airport, how do you know when to start down?

Divide the altitude you need to lose by 300.

For example, if you’re at 11,000′, and you need to get down to a pattern altitude of 2,000′, you need to descend 9,000′.

9,000/300 = 30 miles.

If you start a 3-degree descent 30 miles out, you’ll hit pattern altitude as you reach the airport. Keep in mind, you’ll want to add a few miles on to your number, so you hit pattern altitude slightly before you get to the airport.

1-degree-descent

5) ILS Course Width

VFR pilots can make good use of the ILS too. Whether it’s a dark moonless night, or a long straight-in on a hazy day, following the ILS to your runway keeps you safe from terrain and obstructions (not to mention, you know you’re lined up with the right runway).

The closer you get to the runway, the more sensitive the signal is. As you cross the threshold, 1/2 dot deflection on the localizer = about 1/2 the runway width. So if you’re a half dot off as you approach the runway, you’re going to be looking at the runway edge lights.

ils-loc

What are other rules-of-thumb do you use? Tell us in the comments below.

9 Things That Can Be Easily Overlooked During Preflight 

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Source: 9 Things That Can Be Easily Overlooked During Preflight | Boldmethod

1) Mandatory inspections

It’s important to verify that all required inspections are met for the aircraft you’re flying. You don’t want to compromise the safety of you and your passengers by flying an aircraft outside of its inspection windows, and you don’t want to have to explain why you flew an aircraft outside of mandatory inspections to the FAA, either.

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Capwatts86

2) Required documents

At the start of each preflight, make sure your aircraft has all the required documents on board. Remember the acronym ARROW which stands for Airworthiness, Registration, Radio Station License, Operating Manual, and Weight and Balance.

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Jack Snell

3) Fuel quantity

Never rely solely on the fuel quantity indicators. Make sure you visually check your fuel tanks to make sure you have enough gas for your flight.

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fireboatks

4) Pitot tube drain hole

You should always make sure that the pitot tube is open, as well as the drain hole. If you end up flying through precipitation, you want to make sure that your pitot tube is draining properly, so your indicated airspeed isn’t affected.

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JPC24M

5) Landing gear condition

Instead of skimming over the tire and saying “It looks good to me!”, make sure you actually check that the tire has proper inflation and that the tread isn’t worn down. It’s also important to make sure that the brake pads are intact, and that there isn’t any hydraulic fluid leaking.

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Anne Worner

6) Bottom of the fuselage

While it may seem unneeded, it helps you make sure there aren’t any dents on the bottom of the aircraft, tail strikes, or debris from prop blast. You also want to make sure there isn’t any excessive oil dripping, and that the avionics antennas are still intact before you go.

primary

7) Contaminants on the wings

When it’s below freezing, it can be easy to overlook contaminants on the wing like frost and clear ice, which both have adverse effects to your aircraft’s performance.

NTSB Frosted Wing

8) The propeller

Take your time to do a thorough inspection of the propeller. Make sure that both the leading and trailing edges of the propeller are smooth, and don’t have nicks or cracks. In addition to the visual inspection, you can also perform an audible test on composite props. Gently tap on the propeller from the hub to the propeller tip with a metal coin. If the tapping sounds hollow or dead, your prop could be delaminated, and you should have a mechanic check it out.

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RM Bulseco

9) Fuel filler caps

Double check them before you fly! If they’re not properly attached, you could risk fuel leakage from the top of the wing, which could make for a bad day.

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jay-jerry

What else is easy to miss on preflight? Tell us in the comments below.

The 7 Hardest Parts About Becoming A Private Pilot 

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Everyone knows that crosswind landings are usually challenging for student pilots. But beyond landings (and money!), there’s a lot about learning to fly that can be pretty tough. Here’s what you should be ready for.

The 7 Hardest Parts About Becoming A Private Pilot

By Swayne Martin

Everyone knows that crosswind landings are usually challenging for student pilots. But beyond landings (and money!), there’s a lot about learning to fly that can be pretty tough. Here’s what you should be ready for…

1) Aircraft Systems
One of the toughest topics for private pilot students is aircraft systems. As less and less people grow up working on cars or around machinery, there’s diminishing knowledge behind what makes that engine turn.Want to know more about the systems and equipment in your aircraft? Dig into your POH and read section 7. Better yet, find a local A&P at your airport and have them walk you through a few systems with the cowling off. Getting hands-on with the equipment behind closed panels is a great way to learn how your airplane flies.

2) The National Airspace System
It’s more than identifying lines of airspace on a sectional chart. You’ll need to know what weather minimums exist at different altitudes (day and night), what your equipment requirements are, and what your communication requirements are.
We can help – give our National Airspace System course a try.

3) Learning Regulations
There are hundreds of FAA Regulations that govern how, where, and when you can fly. Some of them can be pretty confusing. As a student pilot, you’re just as responsible for adhering to the FARs as any fully certificated pilot. Keep yourself out of trouble and learn those regs!

4) Aerodynamics
A huge part of learning to fly is understanding the physics behind how it all works. But how can a strong foundation of aerodynamics save your life? One simple example is the lift to drag ratio for your airplane. At L/D max, or the best lift to drag ratio, you’ll find an approximate best glide speed.

5) Decoding Textual Weather
Whether it’s a METAR or PIREP, it’s your responsibility as a pilot to maintain your skills for decoding textual weather.
Need a refresher? Give our Aviation Weather Products course a try.

6) “Radio Talk”
Learning how to actively listen for your callsign in busy airspace with dozens of airplanes on-frequency is tough. Adding that to learning the correct verbiage provides quite the task for brand new student pilots. Here are some things you shouldn’t say over the radio.

7) Getting Into “School Mode”
First and foremost, getting your brain into a “school mode” can be tough, especially if you haven’t sat in a formal classroom setting in years. Learning to fly is undoubtedly fun, but there’s also a lot of work outside the cockpit.

Avoiding Spatial Disorientation On Your Next Instrument Flight | Boldmethod

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Flying through the clouds on an IFR flight can be one of the most exhilarating things you can do. There’s nothing quite like busting in and out of ‘the soup’. Even better, there’s no feeling quite like seeing the runway appear at the end of an instrument approach. But flying through the clouds is not without risk: between 5-10% of all general aviation accidents result from spatial disorientation, and of those accidents, 90% of them are fatal.

Why Disorientation Happens In The Clouds?
Your eyes are your primary sensory input when you’re flying. You look outside, you see which way the sky is pointing, and you adjust your airplane. But all of that falls apart when you’re in the clouds…

Source: Avoiding Spatial Disorientation On Your Next Instrument Flight | Boldmethod

Spin Recovery: What’s The Purpose Of Each Step? | Boldmethod

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Spins are always a hot topic, and spin recovery is one of the first maneuvers you learn in flight training. Many of us learned the spin recovery acronym “PARE,” for Power, Aileron, Rudder and Elevator. It’s a great way to remember spin recovery technique – but do you know what each step does?

Source: Spin Recovery: What’s The Purpose Of Each Step? | Boldmethod

Parasite Drag: What Is It? | Boldmethod

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So what is it, and how does it affect your plane?

If you want to understand parasite drag, you’ll need a little background on what “drag” is in general. When two masses are in contact, they resist each other’s motion. In the case of an airplane, air resists the forward motion of the airplane. So when it comes to flying, drag is the resistance of an aircraft’s movements through air….

 

Source: Parasite Drag: What Is It? | Boldmethod

Four dead in Kentucky plane crash, girl, 7, survives: police

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Four dead in Kentucky plane crash, girl, 7, survives: police.

A small plane crashed in Kentucky late Friday, killing the pilot and three other passengers, while a seven-year-old girl apparently survived and wandered from the wreckage to find help, state police said.

The plane went down in a heavily wooded area of Lyon County, about 115 miles northwest of Nashville, Kentucky State Police said.

Authorities received a 911 call from a resident in the area who said a 7-year-old girl “had walked to his home reporting that she had been involved in a plane crash,” state police said in a statement posted on Facebook.

“The juvenile was in distress and was transported to a local hospital for non-life threatening injuries,” the statement said.

Rescue crews fanned out to look for the plane and discovered its wreckage in a wooded area, police said. Four people on-board were killed, among them the pilot, they said….

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