A ‘good’ landing is one from which you can walk away. A ‘great’ landing is one after which they can use the airplane again.
It’s not often we find ourselves down-range of any weapon, let alone a large one. How about this for size and sheer make-my-person-and-entire-airplane-cease-to-exist-from-4000-feet-away potential: 30mm gatling cannon delivering 3900 depleted uranium rounds per minute. Now make it a flight of two and you have my undivided attention.
It was a busy day at Easton (KESN) last time I flew with Bill Finagin. We were going around the pattern on runway 22 and a flight of two A-10 Warthogs were doing a practice instrument approach to runway 4, i.e. in the direction opposite our landing. The tower controller was busy and did a good job handling everyone. The timing worked out that we were on final as they were over the airport. Bill handled the important stuff of talking and coordinating our part and directing me, while I just flew. (To help make sense of the radio traffic: Bill’s permanent call sign is “bug 1” and you can probably guess “wardog 1” is the pair of Warthogs.)
Pilots spend a lot of time and energy watching for other aircraft. The vast majority of traffic we encounter is “no factor”, meaning we see them (and they probably see us) and no action is necessary for either party. Very, very occasionally we might have to slightly change our direction or altitude briefly. Rarely (it’s never happened to me) do we find ourselves flying straight toward another airplane on a collision course. Even more rarely is it death-dealers like the Warthogs. It was a unique experience.
It was never a problem but everyone was on their toes making sure everyone was doing what everyone else expected.
Pilot or not, there’s no debate that aviation in the US represents both our basic freedoms and our strong transportation system.
GAPPA could greatly expand the existing general aviation pilot base. If you haven’t heard about it yet look at these links and get familiar. If you support it, I urge you to let your lawmakers know.
I think it has the potential of addressing the declining pilot population. By allowing more pilots to fly the way most of us fly everyday we get more pilots flying and staying active longer. Aviation wins!
I sent emails to both senators and my house rep. Please learn about these bills and contact your elected officials! Your message doesn’t have to be long or eloquent. Below is what I used so feel free to use it or modify it to fit you.
GAPPA background from EAA
GAPPA FAQ from AOPA
Sign the EAA Petition
I suggest writing a note in your own words, but they also have a way to easily send your senators and rep a message, after signing the petition.
Dear Senator (insert name),
I’m a constituent and I support the General Aviation Pilot Protection Act. Please lend your support to H.R. 3708 (Rokita) and S. 2103 (Boozman).
I’m an active and passionate pilot and believe the strong aviation community in the United States is a powerful advantage in many ways, both to individual freedoms and to the transportation system. These bills expand on the FAA’s successful sport pilot medical standard. Not only will they strengthen general aviation by getting more pilots flying and keeping them active longer (a major concern for everyone in aviation), they will save pilots and the FAA time and money.
I urge you to cosponsor S. 2103 and do your part to keep U.S. aviation strong.
Thank you for your time.
Michael Glen Becker
If you push the stick forward, the houses get bigger. If you pull the stick back, they get smaller. That is, unless you keep pulling the stick all the way back, then they get bigger again.
Even as I embark on my aerobatics adventure I wonder if I’ve chosen well. I was happily working on my glider certification when I fell into my current obsession with aerobatics. Flying/owning gliders, and soaring as a sport, is generally considered less expensive than powered flight and aerobatics. Financially, I can’t manage both powered aerobatics and soaring now. Time-wise, I’m not sure I ever will. But boy is it fun to dream about.
If Balleka’s soaring video doesn’t get you excited you’re not interested in flying. It’s ok if you’re one of those, but I will admit to not understanding you. 🙂
Balleka has published some excellently flown and edited soaring videos that will be well worth the hour-plus you’re likely going to get sucked into watching. Thanks Balleka!
p.s. Great views in here of the Exmoor coast Cornwall England, the Alps, and for cycling fans the famous Tour de France climb Mont Ventoux.
Searching memory might be compared to throwing the beam of a strong light, from your hilltop camp site, back over the road you traveled by day. Only a few of the objects you passed are clearly illuminated; countless others are hidden behind them, screened from the rays. There is bound to be some vagueness and distortion in the distance. But memory has advantages that compensate for its failings. By eliminating detail, it clarifies the picture as a whole. Like an artist’s brush, it finds higher value in life’s essence than in its photographic intricacy.
-Charles A. Lindbergh, preface to The Spirit of St. Louis
The three most common expressions in aviation are, “Why is it doing that?”, “Where are we?” and “Oh Crap”.
If God had meant man to fly, he’d have given him lots more money.
The Hammerhead Turn is a fun maneuver. It’s a challenging combination of all three planes of motion, plus the fourth dimension of time: there are two quarter loop components to pull in pitch changes courtesy of the elevator, a roll component (to counteract torque at low airspeed and asymmetrical lift) to exercise aileron control, and of course the yaw component where we get to kick the rudder to turn around at the top. Plus it gets us close to the zero airspeed regime.
There is more going on here than I can keep track of now. For the moment the important parts are the pull up, the yaw turn around the top, and the pull out. Eventually I need to add these parts:
- Consistently hold the 4g pull from level to vertical
- Timing the turn around. Done correctly, the airplane pivots around its center of mass in less than a wingspan. Too early leaves the airspeed too high and the airplane “flies” through a wingover, instead of pivoting. Too late and it falls backward into a sloppy tailslide.
- Find the exact mix of right- and then forward-stick to keep the turnaround in the same vertical plane. The outside wing is traveling faster so it’s generating more lift, than the inside wing, which results in left-rolling tendency that is counteracted with right-stick. Forward-stick counters the gyroscopic force from the spinning propeller trying to pull the nose up.
- Timing the turn stop. Without right-rudder the nose will swing through the bottom, past vertical. The engine and propeller make an effective pendulum weight.
- Timing the vertical down-line and nailing the 4g pull-out to finish on target in both airspeed and altitude.
It looks so easy from the ground!
Here is video evidence of my first attempts…preserved for all time (at least until electrons are obsolete). I hope to look back at this clip 5000 hammerheads from now and shake my head at how anemic my skills used to be.
When in doubt, hold on to your altitude. No one has ever collided with the sky.