Exercise 3, Air experience: flight exercise
The introduction flight
That is enough theory for one day, now we are just going to make a short, 30 minute, familiarisation flight. During this flight I will be doing most of the work. I will be talking to ATC every now and then, and I talk about what I am doing.
The routing for today is to fly the ‘standard VFR departure’ out of Glasgow, via the south bank of the river clyde, Dumbarton and Alexandria, and the ‘standard arrival’ which is in the opposite direction via the north bank, to land back in Glasgow on runway 23.
After take-off I will trim the aircraft for straight and level flight and give the controls to you. I will do this by saying “Your controls”. After you reply with “My controls”, you have the aeroplane.
All we are going to do is fly straight and level, and perhaps if that goes well I’ll let you do a few turns. You can’t do anything wrong, I’ll be ready to take over at any time.
When I say “My controls”, you take your hands and feet off the controls and let me fly the aeroplane again, and you reply by saying “your controls”.
Do you have any questions so far? Are you ready? Let’s go!
AIS information for Glasgow airport is available here
Piper Tomahawk abbreviated Checklist (use at own discretion)
OK, we are in the Aeroplane, All the pre-flight checks are complete, a flight plan has been filed, the tech-log signed, and the aircraft is positioned so we can taxi out safely.
But before we start I will give you a short safety briefing:
Make sure that your seat belts and harness are fastened throughout the flight.
Should the need arise to quickly evacuate the aeroplane, you can can release the seat belt by lifting the buckle.
The easiest way to shut down the engine is to pull the red mixture leaver all the way down. The engine should stop within a few seconds.
To open the door, open the latch on the top first, than lift the door handle. Beware of the propeller in the front of the aircraft.
Do you have any questions?
BAT switch on, radios on, I will ask start clearance to ATC.
“Glasgow Ground, G-FIOL”
“G-OL pass your message”
“Piper 38 on Whiskey Apron, information Charley, request startup, 20 minute local flight, standard departure followed by a standard arrival. G-OL”
“G-OL start up approved, Information Charley correct, QNH 1021, standard exit not above 2000ft, report ready for taxi”
“Start up approved, QNH 1021, Standard departure not above 2000ft, wilco G-OL”
Before start checks complete,
Prime 1, prime 2, leave the primer open. Throttle half inch, Mixture rich, fuel pump ON
outside area is clear “CLEAR PROP!”
Starter engage, close primer and lock. count for ten seconds.
Engine is ON, adjust to 1000RPM, oil pressure checked.
Alternator ON, fuel pump OFF
Avionics ON, set transponder code 7000
Set DG to compass heading
“G-OL, request taxi”
“G-OL Taxi via Whiskey to holding point Yankee 1 for runway 23”
“Via Whiskey to Yankee 1 for runway 23, G-OL”
Landing light ON (Or taxi-light if you have one)
Note time departure time on your kneeboard
Outside clear, Check brakes and steering
taxi to holding point, position into wind
parking brake on, 1000 rpm, taxi light OFF
“G-OL, ready for departure taxi”
“G-OL, via Yankee 1, line-up and wait runway 23”
“via Yankee 1, line-up and wait runway 23 G-OL”
Lookout for traffic, Transponder ON (see and be seen!)
Line up with the runway, confirm runway heading with Gyro compass
“G-OL, the wind is 300/8, runway 23 cleared for take-off, left turn out”
“runway 23 cleared for take-off, left turn out G-OL”
Landing light ON, memorise take-off time (don’t write it down!)
Stabilise engine, check T’s and P’s. brake release
Expect to give right rudder for the P-effect
Keep tracking the centre line, keep the wings level.
rotate at 53, accelerate to 70 and trim.
At 1500ft, Attitude Power Trim to level off
Ok I will talk you though it are you ready? “your control”
Keep the attitude of the aeroplane just as it is, by making small adjustments in up or down, by raising or lowering the nose of the aeroplane. and keeping the wings level.
To turn the aircraft, gently bank to the left or right and keep the nose on the horizon at the same time.
follow the M8 untill we pass dumbarton, follow the river leven to Alexandrie
“Tower, G-OL, passing Alexandria, request rejoin via standard entry”
“G-OL, approved, clearance limit is Erskin bridge, not above 2000ft.”
“Cleared to rejoin, Limit is Erskin bridge not above 2000ft, G-OL”
Make a 180 turn to the right over Alexandria return Dumbarton. There turn left, follow the north bank of the Clyde to the Erskin bridge.
“G-OL, number one, report final runway 23”
After the Erskin bridge, descent to 700ft along the north bank of the river clyde.
Reduce power to ~1500 RPM, set carb heat ON.
Before the base turn, reduce the speed to 80 knots.
When the speed is below 89, set flaps 21 degrees (first notch)
“G-OL, final runway 23”
“G-OL, Wind is 240/7, runway 23 cleared to land”
“23 cleared to land G-OL”
On final, reduce speed to 70 and set flaps 34 degrees (flaps down)
complete the landing checklist
Fly the aircraft until you are just a couple of inches above the centreline. reduce the power to idle and try to stay in the air for a few seconds to bleed of some speed. after about two seconds, hold the pitch attitude and let the plane settle down on the runway.
Always land the main wheels first, keep the nose wheel about an inch off the ground for about a second, then let it settle down softly. keep a light back pressure until you are at taxi-speed.
Be gentle on the brakes, there is no anti-skid and you don’t want to lock the wheels.
“G-OL, vacate to the right, taxi to the club, monitor ground on 121.7”
“to the right, monitor 121.7 G-OL Cheerio!”
After vacating the runway, set flaps UP, Fuel pump OFF, transponder ON, remember the landing time.
Taxi back and park into wind if possible.
Set 1000 RPM, parking brake set, landing light OFF
Switch off the Avionics,
Magneto dead cut
Set idle power, then mixture off.
When the engine is off, magnetos off, ANTI COLL LIGHT OFF,
BAT and ALT switch OFF
Note the landing and on-blocks time and tacho
consult the post landing notes on the checklist.
Let’s secure the aircraft, and then go inside for a coffee and a de-brief. Do you remember how to open the door?
So, this was exercise 1a. Have you enjoyed it as much as I did? I sincerely hope so. So a quick review of what we have done.
We have familiarised with the aeroplane and some of its characteristics, and some of the most essential items in the cockpit.
After a quick safety brief, we started the engine and prepared the systems for flight.
The best way to operate an aeroplane is to do everything from memory, and then use the checklist to make sure you didn’t forget any critical items.
You may also have noticed that I had to obtain clearances from ATC from time to time, that is because this is a controlled airport.
But even though we received a clearance to line up, we had a good lookout before entering the runway. This is an example of good airmanship. We are working with humans and humans make mistakes. but as long as we stay vigilant we can keep flying safe.
After a quick engine check we took off, and climbed to an altitude of about 1500ft.
To level off in the cruise, the Mnemonic was Attitude, Power Trim. So first the nose of the aircraft was lowered into the cruise attitude, the power reduced and the control forces balanced out with the trim.
To make a turn, we have a good lookout first, and then all we have to do is gently bank the aircraft to the direction we want to go, and keep the nose of the aircraft on the horizon. A little bit of back pressure on the yoke is required to prevent the aircraft from losing altitude.
To start the descent, the mnemonic is Power, Attitude, trim. reduce the power, set the nose in the descent attitude and trim the control forces away.
Then we landed back on runway 23 and taxied back to our GA apron.
I can imagine that the first time flying a light aeroplane can be a bit intense, and that you may not remember everything perfectly for the next flight, but that is normal. For this reason specifically, exercise 1 is split into A and B, and exercise 1B is almost an exact repetition of what we have done today.
before the next session:
In review of today’s flight, have a look at the POH, casually read though chapter 7 and the expanded procedures in chapter 4.
Also have a look at chapter 3, the emergency procedures. For now it is sufficient to glance through it, a deeper study will be required before exercise 14.
Piper Tomahawk POH is available here
In the next exercise we shall have a look at the primary and secondary effects of all the flight controls. If you are keen, have a look at the effects of the ailerons, elevator, rudder, the flaps and the pitch-trim.
I hope you have enjoyed the whole experience, If you have any burning questions, feel free to ask. Thank you for flying with me today and I hope to see you soon for the next flight.