Flight Training - November 2012 - 21

CHECKRIDE

By Bob Schmelzer

SLOW FLIGHT 101

FLIGHT AT MINIMUM CONTROLLABLE AIRSPEED

ne of the first flight maneuvers your designated pilot examiner (DPE) will ask you to perform on your checkride will be slow flight—or, flight at minimum controllable airspeed. This maneuver requires you to reduce to and maintain an airspeed that is slightly above stall speed, while maintaining heading control, a specified altitude, and proper rudder coordination throughout. The tricky part is that at very slow airspeeds, flight control effectiveness and aircraft maneuverability are drastically reduced. In addition, flight control responsiveness becomes quite “mushy” when compared with flight at higher, normal operating speeds.
Flying at cruise speed is easy, but it takes real skill and coordination (and solid practice) to consistently perform this slow-flight task properly. Learning this valuable skill yields several additional beneficial side effects. Topping that list is developing an acute awareness of how the aircraft handles at speeds very close to the stall speed. Developing this sensitivity—often referred to as “stall awareness”—cannot be overemphasized. Another important benefit is effective rudder coordination over a wide range of airspeeds. Remembering your basic aerodynamics lessons, when the wing’s angle of attack is high, the angle of the relative wind to the propeller axis is also increased, thereby increasing the effects of p-factor. Recall that p-factor is the result of the descending (right-hand) propeller taking a bigger “bite” of the air, thus tending to yaw the nose of the aircraft to the left. Proper coordination requires that this front-end-alignment issue be countered with right rudder—not right aileron, as is too often observed during checkrides. While practicing slow flight, notice that when you’re applying enough right rudder to keep the wings level, your ailerons will be nearly neutral, thus yielding the desired result of proper rudder coordination—centered ball in the turn coordinator. Yeah! A third benefit will be a high degree of pitch/airspeed control. As we say in airline flying, “Speed is life.” Speed control, therefore, is life insurance. The ability to accurately control airspeed within a knot or two—especially at speeds just above a stall—is critical to safely flown takeoffs and landings, which are always accomplished close to the ground where accurately controlled airspeed is most critical. With very fine adjustments to the pitch during slow flight, you will be able to develop a keen sense of exactly when

O

PRACTICAL TEST STANDARDS
Task: Maneuvering during slow flight Objective. To determine that the applicant: 1. Exhibits knowledge of the elements related to maneuvering during slow flight. 2. Selects an entry altitude that will allow the task to be completed no lower than 3,000 feet (920 meters) agl. 3. Establishes and maintains an airspeed at which any further increase in angle of attack, increase in load factor, or reduction in power, would result in an immediate stall. 4. Accomplishes coordinated straight-andlevel flight, turns, climbs, and descents with landing gear and flap configurations specified by the examiner. 5. Divides attention between airplane control and orientation. 6. Maintains the specified altitude, plus or minus 100 feet (30 meters); specified heading, plus or minus 10 degrees; airspeed, plus 10 knots/minus 0, and specified angle of bank, plus or minus 10 degrees.

the onset of a stall would occur. And with that awareness comes the ability to tickle the edge of the stall using very small and timely elevator inputs, resulting in highly accurate speed control. The only remaining element is altitude control. And with proper practice, this is the easiest of all to master. Simply adjust power to control altitude. It is extremely helpful to have a good idea what approximate power setting provides the desired performance. As soon as your airspeed approaches the slow flight speed you are attempting to maintain, immediately increase power to that known value and then make subsequent power adjustments small and timely to maintain your desired altitude. Do not adjust pitch attitude to control altitude as you would during normal straight-and-level flight, because that would throw off your beautifully established airspeed control. Instead, at the first sign of a climb or descent away from your examiner-specified altitude, immediately adjust power to compensate. And make your power adjustments proportional to the relative rate of the observed altimeter needle movement. Finally, don’t forget to carefully clear the area for other traffic before beginning this maneuver. Slow flight requires a prolonged nose-high attitude that hinders your normal view ahead of the aircraft; clearing turns during slow flight are especially important, as well. Make these turns at a relatively shallow bank (around 10 degrees) to prevent an inadvertent stall caused by increasing load factor. When the maneuver is completed, simply advance power and revert to your normal pitch-controls-altitude elevator inputs while raising the flaps incrementally and, as appropriate, carburetor heat to Cold. Excellent! Next maneuver….
Bob Schmelzer is a Chicago-area designated pilot examiner, a United Airlines captain, and Boeing 777 line check airman.

NOVEMBER 2012 FLIGHT TRAINING

/ 21



Flight Training - November 2012

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Flight Training - November 2012

Flight Training - November 2012
Contents
President’s Perspective
Right seat
Letters
Southern Exposure
How It Works
ASI News
Success Story
News
Since You Asked
News Final Exam
Tech Tip
AOPA Action
Checkride
Flying Carpet
Icy Reception
Beyond All Expectations
Technique
Weather
Flight Lesson
Voices of Reason
Tech Talk
Keep Students Stoked
He Said 'Yes' But Means 'No'
Night Moves
Advertiser Index
Debrief
Flight Training - November 2012 - Flight Training - November 2012
Flight Training - November 2012 - Cover2
Flight Training - November 2012 - Contents
Flight Training - November 2012 - 2
Flight Training - November 2012 - 3
Flight Training - November 2012 - President’s Perspective
Flight Training - November 2012 - 5
Flight Training - November 2012 - Right seat
Flight Training - November 2012 - 7
Flight Training - November 2012 - Letters
Flight Training - November 2012 - 9
Flight Training - November 2012 - Southern Exposure
Flight Training - November 2012 - 11
Flight Training - November 2012 - How It Works
Flight Training - November 2012 - ASI News
Flight Training - November 2012 - Success Story
Flight Training - November 2012 - News
Flight Training - November 2012 - Since You Asked
Flight Training - November 2012 - 17
Flight Training - November 2012 - News Final Exam
Flight Training - November 2012 - Tech Tip
Flight Training - November 2012 - AOPA Action
Flight Training - November 2012 - Checkride
Flight Training - November 2012 - 22
Flight Training - November 2012 - 23
Flight Training - November 2012 - Flying Carpet
Flight Training - November 2012 - 25
Flight Training - November 2012 - Icy Reception
Flight Training - November 2012 - 27
Flight Training - November 2012 - 28
Flight Training - November 2012 - 29
Flight Training - November 2012 - 30
Flight Training - November 2012 - 31
Flight Training - November 2012 - Beyond All Expectations
Flight Training - November 2012 - 33
Flight Training - November 2012 - 34
Flight Training - November 2012 - 35
Flight Training - November 2012 - Technique
Flight Training - November 2012 - 37
Flight Training - November 2012 - Weather
Flight Training - November 2012 - 39
Flight Training - November 2012 - 40
Flight Training - November 2012 - Flight Lesson
Flight Training - November 2012 - 42
Flight Training - November 2012 - 43
Flight Training - November 2012 - 44
Flight Training - November 2012 - Voices of Reason
Flight Training - November 2012 - 46
Flight Training - November 2012 - 47
Flight Training - November 2012 - Tech Talk
Flight Training - November 2012 - Keep Students Stoked
Flight Training - November 2012 - He Said 'Yes' But Means 'No'
Flight Training - November 2012 - Night Moves
Flight Training - November 2012 - Advertiser Index
Flight Training - November 2012 - 53
Flight Training - November 2012 - 54
Flight Training - November 2012 - 55
Flight Training - November 2012 - Debrief
Flight Training - November 2012 - Cover3
Flight Training - November 2012 - Cover4
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202107
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202106
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202105
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202103
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202101
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202011
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202009
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202008
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202007
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202006
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202005
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202004
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202003
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_202001
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201912
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201911
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201910
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201909
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201908
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201907
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201906
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201905
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201904
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201903
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201902
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201901
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201812
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201811
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201810
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201809
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201808
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201807
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201806
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201805
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201804
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201803
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201802
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201801
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201712
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201711
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201710
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201709
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201708
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201707
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201706
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201705
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201704
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201703
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201702
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201701
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201612
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201611
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201610
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201609
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201608
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201607
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201606
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201605
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201604
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201603
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201602
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201601
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201512
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201511
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201510
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201509
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201508
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201507
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201506
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201505
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201504
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201503
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201502
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201501
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201412
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201411
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201410
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201409
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201408
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201407
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201406
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201405
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201404
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201403
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201402
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201401
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201312
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201311
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201310
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201309
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201308
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201307
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201306
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201305
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201304
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201303
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201302
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201301
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201212
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201211
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201210
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201209
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201208
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201207
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201206
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201205
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201204
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201203
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201202
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201201
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201112
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201111
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201110
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201109
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201108
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201107
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201106
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201105
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201104
https://www.nxtbook.com/nxtbooks/aopa/ft_201103
https://www.nxtbookmedia.com