AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - 14

LETTERS
Proficient Pilot

training your feet

BY BarrY Schiff

The essence of flight control

bArry schIff

has flown 342
different types
of aircraft (and is
looking for more).

a pet peeve of mine that is particularly grating occurs
occasionally when I administer flight reviews in singleengine airplanes. During the initial climb after takeoff,
some pilots maintain heading and compensate for
the airplane's left-turning tendency (from P-factor, et
cetera) by banking slightly right instead of holding the
wings level and pressuring right rudder. Such pilots also
seem to lack aileron-rudder coordination during turn
entry and recovery. Such slipping though the sky seems
more prevalent these days possibly because not enough
emphasis is placed during training on the proper and
often subtle use of rudder.
It seems that more emphasis was placed on the basic
elements of flight during the 1950s when flying the airplane was all that there was to learn. There was no time
spent with glass cockpits and computerized systems.
Emphasis was placed on teaching pilots the essence of
flight control. Period.
I recall exercises that were used during those
simpler times that seldom are used today. One such
exercise, for example, involved slowly transitioning
from cruise flight to a maximum-performance climb
(and return) with the pilot's feet resting on the floor.
As the nose came up and power was increased, we were
instructed to keep the wings level using the ailerons and
told to observe the airplane entering and maintaining
a skidding left yaw. We actually made 90-degree turns
that way. This, we were taught, however, was no way
to fly an airplane. Finally the instructor would say,
"OK. Now slowly apply right rudder to arrest the yaw."
The pilot was then instructed to vary power and attitude while modulating rudder application to maintain
a constant, wings-level heading (using a landmark on
the horizon). After a while, it became natural to vary
rudder with changes in attitude, power, and airspeed.
The pilot's feet became trained to keep the slip-skid ball
centered without having to look at it. He became conditioned to using the rudder without thinking about it.
Not as much time is spent on such exercises today,
perhaps because modern training aircraft are designed
such that the need to apply rudder is perceived to be
almost insignificant. But when such a pilot moves up to
more powerful single-engine airplanes, the necessity for
well-trained feet becomes more apparent.
There obviously are other instructors aware of pilots
who have not developed proper rudder skills. One is
Michael J. Banner, a 5,000-hour, part-time instructor

for University Air Center in Gainseville, Florida. (He
also is a faculty member at the University of Florida
specializing in respiratory physiology.) Recognizing
that improper rudder usage is an ongoing problem, he
developed an interesting rudder-training exercise for
student (and other) pilots that goes well beyond using
the rudder to simply prevent slipping and skidding. It is
intended to make pilots more skillful with rudder usage
and make them more appreciative of what a rudder
can do, an awareness that could come in handy during
unusual or emergency situations.
The exercise begins by applying mild rudder pressure (no aileron) to enter a shallow skidding turn. Once
in the turn the rudder pedals are neutralized to maintain the turn. The desired bank angle is maintained by
applying right or left rudder as necessary.
Once the turn is stabilized, the pilot applies additional rudder in the direction of the turn (bottom
rudder) to increase turn rate. The nose eventually begins
to slide down, and the airplane begins to descend with
increasing airspeed. Continuing this obviously would
result in a spiral dive. So after losing only a few hundred feet, the pilot is instructed to apply opposite (top)
rudder to level the wings and recover from the turn.
The nose returns to a normal attitude, lost altitude is
restored, and airspeed recovers to about where it was
before the maneuver had begun.
Using the rudder to raise a lowered wing, of course,
is typically recommended to control bank angle when
an airplane is about to stall (or has stalled). Practicing
and becoming familiar with Banner's rudder exercise
makes it more likely that a pilot will instinctively use
rudder during stall recovery instead of trying to roll the
wings level with ailerons, something that can worsen a
stall and lead to a spin.
Unfortunately, many regard the rudder as a necessary evil. They think of it as something stuck on the tail
as a design afterthought. The more one learns to use it
properly, though, the more he begins to appreciate how
important it is.
Speaking of pet peeves and flight reviews, another
of my pet peeves is FAA changing the terminology from
"biennial flight review" to "flight review" even though
said reviews are conducted biennially. I mean, was there
really a reason to change it from a BFR to an FR? AOPA
WeB

"The 'Training Your Feet' article was spot
on. I can tell when someone I fly with is
a Cherokee pilot the moment we lift off,
because the airplane immediately starts
drifting to the left. I wanted you to know that
some of us still concentrate on stick-and-rudder flying at the primary level-and beyond."
William Mikulski
AOPA 297311
Cicero, Indiana

www.barryschiff.com

18 | AOPA PILOT November 2014

How to fly an
airplane

cause/effect explanations, but
young students quickly demand
simple and obvious answers. I
offer my heartfelt thanks to Mr.
William Dubois, the author, for
describing his superb approach
to offering a valuable and

Dave Huss
AOPA 1062710
Burke, Virginia

We welcome your comments.
Editor, AOPA Pilot, 421 Aviation Way, Frederick, Maryland
21701 or email (pilot@aopa.
org). Letters may be edited
for length and style before
publication.

HANGAR TALK

I found myself mesmerized and
vigorously nodding my head as
I read the "P&E: Ownership"
column ("How to Fly an
Airplane"). I am married to a

teacher of young children and,
as a passionate aviator, I am
occasionally asked to explain
how and why airplanes fly, and
how to pilot one.
My education in physics often
draws me to aerodynamics and

exciting method to teaching aviation complexity in such a fun
and memorable manner.
I intend to emulate his techniques for my next foray into
the jungles of the elementary classroom. The feeling
of hitting the "sweet spot"
with such students is as good
as your last greased landing,
and the anticipation of the
next one!

Two times was the charm for
MIKE FIZER and ALTON MARSH,
who conducted two photo flights
for this month's article on the
Light Sport TL-3000 Sirius twoseater (see "A SERIOUS SIRIUS,"
page 50). The first flight was cut
short after rainshowers blocked
the path to the nearby Mississippi
River, the favored location for airto-air photos. The St. Louis area,
including Alton, Illinois-where
the Sirius dealer is based-was
having an unexpected monsoon
season. The clouds parted for
the second attempt, resulting in
some Siriusly good shots. Marsh
was amused by street signs that
urged, "Help Keep Alton Clean,"
and considered thanking local
citizens for their thoughtfulness.
He did try to correct the pronunciation of the town name, preferring his own (owl' ton) to that of
the town's (all' ton). He was informed that the town has been
around longer than he has.
14 | AOPA PILOT January 2015

We've become so accustomed
to gridlock, dysfunction, and
blame in our national life that a
group of dedicated people pulling together in the face of adversity seems surprising-and
that teamwork and commitment
is the story behind the story of
the Chicago Air Route Traffic
Control Center fire (see "CONTROLLING THE SITUATION," page
74). "Chicago Center controllers
didn't have to go the extraordinary lengths they did in response
to a horrific fire that shut down
their facility," says Senior Editor
DAVE HIRSCHMAN. "They could
have gone home and waited for
their next paychecks. The fact
that they voluntarily dispersed
to ATC facilities throughout the
Midwest and worked feverishly to solve an unprecedented,
three-dimensional airspace puzzle demonstrates the professionalism of air traffic controllers and
our aviation community."

A pilot wanting to know what
it was like to fly at the dawn of
America's jet age would need
to fly a Lockheed Shooting Star.
"The trouble is," says contributor BARRY SCHIFF, "none of the
few remaining F-80 fighters are
airworthy. Some are in museums, but that's about it." Schiff
became encouraged about his
quest to fly an early jet, however, when he heard about a
T-33 Shooting Star available for
instruction in Santa Fe,
New Mexico (see "TAMING THE
T-BIRD" page 58). Schiff
reports that this is a stretched,
two-place version of the
original F-80, and provides the
same experience.


http://www.barryschiff.com

AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - 5
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - 6
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Cover4
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