AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - 20

SAFETY PILOT

Mad dogs and Englishmen

BY BRUCE LANDSBERG

Type club training for proficiency-and friendships

BRUCE LANDSBERG

is past president
of the AOPA
Foundation and
AOPA's senior
safety advisor.

20 | AOPA PILOT January 2015

LATE IN LIFE, I became an aircraft owner after flying other people's airplanes for more than 40 years. I
decided to check into a type-specific clinic-sort of a
practice-what-you-preach deal. With more than 1,000
hours in Bonanzas, my aircraft was familiar, but now
that I'm writing the maintenance, insurance, and fuel
checks it seemed prudent to learn more. Editor in
Chief Tom Haines and I attended a Bonanza/Baron
Proficiency Training (BPT) program in November. Tom
took the refresher while I sat in with the newbies.
Type clubs are super sources to learn who's who and
are well worth joining. Some of the bigger clubs, such as
the American Bonanza Society (ABS), offer proficiency
programs or will point you in the right direction. And
although BPT is not affiliated with ABS, the roots of the
program go back decades to what once was an arm of
the association.
A good training experience comes down to a solid
curriculum and standardization, which BPT deals out in
spades. And much depends on the skill of the individual
instructor, with a personality to pull the best out of you
while not turning the process into an ordeal.
I'm a believer in good simulation training, even
in light aircraft, to practice dangerous maneuvers
and expand situational awareness. Alas, our capable,
complex avionics are not well standardized, which
complicates the training process significantly. If the simulator only speaks Garmin and you're fluent in Avidyne,
Bendix/King, or something else, that's not ideal.
Sims are perfect for procedures training and IFR
brush-up, especially if they approximate your equipment. But there's nothing better than to fly with
somebody who really knows your aircraft after you've
mastered the basics. Many pilots a few years out of
training have soft instrument skills, so these programs
can bring back that polish.
BPT's course is taught by "seasoned" aviators. The
attendees weren't all that young, either, so there was a
lot of wisdom and many good stories in the room. Did
you know that mixing brands of ashless dispersant oil
is perfectly fine because they all meet the same spec?
Neither did I. Safety-wiring the oil filter to the oil cooler,
although handy since they are co-located, is a bad idea.
Our flight training took place on a brutally windy
day with small craft advisories and winds gusting into
the high twenties. At 3,000 feet it was 45 knots out of
the northwest. While a transient might escape with just

limited exposure, only mad dogs and Englishmen were
flogging around practicing maneuvers and approaches.
Stay below maneuvering speed, tighten the belt,
and be ready with the I was just bracketing the altitude excuse. Eventually in your flying career there will
be serious wind, which requires looking for runways
that are somewhat aligned. Today we went looking for
the big crosswind. The Bonanza's yoke will actually
turn more than 90 degrees. I didn't know that; I never
had occasion to turn it much more than 60 in landing,
although it was well exercised on the pretakeoff check. I
got to really crank it when a gust and the aircraft arrived
at the touchdown zone about the same time.
The training process is as much about judgment
as stick-and-rudder skills. While the student is legally
PIC, the instructor should be stretching the envelope
to no more than what you and the aircraft can handle. There's always the balance between energetic
practice and overdoing it. A coupled approach almost
became uncoupled thanks to a 15-knot shear 300 feet
above minimums. The autopilot dutifully pitched up
to glideslope and the extra airspeed margin we were
carrying evaporated. Plenty of power saved the day.
My last flight-training epiphany was the engineout drill. The Bonanza comes down rapidly when the
gear is out, but pilots often fear an overshoot. Thus too
many aircraft wind up short in the trees at a significantly
higher speed than the few that go off the end of the field
more slowly. We were probably 1,000 feet agl and about
a quarter mile from the end of the runway. With full
flaps and airspeed approaching the top of the white arc,
the pitch attitude and sink rate would have done justice
to the space shuttle-or a box of anvils. Rather than land
long on a 6,000-foot runway, the Bo settled very nicely
into the first 1,000 feet and we needed power to make
the first turnoff. Impressive.
Type clubs and specialized training such as BPT
make a valuable contribution to safety and proficiency,
although human nature assures that those who need it
the least are most likely to participate. Periodic training
is the mark of a professional, and those who don't think
they need it are excellent candidates. Aside from all
the practical benefits, our group of strangers ended the
weekend as friends and better pilots. That seems like a
pretty good investment to me.
AOPA
WEB www.airsafetyinstitute.org


http://www.airsafetyinstitute.org

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
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - January 2015 - Cover3
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