AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 90

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Overextended
Proper use of flaps requires understanding of the aerodynamics
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90 | AOPA PILOT May 2021

my incredulity and exasperation as I asked
Joe why he added flaps on short final. Joe
explained, " I was coming in a bit short, so
I added flaps to increase lift. I'm not sure
why that didn't work. "
Many aerodynamics lessons we get
from the literature and ground school
are oversimplified. Things like, " The first
notch of flaps is all lift and after that, it's
mostly drag " really aren't helpful in deciding when to use flaps in a given situation.
While it doesn't take a doctorate in aerodynamics to fly an airplane, we should have
a more nuanced understanding of aerodynamics and, in particular, the effects of
introducing flaps.
Ailerons were the predecessor of flaps
as we know them today. In A History of
Aerodynamics, John D. Anderson explains
that aviation pioneer Henri Farman set out to
achieve lateral control of his aircraft without
copying the wing-warping design of Wilbur
and Orville Wright. He mounted flap-like

CHRIS ROSE

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and travel may vary.

ON A RECENT PRACTICAL EXAM, I asked my
commercial pilot candidate, Joe, to perform a power-off 180 landing. It's one of my
favorite maneuvers as it requires not only
an intimate familiarity with the drag characteristics of the airplane but variations in
winds will ensure no two will ever be flown
exactly the same way. Based on whether the
aircraft appears to be on path for a long or
short landing, the pilot needs to add drag
or reduce it accordingly. Believe it or not,
we examiners really are silently cheering our candidates on. When it looked as
though Joe was a tad low on base, I found
myself unconsciously leaning to the left as
if I could somehow will the airplane toward
the runway. On short final, it looked like
we might just barely make the 1,000-foot
markers after all when Joe extended the
flaps and sealed the deal. My heart sank
when we plopped down well short of his
intended point of landing. After he shut
down on the ramp, I was barely able to hide


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AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021

Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021

Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Intro
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover1
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Contents
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 2
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 4
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 5
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - 7
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AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover3
AOPA Pilot Magazine - May 2021 - Cover4
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