Friday, February 17, 2006

Soft Field Landings

Your day couldn’t be going any better. It’s a beautiful Midwest spring day and you’re cruising at 3500 feet inbound to a local fly in pancake breakfast. Although your Cessna 172 hadn’t flown all winter, she started up immediately and your first take off of the season felt as if you were at 20,000 hour airline Captain.

As you approach your destination you’re informed on the local Unicom frequency that a last minute planning change has moved the fly in to a local grass strip 10 miles north. The strip is long enough, but due to recent spring rains the field is pretty soft and rough. The field length shouldn’t be any problem for your Cessna 172, and the last time you practiced a soft landing was …..Ah…Ah ……. 5 years ago when you got your private pilot licence. In reality, you’ve never really had to do a soft landing.

Pride gets the better of you and the next thing you know you are on short final. The sun glares off the puddles of water in the muddy infield and you can cut the tension in the air with a knife. You’re frantically searching for what your first instructor told you nearly five years ago. If everyone else got in, you’ll have no trouble - or you just might be the one to plant your airplane on the ground and feel your nose wheel dig into the soft grass and collapse.

Practice Makes Perfect

Practice always makes perfect. That’s why airline pilots very rarely have trouble with certain failures and techniques. Every six months certain procedures are reviewed and performed, over and over again. Why someone who only flies a few hours a year does not dedicate an hour every few months to review techniques and emergency scenarios leaves many professional pilots wondering.

Soft Field Technique

Your operating manual will always dictate the preferred technique to use when landing on a soft of unprepared field. Key points to remember are:

· Landing on a soft of unprepared field requires touchdown at the lowest possible speed consistent with safety.
· The attitude on touchdown should be nose up, roughly the altitude for a power-off stall.
· Normally full flap is used and if field length is not a factor, add a little extra power to allow a lower touchdown speed and to keep the nose wheel off the ground.
· The idea is to keep the aircraft taxiing rather than stopping the aircraft so that the wheels do not settle into the soft surface.
· After touchdown, hold the nose wheel clear of the surface as long as possible.
· Use brakes with care to prevent excessive loads on the nose gear.
· Taildraggers should have tailwheel touch down with or just before the main wheels, and should be held down with elevators during the landing roll.
· Remember, the aircraft will probably decelerate quickly.
· Keep the control column fully back to reduce stress on the nosewheel.
· Use the recommended soft field technique on snow, bumpy, soft or rough runways. Also use on grass and sod strips.

As you finish your reminisce about your near perfect landing you suddenly realize that you have to get back home and once again your mind is racing about the proper technique to use. If only you had practiced a soft field takeoff once a year.

copyright www.PrivatePilotNews.com airplanes 2006

Thursday, December 22, 2005

North America's source for aviation information: The Airline Interview

North America's source for aviation information: The Airline Interview

Monday, August 15, 2005

Airline Trivia


KLM is the world’s oldest airline.

Qantas is the world’s second oldest airline (established in 1920).

Qantas stands for Queensland and Northern Territory Aerial Services.

The maximum strength of winds at cruising altitude is 250 miles per hour.

The weight of the Airbus 340 landing gear is 17 tonnes.

Twenty Concorde’s were built including four prototypes that were quickly retired.

The Concorde’s first commercial flight was on January 21st, 1976 with British Airways on a flight from London to Bahrain and on an Air France flight from Paris to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

The highest cruising altitude of an Airbus A330 is 41,000 feet.

A Boeing 747-400 can require more than 9,000 feet of runway to takeoff when fully loaded.

Air Canada made 5,600 tire changes in 2000.

A tire on an Airbus 340 weights 290 pounds.

The Boeing 747-400 has 18 wheels.

Aircraft tires average 300 landings before the thread is worn out.

Two and a half million passengers have flown on the British Airways Concorde.

A Boeing 747 approaches for landing at speeds between 130 and 160 knots depending on their weight.There is no radar coverage when flying across the Atlantic Ocean.

Airplanes are separated by 1,000 feet vertically and 60 miles horizontally on tracks that change daily due to the wind.

Pilots must maintain a specified speed and altitude and report their position every 300 miles to a controller in Gander or Shanwick who monitor their progress.

The average core temperature of operating jet engine is approximately 700 degrees Celsius.

Qantas was the first airline to provide around the world service (1958).

Sir Charles Kingsford-Smith made the first flight across the Pacific Ocean from Oakland, California to Brisbane, Australia in 1928.

A Boeing 747 Captain flying for a major North American Airline makes approximately $300,000 per year.

The Rolls-Royce RB-211 turbo jet engine is found on the 767, 767, 747, DC-10 and MD-11. The “RB” stands for “Rolls Barnoldswick” which is the Rolls-Royce center in Yorkshire where the engine was developed.

Atlanta Hartsfield airport was the busiest airport in North America with 915,454 movements in 2000.

More info at: http://www.northamericanflyer.com

The Airline Interview


Think you can pass the career determining airline interview? Over the next few months we’ll be publishing a series of technical questions that interviewers are asking. With any luck you should be able to answer them all!

The Airline InterviewSee if you can answer or explain the concepts before looking at the answers. Even if you don’t know the right answer how you handle the situation can play a big factor in the ultimate decision. Good luck!

Questions – Flight Technical

1. In an AC electrical system what device converts AC to DC?

2. On takeoff, the left engine fails at 143 KIAS. The V1 speed is 142 KIAS. What would you do?

3. What function(s) do leading-edge slats perform?

4. What is Dutch roll?

5. What does 1013.2 millibars equate to in inches of mercury?

6. Does altitude effect stall speed?

7. What is the advantage of a swept wing aircraft?

8. When landing, while in full reverse, your aircraft begins to drift left. What would you do?

9. What are WAT (weight, altitude and temperature) limits?

10. What is a SID?

11. Why does a tailwind increase takeoff roll length?

12. What would cause an airplane to hydroplane the most?

13. What effect does altitude have on mach number?

14. What is the one in sixty rule?

15. Two aircraft are flying at different flight levels at the same Mach number, which aircraft would have the higher TAS (True Airspeed).

Answers – Flight Technical

1. In an AC electrical system what device converts AC to DC? Answer: (TRU) Transformer Rectifier Unit

2. On takeoff, the left engine fails at 143 KIAS. The V1 speed is 142 KIAS. What would you do? Answer: Continue the takeoff, rotate at Vr and climb at the V2 speed

3. What function(s) do leading-edge slats do? Answer: They increase the wings chamber area and MAC (mean aerodynamic cord) thereby increasing the lift coefficient which in return reduces the aircraft’s stall speed.

4. What is Dutch roll? Answer: Technically described as an oscillatory instability associated with swept-wing aircraft. It's a manoeuvre that combines yawing and rolling motion, sort of like a falling leaf. Dutch roll occurs when a yaw is introduced which causes the outer wing to travel faster resulting in greater lift on that particular wing. Consequently, the inner wing will travel slower resulting in less lift on that particular wing. A noticeable bank occurs as the upward moving wing stalls causing the wing to drop. The wing drops causing a yaw to the stalled wing and thus leading to the sequence being repeated in the opposite direction. The oscillations will become greater in magnitude.

5. What does 1013.2 millibars equate to in inches of mercury? Answer: 29.92 inches of mercury.

6. Does altitude effect stall speed? Answer: Yes.

7. What is the advantage of a swept wing aircraft? Answer: Higher critical Mach number.

8. When landing, while in full reverse, your aircraft begins to drift left. What would you do? Answer: Take both engines out of reverse or reduce power on the left engine.

9. What are WAT (weight, altitude and temperature) limits? Answer: An aircrafts MTOW (maximum take-off weight) is limited so that it will meet the required second segment climb gradient performance with one engine inoperative taking into account pressure altitude and temperature.

10. What is a SID? Answer: Standard Instrument Departure (SID) is a procedure assigned to departing aircraft by ATC.

11. Why does a tailwind increase takeoff roll length? Answer: A tailwind component requires the aircraft to achieve a greater groundspeed in order to attain the proper take-off speed.

12. What would cause an airplane to hydroplane the most? Answer: Under-inflated tires. The minimum speed at which dynamic hydroplaning begins is directly related to tire pressure.

13. What effect does altitude have on Mach number? Answer: Due to the fact that the speed of sound decreases in colder air the Mach number goes up as altitude increases.

14. What is the one in sixty rule? Answer: At 60DME each radial equals 1 mile.

15. Two aircraft are flying at different flight levels at the same Mach number. Which aircraft would have the higher TAS (True Airspeed)? Answer: The aircraft at the lower altitude has a higher true airspeed. The speed of sound decreases as temperature decreases with an increase in altitude.

More interview questions at: http://www.NorthAmericanFlyer.com