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Monday, August 21, 2017

Common Mistakes or "Why Are You Doing That!"

I read an excellent article by Steve Krog (The Classic Instructor) in the latest EAA Sport Aviation magazine (August 2017). I want to repost some of his words of wisdom here (slightly modified by me, well, because I just can't help myself) because flying is often times filled with mistakes by pilots, albeit small ones (hopefully). I seem to run the same dialog in my mind when I see them: Why are you doing that! Here's a few to think about: Q: Why allow the airplane to move off the runway center line and then make large rudder inputs, or none at all, to fix the problem? A: Like I'd been taught in the military, "I have no excuse, sir." The real answer is, pilots fail to see small excursions, and don't realize the organic matter is about to hit the fan. The fix: pay attention, observe small directional changes, use small, timely rudder inputs and keep things aligned. Q: Why do you rotate, climb, and fly with one wing low. A: Your primary instructor never fixed the issue a long time ago. I bet you didn't even realize you do that. Your passengers probably won't notice. You say, "what's the harm"? I say, "It inefficient, and sloppy flying." As aerobatic pilots we know that a couple degrees right or left wing low makes for ugly acro figures. If you fly left-wing low, your traffic patterns are going to be problematic, cutting corners, wondering why you find yourself high on final. Q: Why do you fly final faster than book value? A: "Safety," you say. Aaaaaaannnt (that's my buzzer sound)! Unless you're dealing with strong and/or gusty headwinds, you're just going to be further down the runway on touchdown (not so safe). Eight to 10 mph fast will about double your landing distance required (not so safe). Think about this stuff and other things you do. A good pilot constantly analyzes their performance. Make a post-flight review an element of your flying discipline and ask yourself, "why did I do that"?