Ground School – Airframes (7 May, 2009)

On the Thursday of the same week I had another ground school course, this time with a different instructor. This instructor has a very different flying background, originally as a fighter pilot in Europe he has subsequently performed as the pilot in corporate jets, surveying flights (he describes flying and keeping X hundred feet above the surface of the ground as very challenging, even when going over mountains), private instruction and various other piloting careers.

This lesson concentrated on airframes. So we learnt all about the structures of the aircraft, the different control surfaces (ailerons, flaps, elevators), how the components are put together and load factors on the aircraft.

We also discussed common problems. One such is the fact that the control surfaces are linked from the control console to the actual surfaces by a set of wires. For example push the left rudder pedal and the left wire pulls on the rudder moving it to the left. However accidents have been caused by maintenance re-connecting the wires the wrong way around. So your rudder moves right when you want it to go left, the elevators move up instead of down. This is why you always check the plane carefully before flying it.

A very good part of this lesson was going out onto the apron to view one of the school’s plans. This allowed him to walk around and demonstrate how the different surfaces work. Also allowed us to pick up tips on what we should be looking for on our walk around before flying. Tips like ensuring the counterweights are in place on the elevators and ailerons, the bolts on the flap mechanism are tight, how much spring there should be in the front wheel shock absorber and such.

Excellent class giving a good grounding that every pilot needs to know what their aircraft is and how it operates.


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