Ground School – Aero Engines (12 May, 2009)

And another ground school class. I know what you’re thinking, “he’s spending all this money and not doing any flying.” Well yes, that’s one way of looking at it, but I signed up for the ground school before the lessons. Also I do believe that getting a good educational grounding, on the ground, pays dividends when you’re in the air. If nothing else you are more aware of what is going on when you’re up there, so you’re wasting less time of that very expensive airtime learning things you could have learnt cheaper elsewhere.

Anyway, there was a flight the next day so we’ll discuss that in the next post.

Aero engines. Interesting topic, even for those who aren’t petrol-heads, and an important one. If you don’t know what your engine is doing and how it reacts to different situations, you won’t get too far flying. You don’t need to know how to strip the thing down and rebuild it, but educating yourself on the ins and outs of their functionality will make the rest of the job easier. After all simple things like carburettor icing kill may pilots each year.

There are many types of aircraft engines, and not even going into jets the basic piston engines are split down dependant on how their cylinders are configured. Radially ( arranged in a circle like on old biplanes and movie crop dusters,) in-line (situated in a line usually below the crankcase) and horizontally opposed (equal numbers of cylinders located on each side of the crankcase.) Each has their advantages and disadvantages.

All about the four-stroke cycle of a modern internal combustion engine. Fuel types, turbo charging, the effects of fuel mixture and why you have to adjust it at different stages of flight, the propeller, even the cooling systems and how you can’t continuously climb or the engine will overheat.

This is all vital stuff, as is everything in a ground school course. If you want to take up flying, pay attention. Everything you learn will matter at some point, no matter how dull or insignificant it may seem at the beginning.

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