Up up and away – Flying (6 June, 2009)

So I’m in the air again, flying and practising what we did in ground briefing last time when the weather was against us. Range and endurance.

Now, like most things in flying, what seems a simple enough matter in the classroom, becomes much trickier once your in the air. In the classroom you can concentrate on the one thing you’re doing. However in the air you’re trying to set the plane up for a certain configuration, looking around you, checking other instruments and trying to maintain straight and level flight.

Best range configuration isn’t so bad, set for power levels and lean the mixture back. Easy enough.

Best endurance on the other hand is slightly trickier. Remember we’re pulling back power, retrimming, and start looking for that drop in our VSI indicator. Seems simple enough, and in perfectly smooth air it probably is. However when it’s slightly turbulent the VSI indicator is twitching constantly anyway. Trying to see when it drops down consistent with the fact we’re now losing lift is much harder that it initially seemed in the classroom. So we practice it, and play with it a bit. It’s really not that easy, but I get the general idea of it.

So theory, sound. Practical applications, needs a bit more work but I know what it is I’m doing. Due to turbulence and increasing winds we decide to cut the flight shorter than normal.

Costs: Airplane rental, 0.9 hours, cost $137.36. Instructor time, 1.1 hours, $66. Total cost including GST, $213.53.

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