TO FLY ABOVE THE CLOUDS on a dull day is an experience which every flying pupil should have early in his tuition. The instructor will accompany the pupil on this flight because instrument flying will be involved during the climb through the clouds. The picture shows a Miles Hawk Major above the clouds.
WHEN a flying pupil bas obtained his pilot’s “A” licence and gained some experience of solo flying, lie will begin to feel at home in the air. He is then ready for further dual instruction. This instruction is termed “advanced dual”. Up to this stage the pupil has been taught always to open the throttle and make another circuit should he find he is beginning to make a poor landing; but this is not always necessary now that he has had more experience. Landings which start to be bad ones can sometimes be turned into good ones. Ways of overcoming different faults when landing will be demonstrated by the instructor.
If the stick is not pulled back sufficiently when an aeroplane is being landed, the aeroplane will touch the ground while it is still partly airborne. This may result in the aeroplane being bounced into the air a few feet with the nose high. Due to the high position of the nose, the aeroplane quickly stalls, and will drop heavily to the ground if nothing is done to prevent this. By opening up the throttle for a second or two, however, the aeroplane can be put down quite gently. The propeller, “clawing” at the air, lowers the aeroplane slowly and prevents any damage to the undercarriage.
Sometimes what is known as a wheel landing is made. The aeroplane wheels touch the ground while the tail of the machine is still high. No bounce occurs, because in a wheel landing the aeroplane is, in effect, flying level with the wheels touching the ground.
Such a landing is generally the result of gliding in to land too fast. If the stick is pulled back when the wheels touch the ground, with the idea of getting the tail down, the aeroplane will rise again because of its speed. The correct procedure is to hold the stick steady when the wheels touch the ground, and to wait until the aeroplane has lost speed before pulling the stick back.
At times the pupil will find he has overdone the early pulling back of the stick in a landing, the result being that the aeroplane is beginning to reach stalling speed while, perhaps, three or more feet above the ground. To maintain this attitude will result in a heavy fall on to the undercarriage. The remedy is to move the stick forward a little as soon as it is realized that the aeroplane is too high. This enables the aeroplane to pick up a little speed, and a normal landing can then be made at the correct point. If the stick is again pulled too far back after the aeroplane has gained speed, the pupil will be doing what is popularly termed “pump-handling”. This is extremely poor flying.
“Rumbling in” is the term applied to the use of the engine during an approach for a landing when the aeroplane is under-shooting. If a pupil finds he is approaching the aerodrome too low, so that he is doubtful whether he will clear the hedge or other boundary obstruction, he can lengthen the glide by the use of the engine. The throttle should be well opened for this manoeuvre and the nose of the aeroplane allowed to rise a little. When sufficient distance has been gained the throttle is closed again, the nose of the aeroplane lowered to the normal gliding position and the landing made. The sooner the pupil realizes he is under-shooting, the better. Care must be taken not to fly too slowly while rumbling, otherwise the speed of the aeroplane may drop too much when the throttle is closed again.
“Rumbling in” should not be confused with the rumble approach so often used by pilots of multi-engined commercial aircraft. The technique of flying modern air liners often requires this type of approach, and a satisfactory rumble approach is among the tests which have to be passed to obtain, a “B” pilot’s licence. In a rumble approach the air liner is brought in with the throttles partly opened, and is quite low over the boundary of the aerodrome. A number of factors, such as passenger comfort and the flat angle of glide of modern multi-engined commercial aircraft, make this method of approach desirable.
The pupil should never attempt to correct an exceptionally bad landing by the methods described. They should be looked upon as means of converting safe but poor landings into good landings. If a landing has been badly misjudged, no matter how many hours’ solo flying the pupil may have had, he should not hesitate to take the correct course and go round again. Some instructors do not encourage a pupil to attempt to turn any poor landing into a good one, but advise always going round again. It is a debatable point, however, because much can be learnt by the pupil when correcting mistakes in landing.
Advanced dual instruction in forced landings will include cross-wind landings. Cross-wind take-offs may be dealt with as well. But the cross-wind landing is of considerably more value than the cross-wind take-off. Cross-wind landings are valuable in forced landings when the longest run provided by a field does not coincide with the wind direction, when trees or other obstacles at the boundary of a field prevent an into-wind landing, and when a pilot finds he has misjudged the direction of the wind and is prevented by circumstances from changing the direction of the aeroplane.
A cross-wind landing may be made out of wind at any angle up to 90 degrees. At 90 degrees the wind is blowing directly on to the side of the aeroplane, and the greatest care has to be taken in making the landing. An aeroplane travels faster over the ground in a cross-wind landing than during a landing that is made directly into wind. This is because the full speed of the wind cannot be deducted from the air speed of the aeroplane in determining the aeroplane’s ground speed.
DAWN PATROLS are a feature of club flying. Early in the morning aircraft from several clubs converge on a picked aerodrome and attempt to reach that aerodrome without giving the “defenders” an opportunity of noting the registration letters on the “attacking” machines. The lower picture shows aircraft at Shoreham Airport, in Sussex, after one of these dawn patrols.
The principle of a cross-wind landing is simply to sideslip the aeroplane into the wind until the sideslip exactly balances the drift caused by the wind. The sideslip will cause the nose of the aeroplane to tend to drop; this is counteracted by use of the necessary amount of opposite rudder. If the wind is blowing towards the left side of the aeroplane the stick will be put over to the left, and right rudder will be applied.
The sideslip is held until the aircraft is close to the ground, when sufficient bank has to be taken off to prevent the wing tip touching the ground. The landing is made on one wheel and the tail skid. If the wind is sufficiently strong to tend to lift the wing on the side from which the wind is blowing when the aeroplane has been landed, a turn down wind should be made. The wind will help the machine to be turned down wind. A gentle sideslip may be used to overcome slight drift when a normal into-wind landing is intended. The use of rudder alone in such circumstances will produce a skid in the direction of the sideslip and so accentuate the out of wind effect.
The principle of the use of sideslip to counteract drift is used also for a cross-wind take-off. But the machine has to run forward for a distance before it gains sufficient speed for the sideslip to become effective. During this run there may be considerable sidestrain on the undercarriage. Therefore, in a cross-wind take-off the tail is raised as quickly as possible and the aircraft is lifted off the ground immediately it has flying speed. Constant use of the rudder is required to maintain a straight path. When the aircraft is in the air it is turned into wind for the climb.
When the pupil can fly without giving the whole of his attention to the mechanical movements of flight, his instructor will teach him something about cross-country flying. In cross-country flying, besides having to fly the aeroplane, the pilot has to find his way and do a certain amount of navigation. The professional pilot who flies in all kinds of weather is often concerned with the most intricate problems of navigation. The amateur pilot, or beginner, will fly across country only when the weather-is reasonably fine, and consequently he requires only the most elementary knowledge of navigation. The first step towards cross-country flying is map reading.
On a day of clear visibility the instructor will give the pupil a map of the district in which the aerodrome is situated, and tell him to go up and pick out landmarks on the map as he flies over them. To the pupil this may at first seem one of the easiest tasks he has been given. At the first attempt he is likely to be surprised to find it is quite difficult.
Before leaving the ground the map is folded to a small size, convenient for holding in one hand. Spring paper clips help to prevent the map becoming unfolded while in the air. The next consideration is that of orientation of the map. Irrespective of the way in which the names are printed on a map, it should be turned so that the pupil looks at it in the same way as he sees the ground from the aeroplane. For instance, suppose the pupil is flying eastwards near the south coast. He will hold the map so that the east side is farthest from him. On the left side of the map will be marked the land, and when the pupil looks over the left side of the machine he will see the land. And he will look ahead to find the landmarks that are ahead of him on the map.
That part of map reading is straightforward enough. The difficulty the pupil will experience at first lies in studying the map and the ground at the same time as he is flying the aeroplane. The pupil will probably look up from the map to find that the aircraft is side-slipping or that the nose has risen too high. It is probable that but few landmarks will be picked out on the ground and on the map at the first attempt. After a little practice, however, the pupil will succeed in his dual task.
When the pupil can be sure of locating his position on the map the whole time, he may make short cross-country flights by following railways, roads or rivers. A good method by which the instructor may check the skill of the pupil in map reading is as follows. A straight line is drawn on the map from the aerodrome to a small town twenty miles or so away. The pupil then attempts to fly along the route marked on the map, with the instructor in the aeroplane. Unless all roads, woods and other items on the map are picked out, the aeroplane will soon be flying some distance from the route marked out. If a satisfactory attempt to follow the route is made by the pupil, the instructor will proceed to explain the compass and its use to him. By combining the use of the compass with map reading, the need for such close scrutiny of the ground and the map is removed.
A PASSENGER GOING FOR HIS FIRST FLIGHT must be warned by the pilot not to touch the throttle lever if the aeroplane is fitted with a second set of controls in the front cockpit. The engine should not be started with the passenger alone in the aeroplane. If a third person is not available to swing the propeller, the engine should be started before the passenger climbs to his seat.
The aeroplane compass and the method of working out a true course are explained in the chapter on “The Principles of Navigation”. For preliminary compass practice and for all cross-country runs up to about 100 miles or thereabouts, calculations for drift and time need not be made. This does not mean that drift can be ignored. It is allowed for approximately, and the allowance is checked in the air.
On his first attempt to set an aeroplane on a given course, it is quite general for a pupil to have difficulty. The compass needle swings backwards and forwards and shows few signs of settling down to a fixed reading. And when it has stopped swinging, the pupil’s attempts to bring it parallel with the grid wires on the compass start it swinging again.
For this reason the following procedure will be explained to the pupil. The aeroplane is first climbed to the height at which the flight is to be made, say 2,000 feet. The aeroplane is then flown to the side of the aerodrome opposite to that in which the desired course runs. By means of landmarks the aeroplane is now set on the route marked on the map. By steady flying the pupil keeps his machine on this route until the compass needle has settled down. Acceleration or deceleration effects caused by climbing or diving will make the needle swing.
When the needle is steady it can be set parallel with the grid wires by gentle use of the rudder alone. A pause is made after each rudder movement to allow the needle to take up its new position.
The number of degrees allowed for wind drift has now to be checked. A good landmark five or six miles from the aerodrome and right on the correct route is chosen. The course is held steady until this landmark is reached. If the aeroplane flies right over the landmark, the drift allowance is correct. If the aeroplane is to the left or right of the landmark, more or less has to be allowed for drift. Before settling down to the new course, the aeroplane must be deliberately turned until it is on the correct route. It is not necessary to alter the adjustment of the grid ring to allow for the alteration in drift correction.
The compass needle must be kept as steady as possible from this stage onwards. At the same time landmarks should be checked every few miles. It may prove necessary to make further alterations for drift as the flight proceeds; but this is unlikely. For the return flight, the compass grid ring has to be reset to the return course. Wind drift will have to be allowed for in the opposite direction. It will not necessarily require the same allowance. Therefore, the drift checking process must be gone through again. For practice flights, especially when a landing is not made at the destination, alteration of the grid ring may be avoided. This is achieved by setting the grid ring to the true course and making all allowance for drift on the needle itself. Thus, if the drift were three degrees, the needle would be kept three degrees away from being parallel with the grid wires. For the return flight, instead of keeping the north seeking pole of the compass needle pointing towards “N” on the grid ring, this end of the needle is kept pointing towards .the south marking on the grid ring.
When using the compass in the ways described, deviation may be ignored. It is automatically allowed for when the drift allowance is checked.
BEFORE SETTING OUT ON A CROSS-COUNTRY FLIGHT a pupil climbs to the height at which he intends to fly. He then crosses the aerodrome on the correct course. This gives the compass needle time to become steady on the correct reading by the time the aeroplane has passed the aerodrome. This picture shows Heston aerodrome, Middlesex, as the pupil would see it when setting off for a cross-country flight.
After one or two solo cross-country flights, the pupil has reached a stage where he may be allowed to carry passengers. With the attainment of the stage of passenger carrying, the term “flying pupil” may be changed to “pilot”. But the pilot must realize that he is still inexperienced and must be prepared to go on learning and to receive further lessons from his instructor. If the pilot is going to take up flying as a career, he has at this stage completed only the first part of his tuition.
Among other things which the pilot may yet learn are blind or instrument flying, advanced navigation, aerobatics, and night flying. Even the amateur pilot will do well to study these branches of flying, or at least one or two of them.
The more a pilot knows about flying the more finished will his control of the aircraft become. It is thus beneficial for him to learn about branches of flying which he may never have occasion to use. A knowledge of instrument flying will increase the confidence of a pilot in setting out on a cross country flight when weather conditions are not perfect. An understanding of advanced navigation makes the simpler navigation required by the amateur pilot even more easy to perform and more accurate in execution. Aerobatics increase the confidence of a pilot in his capabilities of handling an aeroplane in any circumstances, and night flying is an experience which is worth while for its own sake. There are certain things which will be explained to the pilot by his instructor before the pilot takes up his first passenger. When carrying a passenger the pilot has added responsibility. He must, therefore, take particular care to fly with “safety first” in his mind the whole time.
If the passenger has not flown before, the pilot should fly as smoothly as he can, turns should not be steep and manoeuvres such as side-slipping should be avoided.
When helping a passenger into the cockpit the pilot has to see that the passenger does not tread in the wrong place and cause damage to fabric coverings. If the aeroplane has dual controls in the front cockpit the joystick is removed and the passenger cautioned not to touch the throttle. The pilot assists with the belt or harness fastening and explains the methods of quick release. The engine should not be started with the passenger alone in the aeroplane. Instances have been known of an aeroplane running away when started; with a passenger only aboard a fatal accident might result. It is better for someone other than the pilot to swing the propeller. The passenger can then climb to the front seat without the inconvenience caused by the slipstream when the engine is running.
The steady pilot who is considerate and flies safely will obtain a good reputation quicker than a pilot whose chief thought is to show others how well he can handle an aeroplane.
The first passenger-carrying flight brings a sense of gratification to the pilot and makes him feel that learning to fly was more than worth while. In reality it simply marks another step in his progress, a progress which should go on the whole time he flies. And once having reached the passenger-carrying stage, few give up flying of their own free will. There is a subtle fascination about piloting an aeroplane which pilots find most difficult to explain to others. Even passengers in aircraft are unable to appreciate it. Passengers may become bored with air travel; a pilot never does.
A SMALL SINGLE-SEATER BIPLANE which has lines somewhat resembling those of the Tiger Moth beside it. The single-seater, called the “Currie Wot”, is a new design which has been produced at Lympne aerodrome. There are several single-seater designs which the pilot with 30 to 50 hours’ solo flying should find easy to fly. Handling types of aircraft other than the type on which he learnt to fly is good experience for a pilot.