Tuesday 18 June 2013 20:42 UTC
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I was just coming up to my MEIR skills test and went up for my 170A pre-test flight. I had been to a wedding and brought a different pair of shoes down that I normally fly with - leather soled Oxfords. The flight went fine until the EFATO, where as usual I tried to apply full rudder opposite to the yaw, and my foot went sliding off the pedal, the aircraft yawed significantly and pitched up as I couldn't get enough rudder authority. I was fairly surprised and thought I'd just stuffed it up, so we did another one, and exactly the same thing happened again. It was only then that I realised it was the shoes I was wearing and that I wasn't getting full rudder.
Next flight, shoes changed, no problems experienced since. It was a massive eye-opener for me though, as I had never realised that choice of shoes in the morning could approach a life or death decision - if I had suffered a real failure I would have simply had to close the live throttle and accept my limited options!
Unless you are wearing platform soles how can a shoe affect the rudder authority? I can uderstand a leather sole slipping of the pedal, but that is not the same as not enough authority.
With regards to leather soles you do get used to flying in them. What is interesting is flying bare foot or in wellies.
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I think it depends on the aircraft.
I can't imagine a change of ordindary footwear being an issue in the 172. But in the Auster it can make a significant difference.
Both the Rudders and heel brakes are a much smaller surface area than the Cessna. Each heel brake pedal is only about 2" x 2" and the rudders are a piece of 1" piping at 90degrees to your foot. Smooth soles on wet grass can be a complete recipe for disaster and on one occaision I encontered a very similar experience to the OP (but entirely on the ground) Since then I have always made sure to check my footware before going anywhere in the Auster.
The Sky is a beautiful place
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