Learning to fly, or thinking of learning? Post your questions, comments and experiences here

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By David Wood
#1757466
I was particularly struck by his unusual and compelling way of describing some things that we instinctively recognise, but are seldom if ever articulated as clearly in more modern books. An example was his use of the word 'bouyancy' to represent the margin over the stall; in other words to describe the degree to which the pilot could if he wished increase the AoA and gain additional lift before he reaches the AoA at which the wing stalls. Most of us know that as the capacity to trade speed for 'zoom', but I've never seen it described as 'bouyancy' and I rather like it. There were various other ones in there that made me put the book down for a few moments and consider anew some matters that I'd not really thought of that way before.

And that's the acid test of a good text book, in my view. Not only does it inform but, more importantly, it also made me think or, in my case, re-think some of the stuff I thought I knew. One of my bug-bears with the current TK regime for the LAPL/PPL/CPL is that it is quite possible to breeze through the textbooks and get 100% in the exams without really understanding the subject - indeed the whole tick-test/question-bank approach actually encourages that. Whereas this was a book that made me think.

Anyway, not everyone's cup of tea but it works for me.
lobstaboy, JAFO, T6Harvard and 3 others liked this
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By rf3flyer
#1757471
David Wood wrote: An example was his use of the word 'bouyancy' to represent the margin over the stall; in other words to describe the degree to which the pilot could if he wished increase the AoA and gain additional lift before he reaches the AoA at which the wing stalls.

I'd forgotten the source of that but I still think of it in these terms and flying a little taildragger I still 'heft' (another of his terms) the stick in the landing to get a feel for the 'buoyancy'. I learned that from S&R long before I learned to fly!
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By lobstaboy
#1757475
I think this is what makes it so good. He really does explain things that we instinctively "know" as pilots but don't really properly understand.
It's worth remembering that when the book was written a lot of what's in it had never been said before. He wrote roughly 80 years ago and only 40 years after the Wright brothers.
Remember these 1940's Americanisms and you'll be ok
Flippers = elevators
Ship = aeroplane
Motor = engine
Best girl = girlfriend (you're a pilot - you have lots of girls, right?)
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By TripleHeavenFly
#1757686
If you have kids stranded at home and you would like to get them interested in aviation then my kids recently came across an aviation themed novel aimed squarely at kids. 'Stranded' by the author J.E. Timlin. We got a copy from Amazon and kids thoroughly loved it. It follows the adventure of Nate who has been helping to build a kit plane and loves flying MS FlightSim so when he is a passenger on a DC-3 Otter that crashes in Canada in winter (injuring the pilot) he has some knowledge of how to fix the plane and fly it out of there. Definitely written as a kids book but also has plenty of aviation information to get the little ones interested in flying...
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By T6Harvard
#1757759
We took my 9 y.o. neice to Biggin Hill to fly with a Spitfire. As we landed she proclaimed how exciting it had been and then said 'Next time I want to be in the spitfire'. Now she often says she wants to learn to fly. She is very adventurous, clever and very driven but my brother is becoming a financial nervous wreck!!
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By scd975
#1757798
David Wood wrote: ... it is quite possible to breeze through the textbooks and get 100% in the exams without really understanding the subject ...


I am rather hoping that the new regime of online exams will go some way to address that issue.
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By David Wood
#1757817
scd975 wrote:
David Wood wrote: ... it is quite possible to breeze through the textbooks and get 100% in the exams without really understanding the subject ...


I am rather hoping that the new regime of online exams will go some way to address that issue.


I’m not sure that I see why it would or could.
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By scd975
#1757824
Because the set of questions from which the exams are drawn should be considerably wider than the fixed set that we have had since 2014. That should drive a requirement for a deeper and broader appreciation of the subject being examined.
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By David Wood
#1757836
I think that the issue is more that the questions asked are so often lazy questions. In other words they are the sort of questions that are easy to set but don’t really explore a candidate's understanding of anything very useful. The classic CPL question “how many fire extinguishers should there be on a 737?” is a good example of a bad question. Ditto “what’s the frequency range of an NDB?”
By T6Harvard
#1757878
Hmmm, the problem is common to all multiple choice exams - four possible answers laid out for you, one of them is correct. Much easier to get the right answer than just an open question inviting the candidate to produce their answer with no prompting.

As a student pilot (I like the sound of that ☺) I am glad to have multiple choice exams but in my defence I am really enjoying the studying. I have the advantage of having loved physics at school so I am not afraid of it and I have retained a basic knowledge. I also went on to do a semi-technical job which included engines, fluid dynamics and the importance of air pressure and temps on performance and measurements. Furthermore, the job also required some legal training so rules and regulations hold no fear! How lucky am I??

All in all, like many students, I am determined to understand the principles rather than just learn the right words to pass the written tests.
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By Charles Hunt
#1757970
David Wood wrote: classic CPL question “how many fire extinguishers should there be on a 737?” “what’s the frequency range of an NDB?”


Q1 - A lot

Q2 - Not a lot. (Oops RTFQ, what is the frequency range, not the distance range. Heads back to corner with dunce's hat :( )
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By David Wood
#1757973
Charles Hunt wrote:
Q1 - A lot

Q2 - Not a lot.


I think it's worse than that:

Q1 How much does a pilot need to know in order to fly safely - Quite a lot [but not necessarily what's in the current syllabi];
Q2 How much does he need to know to pass the exams - Not a lot;
Q3 How much is he likely to retain after he's passed the exams - The square root of not-a-lot.

I know the various arguments in favour of the current TK syllabus/multiple choice etc, but I do often see people (and, if I'm honest I'm guilty of it myself - I'm really not sure that I'd [re]pass all my CPL TK exams if I took them all again tomorrow) but there has to be a better system, IMHO, for a) deciding what a pilot really needs to know; b) teaching them that; c) assessing it, and d) finding a way to make sure that the really important bits are retained. The current system fails at each step, in my opinion.
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By LD1Racing
#1758009
David Wood wrote:Since we're all grounded, let me entice you into a bit of useful home-schooling.

snip

So, if you are bored by not being able to fly and yet are still intrigued by how in the hell we are able to fly in any case, get a copy and give it a read. I guarantee you'll learn something useful.



Also worth a look is av8n.com. Like 'Stick and Rudder' a lot of emphasis on AoA (there is no stall speed, just a stall AoA etc.). Some really helpful content there, explained in a slightly unconventional manner.
By T6Harvard
#1758014
Question -

David, Are your questions about what a pilot needs to know phrased in a similar manner to UK statute law, in that it is automatically deemed that 'he' should be construed to also include 'she'?

Namely,
'wherever in any Act of Parliament or Statutory Instrument there are words importing the masculine gender, the words should be construed to incorporate the feminine and vice versa'

:roll: :pirat: :roll: