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

Moderator: AndyR

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By Paul_Sengupta
#1832068
editmonkey wrote:Between the flight computer, graphs, tables, figuring out the weights, balances, distances, wind factors, contingencies, and then actually flying and navigating it must take days to plan, and then how do you actually fly when you’re constantly having to calculate and navigate. I’m getting task overload just reading about it :shock:


There's a closely guarded secret that I'll let you in to. We all use GPS! :D
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By Charles Hunt
#1832069
editmonkey wrote:.. how does anyone ever get airborne??



Smoothly open the throttle, (lift the tail in a proper aircraft*) touch of right rudder (unless cross-wind or less common engine demands otherwise) wait for a bit, ease back on the stick.

It really is that simple.

* Only teasing.
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By JAFO
#1832076
editmonkey wrote:I knew flying involved a lot prep but I’ve just slogged through ‘Flight Performance & Planning’ and... how does anyone ever get airborne??


Luckily they didn't have Flight Performance & Planning when I learned to fly (at least I don't remember it if they did).

The truth for most of us is https://www.skydemon.aero/ but I actually enjoy the old paper charts and whizz wheel, even if I rarely use them in anger any more.
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By Rob P
#1832083
editmonkey wrote:Between the flight computer, graphs, tables, figuring out the weights, balances, distances, wind factors, contingencies, and then actually flying and navigating it must take days to plan,


You are not wrong. In the years BSD (Before Sky Demon) it generally did take longer to prep for a flight that required navigation than it took to actually fly the trip. Often by a factor of five or six, particularly if crossing the English Channel was involved.

Consider yourself lucky, and accept all the whiz-wheel ritual to be honouring those who preceded you - the stoical watch, chart and compass pioneers without whom Tim wouldn't have had a market to launch SD to.

Rob P
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By editmonkey
#1832126
I'm really looking forward to it, although I suspect it's easier in practice with an instructor than sitting with a book at home. Can't wait to get started. I'm booking my medical in for end of March and then it's all up to Covid and the weather gods!

Here's a possibly daft question: I know there's much debate about sims and from what I've gathered, without force feedback they're near useless. So far I've been using X-Plane to dip in and demo things like slow flight to see how the a/c reacts to different inputs in given situations. Anything else it's useful for from a learning standpoint without introducing bad habits?
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By JAFO
#1832127
editmonkey wrote:Here's a possibly daft question: I know there's much debate about sims and from what I've gathered, without force feedback they're near useless. So far I've been using X-Plane to dip in and demo things like slow flight to see how the a/c reacts to different inputs in given situations. Anything else it's useful for from a learning standpoint without introducing bad habits?


In my very humble opinion - NO.
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By FlightDek
#1832130
One thing I found the flight sim good for was helping with hand-eye co-ordination. I'm very right-handed and found controlling the yoke with the left quite difficult to start with - especially fine control. Using the sim helped to improve the co-ordination of my left hand.

Also, with the scenery in the new MSFS you could practice Nav. Work out all the headings and times as if it were real and then fly it in the sim. See how it works out and how to correct.
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By Rob P
#1832132
I would say it could be useful for learning circuit joins at 'new' airfields.

I can remember frantically drawing circuit directions on my Pooleys (A book we used to use BSD) after I'd been given runway in use, circuit direction and join instructions on an initial call.

Certainly practising overhead joins when approaching from random directions would allay the confusion the CAA OHJ graphic can engender if you aren't approaching from the direction shown in the graphic.

Rob P
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By tcc1000
#1832142
editmonkey wrote:Between the flight computer, graphs, tables, figuring out the weights, balances, distances, wind factors, contingencies, and then actually flying and navigating it must take days to plan, and then how do you actually fly when you’re constantly having to calculate and navigate. I’m getting task overload just reading about it :shock:


It is quite a bit of work, especially if you do it all by hand. I found it useful to go through the process to be sure I understood everything. I even think the whizwheel is quicker for some things (like conversions) than a calculator although arguably not as quick as "Alexa, what is xx in yy?".

In the real world you will be reading the SAME tables and graphs each flight, as you will likely be flying the same aircraft (or at least same type) - so you won't have the overhead of working out how the information happens to be presented and how to interpret it as it will be the same as the last time and the time before that.

Do bear in mind that you can use late-20th century stuff before reaching for the 21st century. So, weight and balance calculation is a simple spreadsheet (you can dip into the 21st century and use Google Sheets if you like) - you can even write it yourself without much effort. I also used a spreadsheet for nav (downloaded this time), so I could input wind at 8.00 in the morning and have my PLOG ready a few minutes later (direction / distance read off the map and pre-populated the spreadsheet). I double-checked one leg with the whizz-wheel. With mostly pre-populated spreadsheets, it is only a few minutes to get up to date figures.

There are also rules of thumb that you can substitute. e.g. Cessna 152 consumes 6 gallons/hr. It's almost certainly less than that, but if you are going for a 1hr lesson and have 12 gallons in the tank, you know it's Ok.

By all means get a SkyDemon subscription, eventually - I waited until I had my PPL. Skydemon light can also be used (which needs Internet Explorer with Silverlight). And if eventually fly a modern aircraft with glass cockpit, W&B can just be input into the avionics there and then as well as fuel load/consumption.

BTW, if you do do a W&B calculation for a Cessna 152 with full fuel, if you and/or your instructor is not svelte you are likely to find it too heavy. But is the runway is 2-3x what you in theory might need, it's not necessarily as much of an issue.

I'm not saying you don't need to do the calculations - just there are quicker ways of getting the answers.
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By cotterpot
#1832160
There are also rules of thumb that you can substitute. e.g. Cessna 152 consumes 6 gallons/hr. It's almost certainly less than that, but if you are going for a 1hr lesson and have 12 gallons in the tank, you know it's Ok.


Would that be US or UK gallons?
And I suspect it will more likely be in litres - it was, even in 1995, when I was starting to fly. 25 litres an hour. :wink: Never measured fuel in gallons'
By tcc1000
#1832173
The ones that the fuel dipper we used measured, so I think that's likely to be US gallons. I had thought that was a pessimistic estimate, but I'm not so sure now - I certainly didn't use as much as 6 gallons/hr when I did QXC. Maybe 7USG/hour would be a better one to use. As always - ask your instructor!
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By editmonkey
#1832199
cotterpot wrote:
There are also rules of thumb that you can substitute. e.g. Cessna 152 consumes 6 gallons/hr. It's almost certainly less than that, but if you are going for a 1hr lesson and have 12 gallons in the tank, you know it's Ok.


Would that be US or UK gallons?
And I suspect it will more likely be in litres - it was, even in 1995, when I was starting to fly. 25 litres an hour. :wink: Never measured fuel in gallons'



You see... it’s this kind of thing that’s going to wind up with me landing in some field. :lol:
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By Charles Hunt
#1832200
Regarding flight sims, you have no real sensation of whether you are rising or falling, thus the only way you can tell is by fixating on the rate of climb indication and/or the altimeter. Thus when your instructor asks you to fly straight and level, your eyes go straight to the instruments and look out goes out the window - or rather it doesn't when in fact it should.

For initial VFR flight, climb to your desired height, level off, trim, wait for speed to increase, set cruise power, trim and trim again. Now if you are trimmed correctly the a/c will stay pretty much at the required height, and instead of having to fixate on the instruments, you can keep your eyes outside with just an occasional glance down at the altimeter, If you've dropped down a little bit some fingertip back pressure will bring you back up, or if high some gentle forward pressure will get you back down.

Did I mention the importance of trim?
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By Rob P
#1832201
Charles Hunt wrote:Did I mention the importance of trim?


I have the trim set up on two buttons at the top of the stick (Van's and MSFS)

Landing at Chagual is a bit of a mare. (Latest MSFS challenge)

Rob P
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