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Where Did You Fly today?


This is Baker, in Washington State, viewed from the left seat on my solo cross country from CYPK to CYCW.
bushpilot

Here’s a close up:
bush pilot

And this is my friend John leaving me in the dust with his Cirrus:
bush pilot

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor and pilot based in Vancouver, BC. I AM NOT A FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR AND I AM NOT OFFERING FLIGHT INSTRUCTION! I am sharing my study notes and other things I’ve learned while getting my education as a pilot. You’re welcome to make use of this information, but do not treat it as expert advice.

I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting or concerns selling remote property in British Columbia.

Birdstrike?

Weather here has not been co-operative for my short cross country solos. It’s going on two weeks and I haven’t been able to combine free time with high enough ceilings to make it from Pitt Meadows to Chilliwack. Monday looked like a great opportunity, so I hit the school and did my flight plan. With that done I needed a briefing, and since my main man Paolo was tied up I figured I’d go do the walk around.

You know why you do walk arounds? Some people think its a safety thing. In my case I do it to discover that the checklist is gone, the gas is low, the control lock is missing, the airplane is unlocked, and that, to top it off, it’s unflyable:

Smashed elevator tip

Smashed elevator tip

Is it too much to ask the obvious? Like, when you finish breaking the airplane could you let someone know?

Anyway, it’s not that bad. $50.00 in parts and we’re all set.

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor and pilot based in Vancouver, BC. I AM NOT A FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR AND I AM NOT OFFERING FLIGHT INSTRUCTION! I am sharing my study notes and other things I’ve learned while getting my education as a pilot. You’re welcome to make use of this information, but do not treat it as expert advice.

I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting or concerns selling remote property in British Columbia.

The Nav Log for the Short Cross Country – Part 1

It’s time for my cross countries. One of the things needed for a cross country is the nav log. The nav log is essentially a spreadsheet that allows you to calculate how long you will be in the air during the cross country. Knowing how long you’ll be up let’s you determine how much fuel you need and when you will be arriving at specific points in your journey.

Blank Nav Log from Pacific Rim Aviation

Blank Nav Log from Pacific Rim Aviation

You need to calculate your fuel for a few reasons. First, of course, you want to ensure that you have enough for the trip. If you know how much you need you can, if require, carry less fuel. This can help you with your weight and balance. If you need full tanks to complete your journey but you’ve got too much weight on board to allow full tanks the fuel calculation and the weight and balance calculation will indicate this and you can plan for a mid-route fuel stop.

You need to calculate time for a few reasons as well. First, if you want to file a flight plan you need to know when you can expect to land. Also, the amount of time aloft is what allows you to calculate your fuel requirements. Navigation checks depend on time as well – you can choose some pre-determined checkpoints on the map, calculate how long it should take you to reach them, and then check to see if you’re on course by comparing when you reach the checkpoints with your estimate of time. Of course, if you never reach the checkpoint you’ll know that you’re off course.

Step one ins the nav log is the route. The shortest nav log possible will have the starting point, a set heading point (SHP), the top of descent (TOD), and the end point. This assumes either a straight line between the take off and landing points, or change of headings only at the SHP and TOD.

As an example of a short cross country I am using the route from Pitt Meadows (CYPK) to Chilliwack (CYCW). Chilliwack is pretty much straight east of CYPK. Usually I take off from CYPK to the west, so it’s exactly the opposite direction of where I want to go. However, probably 25% of the time I take off to the east. Sometimes I take off of the north or the south. I won’t know which runway is active until the day of the trip, so I’ve got a problem in terms of nailing down my starting point.

This is always the case, actually. The active runway changes because of weather. Also, the destination changes from trip to trip. The actual starting point for the trip is always a challenge to nail down. The solution is something called a set heading point (SHP). The SHP is a place on the map where we will be at cruise altitude and cruise speed. It’s also a place that will be easy to identify from the air.

Heading west from CYPK a lot of people choose the end of the Port Moody inlet. It gives you enough time to make the altitude you want, get into cruise attitude and is easy to identify. Heading east, toward CYCW, I’m going to choose the western tip of the island in the Fraser just before Fort Langley to the south and Albion to the north. That will be the entry in the first cell of my “From/To” column, and I’ll write it in as “CYPK/SHP”.

The next leg of this cross country will be a straight line from the SHP to the TOD. All one heading, and all one altitude. This goes in the second cell in the “From/To” column. It is written “SHP/TOD”.

The last leg of this cross country is the TOD to CYCW. This goes in the third cell of the first column. It is written in as “TOD/CYCW”. For this short cross country that completes the first column.

The second column can be filled in now. It is the altitude column, and is often labelled “ALT (ASL)”. The altitude from take off at CYPK to the set heading point will be changing because we’re climbing and leveling out. The starting point changes based on the active runway. The active changes based on weather. Weather just changes. Therefore, we can’t determine with exactitude what our altitude will be during the first leg. We will instead use an educated assumption. What we write in the first cell of the “ALT” column, however, is a straight line arrow starting in the lower left corner and pointing at the upper right corner. The second cell in the “ALT” column is the altitude we’re going to use between the SHP and TOD. I’m choosing 2,500 ft. ASL, and that’s what I write in the nav log. The choice of altitude is determined by route and weather and often changes. The third cell in the “ALT” column deals with the leg from the TOD to the runway at CYCW. It gets a diagonal line from top left to bottom right. Circuit height at CYCW is 1000 ASL, so 1000 goes into the lower left half of the cell.

On the sheet I use the next column is pressure altitude and temperature. This column is labelled “P.ALT/TEMP”. Pressure altitude is important as a starting point for further calculations. The altimeter is set for standard pressure at sea level. Changes in pressure require changes to the altimeter, which is why we check and set it during the initial phase of any flight. For navigation purposes pressure altitude matters because the air at our choosen altitude will be either thinner or denser than standard (unless we’re actually at standard pressure). This will effect fuel burn and speed. You need more fuel to fly through denser air and less fuel to fly through thinner air, assuming a constant speed. More to the point, if we keep altitude and RPM constant then speed will vary based on the air pressure.

If you want to figure out pressure altitude yourself, either on paper or with a calculator or computer spreadsheet, the equation is simple. Take standard pressure of 29.92, subtract the altimeter setting for that day, and then multiply the result by 1000 and add that to your planned cruise altitude. A higher pressure day will result in adding a negative number to the altitude (i.e., you’ll be subtracting) while a lower pressure day will add to P.Alt. Assume that the pressure for the day of the trip is 30.12. 29.92 – 30.12 = -.20. If you multiply -.20 by 1000 you get -200. Adding -200 to my choosen altitude of 2500 gives me a pressure altitude of 2300. This gets written into the top of the second cell in the third column “P.ALT/TEMP”.

The bottom half of the second cell in the “P.ALT/TEMP” column is the temperature for the day of the flight. METAR temperatures are taken at the surface, but I’m flying at 2500 feet. Normal adiabatic temperature lapse rate is 2 degrees per 1000 feet, so if the METAR tells me 8 degrees I’ll write in 3.5 in the space.

Nav Log from Pacific Rim Aviation

The next column is RPM and true airspeed. It is labelled “RPM/TAS”. I fly a Cessna 150L, and the POH says that at 2500 feet and 2400 RPM I’m flying at 60% brake horsepower with a true airspeed of 103 mph and a fuel burn of 4.6 gallons per hour. I’m happy with that RPM setting, and the other numbers just follow from that. I convert the TAS into knots and get 89.5 knots (.868976242 knots per mile). I write in 2400 in the upper half of the cell and 90 in the lower. I can also go to the far right of the nav log and write in the fuel burn rate in the second and third cells for the “FUEL-Gal/Hr” column.

C150 POH courtesy of Nicholas Janzen


So far this has been pretty straightforward. All calculations have been very simple, and constant enough to put in a simple spreadsheet. The next step requires that I convert TAS to calibrated airspeed (CAS) and then convert that to indicated airspeed (IAS). This requires use of the E6B.

E6B

E6B


The first number I need is the pressure altitude. I know from the third column calculations that my pressure altitude is 2300. I also know, from the same place, that the temperature will be 5.5 degrees. On the E6B there is a temperature range reading from +50 on the left to -50 on the right. This is found right under the black label reading “Density Altitude”. The temperature I’m using is +5.5 centigrade. The marks are too small to get half degrees, so I use 5 degrees and line it up with 2300 feet underneath it. Without moving the wheel I then read 90 knots on the outside wheel (that’s where TAS numbers are) and right across from that is the CAS. 90 TAS at 2300 ASL at 5 degrees = 88 knots CAS.
E6B

E6B TAS to CAS

The POH for my plane has a correction table for CAS/IAS. It tells me that for a CAS of 88 knots the IAS is 90 knots (you have to read between the lines). That number can go in the second and third cells of the fifth column (the one labelled “IAS”).

The next column, True Track, is simple to fill in. For the first leg, CPYK to SHP, I write in “Vis”, because all I’m going to do is take off and fly the pattern until I leave it to fly directly to my SHP. From my SHP I have to fly a specific heading to the TOD. That heading comes from my chart, and in this case its 93 – like I said, CYCW is almost directly east of CYPK. The second cell in the 6th column, therefore, will be 93. The last leg is from TOD to CYCW circuit, and again, it’s marked in as “Vis”.

True track is the track on paper that will take me to my destination. That track gets modified by wind as well as by east and west magnetic variance. If I can determine what those modifications are I’ll know what actual heading I have to fly to accomplish the true track on paper. The first variable is wind, so I have to check the weather. For the last flight I did on this route the winds were from 260 at 16 kts. This information goes into the E6B to find out the wind correction angle. Use the opposite side of the E6B for this – the side with the compass wheel.

E6B

E6B

Put the grommet over the 100 mark on the center line. Put the wind direction (260) under the True Index mark on the E6B. Measure up from the grommet the velocity of the wind (16 kts) and make a mark (use a lead pencil and mark a cross).

E6B

E6B


Spin the wheel until the true track heading (93) is under the True Index mark. The wind velocity mark has spun as well, and is no longer on the center line. Slide the wind velocity mark up until it coincides with TAS (90 kts). Ground speed will read under the grommet and the Wind Correction Angle (WCA) will read between where the wind velocity mark is and the center line. In this case I’m flying east at 90 kts. The wind is coming from the west, so it’s a tail wind. The E6B says my ground speed is going to be 106 kts, and my WCA will be 1 degree. The wind velocity mark that gives me the WCA is on the right hand side of the center line, which is the west. The mnemonic is “west is best, east is least” so the 1 degree WCA is a plus (if it had been on the east dies of the line I’d subtract it.
E6B

E6B

This calculation lets me fill two columns. The first is column 8, wind correction angle, labelled “WCA”. The second column is the 12th column, ground speed, labelled “G/S (kts)” I enter “+1″ in the WCA column and “106” in the ground speed column. I can enter 94 in the True Heading column (labelled “True HDG”).

Magnetic variation comes right off the chart. For this flight it’s -19. That figure goes into the second cell of column 10. Now I’m ready to do the math to get my magnetic heading, which is the one that I’ll fly based on the heading indicator. I start with 93 (true track), add 1 degree for wind correction (it’s almost a direct tail wind, so it’s a small correction). That gets me to 94 degrees. I subtract 19 for magnetic variation and arrive at 73 degrees as the magnetic heading. This gets entered into the second cell of the 11th column.

All the columns from 1 to 12 are now filled. Column 13 is the distance column. On the first leg I climb, reach cruise altitude, and fly to my SHP. The total distance is 7 nautical miles, but only 4.5 of that will be in the climb. The balance, 2.5, will be at cruise. The E6B comes in again, although a spreadsheet can also give you the answer. The math is simple if we have the numbers. For the climb we’re going to assume our ground speed is 64 kts. The E6B tells me that I’ll need 4.25 minutes. The math is 64 nautical miles in 60 minutes is the same as 4.5 nautical miles in x minutes. 4.5*60/64= 4.218 minutes. The balance of the distance to the SHP is 2.5 miles, but we’ll be flying at a ground speed approaching 106 kts. 2.5*60/106= 1.41 minutes. The E6B gives an answer of 1.35 minutes. I’ll round both numbers up and use 5 and 2 for 7 total time.

The next leg distance is 21 miles. The E6B says just shy of 12 minutes. Math says 21*60/106=11.88. The last leg, from TOD to CYCW, measures 4.5 miles at 106 kts. E6B says that will take about 2.5 minutes. Math says 4.5*60/106= 2.547 minutes.

The last column to figure out now is fuel burn. From take off to SHP will take 1.4 gallons. 2 minutes to SHP at 4.6 gph is 4.6/60*2= 0.15. I’ll put in .5 to be on the safe side. The rest is math. Don’t forget the reserve.

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor and pilot based in Vancouver, BC. I AM NOT A FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR AND I AM NOT OFFERING FLIGHT INSTRUCTION! I am sharing my study notes and other things I’ve learned while getting my education as a pilot. You’re welcome to make use of this information, but do not treat it as expert advice.

I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting or concerns selling remote property in British Columbia.

Chilcotin River Camp

 

 

I recently spent some time camping on the Chilcotin River, near Chezacut. For those unfamiliar with Chezacut, or the Chilcotin, it’s located in central British Columbia. The Chilcotin runs from high in the Itcha Mountains all the way to the Fraser. Among others it gathers in the Chilanko and the Chilko Rivers. Where we camped it’s big enough to canoe, but being upstream from it’s two big tributaries it’s still small.

View Larger Map

 

 

You can see from the Google map a road crossing the river upstream from the lake. If you zoom in you’ll see the meadow where we camped just downstream from that bridge. You’ll also get a good idea of how much logging goes on in that area. Most of the logging there is done to what is termed “beetle kill”; it’s Lodgepole Pine that has been killed by the Mountain Pine Beetle. Rest assured – the logged areas get re-planted. An additional advantage of beetle kill is that there is never a shortage of firewood in that country, which is handy when the sun goes down and the mercury drops.

 

Chilcotin River campsite Chilcotin River campsite
The campsite was very cool – an old meadow with fences from ranching days, right by the river. It looks like it gets lots of use from time to time, but we saw no evidence that anyone had been there for a bit.

 

 

 

The weather was compliant – while as cold as -10 Celsius at night there was little wind or precipitation aside from a few snow showers. It made for great walking through the day as we didn’t get too wet.

 

Campfire on Chilcotin River

Big fire for a cold night! Note snow on tarp.

Cutting firewood near Chezacut

Cody cutting firewood from beetlekill

The idea was that we’d be hunting moose, as well as any muleys or whitetails that we came across. While some people don’t approve of hunting I embrace it as a good source of free range organic meat. I don’t hunt for trophies, and I don’t shoot predators like wolves or bears. We were not fortunate in our hunt, but we did have a good time.

This is the traditional area of the Tsilhqot’in, who brought horses to the area sometime in the 1700s. It’s also got a long tradition as cattle country which means there are wild horses around. The range cattle can be as spooky as wild deer, and there is lot’s of evidence of old ranches from the 1930s.

 

Abandoned Chilcotin ranch house

Broken Dreams

 

 

 

 

I wasn’t able to fly up there yet, but while out walking I did find a place where I could land a plane, and looking at Google maps I found another airstrip servicing the old Maxwell Ranch a bit north of where we were. If you want to go off grid then this is the place to be.

 

Maxwell Ranch

Maxwell Ranch - airstrip highlighted

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The trip wouldn’t be complete without some canoeing. As you can see the river is not too difficult in these parts. The challenge is finding a take out spot. If you have time to explore you should be able to find one far enough below the lake to give you a good run.

canoeing the upper Chilcotin River

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor and pilot based in Vancouver, BC. I AM NOT A FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR AND I AM NOT OFFERING FLIGHT INSTRUCTION! I am sharing my study notes and other things I’ve learned while getting my education as a pilot. You’re welcome to make use of this information, but do not treat it as expert advice.

I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin. My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting or concerns selling remote property in British Columbia.

Weather Symbols Quiz 1

This is the first of a series of quizzes on weather symbols. The symbols come from the Nav Canada website.

This is the symbol for:





This symbol means:





This symbol means:





This symbol means:





This symbol means:





This symbol means:





This symbol means:





This symbol means:







My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor and pilot based in Vancouver, BC. I AM NOT A FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR AND I AM NOT OFFERING FLIGHT INSTRUCTION! I am sharing my study notes and other things I’ve learned while getting my education as a pilot. You’re welcome to make use of this information, but do not treat it as expert advice.

I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting or concerns selling remote property in British Columbia.

The V-Speeds

Pilots often use the phrase “fly by the numbers”, and trust me, in aviation there can be a lot of numbers. One group of basic numbers are the V-speeds. V-speeds are standard speeds that are important for precision flight, and by precision flight I don’t mean some sort of formation flying – I mean the type of basic flying you do every time you fly. These are speeds you really should know, and in fact, my instructor required that I know them before he’d let me solo.

There are lots of V speeds, and of course there are more for some planes than there are for others. For example, there is one speed called VLE, which is the maximum speed you can fly with the landing gear extended. That speed only applies to aircraft with retractable landing gear. I’ve got a fixed gear Cessna C-150L, so my plane doesn’t have a VLE.

The first V-speed is VR, or rotation speed. Rotation speed is the speed at which, when you’re rolling down the runway on take-off, you pull back on the yoke and leave the gound. The 150 rotates at 55 mph (and it gets there pretty fast – you apply full power, check the gauges and
you’re pretty much there).

Once you’ve taken off you have to land, and that requires slowing down as much as possible while still maintaing control and flying. That brings up the second V-speed – the stall speed (VS). Stalling is when the plane no longer has enough lift to keep it flying.

There are at least two stall speeds – flaps up and flaps down. Flaps down provides more lift, hence a lower stall speed. In my 150 the VS is 48 mph, meaning that with full flaps it will fly as slow as 48 mph at a gross weight of 1600 pounds before it stalls. Although landing at a slow speed is easier on the airplane, you still need some airspeed to maintain control. I actually land closer to 65-70 mph
airspeed.

The third V-speed is VS1, or clean stall speed. This is the stall speed at gross weight, but with flaps up. Flaps up is clean, flaps down is dirty. VS1 is 54 mph.

When you want to land you have to slow down (there’s an old saying “slow down to go down”). One way to do that is to reduce power, raise the nose of the airplane, and apply flaps. The amount that you apply can vary, but what you can’t do is apply flaps at too high a speed. Too much airspeed and you’ll damage the flaps. That brings us to the fourth V-speed, VFE, or maximum flap extended speed. On the airspeed indicator a white line begins below this speed, so its easy to see when you’re in safe flap range. VFE for my 150 is 100 mph.

VC is cruising speed, and that comes in at between 120 and 123 mph. The the maximum speed at which you can use abrupt control travel, or the design manouvering speed is called VA, and that’s a little bit lower, coming in at 109 mph.

Its important to understand that you can get a 150 going pretty fast, and pretty quickly. That can happen in a descent, especially a nose down descent. It’s not extremely dangerous if you keep your eye on it, but it is important to keep in mind. This speed, which the manufacturer advises that you never exceed, is called (of course), the VNE. Although I’ve said it can happen quickly I have to admit I’ve never gotten close, because the VNE in the Cessna C-150 is 164 mph. However, speed does climb pretty quickly in a nose down attitude, so, as I said, its something to remember and keep an eye on.

Two V-speeds come up in relation to climbing. Normal climbs are performed at bewteen 75 and 85 mph with no flaps. This is best for cooling the engine (or more to the point, keeping it cool). We could say that the best rate of climb, VY, comes in at 77 mph.

There is another way to think about it as well. VY is the fastest climb rate in terms of time. In other words, at VY you’ll rise more feet per minute than you will at the second V-speed for climbing, VX, or best angle of climb. Best angle of climb is a measurement of how much you climb in relation to how far you travel across the ground. Its slower, about 69 mph, so you climb slower, but you don’t have to travel as far across the ground to get there. Obviously its helpful to know this speed if you’re concernedabout clearing obstacles at the end of the runway.

Its interesting to note that VY decreases with altitude gain, while VX increase with altitude gain, becoming equal at the aircraft’s service cieling, wuhich in the C-150 is 13,000.

The last of the basic V-speeds is VBG, or best glide speed. This is important in the unlikely event that you experience an engine failure, or the likely event that an instructor throws a simulated power failure at you. You have to put the aircraft into the best power off glide speed, which is the speed that will allow the plane to glide the longest amount of distance, so that you can find an airstrip, make it back to the mainland or find somewhere acceptable to put the plane down.

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor and pilot based in Vancouver, BC. I AM NOT A FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR AND I AM NOT OFFERING FLIGHT INSTRUCTION! I am sharing my study notes and other things I’ve learned while getting my education as a pilot. You’re welcome to make use of this information, but do not treat it as expert advice.

I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting or concerns selling remote property in British Columbia.

The Basic V-Speed Quiz

V-Speeds are textbook speeds that a pilot should commit to memory.

The actual speeds will vary from airplane to airplane, but the symbols for them do not.

V-Speeds are expressed with the large letter “V” followed by a small letter or letters to indicate which speed it is.

For example, the “never exceed” velocity or speed would be expressed as Vne.

Please go to The Basic V-Speed Quiz to view the quiz

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor and pilot based in Vancouver, BC. I AM NOT A FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR AND I AM NOT OFFERING FLIGHT INSTRUCTION! I am sharing my study notes and other things I’ve learned while getting my education as a pilot. You’re welcome to make use of this information, but do not treat it as expert advice.

I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting or concerns selling remote property in British Columbia.

Checking the Airspeed Indicator For Leaks

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor and pilot based in Vancouver, BC. I AM NOT A FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR AND I AM NOT OFFERING FLIGHT INSTRUCTION! I am sharing my study notes and other things I’ve learned while getting my education as a pilot. You’re welcome to make use of this information, but do not treat it as expert advice.

I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting or concerns selling remote property in British Columbia.

I came across this at BackcountryPilot.org; if originates with the FAA. It is a check for leaks in the ASI system – it is not an ASI test.

Airspeed check:

Slip a long rubber hose over the pitot mast (surgical tubing is recommended).

As one person reads the airspeed, the other should very slowly roll up the other end of the tubing. This will apply pressure to the instrument. When the airspeed indicator needle reaches the aircraft’s approximate recommended cruise speed, pinch the hose shut, and hold that reading. The airspeed needle should remain steady for a minute if the system is sound.

A fast drop off will indicate a leak in the instrument, fittings, lines, or the test hose attachment.

NEVER force air in the pitot tube or orally apply suction on a static vent. This will cause damage to the instruments.

Precautionary Landings

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor and pilot based in Vancouver, BC. I AM NOT A FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR AND I AM NOT OFFERING FLIGHT INSTRUCTION! I am sharing my study notes and other things I’ve learned while getting my education as a pilot. You’re welcome to make use of this information, but do not treat it as expert advice.

Precautionary Landings

When the conditions at a landing area are unfamiliar because the landing is an unplanned one or because no advance data is available, you have to do a precautionary landing.

This can occur when you fly to remote, off airport or unserviced airstrips as part of a planned flight, or if you experience a medical emergency, low fuel or reduced oil pressure, or when the weather gets too bad for you to continue to fly safely.

For any backcountry strip, or perhaps a non-dedicated strip like a farmers field, a moose meadow or possibly a gravel bar, a fly over inspection is necessary, and often the only approach to obtain the requisite information to land.

The same approach applies if you have to find a landing place for an unplanned landing. If you check the tanks at departure, confirm they’re full, but within an hour see that the fuel gauges are registering empty, you have to land. In most cases you can’t determine whether the gauge is faulty or the tank is leaking from your seat in the cockpit. Still, if you have sufficient power and the airplane is behaving normally you can’t consider it an emergency. The engine hasn’t failed, there isn’t a massive loss of power, and there is no imminent danger to life or machine. An unplanned landing is a precaution. The same applies to low oil pressure, a mechanical malfunction that is not an emergency, or a medical issue.

Weather is another example of something that can lead to a precautionary landing. If you depart an airport and the weather at your destination deteriorates below VFR minima you can turn around and return to where you began, provided you have the fuel and the weather behind you is still acceptable. However, it might be better to put the airplane on the ground and wait the weather out. Again, this is a precautionary landing.

Use the following precautionary landing procedure if any of the following things occur:

Fuel is low/oil pressure is low;
Medical issues;
If weather has deteriorated below VFR minima;
The conditions at the landing area are unknown;

Low fuel/oil pressure, bad weather and medical issues are Pan Pan situations, but are not Mayday scenarios. You do not need to make a Pan Pan call if you are making a planned landing at a strip of uncertain quality. Another difference between forced landings and precautionary landings is that forced landings are only executed in the case of an engine failure or the massive loss of power.

This procedure has 8 steps:

1) Begin at the regular circuit height of 1000 feet AGL;

2) Fly a normal downwing leg to inspect the landing zone to decide if a lower pass is safe; this is called the high inspection. Keep an eye out for any hazards like trees, towers, power poles or anything else tha may effect closer inspection. Scan for cues to wind velocity and direction;

3) Transition to the low inspection, which is flown parallel to the final approach in a regular circuit. The idea is to fly a path that allows you to inspect the proposed landing area. Establish the airplane in trimmed, level flight at 60 knots with flaps at 10 degrees. Fly as low as you safely can while scanning the proposed landing strip. Look for hazards like standing water, animals, fences, wires, vegetation, ditches or vehicles. At 60 knots 1 second equals 100 ft. You’ll be looking for 13-14 seconds at a minimum with most light airplanes;

4) Return to circuit pattern by executing an overshoot, applying full power and climbing back to 1000 ft AGL. Get back into a normal circuit pattern in anticipation of landing;
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5) Make your radio call advising who you are, whereyou are and what you’re doing;

6) Give a passenger briefing;

7) Do the regular pre- landing checks;.

(The past three steps are referred to as the 3 ps – Pan Pan , passenger brief, pre-landing checks )

8) Land the airplane. Whether it is a short field, soft field or combination of the two will be dependent on the conditions. Don’t forget to take any obstacles that can’t be avoided into account

I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting or concerns selling remote property in British Columbia.

Landing

My name is Rob Chipman and I’m a realtor and pilot based in Vancouver, BC. I AM NOT A FLIGHT INSTRUCTOR AND I AM NOT OFFERING FLIGHT INSTRUCTION! I am sharing my study notes and other things I’ve learned while getting my education as a pilot. You’re welcome to make use of this information, but do not treat it as expert advice.

I really enjoy flying, real estate and the Chilcotin.  My company is Coronet Realty Ltd., located at 3582 East Hastings Street, Vancouver, BC, V5K 2A7. I have a C-150L that I own with two other pilots, based out of Pitt Meadows. Do not hesitate to contact me by email if I can help you do anything, especially if its likely to be interesting or concerns selling remote property in British Columbia.

Landing the Plane

There’s a joke that the flying school charges you $1000 to learn to take off and $10,000 to learn how to land. The punch line is that it’s true.

Landing is pretty important, and it is harder than taking off, but its not the final goal and its not the most important thing that there is. However, getting the plane & pilot on the ground is, like many other parts of flying, critical (yes, you heard me, not the most important thing, just critical!)

Landing has several parts, depending on where you start counting, but for me a regular landing has 16 steps:1) establish the downwind cruise (or equivalent) atittude, 2) do the pre-landing checks, 3) make the call, 4) set power for “slowdown to go down”, 5) set flaps, attitude and trim, 6) make the turn, 7) attain approach speed and descent rate, 8)turn and get on glide path, 9) line up, 10) maintain glide path, 11 ) monitor power, 12) round out, 13) flare, 14) “don’t let it land”, 15) keep pressure off the nose gear, 16) flaps up.

Now some of these steps run together. You might set the power from cruise to 1500 rpm while you’re applying flaps and setting the attitude. You’ll probably pin your approach speed and descent rate at the same time, more or less.

Some aren’t always done. You might not have to turn because you might have a straight in approach, for example, or you may not need to establish yourself in the downwind leg cruise configuration because you’ve already been cruising from another airport instead of doing circuits. Still, you need a clear understanding of the steps and a routine that you follow, at least in the beginning.

Additionally, some of these steps won’t apply for float plane flying. A float plane pilot flying float planes has some additional challenges. One of the first differences flying float planes is what you land on, and what it looks like. We know a wet runway can be decieving but water is even more decieving, especially if its really calm, because its hard to judge exactly where the surface is. Float plane training addresses that (as well as the take off) so we don’t have to talk about it much here.

If you go to bush pilot school you might learn float plane flying, or you might just learn STOL wheel landings, whether short field or soft field or both, but you’ll learn a lot more about them than you will in the private pilot license program. I’m just talking about how I learned to execute regular landings, which is really only the beginning.

So, step 1 is get established in the cruise (on the downwind in cicuits, or otherwise just on the cruise). The plane should be trimmed out, in a stable attitude, and pretty much flying itself.

Step 2 is to do the pre-landing checks: primer in and locked, masters on, mags both, circuits/fuse ok, carb heat hot, mixture set (full rich where I am at sea level), fuel on, harness and doors secure, and test the brakes.

With that done step 3 kicks in with the call to the tower . Calls are almost always in the form of who you are, where you are, and what you want. “Tower this Gulf Alpha Bravo Charlie on the downwind for a touch and go on 36 ” Tower will advise what order you’re in, and what traffic to look out for – “Alpha Bravo Charlie you’re # 2 after the Fleet Canuck on 1/2 mile final” to which you answer “Alpha Bravo Charlie with the traffic” if you see the other pane, or “Alpha Bravo Charlie looking for the traffic”if you don’t see the other plane.
If you’re not number 1 you can’t turn base until you know its safe or until Tower tells you you can (Tower telling you to turn base doesn’t relieve you of any responsibility for separation. Keep looking for the traffic). If you’re number 2 or 3 you need to see the other traffic and let them be past you before you turn base.

Assuming its time to turn base I slow down by setting the power to a specific setting (it changes with conditions, but I decide that I’m going to 1700, 1500, 1400, etc, before I start pulling the throttle back, and when I get to my pre-determined setting I stop. As soon as the power drops I may pull back a little on the yoke (just to maintain the pitch) while I start applying flaps. Reducing power makes the nose drop, but pulling flaps makes it rise, so you have to come back then forward with the yoke. I try to only do what’s needed to keep the plane smooth.

Once flaps are down you’ll be pushing the yoke, so trim the plane. A lot of time this happens while I’m making the turn, but it’s worth trimming even while you’re executing the turn. You control the yoke with your left fingers and drop the flaps with your right hand and then trim. Its like double clutching (more so, since you’re also keeping lively feet on the rudders to keep the ball in place during the turn).

This gets us to step 7. I like to pin it on 70 mph and with a rate of descent of about 500 feet per minute descent rate if the downwind has been consistent (longer downwind means we have more distance to cover before coming down, so we need to adjust accordingly).

All things being equal, more or less calm winds, 70 mph and 400-500 ft/mn gets me on a great approach, and a great approach means a way easier landing. Step 7 could be said to get us on the glide path, but I think of it as a separate step that happens once we turn base. Sometimes I’m high or low at that point so I have to adjust to get on the proper glide path. If I’m low I give it power. If I’m high I drop the power. Once I get back on the glide path I adjust as required to stay there. So, step 8 is getting established on the glide path.

Step 9 can happen while you’re setting up the glide path on final. You can line up the cowel rivets at the front and back of the cowling with where you want to go, or just get accustomed to the way the runway looks when you’re flying straight at it. Do what works for lining up, and then try to keep on that line there.

Cross winds can require some inputs, and chopping power can cause yaw to the right, so you have to look with your eyes and respond with your feet and hands for opposite rudder and aeleron inputs. This will become easy with practice, and one way to practice is to do it on calm days when you don’t have to. If the approach is going smoothly you can slip a little back and forth to build your skill.

If power, descent rate, glide path and line up are good, just maintain it. Time may drag because nothing is happening, but that’s good. The main thing is to pay attention and stay on the right approach.

That’s step 10, and its a step all on its own because sometimes crosswinds, gusts or up and downdrafts require your attention.

Step 11 is to monitor power. You control speed with pitch, but you control the rate of descent with power. You have to get comfortable with adjusting the power up or down based on how the glide path and runway looks to you over the nose.

12 is the round out. Until now we’ve been flying down to the runway with a slightly nose down attitude. When we get about 15 feet off the ground we need to level off smoothly and start flying level, in a slightly nose up attitude.

This should happen smoothly, and transition into 13, where we reduce power to idle and pull back on the yoke to raise the nose. Taking off all power lets the plane yaw right slightly, so we need to keep it straight, but all adjustments should be smooth and minor.

Step 14 finds you almost on the ground, trying to bleed off energy. You can’t force the plane to land (well, you can, but its a hard bump) but you can easily get it back flying, especially if you’ve still got energy.

If you yank back too hard you’ll start going back up in the air, then run out of energy and plop yourself down hard. The key is to “not let the plane land”, and keep the nose up with ascending. That way you stay maybe 5 feet off the ground until the energy bleeds off and the plane settles naturally to the runway. If you do it right you’ll feel the wheels touch down once only (or, in a crosswind, one side, then the other, but still, softly).

Step 15 is to keep the nose off the ground. Let it settle on its own, and keep the pressure off it. This increases braking power and makes the nose gear last longer.

Step 16 is to slow down and exit.

That’s it. It seems very hard, at first, to execute everything properly, but practice (with an instructor) will build the skills and the whole process will seem to slow down the more you do it, and you’ll feel like you have lots of time to do what you need to do, and you’ll start noticing much more of the airplane’s behaviour while landing. Once that happens you won’t be far from soloing!