By Ivan van der Schaar

Let's have a look at the aspects we covered thus far: The pre-flight, Start up and taxi out, the take-off and the circuit. The PPL syllabus covers a vast amount of manoeuvres and exercises and I am trying my best to document them all or rather most of them here so please do bear with me as we go along. This month we will look at our trip to the General flying area (GFA) and the first manoeuvre I like to practise on a renewal. Steep turns…

Please be familiar with your airfields local rules. Especially the circuit exit and re-joining manoeuvres or routes, Frequency's involved and also altitudes for exiting and re-joining. These are especially important at busy airfields. Do remember to make regular broadcasts clear and informative for other traffic but please do not overwhelm the frequency. This block the frequency unnessacerily and prevents other aircraft who may have important information like being in your vicinity or even an emergency from being broadcasted. Also should you want to chat to your mate on the air please use the chat frequency provided? I like to think of radio work as a telephone call.

Firstly, who am I talking to? Johannesburg special rules traffic
Who am I? This is Alpha Bravo Charlie
What am I doing? Cessna 172 routing from Springs to the
East rand general flying area at 7000 feet. I just
Passed the slimes dam.
And say goodbye…. Any traffic? Alpha Bravo Charlie

In other words keep it short and sweet not teen age telephone babble. To the point….

Once the GFA is reached make the necessary broadcast. Ensure you pick an area clear of other traffic. Be aware of the terrain, the terrain altitude, build up areas and airfields around you.

Well we have now made it to the GFA. Let's look at turns. I am not going to go into the finer details and technicality as this has been discussed in so many training books over the years.

1. Climbing turn: This turn is exactly what it says. Turning whilst climbing. It is performed at climb speed and 15' angle of bank. We do not want to sacrifice to much climb performance and at the lower speed the turn radius is going to be surprisingly tight.

2. The medium turn: This turn is done at cruising speed and 30' angle of bank and comfortable for passengers.

3. Steep turn: Done at higher speeds, 45'-60' degree angle of bank and not comfortable for passengers. Performed mainly during practise of flying skills and is a great manoeuvre if done properly to judge flying skill…

4. Rate one turn: The rate one turn's definition is 3' per second. The angle of bank varies with Indicated airspeed. The higher the IAS the higher the angle of bank to maximum of 30'angle of bank. These turns are mainly used for precision flying like on an IFR approach. I thought I would just add this turn as I often get asked what it is for…

As I have written before, the success of any turn lies in the aircraft attitude. Look outside, look at the nose attitude compared to the horizon and keep this attitude. The success of the turn will lie here. Many pilots want to fly just instruments, these instruments have lag and is often slow to indicate change in flight path especially in like a steep turn. Many a pilot then ends up "chasing the needles, the needle moves he/she corrects. Not realising the needle is already slow and the change is greater than indicated so our pilot corrects in the opposite direction. The correction is way too big as the needle is lagging. So we end up in a classical oscillating flight path and the oscillations just get bigger.

Not much wrong with the said pilots flying skills but more his technique and it feels as if he/she cannot fly a steep turn. Close up the panel with a map or sunshield then check him fly the steep turn to the numbers as the pilot needs to fly attitude as he/she has no other reference…. But only try this technique with a fellow pilot in the cockpit to back you up.

To fly the steep turn first trim the aircraft for straight and level flight at a safe altitude. Make sure you have enough speed before commencing the manoeuvre. Once everything has settled down and you are ready pick four distinctive points. Preferably land marks like one straight ahead, one 90' to the left, one immediately behind you, one 90' to the right. This is for a steep turn to the left, to the right would just be opposite. These land marks help to keep track of the progression of the Steep turn.

Make sure the turning area is clear by scanning the sky around you for traffic. Commence the turn with positive aileron input and slight back pressure on the control column to stop the nose from descending and apply more engine power to maintain the speed. Once you reach 45' angle of bank stop roll. Now keep the horizon on the same spot on the cowl or nose together with the bank angle of the aircraft and just occasionally glance at the altimeter to ensure the turn remains at the same altitude.

Keep track of the 90' reference points. As the last or 270' reference point is passed start prepare to roll wings level. You want to commence the actual wings level roll about 10' before the starting reference point.

As you roll the wings level reduce the power slightly and ease the pressure on the control column to return to straight and level flight. As easy as that….. Ja right!

Folks another month has come and gone and so is my aviation minute for this month. Keep it safe out there until next month.



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