Gathering of the Classics
Thanks to all the members who came out to help represent the Borden Flying Club at the Gathering of the Classics. By all accounts it was another amazing event.
The airplane has been running well with minimal snags. As most of us know the airplane traveled to Oshkosh which was approximately 12 hours of flying. The BFC Pilots reported the airplane behaved well. A big thanks again to BCF Member Jim Bertrand who completed the belly wash of PDW on his own, providing the club with a shiny airplane.
The right fuel tank has had some small amounts of water observed following PDW being left outside or flying through rain. This will be further addressed during Annual this year. Please be aware during your walk around and fuel sample testing. Please bring forward any issues observed.
We are continuing to monitor the AI which has been functioning well with no issues observed or reported. The plan in the near future is to still overhaul the AI but in the meantime the unit has been stable and working well.
Upcoming planned maintenance is a 50-hour oil change.
Inside the Envelope
The club has long advocated and taught stabilized approaches on our Cessna's. Both Canada and the USA are emphatically promoting the concept to all GA pilots, to improve flight safety.
The club check-pilots also teach stabilized approaches with more advanced procedural techniques; ie glide-paths based on 300 or 400 feet AAE per mile from the runway, then use approximately 5 or 6 times your groundspeed to determine the constant decent rate (VSI) which will maintain that glide-path.
The FAA Safety article included provides some good reading. Should you wish to become more familiar with the concept and techniques, discuss it in further detail with your checkpilot, during your next checkout event. Additionally, attend the club tech-night (rust remover) meetings and keep your knowledge on the leading-edge - could not resist!
Director of Flight Operations
The Stabilized Approach
Excerpt From: Federal Aviation Administration. “FAA Safety Briefing: #FlySafe.”
Long used by airline pilots, the stabilized approach is now the recommended landing technique for all airplanes. It’s officially defined in the Airplane Flying Handbook as an approach “in which the pilot establishes and maintains a constant angle glidepath towards a predetermined point on the landing runway.” But it’s much more than that. It’s establishing a configuration that doesn’t require significant changes to power and pitch to maintain a constant glide angle and speed.
A key element of the stabilized approach is rock-steady final descent airspeed with the plane trimmed for minimum control pressures — nearly “hands off flight.” (But don’t you dare take your hands off during a landing!)
Of course, that’s not to say that some changes of pitch and power don’t occur during stabilized approaches, but they should be more like minor tweaks than corrections. In the FAA parlance, “slight and infrequent adjustments” should be all that’s needed to maintain a stabilized approach.
The stabilized approach is built on observing visual cues outside of the cockpit. A growing runway sight picture that does not change in shape. An aiming point on the runway where you will start your flare that doesn’t appear to move as you approach it. And remember that the aiming point isn’t the touchdown target. Rather, it is the spot in which your plane would smack into the runway if you neglected to roundout and flare. Touchdown is downstream of the aiming point due to the float effect of flare.
The goal of all of this? Quoting again from the Airplane Flying Handbook, “With the approach set up in this manner, the pilot will be free to devote full attention towards outside references.” More bluntly put, there’s enough to concentrate on in landing that a stabilized approach removes variables and greatly increases safety.
And it’s not only the FAA that champions the stabilized approach for general aviation airplanes. The tongue-twisting General Aviation Joint Steering Committee’s Loss of Control Work Group, an FAA/industry collabora” “collaboration whose goal is to reduce the fatal accident rate in general aviation, included stabilized approaches as a key element of changes it recommended in aeronautical decision-making education. They also focused on the stabilized approach as one of their recommended safety enhancements and urged both the FAA and the industry to “promote and emphasize the use of the stabilized approach,” even going so far as recommending in 2012 that stabilized approaches be added to the practical test standards. The FAA has since adopted this recommendation in the Practical Test Standards for sport pilot and up.
Naturally, the alternative to the stabilized approach is the unstabilized approach, one that requires more than just “slight and infrequent adjustments.” An unstabilized approach involves gross corrections and, while there might be an endorphin rush to pulling a bad landing out of the fire, the reality is that rescuing a bad approach is a near miss when it comes to loss of control. Unstabilized approaches also include those that feature poor drift correction on base, over or undershooting the turn to final, and flat or skidding turns — all configurations that put the plane at risk when it’s low and slow.
The bottom line “The bottom line is that if small corrections can’t fix the problem, your approach isn’t stable. So what next?
You should abort the landing and GO-AROUND”