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Lesson 2: Power, Trim and Flaps

by Stewart NWFT on 17th August 2016 No comments

My second lesson was to continue the focus on the effects of controls, today incorporating throttle, trim and flaps. My previous instructor Andrew Raven wasn’t available today, so I was introduced to Tim Senior, another one of North Weald’s experienced flight instructors.

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I was incredibly pleased to find out that we would be flying in G-LOMN once again today, the same aircraft I flew in my first lesson only two weeks previous.I guess you could say I’ve already become some-what attached after getting my first flying hours with her. She hadn’t been flown today, so myself and Tim went through the full checks to ensure she was in good working order.

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I picked up a Pooley’s 152 checklist from the North Weald shop last time for £6.50, so this process was a simple yet thorough one. It’s important to get in to good habits early, so I make sure I go through it all in detail and also study it every night before I go to bed (takes about 5 minutes).

Pre start-up checks done, GoPro attached, instructor Tim safely inside and ready… We fired her up. Initially, to continue with my taxying training from the last lesson, we made our way to the tarmac crossing in order to practice.

Taxying:

Now this is actually a lot trickier than you may think. It’s almost the complete opposite of everything you have learnt and been taught about driving… Firstly, the steering is done with your feet and not your hands. Secondly, to turn right, you have to press on the right pedal. Essentially pushing against the turn rather than with it. Thirdly, the speed is controlled by the throttle which is increased/decreased using your right hand (when sat in the captains seat). Confused yet? It’s about to get even worse! Each rudder pedal then has the brakes for each side on the top of the pedals. You brake by rolling your feet forward. The brakes can then be used to make sharper turns too. For example, sharp right turn would require right pedal plus right brake.

It’s something that is going to be mastered simply by lots of practice. Through force of habit, my hands wanted to do all the steering! I’m sure with some taxying practice every lesson, it’s a skill that i’ll soon get the hang of.

As we continued our taxy towards the active runway, today runway 02 with left circuit, we made our intentions clear ‘G-LOMN ready for departure’. ‘G-LOMN cleared for take off runway 02’. ‘Cleared for take-off G-LOMN’. Throttle at full, we raced down the runway for a departure to the north.

The effects of POWER:

This exercise was to demonstrate the affect increasing and decreasing the power (rpm) has on the aircraft, the secondary effects felt and how we counteract these. Firstly, Tim pushed the throttle in which increased the power delivered to the engine. This caused the nose of the aircraft to pitch up. This is because increasing the power increases the airspeed. Increasing the airspeed increases the flow of air over (and under) the wing. The wings generate more lift with more airspeed. Therefore, the aircraft goes up. Or technically speaking, pitches up. This then has a secondary effect… An increase in RPM creates a stronger slipstream generated by an aircraft with a clockwise propeller motion. This slip stream then hits the left (port) side of the vertical stabiliser (fin), pushing it to the right and therefore ‘YAWING’ the aircraft to the left. Please get in touch if this needs a little more explanation! To counteract this pitch up and left yaw, we push (away from you) on the yoke to bring the nose down and push on the right rudder to counteract the left yaw. Simple, right? Naturally, bringing the aircraft in to level flight with increased power then increases the airspeed.

Next, Tim reduced the power by pulling out the throttle control. This reduces the airflow over the wings and therefore the speed decreases. This then reduces the lift generated by the wings of the aircraft and the nose pitches down. This was counteracted by pulling (towards you) on the yoke to bring the nose up. Bringing the aircraft in to level flight with reduced power then reduces the airspeed further.

TRIM:

Having to constantly counteract the effects of increasing and decreasing the power can be very tiring work. Luckily, the aircraft has a system in place to reduce this workload, but it’s [apparently] a serious sticking point for many aspiring pilots. This is called the ‘TRIM’. The trim is a small tab found on the elevator of your fins. There are a couple different designs depending on the aircraft, but they essentially accomplish the same thing. When you push on the yoke (away from you) what this actually does is moves the tail-end of the elevator downwards. The downward pointing elevator then generates more lift at the rear of the plane and the tail moves up in relation to the body of the aircraft. This therefore pitches the nose down! Make sense?

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So, how does the trim help us? Well, if you increase the power and your nose pitches up, you have to push on the yoke to counteract this. By rolling the trim wheel forwards this actually brings the trim tab downwards and does the job you are currently doing manually with the yoke. Once you can feel that you are no longer having to push on the yoke to counteract your increased power, and the aircraft is remaining in level flight, you have successfully trimmed the aircraft!

Similarly, if you decrease the power and the nose pitches down, you need to pull on the yoke to bring the nose back up in to level flight. By rolling the trim wheel backwards, this points the trim tab on your elevator upwards, reducing the lift generated by the tail of your aircraft. Once you are no longer having to pull on the yoke in order to remain in level flight, your aircraft is once again trimmed!

This one needs practice. Luckily, I got the hang of it pretty quickly but it will be something I need to practice in almost every lesson. I’ve been told by a couple instructors that this can be many aspiring pilot’s achilles heel!

FLAPS:

Our final point to today’s lesson was to monitor the effects of using each stage of flaps. The flaps can be found on the inside of each wing on the tail-end. These, like the trim, are designed to assist with your flying.

This particular aircraft (Cessna 152) has three stages of flaps; 10, 20 and 30. The flaps only move in a downward motion in regards to the angle of the wing. I.e. the flaps cannot move upwards from their starting point (0) when level with the wing. You can move upwards from 30 to 20 for example, but you can never go upwards from 0. This is obviously different from the trim tab as that can be moved upwards in order to reduce the lift generated by the elevators. So what does that actually mean?

This means that the only function of the flaps is to generate increased LIFT. Remember, when your ailerons, elevator or trim tab points downwards, this generates lift. And the same applies for the flaps. Each degree of flaps produces more lift for the wings. 10 being a small increase in lift generated (at a constant speed) and 30 being a big increase in lift generated. So why do we need them?

Flaps have a couple of useful functions. The first being that having some stage of flaps allows us to take-off at lower airspeeds. Because moving the flaps down increases the lift generated by the wings, we can get airborne quicker. The second being that we can have a slower approach which makes landing safer. As we are able to generate lift at slower airspeeds, we can make a nice and controlled approach on to the runway.

To demonstrate these effects, Tim brought the aircraft to below 85 knots. This is because the flaps cannot be operated at speeds greater than that. This is highlighted on the Airspeed Indicator by a bold white line around the dial. The effects were as follows when starting from level flight at constant power:

0 flaps > 10 flaps = Small pitch up, airspeed drops slightly

10 flaps > 20 flaps = Big pitch up, large drop in airspeed

20 flaps > 30 flaps = Small pitch up, small drop in airspeed

30 flaps > 20 flaps = Small pitch down, slight increase in airspeed

20 flaps > 10 flaps = Big pitch down, large increase in airspeed

10 flaps > 0 flaps = Small pitch down, small increase in airspeed

And that completed today’s lesson. We made our way back to North Weald where I was able to taxy back in to park. And that was my first flight with Tim!

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If anyone has any questions about anything in this blog, I realise it was a technical one today, please do not hesitate to get in touch. I’m hoping to upload and attach some videos from this lesson demonstrating each of these exercises, so watch this space.

Until next time…

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Stewart NWFTLesson 2: Power, Trim and Flaps

My First Lesson: The Effects of Basic Controls

by Stewart NWFT on 17th August 2016 No comments

After months of build-up, days of reading, and hours of researching, I was ready to begin. With my 30th birthday looming, it seemed the perfect time to start! So with North Weald Airfield being my preference, and many an email going back and forth with their Head of Training, I thought I’d better get myself down there to introduce myself and take a look around. Throughout my life, I’ve always believed that rapport was incredibly important to any learning experience. So it was very important that I met with some of the team before I committed anything! Something I would recommend to anyone considering pilot training (or any other training for that matter!). Ask questions, pay visits, be curious. If people are passionate about what they do, they will be only too happy to help. And that’s exactly the response I got from the team at North Weald…

It was a Sunday afternoon, and the day of North Weald Airfield’s 100 year anniversary. It was a big celebration with planes and cars from a number of generations. I took myself down there to have a little look around and meet some more of the team at the flight training school.

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After wandering around, I suddenly thought, why not start right now? I knew I wanted to fly there, I’d pestered the team for long enough without ever handing over a penny, it was a beautiful day, it was the 100 year anniversary at the airfield and I wanted nothing more than to get up in the air. So, I took myself over to the offices and managed to get myself booked in. I was unbelievably excited.

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I had pondered on the idea of doing my training in a low-wing PA28, purely from personal preference. But it is considerably more expensive to hire and would raise my overall course costs significantly. So, under guidance from the team, I decided to go with the Cessna 152, the standard training aircraft for all early pilots.

The PPL requires a minimum of 45 hours flying time in order to qualify for the licence. So the team wanted to pair me up with an instructor who would likely be available through my training. I got introduced to Andrew Raven, my new instructor. Andrew came across as a great guy, not much older than me, with a passion for instruction and a similar path in to aviation that I planned on taking. So we went off for a brief…

We went over what we would be doing in my first lesson; basic flight controls. Andrew explained exactly what he expected from me and the goals he wanted me to achieve today. Namely rolling, yawing, climbing and descending. We would also look at secondary effects of these basic flight controls and counteracting them when necessary.

Now it was time to meet the aircraft; G-LOMN. I fell in love. I’ve never had any draw to the high-wing Cessna aircraft, but seeing her for the first time and knowing I would get the opportunity to fly her changed everything for me. We followed the pre-flight checks, and went over the aircraft in fine detail. Andrew gave me a full run-through of the aircraft, following the checks exactly and going in to further detail where necessary (these can be purchased and are aircraft specific).

Once we climbed in to the aircraft, we strapped ourselves in and began our final checks before starting the engine. With a loud shout of ‘CLEAR PROP’, she fired up with a huge shudder. A sweet moment.

6We began to taxy towards runway 20, the active runway for today operating on a right circuit. It’s not seen as the ‘norm’ for a right circuit but I was told that it’s because of the housing in the local area being to the left of runway 20.

We stopped, did our final checks after coming to a stop facing in to the wing. We gained clearance for departure, and with a slide of the throttle, she began to accelerate down the runway.

At around 55 knots, the little plane began to take off…

 

We climbed up to around 800 feet before making a right-hand turn out of the circuit. Andrew then explained where we would be heading and the exercises we would be doing today:7

  • The effects of using the ailerons

  • The effects of using the elevator

  • The effects of using the rudder

  • The secondary effects of using these flight controls

  • Slipstream

 

1. Ailerons and roll

This exercise was to demonstrate the way an aircraft rolls when influenced by aileron control. Turning the controls to the left raises the port  (left) aileron and lowers the starboard (right). This creates more lift on the starboard wing, and subsequently less on the port, rolling the aircraft to the left. Similarly, turning the controls to the right raises the starboard aileron and lowers the port aileron, creating more lift on the port wing and rolls the aircraft to the right.

2. Elevator and pitch

The next exercise demonstrated how the elevator affects the pitch of the aircraft. Moving the yoke back (towards you) raises the trailing end of the elevator, which decreases the lift generated by the back of the plane. This causes in the tail to lower in relation to the body of the plane pitching the nose up. When moving the yoke forward (away from you) this lowers the trailing end of the elevator, increasing lift and raises the tail in relation to the body of the aircraft. This is pitching the nose down.

3. Rudder and yaw

The next part of the lesson aimed to demonstrate the movement of the rudder and the yaw effect on the aircraft. Pressing the right rudder pedal moves the rudder to the right and causes the aircraft to yaw to the right. Same scenario with the left pedal.

4. Secondary effects of flight controls

Essentially, there are two things to consider here:

  • Rolling the aircraft can also cause yaw

  • Yawing the aircraft can also cause rolling

5. Slipstream

Slipstream, in a nutshell, is the affect the movement of the propeller has on the air moving across the aircraft. Because the slipstream doesn’t reach out to the ailerons, it’s affect can only be felt on the elevator and rudder.

High slipstream, or a higher rpm, makes the flight controls incredibly responsive. Low slipstream, lower rpm, makes the flight controls very sloppy.

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Unfortunately, this is all we had time for. So we started heading back to North Weald where we entered the circuit at around 1,000 feet off the QFE. It would usually be a little higher but we have Stansted controlled space at >1,500 above the airfield, so things tend to happen a little lower than normal here. We turned on to the right downwind, keeping an eye out for traffic, turned right on to base, right again on to final and made our approach.

After landing, Andrew let me have a quick go at controlling the taxy, something I was incredibly nervous about! Let’s also say it’s something I’m definitely going to need to practice!

We parked her up, pulled the mixture back to fully lean, and shut down the engine. My first lesson was over. After a quick debrief, we discussed the next lesson, filled out my pilot log book and walked away high as a kite.

This first blog includes a lot of ‘personal’ build-up to my first lesson, just to give an insight in to my journey that day. My blogs from now on will be much more focussed around the actual lesson content so it can all be made relevant to yourselves. It will also allow you to get realistic expectations on time frames and progression rates (highly dependent on ability). However, if you want more personal content, please feel free to ask!

Thanks for taking the time to read my first blog. I sincerely apologise for my style of writing… English was never my strong point in school! Can’t wait for the next one!

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Stewart NWFTMy First Lesson: The Effects of Basic Controls

North Weald Flight Training new website launch

by admin on 12th November 2015 No comments

North Weald Flight Training is pleased to announce the launch of our all new website, after months in the making we are finally here with brand new site.  We wanted a website that was fresh, easy to follow and informative, highlighting the great lessons and experiences we have on offer here at North Weald Flight Training.We’ve also made sure it is mobile friendly so you can keep up to date with us from your computer, phone or tablet device.

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adminNorth Weald Flight Training new website launch

North Weald Flight Training welcomes it latest addition to the fleet

by admin on 10th November 2015 No comments

G-BIFY has recently been acquired by North Weald Flight Training to keep up with the growing demand for ab-inito PPL training.

This beautifully maintained Cessna 150 will operate alongside our existing fleet of Cessna and Piper aircraft. On arrival at north weald her avionics were upgraded and is now fitted with the latest GPS moving map and mode S transponder.

She really is a perfect example of the most popular 2 seater training aircraft.

Book in soon.

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adminNorth Weald Flight Training welcomes it latest addition to the fleet

Man sets Guinness world record pulling aircraft at North Weald

by admin on 9th November 2015 No comments

“The Man With Ears of Steel” – UK daredevil Johnny Strange has set a Guinness world record with a simply amazing stunt at North Weald airfield.  The professional stunt performer pulled a Cessna 172-P aircraft weighing a staggering 677.8kg for 20.4 metres, using nothing more than the piercings in his ears.

Johnny is no stranger to bizarre stunts, already holding a  total of eight Guinness world records! These include the record for the most melons chopped on the stomach whilst laying on a bed of nails and the most apples held in the mouth and cut in half by a chainsaw, when he managed to chainsaw 12 apples out of his assistant’s mouth in one minute.

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adminMan sets Guinness world record pulling aircraft at North Weald

Cornwall Fly Out

by admin on 9th September 2015 No comments

The group members of North Weald Flying Group and friends completed their summer fly out to RNAS Culdrose. Read the Head of Training write up on this brilliant trip.

RNAS Culdrose & the Scilly Isles

Our 2014 visit to the Royal Navy Air Station Culdrose Air Day had to be cut short due to forecast bad weather and as a result we didn’t get beyond RNAS Yeovilton. This summer’s visit wasn’t shaping up to be much better, with constantly changing weather patterns sweeping in off the Atlantic. With an enormous amount of movements over three days for the Air Day, and the fact that GA aircraft aren’t usually permitted in this visit, an awful lot of planning and liaising with the Royal Navy to make it work. So when it all goes belly up due to the weather as it did last year is particularly annoying. With everything in place for our eight aircraft and sixteen participants to fly in, it was a case of focusing on the forecasts – which up to the weekend previously weren’t great. However, as the day approached things began to look up. The plan was for us to fly in on the Wednesday, stay locally overnight, attend the Air Day on the Thursday, another overnight and depart on the Friday.

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adminCornwall Fly Out