Thursday, April 25, 2013

For the love of aviation

You know, if you read the various online forums -- especially those concerning homebuilding -- there are a lot of people trying to divide aviators, by claiming that some other aspect of aviation isn't real aviation, or even grassroots aviation; that homebuilders are their own type of people.

That's nonsense. Utter nonsense.

Some videos make this point clear. Love of aviation is the only category that should matter.

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Forget the ()&@*$ flaps!

Ugh. This is the sort of thing you hate to see.



It happened in North Carolina, the Salisbury Post reports, when a pilot was practicing touch and go's. The RV-9 flipped over. Fortunately, no fire.

“He was telling people there was something going wrong with flight controls. He had issues with his flaps. He said either they stuck or he had some problems with them,” the city's emergency services director said.

Maybe. We'll see.

But stuck flaps don't cause planes to crash or flip. And if you look at the above position, the flaps are evenly deployed, so they didn't separate, something that would have caused a crash.

In my transition training with Tom Berge, we had to do a go-around because of one of my botched approaches. Since I was use to flying either a Cessna 172 and a Warrior II, I was as concerned about bringing my flaps up as I was providing power and quickly adjusting trim to get back in the air. When I was first learning to fly, my CFI had said to me on a go-around, "you're not going to get out of this without raising your flaps."

But this is an RV and that's not at all the case.

As I concerned myself more with the flaps -- Tom had a switch on the stick to raise/lower flaps, which confused me badly -- we were drifting closer and closer to the trees on the side of the runway when he made perfectly clear, "don't worry about the flaps."

We landed, and went back to the runway and this time he had me take off with full flaps. We did. It was a non-event. His goal was to show me that it doesn't matter what position the flaps are in on takeoff; an RV is perfectly capable of climbing well into the traffic pattern no matter how they're set. Granted, that's not to say full flaps is at all idea for a go-around, but it is to say that your flap positioning is not something you should worry about or cause you to be distracted from flying the airplane.

I don't know what happened here. Whatever it is, it wasn't likely the flaps were the point of failure.