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Home Principals of flying Magic number 4 - part III

The magic number 4 - part III

Return to:  Magic number 4 - part II ... All four together

Four phases of flying.

  • Taxi.  I'm not talking about getting a cab.  This is a phase when the airplane travels on its wheels at the airport.  You may think, it's not a flying, it's driving.  Wrong.  Flying the airplane starts when you start the engine and continues until you switch it off.  Most common mistake made by inexperienced pilots is they stop "flying the plane" after touchdown. Please take it seriously. As soon as the engine starts, pilot must"fly the plane" meaning staying on the top of its movement.  Usually most flight starts and end with taxiing.  The most dangerous is the last one when after a successful landing pilot is tired and might be tempted to "loosen up" and stop "flying the plane".
  • Take off and climb.  This is when the "real flying" starts.  There are many different ways of getting the airplane airborne, not only by a take off roll and initial climb on its own.  You can hand launch the the model, tow a glider behind other plane or pull it by the winch mounted on the ground.  You can even catapult it like F-14 of the aircraft carrier.  But all take offs have one common flying technique: keep it straight and initiate climb only after the plane exceeds the minimum climbing speed.  Only after having safe altitude, speed and attitude pilot starts turning for the desired heading.
  • Cruising is not necessary flying straight and level.  In most cases airliner do that, but for example for fighter pilots or acrobatic stunts it means quite different way of flying.  I would call a cruising the the phase between take off and landing.  This phase might last a few seconds on the downwind leg when practicing touch-and-go or can take 14 hours when flying across Pacific Ocean.Landing is mandatory
  • The last phase of flying often seen as the most dangerous part is landing.  Every aircraft will land eventually.  The whole idea is to do it in the way, that the plane lands at the desired place and time in such manner that  crew and passengers as well as the aircraft is in the shape of being able to be used again without major repairs.  Just one think to remember (I have to say it again) that the flying the plane does not end at touch down.  This is not a time to relax and and stop flying the plane.  The celebration can start when the plane is parked with all engines shut down.

So now we can feel educated enough to go and fly.  Almost.  Before we start the engine of the model plane or jump into pilot's seat in the "real one" there are always few things to check.  Guess what - I found four things, that are not to be skipped before each flight.  If at least one does not check-out the flight should be aborted.  There is always a chance for the flight next time when all conditions are perfect.

Go to:  Magic number 4 - part IV ...