Posts Tagged With: Madox Microlights

Why Sunsets Are So Colorful From The Air

Many thanks to Boldmethod for sharing…  Source: Boldmethod

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Seeing a sunset or sunrise from the cockpit is a view you’ll never forget. Here’s why they’re so stunning and full of color.

First, A Quick Review Of Sunlight

Sunlight, or visible light, can be thought of as a wave and a part of the electromagnetic spectrum. When the spectrum is split up, you see all the colors as a rainbow.  Each visible color has a different wavelength along the spectrum. Blue light has the shortest wavelength at 300 nanometers. Red light has the longest at 700 nanometers. As visible light passes through the Earth’s atmosphere, small particles in the air can scatter shorter wavelengths more efficiently, like what you see on the left side of the diagram below.

During the day, blue light is the primary wavelength that’s scattered in the atmosphere, and only a portion of the blue light is scattered. But when the sun is low in the sky during sunrise or sunset, all of that changes.

blue scatter small

“Scattering” Causes Colorful Sunsets

According to Steve Ackerman, a Meteorologist at the University of Wisconsin, Madison, “because the sun is low on the horizon, sunlight passes through more air at sunset and sunrise than during the day, when the sun is higher in the sky. More atmosphere means more molecules to scatter the violet and blue light away from your eyes. If the path is long enough, all of the blue and violet light scatters out of your line of sight. The other colors continue on their way to your eyes. This is why sunsets are often yellow, orange, and red.”

Wing SunsetBoldmethod

Red has the longest wavelength of any visible light, which is why the sun may appear red when setting directly on the horizon. The light has passed through the most atmosphere possible before reaching your eyes.

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Why Are Some Sunsets More Colorful Than Others?

According to National Geographic, you may see more vibrant sunsets based on the seasons. In the east, fall and winter create incredible sunsets because the air tends to be dryer and cleaner for the path of sunlight.  Pollution tends to mute and muddy the colors of sunsets because large particles in the lower atmosphere tend to have that effect. And in general, places with a lot of haze have less dramatic sunsets.

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Why Sunsets Look So Great From The Air

When you’re flying through layers during climb or descent, you’ll find the best sunsets where the sun is clearly visible between multiple layers of clouds.  When sunlight is sandwiched between cloud layers, it bounces off the clouds, further intensifying the sunset. That’s why sunsets often times seem more spectacular from the air. On top of that, cloud layers can create dramatic shadows on the ground, or on other cloud layers.

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Where have you seen the best sunsets or sunrises? Tell us in the comments below.

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5 Rules of Thumb Every Pilot Should Know  Boldmethod — Peter “Just Loves Flying”

5 Rules of Thumb Every Pilot Should Know  Colin Cutler

1) Estimating Your Crosswind Component

When you’re on the ground, it’s easy to use the crosswind chart in your POH, or an E6B. But when you’re in the air, neither of those options are very practical.

Lucky of all of us, there’s an easier way. If the wind is 30 degrees off the runway, your crosswind component is about 50% of the wind speed.

If the wind is 45 degrees off the runway, the crosswind component is about 75% of the wind speed.

And if the wind is 60 degrees or more off the runway, the crosswind component is roughly the same as the total wind.

crosswind component

2) 10% Weight Increase = 20% Takeoff and Landing Distance Increase

The more weight you have, the more runway you need. And while this rule is far from exact, it gets you in the ball park for a normally aspirated plane.

Obviously, when it comes time to calculate your actual performance, you’ll want to pull out your POH.

distance weight

3) Takeoff roll increases about 10% for every additional 1,000 feet of density altitude

For most normally-aspirated airplanes, you add about 10% of takeoff roll distance for every 1,000′ of density altitude (DA).

For example, in Denver, with an increase of 3,200′ of density altitude, you’d increase your takeoff roll by about 32%.

So if you have a 1,500′ takeoff roll on a standard day in Denver (3 degrees C), you’ll increase that roll to almost 2,000′ on a 30C day.

Denver-Takeoff

4) When Should You Start Your Descent?

3 degrees is a comfortable descent rate in just about any aircraft. But when you’re approaching an airport, how do you know when to start down?

Divide the altitude you need to lose by 300.

For example, if you’re at 11,000′, and you need to get down to a pattern altitude of 2,000′, you need to descend 9,000′.

9,000/300 = 30 miles.

If you start a 3-degree descent 30 miles out, you’ll hit pattern altitude as you reach the airport. Keep in mind, you’ll want to add a few miles on to your number, so you hit pattern altitude slightly before you get to the airport.

1-degree-descent

5) ILS Course Width

VFR pilots can make good use of the ILS too. Whether it’s a dark moonless night, or a long straight-in on a hazy day, following the ILS to your runway keeps you safe from terrain and obstructions (not to mention, you know you’re lined up with the right runway).

The closer you get to the runway, the more sensitive the signal is. As you cross the threshold, 1/2 dot deflection on the localizer = about 1/2 the runway width. So if you’re a half dot off as you approach the runway, you’re going to be looking at the runway edge lights.

ils-loc

What are other rules-of-thumb do you use? Tell us in the comments below.

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Why Do Your Wings Have Dihedral? | Boldmethod

Why Do Your Wings Have Dihedral? – Bothmethod
If you look closely at the wings on most aircraft, they’re tilted up slightly. Why would they ever do that? It’s not because you pulled too many Gs on your last flight. It’s because of a design feature called dihedral.

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First Off, What’s Dihedral?
Dihedral sounds like one of those words you cringed at in math class, but it’s actually pretty simple. Dihedral is the upward angle your aircraft’s wings. Here’s a great example of wing dihedral on a Boeing 777:

boeing-777-dihedral

Why Do You Need Dihedral?
It all comes down to stability. If you didn’t have dihedral, you’d spend more time keeping your wings level. Here’s why:

dihedral-stability
When you bank an airplane, the lift vector tilts in the same direction as the bank. And when that happens, your airplane starts slipping in the same direction, in this case, to the right.

The problem is, if you have a straight-wing aircraft, there’s no force that will bring the airplane back to wings-level flight without you intervening. And while that may be good for an aerobatic aircraft or fighter jet, it’s not something you want in your general aviation aircraft or airliner.
How Dihedral Fixes The Problem

When you add dihedral, you add lateral stability when your aircraft rolls left or right. Here’s how it works: let’s say you’re flying along and you accidentally bump your controls, rolling your plane to the right. When your wings have dihedral, two things happen:

1) First, your airplane starts slipping to the right. That means the relative wind is no longer approaching directly head-on to the aircraft, and instead is approaching slightly from the right. This means that there is a component of the relative wind that is acting inboard against the right wing.
dihedral-overhead
2) Second, because the relative wind has the inboard component, and because the wings are tilted up slightly, a portion of the the relative wind strikes the underside of the low wing, pushing it back up toward wings level. What’s really happening here is the low wing is flying at a higher AOA, and producing slightly more lift.
dihedral-slip-rear
The more dihedral your aircraft has, the more pronounced the effect becomes. But for most aircraft, they only have a few degrees of dihedral, which is just enough to return your wings to level during small disturbances, like turbulence, or bumping your flight controls in the cockpit.
It’s Not All Good News: Dihedral Comes At A Cost.

Dihedral isn’t always good, and like almost every design factor, it comes with a cost. In this case, there are two costs: increased drag, and decreased roll rate….

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Source: Why Do Your Wings Have Dihedral? | Boldmethod

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The 7 Hardest Parts About Becoming A Private Pilot

Everyone knows that crosswind landings are usually challenging for student pilots. But beyond landings (and money!), there’s a lot about learning to fly that can be pretty tough. Here’s what you should be ready for.

The 7 Hardest Parts About Becoming A Private Pilot 

Boldmethod

Everyone knows that crosswind landings are usually challenging for student pilots. But beyond landings (and money!), there’s a lot about learning to fly that can be pretty tough. Here’s what you should be ready for…

1) Aircraft Systems
One of the toughest topics for private pilot students is aircraft systems. As less and less people grow up working on cars or around machinery, there’s diminishing knowledge behind what makes that engine turn.Want to know more about the systems and equipment in your aircraft? Dig into your POH and read section 7. Better yet, find a local A&P at your airport and have them walk you through a few systems with the cowling off. Getting hands-on with the equipment behind closed panels is a great way to learn how your airplane flies.

2) The National Airspace System
It’s more than identifying lines of airspace on a sectional chart. You’ll need to know what weather minimums exist at different altitudes (day and night), what your equipment requirements are, and what your communication requirements are.
We can help – give our National Airspace System course a try.

3) Learning Regulations
There are hundreds of FAA Regulations that govern how, where, and when you can fly. Some of them can be pretty confusing. As a student pilot, you’re just as responsible for adhering to the FARs as any fully certificated pilot. Keep yourself out of trouble and learn those regs!

4) Aerodynamics
A huge part of learning to fly is understanding the physics behind how it all works. But how can a strong foundation of aerodynamics save your life? One simple example is the lift to drag ratio for your airplane. At L/D max, or the best lift to drag ratio, you’ll find an approximate best glide speed.

5) Decoding Textual Weather
Whether it’s a METAR or PIREP, it’s your responsibility as a pilot to maintain your skills for decoding textual weather.

Need a refresher? Give our Aviation Weather Products course a try.

6) “Radio Talk”
Learning how to actively listen for your callsign in busy airspace with dozens of airplanes on-frequency is tough. Adding that to learning the correct verbiage provides quite the task for brand new student pilots. Here are some things you shouldn’t say over the radio.

7) Getting Into “School Mode”
First and foremost, getting your brain into a “school mode” can be tough, especially if you haven’t sat in a formal classroom setting in years. Learning to fly is undoubtedly fun, but there’s also a lot of work outside the cockpit.

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Boldmethod’s Top 10 Stories Of 2016

2016 was a quite a year at Boldmethod, and we have readers like you to thank for it (thanks!).  So to wrap up 2016 and get ready for 2017, here are our 10 most popular stories of the year. Enjoy, and Happy New Year!

10) Pitch For Airspeed, Power For Altitude? Or The Other Way Around?

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You’re high on the glideslope. How do you correct? Do you pitch down, or do you reduce power? Read story…

 Source: Boldmethod’s Top 10 Stories Of 2016, According To You | Boldmethod

 

9) How To Fly An IFR Departure Procedure With A “Climb Via”

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ExpressJet gave us a flight crew and a jet for the day (how cool is that?). So we went out and flew one of the more confusing things in instrument flying: a departure procedure with a “climb via”. Read story…

 

 

8) How To Survive An Engine Failure Immediately After Takeoff

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An engine failure is always something that will get your blood pumping, but there’s one place where it can be particularly pulse-pounding… Read story…

 

 

Source: Boldmethod’s Top 10 Stories Of 2016, According To You | Boldmethod
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Rules of Thumb Every Pilot Should Know 

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When to Abort a Takeoff: The 50/70 Rule

A general rule for GA aircraft is if you haven’t reached 70% of your takeoff speed by the time you’ve reached 50% of the length of the runway, you should abort your takeoff.

Read the full article here.

Why do you need 70% of your takeoff speed by 50% of the runway? As you accelerate down the runway during takeoff, you start chewing up more feet of runway for every second you’re rolling down the pavement. If you haven’t achieved 70% of your takeoff speed by the time you’re halfway down the runway, you may not have enough pavement left to get to rotation speed and lift off.

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The 1 in 60 Course Correction Rule

The 1 in 60 rule states that if you’re off course by 1NM after 60 miles flown, you have a 1 degree tracking error. Time to correct that heading!

Another tip: If you’re 60 miles away from a VOR, and you’re off course by one degree, you’re off course by one mile. Last thing: if you fly a 60 mile arc around the VOR, you’d fly a total of 360 miles…talk about a long instrument approach!

Here are the other rules, and how to use them.

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Source: Rules-Of-Thumb Every Pilot Should Know | Boldmethod

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Should You Use Trim In A Steep Turn? | Boldmethod

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So whether you’re learning to fly, teaching people to fly, or just trying to keep your skills sharp, the question is still the same: should you trim in a steep turn?

First off, trimming your plane is almost always a good idea. It helps relieve your control inputs, keeps your plane going in the direction you want it to, and helps keeps your passengers from using their sick-sacks in flight (you remembered to pack those, right?!).

But steep turns aren’t normal, every day wings-level flying. They’re a specific maneuver intended to help you understand how your plane behaves when your wings aren’t level. And things like attitude control, accelerated stall, overbanking tendency, AOA/load factor, and power requirements are all part of the mix when you’re executing a steep turn.

And hopefully by learning all of those things, you’ll recognize what your plane can, and can’t, do when you get into a situation that could require a lot of bank, like a tight base-to-final turn.

So should you use trim to help yourself on your next steep turn? Before you decide, it helps to understand the most common problems when it comes to steep turns, and then figure out if trim will help you eliminate them.

Problem 1: Over Controlling The Turn

Over controlling is one of the biggest problems in steep turns. If you over control, you’ll be constantly chasing airspeed and altitude, and your flight path will look like a yo-yo…

Source: Should You Use Trim In A Steep Turn? | Boldmethod

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10 Most Common Causes Of Fatal Aviation Accidents | Boldmethod

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The FAA is continuously trying to improve safety, and as part of that, they’ve released their top 10 causes of fatal GA accidents, with a specific accident for each type.

10) Thunderstorms Or Windshear.

Weather is obviously one of the most hazardous parts of flying. This photo below is a Cessna 210 that flew into a level 6 thunderstorm. The pilot at the controls was Scott Crossfield, an accomplished Naval test pilot, and the first pilot to fly twice the speed of sound. Before he departed, he received a weather briefing, however he didn’t get weather updates during his flight. The airplane broke apart in-flight, with wreckage found at three different locations…

Source: 10 Most Common Causes Of Fatal Aviation Accidents | Boldmethod

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