A New Pilot in the Making

My notes taken during PPL training

Image credit: Unsplash

Primer

PPL stands for Private Pilot License. In Canada and US, PPL holders can fly an airplane under VFR rules.

The type of airplane PPL holder can legally fly depends on a few things. Usually one can legally fly small/light airplanes that he is most familiar with, such as Cessna 172 trainer.

To fly complex, high performance or tailwheel airplanes, one need to obtain respective endorsement from a certified instructor first.

For heavier airplane or those equipped with turbojet powerplant, type rating is required before he can legally fly one.

Above all, PPL holder needs to stay current and competent before he decides to fly as pilot. The old aviation proverb says, “Takeoffs are optional, landings are mandatory”.

Regulatory Body and Laws / Regulations

In Canada, Transport Canada governs general aviation.

In US, FAA governs general aviation.

CARs: Canadian Aviation Regulations. Link on Transport Canada

Cruising Altitudes

When flying VFR above 3,000 AGL, remember “East is Odd, West is Even Odder” on Magnetic Track (not Magnetic Heading)

602.34 Cruising Altitudes and Cruising Flight Levels

Cessna 172M procedures

Precautionary Landing

COWLS check

  • Civilization (nearby population)

  • Obstacle (tower, treeline, powerline)

  • Wind (headwind on final)

  • Length of the surface (2000 ft would be minimal for C172 considering obstacle clearance, touchdown area and distance required for T/O)

  • Surface condition (too soft, too much rough, uneven terrain)

High Pass and Low Pass

  • High pass is completed at circuit altitude: 60kt with flaps 20

  • If satisfied with the surface, a low pass is completed at 500 AGL with same speed and configuration

  • In both high pass and low pass, the key is to trim for straight and level flight at the correct speed and altitude before abeam threshold.

  • Use the same pitch for speed and power for decent technique. For C172, 1900rpm is rule of thumb that can keep 60kt without decending.

  • On the downwind for landing, complete 3P: Prelanding checklist, Pan call, and Pax - passenger briefing)

Enroute Climb

Lookout to clear the climb

APT - Attitude, Power (control the adverse yaw), Trim

Level off from climbing - The same APT procedure applies.

Reference

Climb

Pitch up and hold the nose on the horizon

Peek at A/S as it decreases to 75

Full Power, Mix Rich. Carb Off. Right rudder when needed

Trim

Level Off from enroute climb

Starts at 50-100ft below target altitude. Gradually push the nose down to cruise attitude.

Reduce Power to Cruise setting: 2300rpm. Left Rudder when needed

Enroute Decent

Lookout to clear the decent

PAT - Power (control the adverse yaw), Attitude, Trim

Level off from climbing - The same APT applies.

Reference

Normal Takeoff

Take-off Distance is the lump sum of the following three:

  • Takeoff roll (ground roll)

  • Lift-off

  • Initial Climb until clear 50ft obstacle

Confirm Wind Input before takeoff. Use Cross-wind Take-off Checklist if needed.

Elevator neutral. Aileron neutral. No flaps.

Full Power. Mix Rich. Carb Cold. Call "Power Set".

Stay on the centerline, use Right Rudder as needed.

Check and call "Engine gauges green".

Check and call "Airspeed alive".

Wings level. Rotate at 55. Right Rudder! Call "Rotate".

Nose on the Horizon.

Call "____, <callsign> airborne Rwy __"

Climb out at 70. Trim.

Normal Landing

Important: Set your mindset as “keep it flying without landing”

On Down Wind:

Set Power to 2300rpm.

Fly parallel to the landing Runway. Use a Crab angle when needed

Pre-landing checklist.
(Primer locked, Master ON, Magneto on Both, Circuit Breakers
Check, Landing Lights ON, Carb ON, Mix Rich, Engine Green,
Fuel on Both, Doors and Windows Locked, Seatbelts fastened,
Brakes Check)

"Pre-landing Checklist Complete"

"Aiming to touch down at one third of the Rwy"

At 45 degrees beyond threshold (turn early when having a
tailwind), reduce power to 1500rpm, holding the
altitude while making a turn to base.

Call "___, <callsign>, turning base for Rwy __" (optional)

On Base Leg:

Holding the altitude while bleeding off A/S until it reaches
75 knots

Apply flaps 20 (be careful not to ballon up) and trim for 75

Anticipate a 500fpm decent.

Look out for Wind

  *** When having tail winds, turn early and anticipate a bit high

Turning Final and call "___, <callsign>, turning final
on Rwy __. [Tough-n-Go / Full Stop]"

On Final:

Apply full flaps.

A/S 65. Trim.

Line up early on the extended runway centerline.

Fly with a crab angle initially to correct for drift.

Pitch for Airspeed, Power for altitude

Transition to Sideslip.

When getting the vision of "exploding" runway:
  Power to Idle, Hold control column and gradually level off.
  Judge the sink rate using peripheral vision.
  When sinking, do baby steps of "pull-pause-pull" to
  keep the nose slight below horizon.
  When not sinking, hold the control column but no pulling.

When touches down completely:
  Wind input -
    Aileron fully deflected into the wind
    Opposite Rudder to stay on the centerline

Short Field Landing

On Down wind:

"Aiming to touch down at second dash"

On Final:

Approach speed: 60

"There is an 50ft obstacle before threshold"

When obstacle is cleared, power to idle and maintain 60

After touching down, HOLD control full back, RETRACT flaps
and APPLY maximum brake pressure

(from C172 POH)

Soft Field Landing

On Down wind:

"Aiming to touch down at one third of the Rwy"

On Final:

Perform a 60kt approach on final

Power to Idle and enter cruising attitude as normal landing

Immediately after entering cruising attitude but before it
starts sinking:
  Apply small amount of power (100 to 200rpm is enough)

Touching down at a more nose up attitude than normal landing
(textbook says roughtly the attitude of a power-off stall)

During the flaring control column likely has more back travel
than normal landing. It can be close to the belly when
touching down

After touchdown, HOLD control full back and DO NOT apply heavy
brake pressure

Power-off Stall Entry and Recovery

On straight and level flight

HASEL CHECK

(Carb ON, Mix Rich)

Power to Idle smoothly while controlling yaw

Hold back control pressure to keep airplane straight and level

Watch A/S decreases into slow flight range.

Call out immiment stall by "STALL" when hearing horn and losing
altitude

Call out "RECOVER" and immediately nose down and apply full power
and control yaw

Power-on Stall Entry and Recovery

Entry:

Power to 1700rpm

everything else is similiar to that of a power off stall.

Expect more challenging yaw control due to slipstream and asymmetric thrust

use RUDDER to control yaw

Stall will happen in a more hose-up position

it will be judged if heading can be kept during recovery