Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Landing Setup

Setting up the plane for it's final descent and approach speed is actually pretty simple. Many instructors give students various different speeds for the different legs in the pattern, with each speed being less as they get close to final. I don't teach this method because I feel that it gives the student more to think about.
Next time you are on downwind, look at the horizon and with your best estimate, guess how many inches the top of the instrument panel is below the horizon. Depending on how high you are sitting in the seat and what your power setting is, it may vary somewhere from 1" - 3". For this example we will assume that the top of the panel is 2" below the horizon in level flight on downwind.
With that number in mind, when it's time to throttle back, all you have to do is lower the nose about 1". So if you were flying with the instrument panel 2" below the horizon, you will now have it 3" below the horizon. If you hold that pitch angle accurately the whole time, even while turning, the plane will slow down to the correct airspeed all by itself as you add flaps. You have to adjust your throttle as needed for altitude. Typically for a small 4 seat plane, the power will be 1500 - 1600 rpm.
An example in a Warrior would be 2300rpm on downwind. Just before I get even with the numbers on the runway, I power back to 1600rpm, drop the nose 1" lower and put it a flap at the same time. Don't allow the plane to go up when you put in the flap! Just before I turn base, I put in the next flap. Keep it trimmed in that nose low attitude after each addition of flaps. Just before turning final, I put in the last flap. If your speed is increasing while descending instead of decreasing, then your nose it a little too low. If you're descending 1000' per minute, then your nose is also too low. Many people end up raising the nose during the turn so be careful not to let that happen.
If you hold this position all the way around, then you will get a gradual decrease in speed while adding flaps, and end up at your final approach speed by the time you turn final. The altitude should be close too but you need to keep an eye on it and make small adjustments as needed with your throttle to maintain a good glide path. This method works great. I'm not sure how it will transfer to you in written form without a demo, but if you're having problems controlling your speed and altitude when landing, it would be worth trying. Put the plane where it should be and everything will fall into place by itself. Have fun!

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Reliving the History of London

As the largest city in the United Kingdom, and one of the largest in the European Union, it is to be expected that London has a vast amount of history that can be traced and explored on educational trips to the city.
London was officially founded in 43 A.D. by the Romans, and has persisted through fires, wars and pestilence. With the collapse of Roman rule in the Middle Ages, London was left to fend for itself and it did so with gusto against the Vikings and other intruders. Over time, London grew to be the metropolis that it is today and, though many parts of the city have changed drastically over the centuries to accommodate the modern city, you can still take educational trips to London to explore the past. While in the city, make sure you take time to visit the Tower of London and the London Dungeon.
Tower of London
Officially known as Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress, the Tower of London is a castle in the centre of the city of London educational trips that take in the city would be remiss to bypass a visit. As part of the Norman Conquest of England it was founded in 1066, and the White Tower (the castle's namesake) was built by William the Conqueror in 1078. Originally used as a royal residence, since 1100 the castle has been a prison. The castle is set within two rings of defensive walls with a moat and has been expanded several times. Over the years the tower has played many roles such as a treasury, an armoury and the Royal Mint. Today it contains the crown jewels, which are guarded by Beefeaters - the ceremonial guards - and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is run not by the city, but by the independent charity Historic Royal Palaces. To this day, there are six ravens that are kept at the Tower at all times, in accordance with the long-held belief that if the ravens are not there, the kingdom will fall. In addition to guarding the tower, the Beefeaters are also responsible for the care of these six ravens. The Tower is also, famously, the place where Henry VIII had Anne Boleyn imprisoned and eventually beheaded.
The London Dungeon
Opening in 1974 as a tourist attraction, the London Dungeon is a great way to recreate the historical experiences of London and add a bit of fun into educational trips to the city. Though the London Dungeon was originally designed more as a museum, over time it has taken on an interactive actor-led aspect that helps visitors to not just see, but to experience some of the more macabre periods of the city's past. When visiting the Dungeon, you will be taken through a crypt; learn the history of the great plague (where you meet a 'survivor' who will tell you the history) and the great fire of London; and see surgery, torture, courts and Bedlam. You will even encounter Sweeney Todd "the demon barber of Fleet Street," and Jack the Ripper, before you get to ride a few rides, have 3D adventures and head back out into the light of the modern city.