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Online Flight Training

The pilot training at the Angeles City Flying Club includes lessons for

  1. Ground operations
  2. Level flight and turns
  3. Airspeed control
  4. Takeoff and climbing
  5. Stalls
  6. Emergency procedures
  7. Ground reference
  8. Landing approach
  9. Landings
  10. Maximum performance
  11. Solo taxi
  12. First solo flight

For the first two lessons we have developed this online pilot training.

Lesson 1: Ground Operations

 At the end of this lesson you should be able to:

  • Describe the checklists to use for every flight
  • Identify the flight controls of an ultralight or light sport aircraft
  • Identify the three major hardware components associated with the flight controls
  • Identify the instruments of your trainer plane
  • Know engine starting procedures and fuel/oil mixture ratios
  • Know how to properly secure your plane after each flight

Parts of a light sport aircraft

To pilot an aeroplane you need to understand its components and how it works.

Learn the name of the parts shown in the drawing (click on it to enlarge). Your instructor will go through them with you in our hangar.

Components of a Quicksilver MXL

Here are some other terms and key points about an aeroplane (your ACFC instructor will show and explain all this to you in more detail)

Controls: To control the plane you use the stick and the rudder pedals. Both connect to control surface.

Control surface: A control surface is a movalbe part oin the plane that changes the airflow to change the planes position.

Ailerons: An aileron is a control surface. Your trainer plane has one aileron on each wing. They always move in opposite directions. You move them by moving the stick left and right. When you move the stick left, the left aileron will point upwards, deflecting the air upwards, which pushes the left wing downwards. The opposite happens on the right side. As a consequence the plane will bank to the left.

Rudder: The rudder is a control surface. You control it with the rudder pedals. When you push the left rudder pedal the rudder will turn towards the left. This deflects the airflow to the left, pushing the tail to the right. As a result the plane yaws (meaning it turn around its vertical axis) to the left.

Elevator: The elevator is a control surface. You control it with the stick. When you pull the stick back the rudder will flip up, deflectin the airflow upwards, pushing the tail down. As a result the plane pitches up.

Quiz icon.

NEW TERMS TO THINK ABOUT
ailerons flying wires root tube
ballistic recovery system (RBS) ground wires rudder
bell crank landing gear shackle
castle nut leading and trailing edge (edge spars) struts
control horn lock nut tail boom tubes
elevator lord mounts tang
empennage nose struts throttle and choke
eyebolt reduction drive / gear drive vertical stabiliser

Checklists

Checklists help you remembering important steps you have to take at key points of your flight. Checklists are common in all type of aviation. In our training we concentrate on five checklists:

  1. Preflight inspection checklist: The first time you fly a plane on any day you use this checklist to do your "preflight". This means you check step by step if the plane is ok.
  2. Engine starting procedure checklist: Steps you have to follow to start the engine
  3. Pre-takeoff checklist: A last look at a few items to ensure you haven't forgotten something before you commit yourself to flight. You go through it just before you advance the throttle to take off. You need to memorise this list and never forget applying it.
  4. Before-landing checklist: Things to check as you enter the traffic pattern.
  5. Securing the aircraft checklist: Use this list after you have taxied your plane to its parking area. I contains steps you have to take to ensure the plane is safe on the ground and ready for the next flight.

Some of these lists will be discussed further in your practical training. You also find more on this in the ACFC training manual. The preflight checklist is discussed here.

Preflight inspection checklist

You need to ensure you do a systematic inspection of your plane before you take it to the air. After all, once you are in the air, it's too late to think about a loose radiator cap or a wrong trim. You should always try to perform the preflight checklist in the same order every time.

Each aircraft is usually supplied with a manual which provides you with the manufacturer's suggested preflight inspection criteria.

Since this training manual uses the Quicksilver MX II Sprint aircraft as a model for this lesson, a checklist is provided below which has been used to train a great many ultralight pilots. Either way, always use a written checklist at first, and then gradually work towards being able to perform the preflight without using one.

SAFETY NOTE

There is a risk of neglecting the preflight inspection over time. It takes time and effort to execute properly and the urge to get into the air quickly can lead to sloppiness. Be aware of that risk and fight it.

The fact is that there have been many accidents that could have been avoided if the pilot had done a proper preflight check.

Preflight check points

 

TIP

Always start and end your pre-flight inspection at the same point and check the same things in the same order

During the preflight inspect seven areas of the aircraft:

  1. Nose
  2. Left wing root area
  3. Left wing panel
  4. Empennage (tail group)
  5. Engine and propeller area
  6. Right wing panel
  7. Right wing root area

Nose

  • Ignition switches - off
  • Control stick - free and proper movement, check connecting hardware
  • rudder - free and proper movement, cables pulleys and connecting hardware
  • seat, throttle lever, seat mount, attach point hardware - secure
  • seat support down tube
  • nose wheel - tyre pressure, condition
  • nose struts, foot bar, tension struts, connecting hardware

Left wing root area

  • root tube - check all hardware including kingpost attachment
  • fuel tank - mounted securely, valve open, enough fuel, no leaks
  • fuel line, fuel filter, fuel cross-over - check for contamination
  • pull starter rope
  • triangle bar tubes and attach points, lower wing wire connections

Left wing panel

  • leading edge spar - check for dents or bends
  • leading edge wires - secure
  • aileron control assemblies - secure and free
  • compression struts and connecting hardware - secure
  • left wing tip strut - secure
  • trailing edge spar - check rib positions
  • trailing edge wires - secure
  • aileron hinges and cotter pins - secure

Tail group (empennage)

  • horizontal stabiliser
  • rudder frame tube, hinges, trim tab - check if all bolts and rivets are tight
  • rudder control cables, control horns
  • elevator frame tube, hinges
  • elevator push-pull tube and horn, hardware

Engine and propeller area

Note

The springs on the exhaust system must be safety-wired in case they break in flight.

  • left and right tyre inflation and wheel condition
  • axle, axle shaft and hardware - secure
  • landing gear down tubes and wires
  • check if fan rotates when turning the propeller
  • propeller, hub, mounting bolts - secure, tip clearance, nicks in prop
  • check if muffler sits tight in its bushes and safety wires are ok
    Tip

    Give the muffler a good shake to see if the mounting has no play. A loose muffler can brake free during flight and hit the propeller.

  • spark plug caps ans safety wires
  • fuel pump, carburettor, fuel line connections - secure
  • tail brace tubes
  • tail booms, attach points
  • look up at kingpost - all hardware and ground wires secure?

Engine starting checklist

When the aircraft has been preflighted and you are ready to start the engine, make sure that no one is in the area directly behind the propeller (see area B in the picture).

As the propeller rotates, it can draw small rocks and debris from the ground and throw it rearward. Anyone standing in the vicinity of this moving air is
susceptible to being hit by this debris.

Area A in the picture are also areas of danger, should the propeller suddenly break. The rule is to always shout "clear prop!" and scan the area visually before starting the engine.

It goes without saying that you should never operate the aircraft engine when people are standing close to the propeller arc, or are standing close enough to the aircraft to be endangered by flying debris.

Propeller danger areas

Note

At the Angeles City Flying club we don't allow engines running on the concrete part of the apron. This is to prevent small stones and debris flying around at high speed.

Always push your plane to the grass before starting the engine.

Planes have different starting checklists depending on what engines they have. Some planes have manual pull starts, others electric starters, some have fuel primers, some have a choke, some use a fuel/oil mixture, others use unmixed fuel.

As a pilot you are responsible to inform yourself on the engine starting procedure. What you should always consider is:

  • make sure you have the right fuel
  • don't over-rev a cold engine
  • only take off when the engine has reached the recommended temperature
  • don't use full throttle for a long time in engines that are not designed for it (for example Rotax 2-stroke engines are not designed for it)

Secure the aircraft checklist

After landing you will taxi the trainer to the parking area and perform the securing the aircraft checklist. This consists of the following steps:

Note

At the Angeles City Flying club you must switch the engine off while still on the grass.

We don't allow running engines on the concrete apron.

  1. Turn the ignition switches to the off position to shut the engine down. Ensure that they stay in the off position.
  2. Place the ultralight in a position so that its tail is pointing into the wind. (Place the nose into the wind if there is a chance of stronger winds).
  3. Fasten and tighten the seat belts on the passenger-side seat.
  4. Stand back and look at the plane for any obvious damage
  5. Roll the plane into the hanger, unless it is to be used again within the next 10 minutes.
Note

The ultraviolet radiation from the sun greatly reduces the life of the sail material. Therefore do not leave the plane outside the hangar more than necessary

 

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Continue to lesson 2 here