FAA Updates Pilot's Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge & CFI Checkride Tips | Autumn Flying Delights
FAA Releases a new version of the Pilot’s Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge
The FAA released a new version of the Pilots Handbook of Aeronautical Knowledge in July. The preface makes it clear that this is a Minor revision. The FAA simply took the previous addendums and incorporated them into the handbook. So, there's nothing new here. Interestingly, though, they mention in the preface that a major rewrite is underway and expected in June of 2024. To my knowledge, this is the first time that the FAA let us know about a new revision date in this manner. We will see what happens. My guess is that the handbook will grow in size once again. If you look at the handbook from the 80s, it was about 200 or so pages. It seemed to do the job for the most part. I know there have been changes since then, like GPS, Electronic flight displays, etc. But the aerodynamics haven’t changed, and the systems are mostly the same except for the avionics. Most of the content from that decade would serve us fine today. We now live with a book that is nearly 700 pages. I realize that it covers additional topics, but I would rather see those in a separate handbook or AC. Get ready to choke another “everything can be tested in this book” down. At least we have until June to absorb the current 600+ page behemoth.
Demonstration Stalls on the CFI Checkride
If you are preparing for your CFI Checkride, you’ll need to prepare for some stalls you may have never done before. These are located in the current Flight Instructor Airplane PTS. They are referred to as demonstration stalls. You aren’t required to teach them on the test, but you will be asked to demonstrate at least one.
The demonstration stalls are:
Cross control stall
Elevator trim stall
The procedure for doing each of these is in the Airplane Flying Handbook. If there is a procedure in your POH, then that is how to perform them.
Let’s look briefly at each one.
This is a stall that is done with some load factor involved. According to the Airplane Flying Handbook, it can be performed in two different ways. The first method is below Va with a 45-degree bank in level flight. You are to pull the control wheel back briskly until the stall buffet and then recover by lowering the angle of attack and then leveling the wings after the stall symptoms are gone. The second way is the most typical. That is to slow the airplane to 20 knots above the stall speed, roll into a 45-degree level turn, and bring the control wheel briskly back to the buffet or stall warming and recover like the first method.
In any case, this maneuver is done in the clean configuration. Don’t use flaps. The load limit for the airplane is lower, with flaps extended.
This stall is performed in a glide at the rotation speed of the airplane. The airplane is then banked to 30 degrees. Begin applying rudder in the direction of the turn, causing a skidding turn. Maintain the bank at 30 degrees with aileron. This causes a simulation of overshooting base to final in a skidding turn. Next, pitch up to the stalling attitude with the aileron and rudder inputs as they are. When the stall occurs, lower the angle of attack to unstall the wing and level with coordinated use of aileron and rudder after the wing is unstalled. A skidding turn taken to a full stall will result in spin entry.
Elevator trim stall
This stall simulated a botched go-around from the landing configuration with little to no power at first. The airplane is configured for landing, and a glide at the approach speed is started. The airplane is trimmed for the approach speed when the airspeed is steady. To perform the stall, add full power and let the nose rise. It will do so quickly. At the stall buffett or stall warning, push forward on the control wheel to avoid the stall. It will take considerable force. Allow the airplane to accelerate in a level flight attitude and return for level flight. Raise the flaps in stages.
Secondary stalls result from lowering the angle of attack too much during stall recovery and then realizing that the nose is pointed down too low, raising the nose abruptly to correct the problem. This results in another stall due to the abruptness of the elevator input. To perform the stall enter a glide in the landing configuration. Raise the nose to the stalling attitude and at her stall warning or Buffett lower the nose farther than usual. After the nose reaches this nose low attitude, raise the nose abruptly. This will cause a secondary stall. This is the only demonstration stall that requires you to perform a full stall and not recover at the stall warning or buffet.
Important Note. A failure of any task in the Slow Flight and Stalls tasks will require you to bring an airplane capable of performing spins. You must demonstrate spins and spin recoveries on the retest.
Autumn Flying Begins Soon
Well, it’s almost Autumn. It brings cooler weather and better flying conditions for most of the country. For us in South Florida, it is the beginning of the end of thunderstorms, humidity, rain, and hurricane season. The mornings will be less hot, and the weather continues to improve as late September and October go on.
For those in the west, the temperatures cool, performance is better, density is less of a factor, and the winds and turbulence die down.
The same happens in the Northeast and Midwest, and the trees begin to show their colors. What a great time to make a flight.
The South, cooling down from the heat, starts turning everyone into outside BBQers, and the still late sunset allows for more things to do comfortably.
Here in Miami Beach, at the end of Autumn, we will finally turn off the AC and open the windows. All of the dust and trapped stuff goes out the window. We start looking forward to our best flying. Winter.
At our location in Palo Alto, we look forward to less turbulence and wind and less cloudy days. The Fog will be back, but not until May. Fortunately, we don't need to winterize the planes, but the mechanics will adjust the mixtures a little richer.
As the rest of the country experiences winter, they begin to get the planes ready.
It’s my favorite season of the year. It’s calm, the end of the harvest, fantastic fall food, and the last few months to be outside with sunset later in the evening. In Miami, we change to everything outside—Al fresco dining everywhere, including at home.
It’s a great time to get your flight back recharged, take care of your airplane, enjoy the weather and good flying days, and appreciate all that we get to do as pilots.
I welcome fall and can’t wait to share some winterizing tips with you in next month’s newsletter.
Buy an inexpensive spare headset. It’s only a matter of time before the place where you rent gives you the news that they are out of loaner headsets. Get a few pairs, and you and your passengers will be ready. You can find cheap used ones on eBay, at the flight schools lost and found sales, etc. You don’t need to spend a lot.
Buy a battery pack for your iPad and Sentry, etc., with enough power to power them both for at least an hour more than your flight. Don’t trust cabin electrics to work all of the time.
On any cross-country day trip, take a small bag with a change of clothes, toiletries, and any medications you take. You’re going to get stuck at some point if you fly enough. Having a small bag makes a big difference.