Learning to Fly with Attila the Hun
So what does Attila the Hun have to do with learning to fly? Attila the Hun would have made a great pilot. He knew to be very systematic to get his goals accomplished. Attila always had a plan. The plan had definite steps to get to his intended end. He followed the plan ruthlessly and was successful time after time.
Many times I am flying with someone, either in my airplane, their airplane or following them in another airplane and we have a plan. Fly at some determined altitude to our destination. The FAA thinks you should be able to maintain an altitude within 50 feet plus or minus. On one such event, I was flying behind another pilot who was purported to be a great pilot (I think he was the one who purported). We were to fly at a prescribed altitude however we were anywhere from 400 to 500 feet higher or lower than we were supposed to be any any given time. We had a plan but didn't follow it.
Not following the plan will usually come to a head at some point in the flight. One place that it is critical that the plan be followed is in the landing pattern. The first component of the plan is the landing pattern altitude. KPWG, McGregor, Texas, is one thousand six hundred feet. Many pilots must have flunked that part of physics. 1600 is not the same as 1800 or 2000 or 1400. 1600 is only the same as 1600. So the first part of the plan is get the pattern altitude dead on when you enter the pattern.
Next critical thing is speed. Your airplane will have a set of speeds for downwind, base and final. These are not speeds that were randomly selected but are in direct correlation to what it takes to land your airplane. I have flown with people that have a set of speeds that they have decided to use that are something other than those recommended. That means they are either too fast, which makes it that much harder to land or too slow which makes it that much less safe to land. The speeds are there for a reason and you would be better off using them. If you use the speeds correctly and nail them at the appropriate point while learning to fly, you will eliminated one of the things you have to mess with during landing. The fewer things you have to do on landing the more attention you can pay to actually making that greaser.
Attila would have had a plan and he would have used the plan. I don't know if he could have gotten the elephants in the airplanes, Sport Pilot gross weight is 1320 but that's another matter altogether.
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