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Top 5 most difficult concepts


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Without thinking about it too hard, as a CFI, I can come up with a few my students have issue with more often...

 

1. Aerodynamics of autorotation

2. Remembering what blowback is and what causes it

3. The concept of Vortex Ring State (Common paraphrased response might be, "So, the rotors are stalled?")

4. Conditions causing LTE, remembering and explaining

5. The principles behind mast bumping, and the recovery technique

 

They aren't necessarily hard to explain as an instructor, but the students seem most confused on these five in my experience. Often in questioning a student from another instructor or in preparation for the practical and oral, these seem to be the areas I see confusion or forgetfulness in.

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Good topic. It's been some time since we talked 'raw' groundschool on this site.

 

Here's some weather related issues, which always cause a stir in ground school!

  • Coriolis Effect in Weather patterns
  • Adiabatic Lapses Rates
  • Lifted Index and K index
  • Frontal Lows and Occluded Fronts
  • True Alt, Pressure Alt, Density Alt

Not to mention these.

  • Weight Shifting Equations
  • Physics of Dynamic Roll
  • Magnus and Coanda

Joker

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I'm interested in this because of my background in education. wanted to see if students and CFIs had different perceptions of what was difficult.

 

nbit's top 5 were all difficult concepts that i've figured out by going to more than one source. The FAA book, I thought, was pretty poor in explaining the autorotation and blowback aerodynamics in a way that makes it understandable--their diagrams have all the forces shown but not explained or interconnected. Easy to memorize autorotations based on what the FAA gives you, but very difficult to really know it.

 

joker's top 5 are my future. I haven't started studying weather yet, but from my prior experience with pressure and density altitude, these are simple concepts that are made pretty difficult. Especially when dealing with some of the written exam test questions. Once you figure DA out and really understand it, it's a real eye-opener to all aspects of performance. Joker's others aren't covered at the private level at all. There really is no physics of dynamic rollover taught at the Pvt level, even tho the physics is (force moments and arms). Same with magnus and coanda--which I think are relevant for understanding the effects of downwash on the tail boom, and for understanding of how strakes work.

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as A student I would have to say a few things::

 

reading and understanding the FARS and How to look something up, they are so confusing,

The definition of what a night flight is and civil twilight?

Understanding all airspaces, rules, lines, colors, dots and stuff on the sectional maps

Magnetic deviations in the helicopter and on the sectionals, true north vs magnetic north

 

Perfecting autorotations, when to flare, when to flare harder, how to use collective close to the ground in an auto, compensating for rotor rpm just before entering the flare. since every auto is different, it is hard to explain when to do a short flare, when to drag the flare out, when to power recovery, how to estimate auto landings, with and without head wind.

 

how to judge were the wind is coming from by only watching manifold pressure, which never works for me, especially when it is just a light wind, watching rotor downwash can be decieving and the strings are not always accurate.

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as A student I would have to say a few things::

 

reading and understanding the FARS and How to look something up, they are so confusing,

The definition of what a night flight is and civil twilight?

Understanding all airspaces, rules, lines, colors, dots and stuff on the sectional maps

Magnetic deviations in the helicopter and on the sectionals, true north vs magnetic north

 

Learning the FARs is an ugly affair. I've defaulted to learning what I can and getting the rest from a test prep. Not a brilliant strategy.

 

But for the various definitions of twilight and night, the test prep has laid that out nicely (altho I can't quote the rules right off the top of my head).

 

Airspace et al, I just want an old sectional to stare at. AOPA also has an ok description of airspace, described from a historical approach. It's useful, and if you look at their last diagram closely, it matches the airspace to the designation on a map, so you have a 1-stop study guide. What I still don't get is why some airspace is designated class G to 700, but other areas class G extends to 1200. Unless...just looking at this now...it drops to 700 around other controlled airspace. That's it! That just leaves figuring out how/why you can get class G up to 14500 over some airports.... Anyway, that article is here, and some flash cards are here

 

Magnetic variation/declination is interesting...best way to understand it is to look at a globe with true and magnetic north shown on it. This is a helpful source.

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I think this is a great thread. Just the sort of thing this forum is for.

 

I wonder if someone has the time to summarise the topic headings and then we could try to make some sort of 'forum index' with links to information on this site about them all. This could be a sticky at the top...(a bit like the FAQ that rookie101 made!)

 

DLO22, I remember discussing the night regulations (I love the regulations!), about a year and a half a go. I'll see if I can find that thread.

 

Joker

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I think this is a great thread. Just the sort of thing this forum is for.

 

I wonder if someone has the time to summarise the topic headings and then we could try to make some sort of 'forum index' with links to information on this site about them all. This could be a sticky at the top...(a bit like the FAQ that rookie101 made!)

 

DLO22, I remember discussing the night regulations (I love the regulations!), about a year and a half a go. I'll see if I can find that thread.

 

Joker

 

 

What is night and what is day. The FAR's describe it as end of civil twilight.....I've never found that on my watch ! However, if you check the official naval site here http://aa.usno.navy.mil/data/docs/RS_OneDay.html and then just log it as appropriate !!

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great thread, I hope it keeps going,

 

Things that would help me out alot,

 

1. somebody take an old sectional, and write all over it in small red writing, stating what everything means, every color, every number and so on. if it is too much writing to describe that spot. put a small read number by it and then explain it on the side of the map in detail,. that would help me out huge

 

2. somebody should shrink down the fars to only things that helicopter pilots need, for thier private pilot license only. this would shorten the book down by ten times. Then instead of writing " except as stated in paragraph 123 A""" write out the rules in plain english. Like the requirements to fly in each airspace. The simple requirments when an accident occurs. simple requirments about maintnace and acting as pilot in command. simple regs to getting your commercial, both 61 and 41. I HATE THE FARS SO MUCH, THEY ARE DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND AND EVERYTHING IS OUT OF ORDER AND YOU HAVE TO ALWAYS WATCH OUT FOR THE " EXCEPT AS STATED IN PARAGRAPH 34 B""" I JUST WISH IT WAS EASIER.

 

3. I have found that videos and pictures help me learn ten times better. my instructor has his portfulio from gaining his cri with hundereds of photos and it shows pictures and graphs, for airspace, different clouds, shows detonation of a cylinder, different rotor types.... Then I have found that watching autorotation videos, even off the internet helped me get the basic concept to autorotations greatly.

 

Some other things that I hate is :::::

 

1. learning three different types of notams and which one is what and why, how to decode notams takes a special book.

 

2. Learning Metars and tafs and FAs, how to break down different number sequences and when to add the zero and what each of the remarks is trying to say at the end of the metar.

 

3. Learning pressure altitude and whether you change your altimiter setting to the pressure altitude or leave it at the true airport altitude when listening to atis and just before taking off, heard two different answers..

 

4. Looking up different airports in your states ADF, reading about all of the different restrictions and abbreviations.

 

Learning the Emergency proceedures to a T. do I turn off the altinater with the master, or just turn Off unneccessary switches, whatever that means...

 

5. learning definitions, like coanada, magnus, translating tendency, venturi tube, dissymetry of lift, that guys rule of one action, causes another equal reaction, (can't even think of it) chord line, moment, datum, arm, wake turbulance, 3 factors of settling with power, max rotor brake pressure, minimum oil pressure, at idle, blade stalls at 3,500 ft at what rotor rpm.

 

All of the different buttons on the radio equiptment, com 1 and 2, nav one and two, sqelch button, how to put 122.775 in com. using the ADF, DME, how to get rid of the static in your ear.

 

 

I could go on for ever, but I have learned so much in such a short amount of time, These are just a bunch of things that didn't click to me the first time around and took longer than just the instructor stating it and me writing it down.

 

My other biggest help to the CFI's would be, making sure you know when you need to give me an endorsent. like what you have to endorse me for for my first cc flight. tell me i need to take an AFD, sectionals, my log book, medical, photo ID, make sure you signed my medical and make sure you endorsed me for this date, and make sure the wind limitations are not wrong. remember AROW with one R and GALO for the R22. I have found a few things wrong with my endorsements and the cfi not signing my medical for both solo and cc flights. giving me the wrong endorsement , or not giving me all five of them for my first cc flight....

 

love the thread, hope it stays around,,, any help would be appreciated...

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That's a long list!

 

1. somebody take an old sectional, and write all over it in small red writing, stating what everything means, every color, every number and so on. if it is too much writing to describe that spot. put a small read number by it and then explain it on the side of the map in detail,. that would help me out huge

 

I found this website that explains charts quite well.

It's actually written by a guy that flies in MS Flight Simulator, and a Cessna 182 at that. He gives a really good explanation of the concepts and basics of IFR flying, from NDBs thru VORs and on to ILS.

It's a fascinating history, and amazing how the first Air mail pilots flew with such simple aids to navigation. Really interesting.

 

As for the rest... sorry I'm no help!

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2. somebody should shrink down the fars to only things that helicopter pilots need, for thier private pilot license only. this would shorten the book down by ten times. Then instead of writing " except as stated in paragraph 123 A""" write out the rules in plain english. Like the requirements to fly in each airspace. The simple requirments when an accident occurs. simple requirments about maintnace and acting as pilot in command. simple regs to getting your commercial, both 61 and 41. I HATE THE FARS SO MUCH, THEY ARE DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND AND EVERYTHING IS OUT OF ORDER AND YOU HAVE TO ALWAYS WATCH OUT FOR THE " EXCEPT AS STATED IN PARAGRAPH 34 B""" I JUST WISH IT WAS EASIER.

 

read the FAR's out loud into a recorder and play it while you sleep, you'll have them down in no time :D

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Class E airspace goes down to 700' around airports with instrument approaches, and extensions to navaids for the approaches.

 

The sectional already tells you what everything on it means. That's what the legend is for. Reading that, carefully, will give you all you need to know.

Edited by Gomer Pylot
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Class E airspace goes down to 700' around airports with instrument approaches, and extensions to navaids for the approaches.

 

The sectional already tells you what everything on it means. That's what the legend is for. Reading that, carefully, will give you all you need to know.

 

 

I have looked at the legend, and yes it does seem to help, but it is still confusing, cause I have to flip back and forth and it is not always in clear english, and there is never a reason why, class E airspace starts at so many different levels all over one sectional. It would just be nice to see it all in front of me in bright red pin. does this make me lazy, and not wanting to work for my knowledge, Maybe, but i just think it would be easier and I would catch on alot faster....

 

I read the night regs, and finnally at the end i understood it when joker gave the many different examples. but when the first five people tried to explane it, i just got more confused, but now it is not that hard. The vfr chart website was pretty helpful, but once again, things were not numbered, and i had to keep scrolling down and then reed the bullet, then scroll back up and hopefully found the corresponding bullet or number on the vfr chart.

 

How about trying to explain how to do a proper autorotation. is there any rules or easy ways to do this. when do I flare harder and when do I flare easier. what do I do if the rpm is low and high at the last 20 ft. how do you estimate how much collective to pull before flaring, or how do you estimate how hard your rotor rpms are going to charge.... I just find that so many things effect autos, including airspeed, altitude, trim, wind, weight and so on, there is no set in stone rule for doing autos. I guess the POH did an ok job when they just said keep rpm in the green , gently flair about 40 ft and then flare harder, level the ship and cushion the landing, but there just seems to be so much more to them and they never seem to feel the same.

 

the instructor is always saying ok, flair harder, you airspeed is too high, or wait until it comes down more to flair, ok now that flair was too hard for the rpms you had, ok rpms are way to high now in the bottom of the flare, dip the nose forward just a tad and then flair hard again. Don't roll the throtttle back on when rpm is high, cause you will overspeed the engine, and dont roll throtttle on at too low rpm cause then it will bog the engine down. I guess it just takes practice and I have alot to learn. it will not come overnight and I will not even come close to perfecting the auto before my private pilot checkride. If I had perfected the auto, I guess i would be testing for more like my cfi and I would have to land closer to my given spot.

 

I guess this is why autos are done to power recovery and within 200 ft of intended landing spot for your private pilot check ride. it is just too dangerous to try and take it all the way down and the level is way too advanced for the private pilot. I think the faa is just looking to see if you have the general concept and you could walk away hopefully alive from an engine failure...

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How much to flare, and when, depends on your airspeed, rate of closure, Nr, and lots of other things. Every autorotation is different, just as every landing is different. You have to see what's happening, and react to it. It takes practice, and experience. The secret to doing good autos, if there is one, is airspeed, which comes from attitude. Maintain the correct attitude, and you'll have the correct airspeed, which will make everything easier. It's easier said than done, though, and all I can suggest is to keep on practicing. Flying a helicopter isn't as easy as falling off a log, and it takes work and concentration. You have to pay attention all the time, and I mean all the time.

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Here's a right riviting read.

 

AOPA Safety Advisor - Airspace for Everyone.

 

Some nice 3D depictions of US airspace.

 

In fact, I would advise that all of this series of information are a great source for students.

 

http://www.aopa.org/asf/publications/ Eat your heart out!

 

One great help I found was to have a really organised computer library. When I say organised, I mean 'organised'. Set it up in advance with folders and subfolders. Also set up your internet favourites carefully. That way, whenever you find stuff like I have just referred to, you can easily find it again. Before long you will have megabytes of different information to draw from.

 

With regulations: I found that the Jeppesen FAR/AIM was better (compared with the ASA) as it had paragraphs indented nicely. Using highlighting pens and page tabs and a kind of photographic memory, it was so organised that I could find a page almost immediately.

 

Autorotations: Flare early...and progressively.

 

DLO22, as you said...it won't come overnight.

 

Good luck.

Joker

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"The secret to doing good autos, if there is one, is airspeed, which comes from attitude. Maintain the correct attitude, and you'll have the correct airspeed, which will make everything easier"- Gomer

 

If you ever wanted a secret to auto's..Gomer's advice is it. Your attitude will determine your airspeed, after a second or two that airspeed will settle down...adjust collective up slightly( R22) to maintain your rpm in the bottom of the green and just fly the ship to your spot.

 

If you're having a hard time with auto's its probably because things are happening too fast for you. Take it up to 1500 AGL and start your auto's there....

 

Goldy

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1. somebody take an old sectional, and write all over it in small red writing, stating what everything means, every color, every number and so on. if it is too much writing to describe that spot. put a small read number by it and then explain it on the side of the map in detail,. that would help me out huge

THE source for what EVERYTHING on the charts is all about: NACO Aeronautical Chart User's Guide. Free online (PDFs) or cheap book wherever you buy charts.

 

2. somebody should shrink down the fars to only things that helicopter pilots need, for thier private pilot license only. this would shorten the book down by ten times. Then instead of writing " except as stated in paragraph 123 A""" write out the rules in plain english. Like the requirements to fly in each airspace. The simple requirments when an accident occurs. simple requirments about maintnace and acting as pilot in command. simple regs to getting your commercial, both 61 and 41. I HATE THE FARS SO MUCH, THEY ARE DIFFICULT TO UNDERSTAND AND EVERYTHING IS OUT OF ORDER AND YOU HAVE TO ALWAYS WATCH OUT FOR THE " EXCEPT AS STATED IN PARAGRAPH 34 B""" I JUST WISH IT WAS EASIER.

FARs in Plain English and FARS EXPLAINED PARTS 1, 61, 91, 141, and NTSB 830

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Justfly - Have you used these books? Are they worth the price?

It's a shame that you need a book to interpret all the rules, but I guess it's inevitable when it's written by the government and lawyers.

WW B)

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Justfly - Have you used these books? Are they worth the price?

It's a shame that you need a book to interpret all the rules, but I guess it's inevitable when it's written by the government and lawyers.

WW B)

I have and use the FARs Explained and find it very valuable, especially the case histories, NTSB decisions, and FAA Chief Counsel Opinions. Gives good insight into how the FARs are applied.

 

I don't have FARs in Plain English, but the author, Phil Croucher, is a helicopter pilot and has other excellent books on various helicopter topics (available on his page).

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