Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Subject of Slips Came Up When I Was Visiting With.....

The other day I was visiting with a pilot friend who is renewing his flying skills for his new motor glider. While discussing some of the subtleties of landing, we got onto the subject of slips.  They are so useful as a means of losing altitude quickly on a short final. It has been quite a while since my J-3, Pa-18 flying days, when I was prone to slip a bit. The former, just after getting my private pilot’s license, the latter when I did some glider towing in the Ithaca, NY area.  Anyway, I always remember entering a slip by simultaneously applying aileron one way and rudder the other to compensate. It always felt pretty smooth and a bit uncoordinated but fun. It could at times have you hanging a bit on your seat belt too, all ok though.  I also remember letting the nose drop a bit to keep the airspeed above stall. My pilot friend told me his instructor told him to apply rudder first rather than simultaneously. Not sure as to what benefit this may have.  I tried looking this up today, but didn’t get any support for that. There are many ways to “skin a cat” says it all I guess.

While on a subject dear to tail draggers, I want to remind new J-3 pilots or others who hand prop to start the engine, to tie the tail down first. This is to prevent the plane from taking off or careening wildly out of control, while the pilot watches in horror. This happens from time to time and has severely injuredand even killed  both pilots and innocent bystanders or passengers. Just chocking the wheels may not be enough, so please heed this advice.

So, with that I wish everyone a happy and safe holiday season.