Your continued membership and participation in the GSLFIA FIRC helps achieve our goals to further the flight instructor’s development and promote aviation safety. These goals are accomplished by presenting the Flight Instructors Revalidation Clinic (FIRC) each January, Round Table Discussions and Safety Seminars for all pilots. We provide scholarship funds for developing CFIs and publish an annual Pocket Directory of members. You are important to the association. Your continued support helps maintain a strong and active force in the St. Louis aviation community. Participation in the GSLFIA and FIRC is an investment in your local aviation community!
CFI Tips & Techniques: “Go Arounds” Craig O’Mara, GSLFIA Director
Landings seem to be a fairly difficult maneuver for some of our
students and they ARE a leading cause of accidents, so we CFI’s spend a
lot of time helping our students to perfect them. We spend so much time
on landings, and in our attempts to keep costs low for our students,
sometimes I think that maybe we spend too little time on another
maneuver that also causes quite a few accidents – the go around. An
organization called the Commercial Aviation Safety Team, while
investigating Loss of Control – Inflight (LOC-I, and a subject for a
future article), found that four recent accidents occurred due to
improperly performed Go Arounds and made some recommendations in Safety
Alert for Operators (SAFO) number 15004 (see FAA.gov). How does that
apply to GA you might say? We, in GA, also do Go Arounds and not all of
them work out correctly!
So what do we do about it? How do you usually teach the Go Around?
Hopefully after teaching them during your preflight briefing, you go out
to the pattern and practice until your student is safe and proficient.
But how do you present it to your student? The usual “aircraft on the
runway, let’s go around”? That sounds great to get the mechanics of the
maneuver down but what about teaching practical applications and
judgement by designing scenarios that are varied and force your student
to think:to make a decision to continue or land. May I suggest a few
(and, please let me know what you think of these and give me your own
ideas, so that I can become a better CFI also)?
1. If you operate from a controlled field, call the tower on the
phone before you go into the pattern for take off and landing practice
and ask them to direct a Go Around for your student (perfectly valid
reason to Go Around).
2. Direct a Go Around from positions OTHER than the usual “short final”, such as an overshot final.
3. Direct a Go Around after touchdown to simulate avoiding a vehicle or aircraft that has just pulled onto your landing runway.
4. Night Go Arounds from a dark approach area (SUS landing East, SET,
Sackmann field – yes, you have to fly on the Illinois side of the river
to get there!!)
5. Direct the Go Around in the flare to simulate avoiding traffic.
6. If you have an Instrument student, practice the missed approach from
various positions on the final approach segment – inside/outside the
7. If you have a multi student, practice from low speed/ high power positions, again such as in the flare.
With the wealth of knowledge that we have in our readers, I’m sure
that you have your own ideas about how to make your Go Around training
more realistic and also, and maybe more importantly, how to let your
students use their own judgement and make the Go Around decision on
their own without us always directing it. Again, thank you for
listening, and as I always request, please let me know whether I’m
wasting my time with this column or if you DO get something out of this
and have any suggestions for future articles.
CFI’s generally spend so much of our
time preparing students for check rides that the tendency is to view PTS
maneuvers as our sole responsibility. But after earning the
certificates or rating, we have the opportunity to go “beyond the PTS”.
How many times have you told a student that there is so much to learn
after the check ride? That’s the time to teach them what’s not in the
How many of you teach your students to
know the “turn-around altitude” for the airplane that they fly, as part
of their takeoff and departure planning? In addition to deciding on an
abort procedure, we should have an idea of how to land safely from any
point during the initial climb. These maneuvers are always preceded by a
lengthy preflight discussion.
I always give students an aborted take
off, and a simulated engine failure just after lift off, but we should
also know when we are able to do a 180 degree turn and make it back to
the field if we lose an engine a bit higher. We discuss the procedure on
the chalkboard (am I really that old?) first and then go practice it in
flight to get an approximate number. Since an engine loses
approximately 3% of its rated HP for each 1000’ of altitude, I tend to
do this experiment from just 2000’ MSL or so (the engine, at rated RPM,
will be around 94% BHP). We slow to take off speed, apply full power and
climb at VY until 3000’ MSL. I then close the throttle. We count 3
seconds (to simulate the time lost deciding what to do: the “startle
factor”) and then start the maneuver to get back to the field.
As you know this requires a big pitch
change from that required for VY to VL/DMAX. How much bank do we use,
which way do we turn and how do we know when we are back on the ground?
When flying sailplanes (I highly recommend it!), we learn that after a
rope break 45 degree of bank yields the least altitude loss during a 180
degree turn to get back to the field is (see chart below). I teach the
same in airplanes. Regarding crosswinds, I advise turning into the
wind. This reduces turn radius and may assist in getting on centerline.
Of course, many issues might prevent this, so you’ll need to determine
this before take off.
I generally try to start this maneuver
over a road or railroad track to simulate the runway and give the
student something to look for when they are completely turned around.
When the student is aligned with the road after the 180, we look at the
altitude loss to get an approximation of the amount of altitude that
they will need for their engine failure and return to the field. If you
do a few of these maneuvers you should get a pretty good idea of your
turn around altitude (for that one condition, at least). Of course,
weight, wind, density altitude, obstacles, distance from the field when
the engine fails must be factored into this experiment. So, I always
advocate that the student add more altitude than the minimum for each
climb out, especially since not many of us can perform as well under an
unexpected situation as when we know what to expect (why do you think
that test pilots can get performance that very few of us could
replicate?). A Cessna 172R that I teach in requires about 600’ for it’s
180, so we use pattern altitude (800’ AGL at CPS) as our minimum turn
around altitude. Armed with this information I believe that we can keep
our students safer during this critical phase of flight and it’s a real
confidence building maneuver and one that is “Beyond the PTS”.
I enjoy writing this column, because
I hope that it might make us think about how we can improve our skills
as CFI’s and ultimately keep our students safer. I plan on covering many
more things that we can teach that aren’t in the PTS (or the new ACS,
when those come out to replace the PTS). We can all help each other to
grow as CFI’s, and so that I can improve my own abilities, may I ask you
to critique these articles for accuracy and relevance and get back to
me as soon as you can with corrections? Thanks for listening.–Craig
Operating Technically Advanced Aircraft
Keith Mueller, GLSFIA President
As an active flight instructor it is our duty to make every attempt to
maintain our proficiency and stay current on regulatory and industry
changes. As a professional, we owe this to our students and to the
pilots we provide training. One of the many challenges in the General
Aviation Industry today is keeping up to date with the technological
changes in aircraft, especially advances in avionics. For more than a
decade we have seen major changes in the avionics systems incorporated
on production and updated aircraft. Few aircraft today are manufactured
without incorporating the glass cockpit concept. One of the stumbling
blocks of this technology is the fact that each manufacturer has their
own design of how their system operates along with the challenges found
when learning to program and fully understand the avionics installed in
Due to the complexity, students as well as instructors need to
understand and comply with the amount of training that is needed to
become fully capable of programming and operating the avionics system
installed in the aircraft they fly. Browsing the internet you can find
advertisements that offer Garmin G-1000 or Avidyne checkout training for
as little as two hours ground and two hours in the aircraft. Although
this may give many pilots a better understanding of the system, they
have little or no in-depth knowledge of the functions, components, line
replaceable units (LRU’s) and limitations of the system when components
fail. In short, a flight at this level of training in anything beyond
good VFR should never occur.
Training and proficiency is the key to safety, frequently we read about
an accident and in the first few sentences of the article we can see
where things started to wrong from the start and in many cases before
the aircraft every entered into a flight mode. Having been involved in
airline maintenance operations for more than 37 years; my background
will always drive my focus towards proper training. As I frequently
say, “aviation is all about doing everything right the first time”,
frequently the second opportunity never becomes available.
Getting back to training, I still want to stress the technologically
advanced aircraft training. For those not feeling comfortable with
their level of glass cockpit competency, I would strongly suggest some
additional training. Simulators have come a long way in this area and
can help reduce time in the aircraft while providing quality training.
Personally I feel that an in-depth training course over the components
installed in the aircraft plus a minimum of 8 or more hours of simulator
and flight training is needed to make most pilots competent with the
avionics. This might seem like overkill to some, but in the interest of
safety a little extra training is welcome when failures with displays
or black boxes rudely invade our level of comfort. Fly safe!