Aeroplane does all the work

This quote comes from Mike Riley’s little gem, The Concorde Stick and Rudder Book. You don’t fight an plane — you understand its ways and set the controls to let her fly well. Even, as it turns out, Concorde. Mike Riley was a British Airways captain who instructed in the B707, VC10 and Concorde. He also instructed in light aircraft, and flew/trained/judged World Championship aerobatics.

Listen to your plane.

Former NASA chief astronaut and USAF test pilot Charlie Precourt has a good article in the July edition of EAA’s Sport Aviation magazine. It’s on the normalization of deviance. That’s something we learnt about from studying the Space Shuttle accidents. And something we can apply every time we go flying. Listen to your plane. Don’t let standards slip. Don’t normalize deviance. (Picture is damaged TPS tiles on the Space Shuttle Endeavor, NASA S118-E-06229)

Are you a low-gain pilot?

Reading the (excellent) new book Into the Black, about the flight test history of the Space Shuttle, I was intrigued by this line: “Engle was a low-gain pilot. Like Charles Lindbergh or Chuck Yeager, he barely moved the stick, anticipating the need to do so and making small, necessary corrections in plenty of time. His inputs were smooth and progressive, never snatching at the controls.” Rowland White, Into the Black. The author is talking about Joe Engle, aeronautical engineer, test pilot, and NASA astronaut. He was scheduled to land on the Moon, a dream dashed by budget cuts, but ended … Continue reading Are you a low-gain pilot?