Analysis of Lesson Plan 3

Lesson Plan #3 is a continuation of training in basic maneuvers, but the level of complexity and expectation for the student is upped somewhat.  The student learns how to conduct power changes in straight and level flight, and learns how to execute climbs and descents at specified airspeeds.  In a second flight, the student learns to execute turns at specified angle of bank using the attitude indicator, as well as collision avoidance maneuvers.

Power Changes in Straight and Level Flight

In teaching power changes in straight and level flight, the throttle should remain within the normal flight range (above slow flight), so changes between 2100 RPM and 2500 RPM—back and forth—will work well.  The drill should begin with the instructor demonstrating the effects of uncorrected power changes on the aircraft’s flight profile simply but flying hands-free without rudder correction, allowing the student to see the pitch, roll and yaw responses.  Then the student should observe proper correct response to maintain the straight and level target.  Speed is not emphasized as this is covered next flight.  Remember too that targets must be specified before corrective inputs are demonstrated by the instructor, or practiced by the student.  Power changes must be smooth so as to permit effective yaw control (sudden or rapid power changes are always undesired and it is an important message for the student to get).

Climbs and Descents at Specified Speeds

Climbs and descent target round-number speeds—climbs at 90, 80, or 70 KTS or MPH, for example, and descents at 70, 80, and 90, again, KTS or MPH.  The speeds selected are somewhat arbitrary, but should nevertheless be of course below the normal cruise speed for the aircraft.  Note that climb speeds progress from high to low and descents from low to high speeds—this is to provide the student the student with gentle to more aggressive pitch-input requirements.  As well, the descents should be conducted with power to idle and the glide time should be spent identifying the point of zero-movement on the surface below—the skill of recognizing this is unique to flying and should be started as early as possible in the training.  Because the descents can be steep, the crew should carefully scan for traffic threats below before initiating the descents.  Don’t forget to specify target altitudes and speed before initiating the climbs and descents.  Of course, the PAT and APT sequences are now modified to include “airspeed”—power, attitude, airspeed, trim, and attitude, airspeed, power, trim.

Collision Avoidance Maneuvers Training

Collision avoidance maneuvers shut lead off the second flight on turns.  This maneuver is the execution of simultaneous power, roll, and pitch movements so as to change altitude and heading as quickly as possible without damaging the aircraft.  They should be practiced with left and right roll and the approach of an imminent collision cannot be predicted as coming form the left or right.  Begin by teaching the maneuver in slow motion following the trigger statement “Traffic 12 O’clock!”  Let the student practice slow-mo first, and then demonstrate the maneuver at a little faster pace.  Again, let the student practice this until they are comfortable, cuing the student with the trigger statement each time.  Then show the student real-time response—emphasize being smooth but aggressive. 

Turns at Specified Angles of Bank

The final element of the second flight is pretty straight forward, teaching the student how to be precise in angle-of-bank control during turn maneuvers.  TBAT (traffic, bank, altitude, traffic, repeat) is NOW modified to TBAAT—traffic, bank, attitude indicator, altimeter, traffic, repeat.  All flight targets should be specified.  Don’t use the heading indicator, but instead use the grid lines (avenue and street references) or prominent geographic features.  Start with 10⁰-bank turns, progress to 20⁰-bank turns, and finish with 30⁰-bank turns.  Draw attention to the need for slight back-pressure with 30⁰-bank turns.