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# Flight Planning

## How a passenger changing seats in flight can affect performance

Bob decides to move to a rearward seat for a better view. Will this affect how your aircraft flies, even though the total mass has not changed? The answer is most certainly yes, but let us see what happens, and how to make sure you don’t cause yourself any unexpected problems…

## What is the difference between Climb Gradient and Flight Path Angle?

Climb gradient has nothing to do with speed. Let me repeat – nothing to do with speed. If speed is concerned, then we are talking about the rate of climb… But what is flight path angle?

## “Coffin Corner” – Aerodynamic Ceiling Explained

An interesting occurrence, related to Mach number, occurs at high altitudes in the troposphere, called ‘coffin corner’. If you are having visions of some deadly myth as scary as flying into the Bermuda triangle, fear not…

## What is the difference between absolute and service ceiling?

Ceiling applies to how high an aircraft can climb, but this is further divided into an absolute ceiling, and a service ceiling. Let’s have a look at the difference and what they mean…

## What is ISA temperature deviation, and why should you calculate it?

Let’s start with a brain jiggle – if the actual outside air temperature (OAT) differs from the ISA for the particular altitude or flight level that you are at, then this will affect your aircraft’s performance…

Ever had a conversation with Air Traffic Control and they have asked you ‘What is your endurance? Usually the answer is a thumb suck in anticipation of a clearance to come in and land, but have you ever wondered what exactly endurance means, and how you can work it out?

## What is the difference between Cloud Base and Ceiling?

it is important to understand the requirements, with regards to distance from clouds, not just to stay in the legal limits if you are VFR, but to ensure the safety of your flight. Understanding the difference between cloud base and cloud ceiling seems a challenge, but it actually isn’t!

## How heat from your tyres could cause hydroplaning

When water is visible on the runway, precautions can be taken, but did you know that even the slightest amount of barely-there moisture on a runway surface can be far more dangerous than it looks?

## Windshear Encounters – How to identify and handle them like a Pro

You are coming in for a landing, seem to be holding that perfect 3° glide slope and your speed is spot on. Then without warning, your indicated airspeed shows a significant decrease even though you are well-trimmed for straight and level – what on earth is going on, you might wonder?

## How much runway do you need?

Knowing how much runway you have, and more importantly how much you need, is critical to executing safe take-offs and landings. So if you are afraid (rightfully so), of finding yourself in an ‘Oh sh*t!’ moment with some tall trees magnifying before you, then read on…

## Determining wind direction – without a windsock

The fact is, apart from your aerodrome, it is unlikely that you will find windsocks conveniently placed on your route, nor will every area be covered by ATIS reports, so how do you determine wind direction?

## Why You need to take care when flying from high to low pressure areas

When starting flying lessons, we are given a lot of sound advice, but over time, especially if you don’t fly longer cross country trips on a regular basis, the warnings become faded and are sometimes forgotten. One of these wicked phrases that we were all taught is ‘High to low, careful go!’, but understanding what this means can be a challenge.

## IFR Alternate Aerodromes Explained

You may be thinking the obvious, that an alternate aerodrome is an optional aerodrome, selected by the pilot, just in case the paw-paw hits the fan…

## What is RVR – Runway Visual Range?

RVR, or Runway Visual Range is something that you will usually hear on an ATIS report or see on the Metar when visibility is on the poor side, it is also the main criteria for instrument approaches, but what exactly is it?

## How to Calculate the Crosswind Component ‘on the fly’

When crosswinds present themselves, these can quickly throw you off the runway if you are not prepared. Here’s how to calculate how much of a crosswind you have…

## Take-Off V-Speed Sequence Explained

V-speeds are simply, important speeds for aircraft. While commercial pilots are well aware of V-speeds, these are also translated for general aviation aircraft, with different coloured arcs on the airspeed indicator.

## Take Off Limitations – What are they?

Can you take off? A question which can only be answered after considering a number of factors, such as temperature, airfield elevation, runway length, aircraft mass, aircraft acceleration, climb performance, and obstacles in the climb-out path…

## Why does true airspeed increase with altitude and temperature?

At mean sea level with all conditions being the same, indicated airspeed (IAS) will the same as true airspeed (TAS). However, when the aircraft gains in altitude, or the temperature increases (causing the air density to decrease), then surprisingly, the TAS ‘increases’.

## Can You Read a NOTAM?

Ah yes… The NOTAM. The ‘Notice to Air Men (Women)’ which most general aviation…actually all pilots, are meant to examine prior to taking off, but in all honesty, seldom do. We are going to show you how to read these notices…

## Understanding Centre of Gravity and Centre of Pressure

these two can be somewhat confusing, so we will look at the differences between the two, and how each is affected under various flight conditions.

## What is Best Glide Speed and should you always stick to it?

Do we stick to this speed religiously in every event where we have a complete loss of power? The answer has two components, depending on what we are trying to do…

## What is Density Altitude and How to Calculate it Quickly BEFORE You Take Off

Density altitude poses a particular danger to pilots operating in high altitude areas during the hot Summer months, but if you cannot remember exactly why, or how to calculate it quickly, read on…

## What is Mach number and why do jet aeroplanes use it?

True, if you are flying a low powered, single engine piston aeroplane, then Mach is not something you often consider, however, it is a really cool sounding aviation word, and understanding what it is all about, will certainly expand your knowledge base.

## What is the difference between Vmc and Vmca?

Nope, this is not VMC – Visual Meteorological Conditions that we are talking about, but rather flying speeds relating to twin engine aircraft. The key to understanding twin engine performance, is how they fly with two engines operating, and how the bitch switch gets turned on when only one engine is operating.

## Can a forward CG or aft CG be a benefit?

Having your CG either closer to the forward limit or closer to the rear limit, can have it’s benefits, depending on the stage of flight, let’s have a look…

## How does Aircraft Mass Affect the Glide?

How does a heavier aircraft perform in the glide? Well, if you were to find yourself on top of a rooftop, and dropped two items, let’s say a brick and a paper plate, from exactly the same height, in the same direction (down) and at the same time, then what would happen?