Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Cold day

Some nice pictures that I took during a training flight to Viseu via Amarante.

Departure at 1000Z
Vilar de Luz RWY 36 SID (Standard Instrument Departure):
Climb straight ahead on runway 36 until 1500', turn right to intercept and follow radial 090 from PRT VOR until Amarante then right turn to Viseu.

After departure
Porto city

Leaving Porto city behind

Over Cinfães with Douro river insight

After passing Serra de Montemuro we catch a downdraft while trying climb to 6500ft from 5500ft. Instead of climb we were descending 200ft/min. 
After a few seconds the plane started climbing 500ft/min. The Plan B if this hadn´t happened was to turn right to a valley to deviate from high ground and clouds. 
If we take as reference the International Standard Atmosphere (ISA) model that says that the temperature at sea level is 15ºC and decreases about 2ºC/1000ft then at  6000ft the temperature should be +3ºC but actually are -2ºC. So we say that the temperature is ISA -5.

After leaving Viseu we climbed to 5500ft direct to PG NDB (near Francelos, Vila Nova de Gaia) to fly a VOR approach to Porto Airport.

Sá Carneiro terminal
On short final RWY 35

Hope you enjoyed the photos... :)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

Basic instrument training - Part 2

We practice unusual attitudes in which the instructor takes the controls and I close the eyes while he tries to confuse my brain moving the airplane around doing steep turns and/or stall approaches.
He says "Open your eyes, you have the controls" and I open my eyes and make a quick instruments analyse to find in what kind of situation he let me in. This is done also in partial panel.
Normally this can be:
- pointing to the ground in a turn and accelerating. The recover procedure is idle power, level and bring the nose up carefully if the airspeed had enter the yellow arc.
- pointing to the stars almost in a stall. The recover is done by applying full power, level the wings and drop the nose.
Unusual attitude recovery

Sometimes this maneuvers makes your brain playing tricks on you, telling you are turning right and actually you are wings level or turning left. You have to trust the instruments!

Spatial disorientation is a weird sensation that I had felt in the first hours of instruments when I was doing a 180º level right turn passing through some clouds (even knowing very well this kind of situations occur). During some seconds my brain was thinking that I was in a left turn, I  stare to the turn coordinated that was saying that I actually was turning right. My instructor saw this  "What the hell is happening!" looking coming out of my face and said smiling "You are lost?!", I answer "Yes". He said that he was trying to put me in that situation just to let me feel how my brain can be wrong. 

After this episode it happen a few more times but when I felt the sensation approaching I looked to the turn coordinator and said into myself: Trust the instrument.  

Other maneuver included in the basic instrument training are procedures turns (45/180, 80/260, base turn), stall recoveries, steep turns.
Procedure turns

The steep turn is a 360º level turn with 45º of bank. After passing the 30º of bank its necessary to pull a little the yoke to maintain the altitude and add 100 rpm.

Steep turn

We practice the "approach to stall" and "full stall" recoveries. To who don´t know what a stall is, basically  it is when the wing can't generated enough lift to maintain the airplane´s altitude and the airplane kind "drops from the sky".
During the approach to stall recovery  you have to maintain the altitude, don't even think in loose or gain 40' :). At the same time maintain the heading, this is more difficult because of the engine torque produced when full power is set.
The stall recovery is initiated when a wing drop or a buffet is felt on the yoke. You let the nose drop to gain some airspeed, level the wing and then push up at the same time adding power. If the recovery is done correctly only 100-200' are lost. Initially I had the tendency to add power while in a pitch down position, this can be dangerous because the airplane gains airspeed quickly.  

Stall recover

Tail view during a stall recover training

Stall in a turn

The next video shows a take-off where you only are allowed to see the instruments. Don´t try to look outside!   

Take-off under the hood

Hope you enjoy the reading and the videos. :)

Monday, November 26, 2012

NDB & VOR training - Viseu

This day was gonna be a long day. The morning started with a briefing of the day's plan which included 1h of simulator and a 3h flight under the hood to Viseu at afternoon.
The simulator part was composed of a few NDB holdings and approaches to Porto Runway 17 to train procedures and communications.

After the simulator I was invited to help in a "point fix" test (to test if all the parameters of the engine and systems of the aircraft are good) of an C152 after it came back from maintenance. I hadn't sat in an C152 for 3 months so I enjoyed the opportunity to refresh some procedures and to learn something more about this point fix tests.

After a quick lunch, I did the aircraft walk around and the paper work (flight process, weight and balance, navigation plan).
As in this day a geral strike occurred due to the austerity (all over the Europe) the flight was gonna be flown without filling a flight  plan (the ARO personal, necessary to fill a flight plan, was on strike too) so we decided that we are gonna departure and fly under the controlled airspace in Porto (class C).

Time to fly, I do the scan flow to prepare the C172R for engine start follow by the checklist (I'm still in adaptation to this airplane that has a GPS and fuel injection system). Fuel pump on until fuel flow indication, mixture cut-off, started on...pupupu...a few propeller rotation and mixture full rich and we have an engine start! After start scan-flow follow by checklist (never know when we forget something ;))
"Maia,Charlie Sierra Delta Golf Mike Muito Boa tarde, on apron Echo, taxing to holding point runway 16". Taxi light on, off we go.

After departure we flown direct to Viseu climbing to 5500 feet after passing the Porto controller airspace limit (class G airspace). After arriving at Viseu we tried to contact AFIL to fill a flight plan letting them know that was a airplane training over there but unfortunately they couldn't hear us well and we were unable to fill the flight plan. 

We continue the training keeping the eyes and hears open for any other aircraft in the zone arriving or departure from Viseu uncontrolled aerodrome.  

Viseu VOR
Viseu aerodrome

We started to practice some NDB holdings using the Radio Renascença antenna as a beacon. I determined the wind direction and velocity (20 knots). It was fun and challenging doing this holdings with this wind. Then proceed with an NDB approach to the runway 36 followed by a touch and go and missed approach procedure.  
NDB RWY 01 chart
This charts are only for training purposes.
After this we shoot the VOR/DME V, X and Z for RWY36 approaches that includes VOR holdings and  arcs.
VOR/DME V 36 chart

VOR/DME V 36 approach

VOR/DME X 36 chart
VOR/DME 36 chart

For who knows nothing of what you see in these charts, basically it depicts a top view and a vertical profile where you can see the path (headings, altitudes and distances) that you have to fly (it can be inside clouds) to bring the airplane to a position near the runway where at that point if you don't see the runway, you have to abort the landing (go around or "borregar" in portuguese) and execute the missed approach procedure.

With more than 2h of flight we decided it was time to return to base flying again under the Porto controller airspace. 
Viseu city
A lot small fires

Serra do Caramulo
Serra de Montemuro
Almost sunset...better land 

To finish the day, we normally practice a SAF (Simulated Force Landing) upon arrival and today wasn't different. So the  instructor pulls the power to idle and I do the procedures:
best glide speed, trim, choose a local to land (runway 16) follow by the procedure to restart the engine. I couldn't reach the runway and a go around was made followed by a circuit for a normal landing.

Monday, November 19, 2012

Basic instrument training - Part 1

The first 10 hours of instrument training are spent learning how to interpret the basic instruments and getting to know the airplane. Mainly focusing in the formula that says for a given attitude (pitch) plus a power (throttle) setting plus configuration (flaps) you will get one performance (airspeed). This is done without visual contact with the exterior (under the hood) except the instructor.

Under the hood
We start with simple things, first we executed a pattern that our instructor calls it "Death Carousel". It is flown at constant airspeed, 90 knots in clean configuration and 70 knots with flaps 10, and it has 4 segments. 
  • It starts with a 500 feet climb at full power, the airspeed is maintained with small pitch adjustments; 
  • After leveling execute an immediate level coordinated turn of 180º;
  • Then descend 500 feet at 500 feet/min maintaining the airspeed; 
  • After leveling another 180º turn and repeat all over again.

After starting the 180º turn the clock is started to help you making adjustments during the turn in way that you finish the 180º turn in 1 min (in a coordinated turn the airplane turns 3º/s, so you know after 1min you had done 180º). For instance if after 30s you had only turned 80º you need to increase the bank a little because you are getting behind.  
For me the tricky part are the transitions from climb to level and level to descend because if you want airspeed to maintain constant you have to have an idea what kind of power setting you have to have for that configuration and attitude.

After this, the challenge is increased by doing the same pattern but now with partial panel (without attitude indicator and directional gyro). 

Partial panel
Another challenge is doing this pattern but without the 180º level turn. Instead, the turn is done while climbing or descending.   

Here is a video of my friend doing the "Death Carousel" with flaps 10º.


Thursday, November 1, 2012

Airbase Nº5 - Monte Real visit

As a complement to what we learned about turbines in the classes, it was given us the opportunity to visit the airbase where the 2 squadrons of F-16 are based (Falcões and Jaguares) and see with our own eyes how a jet engine is.

Some photos from the visit:
F-16 Pratt & Whitney jet engine
The place where the fuel is ejected when afterburner is activated

A gift for the future pilots :D - Compressor blades and Variable Stator Vanes.

If I remember this is what controls the Variable Stator Vanes to prevent a stall and surge of the engine (lost of power). This can be caused by engine inlet ice, damaged compressor blades (p.e. bird strike) or strong crosswinds that result in high angle of attack of the compressor blades. 

Turbine Nozzle Guide Vane (NGV) that is subject to about 1500ºC
Turbine blades

The F-16AM (MLU version) almost ready for the test flight

The team Haboobs