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Video: Slow Flight Tips and Tricks

A new video this week offering tips and tricks to help you master slow flight!  Have a look and tell me what you think.  Enjoy!

Tips and Tricks

The key to this maneuver is establishing and maintaining a sight picture that corresponds to the pitch attitude needed to maintain altitude at such a slow airspeed.  In this video we discuss the proper sight picture as well as other tips including:

  • Briefing the desired configuration in advance;
  • Using a standard initial power setting;
  • Maintaining the proper visual sight picture as the airplane slows;
  • Anticipating pitch changes from extending flaps;
  • Maintaining Altitude in turns;
  • Improving rudder coordination during:
    • Straight and Level slow flight;
    • Rolling into or out of turns;
    • In established turns;
  • Avoiding instrument fixation
  • Proper elevator trim use
  • Responding to stall warnings
  • Keeping one hand on the throttle

Slow Flight Common Errors

Some of these suggestions address slow flight common errors. The Airplane Flying Handbook lists a number of common errors students might run into.

  • Omitting Clearing Turns
  • Failure to Establish Specified Configuration
  • Improper Entry Technique
  • Failure to Establish and Maintain the Specified Airspeed
  • Excessive Altitude Deviations
  • Improper Rudder Coordination
  • Fixation on Flight Instruments
  • Improper Trim Technique
  • Inappropriate reaction to stall warning or stalls
  • Inappropriate Removal Of Hand From Throttle(s)

One Big Idea

This maneuver teaches important skills that help us on the road to becoming safe, competent pilots.  As much as any maneuver, slow flight helps us develop the relationship between pitch, power and airspeed, and recognizing the importance of correlating what we see out the window with what the aircraft is doing.  The best lesson from and the biggest tip for performing slow flight successfully is to look outside.  It’s true that pitch attitude doesn’t always correlate to a specific airspeed or angle of attack, but understanding the relationship between pitch and airspeed is a fundamental skill developed in this maneuver. You can read more about this and other maneuvers in the FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook (AFH). What lessons have you learned during slow flight? Share your stories in the comments below.

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