Back to Basics - Coordinated Flight

Discussion in 'Pilot Training' started by labbadabba, Jan 7, 2019.

  1. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    As a follow-up to my thread from yesterday:
    https://www.pilotsofamerica.com/community/threads/busted-my-commercial-checkride-now-what.116070/

    Okay, after a night of retrospective navel gazing, good bourbon, and some time with the ACS and the AFH I'm ready to get back on the horse.

    One of the big take-aways from my ride was my clunky coordination during the maneuvers. Did I perform most of the maneuvers up to ACS standards, well, some could argue, yes. I completed them within the +/- 10 heading, airspeed, and +/- 100 altitude. However, the DPE judged that my overall coordination of flight was not up to commercial standards. Right or wrong he still has a point. My coordination while adequate is clunky and reactionary rather than smooth and instinctive.

    As most pilots are taught, I learned to step on the ball and to coordinate flight by use of the inclinometer. That ball starts to move, then step on it. Well, when doing maneuvers such as steep turns, rolling into the turn with the nose lagging on the horizon only to step on the ball causes the plane to yaw all over while the turn is stabilized. If not applied just right, the pilot will fight the horizon reference on the cowl as well as airspeed and bank. My application of rudder is a reaction to what the plane is doing rather than me innately placing the plane in the proper attitude to begin with. I get there and I stay coordinated but it's...clunky.

    Same with lazy-8s particularly on the right side at the 90-degree point where turning tendancies and adverse yaw work against eachother so you need a lot of right rudder but your ailerons are slightly cross-controlled. Did I end up on heading, airspeed, and altitude and hit all my marks? Yes, but it wasn't as smooth as I can do it.

    So, all this boils down to one question. Does anyone have advice on how to improve coordination of flight? I've got 300 hours and 4 years of flying under my belt and what I've been doing up till now won't work going forward. I need to somehow better ingrain the sense of coordination so it's more natural and less mechanical.

    Thanks in advance PoA.
     
  2. jordane93

    jordane93 Final Approach

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    Push and pull the throttle and move your feet. Everytime you touch the throttle, you should be moving your feet. Go up to altitude and just rev the engine and keep the ball centered.
     
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  3. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Take some Glider lessons
     
  4. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    Despite being a primary flight control I feel that the rudder is a reactionary input in most phases of flight. It is used to fix a condition you don’t want to happen (uncoordinated flight). However, this doesn’t mean waiting to add rudder until you have a problem, you need to anticipate it.

    Rather than simply working on commercial maneuvers to pass a checkride I would suggest just going out and really working at maneuvering while keeping the plane coordinated. Work at it until it is second nature and you don’t have to think about what you’re doing. Then go back and polish up the commercial maneuvers and take the checkride again.

    Perhaps go out and get some instruction in an airplane that really has some adverse yaw. You can pretty much fly the typical piper and Cessna training planes with your feet flat on the floor. That doesn’t provide much exposure to what the rudder is really there for.

    Lastly, don’t feel bad. It isn’t uncommon for guys working on a commercial certificate or even with a reasonably fresh commercial certificate to have clunky coordination. It takes a lot of time and practice for many to get good at yaw control.
     
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  5. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    Are you saying something like a Decathlon? A more aerobatic type plane?

    I asked the DPE if he believes in leading a turn with rudder or with aileron, he shook his head and said, "I believe in applying rudder in coordination with the aileron. It's not a mechanical thing, it's not a formula, it just is."
     
  6. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    Sounds like yoda. He was an ass as a teacher too.
     
  7. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Have you ever done Dutch Rolls? Pick a bug on the windshield and a spot on the horizon. Now start whipping the plane back and forth, about 30 degrees of bank one way then the other. Keep the bug on the spot on the horizon.
     
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  8. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    A decathalon would work...

    That DPE is right. How much rudder to use and when to apply it is dependent on the airplane. Get to the point that you apply rudder as needed without thinking about it and you’re good. This is part of the reason it is a good idea to get a checkout in a new to you airplane type. Got to know what to expect and how to make it do what you want it to do.
     
  9. mondtster

    mondtster En-Route

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    That was exactly what I was thinking of as I wrote my previous post...
     
  10. Mtns2Skies

    Mtns2Skies Super Moderator Management Council Member PoA Supporter

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    Do you have any tailwheel time? While not strictly about coordination, it'll remind you that rudder does exist and how to use it effectively. Also - some older taildraggers have terrible adverse yaw and much like a glider will force you to learn to be inherently coordinated.

    Have you ever done the dutch roll maneuver? That's one of my favorites in a new (to me) aircraft to get a feel for the rudder and aileron and to interconnect them mentally.
     
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  11. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    Nope, no tailwheel time...yet. : )
     
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  12. texasclouds

    texasclouds Line Up and Wait

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    Go practice those maneuvers with a different CFI.
     
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  13. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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  14. Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe

    Capt. Geoffrey Thorpe Touchdown! Greaser! PoA Supporter

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    Don't look at the ball.
    "Use your ass Luke."


    (You don't look at the ball when riding a bicycle, do you?)
     
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2019
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  15. Jim_CAK

    Jim_CAK Pre-takeoff checklist PoA Supporter

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    I read your post about busting the check ride. I just started working on the commercial and realized I need to get a lot smoother with the rudder. Thanks for sharing your story and the above link. I will work that into my practice routine.
     
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  16. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I’m confused as usual. Banking 30 degrees is going to cause you to turn away from the spot you chose, unless you slip with opposite rudder.

    I’m guessing this is easier to explain in the plane. I think maybe what you’re supposed to hold on a (line is probably more accurate than spot) is your “pitch” by using rudder, not horizontally, since you’ll be turning.
     
  17. Ronbonjovi

    Ronbonjovi Pre-takeoff checklist

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    We called them rudder coordination exercises, Dutch Roll has another meaning in aviation and is often misused.

    But from the article posted above:

    "How do you know your flight controls are coordinated? Because the airplane’s nose doesn’t move as it rolls alternately between right and left banking conditions. Here’s how it’s done.

    With the nose pointed to some outside reference while in level flight, roll to the right and add just enough right rudder to keep the nose fixed on the reference point. This is exactly how you enter a coordinated turn to the right, correct? When you reach approximately 30 degrees of bank immediately roll the airplane to the left. This means the moment you apply left aileron to begin the roll, you’ll need to apply just enough left rudder to keep the nose straight as you roll."
     
  18. luvflyin

    luvflyin Final Approach

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    Rolling on a heading

    Dutch roll is also the name (considered by professionals to be a misnomer) given to a coordination maneuver generally taught to student pilots to help them improve their "stick-and-rudder" technique. The aircraft is alternately rolled as much as 60 degrees left and right while rudder is applied to keep the nose of the aircraft pointed at a fixed point. More correctly, this is a rudder coordination practice exercise, to teach a student pilot how to correct for the effect known as adverse aileron yaw during roll inputs.

    This coordination technique is better referred to as "rolling on a heading", wherein the aircraft is rolled in such a way as to maintain an accurate heading without the nose moving from side-to-side (or yawing). The yaw motion is induced through the use of ailerons alone due to aileron drag, wherein the lifting wing (aileron down) is doing more work than the descending wing (aileron up) and therefore creates more drag, forcing the lifting wing back, yawing the aircraft toward it. This yawing effect produced by rolling motion is known as adverse yaw. This has to be countered precisely by application of rudder in the same direction as the aileron control (left stick, left rudder - right stick, right rudder). This is known as synchronised controls when done properly, and is difficult to learn and apply well. The correct amount of rudder to apply with aileron is different for each aircraft.
     
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  19. Salty

    Salty En-Route PoA Supporter

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    I already read all that and didn’t get it. But maybe you mean to roll and roll back so quickly you don’t turn? I just don’t get how you can do a 30 degree bank and the nose not move due to the turn you would be doing.
     
  20. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    You have to slip it in order to maintain the reference. I think the idea is use external references for maintaining a balance between rudder and aileron rather than the inclinometer which will usually only indicate coordination after the turn is established. Using your nose as reference to your turn externally will be a better indication of coordination when establishing a turn. At least that's what I've been reading about today...
     
  21. Rgbeard

    Rgbeard Line Up and Wait

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    I second this motion. I was really clunky until I began flying sailplanes. It's amazing how humbling an experience it is. It's amazing how much one learns, and how it changes your perspective on flight altogether.

    I PROMISE YOU, if you get 5 hours of sailplane time, while you probably won't yet have your endorsement, you'll be a better pilot.
     
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  22. GeorgeC

    GeorgeC En-Route PoA Supporter

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    After about 300 hours and buying a taildragger, I figured out that:
    • stepping on the ball isn't always the right answer (sometimes you need less bank instead of more rudder)
    • by definition, the nose doesn't move if your roll is axial
    Cover up your TC and fly so it feels right.
     
  23. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    That business about "stepping on the ball" is a memory aid for which rudder pedal needs attention not a description of the movement. "Kicking the rudder pedal" is not at all what the phrase means and if you do it the result will be just as you describe. If you fly with your whole foot on the rudder pedal then your footwork will be over-controlling the same as kicking the rudder. Make sure your heels are resting on the floor, move the pedals with foot pressure only and use leg muscles only to reposition your heels as necessary, but not to move the rudder except in extreme cases. Think of it as making trim adjustments.

    "Dutch rolls" should start off as turns in each direction and gradually decrease the degrees between reversals until you are banking one way to the other immediately. Vary the rate of roll, too, for variety.

    I like to do circles and squares on the horizon (figure eights and even triangles also) while keeping the wings perfectly level. At different speeds too. Forget the ball when doing those, of course. Do big shapes and small ones for variety.
     
  24. ja_user

    ja_user Pattern Altitude

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    I now understand much better about the checkride failure, thanks for posting the follow up. I am in the area and happy to point you to a guy that could help with the Tailwheel. It will be easiest to work on it in an airplane that makes it obvious when you have too much or to little rudder, to make it automatic. Last time I jumped in a SuperD I found myself using too much rudder, I blame it on too much Cessna time. This is why it can't be a mechanical thing. Send me a PM if you need contact info

    The Commercial is still built on the basic skills we learn as a private, but it is like a Masters vs a BS degree. The understanding and execution needs to be that much better. The Commercial maneuvers you will often here described as "pointless" or "not practical in the real world", but they do exactly what they were designed to do. They give DPE's and CFI's better ways to see your mastery of the aircraft. It is very easy to see a lazy 8 or chandelle executed improperly from the right seat, the challenge is getting the person in the left seat to understand and see the differences.
     
  25. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Specifically with reference to Lazy 8s...over the years, this maneuver has morphed in the eyes of instructors to become something it’s definitely not, and that is a maneuver to be actively flown every second.

    This is a lot easier to demonstrate than to explain, but I’ve found that in a properly rigged and trimmed airplane, Lazy 8s can be flown with your hand on the yoke roughly 25% of the time. Fly the first 45 degrees, with significantly more pitch change than you’ve probably been using. From that point, the positive static stability will take the pitch attitude to almost exactly the same amount below the horizon, and the roll stability of the airplane will start working it back toward level flight, the last few degrees of bank will happen much more slowly than what most people try to force, and the heading will almost roll out on the 180-degree point by itself, at the original airspeed and altitude.

    At that point, repeat the process the other direction for the second half.

    More pitch seems to work a lot better, and not forcing the pitch and roll through most of the maneuver frees you up to use rudder to keep your butt from sliding to one side or the other...much more direct and accurate than the inclinometer ball for the rates of change that you’re getting on the maneuver.

    To me, the Lazy 8 is all about understanding how the airplane’s stability works, and simply putting it into an attitude where the airplane does most of the work.
     
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  26. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    Jason from The Finer Points has an excellent YouTube video on Lazy Eights that basically teaches/shows what you just said.

    Once I saw that video and started to let the airplane do the work, they were much better.
     
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  27. benyflyguy

    benyflyguy Pattern Altitude

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    I think seeing some fly coordinated without having to think about it makes a world of difference. I never really paid attention to that until my PPL checkride. The DPE took the yoke after a steep turn I think and said that I did fine but wanted to show me how it should feel. I kept a half an eye on that ball and it never even budged.
    I am still by no means near some ace, but I do use rudder input more as a natural part of turning, not reactionary.
     
  28. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    PoA, sometimes you can be a savage beast but at other times a wealth of support and knowledge. The advice here has been awesome, thanks!

    If only Henning could weigh in...
     
  29. MauleSkinner

    MauleSkinner Final Approach

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    Got a link to that?
     
  30. labbadabba

    labbadabba Pattern Altitude

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    Yep, very cool. I've never heard it explained this elegantly.
     
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  31. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    Posted above
     
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  32. CC268

    CC268 Final Approach

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    I love that guy. He has such great CFI content (especially on his Patreon). I hope it can make me a better future CFI.
     
  33. jstro

    jstro Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Don't step on the ball. Step on the butt! The buttcheek that is. The side getting squeezed gets the foot. That ball is pernicious. It's a necessary instrument but I wish we could teach new pilots by keeping it covered up the first 10 hours. I feel like I got trained to watch that damn thing, taking my attention away from other things. If instead you feel the coordination continually and work the rudder as needed you're going to fly much more smoothly. At least that's my $0.02. It's taken me personally a lot of self-training to wean myself off the ball and I still consciously work on it.
     
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  34. dtuuri

    dtuuri En-Route

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    Sounds like you're describing a "phugoid oscillation" (done in a turn) which is dynamic stability not static. Sorry to nitpick, but hey, this is a commercial applicant. ;)
     
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  35. RyanShort1

    RyanShort1 En-Route

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    Back when I was in the San Antonio area and had access to 10 planes, any of the students I could talk into it were starting in the J-3 for their first 5-7 hours and coordination just wasn’t a problem. The law of primacy really helps a student if you learn basic flight control usage right off the bat.



    Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk
     
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  36. davidgfern

    davidgfern Pre-takeoff checklist

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    Another big help in steep turns is to do the maneuver by looking out the window ----- focusing on the instruments will result in coordination problems.
     
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  37. davidgfern

    davidgfern Pre-takeoff checklist

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    I dated a Dutch girl while I was in college.........
     
  38. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Cleared for Takeoff

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    Skid balls can be practically useless while the airplane is in the process of rolling. Unless the skid ball is perfectly mounted on the roll axis, they will give erroneous indications while the airplane is rolling. Few airplanes have a ball perfectly mounted in this way. Once the airplane is stabilized in bank the ball works fine. But since most of the coordinated rudder use applies WHILE the airplane is rolling, learn to feel coordination rather than look for it.

    Close your eyes (maybe with a safety pilot or instructor) and practice rolling and really paying attention to the feel of your weight in the seat, feeling for slight slide or non-centered weight. Closing your eyes will remove visual distractions from this fine sense of weight in your seat. Learn the rudder required to keep your weight perfectly balanced. Learn to control this with a fine sense and you'll never need to look at another crappy skid ball.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  39. RoscoeT

    RoscoeT Cleared for Takeoff

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    It is physically impossible to keep the nose perfectly on a point while rolling the airplane back and forth while keeping the "ball centered" the whole time. The airplane will S-turn slightly. The perfect nose on point "dutch roll" exercise requires cross controlling, and is definitely not a "ball in center" exercise. The slight S-turning ball in center "dutch roll" is much more relevant to typical flying rather than the cross-controlled ball UN-centered nose on point "dutch roll". The nose on point exercise is good for beginning aerobatic training where doing precision aileron rolls requires heading maintenance and cross controlling.
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2019
  40. Silvaire

    Silvaire En-Route

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    It’s a lot easier in a J3 because you are sitting in the back seat so any pitch or yaw change is readily apparent, you can see it because you are behind the point about which the aircraft is rotating so rather than your body just turning it has physically moved a foot or two left or right or up or down around that point.
     
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