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Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Goal Oriented Flying

I don't like mnemonics, and there are many in flying.  Here are a few:

TOMATO FLAMES lists all the equipment required by law for VFR day flight:

Oil pressure
Manifold pressure
Temperature sensor (liquid-cooled)
Oil temperature (air cooled)
Fuel gauge
Landing gear position
Airspeed indicator
Magnetic compass
Seat belts

At night you have to add FLAPS:

Fuses (spares) or circuit breakers
Landing light (if for hire)
Anticollision lights
Position lights
Source of electricity

If you are flying IFR you must GRABCARD:

Attitude indicator
Adjustable altimeter
Rate of turn indicator
Directional gyro

And one that all instrument students are taught - the 5 T's:

Twist the heading bug or OBS dial to the new course
Turn to the new course
Tune the new frequency, or navaid
Time - Start your clock at the fix
Talk - make any required radio calls

Mnemonics just don't work for me (quite apart from the stupid silent "m" at the beginning of the word).  My mind isn't wired that way.  Instead, what I found does work is to use what I call Goal Oriented Flying (hey, that's "GOF"!!).  For each stage of a flight, I think about what is it that I want to achieve?  Is it to go as fast as reasonably possible in cruise?  Make sure all sources of drag are removed and that the engine is set as I want (usually 23" of power, 2300 RPM, cowl flaps in, trimmed correctly).  Is it to descend?  Reduce engine power, and add drag if needed.

When flying an instrument approach, what am I trying to?  I need to turn to the inbound leg, at a particular altitude, and I'd been asked to report the outer marker.  Or I know I need to time this leg, so start my clock.   Trying to remember the 5T's just doesn't work for me, especially when most of them are irrelevant at any given point.  At each step, before I reach the start of "something changing" as a waypoint or on a frequency, I think about what comes next and what needs to be done for success.  It's kind of how I approach my everyday life, not just flying.

I think I'm going to try it on one of my basic flying students too, as well as my instrument students.  What are you trying to achieve in a crosswind landing?  To land on the runway, with the upwind wheel first, with the nose pointing parallel to the center line.  Beyond that, does it really matter how you get there?

I do use one mnemonic on every flight - GUMPS before landing.  That's because I'm paranoid about having the gear down and checked.  I check it 3 times on each approach, and on an instrument approach I equate gear down with final descent - I won't fly the glide-slope unless the gear is down and checked.  Gear down - going down.G-D g-d?  Another acronym?


Gary said...

GUMPS for me too, no gear but use it for Gas, U for things U should know; DH, MDA or pattern altitude when VFR. Mixture, Pump, Safety & Switches.

My other favorite is WIRE for those moments I ask myself why do I have nothing to do. Wx, Instruments, Radio and Enroute fix and/or Elevation (altitude).

Never liked the 5 T's

Chad said...

Your five T's are different then the ones I was taught, and in different orders... Time, Turn, Twist, Throttle, Talk.

GUMPS for me was always, Gas, Undercarriage, Mixture, Props, Switches.

Never heard of the other ones your post, but here are some others:

COWLS for a forced approach:
C - Civilization, land near it if possible
O - Obstacles, avoid them
W - Winds, land into the wind
L - Length, field long enough?
S - Surface suitable?

HASEL before commencing any aerobatics:
H - Height sufficient
A - Area appropriate
S - Security, stuff tied down?
E - Engine checks (mixture, etc)
L - Lookout

D.B. said...

Gary - when I was flying the Sundowner, I also used GUMPS, although I still used the "U" as undercarriage since I was also flying retracts. I figured it was better to be consistent across all types.

D.B. said...

Chad - see, I never learned them! I think you are right. I've also heard of some schools teaching 6T's - not for me, since I can't remember 5!