by Jonathan M. Stern
The Four Fundamentals
To make your trip out to the practice area, you also learn the basics of the flight maneuvers necessary to get you to and fro. You've taken off from Meigs Field and begun your climb.
A climb is just one of the four fundamental flight maneuvers, which consist of:
- Straight and level flight
Naturally, every flight involves all four of the fundamentals, as well as combinations of them.
For every combination of aircraft attitude (bank and pitch) and power setting, a specific performance will result. The trick in flying is knowing the attitudes and power settings that yield the desired results. We put the small V on the windscreen at the beginning of the book, so that there would be a common reference each flight to allow you to find the right attitude straight ahead. You also can use your wing tips to help select attitudes.
In later chapters, when you learn instrument flying, you'll go through the four fundamentals once again, utilizing attitudes based on instrument readings rather than out-the-windscreen visuals.
For visual flying, the attitudes are selected and controlled primarily with reference to the horizon, although cross-reference to instrument readings is recommended. In the early stages of flying, it may be necessary to make a conscious effort to pick the reference points and to line up the V at the appropriate point relative to the horizon. Rest assured, as your experience builds, your ability to place the airplane in the desired attitude becomes second nature.
Before straight and level flight is initiated, you must complete the climb from the takeoff:
- Ideally, you select an altitude at which to fly.
- As the desired altitude is nearing, you apply forward pressure gradually on the yoke to level off at the desired altitude and allow the airspeed to accelerate to a desired cruise speed.
- When you reach the desired airspeed, reduce the throttle to a cruise setting (see Figure 4.1).
Figure 4.1. Leveling off from a climb.