Archive for May, 2011

Parts Of An Aircraft

Private pilots should do more than just know how to fly a plane, learning about how the whole machine works is an important part in passing that checkride and obtaining that private pilot license. Getting to know the aircraft is vital in order to be prepared for hardware error scenarios.

  • Fuselage – The fuselage holds the structure together and accommodates passengers and/or cargo.
  • Cockpit – The cockpit holds the command and control section of an airplane. Modern aircraft cockpits have a number of vital instruments for controlling the airplane on the ground as well as when flying.
  • Engines – Engines generate thrust and provide hydraulic and electric power. Modern aircraft are employed with different types of engines, although jet engines are favored with by most commercial airliners.
  • Undercarriage – The undercarriage, also known as landing gear, provides a platform for the aircraft to stand as well as plays an important obvious role in landing and take-off.
  • Wing – Wings generate lift and control the airflow while flying. Wing design is a crucial factor in aviation: a wing is designed to reduce drag at the leading edge, generate lift by its crescent and manage airflow using the rear edge. Furthermore, while gliding (i.e. without engine power), the wings allow the pilot to increase and decrease the descent rate.
  • Slat – Slats adjust the angle of attack of the wings, increasing lift.
  • Flap – Flaps adjust the camber of the wings, increasing lift. Flaps are normally fitted at the trailing edge of the wings. Extending the flaps increase the camber of the wings airfoil, thus increasing lift at lowers speeds, an important feature for landing.
  • Spoiler – Spoilers adjust the camber of sections of the wings, decreasing lift. Spoilers are fitted on top of the wings, and are used to reduce lift on a section of the wing in a controlled manner.
  • Aileron – Ailerons increase or decrease lift asymmetrically, in order to change roll and, thus, move the aircraft left or right while flying. Ailerons are hinged sections fitted at the rear of each wing.
  • Horizontal stabilizer – The horizontal stabilizer helps maintain an airplane’s equilibrium and stability in flight.
  • Elevator – Elevators increase or decrease lift on the horizontal stabilizer symmetrically in order to control the pitch motion of an airplane.
  • Rudder – The rudder controls the yaw motion of an airplane. The rudder is a hinged surface fitted to the vertical stabilizer.
Categories: Uncategorized

The Aircraft Landing Gear

Every private pilot should be familiar with several types of landing gear for aircraft. The undercarriage or landing gear in aviation, is the structure that supports an aircraft on the ground and allows it to taxi, takeoff and land. Typically wheels are used, but skids, skis, floats or a combination of these and other elements can be deployed, depending on the surface.

To decrease drag in flight some undercarriages retract into the wings and/or fuselage with wheels flush against the surface or concealed behind doors; this is called retractable gear.If the wheels rest protruding and partially exposed to the air stream after being retracted, the system is called semi-retractable. This  feature is more common among larger aircraft.

Conventional landing gear is an aircraft undercarriage consisting of two main wheels forward of the centre of gravity and a small wheel or skid to support the tail.The term persists, having begun in the time when the majority or “convention” of airplanes were thus configured, even though nowadays most aircraft are configured with a tricycle landing gear.

The term taildragger is aviation jargon for an aircraft with a conventional undercarriage, although some writers have argued that the term should only refer to an aircraft with a tail skid and not a tail wheel.

Tricycle gear describes an aircraft undercarriage, or landing gear, arranged in a tricycle fashion. The tricycle arrangement has one wheel in the front, called the nose wheel, and two or more main wheels slightly aft of the center of gravity. Because of the ease of operating tricycle gear aircraft on the ground, the configuration is the most widely used on aircraft models.

There are other types like unconventional landing gear which instead of wheels will utilize skis, skids or floats. It all depends on what the pilot has in mind for the aircraft.

Categories: Uncategorized

Piper PA-44 Seminole

A popular trainer aircraft used by flight instructors in a lot of groundschools today is the Piper PA-44 Seminole. An American twin-engined light aircraft manufactured by Piper Aircraft. The PA-44 is a development of the Piper Cherokee single-engine aircraft and is primarily used for multi-engine flight training.

The Seminole was built in 1979-82, in 1989-90, and again since 1995.

The first production Seminoles are equipped with two 180-hp (135 kW) Lycoming O-360-E1A6D engines. The right hand engine is a Lycoming LO-360-E1A6D variant, which turns in the opposite direction to the left hand engine. This feature eliminates the critical engine and makes the aircraft more controllable in the event an engine needs to be shut down or fails.[4]

The Seminole was first certified on March 10, 1978 and introduced as a 1979 model year in late 1978. Gross weight is 3800 lbs (1723 kg).

Later production Seminoles were built with Lycoming O-360-A1H6 engines.

The PA-44 features a high T-tail similar to the T-tailed Arrow IV. The Seminole resembles the competitive Beechcraft Duchess.

It is a popular rental aircraft used by private pilots today as well.

General characteristics

  • Crew: 1 pilot
  • Capacity: 3 passengers
  • Length: 27 ft 7.2 in (8.41 m)
  • Wingspan: 38 ft 8 in (11.77 m)
  • Height: 8 ft 6 in (2.59 m)
  • Wing area: 184 ft² (17.1 m²)
  • Empty weight: 2,360 lb (1,070 kg)
  • Max takeoff weight: 3,800 lb (1,723 kg)
  • Powerplant: × 1 Lycoming O-360-A1H6 and 1 Lycoming LO-360-A1H6 air cooled, direct-drive, horizontally opposed 4 cylinder engine, 180 hp (135 kW) at Sea Level each
  • Propellers: Hartzell HC-C2Y(K,R)-2 two-bladed, constant speed, fully feathering, with pitch controlled by oil/nitrogen pressure propeller, 1 per engine
  • Maximum Ramp Weight: 3 816 lb (1,731 kg)
  • Fuel: 2 main nacelle tanks, each of 55 U.S. gallon capacity (110 U.S. Gal. total), 2 U.S. gallons unusable.


  • Maximum speed: 202 kt
  • Cruise speed: 155 kt
  • Range: 1,000 miles (1,630 km)
  • Service ceiling: 17,100 ft (5,213 m)
  • Rate of climb: 1,200 ft/min (366 m/min)
  • Wing loading: 21.1 lb/ft² (100.8 kg/m²)
  • Power/mass: 10.55 lb/hp (0.16 kW/kg)
  • Single Engine Service ceiling 3,800 ft
Categories: Uncategorized