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Review of Applied Aerodynamics for Private and Commercial Pilots

Cover of Applied Aerodynamics for Private and Commercial Pilots

For the past few months, I’ve been reading Steve Pomroy’s Applied Aerodynamics for Private and Commercial Pilots. Written by an aerobatic instructor with a background in engineering, Applied Aerodynamics brings clarity to a fascinating and often misunderstood subject. I think it’s a great read and a great resource for pilots of all levels. Here’s why.

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Flying Tip: Test the brakes

A CRJ-200 skids off the runway

One of the marks of being a mindful pilot is to limit wear and tear on the airplane as much as possible. That includes little habits like keeping the lights off when they aren’t needed and keeping braking to a minimum. That’s part of the reason flight instructors harp on aerodynamic braking so much.

With that in mind, suppose you’re landing on JFK’s runway 31R, a 10,00 foot long runway. When are you going to get on the brakes?

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Flying Strategically

What speed are you going to climb at today? I’m guessing most of you are thinking Vy or possibly Vx — best rate and best angle climb speed. Maybe you’re thinking of a standard cruise-climb speed. CRJ-200 pilots might be say 290 knots / .74 Mach, and that certainly fits the standard profile for the airplane.

My answer might seem pretty ambiguous. I don’t know — it depends on the situation.

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The Myth of Maneuvering Speed

Maneuvering Speed Myths

Most pilots and flight instructors understand VA as the maximum speed at which the airplane will stall prior to structural damage, and that full deflection of the flight controls at or below this speed poses no risk to the airplane. This is a dangerous assumption and it is simply untrue.

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