FAMILIARISATION WITH THE AIRCRAFT

LESSON OBJECTIVES:

  1.  Identify the different parts of an aircraft

  2. Discover and understand the different flight instruments and their function

  3. Describe the forces that act on the aircraft while in flight

  1. Propeller -> A spinning mechanism with two or more blades that generates thrust

  2. Engine -> It uses fuel to generate a rotational movement transmitted to the propeller

  3. Fuselage -> Central part of the aircraft where the pilot, the passengers, the baggage...etc are located

  4. Landing Gear -> Three or more wheels attached at the bottom of the fuselage that supports the aircraft´s weight and allows directional control when the aircraft is on the ground

  5. Wings -> The most characteristic part of an aircraft. Generate lift and store the fuel for the engine. The frontal part that first meets the air is called the leading edge, and the part where the air leaves are called the trailing edge.

  6. Navigation Lights -> Red/Green lights each located at the left/right wingtips respectively and a white light located at the tail used to determine the relative position of an aircraft with respect to other

  7. Ailerons (Orange) -> Control surface located in the outboard part of the wing trailing edge designed to incline the wings to the left/right

  8. Flaps (Red) -> Devices located in the inboard part of the wing trailing edge designed to shorten the take-off and landing distances

  9. Radio Antenna -> Various antennas are used, some allow communication with the control tower or other aircraft and others receive signals to help the navigation

  10. Horizontal Stabilizer -> Horizontal component of the tail

  11. Elevator (Yellow) -> Control surface located at the horizontal stabilizer trailing edge designed to move the aircraft´s nose up/down

  12. Vertical Stabilizer -> Vertical component of the tail

  13. Rudder (Purple) -> Control surface located at the vertical stabilizer trailing edge designed to move the nose left/right

  14. Flashing Beacon -> Light that indicates that the engine is running or about to start

Aircraft Parts.png

-Aircraft Parts-

-The Aircraft Cockpit-

A cockpit, also known as a flight deck, is the area from which the pilot operates the different aircraft controls and systems. We will see the different buttons, levers and handles that the pilot uses to control all different types of systems from external lights to engine management

  1. Flight Instruments -> Instruments used by the pilot to get information about the aircraft situation. For example, how fast the aircraft is moving or at which altitude it is flying. In the next session, there is a more detailed description of each instrument and its function 

  2. Navigation Instruments -> Instruments used by the pilot to get information about the aircraft location using the signals sent by radio navigational aids (NAVAIDs) installed on the ground

  3. Audio Panel Panel (ACP) -> This panel is used to configure different things related to the audio quality in the cockpit such as the selection of the radios used for transmitting and receiving messages from Air Traffic Control (ATC)

  4. Engine & Accessory Instruments -> Monitor the engine parameters: engine temperature, oil pressure, exhaust gas temperature. Each aircraft has instruments to measure different parameters of the engine. There are instruments inside this category such as an amperemeter to measure the rate of charge/discharge of the battery. In the image, we can also see the fuel quantity indicators that measure the fuel in the right and the left-wing

  5. Radios -> In these radios, we can select the frequencies used to communicate with the ATC or to be able to receive signals from a nearby NAVAID. In some aircraft, the radios are complemented with a GPS receiver and screen to locate the aircraft and help in the navigation. Usually, two radios are equipped in the aircraft with 1 channel for communication and the other for NAVAIDs each one.

  6. Circuit Breakers -> These buttons are safety devices of the electrical systems of the aircraft when they detect an abnormality in the flow of electricity of a determined system. the circuit-breaker pops out isolating the system and preventing a short-circuit. They work as the common fuse with the difference that the circuit breakers can be reset.

  7.  Tachometer -> Indicates the revolutions per minute (RPM) at which the engine is working, measuring the quantity of power produced

  8. Transponder -> System that receives/sends signals to a ground station and allows ATC to monitor in real-time your flight (position, altitude, speed..etc). The system uses a number given to the pilot by the ATC, the squawk number, to allow the transfer of information

  9. Autopilot -> In some GA aircraft, an autopilot with basic functions is included to reduce pilot workload. The autopilot can maintain a determined altitude, direction, follow the signal of a NAVAID ...etc

  10. Magnetos -> Controls the spark plugs used to burn the air/fuel mixture in the engine. Each cylinder has two spark plugs. The magnetos key has four settings (Off, Right, Left and Both), left and right settings allow only one spark plug per cylinder to work; in both, the two spark plugs work at the same time, improving the combustion and generating more power

  11. Master -> Composed of two buttons, one of the buttons turn on the battery and the other the alternator or generator

  12. Switch Panel -> In this panel, we found the on/off switches for a variety of systems like the lights, the electrical fuel pumps...etc

  13. Avionics Master -> By avionics we refer to the electronic systems that an aircraft uses for a variety of functions (communications, navigation, management of multiple systems), the radios, the transponder..etc will enter in this category

  14. Throttle -> IIt controls the amount of air and fuel going to the engine. More air/fuel, more RPM, thus more thrust

  15. Mixture ->  The red knob controls the quantity of fuel that mixes with the air. At high altitudes, the air density decreases, less air is available and fuel quantity is decreased. Leaning and enriching the mixture means less/more fuel mixing with air respectively

  16. Flap Lever -> The flaps are a part of the wing located near the root and in the trailing edge that extends downward to shorten the take-off and landing distances. The flaps lever control the quantity of extension of the flaps

  17. Trim Wheel -> Trim is used to reduce the force that the pilot has to apply in the control column to control the aircraft. We talk about it in Lesson Nº3 - Effects of Controls, the trim wheel can be substituted in some aircraft by buttons but the working principle is the same

Aircraft Systems.png

-The Flight Instruments-

Now, we will introduce you to the flight instruments ("six-pack"), their function and location in two different arrangements (analogue/digital)

  1. Airspeed Indicator -> Indicates the speed of the aircraft through the air in knots (1 kt = 1.852 km/hr = 1.15 mph )

  2. Attitude Indicator -> Indicates the position of the aircraft wings and nose in reference to the Earth´s horizon

  3. Altitude Indicator -> Indicates our altitude over the sea level (1 ft = 0.3048 m)

  4. Turn Coordinator -> Indicates direction (left/right) and coordination of a turn (we will discuss coordination in another lesson)

  5. Directional Gyro -> Indicates the heading (direction to which the aircraft is pointing in reference to the North) (North (000º)/East (090º)/South (180º)/West (270º)) and it is measured in degrees 

  6. Vertical Speed Indicator -> Indicates how fast the aircraft is climbing/descending (ft/min)

Analog Flight Instruments
Digital Flight Instruments

 To be able to control appropriately the aircraft, pilots need to comprehend why an aircraft is capable of flying, and the basic physics and mechanics of flight. This section will go over the basic aspects of aerodynamics to understand the science behind the miracle:

  1. Lift -> It is the force that makes flight possible and it is produced as the air flows over the upper and lower surface of the wing. Lift function is to counteract the aircraft weight

  2. Thrust -> If the lift is the force that makes flight possible, thrust is the force that sustains it. It is the force that moves an aircraft in the direction of motion and is created by a propeller or a jet engine. Thrust opposes drag

  3. Weight -> It is the force caused by the mass of the aircraft being pulled to the centre of the Earth by gravity. Weight opposes lift

  4. Drag -> It is the force that acts opposite to the direction of motion and tends to slow an object. Drag is caused by friction and differences in air pressure (we will discuss this later on). Drag opposes thrust

Four Forces of Flight

-The 4 Forces of Flight