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Aircraft General & Principles of Flight

By: John Knight - Updated: 21 Aug 2012 | comments*Discuss
 
Aircraft General & Principles Of Flight

Most student pilots, as well as qualified pilots, sometimes look out of the window during flight and wonder just what the heck is keeping this thing up here! It is a fascinating subject to which there is no simple one off answer even after pawing through the many pages of explanations contained within the text books that you will study as part of the Private Pilots Licence (PPL) syllabus.

Having a good basic general knowledge of how the aircraft systems work and the principles of flight are an essential part being able to fly in a competent and safe manner.

Principles of Flight

This is a very large and fascinating subject, which does not necessarily involve mathematics but it can do for those who are interested in that side of the theory!

Even if you are not technically minded you will definitely find this information very useful, as it will allow you to visualise what is actually taking place when you are flying an aircraft and make better and more informed use of the controls.

As part of the PPL syllabus you will be expected to demonstrate a sound basic knowledge of the science and mechanics of flight as used by Private Pilots flying light aircraft.Subjects typically include items such as the Four Forces acting upon an aircraft, and the relationship between them whilst it is flying: -

  • Mass
  • Thrust
  • Lift
  • Drag

There are numerous other topics covered in this part of the syllabus including everyday practice subjects such as why a wing stalls or what causes an aircraft to go into a spin etc.

It is worth while paying attention to these points, such as stalls, as your instructor will demonstrate them to you while flying and it will be a lot easier to understand exactly what is going on and also how to correct them.

Aircraft General Knowledge

Understanding the many systems contained within a modern light aircraft is essential to your safety, taking care of the aircraft, flying competently and efficiently.

As part of the Aircraft General Knowledge exam you will need to demonstrate a good working knowledge of aircraft systems such as: -

  • Electrical
  • Electronics
  • Mechanical
  • Hydraulic
  • Engine
  • Propeller
  • Instruments

It really is essential to know this subject very well as you will use this knowledge on the ground to determine if the aircraft that you intend to fly in is safe to do so. Always use the aircraft check list and not your memory to perform these checks from as it is very easy to forget an item that may become faulty or critical during flight!

Learn to recognise different types of system failures during flight and what actions are necessary to correct them or avoid danger. Simulate these failures such as a magneto, Direction Indicator (DI), radio failure or blocked pitot tube with your instructor on board so they become second nature to you and hopefully do not panic should you be unlucky enough for the real thing to happen.

Remember that like all subjects in the PPL syllabus the information that you learn from it will be put to practical use and should be remembered and not just considered as another one of those test that is trying to stop you from getting into the air and forgotten about after passing the exam.

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