COMMENTARY / PLANE TALK
LAURAN PAINE JR.
Do it for you
IN BETWEEN STRAIGHT-AND-LEVEL TRAVEL/sightseeing flying and
competition/air show aerobatics flying is a place for us all to
dwell, a place for us to spice up and more thoroughly enjoy our
flying. It’s a place I go to often. In fact, I go there every time I
fly alone. It makes me happy. Where is it? It’s a place in the sky;
I go there to play. And it’s very good medicine.
Here’s how you play: You climb to a safe altitude in your favorite practice area, far from airways and cities, and do a couple of
steep turns. That allows you to “clear the area.” But here’s the
deal: If I don’t like the steep turns I did, I do them again. And
again, as necessary, until I do them to the standard I’ve set for
myself. And that’s the idea: Today we’re going to fly to our own
standards, not someone else’s, not to some agency standards, but
to the ones you’ve set for yourself. (Hint: Set your standards high.)
Lauran and his RV- 8 en route to his playground.
Okay, you get the idea. Now do some
slow flight. Don’t do it to some vague reference from some training manual in your
past. Do it like this: Start at 90 KIAS.
Then slow to 80. Then to 70. Now to 60.
And I mean do it; don’t just slop through
it. Nail it! Whatever speed you are at, put
the pointy tip of the airspeed indicator
needle smack in the middle of the index
marker on the airspeed indicator and
keep it there. Settle for nothing less.
And do not let the altimeter move, or
Can you always keep everything perfect? Of course not. But you should
always be trying. And guess what? The
more you do it, the better you’ll do it.
Guaranteed. And note how the closer you
hold your tolerances, the smoother you
must be. That’s always a good thing,
right? You’re not doing this for anybody
else or for some checkride; you’re doing
this for you. And the better you do it, the
better you’ll feel about your flying. And
that, exactly, is the point. Plus, it’s fun!
I don’t need to remind you to keep
looking outside, right? Good. That’s part
of the exercise, too. Don’t fixate on the
instruments: feel the airplane, listen to it,
note the position of the nose on the horizon. The better you read all the clues
your airplane is giving you, the better off
Now, before you jump up and down on
my head about telling you how to fly, I’m