Needless steep climbouts

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PilotDAR
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Needless steep climbouts

Post by PilotDAR »

My rant for this evening:

A pretty Carbon Cub on PK amphibious floats (so $350,000 +?) is shown on Facebook with a pleasingly short ground roll on takeoff. Sure. Then, a needless steep climbout, with no obstacles to be seen. The pilot, while nicely displaying a short groundroll, then puts him/herself and the plane at great risk, should the engine quit just after takeoff. Any approved flight manual will state to climb at Vx to clear the obstacles, then accelerate to Vy to climb away, to dissuade pilots from needlessly doing this.

Yes, the plane will climb more steeply at Vx, but all the time spent at this slower speed within several hundred feet up, is flying in a configuration from which a safe gliding landing cannot be made (until you're many hundred feet up). If the engine quits at Vx, by the time you have accelerated in the glide to a speed from which you can flare to arrest your gliding rate of descent, and land, you've already hit the ground hard. This is especially the case for an amphibious floatplane, and a plane with a bigger diameter or three blade prop.

Sure, Vy is mundane, and does not yield spectacular results, but it is more safe, and gives you a chance to get back on the ground with the least damage and injury in the case of an EFATO.
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CpnCrunch
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by CpnCrunch »

If you have an engine monitor you'll never climb at Vx ever again, unless you absolutely need to (which isn't very often). Having said that, quite often these new aircraft have very well designed cooling baffles which results in lower CHTs than your typical Cessna product.
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fish4life
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by fish4life »

Could they not be practicing the steep climb out so they are more proficient at it for the times they need it?
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Big Pistons Forever
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by Big Pistons Forever »

I showed my students the challenge of dealing with an EFATO while in a Vx climb by demonstrating the maneuver at a safe high altitude in the practice area. I have the student set up the full power climb at Vx and then smoothly but fairly quickly close the throttle. I have found that students are surprised at how fast the airspeed bleeds off and that a steep nose down attitude is needed to accelerate to best glide speed as well as how much altitude is lost before best glide speed is achieved
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by PilotDAR »

Could they not be practicing the steep climb out so they are more proficient at it for the times they need it?
I opine that pilots who frequently practice a forced approach to a full landing would likely avoid needless steep climbouts.

As BPF, when I train amphibian pilots, I'll set the plane up at altitude, power on Vx slow flight, 200 feet higher than the agreed "surface altitude", and close the throttle. I will ask the pilot to momentarily arrest the glide so as to pause the altimeter at the agree surface altitude. My experience has generally been that the plane continues down through that altitude with the stall horn blaring, and an alarmed pilot.

For anyone familiar with helicopters, they'll understand that there is a specified "avoid" curve of altitude vs airspeed for every helicopter. There should be for every airplane as well, as the same principle applies. This is really poorly taught, and leaves eager new pilots needlessly dragging planes up over imagined obstacles, unknowingly putting themselves at great risk. By the way, a likely time for an engine failure? Just airborne, nose high (less fuel flow on some types).
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Yycjetdriver
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by Yycjetdriver »

PilotDAR wrote: Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:11 pm My rant for this evening:

A pretty Carbon Cub on PK amphibious floats (so $350,000 +?) is shown on Facebook with a pleasingly short ground roll on takeoff. Sure. Then, a needless steep climbout, with no obstacles to be seen. The pilot, while nicely displaying a short groundroll, then puts him/herself and the plane at great risk, should the engine quit just after takeoff. Any approved flight manual will state to climb at Vx to clear the obstacles, then accelerate to Vy to climb away, to dissuade pilots from needlessly doing this.

Yes, the plane will climb more steeply at Vx, but all the time spent at this slower speed within several hundred feet up, is flying in a configuration from which a safe gliding landing cannot be made (until you're many hundred feet up). If the engine quits at Vx, by the time you have accelerated in the glide to a speed from which you can flare to arrest your gliding rate of descent, and land, you've already hit the ground hard. This is especially the case for an amphibious floatplane, and a plane with a bigger diameter or three blade prop.

Sure, Vy is mundane, and does not yield spectacular results, but it is more safe, and gives you a chance to get back on the ground with the least damage and injury in the case of an EFATO.
God forbid you have a little fun in the plane you paid 350K for.
Might as well go buy a Lamborghini and drive it around at 5kmh under the speed limit.
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by RedAndWhiteBaron »

Then again, you can also do it in a $125 million plane.
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photofly
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by photofly »

Big Pistons Forever wrote: Tue Oct 27, 2020 10:05 am I showed my students the challenge of dealing with an EFATO while in a Vx climb by demonstrating the maneuver at a safe high altitude in the practice area. I have the student set up the full power climb at Vx and then smoothly but fairly quickly close the throttle. I have found that students are surprised at how fast the airspeed bleeds off and that a steep nose down attitude is needed to accelerate to best glide speed as well as how much altitude is lost before best glide speed is achieved
If you climb in trim, the aircraft will nose down for you. You will even need to apply back pressure to prevent overspeeding, if you want to make the most of whatever altitude you have.

Now, are people listening to what the airplane is telling them via the yoke forces? Perhaps not.
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Big Pistons Forever
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by Big Pistons Forever »

photofly wrote: Tue Oct 27, 2020 12:16 pm
If you climb in trim, the aircraft will nose down for you. You will even need to apply back pressure to prevent overspeeding, if you want to make the most of whatever altitude you have.

Now, are people listening to what the airplane is telling them via the yoke forces? Perhaps not.
Generally right after lift off the aircraft will have takeoff trim set which will usually give a hands off speed around Vy. The pitch down will definitely still occur if the pilots lets it and doesn't momentarily freeze, which appears to have been a causal factor in some EFATO accidents, but that is the subject for another thread.

The issue here is that the pitch down at low airspeed will result in a very high sink rate which can only be arrested by accelerating to best glide, which there may not be the altitude for.

One of the trainers at a school I once work for was written off in a simulated low altitude EFATO. Both the student and the instructor were surprised by the sudden high sink rate and hit so hard all 3 gears legs were bent out, the seats were deformed down and the bottom of the wings below the fuel tanks were curved in a dome from the weight of the fuel. The plane was so badly damaged that it was written off fortunately with no injures.

The point is not to never do Vx climbs, it is to be aware of the increased risk and the requirement to take instant and effective action if the engine decides it is no longer interested in contributing to the continuation of the flight and that pilots should have experienced this situation in a safe environment
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by spinaxis »

Yycjetdriver wrote: Tue Oct 27, 2020 12:05 pm
PilotDAR wrote: Mon Oct 26, 2020 7:11 pm My rant for this evening:

A pretty Carbon Cub on PK amphibious floats (so $350,000 +?) is shown on Facebook with a pleasingly short ground roll on takeoff. Sure. Then, a needless steep climbout, with no obstacles to be seen. The pilot, while nicely displaying a short groundroll, then puts him/herself and the plane at great risk, should the engine quit just after takeoff. Any approved flight manual will state to climb at Vx to clear the obstacles, then accelerate to Vy to climb away, to dissuade pilots from needlessly doing this.

Yes, the plane will climb more steeply at Vx, but all the time spent at this slower speed within several hundred feet up, is flying in a configuration from which a safe gliding landing cannot be made (until you're many hundred feet up). If the engine quits at Vx, by the time you have accelerated in the glide to a speed from which you can flare to arrest your gliding rate of descent, and land, you've already hit the ground hard. This is especially the case for an amphibious floatplane, and a plane with a bigger diameter or three blade prop.

Sure, Vy is mundane, and does not yield spectacular results, but it is more safe, and gives you a chance to get back on the ground with the least damage and injury in the case of an EFATO.
God forbid you have a little fun in the plane you paid 350K for.
Might as well go buy a Lamborghini and drive it around at 5kmh under the speed limit.
+1
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by photofly »

Takeoff trim is considerably more nose down than power-off best glide trim. That means an aircraft trimmed for takeoff, when left to its own devices after a sudden loss of power, will end up flying considerably faster than best glide airspeed, and need back pressure (and therefore back trim) on the yoke to avoid going too fast.

Training for EFATO should involve immediately lowering the nose to just a tiny bit below the cruise attitude, which is the correct attitude for best glide. As usual, flying the correct attitude at all times will give best performance. Pushing the nose down to dive to regain airspeed will result in losing more altitude than is required.

Just as in many other cases, getting the pilot to simply let go of the controls will achieve about 80% of optimal performance. It's very easy for a pilot to do worse than that. We should try to make control inputs that actually improve on what the plane will achieve naturally.
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Last edited by photofly on Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:23 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by northernpilot2 »

Flying up in the north, there were some guys who would be in a hurry to climb to altitude on a single engine, because they were concerned about engine failure. Sure, makes sense. But what really gets me is they don't have any issue flying the 300-1 ops spec in the middle of no where, even on a SKC day. :lol:
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by trey kule »

Unless, I am really confused about things, if you are in a hurry to gain altitude, you climb at Vy,...best rateof climb.
Vx is the best angle. Typically a lower climb rate ,but over the same horizontal distance overground, a-higher altitude Then at Vy

So, if I have this pretty much correct, why would wanting to get to altitude quickest, be an issue in the north.
Please northernpilot2, explain this to me.


As for having fun with your $350 aircraft. For even more fun, try a roll immediately after takeoff. No sense in letting fear and common sense hold you back. Doing something that has to be done perfect every time, is not the place to fun it up. Old guy talking.... :smt040
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by CpnCrunch »

Also note that more excess power will result in a steeper angle for the same airspeed. The Carbon Cub SS lists it's rate of climb as "up to 2100fpm" (presumably with just the pilot on board). So that steep climb angle might in fact be Vy.

Carbon cub: 2100fpm @ 71mph = 19.6 degrees
Cessna 172: 850fpm @ 74kts = 6.5 degrees
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by Yycjetdriver »

trey kule wrote: Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:33 pm As for having fun with your $350 aircraft. For even more fun, try a roll immediately after takeoff. No sense in letting fear and common sense hold you back. Doing something that has to be done perfect every time, is not the place to fun it up. Old guy talking.... :smt040
Trey unkule, that does sound like a great idea, if I could afford a 350k airplane I would. As for “Done perfect every time” well for one no takeoff is performed perfectly, but no need to treat a light single like it’s the space shuttle.
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by iflyforpie »

photofly wrote: Tue Oct 27, 2020 1:01 pm Takeoff trim is considerably more nose down than power-off best glide trim. That means an aircraft trimmed for takeoff, when left to its own devices after a sudden loss of power, will end up flying considerably faster than best glide airspeed, and need back pressure (and therefore back trim) on the yoke to avoid going too fast.

Training for EFATO should involve immediately lowering the nose to just a tiny bit below the cruise attitude, which is the correct attitude for best glide. As usual, flying the correct attitude at all times will give best performance. Pushing the nose down to dive to regain airspeed will result in losing more altitude than is required.

Just as in many other cases, getting the pilot to simply let go of the controls will achieve about 80% of optimal performance. It's very easy for a pilot to do worse than that. We should try to make control inputs that actually improve on what the plane will achieve naturally.
Yes... the airplane without power will trim out at a higher airspeed than it will with power.

No... it will not do so in a timely manner and due to the lack of energy as airspeed decays for every foot it climbs above where the engine failed.... which means the bottom of the ensuing phugoid will certainly be subterranean.
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by trey kule »

Vx is a procedure that is only used in special circumstances. And for a short a time as required to clear an obstacle. Remember the old saying about superior pilots using their superior knowledge to avoid having to use their superior skills?
A good lesson to learn before you need To read About or participate in an accident to learn.

I believe the OP said the aircraft was on amphibious floats.
Beyond my skill and comfort levels to try a roll immediately after takeoff.

But go for it. Ask a family member to let us know how it turns out. Just don’t take anybody else with you when you try it. :lol:

Pilot Dar was making an excellent point, with more than a few lessons to learn

As an aside. i could not get my math to show the same pitch angles between the cub and the 172.. and I am a bit skeptical of an amphibious equipped cub climbing at 2100 feet a minute,
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by photofly »

iflyforpie wrote: Tue Oct 27, 2020 4:17 pm
No... it will not do so in a timely manner and due to the lack of energy as airspeed decays for every foot it climbs above where the engine failed.... which means the bottom of the ensuing phugoid will certainly be subterranean.
And to stop the phugoid, you have to apply back pressure to the yoke in a timely manner. Not push it forward. Which was really my point. Thanks.

Moral: fly the pitch, don't dive for airspeed.
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Last edited by photofly on Tue Oct 27, 2020 4:27 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by PilotDAR »

God forbid you have a little fun in the plane you paid 350K for.
I can think of all kinds of fun I could have in a Carbon Cub amphibian, without flying it in a way which needlessly increases risk. If you need to take the risk, it is what it is. But is it fun to take a risk needlessly? 'Ever spent time recovering from a plane crash?

If a pilot practices Vx EFATO (at altitude!!), and gains the experience to feel comfortable with their personal limits, okay. But at least practice and understand the risks! My point is that I think there are many pilots pointing up steeply for no good reason, without ever having practiced an engine failure from that attitude. Al least understand what you're doing!
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Re: Needless steep climbouts

Post by photofly »

Not sure about anyone else, but I'm poised to assume the best glide attitude on every takeoff, whether a Vx or Vy climbout. Isn't that the point of a pre-takeoff briefing?
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