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-   -   Not understanding AoA indicators... (https://www.airlinepilotforums.com/safety/84956-not-understanding-aoa-indicators.html)

cardiomd 11-22-2014 04:39 AM


Originally Posted by Yoda2 (Post 1768056)
I agree with your post Timbo. I learned to fly the same way. I have also flown/delivered a few airplanes without airspeed indication. Unfortunately not enough folks learn to fly that way anymore. I FEEL... this might be a sizeable component of the current LOC issue. I am now in favor of the AOA use in general aviation and especially as a training aid. Though it will also better prepare those who go forth to fly aircraft where it's use would be more beneficial or even considered imperative.

I also agree. Perhaps this is a less appropriate forum for this, as from my understanding transport pilots don't fly by feel as much, and fly procedurally (unless flying their piston single on the weekend.) Most of even basic IFR training was undoing the "feel" concept for me and flying procedurally.

If one looks at it from that perspective then AOA would be more useful. For instance a direct display to the pilots may have prevented AF447, or in GA pitot icing (as long as no AOA icing) you would not be at risk of losing control. I can't imagine Joe Six-pack in his piper gaining any significant utility on routine flights.

FDXLAG 11-22-2014 04:47 AM

You say you are trying understand why. Let me spell it out for you. There is no better device for training the "feel" of an aircraft than an AOA indicator. It works in all attitudes and all power settings.

Hold 20 units AOA in a level turn, feel that lite tickle great. Now hold 22 units, feel the ailerons hitting the buffet, great. Now hold 26 units, see how the nose is starting to wander, feel the elephants on the wing, look how much power you have in and we are still bleeding airspeed.

Timbo 11-22-2014 05:51 AM


Originally Posted by cardiomd (Post 1768466)
Having a good feel for the plane prevents you from doing all sorts of horrible things and is essential for good VFR flying. In fact I would say that is the one thing that makes you from a standard pilot to a great, safe pilot.

How is AOA better than ASI for routine non-accelerated/non-high G and non high-altitude flight? It's not. Essentially same information.

Everybody wants to have the next whiz-bang stall/spin protection device. In a few years some will say synthetic vision is required to prevent CFIT. I understand and recognize its use but I don't need it now.

Here is a typical stall/spin accident from a few months ago, unfortunately fatal. Look at the attitude, power, airspeed (AOA surrogate) during the entire event.

PLANE CRASH FROM INSIDE COCKPIT

Money retrofitting planes with AOA trinkets would be better spent on instilling better basic airmanship for most GA guys. The two pilots did a lot of obvious things wrong, and having yet another gauge screaming at them would be unlikely to prevent the incident.

I had to watch that video 3 times and I'm still not sure I understand what they were trying to do. Seems the violated a lot of basics after the touch and go.

First not enough rudder when the power was applied, to stay over the runway and climb. Then it seemed like the guy in the right seat (an IP?) took the airplane and rather than climb, he decided to do a very low altitude, low speed, hard left turn. :rolleyes: If they'd had some type of aural warning, either stall or AOA, the guy flying might have eased off the back pressure.

I know I always do, when I hear the stall warning in a hard turn down low!

Airspeed is life.
Altitude is life insurance! ;)

cardiomd 11-22-2014 06:36 AM


Originally Posted by Timbo (Post 1768641)
I had to watch that video 3 times and I'm still not sure I understand what they were trying to do. Seems the violated a lot of basics after the touch and go.

First not enough rudder when the power was applied, to stay over the runway and climb. Then it seemed like the guy in the right seat (an IP?) took the airplane and rather than climb, he decided to do a very low altitude, low speed, hard left turn. :rolleyes: If they'd had some type of aural warning, either stall or AOA, the guy flying might have eased off the back pressure.

I know I always do, when I hear the stall warning in a hard turn down low!

Airspeed is life.
Altitude is life insurance! ;)

Yeah, some have thought that perhaps there was another plane on upwind that they were perhaps avoiding? They look several times to the right as if checking traffic. The instructor then pulls the throttle and finally gives it back as they skim the treetops and start the fatal left turn.

I'm pretty careful to never load the wing heavily in the pattern, as that is where an accelerated stall can more easily take place. These guys just seemed clueless as to the impending danger. Terrible instructor, and depending on his experience level, clueless student.

If I ever become CFI, perhaps in my golden years, I'd have students practice accelerated stalls, or at least stalls in a banked turn. One has to be prepared to exit a spin though so I can understand why it is not taught with non-utility aircraft; I only did it in context of spinning the craft. Important to see how the stall will occur at higher airspeed. Yep, AOA would show this directly, but 99%+ of all GA aircraft don't have one so it is better IMO to learn this relationship without additional gizmos and actually "internalize" the relationship from experience.

Cubdriver 11-22-2014 08:02 AM

I think a large scale shift in flight training over to using AoA concepts would be appropriate. In my ten years of flying I've been impressed how efficiently procedural most pilots are in their flying habits while at the same time they often display a weak feel for the airplane and an even weaker knowledge of applied flying concepts. I know why- the GA primary flight training culture from the FAA on up has a serious weakness in terms of its basic approach to flying. Can we fly safely without AoA being a serious part of our flying consciousness? Sure. Would making AoA a large part of our flying consciousness improve us by making us more aware of what is going on physically around us, and as a result make for safer pilots? I have no doubt that it would.

In the 1950s the FAA in conjunction with GA industry, took a strong turn toward dumbing down GA so that a wider cohort of average persons would be able to adopt and use aviation on the personal level and buy airplanes. They stripped out the more challenging flight training tasks and dumbed down flight concepts in such way the average person could understand it. They separated cause from practical solution, and supplied rote flying methods. They removed spin training for example while industry supplied nosewheel airplanes with spin resistant designs, reed type stall horns and automatic instruments like the self righting attitude indicator, directional gyro and turn and bank indicator. All that helped. But the unfortunate side effect is that entire generations of GA pilots fly by rote procedure and have a weak feeling for the airplane with an even weaker appreciation of flight science.

What I would like to see is a return to an emphasis on thinking about flying "while" flying. It's a rich, sophisticated discipline that deserves a higher level of academic awareness and the technology to add things like AoA, g-loading, tail plane performance, n number, and so on is cheap enough now to justify having it. We can get these things on a cell phone for heaven sake, why not have them in a configurable screen on a glass cockpit display and implement training from the FAA on up how to use them.

Adlerdriver 11-22-2014 09:43 AM


Originally Posted by cardiomd (Post 1763420)
I agree, if somebody is going to stall/spin then they probably should not be flying.


Originally Posted by cardiomd (Post 1763420)
You are far from the only person that has this opinion and I'm always somewhat surprised by it. I learned steam+G430 and upgraded to glass G1000 and it took all of an hour to become extremely comfortable.


Originally Posted by cardiomd (Post 1763420)
Obviously I was an engineer and am comfortable with technical stuff, and did have some sim experience, but I can not conceive how it could take almost "all of 25 hours" to get somebody up to basics with those avionics!


Originally Posted by cardiomd (Post 1764238)
The average pilot, who finds the G1000 exceedingly complex, would simply ignore it.



Originally Posted by cardiomd (Post 1764632)
If grandpa can't even figure out how to lean an engine for altitude takeoff, taking off a full 3,000 feet DA above performance limit at max gross weight, and not aborting after the multiple opportunities he had, he's sure as hell not going to learn how to interpret an AOA gauge.


Originally Posted by cardiomd (Post 1764695)
An AOA gauge won't fix stupid.


I think one of the main reasons we (collectively) continue to avoid meeting on common
ground regarding this issue is your perspective (or lack thereof) on the instructional benefits. Considering that viewpoint is not in your tool bag, I really think you’re coming at this discussion at a bit of a disadvantage.

Based on comments you’ve made here and in other threads, you clearly are sporting an above average ego. As an accomplished professional at the top of his game, I don’t doubt that it’s deserved. As a pilot, it sounds like you’ve got experience and the ratings to go with it – so I take your viewpoints and opinions with respect.
However, being able to put yourself in the shoes of the student or even just the less
experienced pilot still learning what you already know does not appear to be one of your strong points. Whether learning to use a G1000 or lacking empathy for the hamfist who stall/spins his aircraft, you seem to come at this discussion assuming everyone will (or
should) bring the same level of capability as you.


A civilian student pilot who has been taught to fly “procedurally” via accepted airspeeds/bank angles isn’t necessarily going to come away from that instruction with a complete working knowledge of stalls. In spite of further flying instruction and book knowledge some may never progress past their procedural capability. That is a fact. Expecting someone to study and digest all the subtle nuances that lay within that diagram you posted is not realistic either. Being able to combine the two into a working knowledge of flight envelope limitations while actually operating the aircraft is just not going to be within every new pilot’s ability.


They'll just fly the speeds they've been taught and most will stay out of trouble. Most will “get it” as you did, but some will not. That should be fairly clear based on the continuing occurrence of traffic pattern stall/spin accidents in the GA world. We could collectively scoff at their ineptness, call them stupid and submit them for a Darwin or acknowledge the possibility that they may have benefitted from another layer of knowledge provided via daily use of an AOA gauge. Considering the procedural speeds are usually a worse case estimate, personally I'd rather know a little more accurately where I really sit in the envelope.


Perhaps you could just defer to the thousands of hours instructing many of the AOA proponents in this discussion bring to it and simply trust them on this. Adding this tool to mix has a significant potential to allow those with less inherent or natural ability and less technical savvy as you to tie the concepts involved here into a practical understanding of how to apply them.
Beyond the instructional benefits there are others which would be less used on a routine basis but greatly appreciated if they were needed. Icing, L/D max events, pitot static failures, max gw situations to name a few. Put all that together and it really seems like a no brainer, IMO.

Originally Posted by cardiomd (Post 1768466)
If somebody feels like they need it, sure. However, rather than trying to retrofit the 1980's trainers that most people still learn to fly on, studying a diagram and understanding the concepts of AOA, wing loading, relation to speeds, etc would likely yield better results.



Originally Posted by cardiomd (Post 1768466)
Would AOA gauge be a useful addition for training? Sure. Understanding AOA can be accomplished without this and these are pretty fundamental concepts. .

For you – doctor, engineer, etc. studying these “fundamental” concepts via graph worked. Are you really that blind to the possibility that some people are going to learn those concepts better via first hand application and visualization in the airplane while actually flying the stalls rather than studying a graph?

Originally Posted by cardiomd (Post 1768466)
Money retrofitting planes with AOA trinkets would be better spent on instilling better basic airmanship for most GA guys. The two pilots did a lot of obvious things wrong, and having yet another gauge screaming at them would be unlikely to prevent the incident.

Using such a “trinket” would allow instructors to instill the airmanship more effectively – that is the point. Then the AOA gauge is never “screaming at them” in the first place – you’re seeing it as a reactionary tool rather than something that may help prevent the situation in the first place.



Originally Posted by cardiomd (Post 1768613)
I can't imagine Joe Six-pack in his piper gaining any significant utility on routine flights.

There, Sir, is the crux of the problem. I don’t think you are able to put yourself in Joe’s head and think everyone is or at least should be at your level.



Originally Posted by cardiomd (Post 1768677)
Important to see how the stall will occur at higher airspeed. Yep, AOA would show this directly, but 99%+ of all GA aircraft don't have one so it is better IMO to learn this relationship without additional gizmos and actually "internalize" the relationship from experience.

I disagree. Once a pilot has been able to gain a real practical understanding of that relationship by incorporating an AOA gauge, he would be far better equipped to then fly an aircraft without AOA. The fact that most GA aircraft don’t have AOA is even more of a reason to train new pilots with one.

Timbo 11-22-2014 03:08 PM


Originally Posted by cardiomd (Post 1768613)
I also agree. Perhaps this is a less appropriate forum for this, as from my understanding transport pilots don't fly by feel as much, and fly procedurally (unless flying their piston single on the weekend.) Most of even basic IFR training was undoing the "feel" concept for me and flying procedurally.

If one looks at it from that perspective then AOA would be more useful. For instance a direct display to the pilots may have prevented AF447, or in GA pitot icing (as long as no AOA icing) you would not be at risk of losing control. I can't imagine Joe Six-pack in his piper gaining any significant utility on routine flights.

How much time have you spent flying an airplane with an AOA indicator?

I grew up flying Piper Cubs, then Cessnas, then multi engine Pipers, then multi engine turbo props, then Lear Jets. Not one of those airplanes had an AOA indicator. I'd never even seen one, and I survived. I was taught to fly by feel, and I flew a lot, so I learned what it feels like to get on the backside of the power curve.

Then at age 23, with over 4,500 hours of non-AOA flying, I joined the Air Guard and went through Air Force pilot training, where we flew the T38 and it had an AOA indicator. First time I'd ever seen one.

I quickly became addicted to it! It is SO EASY to fly AOA in the traffic pattern vs. looking in for your airspeed, looking out, looking in for your airspeed, looing out for your aim point, looking in, looking out, etc.

Angle of Attack is such an easy concept to grasp, I wish someone had told me about it when I was flying Cubs! I understood stalls, and I understood accelerated stalls, but we had no indication of how hard you could pull before things went to crap.

All an AOA does is make it EASIER to understand, and SEE, how much more you can (or cannot) pull. You don't need to do the math on what your airspeed and bank is. Once you get into the yellow, you'd better back off, or else.

In the GA world, without AOA, you have to fly a lot in the same airplane to develop the feel for where that fine line is, at different airspeeds, bank and configurations. With an AOA indicator, you don't.

It is a really simple way to quickly gain some situational awareness about how much reserve lift you have available.

How do you think the military can take a 23yr. old kid with zero time, and a year later turn him loose in a F16?

Because they teach him how to fly the AOA.

Could Joe Sixpack benefit from this kind of simplicity??

Yeah, you betcha!

Watch the first 2 minutes of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne6ClleBncI

Fluglehrer 11-22-2014 06:53 PM


Originally Posted by Timbo (Post 1769027)
Watch the first 2 minutes of this: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ne6ClleBncI

I like the gradation on that Bendix-King AOA indicator. The T-38 only had green donut and red and yellow chevron. That Bendix-King looks like it would be almost as good as a round dial, and maybe easier to read.

Timbo 11-22-2014 07:47 PM


Originally Posted by Fluglehrer (Post 1769160)
I like the gradation on that Bendix-King AOA indicator. The T-38 only had green donut and red and yellow chevron. That Bendix-King looks like it would be almost as good as a round dial, and maybe easier to read.

I'd like it more if it had an aural tone too! :D

Yoda2 11-22-2014 08:03 PM

I believe the model on Fred Scott's deal featured aural tones and female voice. I think its canned phrases should be expanded to also say things like "Nice landing" "You're an awesome pilot" and "Sorry, you're screwed!"


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