FlightGear Flight Simulator
8. The Runway from Crosswind
As my plane climbs in thecrosswind leg, I look back overmy shoulder to check where Iam relative to the runway.Normally, you should not needmuch distance before yourcrosswind turn, so the runwaywill still be fairly close to theplane.
9. Turn to Downwind
I'm almost a mile from the runway, and it's time to do the turn todownwind. Again, I pick a spot under my wing and then turn to fly towardsit. Because I'm reaching circuit altitude at the same time as my turn,things are getting a little trickier:1. I have to hold the plane in its bank, keeping the horizon and thecorrect angle across the windshield.2. I have to push my nose down to the cruise attitude (see below),so that the plane doesn't climb past circuit altitude of 1500 ft ASL.3. I have to pull back the power to a cruise setting once the planehas accelerated to between 90-100 kt.At first, it might be a good idea to turn earlier or later so that you can separate the levelling-out from the turning, butit will all come together with practice. If you end up gaining or losing a couple of hundred feet, don't feel bad -- thathappens at first in real life as well.In any case, the rule for starting or ending a climb is APT:
. First I push the nose down toincrease your airspeed,
I pull the power back to a cruise power setting, and finally I use the elevator trim tohelp hold the plane in your cruise attitude.
10. Downwind Leg
The downwind leg is often the longest part of the circuit. I have pulled thepower back to 2100rpm and have put the nose into the
, where the horizon is between a half and a third of the way upthe windshield, just like it was when the plane was on the ground. I cross-check the altimeter to make sure that I'm not climbing or descending,then make
adjustments to my attitude if necessary, but I do not keepwatching the altimeter while I'm doing that. It's surprisingly easy to holdaltitude this way, once you get used to it.As soon as I'm established on downwind, I make a radio call to tower andget my sequence for landing; I also tell them whether I plan to make a fullstop (they'll assume a touch-and-go if I don't specify). Finally, I perform my downwind checks: fuel on both, mixturerich, carb heat hot (well, not in a C172R), mags on both, primer locked, brake pressure positive.
11. The Runway from Downwind
While I'm flying my downwind, I look out the side to check that I'mtracking parallel to the runway. In a strong crosswind, the heading of theplane will not be parallel to the runway, so I have to watch whether therunway seems to be getting nearer or farther rather than staying thesame distance. During this flight, the winds are light and the runway
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