Operation of Systems


To determine that the member exhibits satisfactory knowledge, risk management, and skills associated with the safe operation of systems on the airplane provided for the flight test.


This is the required reading for this lesson. Numbers in [brackets] indicate the starting and ending page in the referenced reading material. Read all the pages and sections referenced.


The notes below highlight the important parts in the referenced material. Reading the notes without having read the actual referenced material is generally not sufficient to pass the written exam!

PHAK - Chapter 6

  • The flight controls control the forces of flight and the aircraft's direction and attitude.
  • Primary flight controls are: Ailerons, elevator, and rudder.
  • Secondary flight controls found on most small aircraft are: Wing flaps and trim.
  • Ailerons control roll. Elevator controls pitch. Rudder controls yaw.
  • Wing flaps increase lift and drag. Trim reduces control pressure.
  • Adverse yaw is produced whenever the ailerons are moved.
  • Aileron and rudder must be moved together for a coordinated turn.

PHAK - Chapter 7

  • Two key aircraft systems are the powerplant and electrical systems.
  • The powerplant (engine) is the heart of the aircraft.
  • The electrical system's core components are the battery and alternator
  • Four-stroke engine: 1) Intake, 2) Compression, 3) Power, 4) Exhaust
  • The magnetos power the spark plugs separately from the electrical system.
  • The mixture controls the fuel-air mixture. Less fuel is required at high altitude due to less air density, while more fuel is required at low altitude due to high air density. An improper mixture will result in less power...

PHAK - Chapter 8

  • Flight instruments may be displayed as "steam gauges" or as a "glass panel."
  • Flight instruments are classified as one of two types
    • Pitot-static
    • Gyroscopic
  • The pitot-static instruments include the:
    • Airspeed indicator
    • Vertical speed indicator (VSI)
    • Altimeter
  • The gyroscopic instruments include the:
    • Turn coordinator
    • Heading indicator
    • Attitude indicator

AFH - Chapter 14

  • Turboprop Engines
    • Excels the reciprocating engine in top speed and altitude performance
    • Limited takeoff and initial climb performance
    • Offers several advantages over other types of engines
      • Lightweight
      • Mechanical reliability due to relatively few moving parts
      • Simplicity of operation
      • Minimum vibration
      • High power per unit of weight
      • Use of propeller for takeoff and landing
  • Turboprop Engine Types
    • Fixed Shaft
    • Split Shaft/ Free Turbine Engine
  • Reverse Thrust and Beta Range Operations
    • In the "reverse" pitch position, the engine/propeller turns in the same direction as in the normal (forward) pitch position, but the propeller blade angle is positioned to the other side of flat pitch.
    • In reverse pitch, air is pushed away from the airplane rather than being drawn over it.
    • Reverse pitch results in braking action, rather than forward thrust of the airplane.

AFH - Chapter 15

  • Jet Engines
    • One of the advantages of the jet engine over the piston engine is the jet engine's capability of producing much greater amounts of thrust horsepower at the high altitudes and high speeds.
      • Turbojet engine efficiency increases with altitude and speed.
    • Initial thrust output of the jet engine on takeoff is relatively lower and does not reach peak efficiency until the higher speeds
      • The fanjet or turbofan engine was developed to help compensate for this problem
    • Thrust is determined by the amount of fuel injected into the combustion chamber
      • N1 - the low-pressure compressor section and/or fan speed
      • N2 - the gas generator section
      • N3 - used in triple spool engines
      • Exhaust Gas Temperature (EGT) - the temperature of the exhaust gases as they enter the tail pipe after passing through the turbine
      • Turbine Inlet Temperature (TIT) - the temperature of the gases from the combustion section of the engine as they enter the first stage of the turbine
      • Interstage Turbine Temperature (ITT) - the temperature of the gases between the high-pressure and low-pressure turbine wheels
      • Turbine Outlet Temperature (TOT) - like EGT, turbine outlet temperature is taken aft of the turbine wheel(s)
  • In not having propellers, the jet-powered airplane is minus two assets:
    • It is not possible to produce increased lift instantly by simply increasing power
    • It is not possible to lower stall speed by simply increasing power
  • Drag Devices
    • Spoilers - spoil lift
    • Speed brakes - produce drag
  • Thrust Reversers
    • Target reverser - simple clamshell doors that swivel from the stowed position at the engine tailpipe
    • Normally found on turbofan engines and are often designed to reverse only the fan air portion
  • V-Speeds
    • V1 - Critical engine failure speed or takeoff decision speed
      • It is the speed at which the pilot is to continue the takeoff in the event of an engine failure or other serious emergency
    • VR - Rotation speed, or speed at which the rotation of the airplane is initiated to takeoff attitude
    • V2 - Takeoff safety speed
      • A referenced airspeed obtained after lift-off at which the required one-engine- inoperative climb performance can be achieved
    • VSO - Stall speed in the landing configuration
    • VREF - 1.3 times the stall speed in the landing configuration
    • Vac - Missed approach climb speed for flap configuration with one powerplant failed
    • VFS - Final segment of a departure with one powerplant failed
  • Six ways in which a jet airplane is worse than a piston-engine airplane in making an approach and in correcting errors on the approach:
    • The absence of the propeller slipstream in producing immediate extra lift at constant airspeed
    • The absence of the propeller slipstream in significantly lowering the power-on stall speed
      • It is not possible in a jet airplane to jam the thrust levers forward to avoid a stall
    • Poor acceleration response in a jet engine from low rpm
    • The increased momentum of the jet airplane making sudden changes in the flightpath impossible
    • The lack of good speed stability being an inducement to a low-speed condition
    • Drag increasing faster than lift producing a high sink rate at low speeds

Sim Pilot Notes

These notes highlight the differences between simulator and real-world flying. These differences are most often due to simulator limitations or specific VATSIM rules.

  • Depending on the aircraft model being flown you need to be able to explain the basic operations of the following items:
    • Autopilot and FMS functionality
    • Air
    • Fuel
    • Hydraulics

Tomas Hansson (This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.)
Chief Flight Instructor, VATSTAR
DISCLAIMER: all information contained herein is for flight simulation purposes only.
March 2021

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