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 flapsand 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 11

  • Flaps
    • Flaps work primarily by changing the camber of the airfoil which increases the wing's lift coefficient and with some flap designs the surface area of the wing is also increased.
    • Flap deflection does not increase the critical (stall) angle of attack (AOA) and, in some cases, flap deflection actually decreases the critical AOA.
  • Controllable-Pitch Propeller
    • To provide high-propeller efficiency through a wide range of operation, the propeller blade angle must be controllable.
    • The constant-speed propeller keeps the blade angle adjusted for maximum efficiency for most conditions of flight.
    • The pilot controls the engine revolutions per minute (rpm) indirectly by means of a propeller control which is connected to a propeller governor.
      • For maximum takeoff power, the propeller control is moved all the way forward to the low pitch/high rpm position, and the throttle is moved forward to the maximum allowable manifold pressure position
      • To reduce power for climb or cruise, manifold pressure is reduced to the desired value with the throttle, and the engine rpm is reduced by moving the propeller control back toward the high pitch/low rpm position until the desired rpm is observed on the tachometer.
  • Retractable Landing Gear
    • The primary benefits of being able to retract the landing gear are increased climb performance and higher cruise airspeeds due to the resulting decrease in drag.
    • It be operated either hydraulically or electrically or may employ a combination of the two systems.
    • Warning indicators are provided in the cockpit to show the pilot when the wheels are down and locked and when they are up and locked or if they are in intermediate positions.
    • Systems for emergency operation are also provided.
    • Preflight:
      • Make certain that the landing gear selector switch is in the GEAR DOWN position
      • Turn on the battery master switch and ensure that the landing gear position indicators show that the gear is DOWN and locked
    • Takeoff and Climb:
      • Normally, the landing gear is retracted after lift-off when the airplane has reached an altitude where, in the event of an engine failure or other emergency requiring an aborted takeoff, the airplane could no longer be landed on the runway.
      • As the landing gear retracts, airspeed increases and the airplane's pitch attitude may change.
    • Approach and Landing
      • The operating loads placed on the landing gear at higher airspeeds may cause structural damage due to the forces of the airstream.
      • Gear extension limiting speeds are published in the POH for the particular airplane and are usually listed on placards in the cockpit.

AFH - Chapter 12

  • Propeller Feathering
    • Minimize drag in the event of engine failure
      • The propeller windmilling at high speed in the low range of blade angles can produce an increase in parasite drag, which may be as great as the parasite drag of the basic airplane.
    • Increased oil pressure from the propeller governor drives the blade angle towards low pitch, high rpm-away from the feather blade angle.
      • This is a necessity to enable propeller feathering in the event of a loss of oil pressure or a propeller governor failure.
    • To feather the propeller, the propeller control is brought fully aft.
      • All oil pressure is dumped from the governor, and the counterweights drive the propeller blades towards feather.
    • Feathering a propeller only alters blade angle and stops engine rotation. To completely secure the engine, the pilot must still turn off the:
      • Fuel (mixture, electric boost pump, and fuel selector)
      • Ignition
      • Alternator/generator
      • Close the cowl flaps.
  • Propeller Synchronization
    • Used to eliminate noise of propeller running out of sync
    • The prop sync adjusts the rpm of second engine to precisely match the rpm of the first engine and then maintains that relationship
  • Yaw Damper
    • Servo that moves the rudder in response to inputs from a gyroscope or accelerometer that detects yaw rate
    • Minimizes motion about the vertical axis caused by turbulence
  • Anti-Icing/Deicing
    • The presence of anti-icing and deicing equipment, even though it mayappear elaborate and complete, does not necessarily mean that theairplane is approved for flight in icing conditions.
    • Anti-icing equipment includes
      • Heated pitot tubes
      • Heated or non-icing static ports and fuel vents
      • Propeller blades with electrothermal boots or alcohol slingers
      • Windshields with alcohol spray or electrical resistance heating
      • Windshield defoggers
      • Heated stall warning lift detectors
    • Deicing equipment is generally limited to pneumatic boots on wing and tail leading edges
      • Installed to remove ice that has already formed on protected surfaces
    • Anti-icing/deicing equipment only eliminates ice from the protected surfaces
      • Significant ice accumulations may form on unprotected areas, even withproper use of anti-ice and deice systems

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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