Thursday, 20 November 2014

Seeking advice and the fine line

I have no problem is seeking advice from others. Especially when they have more experience and knowledge than me (for that read pretty much anybody!). So when the previous flyer of JES returned the keys back to dispatch I took a moment to ask them about the current conditions out East.

His take on the weather confirmed my suspicions that the conditions were slightly worse than the forecast would have me believe. Mentally I had already cancelled our planned trip around Lake Skugog and was weighing up our options for a different sightseeing route.

Good solid advice there and well worth listening to.

And then he said something a little odd. He suspected that the ASI was reading high. Now planes do have quirks and little irritants. It might be that the Heading Indicator drifts more than you’d like or one mag shows a little more rpm drop than the other, but an off ASI was not something I’d ever come across.

He claimed that at 2200rpm it was showing 120 KIAS in cruise. We both agreed that was very optimistic for the R model who usually pootles along quite happily at 110 KIAS at that setting. He reckoned it was reading about 10 knots too high.

I puzzled over this, not saying much as I mentally processed the implications of this. “Yeah, just don’t get too slow….” he tailed off.

I nodded and turned back to my passengers, flashing them a smile to show that all was well. I still didn’t know what to do with that info. If he really thought it was that off, he should have snagged it. I parked the info away and decided I’d just keep a careful eye on it and not do anything different.
Sure enough she rotated at the expected speed, gave me best rate of climb at the expected 79 knots, the “best rate” not being that great with three passengers and 30 gallons of fuel on board.

And at cruise, she was trimmed and steady at a constant 110 KIAS, exactly what I’d expect. I shrugged it off. Maybe JES was being a bit naughty for him, or maybe he was mistaken. I don’t know.

I just know that it would have been very easy for me to take his word as gospel and knock 10 knots off all my standard speeds. Given the slightly blowy conditions on landing, well that could have gotten a little more than sporty.

As a new pilot you are very vulnerable to the opinions of experts, it really is a fine line between hanging on every word you are told and not seeking advice at all.

I guess you find the balance eventually.



  1. Did you consider a headwind being a cause for the ASI to read high?

    1. Surely a headwind would affect my ground speed but shouldn't cause the ASI to over read?
      Or am I missing something here?