Baja California


"...The key point is that this is something a pilot will like to have and will use, and it will give him information that will help him fly the plane more safely and get better use out of it.

So if you have a calibrated instrument in the airplane, the first stunning thing that you realize is that as you run down the runway as you are accelerating for takeoff and the needle comes up into the red and into the top of the red and touches the white - it's telling you when to lift the nose. It tells you when to rotate and if this is a properly calibrated instrument you're having a high performance climb which is a safe one, regardless of what weight you have in the airplane.

I have had the experience of flying off a dirt strip in Baja California where the runway was soft, kind of gravely and it was a hot day and the runway wasn't as long as I would like. I paced the runway and I marked a certain piece of brush. If the plane wasn't flying by the time I reached this piece of brush, I was going to pull the throttle back and stop the plane safely and not take off. Then I would lighten the plane and come back and maybe take people off one at a time or something.

It was a great comfort to me to know that as soon as I was running down the runway that I could lift the nosewheel off and just hold it there just to keep the weight off the nose wheel and wait for that thing to come to the top of the red and climb out. That particular departure is one that sticks in my mind because I did it with such confidence under conditions that otherwise I would have had great uncertainty about. It was a very stunning experience.

Generally, in high performance takeoff and climbout - and short field landings - when you are a bush pilot and you're landing on short strips and so on, you know exactly at what speed you should be flying at final approach. The speed at which you should be flying varies with the weight of the airplane. So the manuals that you get with the airplanes don't tell you how to calculate that different speed. They just give you an approach speed which is figured conservatively for the heaviest weight, and so in most conditions you're landing much too fast. You're trying to put it down on the runway and it wants to keep floating. So people end up bending the airplane. So my experience is that pilots accept this instrument very well...

To me the acceptability of this to the pilot depends upon not only that it works but that the display is logical for you. That it's easy to see. I don't think that it should be buried down in the panel because you can't when you're close to the ground climbing out of your conditions - where you're trying to dodge mountains or trees or something - having your head down in the cockpit looking at some gauge.

The gauge should be up on top of the glareshield as far forward as you can get it. The reason you want it so far forward is so that it is in good focus. When your eyes are focused at infinity, if it is too close, it's out of focus. So put it as close to the windshield as you can up on top on the glareshield, high enough so it's easy to use..."

J.H.

California