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Flying a weight-shift control (WSC) aircraft is not like driving an automobile on the highway. It is also different from operating the controls of an airplane. A WSC pilot holds the control bar, which is a structural component of the wing, in his or her hands. This wing is attached to the carriage and freely rotates laterally and longitudinally about the hang point. Therefore, the “feel” of the WSC is completely different from other aircraft because there are no movable control surfaces actuated through push/pull rods or cables connected to a separate control actuator, such as a stick or yoke.
The pilot feels forces on the wing through the control bar, which is part of the wing structure with no mechanical advantage. Simply, the feel of the WSC is different from other aircraft but the basic flight maneuvers are similar.
- Effects and the Use of the Controls
- Attitude Flying and Straight-and-Level Flying
- Trim Control and Level Turns
- Climbs and Climbing Turns
- Descents and Descending Turns
- Steep Turn Performance Maneuver
- Energy Management
- Slow Flight in Weight-Shift-Control Aircraft
- Stalls in Weight-Shift-Control Aircraft
- Whip Stall and Tumble Awareness
Practicing the basics with precision and understanding the effects on the pilot and the aircraft develop a “feel” for the aircraft in flight so the pilot can concentrate on the flying mission at hand and not on the mechanical movements. The ability to perform any assigned maneuver is only a matter of obtaining a clear visual and mental conception of it so that perfect performance is a habit without conscious effort.
Begin with the flight basics to build a foundation for precision flying. Takeoffs/landings and emergency maneuvers are covered in later chapters. All flying tasks are based on the four fundamental flight maneuvers:
- Straight-and-level flight
Controlled flight consists of either one or a combination of these basic maneuvers.