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Wearing Thin Pants
2010-03-18

Wearing Thin Pants In many respects flying an airplane is much like riding a horse. A horse goes where its head points, so does an airplane in coordinated flight. A rider feels the horse and dressage riders give the horse directions in the ring with just pressures and feel the correct movements via pressures and sight. So can an airplane be flown by feeling pressures. Airplane feel is inside your body much like horse feel is each push and pull is mutually sensed. You feel airplane and horse movements in your hands, feet, chest and stomach, and muscles. Airplanes and horses feed back feel that tells of performance.

The most subtle of sensations are fed back and forth you to the airplane and the airplane to you through the transfer of centrifugal and centripetal energy. Some parts of you and the airplane sense inertial effects before others but they are always there and your sensitivity can be learned and increased. There is an associated danger in flying by feel. Feel must be supported by visual reference or bad things happen to you and your flying. Any time your sensations are in conflict, you must go visually to your instruments. You only have a few moments in which to do this. You are overcoming very powerful instinctive forces and extreme mental concentration is required continuously Any lapse of continuity will result in loss of aircraft control.

You can become sensitized to your body pressures by performing specific maneuvers that affect specific areas of the body. Once such place is to each side of your seat cushion that presses on your thighs. By paying attention to these pressure point and performing a series of turns, climbs and dives without using the rudder you will become aware of pressure differences. By doing the same series, while moving the rudder side to side and keeping the wings stabilized you can develop a sense for when the ball is centered.

Once you have gone through the extremes of sensation due to a misplaced rudder, you should practice. You know that you step on the ball when it moves to the right, you should also step on the ball when you feel pressure to your right. You apply rudder until your 'seat' tells you the ball is centered. Check the ball to see if it is centered. By using a safety pilot and closing your eyes except to check the ball you can become quite skillful even in thick pants.
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