Chapter 15-Transition to Jet Powered Airplanes

Table of Contents
Jet Engine Basics
Operating the Jet Engine
Jet Engine Ignition
Continuous Ignition
Fuel Heaters
Setting Power
Thrust to Thrust Lever Relationship
Variation of Thrust with RPM
Slow Acceleration of the Jet Engine
Jet Engine Efficiency
Absence of Propeller Effect
Absence of Propeller Slipstream
Absence of Propeller Drag
Speed Margins
Recovery from Overspeed Conditions
Mach Buffet Boundaries
Low Speed Flight
Drag Devices
Thrust Reversers
Pilot Sensations in Jet Flying
Jet Airplane Takeoff and Climb
Pre-Takeoff Procedures
Takeoff Roll
Rotation and Lift-Off
Initial Climb
Jet Airplane Approach and Landing
Landing Requirements
Landing Speeds
Significant Differences
The Stabilized Approach
Approach Speed
Glidepath Control
The Flare
Touchdown and Rollout


The jet airplane wing, designed primarily for high speed flight, has relatively poor low speed characteristics. As opposed to the normal piston powered airplane, the jet wing has less area, a lower aspect ratio (long chord/short span), and thin airfoil shapeùall of which amount to less lift. The sweptwing is additionally penalized at low speeds because the effective lift, which is perpendicular to the leading edge, is always less than the airspeed of the airplane itself. In other words, the airflow on the sweptwing has the effect of persuading the wing into believing that it is flying slower than it actually is, but the wing consequently suffers a loss of lift for a given airspeed at a given angle of attack.

The first real consequence of poor lift at low speeds is a high stall speed. The second consequence of poor lift at low speeds is the manner in which lift and drag vary with speed in the lower ranges. As a jet airplane is slowed toward its minimum drag speed (VMD or L/DMAX), total drag increases at a much greater rate than lift, resulting in a sinking flightpath. If the pilot attempts to increase lift by increasing pitch attitude, airspeed will be further reduced resulting in a further increase in drag and sink rate as the airplane slides up the back side of the power curve. The sink rate can be arrested in one of two ways:

ò Pitch attitude can be substantially reduced to reduce the angle of attack and allow the airplane to accelerate to a speed above VMD, where steady flight conditions can be reestablished. This procedure, however, will invariably result in a substantial loss of altitude. ò Thrust can be increased to accelerate the airplane to a speed above VMD to reestablish steady flight conditions. It should be remembered that the amount of thrust required will be quite large. The amount of thrust must be sufficient to accelerate the airplane and regain altitude lost. Also, if the airplane has slid a long way up the back side of the power required (drag) curve, drag will be very high and a very large amount of thrust will be required.

In a typical piston engine airplane, VMD in the clean configuration is normally at a speed of about 1.3 VS. [Figure 15-12] Flight below VMD on a piston engine airplane is well identified and predictable. In contrast, in a jet airplane flight in the area of VMD (typically 1.5 - 1.6 VS) does not normally produce any noticeable changes in flying qualities other than a lack of speed stabilityùa condition where a decrease in speed leads to an increase in drag which leads to a further decrease in speed and hence a speed divergence. A pilot who is not cognizant of a developing speed divergence may find a serious sink rate developing at a constant power setting, and a pitch attitude that appears to be normal. The fact that drag increases more rapidly than lift, causing a sinking flightpath, is one of the most important aspects of jet airplane flying qualities.

Figure 15-12.Thrust and power required curves.

Figure 15-12.Thrust and power required curves.

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PED Publication