Friday, May 30, 2008

Slats and Flaps

There is a conversation going on right now on the Girls With Wings message board about taking your private and having to learn all KINDS of new things. Yes, there's a lot to learn when becoming a pilot, but sometimes we need to take baby steps...

I am not embarrassed to admit that I have been known to check out simple books on the library on aerodynamics and weather, for example, for the general public and then go back and learn how these things relate to being a pilot.

I swear I STILL look things up on Wikipedia to help me understand things in broad, general terms first before I tackle the technical stuff. I just learned the Citation X, my first airplane with slats, and don't you know I didn't even know what the dern things were!
But I found out:

Slats are aerodynamic surfaces on the leading edge of the wings of fixed-wing aircraft which, when deployed, allow the wing to operate at a higher angle of attack. A higher coefficient of lift is produced as a product of angle of attack and speed, so by deploying slats an aircraft can fly slower or take off and land in a shorter distance. They are usually used while landing or performing maneuvers which take the aircraft close to the stall, but are usually retracted in normal flight to minimize drag.
Much better than just "guessing," right?

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