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The second fundamental skill, instrument interpretation, requires more thorough study and analysis. It begins by understanding each instrument’s construction and operating principles. Then, this knowledge must be applied to the performance of the aircraft being flown, the particular maneuvers to be executed, the cross-check and control techniques applicable to that aircraft, and the flight conditions.

For example, a pilot uses full power in a small airplane for a 5-minute climb from near sea level, and the attitude indicator shows the miniature aircraft two bar widths (twice the thickness of the miniature aircraft wings) above the artificial horizon. [Figure 4-20] The airplane is climbing at 500 fpm as shown on the VSI, and at airspeed of 90 knots, as shown on the airspeed indicator. With the power available in this particular airplane and the attitude selected by the pilot, the performance is shown on the instruments. Now, set up the identical picture on the attitude indicator in a jet airplane. With the same airplane attitude as shown in the first example, the VSI in the jet reads 2,000 fpm and the airspeed indicator reads 300 knots.

Figure 4-20. Power and Attitude Equal Performance.

Figure 4-20. Power and Attitude Equal Performance.

As the performance capabilities of the aircraft are learned, a pilot interprets the instrument indications appropriately in terms of the attitude of the aircraft. If the pitch attitude is to be determined, the airspeed indicator, altimeter, VSI, and attitude indicator provide the necessary information. If the bank attitude is to be determined, the heading indicator, turn coordinator, and attitude indicator must be interpreted. For each maneuver, learn what performance to expect and the combination of instruments to be interpreted in order to control aircraft attitude during the maneuver. It is the two fundamental flight skills, instrument cross-check and instrument interpretation, that provide the smooth and seamless control necessary for basic instrument flight as discussed at the beginning of the category.


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