Pilot's tip of the week

The Silent Prop Control Trick

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Subscriber question:

"I really dislike the RPM surge and deceleration when I push the prop control to full RPM on approach. Is there a way to avoid this?" — Alba K.

Catherine:

“ The same thing happened to me when I trained for my commercial certificate.

I dutifully read the procedures in the manual and had those for the traffic pattern committed to memory. On the downwind leg for my first pattern, I put the gear down, pushed the mixture knob forward, and did the same with the propeller control.

We immediately strained against our shoulder harnesses as the drag of the flat pitch slowed us and heard that increase in RPM.

My instructor barked at me: ‘Your passengers don’t wanna feel that and they don’t wanna hear it. Their comfort is something you need to consider, especially if you think you’re gonna be a commercial pilot!’ He then guided me to find the minimum manifold pressure for which the RPM could be governed by the prop control and only push the lever forward if I’m below that setting. (Which meant there was no change in RPM.)

In my Bonanza, for example, I wait until I’ve reduced the manifold pressure to about 13 inches before I push the prop control forward to prepare for a possible go-around. That way my passengers don’t feel any large accelerations or hear any weird sounds as we make our way to the runway.”

Listen to four all-star instructors share pro tips and common mistakes on landings.

When do you prefer to advance the prop control before landing?

(NEW) VFR Mastery scenario #72 “Rocky Mountain Milestone” is now available. You know high-altitude flying, as it’s where you trained. You have a capable airplane and a clear plan in mind. The devil is in the details when it comes to calculated performance, though, and a few extra degrees can make all the difference in getting off the pavement. Watch the Intro video.

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