Methods of Flight

C172 — N608DL — Santa Ana > (practice area) — Performance T/O, Slow Flt, Dutch Rolls, Landing — 1.1hrs

Still enjoying slow flight. And I becoming quite professional at going nowhere fast.

So why all the stress on slow flight anyway?? Seems to me the fixed-wing aircraft is the less efficient approach to flying. I mean a helicopter doesn't need a runway at all; just a tiny square pad, not more than 20ft by 20ft. How about a blimp that similarly needs only a bit of open field. All this slow-flight practice, length of runway performance calculations, and so much brain damage to learn to land the plane because it can't simply float down.

Well what other methods of flight are there, and how do they land?

In the category of falling, and not flying at all, we have:

  • Parachuting - if the chute opens ok, then no splat.
  • Paragliding (which is more being pulled thru the air with your open mouth cheeks flapping, more so than real flying) - but without the tow, you soon meet the salty water.

Then we have the lighter-than-air category (called “aerostats”):

  • Hot air balloon (unpowered aerostat) - not much for speed and directional autonomy, but given hot air, it doesn't readily fall either.
  • Dirigible “Blimp” or "airship" (powered steerable aerostat) - same, but at least more directional.

Now THOSE float.

Then the heavier-than-air category (called “aerodynes”) there's:

  • Ornithopter (old-time flapping wing aircraft) - never made it off the ground in the first place.
  • Glider (non-powered) - much the same as a plane for landing, but without the luxury of power.
  • Hang Gliding (sort of an open parachute approach to flying) - still need a runway, but on a very small scale.
  • Gyroplane (unpowered rotor) - that's messed up, but can't be so very different than a plane needing a runway.
  • Rotorcraft (Helicopter powered rotor) - again, needs only a tiny square pad, not more than 20ft by 20ft.
  • Airplanes (fixed-wing aircraft) - although many types, all need a runway, and the more the plane, the more the runway.

Then those made for flying thru no-air at all:

  • Rocket - a tower of power going up, but a mere pod with a parachute coming down.
  • Spaceship - to be determined, but I doubt it will need a long runway to meet rubber wheels.

Of course all those break down into many categories of powered by man, steam, gas engine, jet engine, etc., even magnetic force engines, and perhaps lifted by thermals as in gliders.

But having to do with slow flight and landing, it's the horizontal landing at speed on a length runway, that necessitates all this study and practice as a rookie pilot. 

I see it as less than elegant. Just my twist.