The Australian sport and recreational field includes lighter-than-air, heavier-than-air, power-driven and non-power-driven aircraft — intended for pleasure, diversion, adventure, competitive sport, technical flying, experimental or personal educational/developmental purposes. Generally as long as you are in reasonable physical and mental condition — equivalent to that needed to hold (and maintain) an Australian private vehicle driver licence — you can become a member of a sport and recreational aviation association and learn to fly a sport and recreational aircraft. This guide is an outline of how to go about becoming involved in this broad and expanding sector of Australian aviation.
This tutorial is a summarised but reasonably comprehensive examination — directed towards Australian conditions — of the atmospheric structure, the physical laws and the forces which together produce the atmospheric phenomena referred to as weather — a good understanding of which is essential to safe aerial navigation. The tutorial provides much more detail than is necessary for novice pilots to understand; it is meant for persons who wish to expand their knowledge of meteorology without getting into the mathematics of the science.
The intent of this tutorial is to improve the underpinning knowledge and thus the situational awareness, airmanship and — ultimately — the safety of sport and recreational pilots and their passengers. The tutorial is written on the premise that no pilot can know too much about aerodynamics and flight; so the more information provided, the better the result.
A summarised, overall view of adequate and safe flight planning and navigation techniques that are applicable to sport and recreational aviation operations under the visual flight rules, in visual meteorological conditions and within the current Australian regulations for flight operations outside controlled airspace.
An outline of Australian aircraft transceiver licensing and radio operator qualification plus the VHF radiotelephony techniques and procedures to be used during VFR flight operations outside controlled airspace. Radiotelephony emergency/distress procedures are included, plus the usage of transponders and satellite-compatible distress beacons and the operations of the Australian Search and Rescue organisation.
This tutorial is a series of safety briefings that aim to encompass the flight dynamics associated with some common events that sometimes lead to destruction — thus extending your underpinning knowledge so that such disastrous outcomes are readily avoided, even if readily encountered. The series generally explores the flight envelope (flight loading limits and gust loading limits), plus angle of attack management and energy management. It does not cover other accident causal factors such as fuel system mismanagement, flight planning mismanagement, wire strikes or flight into non-day VFR conditions. Articles discussing those causal factors can be found at: 'Airmanship and safety: other online reading'.
The proliferation of heavier and faster sport and recreational aircraft travelling long distances, and equipped with engines of much greater reliability, has given rise to the situation where the perception of pilots and possibly instructors (in regard to the likelihood of a forced landing) has changed greatly, and indeed many pilots now have no practical experience of handling real forced landings — and the aircraft they fly are inherently more difficult to put down in a restricted area. The nosewheel, with which many are now equipped, adds to the problems once the aircraft has touched down in rough or soft conditions. This tutorial provides an outline of the knowledge needed to prepare for an engine-out emergency landing and to deal with the aftermath.
The prime aim of these web tutorials is to provide knowledge to those who are willing to absorb it. The more you know about the physics of flight, the flight environment, your aircraft structure and its systems, flight planning and flight operations and so on, the more aware you will be of your own limitations — and the safer you and your passengers will be. The airmanship and safety tour takes you through those sub-sections of the tutorials that are particularly pertinent to safety. The sections are generally highlighted with the same background tone and are sequenced using a textual link — at the end of each sub-section — to access the next sub-section in the sequence.
A categorised index (covering the period from 1998 to date) of selected articles available in the online version of the Civil Aviation Safety Authority's bi-monthly magazine Flight Safety Australia. The articles listed are all pertinent to recreational and sport aviation under the day visual flight rules and are recommended reading. They expand on, or complement, material contained in these tutorials. Pertinent publications from the Australian Transport Safety Bureau are also provided.