Features and Use of the SIAI-Marchetti S211 in the Jet UPRT Role
In this second installment regarding the introduction of the APS S211 into service, APS Director of Operations, Karl Schlimm discusses the delivery of UPRT in the S211 and how features of the aircraft can be brought into play in the UPRT role.
See Part 1 here:
UPRT in the APS S211 Jet Trainer, Part 1:
UPRT Aircraft Requirements and S211 Capabilities
How does the S211 Make Teaching UPRT Easier and Increase Training Effectiveness? From an instructor and jet customer perspective, there are advantages to performing a significant proportion of on-aircraft training in fully aerobatic, all-attitude capable, jet platform. After core UPRT skills are comprehensively developed in a piston all-attitude trainer, APS recommends two jet flights. What are these advantages?
- Autopilot: The S211 has an autopilot. Since autopilot and automation mismanagement have been proven to be causal to airplane upsets and resulting LOC-I, the instructor can set up a variety of scenarios to address this hazard, such as an airspeed decay situation in a vertical speed mode climb, or in a constant altitude turn using inappropriate bank angles. These scenarios not only expose customers to realistic conditions where they can witness deteriorating conditions that enhance upset awareness and prevention, but also provide benefits in upset recovery skill development. The PF must disengage the autopilot before performing the recovery strategy.
- Selectable Control Feel: Another great feature of the APS S211 it’s selectable aileron boost. The instructor has the option to turn the aileron boost off (the IP discusses indications and expectations beforehand) at any point in the envelope. This feature makes the controls much heavier in roll, forcing the customer to work harder to reorient the lift vector with ailerons. While tactile feel is not ingrained in long term memory, a pilot will remember expectations of having to work smoothly, yet aggressively, to roll upright, enhancing transferable techniques to a real world upset in heavier transport category aircraft. Even with aileron boost retained, the S211 is heavier in roll then a typical aerobatic piston trainer, thus enhancing expectations of roll requirements in an upset recvovery.
- Pitch Control, Trim and Load Management: Pitch control forces are also predictably higher in the S211 than in a piston aerobatic aircraft. Moreover, the pitch trim forces are much greater in the S211 and are much more similar to the typical jet aircraft. One advantage of this is during a dive recovery at speeds well above trimmed airspeed, where the pilot must stabilize the aircraft in a level/climb attitude despite heavy nose-up or nose-down pitch trim forces during and after recovery. An inattentive or untrained pilot could allow the aircraft to enter a steep nose high attitude and possible progression to a stall situation. As alluded to earlier, in dive recoveries, because recovery airspeeds are typically much higher in the S211 than in the Extra 300L, the recovering pilot can experience the slower pitch rate which is more representative of a pilot’s operational aircraft. These performance factors combine to develop patience in both nose high and nose low recoveries. As would be representative of the customer’s own aircraft, they must not push or pull excessively to rush the recovery to inappropriately expedite recoveries. The PF must control their aggressive tendencies and heed their trained seat-of-the-pants feel to assess aircraft loads to remain within aircraft G limits.
- Speedbrake: The S211 has a speedbrake which can be integrated during dive recoveries to further optimize energy management during high speed conditions.
- High Stall Speeds: On the other end of the spectrum, stall speeds are higher in the S211 than most piston aerobatic aircraft, especially at high altitudes. There is a more realistic psychophysiological response to stalls in a jet (that is, how a pilot reacts psychologically to sensory cues associated with airplane upsets). Customers do not normally expect to be able to safely perform a diversity of full stall recoveries in a jet. Having this essential UPRT training option is a valuable tool to overcome understandable apprehension, and possibly even fear, associated with such events.
Complex Aircraft: The ability to make configuration changes in select upset/stall recoveries also enhances the UPRT experience. For instance, on an approach to land stall event, the IP can configure gear down and approach flaps. The S211 has enough margin between stall speed and gear/approach flap limit speed (about 65-70 kts) that the customer can practice not only a core recovery strategy but can then also complete a configuration change using CRM. The instructor configures the aircraft as the customer calls for configuration changes during the recovery process.
- Thrust Response: Compared with the instantaneous power available in a propeller aircraft, in a jet trainer the customer must anticipate throttle movements and associated thrust delay due to spool up time and the majority of thrust being available in the higher rpm range.
- Increased Inertia: The S211, while not a large aircraft, has three times the mass of an Extra 300L with an associated increase in inertia. While the transferable methodology and deliberate recovery pacing is expected in a large transport category aircraft as is taught in all our training platforms, the S211 forces attention of inertia considerations in pitch and roll response, as well as accelerations.
- Full Curtain IFR Upset Training: The ability to use a fully enclosed IFR “hood” to obscure external visibility is essential for comprehensive UPRT. Studies show that the majority of LOC-I accidents and incidents occur during night or IMC conditions.
- Garmin Glass Cockpit: Customers also appreciate the advanced large glass avionics display of the single large Garmin G3X touchscreen display. It is much closer to the avionics they fly with every day.
- Bubble Canopy: The bubble canopy is a distinct and undeniable training benefit. Although corporate or airline pilots do not have a similar unrestricted field of view in their aircraft, it is essential that they can see, uninterrupted, the changing visual cues in the upset environment and can rapidly develop their 3-dimensional (3D) awareness. This development of mental modeling leads to the pattern recognition which is essential for early upset prevention and provides the background preparation for instrument training under the hood later in the APS UPRT program. This cannot be easily accomplished in a view-limited training aircraft. Due to enhanced 3D awareness pilots in training better understand what’s happening in the outside world and their orientation to the horizon. Should they encounter an upset in their aircraft, despite its more limited field-of-view, they will be able to more quickly orient themselves, and understand where to proactively look to assess their attitude while primarily referencing their instruments for orientation. Also, having such unrestricted field-of-view in the training environment enhances their sense of urgency.
- Data Overlay on HD Video Recording: The Garmin VIRB video camera affords the customer a high-definition video of their flight with options for pitch, bank, airspeed and flight path history overlay. Along with instructor audio this is a fantastic debrief tool and a resource that can be reviewed long after training is accomplished.
- It’s a Jet: Simply put, the main advantage of using the S211 from the standpoints of both customer perception and reality, is that it looks, feels, performs and smells like a jet, and it puts the customer much closer in terms of expectations into the environment of their own business, commercial or transport category jet aircraft.
APS customers unanimously agree that their S211 training, whether integrated with other APS training in other platforms, or whether they accomplished their on-aircraft training solely in the S211, is both fantastic and realistic.
The addition of the S211 to the APS fleet introduces a relatively low cost jet training option with a variety of training options to include multi-aircraft UPRT exposure, complete jet UPRT training programs, or just a high-altitude UPRT add on. In addition to APS’s two S211 aircraft, we also provide training in the TA-4 and the Alpha Jet leased from Top Aces. We look forward to flying with you!