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Microlight » Aircraft Tech Knowledge » Climbing and Descending

Levelling off from a climb

During a climb you will probably be at full power and at a climb speed.

APT - Attitude, Power, Trim

In an aeroplane or helicopter, when you reach the top of a climb, lower the nose to increase speed to cruise speed, reduce power to cruise power and trim the controls. 


PAT - Power, Attitude, Trim

To avoid unloading the rotor disk in a gyrocopter, when you reach the top of a climb, it is taught to first reduce power to cruise power, then lower the nose to increase speed to cruise speed and trim the controls.

Talk to your instructor about possible other ways of level off, taking into account the type of gyrocopter you fly.


It is assumed that there is no thrust.

Forces in a Glide

In a glide, there are only 3 of the 4 main forces present.  Weight, Lift and Drag.

The forward propelling force which was provided by thrust is now provided by a component of weight.  The Forward Component of Weight (FCW).

LIft/Drag Ratio

The ratio of lift to drag is known as the lift/drag ratio (L/D) and is a very important performance measure for an aircraft. 

The L/D for a typical training aeroplane may be 12:1 whereas for a high performance glider it may be as high as 50:1.

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