Let’s talk about ground effect. What is it? Glad you asked. When an aircraft is within wing distance from the ground, an increase in lift is generated in reference to the surface of the earth and airflow patterns about the airplane. This is called ground effect. It’s sort of like a cushion.
Personally, I love ground effect. An airplane flies better when in this phenomenon. However, there are two problems when it comes to ground effect. 1. The airplane may become airborne before reaching recommended takeoff speed. 2. Induced drag decreases in ground effect, so excess speed may cause floating upon landing.
So don’t get me wrong, this ‘cushion’ is a wonderful mechanism, but it can sometimes be unsafe. Sometimes ground effect can be a relief because the airplane wants to fly better, but what about this ground effect that makes us feel so secure? I think in a sense, we all have our own ground effect- a place that makes us feel safe and gives us comfort. An airplane cannot fly unless it leaves its ground effect and breaks free of the Earth’s surface. If not, there is no such thing as pure flight. Adventure begins at the end of your comfort zone. We cease to do so much when we are afraid to get out of our ground effect- it’s like we never take off. We never get airborne. Although it may seem appealing to stay in a comfortable place, it’s probably the most unsafe place you could be because you aren’t growing. We need to remember that getting out of our comfort zones is where the deliciousness is.
When you allow yourself to step out of your comfort zone, you open yourself up to a richer, more fulfilling life. You see and hear things that others miss and you are faced with opportunities that most aren’t. Determine one thing in your life that makes you uncomfortable, but would help you grow if you embraced it. There is a reason we have to go through ground effect before we can put our wings to use. ✈
✈ I was so excited when I got this drink at Starbucks. It’s an instrument approach drink! Finally Starbucks is starting to recognize their pilot clientele 😉 If you didn’t know, VOR stands for VHF (very high frequency) Omnidirectional Range which is a means of radio navigation that enables an aircraft to determine its position and stay on course (that was the best ‘non-pilot’ explanation I could give). Haha.
The other day after my flight I looked up and found a Piper Arrow in my rearview mirror with my Embry-Riddle decal in frame. It was one of those moments. Another moment of leaving ground effect. Aside from working and flying, I am helping out at an aviation summer camp! Photos to come.
So, last thing’s last. Are you living in your ground effect, or are you rising above it? It’s your call. When are you going to take it?
Blue Skies ✈
(My heart goes out to the passengers, crew and families who were involved in the Boeing 777 Asiana Airlines flight yesterday at San Francisco International Airport.)