This Week’s Flying Tip: Muscle Memory on Go Around

Good muscle memory can help you react appropriately to the sudden need to transition to a climb.

During a go-around in a piston single, especially a high-powered airplane with lots of engine torque and p-factor to overcome, making sure you add right rudder as you go to full power is critical.

A great training exercise is to imagine that your right hand and right foot are mechanically connected as you begin the go-around. When you move your right hand to push the throttle forward, you should also automatically push the rudder pedal with your right foot to overcome torque and p-factor and climb out with the ball centered.

If you recall your lessons from ground school, you’ll remember there are lots of forces acting on an airplane during a go-around, all of which want to turn you left. Torque and p-factor occur due to the right-turning direction of the engine and propeller. The other forces at work are gyroscopic precession, which is more noticeable in tailwheel airplanes as the tail comes up on takeoff and the prop acts like a gyroscope that wants to turn you left, and spiraling slipstream, caused by the air rotating around the airplane and hitting the left side of the tail, also most noticeable on takeoff.

As pilots, it doesn’t really matter to us which forces contribute most to the left-turning tendencies of our airplanes on a go-around, only that we have good muscle memory so we can react appropriately to the sudden need to transition to a climb. Linking your right hand and right foot is a great mental exercise to make sure you add right rudder when you pour the power on.


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