Aviators, the world over will tell you that there are two types of people in this world. Those who desire to fly and those that do not. If you are in the former category then you have more than likely had the desire since early childhood. Why not just do it?

Redstone Arsenal Flying Activity has northern Alabama’s premier Flying Club where those individuals lucky enough to be in the authorized patron category can learn to fly or take their already hard earned rating to a higher level.

Redstone Arsenal Flying Activity offers safe, low cost flying lessons, professional Certified Flight Instructors, pilot related equipment and services to our patrons. The Redstone Arsenal Flying Activity is located on Redstone Arsenal adjacent to Huntsville/Madison Alabama. We have for our use a very low traffic 7300 feet runway and a manned control tower (daylight hours).

Our goal is to be our patron’s First Choice, and to continue our journey to becoming a world class Flying Club. We train the best pilots out there by providing them the best instructors, facilities and aircraft in one of the best training environments in the world. We ensure our graduates possess the skills, knowledge, and confidence necessary to fly and compete in the demanding and ever changing world of aviation.

At the June Safety Meeting you heard some details on uncertainty associated with the maximum range performance in the Cessna 172R and S models. Here are some additional details to refresh your knowledge of information in the AFM/POH for both the C172R and S and also the C172N.

  • All models of the C172 are covered by Type Certification 3A12.
  • They have the same wing, an NACA 2412.
  • Dimensions in Figure 1 in both aircraft are functionally identical, i.e. wing area and span, length, height, wheel base,
  • Although the R and S models have a maximum gross weight 250 lbs higher than the 1978 N model, they are certified for the same design G-loads.
  • While the R and S models have 180 HP engines versus 160 for the N model, the cruise speeds are essentially equal.
  • The Rate of Climb of the N model is greater than the R and S models.
  • The maximum range for the N model on 50 gallons is greater than the R and S models on 53 gallons.

Essentially the design of the C 172 R and S models utilized the additional power to increase the payload, with negligible range or speed benefits. However, keep in mind that the R and S models have the benefit of dual vacuum pumps, an annunciator panel that warns of low fuel, alternator, oil pressure and vacuum pump failure, and finally fuel injection and an electric boost pump.

We should also keep in mind some important differences in how information is provided in the 1978 N model AFM/POH versus R and S models more than 25 years later! A few points are:

  • The performance figures in Section 5  include the assumption that the aircraft has wheel fairings. We have removed the fairings from our aircraft to improve access for preflight inspection. Removal of the fairings results in a speed penalty of about 2 knots, with proportionate small effect on range. The 1978 N model AFM is silent on this fact but it is noted in performance specifications for the R and S models.
  • To minimize the risk of fuel contamination, the R and S models have 5 sumps in each wing tank and 3 under the engine at key locations. Enjoy!
  • Flaps on the R and S models the Flaps are limited to 30 degrees maximum versus 40 degrees for the model with essentially the same performance. This reduces the risk of high sink rates on short final and Loss of control (LOC) on a go-around.
  • The maximum range and endurance data for the N model assumes a 45 minute fuel reserve is met by a power setting of 45 percent for all ranges. The FAA now interprets fuel reserves be based on normal cruise for the overall flight i.e. you can’t fly at 75% for 4 hours and then meet a regulatory requirement by assuming you will throttle back to 45% the last 45 minutes.

The final point about the C 172 is this accident data:

For the 12 most common General aviation aircraft, fatal accident rates by model vary from 0.56 to 2.33 per 100,000 flight hours.  The safest aircraft is the C 172 at a rate of 0.56, the next safest model is the C182 at 0.76. No other model is below 1.0.


July 10, 2014

For several years there has been a consensus that current Pilot Test Standard (PTS) have experienced growth through inclusion of more material, increased understanding of risk, technology and modification of expected maneuver skills. Examples of this include the growth of the “Special Emphasis” topics in all the current standards. An additional issue has been the [...]

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Safety Meeting Thursday, September 18 at 5:30pm

July 1, 2014

Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, AL Building 3711 Driving directions:  Patton Rd south thru gate 10 – First traffic light turn left and immediately left again.

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FLIGHT CONTROL MALFUNCTION/FAILURE: Asymmetrical Flap failure (Ref: Airplane Flying Handbook)

June 1, 2014

What?   Flight control failures are a rare event in well maintained Redstone aircraft, but are usually catastrophic. Has your flight training or proficient training covered the consequences such events? Most of us have been exposed to emergencies such as loss of power and flaps, but what about an asymmetric flap extension or sudden retraction. [...]

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Safety Meeting Thursday, June 19 at 5:30pm

May 26, 2014

Topic for the June 2014 meeting is “Fuel Management” Location:  Redstone Arsenal, Huntsville, AL Building 3711 Driving directions:  Patton Rd south thru gate 10 – First traffic light turn left and immediately left again.

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Open House May 17, 2014

April 7, 2014
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Runway Closure: 7 April – 23 April

April 4, 2014

As most of you know the runway here on Redstone will be closed from 7 April – 23 April for lighting repairs. During this timeframe the Flying Activity aircraft will be relocated to Huntsville International Airport (HSV). We will be moving the aircraft to HSV beginning Saturday morning at approximately 0930. The first aircraft to [...]

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Phone Number Change

February 24, 2013

Effective immediately all phone numbers to the Flying Activity have changed.  The new numbers are below. 256-876-6774 Office 256-876-6962 Office 256-876-6700 Office Fax 256-876-6952 Hangar 256-876-6925 Flight planning area fax

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New Instrument Exam Posted

January 5, 2013

Download here or from the Documents page.  

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Private Pilot Ground School

May 23, 2012

The initial meeting will be at RAFA on 31 May 2012 at 5:30 pm. If you are interested in taking this course, please contact Mildred at 256-880-9495 and get your name on the list.

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