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Practical Energy Management

January 1, 2022
A recent major update to the FAA’s Airplane Flying Handbook (FAA-H-8083-3C, 2021) includes an all-new Chapter 4 titled “Energy Management: Mastering Altitude and Airspeed Control” (Figure 1). The concept of energy management is well-known to military and aerobatic pilots, as well as sailplane pilots. But although the term gets batted about occasionally in the aviation press, it has not really been defined or addressed in training for “the rest of us.” With the new AFH Chapter 4, which changed the 2016 version’s Chapter 4 to Chapter 5 and “incremented” (FAA’s term) all subsequent chapter numbers by one, the FAA seeks to fill in this training gap. The result is typically a little math- and tables-heavy (Figure 2), but with diligent study a pilot or prospective pilot can gain a great appreciation for the critical relationship between energy states that affect airplane performance.