After listening to this podcast, I ended up being a bit confused, well more than usual.
Firstly though, a disclaimer, I am a low hour student pilot, so I am not an expert by any means, I simply would like any misconceptions I may have cleared up before they cause me to come to grief.
So, my understanding of flaps goes a bit like this;
1. Applying flaps, particularly the first stage, will lower your stall speed and increase drag (a bit), more in some aircraft, less in others, but still will allow you to land/take-off/fly/manoeuvre at lower speeds with safety (within reason!).
2. Further application of flap (2nd, 3rd stage etc.) may also lower your stall speed, but to a lesser extent, and will primarily add drag.
3. When applying flap, the aircraft may pitch up or down, this depends on high or low wing, high or low tail etc. etc. The aircraft will need to be re-trimmed.
4. When flap is first applied, there is an increase in lift due to the change in angle of attack, this is compensated for by lowering the nose . There may also be an increase in lift due to an increase in the coefficient of lift of that section of the wing.
5. For a given speed and rate of climb/descent, the nose of the aircraft will be lower with flaps extended.
6. With flaps extended, washout is increased.
7. Fly too fast with flaps extended, and bits will fall off
So from all this I get the following;
1. I will have better forward visibility with flaps extended.
2. My stall speed will be lower, though in some aircraft this is not by much.
3. Manoeuvring at low speed will be safer due to the increase in washout, my ailerons will be less liable to stall.
4. The added drag is a good thing when landing, my instructor has shown me that pulling the flap handle past the last notch helps descend even faster
5. Look at the ASI before extending flap! If the handle seems to take more force than usual to pull back, look at the ASI!! (Ok, not so effective with electric flaps!)
6. I think for some aircraft, number 3 is the most important??
7. The primary function of flaps is not simply to add drag, spoilers or airbrakes would be more effective.
So, I am a learner. If anything above is wrong, then let me know what is right. This will make me safer, keep my instructor young, and may cut down on the insurance premiums for us all
GA with L plates.