Flying a light aeroplane involves a combination of pilot and aeroplane performing a set task, within a specific environment. The pilot is continuously sampling and selecting available sensory cues, interpreting those cues, making decisions and manipulating the primary controls (stick and rudder) to safely achieve flying objectives. The ‘feel’ of an aeroplane (a flying quality) is directly associated with the stick and rudder forces and how the aeroplane responds to control inputs. Classical theory has been applied to estimate the apparent (as felt by the pilot) longitudinal stick-free static stability (change of stick force with airspeed) of a typical, two-seat, high-wing light aeroplane. The theory has been extended to consider the effects of tail downwash and flap deflection. The results are compared with actual flight tests and show that the method may be used for the initial assessment of longitudinal stick-free static stability and more importantly, tendencies towards neutral or negative stability affecting flight safety.