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Slow Flight and PIREP

Had another great lesson (number 2) with my new instructor. So far I’d have to say he’s even better then my previous two! Before and after this lesson we had a formal sit-down prebrief and debrief …cool.  This is the way it’s really supposed to be so that’s kinda nice.

I was giving it only about a 20% chance of having the lesson at all because of the weather it looked like there was going to be some stormy weather moving in overnight but it turned out to be just cloudy. With the cloud ceiling at about 4 or 5 thousand it turned out to be a very calm and nice day for flying. At one point as we got close to KFDK we had a little bit of precipitation and my instructor called in a PIREP (Pilot Report) to report the precip, and as this was my first time hearing such a conversation it was kinda cool.

For take off from KGAI I did a short field take off fairly well. Flaps are at 10 degrees, rotate at 55 and climb fairly steep to get altitude but not too steep otherwise you stall. At 75 kts, and 400 ft above the ground you put the flaps in and we’re off. The instructor demonstrates a bunch of stuff today, the power on and power off stall and slow flight in clean and dirty configurations. Even though I’ve done these things a bunch of times I still manage to get confused a tad but am also trying to routinize it so that things get smoother. Nothing dramatic happens we just do a bunch of these maneuvers and I do them reasonable, not great, but ok. I do keep the altitude pretty good today and just bobble around a little bit on the heading, got to use the rudder to center that ball more.

One really cool thing on the way back is that I’m getting better at navigating by using landmarks. There is a set of 3 water towers over Mt. Airy and another tower at Damascus and another one in Germantown (you can look em up in google maps). They are a very good reference to the direction back to KGAI and he pointed out the headings and such from each and the orientation of the runway at KGAI. And I think after many months of this stuff I’m almost starting to recognize the damn place! 😉

We enter the 45 for runway 32 today fine and there is another plane on downwind and then base. He was fine informing us on the radio but it took me way to long to actually spot him. I eventually did. We had a long separation so we enter the downwind in front of him and do a normal landing. For the landing my instructor was very insistant that I keep the speed up to 65 kts. And he sorta pulled the controls back although I wish he hadn’t and just let me land totally myself. Gotta talk to him about that 😉 Apparently a classic student mistake is to come in too slow and low (as I had been). I didn’t want to lower the nose to speed up because of our altitude but that’s what you’re supposed to do and simultaneously increase the throttle which would keep the altitude up. Anyway practice practice practice…getting there.

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