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Poweron Stall…oops

January 11, 2012 Leave a comment

Had a good long lesson today…flew out to Fredrick.

Was supposed to do some power on stalls and I managed AGAIN to screw up and not remember exactly what to do. Instructor got a tad annoyed. I was annoyed because I had actually reviewed the procedures with some practice sheets the school gave me a long time ago. The settings on the sheets for example reducing speed to 1500RPM were not what I was being told now…go to 1200RPM. GRRRRR.

Anyway the sheets were not the problem I just got a tad confused between power on versus power off stalls and so on. We practiced some more emergency landings at KFDK and I was ok not great but not that bad. We headed back to KGAI and I did a couple of steep turn practices also not so good as it was a long time since I did those.

Last but not least did a short field landing and did ok, I at least hit a little bit past the numbers and was able to exit the runway at the first taxiway. Onward.

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Categories: Lessons

Soft Patterns and Flight Logging

December 21, 2011 Leave a comment

No flying today the weather is awful, misty with low 1100ft cloud cover. But can you believe I forgot to blog about yesterday’s flight!!

Back to pattern work. This time the emphasis was almost exclusively on soft field landings. Not all that difficult really but the instructor wants me to really land “properly” with the nose up…the bastard. I tend to land in a flatter angle. Also there was a decent crosswind which made things a little tricky but it’s great practice that I do need. Crosswinds are particularly interesting in that you’re supposed to land on one (or the other) rear wheel. Sheeeesh.

I wound up doing about 6 landings and had more difficulty then I should have holding the correct altitude on the pattern. I almost always overshot the pattern altitude of 1500 ft, and hit 1600ft a lot, totally annoying. The landings themselves weren’t that bad but weren’t that great either. It’s high time I start nailing them more consistently.

On a totally different note, I’ve started using a web site called http://www.flightlogg.in to log my flights (in addition to the physical paper logbook). It’s free and does all sorts of cool things like addition so I can total up my hours 😉 More interesting is that you can total up and graph hours for each airplane you’ve used. So the figure below is my hours in different planes…cool huh!

hours by tail number

Hours by Tail Number

Categories: Lessons

This is a dangerous job

November 30, 2011 Leave a comment

Great day to fly so we did MORE pattern work. The new instructor is really pushing me to hit the very specific speeds and altitudes and keeping that ball centered for the turns. It’s definitely good for me as I think I’ve become somewhat lackadaisical.

Doing all the pattern work makes me feel like I’ve taken a step backwards but being more precise with the flying reminds me that I ain’t quite there yet. Mostly we practiced short and soft field takeoffs and landings. I have the soft field take off down pretty good. The landings are also more challenging as I’m being taught a different way to land. He want me to keep the plane off the runway for as long as possible to burn off speed and make the landings smoother. Getting there but it’s a bit strange changing my “technique” in mid-training.

On the second short field landing I was a bit high and too slow, just looked off, so the instructor said “controls are mine” to which I said …”no no I got it” and he insisted. And then later kinda yelled at me in pointing out that when he says he has the controls he means it and I can’t play around. He said “This is a dangerous job” to which I wayyyyyy agree. I sure couldn’t sit calmly by as a student get’s up to speed. It was a good lesson overall and I’m making progress….sloooooooow but sure.

 

Categories: Lessons

Ye Ole’ But New Pattern

November 25, 2011 Leave a comment

The weather FINALLY cleared up and I got to fly on a beautiful day today, the day after Thanksgiving. Rather then take in the scenery my instructor decides that I should do some pattern work. Actually I agreed and this was also the first time that I’ve done pattern work with my new instructor (if you recall this is instructor number 3).

I was really focused on trying to hit very specific speeds and altitudes for each leg. Not just lazy riding around in circles. I was all over the map in terms of speeds the first time so the instructor decides to demonstrate one. At first I was annoyed since I’ve literally flow a couple of hundred patterns, but as he went round and explained stuff in much clearer terms then my other instructors it was a good thing.

In addition to hitting altitudes and speeds he is attempting to teach me a different way of landing. He want me to round out at the end of the approach and fly parallel for as long as possible bleeding off the speed and, hopefully, at the end hitting the tarmac with the speed as slow as possible and with the nose high giving the plane a high angle of attack. It’s most interesting and I think I’ll get the hang of it with a little more practice but it’s not what I’m used to. This new way makes lots of sense and seems like it should be safer. Fun fun…nothing like going through 3 instructors having each once a bit different.

I wound up the day with 6 landing each one getting better mostly. My big weakness now appears to be my lack of right rudder a lot for climbs and turns. Onward and upward!

Categories: Lessons

Short Field Landings, Stalls and Engine Failure!

October 17, 2011 Leave a comment

OK not a real engine failure a “simulated” engine failure 😉 Had a great lesson after work today, an unusual time for me, good for a change. Did the usual prep and took off for KFDK (Fredrick) in a different plane, this one did NOT have any GPS so of course I was clueless where we were most of the time.

On the way to KFDK the first thing we do is a couple of slow flight practices, in the landing and takeoff configuration. Man my instructor likes to really stall the plane. It’s totally freaky slowing the plane down, then pushing in the throttle (as if taking off), and pulling back the yoke ALL THE WAY, pointing the plane way up to the sky until we really stall at about 35-40 kts. The plane usually tilts a little bit to one side and just drops but fortunately the nose kind of leads you right down and the plane almost straightens itself out. You apply full throttle pull back on the yoke (you let go on the drop) to start to get a positive rate of climb and bingo you’re done. It’s not all that hard really but the business of pulling the yoke back while the plane is losing speed is insane!

We get to KFDK and from quite a bit away my instructor says we’re going to do an engine failure practice and he pulls out the throttle from pretty darn far away. I pull the nose up till we hit 65 kts the optimal glide speed and slowly maneuver to a good final position and we reach the runway fine and touch down just peachy. Instructor was very pleased as was I.

We do a touch and go and this time round we practice for a short field landing. The idea is to touch down a bit slower then usual and right on the numbers of the runway. I nail it … twice (thank you very much) and instructor was very happy. I thought there were some issues with the pattern and landing but if he’s happy, I’m happy.

We head back to KGAI and nothing much happens. It’s almost time for the sun to set and but it’s not low enough to be scenic just low enough to be annoying. We touchdown fine and that’s all she wrote.

Categories: Lessons

Slow Flight, Stalls and Crosswind, Oh My!

October 16, 2011 Leave a comment

Had an unusual lesson today ’cause it’s Sundayyyyyy. Wife is gone, great time to fly 😉  After waiting on hold forever to file the SFRA plan (which I did at the airport because they changed planes at the last minute) we got set to take off with nothing unusual except it was darn windy. About 9-14 kt gusts. We take off and after looping around we head north of the SFRA to the usual maneuvering area. But wait…first I’m put under the hood, so on this gorgeous day I get to see … nothing.

When we get to the maneuvering area we start off with some stalls, first in the takeoff then in the landing configuration. This time however the instructor really wanted me to pull the nose up and slow down not just to an almost stall, but a real live let’s make the airplane fall stall. Was very cool…scary the first time but very cool. There is nothing like a falling airplane to quickly make you put the thrust all in. It’s pretty cool trying to let the yoke straighten out and then start pulling back after you get sufficient thrust. I did notice that even with full thrust it did take a while until we had a positive rate of climb.  We did the full stall thing about 3 times and each was a little different but I think I got the hang of it.

Then we did some slow flight maneuvers and it was very interesting trying to keep all the balls in the air, so to speak, like keeping the heading and altitude the same is darn tricky. Fun but tricky. We did a couple of 360 steep turns and it was also very challenging trying to keep the same altitude. I didn’t do that great and lost a couple of hundred feet the first time and was a bit better on try number 2. I realized however that although I did the 360 turns in the past it was a LONG time ago and was lots of fun, I will supposedly be doing it each lesson from now on. Oh and by the way we have started the lessons that are officially the practice and preparation for the check ride…so I am beginning to see the light at the end of the tunnel (not that tunnel!).

We few back to KGAI and not until the downwind leg did the hood come off. Remember I was doing most of that previous stuff blind. We did a couple of extra patterns in KGAI to land an extra time to get more practice with crosswind. The first landing was a no flaps landing, apparently you do a no flaps landing if you have lots of wind. I nailed it pretty good and instructor seemed impressed although I thought he helped a bit on the landing. We did the second landing with 20 degrees of flaps and the plane did jostle a bit more, all in all he thought we had about a 14kts crosswind which is pretty strong. I landed pretty good also so that was nice. That’s about it, more tomorrow!

 

Categories: Lessons

Solo TP Again

October 7, 2011 Leave a comment

Get to the airport this morning and instructor tells me we have only an hour cause they need the plane at 9AM. Sooo no hood work and we’re going to just stay in the pattern so I can get some more of the required solo time. Kinda annoying as I’ve done the traffic pattern routine a gazzillion times but since it’s so gorgeous outside it should be relaxing and is wonderful to NOT be under the hood.

We do the pattern twice with the instructor in the plane. The second landing was a no flaps landing coming in a bit fast and I both landings were pretty damn smooth. I drop off the instructor and do two more solo patterns (coming to full stop each time). Nothing eventful, but on the second pattern a plane was inbound and I spotted him file as he got in front of me (with plenty of distance) so that was fun. Landed solo fine both times and that’s all there is!

Categories: Lessons