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Flight 11 at SpanaFlight (Total: 13.9 Dual, .6 Sim IFR, .3 Night, 35 Landings)


It has been almost another week since I have flown.  I attempted to go flying on Saturday, but during my pre-flight inspection, we found that the primer pump was leaking fuel into the cabin.  Not a good thing to find, but better finding it on the ground than in the air.  

Now today, I went into the flight school and the first thing they said was, "Hi Paul.  We have a little problem with your plane."  Apparently the previous student had flown to Hoquiam and had found that one of the magnetos wasn't grounding when it should, and they were stuck 60 miles away in the plane I was scheduled to fly.  Fortunately, I noticed that 20481 was available shortly and I quickly penciled my name in for the next flight.

That was when the FBO needed the plane to take a mechanic out to Hoquiam and I decided to volunteer the plane (with me flying it of course) to go drop off the mechanic, and do a little cross country flying.  They were able, however, to resolve the problem with the plane in Hoquiam without our intervention, and cancelled the cross country.  Not a huge deal, since I still had 481 reserved in my name.

The plane, however, was being used for a currency check out, and the pilot thought that the schedule was open after the checkout was completed, and decided to take his family for a flight afterwards.  So, suffice it to say, I waited around for an hour for the plane to become available.  

While Matt was ringing up the customer, I started the pre-flight.  Everything looked ok, and We got in, started up, and rolled out to the run up area.  Matt wanted to show me a short field takeoff, so he took us off.  We flew east of the airport this time, instead of the normal practice area to the south.  The sun was just going below the horizon and would be dark within an hour or so.  

Started off with a power on stall, then did a power off one.  I did a lot better this time.  I wasn't about to repeat my performance with entering that spin again, so I concentrated on coordination this time. I did it fine, and we then proceeded to do a power off stall.  That went ok, but for remembering to pull the carb heat again.

We did some slow flight.  This went a lot better than it had in the past, as I was able to maintain the 45 knots and maintain my altitude.  I was weaving back and forth slightly, and my instructor mentioned that he felt me oscillating the rudder pedals.  I didn't think I was, and it didn't feel like it, but when I concentrated on holding them still, we stopped swerving.  Hmmmm. Guess it must have been an unconscious thing. 

Next on the agenda was emergency descents.  Now of all the maneuvers I have performed, this has to be the most fun by far.  I gave the controls to Matt, and he showed me the first one.  Basically, it was just pulling the power, and performing a steep turn and rapid descent.  We were nose to the dirt the entire way, and I felt some g's while turning.  We turned and turned, changing directions a couple times, and started performing an emergency landing lineup.  When we would have made the runway, we did a go around, and climbed back up to 4000 feet for my turn.

My turn, I think I did this fairly well, and also would have made the runway.  I didn't feel the extra g's this time, but we still descended the plane at an incredible rate.  Performed a go around, and we started heading back towards the airport.

The sun had long since set, and it was getting fairly dark out.  It's amazing how different the land looks when the sun goes down.  Beautiful, like an inverted sky.  I couldn't see the airport at first, and eventually found the beacon, and then spotted the runway.  I had thought it would have been brighter, but it was fairly dim.  Tested the microphone activated landing light system, which was pretty neat to do, and then proceeded to fly into the pattern.  Matt wanted to show me the forward slip again, and told me that he would take the controls mid-pattern this time.

I entered the pattern, and when abeam the numbers, pulled the power, and for some reason, forgot to wait until we slowed to 85 before putting in a notch of flaps.  Matt caught it of course, and I cursed myself forgetting that step.  Just before turning to base, Matt took the plane, and stayed high in the pattern.  When we turned final, even I could tell that we were way too high.  Matt entered a forward slip, and we watched the altitude come off, while carefully maintaining the 65 knot approach speed.  Matt did a perfect landing, and we proceeded to the parking area, and secured the plane.  It was now fully dark, and I was glad that I was able to fly today, even though it was a short one with part of it in the dark. 

We debriefed, and talked about the next flight.  We are planning to do some more hood work, this time introducing me to unusual attitude recovery.  I don't think I am going to have too much trouble at this, since I feel comfortable in reading the instruments, but we'll see.  Until then...

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Last Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2000


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