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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
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
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
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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