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Flight 13 at SpanaFlight
(Total: 17.0 Dual, 1.1 Sim IFR, .2 Night, 41 Landings)
With over a week of being grounded, I was surprised
when the weatherman was wrong in my favor. It had been forecast that
the weather today was to be wet and windy, but when I got up, I saw blue
skies and calm winds. I immediately went out for my lesson, and met
up with Matt, who was just as amazed as I was about the weather. We
decided to go right up, so I started preflight almost
With the plane in working order, and
everything else checking out ok, we took off on runway 16 and proceeded to
the practice area. When we got there, we started out with steep
turns. This time, I did a lot better than I usually do, and was holding
my altitude all the time. I wasn't looking at the instruments as
much, and concentrated on just keeping the plane stable during the turn by
just using visual references. That worked a lot better than I
expected it to.
Next, we did power off stalls. These I
didn't do so hot at, as I seemed to forget all my normal procedures.
I guess with all that time being kept from flying, I forgot a thing or
two. The second attempt was a little better though. Power on
stalls were next. These I did ok, but dropped the nose of the plane
too low on my recovery. Aside from that, they went well.
When I had recovered fully from the last
power on stall, I actually expected Matt to pull the power and simulate an
emergency. He did, of course, and I was thankfully ready for
it. I chose a field a little ways away, and Matt said I should
change it to a field I didn't see right below us. I felt we could
have made it to my chosen field, but decided to use his
recommendation. This one went well, and we would have easily made
the field. I controlled the plane well, and actually got to do a few
more of the emergency procedures since we had time to do them. I did
have a little trouble at first obtaining my glide speed, but after a few
seconds, I had the plane trimmed nicely for it.
We then proceeded to find a field to perform
some ground reference maneuvers on. Starting of course with the
Turns around a point. This time we actually had wind to fly in, and
I found out how difficult these maneuvers can be in the wind. I
finally figured out, though, that I had been incorrectly judging my
distance from the point by using a wing strut. After feeling like an
idiot for a few seconds after that realization, I started just trying to
guess the best ground track for the flight, and finally got
stabilized. We went around about 8 times, and only the last 2 were
worth a crap.
Next was the rectangular course. We
went to a field that was a little better lined up with the wind, and
started doing these. I was too close to the imaginary line most of
the time, but was able to maintain a straight ground track by
crabbing. We did this about 4 times around, and started
Now my skills at S-turns may be improving,
but my ability to hold altitude during these aren't. Today, the
turns seemed to be fairly evenly spaced and normal. I only bungled a
couple of them, and they weren't too bad. My altitude control during
these was another matter altogether. I was either 100 feet high or
100 feet low, and except at the end of these maneuvers, wasn't controlling
my altitude very well at all. All in time, I guess.
We proceeded back to the airport to do some
practice landings. We had planned to do 5 or 6 this time. The
airport was pretty busy, and we had a slower plane in front of us in the
pattern the whole time. The first time around, we extended our
downwind so as not to get to close to this slowpoke in front of us.
As a result, we had a long final, and another plane decided to enter the
active runway and sneak off before we landed. We decided that it was
just too close, and proceeded to do a go around.
The second time around the pattern, we still
had to extend the downwind so as to avoid the slow plane, but it was a lot
shorter than the last one. Of course, not flying for almost a week
and a half, I have forgotten how to land. On top of all that, we had
a 6 or 7 knot crosswind. My first touchdown was anything but
graceful, as we landed fairly hard. Didn't bounce though. As
usual, Matt had most of the controls here, keeping me out of trouble.
The next two weren't much better, although, I
corrected for the crosswind a bit better on those attempts. I know
these landings will get better, but they seem to be staying about the
same. I decided to call it a day after the last one, and we taxied
back to the parking area. Matt stated that I was within hours of my
solo, and that I needed to finish the prerequisites that I had been
Next time, we plan on working on my landings
primarily, as I seem to need the most work there. He said that I
have done fairly well on the rest of the required pre-solo maneuvers, and
that as soon as I get these landing down, I should be ready to solo.
Now, I'm getting a little excited about my solo, and a little terrified
that it is coming so soon.
There has got to be something I am missing
about these landings. I'm sure I'll get it, but it sure is
frustrating knowing that I haven't seemed to get any better at them in the
last 2 weeks or so. Luckily, the weather looks hopeful for Monday,
and I'll get to try them again.
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