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Flight 14 at SpanaFlight (Total: 17.9 Dual, 1.1 Sim IFR, .2 Night, 46 Landings)


The bad weather held off for another day, and we had beautiful skies again.  I went out to the airport early as usual, and Matt was waiting for me.  We chit-chatted some and then went right out to preflight the plane.  Everything looked fine, so I started the plane up, and we took off to the practice area from runway 34.  

I have now been doing the communications for 3 flights, and it is starting to become second nature.  I have never had a problem in the past with formal communications procedures, which I did frequently while in the Navy many years ago.  The only difference is the verbiage, and that's not that different.  Phonetic alphabets are a breeze, and if I can just remember to say "Nin-er" at the right time I'll be ok.

Today's flight we planned to concentrate on landings again.  We did start out with some slow flight though.  We did this for about 10 minutes or so, and did a couple of turns.  The slow flight seemed to go fairly well, and I seem to have gotten an ok handle on how the plane controls during these maneuvers now. 

Next was Simulated IFR flight, but Matt forgot the Foggles.  He had me try and do this without looking outside.  I tried really hard not to, but did glance up twice, telling Matt each time.  It's hard sometimes to keep from looking outside when your peripheral vision tells you something interesting is out there.  Next time, I'll remind Matt to bring the Foggles.

I was then told to start flying VFR and we were approaching the airport traffic pattern.  I took the plane to pattern altitude, and announced our entry into the pattern.  We were the only plane in the pattern today, and that made for a nice day for practicing.  The first time around the pattern, I was a little off on my altitude, and had to correct it at the end of the downwind.  The landing, however, was LOTS better than on my last flight.  I glanced at Matt's controls during the approach and noticed his hands were in his lap.  I got excited thinking I would do this one by myself, but as I approached the end of the runway and started my flare, Matt grabbed the controls and gave a little assistance.  

Funny, I was grinning the entire time during my takeoff.  I know that I still didn't fully land the plane myself, but I did more without Matt's help than I ever have done.  My second time around went just as good, with just a tiny bit of help in the flare at the end.  

My third time, I was way too slow on final, and Matt said he was about to take the controls to keep us in the air.  He told me what I did and not to do that again.  I didn't realize I had gotten that slow, and although we were well above stall speed, the comfortable buffer was gone.  I made an effort the rest of the landings to watch my speed carefully.

The last two went just as smoothly as the first two, but Matt assisted on all the flares.  I kind of want to have Matt let me bounce the plane or correct for the flare on my own now, so I can make the mistakes and learn more from them, but for now, I'm just thrilled that I had as much control as I did.  

I taxied to the parking area and shut down the plane.  We tied it down and went inside.  Matt told my my landings were greatly improving, and my pattern work is a lot better.  He also told me that I am within hours of my solo, and to get off my duff and take that solo exam.  I have decided to carry around the test with me so that I will constantly be reminded to finish the damn thing.  My medical is being scheduled for this week, and hopefully I'll do this solo thing before Thanksgiving.  

Next flight we are going to go to another airport and practice takeoffs and landings there.  Matt said that it might break my uneasiness with using runway 16, and would be a pleasant change of pace.

More next time....

On to Journal Page 21





Last Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2000


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