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Flight 15 at SpanaFlight
(Total: 18.8 Dual, 1.3 Sim IFR, .2 Night, 51 Landings)
I think that God has decided to let me fly after all,
as he has been clearing the weather for my last few flights now without
regard to what the weatherman had said the night before. It was
supposed to rain today, but it somehow turned out to be sunny and
beautiful. It was fairly gloomy the rest of the week though.
But then again, God does have a sense of humor, and may just decide to
through a snowstorm on me just to see if I am paying
Today, I was really looking forward to flying
as my instructor indicated that I might be able to attempt to land the
plane myself, if it wasn't to bad, of course. I got there my usual
20 minutes early or so, and sat around for a bit waiting for Matt to
finish with his last student. Matt saw me and told me to go right
out and preflight. I went out and looked over the plane in the usual
manner. Everything checked out ok, Matt arrived from his last
lesson, and we took off to the practice area.
We decided to hold off going to the other
airport until this Saturday, so we planned on doing some power off stalls,
and then concentrate on landings. Flew out to the practice area, and
started getting trimmed out. Did my flow check, and started setting
up for the power off stall. I can remember most of the airplane
settings for this maneuver, but it seems that the first time I do it, I
try and pitch myself for a takeoff attitude instead of a landing
one. And that always screws me up. I did that again today on
the first one, but the stall and recovery went ok. I set up to do
another one, correctly this time, and performed it well also.
We then headed back to the airport for some
touch and goes. We transitioned 1500 feet over the airport pattern,
and then descended to pattern altitude and entered the pattern on the mid
field downwind. I am trying not to use my usual ground references to
determine where to turn, and instead have been concentrating on the
distance and angle my plane is from the runway.
The first time in the pattern, things went
pretty well, and on final, again Matt's hands were on his lap. I was
a little high on the first approach, and put in flaps a little early to
bleed off some altitude. We approached the runway, and started to
flare. I pulled back and landed the airplane. We bounced this
time, and it seemed a lot harder landing than we had done in the
past. But then, Matt said that that landing was all mine. I
had landed the plane myself! Yes, I landed hard, and bounced the
plane, but I did it all with my hands alone.
I didn't really comprehend that I had done it
until I was about 5 seconds before turning crosswind after taking off
again. Then I just grinned to myself through the entire
pattern. We set up again, and I landed it again. Still landed
hard, but didn't bounce this time.
Third time, I started concentrating on
cleaning up my pattern some. My control today was pretty good, but I
had been getting slow on final, and was a little sloppy on my turns.
From then on, my patterns were pretty good. The third landing was
hard, and I bounced it some here too...again mine.
Number four was probably the lightest landing
of the bunch, we didn't bounce, but still hit harder than any of the
assisted landing I have done in the past. The last time around, Matt
said my pattern was the best he had ever seen of me, and although I still
got a little slow on final, landed the plane fairly well. Still
landing harder than the assisted ones, but definitely better than my first
two. I didn't ask afterwards, but I thought I felt some assistance
on the last landing. I didn't care though, I was just too thrilled
at today's adventure that Matt could have sit me in the back seat and
landed the plane himself, and I wouldn't have notice the difference.
We parked the plane, went in, and debriefed.
I finished my pre-solo exam and we started to review my answers.
Time started running out, so we decided to finish the review on another
day. Tonight, there was a lecture on spins and spin recovery being
given at SpanaFlight for club members, and although I have never yet
experienced a full spin, I remember distinctly Matt taking the controls
during a power on stall that I had bungled and telling me afterwards that
I had just started entering a spin.
The seminar was thorough and well done.
The instructor giving the lecture had 40 some odd years of flying
experience and had flown about every plane imaginable. He also had
done about a billion spins in each of those planes. I learned a
bunch at that lecture. Apparently, these are going to happen every
month on different subjects. I'll probably be at every one.
With all the excitement, and the added time
at the airport for the lecture, I was exhausted by the time I got
home. I debriefed the family, and called it a night.
Definitely one of those experiences I won't easily forget.
Next time, Matt said we will start planning
the cross country, and go out to the other airport and do some landings
there. I will be flying 20481 though. I am looking forward to
seeing other places now, and will be continuing to prepare for that
fateful day when Matt steps out of the plane and sends me up on my
own. I'm a patient man though, and I want my landings to be a LOT
better before that comes around.
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