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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 attention.  

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.

Until then...

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Last Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2000


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