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Flight 18 at SpanaFlight (Total: 21.3 Dual, 1.3 Sim IFR, .2 Night, 61 Landings)


After passing my physical, I started getting really nervous about soloing.  I have all my prerequisites out of the way now, and I know how badly my landings have been lately.  Especially due to the limited flying time I have had in the last couple of weeks.  So, I went in not knowing what was ahead.  

I arrived at the airport, and Matt greeted me after a couple of minutes.  We decided to go up right away, so I went out and started pre-flight.  Things went smoothly, and we took off on runway 16.  I think it's a good idea that I have been using 16 lately, as I am getting more familiar with the pattern here, and a lot more comfortable with the landings.  Today's goals were landings, landings, and more landings.  

Started off by flying way too close to the runway on my downwind.  Ended up overshooting the runway on final, and was too high.  Landing was my usual bumpy one.  The second time around, I notice the crosswind on the downwind, and started correcting for it.  The crosswind was only at pattern altitude, and went away at about 500 feet AGL.  Still too close though.  Had a plane in front of us this time, and it seemed to me that he was way too far out on downwind, but it turned out I was still way too close.  I didn't overshoot this one, but I was still way too high.  The touchdown was a lot smoother though.

The third time around, Matt pulled an engine out drill on the takeoff.  I guess I did ok, and didn't really do much but get the nose down and point to a field before Matt restored power.  Got me thinking though.  This time round the pattern was more consistent, and I started coordinating my flight controls more.  I was still too close to the pattern though, and was too high on final.  The landing was a lot smoother, but still bumpy.

The fourth time, still being too close to the airport, I overshot final again, and had to correct a lot.  The landing however, was glassy smooth.  I flared and held it at the right place the entire time.  I asked Matt if he helped there, and he said he didn't.   I was thrilled, and we went up to try and duplicate it. 

Number five proved that I am improving, but still am flying way too close.  I seemed to not be having enough time to turn final.  It seemed that I was just doing a 180 degree from downwind to final, with no base at all, and was still overshooting.  I didn't realize that during these patterns that I was way too close, Matt had mentioned it on the first time around, and let me make my mistakes and learn my lesson the hard way on today's landings.  Either way, I was still too high, but my landing was still fairly smooth.  I did balloon some though.  

The last one for the day, went as the others did.  I was still to close in the pattern, and too high on final.  The landing was about the same as the last one.  After clearing the runway, I asked Matt about why he thought I was too high on all my final approaches, and he explained that flying too close to the pattern was mostly to blame.  It didn't give me the altitude loss that I needed nor the time I needed to perform the base leg correctly.  I didn't realize in the air what was happening, but it clicked when Matt pointed it out on the ground.  I will have to start extending my crosswind more when staying in the pattern in the future, and start using a different mark on my wing strut to gauge distance to the runway.

Overall, I learned a lot today.  I think I might finally be getting these flares down more, and I have definitely learned what I did wrong on my pattern work and how that affects the whole landing situation.  I am definitely looking forward to my next flight so that I can apply more what I have learned and get closer to my solo.  Next flight is Saturday, but it already looks like it will be fairly crappy weather.  Monday looks promising though.

More next time....

On to Journal Page 25









Last Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2000


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