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Flight 21 at SpanaFlight
(Total: 24.7 Dual, 1.3 Sim IFR, .2 Night, 87 Landings)
It was another fairly miserable day as far as
the weather is concerned. Rain and low clouds. Fortunately,
when I went out to the airport, the clouds were just high enough to do
some more takeoff and landing practice.
I arrived on schedule, and Matt and I decided
to go up while the weather was holding. Poorer weather was on the
way, and we needed to try and get up as early as possible. We went
out to the plane and pre-flighted. Everything checked out ok and we
headed out to runway 16 to finish checking out the airplane. Another
plane was practicing touch and goes, and we waited until he had landed
once and lifted back off to take the runway. Added power and
The first time around was the norm for
me. I made my turns too steeply, and was too high on final, but I
corrected for it appropriately. Landing wasn't my best, but wasn't
my worst either. Matt asked me if I realized what I did wrong, and I
actually did. I flared too soon too much and ballooned, then as my
airspeed bled off, I didn't continue the flare and landed hard. We
did a touch and go and tried a second time.
The second time around was about the
same. High on final, steep turns in the pattern, and a balloon and
hard landing at the end. Matt did, however, point out that he
thought he knew what I was doing wrong, and how I should correct for
it. Matt stated that I should start my flare a little later and hold
it for a second to bleed speed, then continue the flare slowly to touch
down smoothly. Something clicked in my head, and I understood what I
have been doing wrong, and what I needed to do to fix it. I decided
to try it next time and see how it goes.
On number three, Matt also instructed me to
not exceed 20 degrees in my turns and to plan accordingly to make sure I
didn't turn too much. I think he is trying to get me to break my bad
habits. The pattern work wasn't too bad, but as usual, I was a
little too high on final. I corrected for it and started the
approach. I did just what Matt said to do and flared a little,
waited for a second or so, and then continued my flare slowly.
Wouldn't you know it, my best landing ever. Didn't even hear the
tires skid as we touched. Matt applauded and I took it up to try
Number four was almost as impressive as my
last touchdown, except I ballooned some. I corrected for it and
touched smoothly again. The fifth time around proved that I still
had a lot to learn, as old habits crept in again and I landed a little
bumpy. Matt asked if I realized what I did, and, as I am starting to
get a feel for evaluating my landings now, I stated that my flare was too
soon, speed too high, and I didn't flare enough at the end.
The next time around I greased it
again. Still ballooned it some, but was able to correct for it and
land the plane lightly. The next two weren't terrible, but I have
done a lot of landings that were better than those. I was still
touching down fairly lightly compared to my norm.
Number nine I gave to Matt again. I let
him take the plane around the pattern and of course, he still showed me
how far I have got left to go. He makes it look so easy. One
of the biggest stumbling blocks for me today has been trying to
communicate in the pattern and not get so distracted that I do something
stupid, like forget a notch of flaps or forget to pull the carb heat or
something. Matt said, however that I should concentrate on flying
first and communications last, but I am still trying to do it all. I
don't really have a hard time with what to say, as it is fairly standard
stuff in the traffic pattern, but I get just distracted enough to forget a
step in a procedure, or to turn too steep, or let my nose drop, or
something else stupid.
The last time around wasn't too
spectacular. I again was too high in the pattern, and a little too
fast on the approach. I corrected for it ok, and then proceeded to
screw up the flare. Ballooned again, but didn't compensate as well,
and landed hard. Again, not my worst, but definitely not my best
either. We pulled off the runway and cleaned up the plane. We
taxied to the fuel pumps and parked. There was a King air on the
field this time, and it was huge compared to the little planes I am used
to flying. It taxied out to 16 sand took off. An unusual site
for this airport.
We went in and debriefed. Matt said
that my landings were 10 times better than before, and I told him that I
was impressed with his ability to find and correct my error. Next
flight Matt wants me to schedule with Jeff, another flight instructor at
SpanaFlight. I scheduled one for this Saturday with him, and Matt
will ask him to evaluate my flying to see if I am ready for solo.
Matt said I am, but the school requires a second opinion. I will do
pattern work with him, and if all goes well, I should solo the flight
thereafter. I am now REALLY getting nervous about soloing. I
know it is a step I need to take to proceed with my flight training, but
it seems such a huge step to take.
I'll keep you posted...
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