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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 departed.

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 again.

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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Last Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2000


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