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Flight 22 at SpanaFlight (Total: 25.9 Dual, 1.3 Sim IFR, .2 Night, 92 Landings)


Well, the weather finally cleared up for a brief half a day, and I just happened to have a plane and instructor scheduled during that time.  The last 2 flights got cancelled due to weather, and I never did get up with that other instructor because of that.  This school is pretty busy, so I have to schedule almost 2 weeks in advance just to get the time slot I need to fly in.  It tends to similar to playing the lottery during the winter months.

I headed out to the airport a little early as usual, met up with Matt, and we decided to go right away.  I headed right out to the plane and started pre-flight.  Things went smoothly, and Matt showed up and we took off from runway 16.  Today's lesson was going to allow for some high-altitude maneuvers, and we proceeded out to the practice area to get set up for them.  I had forgotten how beautiful the countryside was considering how long I had been lassoed to the airport.  Everything around the plane seemed bright and new again.  Amazing what a change of pace creates.  

After clearing the area, we started with a power off stall. Matt wanted me to recover at inception of the stall instead of afterward though.  That went OK.  I forgot to push in the carb heat and took too long removing a notch of flaps, but other than that, I think it went well considering I hadn't done one in a month or so.  We did another power off stall, which I performed much better.  We waited until the plane stalled fully though.

Next was power on stalls.  The first one Matt again wanted me to recover at inception.  It went smoothly, and we did another.  The second one was OK, and except that I pitched the plane a little to much.  We then headed out to do some slow flight.  I entered that pretty good, and was able to maintain myself pretty well in this maneuver.  We did 10, 20, and 25 degree banked turns, and then recovered.  All in all, I was pretty happy with my performance there. 

We then started heading towards the airport, when Matt starts asking me about what I would do if I lost oil pressure and the engine started heating up.  I said that I would perform a precautionary landing, but that we were close enough to the airport that even if we lost the engine, we should be able to make it.  We were about 3000 feet, and had about 3 miles to the airport.  Of course, right on queue, Matt wanted me to prove my words, and pulled the power.  "OK, you've lost your engine" he said, and I immediately set up my glide angle.  

I turned toward the airport and Matt made a couple of radio calls regarding the "Simulated Engine Failure Emergency Landing" and we continued on.  I made it a point to carefully maintain my glide speed, as I didn't want to eat my words.  I set myself up for a short final and entered the pattern on the base leg.  Turned and landed the plane.  The landing was fairly smooth, and we touched lightly.  We did a full stop and cleaned up the plane.  Matt told me I did a good job on that one, I grinned widely, and we headed back to runway 16 to do some more pattern work.

Took off, and did my usual too steep turns in the pattern.  I was making all the radio calls today, as I wanted to prove to Matt and myself that I could do both without flying into the ground or doing something stupid.  We had a crosswind today, and I had to crab quite a bit into the downwind leg to keep from being blown away from the airfield.  We turned base, and for some reason, I turned WAY too early for final.  After considerable correction and scolding myself, I landed without too much incident.  I waited a little too long before I flared the plane, so we landed before bleeding off the speed too much.  Stayed on the ground, and didn't float, so I think it was OK.  We executed a touch and go, and went around to try it again.

This time around, on final, Matt said that a plane pulled out on the runway.  I looked down and didn't see one.  (I actually thought he was serious)  He said it again, and I realized that he was doing a go-around drill, and I proceeded to add power, remove a notch of flaps, and proceed without landing.  I forgot to turn away from the airport though.  Matt caught it, and I then turned to keep that invisible plane from taking off from under us.  We proceeded around the pattern again, and I landed smoothly.  

I really think I may have figured out my flaring problems.  At least as much as I am not landing the plane too hard anymore.  I sometimes float some though, but not today.  I did 2 more landings without incident, but the last one, I was too slow on final.  I mistakenly added the final notch of flaps too soon, and as the engine RPM's were a little low, we slowed to 60 knots on final.  Matt scolded me appropriately, and we landed smoothly with a little side-loading.  Matt commented that it wasn't too bad, but we didn't leave ourselves any margin for error.

We did a full stop, and parked the plane.  We went in and debriefed.  All in all, I think that Matt really did discover and resolve my flare problems, and that makes me feel a lot better about my landings.  I really look forward to the pattern work, as it just reinforces my confidence.  I do have a lot more to learn though.  I hope to solo soon, but Matt still wants me to go up with another instructor so they can evaluate my flying before solo.  As the other instructors keep a pretty full schedule, and the weather being as bad as it's been, I doubt I'll be able to do this before Christmas.  I remain hopeful for an opening though.

I'll keep you posted...

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Last Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2000


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