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Flights 32 and 33 at SpanaFlight
(Total: 36.1 Dual, 1.3 Sim IFR, .2 Night, 1.0 Complex, 151 Landings)

2/5/00 and 2/9/00

Since I didn't do anything spectacular on my last flight, except land poorly 7 times, I decided to combine that journal entry with this one.  

Saturday, 2/5:

Did 7 landings, 3 were full stop, and then the rest were touch and go.  Matt was evaluating me again to see if I could solo, and I did just enough mistakes to cause him to abandon that idea for that day.  Most of my mistakes were during the flare.  I didn't seem to be flaring soon enough, and was doing several 3 point landings.  Matt and I decided that a third party, however, might put a different perspective on my landings, so I agreed to fly with another instructor on Wednesday's flight. 

Wednesday, 2/9:

I headed out to the airport early so that I could ensure that preflight was completed and the plane ready so that when my instructor, Chad arrived, we could just hop in and go.  I completed the preflight and went back inside to meet Chad.  He was waiting, and we headed out to the plane.  Chad explained that he was going to watch what I was doing, and offer assistance as he saw the need.  He also, said that he might have me try some new flying exercises that he has used in the past to assist students with their landings.  

We loaded up, and started the plane.  We then taxied to runway 16 for run-up checks and takeoff.  The plane checked out fine, and we headed towards the hold line.  At Thun field, the normal noise abatement procedures for a calm winds day was to use runway 16, but another pilot decided to ignore all the other planes flying in the pattern, and take off from 34.  Luckily, I hadn't decided to start out on the runway, or who knows what might have happened.  My instructor made some cutting remarks regarding the intelligence factor of some pilots, and we headed out onto 16 for takeoff.

I did a normal takeoff, and once around the pattern to a full stop landing.  My landing was one of my better ones, in that I was able to keep the nose of the plane up when I landed without ballooning.  Chad stated that he didn't see too much a problem with the landing, but thought he would show me a couple of things on the next time around.  We taxied back to 16, and Chad performed a soft field takeoff.  While the plane was rolling down the runway, he held the nose up and had me look at the hill at the end of the runway.  He said to fix that picture in my mind and try to remember what it looked like.  To me, the horizon was level with the dash board, and I couldn't even see the hill directly ahead, but I could see the horizon to the sides, and remembered that picture.

We took off, and he handed the plane back over to me, and we proceeded around the pattern once again.  This time, however, he noticed that I was putting rudder in before I was putting aileron in for my turns, which was causing me to skid and slip in the turns.  He suggested that I lead with the ailerons first, and then the rudder to coordinate the turn.  He also stated that during the round out to the flare that I change my sight picture from the nose of the plane, to that hill that I was looking at during the takeoff.  As I turned final, I stabilized the plane, and as I rounded out, I shifted my line of sight as recommended.  I then just kept the plane at the attitude that maintained that picture and "squeak" the wheels then touched and we landed smoothly.  

I couldn't be that easy, I thought, and took the plane around to 16 to try it again.  This takeoff, however, Chad instructed me to start pulling the nose off the ground at 50 knots (instead of my usual 60) and to lift the plane at 55 knots.  I did, and the takeoff seemed a little easier.  We headed around the pattern again, this time, I was trying to remember to lead my turns with the ailerons first, and although, I forgot during my turn to base, the rest were pretty smooth.  I lined up on final, started my round out, shifted my vision, and then tried to keep that sight in the window.  "Squeak".  Damn.  It was that easy.  

It seems that what I had been doing was concentrating on landing the plane on the numbers and since I was focusing on those, I wasn't getting a good feel for how far the ground was under the plane.  I did 4 more landings nearly identical to the last 2 and with the exception of side loading the plane some on the last landing, I think I did pretty damn good.  Chad mentioned that he thinks that I might just have found the mistake that I had been wrestling with this whole time.  I sure hope so.  

We then taxied back to the parking area and shut down the plane.  Matt arrived in another plane and parked next to us.  After securing the planes, all three of us walked in to the airport, with Chad telling Matt that he thought my landings were just fine, and that he thinks that I might have found my mistakes in my flares.  We then went in, debriefed, and paid the bill.  Matt and I had a short conversation as I was walking to my car in which he mentioned that he hadn't been watching where I was looking and had just though that I had been looking down the runway the entire time.  I'm glad Matt asked Chad to go up with me.  I also got to see another teaching style that was different that I had been used to.  Both are good instructors, however, and I cannot wait to get up again on Sunday.

Until then....Journal Page 38





Last Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2000


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