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Flights 36 at SpanaFlight 
(Total: .7 PIC, 40.2 Dual, 1.3 Sim IFR, .2 Night, 1.0 Complex, 165 Landings)


With last weeks flight being cancelled, and rain forecast for most of this week, I didn't expect to get off the ground today.  Matt called me, however, and asked me to go out early.  We did, and started some ground school.  Mostly we talked about the upcoming short and soft field takeoffs and landings.

We then headed out to 05G and preflighted.  I missed an item on the starting checklist and when I turned the key, nothing happened. Feeling like a bonehead, I reached down and turned on the master switch, grunted something to Matt about my needing to read the flipping instructions, and then started the plane, and taxied the plane to runway 16 to do the runup.  

Matt wanted the flight controls afterwards to demonstrate a soft field take off.  He added 10 degrees of flaps, held the elevators full back and taxied onto the runway without stopping.  He then applied full power and as the plane increased in speed, the nose lifted off and he held the plane at that pitch.  The plane then started lifting off at about 50 knots or so and he then dropped the nose and flew in ground affect until the speed increased to 70 knots.  We then pitched for a normal climb out and removed the flaps.  The rest was normal.  Seemed easy enough.

We headed out to the practice area to do some slow flight.  After clearing the area, I set up for slow flight.  I did pretty darn good until we started turning.  I think my altitude control was really good, but on the second turn, I was enjoying the view outside so much that I missed my heading and overshot by it about 30 degrees.  We then recovered normally.  

Then, not unexpectedly, Matt pulled the power and said I lost my engine.  I set up for 65 knots and picked a field.  I didn't voice that fact soon enough, however, and Matt thought I hadn't done so and picked a field for me to go to.  It was the same field that I had picked so I started lining up for it.  Matt then asked me what I was supposed to do next, and I thought "Aviate, Navigate, Communicate" and told him that I had enough time to make radio calls for help.  I then told Matt that I needed to attempt to restart the engine, but for some reason, I couldn't remember any details about that.  We then performed a normal approach.  I corrected for being a little high on the approach, and we did a go-around before I got too low.

Ground reference maneuvers were next.  I picked a couple of trees in the middle of a field, but there was really no wind, so I entered and started circling.  My circle continued to remain oval shaped (self induced, not wind induced), but my altitude control was pretty good.  I had a hard time explaining to Matt exactly which tree we were circling, however, as my turns weren't my best.

Rectangular course was better, but I was too close to the rectangle for most of the maneuver.  S-turns I still really suck at.  One circle was WAY to small, while the other was WAY to big.  I can see a lot of practicing those ahead of me.

I then turned towards the airport, which had shifted to using runway 34 for landings, and started my approach.  Matt took the controls on the base leg so as to show me a soft field landing.  The approach was normal, but during the flare, he added a little power and landed very softly, and then kept the nose off the ground as long as possible.  Didn't seem too difficult.

We then taxied to a full stop and I did my first soft field takeoff.  As I lifted off, I was surprised at how much I had to push the nose down to keep in ground effect.  Afterwards, Matt commented that he thought I did pretty darn good for my first attempt.  A comment that I was to dissolve with my next attempt.  I then tried my first short field landing.  

I started the landing procedures a little early by pulling the power about 3/4 the way down the field and after speed bled off, added 10 degrees of flaps.  I added 20 before I turned to base, and had full flaps on before my turn to final.  We were really high, but slow and having full flaps on, the plane pancaked in rather steeply.  I had to remember that my landing point was a little farther down the runway than normal so as to not aim for the numbers on the approach.  The landing was right where I aimed for, and we then removed all the flaps and braked very hard to slow.  We just missed the first taxiway, but would have made it if the simulated obstacle hadn't forced us to land a little farther down the runway.  

I taxied back and performed another soft field takeoff.  This time, it wasn't quite so graceful, but I still did it ok.  I then set up for a normal landing and did OK with that.  Matt said to taxi him back to the pumps, and I asked him if it were ok for me to continue my solo some more today.  He agreed and hopped out of the plane.  I wasn't nearly as nervous today as I was on my first solo flight, but again was amazed at how much easier it was to control the plane on the ground without that extra 200 pounds in the front seat.  

I taxied to 34 and waited for the line of planes that suddenly appeared and all wanted to land at once.  After what seemed an eternity, the pattern opened up and I taxied out to takeoff.  This time, I remembered how light the plane was and wasn't surprised at how quickly the plane accelerated and lifted off the ground.  I did better at maintaining my pitch angle as well.  After turning downwind, I realized I was about 150 feet too high in the pattern and reduced power and descended just in time to start the landing procedures at the right altitude.  

The approach was descent but I ballooned a little on my landing.  I compensated for it pretty good and landed without any further incidents.  I then taxied back and waited AGAIN for the 6 planed that suddenly appeared in the pattern to land again before I could get time to take off.  

I took off, and my pattern work was better, although I was too high on final, I compensated for it without too much difficulty.  My landing was a little off center, but pretty good none the less.  I then taxied the plane to the fuel pumps and shut it down.  Headed back in and debriefed with Matt.  We discussed the flight and attempted to schedule another one pretty soon.  Unfortunately, the next available slot is in about 10 days or so.  I penciled myself in for about 7 future flights so as to ensure that I am on the schedule at least once a week.  (see my Flight Schedule for details)

Matt wants me to perform another weight and balance calculation and do the performance calculations before next flight, so I will start getting up to speed on those again.  Also, I think Navigation is on the list of things to start as well.  He also signed me off to do unsupervised solo flights at my airport in 05G.  So, I will see if I can get an open slot to practice some takeoffs and landings later this week or early next week as well.

Until then....Journal Page 41


Last Updated: Tuesday, May 23, 2000


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