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Second Piper Warrior Challenge (Total: 2.0 Dual, 5 Landings)

No pictures this flight, the wife had the camera loaned out.  Well, There is always next time.  The pictures here are just stock photos.

To say that this flight was an adventure would be an understatement.  I went in to the FBO at 2:30, and looked around at their pilot shop some while waiting for my instructor to arrive.  Precisely at 3, he walks in.  This was a different instructor than my last flight, and his name was Ken.  We went to the back, and discussed the upcoming flight for a couple of minutes.  The weather was clear and 75 degrees that day, making for some gorgeous scenery, so we decided to fly up around Vashon Island, and Bremerton.  We discussed what the last instructor did with me, and my prior studying some.  I asked him if I could do the pre-flight fully this time including the startup and all the checklists.  Ken agreed.

We walked out to the same airplane I flew last time, and started the preflight.  I was glad that we did a thorough check, as the left side engine cowling was loose, and needed to be secured.  I also noticed for the first time (since my last flight, the instructor pre-flighted the Aircraft) that the piper has a stabilator instead of an elevator.  Ken showed me how the trim tab on the stabilator changes in relation to the position of the surface.  The rest of the preflight was uneventful.  

Again, with the grace of a drunken clown, I practically fall into the cockpit when attempting to get into the vehicle.  After getting situated, adjusted, and secured, Ken hops in.  With it being so warm outside, and this being the first flight of the day in this aircraft, it must have seemed like 150 degrees in the cockpit.  We kept the door open until just before takeoff so as not to bake ourselves in the little Piper Oven that the aircraft was at the moment.  

True to his word, Ken let me perform the full checklists (with help and LOTS of questions) and start the aircraft.  We then taxied out to the runway pre-flight area behind a Cessna.  He turned in shallow, and we went farther, turned, parked, and continued the preflight checklists. They all went smoothly, and after the Cessna took off, we taxied out to the runway and took off.  

This takeoff was different from the last one.  we had put in about 10% flaps this time, which I thought was unusual.  Ken mentioned that this was due to the warmer temperatures outside, and us needing the extra lift.  Sure enough, we lifted off the ground, but not as near a high rate as on my last flight.  The air was choppier too.  We bounced around some and eventually got up to about 1500 feet.  We turned toward Dash Point (in Tacoma I believe)  and started flying out to Vashon Island. 

We continued to climb up to 2500 feet.  Upon arriving at altitude, Ken has me trim the Piper for level flight (first time doing this too) and tells me to pick a dot or scratch on the windshield that is level with the horizon, and to use that point to ser the attitude of the plane.  I find one, and I use it for the rest of the flight.  After 10 minutes or so, we reach Vashon, and perform a Clearing maneuver.  We did this so that we would ensure that we were not going to come close to any other aircraft during our maneuvers.  The clearing maneuver is just a 90 degree turn one way, and then the other. 

We started practicing 360 degree high bank turns. One turn right, then roll out.  then one turn left and roll out.  Then, Ken wanted to show me stalls.  From my reading, I heard that stalls were kind of frightening, and tended to be a semi-violent maneuver.  So the proclamation by Ken started my heart beating fast, and got my adrenalin pumping.  Ken saw this and did his best to put me at ease, but first impressions are hard to shake.  He showed me a power off stall first.  I must say, I was worried over nothing.  Aside from the stall warning buzzer going off loudly, nothing happened that I would call even vaguely frightening.  We pitched up, slowed, the stall warning sounded, and the nose lowered about 20 degrees.  He then brought back power, and we recovered smoothly.  Then I got to try this.  I throttled down, applied full flaps (in increments) , and pitched up to maintain altitude.  The stall buzzer went off, and the nose dropped.  I throttled back up to full power, and brought the nose level, and we recovered.  Piece of cake.  

Next Ken wanted to show me a power on stall.   This I had read was worse than the power off version, but again my instructor ensured me that it was not too bad to experience.  He brought the throttle to 75% and started pitching the nose up.  Speed immediately dropped, and he kept pitching the nose up to keep climbing.  The stall warning went off, and the nose dropped about 40 degrees this time.  Recovery was similar to the power off stall.  All in all, a little more exciting than the power off version, but nothing too frightening. 

As our last maneuvers, we decided to do slow speed maneuvering.  We slowed the plane to about 55 knots (just above the stall), and proceeded to do a couple of turns.  The controls felt sloppy, and sluggish, and required a lot more movement to do the same basic maneuver.  The plane handled well though, and seemed to be fairly maneuverable at those speeds. 

We brought the power back up, and started back towards dash point.  Looking out to my left,Some other airport....not mine. I saw SeaTac International Airport, and Ken stated that we had been flying under their airspace for a while.  When we reached Dash Point, We turned towards two blue water towers that I know are near out airport.  Ken pointed out that SeaTac was just to the north of us and that we were flying in somewhat of a corridor under their takeoff/landing path.  He also stated that if we were to go too much farther to the north, and inadvertently enter their airspace, the FAA would be calling when we arrived at our airport.  I made it a point not to go any farther north until the instructor gave the word. 

We proceeded to turn right to enter the landing pattern on the downwind leg at 45 degrees, entered the pattern, and again the plane seemed to act a lot differently this time due to the temperature.  My Instructor had me turn into the base leg, and then final.  I was too short on the turn this time, so I had to correct some.  Then we landed.  It took a lot more help from the instructor this time than my first few.  I think because I had 4 tries last time to get one right, whereas this was the only landing we did.  Still was smoother than my first landing though.  

We taxied back to the FBO and shut down the plane.  Got out, and walked back to the office where I picked up another manual, and had the instructor sign off on my logbook.  This time, he stated that it was time to get my Medical done, and also that I needed to register in Washington State as a Student Pilot.  I took the paperwork with me, and went home.  Another Great Day!

I'll schedule my medical appointment next, and see where my financial standings are before scheduling any more flights.  Also, I have decided that I will need to go ahead and learn on the Cessna 172 instead of the Piper.  There is almost a $23 dollar difference per hour, and that is significant enough to warrant training on that plane, and then flying the Piper when I don't have to pay for an instructor as well.  Until Next time.......Adieu!

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