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Flight 1 at SpanaFlight  (Total: 3.0 Dual, 7 Landings)

9/13/99 - With Pictures this time!
Monday seemed to take forever to get here.  I spent most of my weekend watching the Jepessen Videos that my course requires.  Luckily, the owner loaned me a couple of the videos so that I could watch them at home.  

I arrived at Spanaflight at 3:45 for my appointment, and Matt was waiting for me.  We went right off to a classroom and started talking about the traffic pattern and such.  I knew most of what he told me but since it has been several months since I have studied hard on the subject, I was glad to get the refresher. 

We then went out to preflight the Aircraft.  This wasn't the same plane that I flew last time on my Discovery flight.  Same type though.  We did a thorough preflight which took about 25 minutes or so.  I attempted to keep my mouth shut more this time so as not to bleed away the flight time we had left.  This time I actually did the fuel checks and got to finish the preflight which was nice.  We then moved the airplane out, and got in (slightly more graceful this time than the last time I was in a 172).

We went step by step through the startup checklists and started the airplane.  Taxied to Runway 34, completed the pre-takeoff checklists, and took off.  I had the plane mostly this time.  Matt had his hands on the yolk though.  I kind of expected this as he and I have never flown together before.

We followed the pattern until we were on the downwind leg and continued our climb to 3500 feet.  We flew to the practice area which was just south of Thun Field.  We spotted a C-141 flying around at our altitude shortly after we arrived at the area, and watched it doing some maneuvers.  The jet was circling around some and making some unusual maneuvers.  Matt ensured me that we really had nothing to worry about.  I got a little spooked though when the jet was passing off to our left wingtip and started turning towards us.  I think he spotted us though since he leveled out his turn and continued back toward Tacoma. 

We started practicing basic elevator trimming procedures as well as learning how to lean the fuel mixture.  We them did the basic straight and level flight, simple turns, climbing turns, and descending turns.  I got some awesome pictures including one of Mount Rainier.  He showed me clearing turns and then we practiced slow flight.  Slow flight was probably the hardest aside from just maintaining my altitude during a turn.  One interesting thing though about slow flight is that the turns seem to be very fast compared to when at 90 knots at the same bank angle.  

Forty-five minutes had gone by so far, and we wanted to get some landings in before our time ran out.  So, we turned to the north and started heading back to the airport.  We followed the same pattern that the last instructor at Spanaflight did, which was to aim towards a big white building (Boeing I think), descending to 2000,  and then turn north until we get to a green water tower and then turn right to enter the landing pattern at 1500 ft at a 45 degree angle to the downwind leg. 

We did one touch and go, and then one full-stop landing.  I had a little trouble getting the right pitch angle on landing, and had a hard time reading the PAPI next to the runway.  The VASI at Auburn airport is a lot easier to read. I banked a little too sharply on my turns to base and final.   Matt stated that my banks should NEVER exceed 30 degrees here. I'll remember this for sure.  Sure don't want to end up landing in the trees or the dump that is right before the airport. 

After the second landing, we pulled back in to the parking area.  We finished shutting down the airplane, and pushed it into it's parking place.  Matt took a picture of me in front of the airplane, and then we went in to talk about the flight. 

For a first lesson, Matt stated that I did well, and we covered the areas that I should watch out for in the future.  I had originally scheduled 2 hours for this flight, but since we started a little early, and ended late, it turned out being 3 hours.  Either way, I had a lot of fun, and have a lot more faith in my instructor.  It turns out that the fact that I had studied for a few months before I started this training is going to accelerate things some. 

Well, that's all for now.  I will take the camera up on my next flight and attempt to get pictures of the airport and a few of the more prominent landmarks and important areas (such as that Boeing building, and that water tower which are important when entering the pattern).  I have my next flight scheduled for Thursday evening.  Later.....

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