Back to Journal Page 7
Flight 2 at SpanaFlight (Total: 4.0 Dual, 9 Landings)
Weather kept us from flying yesterday. But I was
able to get off work in time to go flying today. As a matter of fact, Matt
called me in early. We started right off into ground school. We
started with the first 2 chapters of my Jepessen Flight Manual which covered
areas such as physiological flight effects, and FAA pilot requirements. We
then covered powered on-stalls, powered-off stalls, taxi procedures, and slow
flight. We then went out to the aircraft.
I started the pre-flight checklist and we were able to
cover it in about 10 minutes. We then got into the plane, started it up, and
then taxied to runway 34. The winds were fairly calm, and it was
quite hazy out. We finished our final checks, and I missed an item on the
checklist, which was pointed out to me. It is pretty easy to miss
something, as a lot is going on in the plane during these pre-flight
checks. I'll strive to pay closer attention to the checklists as they will
undoubtedly keep me out of trouble.
My taxiing is improving, as I no longer weave down the taxiway
like a drunkard. I have started learning how to use the flight controls on
the ground for taxiing. I forget where the wind is coming from in regards
to which way we are facing, but Matt is there to assist. I have to
remember that I need to slow the propellers RPM to slow the plane BEFORE I start
using the brakes. I have forgotten that several times as well.
We finish our run-up, proceed onto the runway, and take
off. I drifted off the runway line after takeoff, but was able to
recover. We turned to
crosswind, then downwind, and proceeded out to the practice area. I was
glad I chose Thun field for my airport, as the practice area is just directly
south of the airport, and we don't have to waste any time in the transit to the
area. While we were climbing, the haze seemed to be getting worse.
So much so that we continued climbing to go above the layer of haze that was
there. When we did that, it seemed like we were flying on top of the
clouds. We could still see the ground ok, but with the sun getting close
to the horizon, the haze layer was really emphasized. One of the more
spectacular sights I have seen.
Anyway...We started out with some standard fly straight
and level stuff. I learned how to trim the elevators, and discovered that
the checklists do not stop after takeoff. We performed the normal cruise
checklist, and I learned how to lean the fuel mixture as well. (The cruise
checklist is to set the engine RPM to a certain range, trim the plane, and lean
the mixture) When that
was done, we started some standard rate turns, and cleared the area. Then
my showed me slow flight. I had seen this on an earlier flight in the
Piper, but so far, the two planes handle very differently so it is just like
doing these for the first time again. Anyway, it wasn't that easy.
We slowed the plane to just above stall speed, and maintained our
altitude. We then did some turns to show me how the plane controls during
this type of flight. At 45 knots, the plane's controls are mushy feeling
and the plane seems to be turning on a dime. We recovered from this type
of flight and cleared the area again.
Matt then started to show me Power on stalls. He
slowed the RPM to 1500 and brought the plane to 60 knots and held
altitude. He then gave full power and increased pitch to maintain 60
knots. He then increased the pitch angle
and the plane started slowing. The stall warning horn went off, and then
the nose dipped fairly sharply. He then brought us out of the stall, and
we steadied out. He then had me do the same thing. I don't think I
did justice to the maneuver, but I did perform it. And again, it was not
as bad as I had been reading about in the newsgroups.
By then it was getting late, and we proceeded back
towards the airport. I asked Matt to take the controls while we circled
the airport on the eastern side so I could get a couple of snapshots.
They turned out a little blurry though. The sun was just setting and at
the horizon when it turned a deep red and had different shades layered through
it. I attempted a snapshot, but it doesn't do it justice. Definitely
one of the more beautiful sights I have ever seen.
the plane again and we proceeded to enter the pattern, again landing runway
34. I have a bad habit of turning too sharply in the pattern, and my
instructor has warned me about it, but I let it slip into a sharper turn once
again today. I have to keep pounding it into my head that any sharper than
30 degree turn and I lose my lift substantially. Not a good thing while
that high in the air. We landed, and it seemed fairly smooth. My
instructor still has a lot of the controls during landing. I don't blame
him at all. Hopefully these will improve soon as well.
We performed a touch and go, and took the plane around
the pattern once again before landing to a full
stop just as the sun disappeared below the horizon. On the second landing, i
rolled out too soon, and the instructor took over to keep me from doing any
damage to the plane. I know I'll get better at this, but that landing was
a little spooky. Also, today was the first time I have seen the runway
lights on at Thun field. It was still daylight, but just dark enough to
make them out. We taxied back and parked the plane. We went inside
and debriefed. Overall, he said that I was doing well, but I feel I was
making too many little mistakes. Perhaps tomorrow, I'll do
On to Journal Page 9