Learning to fly, but I ain't got wings

Month: October 2015

Friday Afternoon, blue skies and high pressure

In ground school, I have been learning about weather patterns and how high pressures and low pressures affect the area.  Most of the week we were in a low pressure that brought a decent amount of rain, but I could see a sweet high pressure coming for the weekend.  I had flights scheduled for the sweet spot of Friday and Saturday when this high pressure was right over us.  With another low arriving late Saturday, early Sunday I was glad my normal Sunday flying couldn’t happen due to other things on my schedule.

We took off as normal, and headed to the practice area.  I requested that we work on some coordination because I felt as if I was relying on the ball too much for coordinated flight.  I didn’t have a good reading on the horizon or by the seat of my pants.  My instructor introduced me to dutch rolls.  A dutch roll is performed by essentially rocking the wings back and forth and keeping your nose on a fixed point in front of you.  This requires you to push on the rudder as you rock the wings to keep coordinated.  I liked this maneuver because it not only forced me to use the pedals in a lively manner but I also got a good feel for how much pressure is really needed.

Ok next, back to my arch nemesis… steep turns.  After blowing my altitude by 150 feet in a left hand steep turn….. again.  My instructor took the controls and asked me to just watch at what point on the cowling I was lining up with.  BINGO!  For some reason, probably 30 degree turns.  I was lining my site picture up with the wrong spot.  Next I took the controls and performed a 45 degree steep turn to the left and lost about 50 feet.  Which is within PTS standards.  I noticed that I rock the wings a bit in the 45 and I think that is attributed to a little oscillation and subsequent altitude loss.  I will tighten that up.

Next we performed a couple of quick slips and then headed back to the airfield for some pattern work.

First landing went well, site picture was good, speed good… touched down decently.  My instructor then pushed in carb heat and pulled the flaps and said to throttle up.  My first touch and go!

The next 3 went about the same, with touch and goes performed and she complimented me on holding center line on the landings.  At this point I asked her how much she was helping on the landings and she responded that she was only helping verbally.  Rock!!  I’m doing it!

On the fifth approach I noticed her hands went to her lap instead of the usual fingertips on the yoke.  I touched down, not the smoothest but ok, and she said, “see I wasn’t touching anything”.  What and Awesome feeling.  I felt good that I was understanding my approaches and landings but wasn’t sure how much help was being given.  It is a double edge sword.  You like the comfort of knowing that the instructor is right there with you but also in the back of your mind you are not sure you are completely engaged with everything that needs to be done and not 100% how close you are to that understanding.  Knowing today that I landed the airplane by myself was a great mental boost.  There wasn’t much wind so not really the toughest of landings and I know that I have a ways to go with crosswinds etc.  For now, it feels good.

In my own head… and Deer on the Runway!!!!!

Today started off well.  Though 10 miles visible seemed a bit suspect.  More like 5-7 visibility and even that seemed sketchy.  My instructor commented on how easy it was for VFR pilots to get in trouble as the conditions slowly deteriorate.

We started out with some steep turns left and right.  Today I did ok turning to the right again but my left 45 degree turn was terrible.  I am definitely in my own head on these things.  We next transitioned to slow flight which I did pretty well.  Only lost about 50 feet in altitude.  Though, I did not add right rudder, and lost 20 degrees of heading… doh!.   Next we did some slow turns and did a dirty stall at 50.  Again,  didn’t add rudder, and if we would have truly stalled,  probably would have entered a spin.  If you can’t tell, I need to work on my coordination in slow flight.

We then headed back to the airfield for some more pattern work.  As we were heading back, we got a little bit of a scare as we had a Cessna 172 report their position and it seemed like we were in the same airspace.  My instructor abruptly dropped altitude as she asked for a verification on the position of the 172.  We then picked them up visually and wasn’t an issue but a lesson in awareness.  The winds picked up and favored runway 21.  After notifying the incoming traffic, we all agreed on the shift to runway 21 which set us up for a fly over the runway heading east to setup for the downwind.

I felt a little behind the aircraft since we were entering halfway as we crossed the runway, but got setup and stabilized.  First landing, I was a little fast and we ballooned a bit.  Then, back to runway 21 for the next trip around the pattern.

The second trip around the pattern felt pretty decent, I was stabilized and flew pretty well all the way around.  As we turned base, I let the nose come up a bit, still need to work on keeping my site picture.  I felt a little low so waited to add the flaps until we turned base.  Flaps added, and we were a little high, so cut some throttle and shot the numbers at 65 kts.  This time, not too bad… needed to pull back just a bit more in the flare.  Overall, I felt like I was with the airplane.

Third trip around the patter, I was spot on.  I hit the numbers all the way around.  As I touched down and heard a little chirp of the tires and a “Nicely done!” coming from my instructor.  That landing felt really good.  As we taxi’d across the hold short line I was good with ending on a good landing.  Looking at the clock showed, I still had the airplane for 45 more minutes so I decided for one more.  You know how that goes… I’m sure you can see it coming.

This time we were looking good all the way around but as I came in, we seemed to be a little high even with throttle pulled back to idle.  I think my instructor saw this as well as she voiced “Deer on the runway!!! Go Around!….. Throttle full, carb heat off, retract 10 degrees of flaps”.  I performed my first go around.  As we were climbing back to pattern altitude I said “I’m glad you saw it because I didn’t see anything”.  She replied, “Well, it was the imaginary type”.  I am not totally sure if she planned it or allowed me to escape because we were coming in a little high.  Either way, it was a good thing to learn.

So for the last time around the pattern, everything felt good… that was kind of the theme today for pattern work.  I even felt my final approach was the best.  We seem to be coming it real close to the numbers… so much they didn’t disappear under us at the normal height above the ground.  As a consequence and me feeling like I was in a new site picture… I flared a bit too early and ballooned a bit.  Still touched down ok, but it was definitely not my best of the day.  Should have quit on the good one.

It didn’t really matter too much as I felt pretty good today about hitting the numbers for altitude and airspeed around the pattern.  I really need to get these steep turns figured out and remember my rudder during slow flight / high power configuration.  It is just sloppy.  It all comes down to muscle memory and I haven’t gotten that far yet… I will get there with time.  Not a bad way to start off my Sunday.

Now let’s add some precision to that!

What a good way to end the week, by committing aviation.  I finished up work and headed out to the airfield so I could fly a little airplane.  Awesome!  I did the normal but important stuff, weather, preflight then a brief with my instructor before we headed out to do some precision flying.

Lined up on runway 3, made my callouts… “Engine instruments, green, green, green, airspeed alive…. approaching 50 kts, elevator back for rotate.  Pitching for climb a Vy, 65 kts., staying aligned with the centerline of the runway.”  Starting to come more natural.

We turned crosswind and continued climb to 3000 ft into the practice area.  We started out with some cruise turns at 20 degrees and 30 degrees.  These are a piece of cake now.  Then we adjusted to 95 kts, 3000 ft level and started right hand steep turns.  Today… bang on holding altitude.  YAY!!!!!  Next left hand steep turns… I lost 200 ft… BOOOOO!  What the heck… I had no issue with left steep turns before… hmmm.  After a few minutes of mulling it over… I think that the haze on the horizon was throwing off my site picture.  also, it was a little bumpy today, so even in level flight we were up and down a bit.  I know I know… excuses excuses.

Next we dropped to 70 kts and tried a few slips.  I did better this time but still not great.  The first slip, I didn’t add all of the rudder.  The second slip was better but still not pitching forward hard enough.  Overall I did better this time.

Lastly, before heading back to the airfield we worked on transitioning to slow flight, 50 kts dirty (dirty means landing configuration, 30 degrees flaps).  My instructor warned me about having to give it right rudder to keep the heading and noted the heading on the compass and heading indicator.  First time, I thought I did well… held altitude right on. “You deviated from you heading by 20 degrees.”  uh, what? Ooooh right, dummy, you should have picked up on the clues.  So we try it again.  This time, I’m paying a bit more attention but still deviated 15 degrees.  Sigh……

So one of the reasons I was having a hard time today in some of the maneuvers was we have now started working on the precision part of flight training.  After the flight we talked about the check ride tolerances that I will need to meet and part of that is, holding altitude within a certain range on a steep turn and holding heading to a range during slow flight when the aircraft wants to pull left.  Pretty cool but I gots lots of work to do.

So…. we head back towards TTA and setup on a 45 degree entry into downwind.  We are aware that a warrior just took off and is staying in the pattern so we make a radio call to make it clear that we are going to slip in behind the warrior number 2 for landing.  This time, I memorized the before landing check list.  Seatbelts fastened and locked, Mixture Rich, Carb Heat on, airspeed 70 kts.  YAY!!!!!! I am ahead of the airplane.  Abeam the numbers, I am ready to go, throttle 1500, drop a notch of flaps pitch the horizon halfway between the nose and the compass.  YAY!!!!  I am still ahead of the airplane.  Once the runway is 45 degrees off of our wing, clear left and turn base…. hmmm a little low… lets wait to drop flaps.  Yay, I’m with the airplane. As we turn to final, drop the flaps to 20 degrees and shoot the numbers… Yeah, I got this.  We are a little high, pull back throttle.  My instructor says “Good but we need a little throttle” . I add back a little throttle.  “Shoot the numbers at 65, shoot the numbers at 65”  As soon as the numbers disappear under us, I look at the trees at the end of the runway… level off….. as we sink I slowly pull back until the trees disappear… hold…. hold… wheels touch… but…. um we are going back up a little….. we keep holding and settle down for a touch down.  “Too Fast?”  I say.  “You didn’t remove all of the throttle.”  ………..


I was so focused on everything else and so confident… I forgot to pull out the rest of the throttle.  Here I was, ahead of the airplane, dealing with a smidgen of crosswind and forgot a basic part of landing…. well, it is progress I suppose and I got my first bounced landing out of the way.

We taxi back to runway 3 for another cruise around the pattern.  This time, I extend my upwind (Takeoff) leg to allow for another plane to enter the pattern at 45 degrees.  I climb to 1200 ft (pattern altitude) on runway heading before turning crosswind.  This time I was ahead or with the airplane all the way around.  Landing was ok not great and I’m sure my instructor did a lot of work but… it felt pretty good.  And this time, I cut the throttle all of the way.

Overall, I felt like I was flying the airplane today and not letting it fly me.  Most of all, I feel like that I may actually be able land this thing one day on my own!

More steep turns, stalls, and now…. Pattern work!

I finally feel like I am getting the hang of a few things.  Pre-flight, Run ups, Takeoffs, cruise, slow flight, turns… all seem to be clicking.  I am holding speed an altitude decently, and feel like I am in command of the airplane.

In this lesson, we worked on a clearing turns, steep turns and stalls.  Again, my steep turn to the left was spot on.  I think I have that sight picture down.  To the right…. not so much.  I can’t seem to hold 45 degrees.  I seem to only hold around 38 degrees.

This time we worked on stalls and keeping as much altitude as possible approaching the stall.  The first time I exited, I lost around 700 ft…. NOT GOOD!  Imagine if I was on approach for landing… pancakes anyone?  The second time I attempted, I only lost around 200 ft which evidently is much better.  The Cessna 152 seems to just mush stall for the most part.  I haven’t felt a real clean break yet.  I may not be pulling back enough… not sure.

Next we moved on to some pattern work.  I wasn’t quite expecting that but I was ready for the challenge.  Time to put together everything I have learned to this point, including, Rectangular ground reference maneuvers, approach speeds, slow flight…

First pattern entry…. I felt ready.  We had incoming traffic on a long final so I was trying to locate him.  Once located, he became my source of to line up my “Abeam the numbers” profile.  Carb heat on, 10 degrees of flaps, RPM’s to 1500, site picture for descent.  Once the runway was 45 degrees, clear left, turn left, drop to 20 degrees of flaps and hold the nose down because it wants to rise.  Once re-established,  get ready for turn to final.  Once we turn final, time to shoot the numbers at 65 kts, using throttle to control our descent speed.  Everything looked pretty good, as we touched down but I seemed to relieve back pressure too soon.  Hmm… that is a big no  no.

We taxi back to runway 3 and perform another run up.  This time we take off but stay in the pattern.  As I turned from crosswind to downwind, I didn’t setup for 70kts and blew past our pattern altitude.    I get things back under control and notice that I am not flying parallel to the runway but slowly getting close.  sigh…. the airplane is way ahead of me.  The rest of the pattern went about as well.  I turned to base too late which had me too low on final and I had to hold my 20 degree flaps until we were on final. Then I ballooned a little over the runway… too fast!!!  Airspeed!!!! Pay attention!!

The last time around the pattern I felt like I was with the airplane a bit more.  Nailed the pattern altitude, was configured… then… turn too late on base again.  Once that happened I was flustered, as we got close to the runway, I was high… somehow.  And to top it off, I rounded off too early even though my instructor was saying “Not Yet…. Not Yet…. Not Yet…” but I kept on rounding out and we were too high above the runway.  This makes for an awkwardly sluggish mush all the way down to the ground.

As we taxi’d back, I commented on some of my frustrations to which she said that this is my first of many and will get better over time.  I sure hope so.  I was mentally exhausted.  It is amazing  how much concentrated concentration like that can drain you.  As I tied down the aircraft, I had 45 minutes to grab something to eat because I had brilliantly scheduled my lesson before my 3 hour ground school class that starts at 7pm and ends at 10pm.

Even though I was exhausted and dissapointed with my performance I reminded myself…. “You got to fly a plane, how cool is that”.

Steep Turns and Slips

A little bit of a shorter lesson this time, working on steep turns and slips.  We were not sure if we were going to get up on this lesson as we were scheduled to fly from 9am -11am timeframe and the Tafs (Terminal Aerodrome Forecasts) were calling from 13kts with gusts to 23kts.  Our little 152 has a limit of 12kts crosswind so even though the direction was close to the runway heading, the gusts were putting us near 14kt crosswind component.  After careful evaluation, my instructor said we would be good if we got up early and down before the winds moved in.

As I arrived, we moved fast.  I did our preflight, we got in and performed the start and run up.  Departure was runway 3 today and we had a light wind coming from the northwest.  I am really starting to get comfortable with the takeoffs and did really well through the hole takeoff up to cruise.

We quickly moved into 45 degree steep turns.  These are a little more tricky than a normal 20-30 degree banking turn.  Due to aerodynamic forces, at 45 degrees the wing tends to want to continue the roll, so you have to balance it out with a little bit of opposite aileron as well as a healthy does of back pressure to keep us from dropping altitude.  It is really a balancing act of the three axis’ of the aircraft.  After a quick demonstration, I took the controls.  First to the left, I pretty much rocked it.  So much as I rolled out, we felt some buffets and bouncing to which my instructor said “Feel that?  We just hit our own wake turbulence”.  I have read enough about steep turns to know, that is a good thing.  So I felt pretty good about it.  I quickly moved on to the right hand side.  This time, I didn’t do so well.  The site picture was different and I had a hard time holding 45 degrees.  At one point she said it was more like 37 degrees.  I need to figure out better cues to determine whether I am at 45 degrees or not.

Next we moved on to another helpful tool in the aviation toolbox, slips.  Slips are used to drop altitude quickly without gaining airspeed.  This is useful in an emergency landing situation or if you may be a little high on your approach and need to drop a little faster.  It was widely used in the days before flaps in order to slow down.  The principle here is to bank the wing into the wind and apply opposite rudder.  This will add drag to the aircraft and if you maintain speed, you will drop faster.  I understand the concept well enough but in practice I had a hard time.

As I entered the slip I tended to either pull pack or not push forward on the yoke.  This was causing me to lose airspeed. I was dropping well enough but if you lose too much airspeed you could quickly enter a spin.  Since we were practicing these for landings, a spin at landing altitude would be a sub-optimal situation.  This is something I requested we practice a little more in my next lesson.  After slipping practice, we headed back to the airfield.  I could feel the wind picking up and we had a decent bit of turbulence as we entered the pattern.  I followed along on the controls as we extended our downwind for traffic on a long final.  My instructor also included a bit of a slip into the wind for the crosswind landing to demonstrate our lesson.  As we taxi’d back,  I expressed my concerns with both concepts today and felt that I needed a little more practice.  So next lesson, we will do a little remediation as well as some more steep turns and slips!

Slow Flight and Stalls… Sort Of

Today started off pretty well.  My instructor said she would be watching closely today and if she is confident, my next flight I would Solo!   Well not exactly what you think, Solo Weather Brief and Preflight inspection.  She listened in on the weather briefing and was pleased so out to the airplane for the preflight.  She watched carefully as I went through my checklist making sure the bird was airworthy.  All green, and we had 3 Aces…. Weather good, Pilot good, aircraft good.

I go through the normal procedures for starting and run up, get the AWOS that indicates a runway 21 departure, call out our taxi and away we go to setup for takeoff on runway 21.  We listen to the CTAF (Common Traffic Advisory Frequency) for any incoming traffic for landing or into the pattern.  About halfway to runway 21 we pick up that a Citation is 10 miles out on a long final for runway 21.  I ask my instructor if she sees him and she says “Negative, but he’s moving so fast he’ll be here shortly”  At that point she radios the Citation asking for a pirep on turbulence since some was noted during the weather brief.  The Citation indicated that it was relatively smooth today.  At about 5 miles out I could see his landing lights and as we taxi’d up to the hold short line, the Citation crossed the apron for a smooth touchdown.

As the Citation taxi’d off of the runway I made the radio call “Raleigh Exec Cessna 4640B departing runway 21 for the west practice area… Raleigh Exec”. I almost sounded like I know what I’m doing.  As with most students talking on the radio doesn’t come naturally so I am being introduced slowly to the concept.

We depart runway 21 and climb to the west to an altitude of 3000.  We made the radio call to alert traffic where we would be practicing and I lined up on a road for our first maneuvers.  We started with some clearing turns, 20 degrees to clear then some 30 degree 180’s in both directions.  Next we practices slowing to 70, descending at cruise and 70.  Then she had me add flaps and slow down to 55 and stabilize.  At this point I made shallow turns as if I was in the pattern or landing.  We practiced going from slow flight to cruise and back.  After getting comfortable, we entered slow flight and then my instructor told me to pull the throttle to idle and don’t let us sink.  I realized what we were doing, my first stall.  As we approached the stall, the controls got really heavy and I had to use rudder to keep the airplane coordinated.  Then I felt some buffeting and a faint sound of the stall horn.  At this point she commanded to drop the nose and full throttle and try to keep from losing altitude.  We didn’t quite enter a stall, it was called an “Imminent Stall”.  The idea here was to get me  acquainted with what the controls feel like as we approach a stall.

Next we did a few more ground reference maneuvers, more turns around a rectangle.  This time I did quite well all the way around.  After 3 or 4 turns around the pattern we returned to the airfield and landed.  Overall a great lesson, and a lot of fun.

Second Flight, A little wind with some ground reference

Second flight, this time we had a little bit of wind.  Not much, around 7-8 kts, but enough that I needed to pay attention to my ailerons during taxi.  Also on takeoff, this was the first time that I need to hold aileron into the wind as we started our takeoff roll.  This is where I think that my mental cup overflow-ith.  Not to mention we have a blackhawk inbound straight ahead.  I have seen all of the videos of what happens when a light GA aircraft flies through the rotor wash of a helicopter.  Never ends well for the airplane.  For some reason, I had reservations but my instructor radio’d to make sure they knew we were getting ready to take off head to head, and they replied they would adjust their course for us.  Ok here we go, Heels to the floor … check, eyes to the end of the runway … check, aileron into the wind .. check, slowly coming up to full throttle … check, on centerline … err crap I’m left, right, left.  My instructor telling me “Slow corrections”.  I got it back on centerline then realized that I haven’t pulled back on the yoke to get the nose light, my instructor is doing this now.  We are in the air and straight… now I am back on my game and crabbing to the right to stay on centerline of the runway.  we are crabbing about 10-15 degrees into the wind and when I look behind us… still on centerline..  sweet!  Last time I got compliments on my takeoff, this time… even though she never said it, I blew it a bit.  It was only my second take off but I had higher expectations of myself.   I have read that you will hit points where you have absorbed so much information that you can’t absorb anymore at a given point, I think I experienced a little bit of this.

We climb out Vy 65 kts and it is a little bumpy this time but not bad just more of an annoyance when trying to hold heading, speed, and altitude.  We go through the four fundamentals of flight, straight and level cruise, ascending turns, descending turns, and cruise decent.  Then we are off to find a square field.  We line up on down wind of a closed airfield that just happened to be the field that my instructor solo’d at.  Pretty cool.  Then I hear, “Where is the wind and what is it doing to you?”  I point the direction of the wind and say I need to crab a little into the wind to stay straight on downwind leg.  Then I hear, ” When you feel you are half a mile away on 45 degree, clear left and make a level turn”.  I look over my shoulder and the end of the runway is 45 so I say ” Clearing left, making a level turn, adding a little rudder, keeping the horizon cutting through the cowling.”  then I hear “you know you are half a mile away when the runway is halfway up the wingstrut. Is it?”  uh, crap.

So we go through this again at each turn of the rectangle and every time on the one turn from downwind to base, I am too close, what the hell!  Every other turn I am keeping the runway half a mile or halfway up my wingstrut.  Then finally I realize what is happening.  the end of the runway has some trees that are starting to overgrow and when I am at 45 degrees, what I think is the end of the runway is actually about 1000 feet down.  Ok so on the final attempt I nail all 4 sides.  At this point, we head back to the airfield.  My instructor seems to be concerned because there is an aztec milling about. Once we were in the patter on downwind, we hear the aztec drop in the pattern behind us.  Aztec’s are much faster then us.  At this point I reach the second point of overload.  Abeam the numbers my instructor, accelerates our checklist before I can read it and starts dropping flaps.  We then turn for a very short base and final.  At this point I realize, there isn’t going to be much of a lesson on landing because my already 10 steps behind.  at this point we are a little high so she says “I’m going to slip us down a bit” at that point she dips the wing and kicks the rudder and we slide down quickly.  It was pretty cool.  I have read about it but never experienced the sensory of it.  We touch down and get off the runway in time for the aztec to just touchdown.

As we taxi’d back, she asked if I had any questions/comments.  I told her how I felt about takeoff and landing and that I wished I was able to do a little more of the landing.  She explained that part of being a pilot is also being a good neighbor and that Aztec was much faster than us so we were trying to be considerate.  Cool to me, so far Pilots have shown to be a special bread. Especially when it comes to helping each other out.  Can’t wait until the next lesson.

First Flight! Actually Literally!

So yesterday we actually got off the ground!  Perfect day for flying blue skies and almost no winds. Couldn’t ask for a better day for my first flight lesson!

Okay so let’s start at the beginning.

Once I arrived, I did the usual stuff, Weather briefing, preflight, taxi, run-up.  I have decent practice at those sort of things.  This time was a bit different, instead of taxiing to one end of the airport and back, we taxi’d up to runway 3.  We checked radios for traffic, looked both ways up and down the runway, made our call and pulled out onto the runway.

So here I was, staring down 6000 ft of runway just like I have done a million times in my head.  Slowly push the throttle in, a little right rudder to counteract the P-Factor, keep the white line between my legs.  So far so good.  Actually not too bad at all, She must be helping a bit…. hmm.

Airspeed alive… 50 kts, lightly pull back a few inches on the yoke, nose feels light and a little wobbly but we are going straight.  around 60 kts we start to lift off the ground, holy crap we’re flying.  I need to keep us aligned with the extended centerline… we are drifting a little to the right… add left rudder?  My instructor says we are doing OK, not to worry about it too much.

I am reminded every 500 ft until cruising altitude that I need to drop the nose and check for traffic.  700ft, dropping the nose… weird sensation… no traffic, up we go.  1200ft, no traffic, time to turn west towards the practice area.  I am told to focus on some water towers to the west and then find a cloud or something to keep us going in the right direction because, we are going up to 3000 ft.

We spend the first part of the flight touring the edges of the practice area while she quizzes me on where we are.  At first my grinning response was “I have no idea!  But we’re in the air”.  She astutely points at some power lines on the map and then outside.  After a rotation of the map, I think I know where I am.  Think being the operative word.  I start following a road that should lead me to KSCR.  And like by magic, it did.  So I guess I did sort of know our location.  I turn to follow another road toward the next point in our practice area triangle.

Once we probed the edges of the practice area we proceeded into climbing and descending turns.  I got the impression that is normally for lesson two but seemed to be a piece of cake. I think the key to everything is the understanding that pitch controls speed and throttle controls altitude which I seemed to be OK with.  I have been studying those concepts for years and employing them in flight simulator for just as long. It sort of seemed natural.  Climbing… reduce throttle, descending increase throttle.  I kept us with 75 ft of our intended altitude for the flight.  The winds were calm so I am chalking it up to that.  I would imagine that I would have struggled a lot more with some more wind and turbulence.  It was good to see the concept in action.

We then headed back to the airport for a 45 degree entry into the downwind leg of the pattern. We need to drop altitude from 3000 ft to 1200 ft before entry.  We cut power and lifted the nose to achieve 70 kts for our pattern entry.  We entered the downwind leg and I was instructed to drop 10 degrees flaps once we are abeam (beside) the numbers.  So I did and had to give a little nose forward pressure to keep us from rising.  Next milestone, look to see when the numbers were 45 degrees back and to my left.  Once this happened, we made a 90 degree left turn and then dropped flaps to 20 degrees.  A lot started happening fast at this point.  we turned to line up on with the runway.  My instructor said “Shoot the numbers with the nose”. This put us on a steady decent to the runway.  As we got closer and numbers were hidden, I cut the throttle and we slowly started to roll the nose up for touchdown.  I honestly didn’t even feel much of the touchdown, just focused on pull the yoke back to keep the nose up as long as possible on the roll out.  I don’t think I helped with the landing too much but hey… my first time right?

We slowed down as I applied gradual brakes towards our turn off.  once clear of the runway, went through the post landing checklists and cleaned the configuration.

Taxiing back to the ramp felt great, the flight was great, everything was perfect.  As we are debriefing, my instructor said she was really impressed with my take off saying “Normally, students are back and forth across the runway and I have to keep us straight”.  Sounds like I did a pretty good job on the pedals. 😀  She also complimented me on my ability to hold altitude.

As I was getting ready to leave she said that I was such a “Precocious” Student (Honestly I had to look it up… I have heard the term before but wasn’t fully sure of the meaning, feel dumb about that, stupid public education), that she was going to jump to ground reference maneuvers on my second flight and handed me a fat packet up paper to study up on.  Sounds good to me… I guess some students spend a couple of more flights on turns, climbing, descending?

Can’t wait until my next flight!

Rain Rain Go Away! And Please Don’t Come Back!

So since last time, my lesson yesterday was cancelled due to rain.  Boooo!   With the impending hurricane, it looks like my Friday and Sunday Lessons will be a bust as well.

Still waiting to get actual air time.  Fingers crossed for good a few hours of decent weather on Friday.  In the meantime watching some Flight Chops!

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rain“Rain rain go away,
Come again another day.
Little Johnny wants to play;
Rain, rain, go to Spain,
Never show your face again!”

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