Posted by: Brian | February 25, 2010

Back Up Again

After over a month since my last session, I was finally able to get back into the air again today.  It’s funny: you can study and study as much as you want in the confines of your own home, but nothing compares to getting into the cockpit and actually doing it.  Not to mention, today was also the day I’d do my first takeoff.  Added pressure.  Nice. 

As always, I got in about 30 minutes prior to my session to file the flight plan with Flight Services and do my pre-flight checks.  I finished and headed back in to get my instructor.  As the fuel tanks were a bit low, I learned how to fuel the aircraft.  Oddly enough, other than needing a latter to reach the top of the wings where the openings are located, it’s not much different than filling your own car at a gas station.  You can even use a personal credit card.  Makes sense, since you can land at any airport with fuel services and, using your credit card, you refuel your plane.

I taxi’ed to Runway 36, since the wind was coming out of the northwest.  You always want to takeoff and land into the wind.  I rolled onto the runway and immediately applied full throttle, with the ailerons into the wind.  As I got closer to Vr (rotation speed), you gradually roll the ailerons back around to neutral and, at 55 KIAS, rotate off of the runway.  Runway 36 takes you due north, right over US Route 50 and, if you aren’t careful, into some powerlines.  I must admit, I was a bit overwhelmed with everthing for my first time at the controls for takeoff.  It seems like there is a lot going on, but maybe it’s me just over analyzing, which is entirely possible.  I tended to focus on one thing or the other, but didn’t divide my attention well between the outside and the instruments.  I’ll figure it out…

Once at cruising altitude of 2000′, we immediately jumped into some clearing turns, followed by Dutch Rolls.  These went a lot smoother than in the past.  For everything I was worried I’d not retain, I did a decent job with those.  Basically, you just cut the ailerons all the way to one direction, while giving rudder input to ensure the plane stays on the current course.  We did a few of those, then jumped right into slow flight. 

Slow flight is interesting because you are flying at about 60 KIAS, with a nose high attitude in clean configuration (no flaps).  We’d do a few turns during slow flight (which are extremely shallow turns) and then dump the flaps (dirty configuration).  When you dump the flaps, you must immediately push the yoke forward, increase power and trim like hell.  If you don’t, the flaps will throw your nose up.  If you forget power, you will slow down even further and descend.  The goal is to maintain altitude, heading and airspeed. 

Since we were basically in ‘landing configuration’, we went ahead and did a power off stall (imminent).  It’s simulating an approach to landing stall.  In a nutshell, it’s easy to stall in landing configuration on final approach a few hundred feet in the air.  The goal as far as altitude is concerned during a stall is to minimize a loss as much as possible.  When you are only a few hundred feet off of the ground, you don’t have much to spare when on final approach.

After the stalls, I flew us back to Freeway Airport.  I got us to the downwind in the traffic pattern, at which point my instructor took the controls.  I made the calls, he nailed the landing.  I think I will be doing the next landings from here on out.  That is both exciting and nerve wrecking at the same time.  Hey, it’s a learning process, right…?

I should be going back up again tomorrow, but the wind may have other plans.  We’ll see.

~ Brian

Hours today: 1.1 / Total hours: 6.5

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Responses

  1. Brian, if I read all your posts will I qualify for at least having attended ground school. Your comments are great, concise and interesting. You get that from your Granddad. Have you posted the video of your latest flight yet and if so where do I get to it? Keep up the great work and Keep flying.


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