Posted by: Brian | February 28, 2010

A Good Day to Stall.

So, my day started at 8am in week 5 of ground school.  It was fairly interesting, covering topics like aircraft performance and weight and balance issues.  While math is required to perform certain functions, calculators are allowed.  Otherwise, I’d have to find a new hobby.  Just sayin.  Next week is our last full week of class.  We start out with quiz #2 and immediately jump into flight planning, which is what I am most looking forward to.  The following week, we do a quick review and take a comprehensive final exam, covering all seven weeks of school.  Once I pass that, I can go ahead and schedule myself for the written FAA exam.

As the winds were pretty high for most of the day, I wasn’t sure if I’d get up in the air today.  By the time class ended, the winds were at about 10 knots from the west, which made for a nice crosswind takeoff and landing.  My instructor decided that today was fair game, so I prepared to go up.  As usual, I knocked out my pre-flight checks early to maximize my time in the air.  And today I got a lot of it.

I taxied us up to runway 36, did our runup and away we went.  It was my second takeoff, which went a little more smoothly than the last time.  I was better able to manage my attention between looking outside and my instruments.  While certain parts of the takeoff went well (yes, there is always a but…), one area I need to improve on.  Actually, I didn’t do it the first time, so not quite sure why I did it this time.  Before I tell you what I did, let me give you a little background: Whenever  you are at full power settings, there are certain factors that tend to want to pull the airplane to the left.  First, the torque of the propellers tend to turn the plane left.  The second is P-Factor.  The descending propeller blade (on the right side) has higher angle of attack than ascending blade (left side). Therefore, there is more thrust coming from the right side of the propeller, again, pushing the plane left.  To counteract this left turning tendency, you use right rudder to yaw the nose back around to maintain heading.  Well, what I did this time was, I used my ailerons (yoke) to maintain heading instead of my rudder.  Don’t ask why.  I didn’t do it the first time.  What I think happened was, I was more concentrated on departure procedures than I was at the task at hand.  But, I must say, my departure procedures were a lot better, though.  🙂

We pretty much jumped right into slow flight with full flaps, followed by power-off stalls.  These went ok.  They simulate an approach to landing (full flaps).  I am very much a visual learner, so when he just had me do them on my own the first few times, there was much room for improvement.  I wasn’t aggressive enough on the controls.  I didn’t know how aggressive I could be, but from what he was saying, I needed to be more aggressive.  At one point, I think I was maybe a bit too aggressive on the initial recovery (pushing forward), because I think I caught a “Holy Sh*t!” from my instructor.  I think you may even be able to hear it in the video.  Anyway, he did eventually demonstrate the maneuver, after which I think I did a little better.

After about a solid hour of stalls, we headed back from Deale, MD, to Freeway Airport.  By the time we got back to the area, it was starting to get dark.  I must say, flying at night is very serene.  We entered the traffic pattern just west of the 50/301 interchange and made our turn to downwind.  I was actually able to take us all the way in this time.  I was an awesome feeling being able to land the plane.  While I was doing most of the work, my instructor was verbalizing the instructions to me just to ensure I was not missing anything.  The landing wasn’t a ‘greaser’, but it wasn’t as bad as some other ‘first landings’ I’d seen either.

All in all, it was a very fulfilling lesson.  I learned that I need to be more aggressive on the controls and do one thing at a time.  I tend to think about the next task, instead of the one I am working on.  Also, I still need to my rudders more.  I am getting a little better at it, but much room for improvement still exists.

As for the audio, I did capture the clear cockpit audio, however, have not been able to upload it and embed it with the video yet.  I will do that over the next week or so, but definitely wanted to get the video up.  Let me know what you think…

~ Brian

Hours Today: 1.7 / Total Hours: 8.2



  1. Very nice video!!! For a first landing, it didn’t look too bad. Keep up the good work, I look forward to seeing more!!

    • Thank you! I am looking forward to my next one already!

  2. Brian, sag mal, hast du eigentlich einen Fallschirmspringer Kurs vorher gemacht? Das solltest du unbedingt machen! Bitte! Ich hab dich ganz doll lieb!

  3. Brian, that was absolutely fantastic you grand pa would have been very proud of you.

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