Posted by: Brian | May 23, 2010

Instrument work

A rough morning.

I got in, did my pre-flight and noticed that the nose wheel had a bit of give to it, not much though.  Now mind you, the planes are parked on a slight incline.  That meant that less weight was on the front wheel and more on the back two.  I didn’t think of that.  When we started to taxi, I realized it was harder than usual to get over the little metal chalk block (that prevents the plane from rolling backwards).  My instructor then asked me (about half way down the taxi way) to look at my tire and check if it’s flat.  My side was fine.  His side was fine.  He unstrapped himself and looked at the nose wheel: completely flat.  Rim on the ground and all.  Nice.  Real nice.  First and foremost, safety: it’s a good thing we figured it out prior to takeoff.  Second, this was eating into my 8-10am session.  We had to tow it off of the flight line, re-file for another plane and do another round of preflight checks.  Not a problem; we did, and in about 20 minutes, we were rolling down the taxi way again.

Not having been up in for about a month, we eased back into flying by doing ‘hood work’.  As soon as I took off and got us on our path to Deale, MD, I flipped my ‘foggles’ and so it started.  It was actually quite cloudy, despite Flight Services saying clear below 12,000 with 10 miles of unrestricted visibility.  We ducked and dodged clouds on the way up to about 3,000 feet.  As we did some of it, my instructor allowed me to flip the foggles up to look at the view.  I must say, very serene.

As we had a bit of a late start, we didn’t have too much time in the air.  I did some standard rate turns for instrument work (not the same normal standard rate turns, which are are much shallower), and constant speed climbs and descents before heading back to Freeway Airport.  Instead of landing and parking, however, we took off one more time, allowing me to get another landing.  The initial one was a bit rough.  I tend to think I’m in a jet, flaring was too soon on final.  In these Cessna’s, you can’t do that – you’ll end up stalling.

After the first landing, we ‘cleaned up’ the plane and taxi’d back around to the start of the runway.  I applied full throttle and got to about 45-50 knots (you rotate at 55 knots), before feeling a slight tug or decrease in speed.  My instructor quickly took controls and stopped the plane.  Not sure if it was something in the engine, or the vibrations going down the runway made me slightly pull the throttle back, but either way, good thing we were able to stop prior to making it up in the air.  We pulled off to the side, rev’d the engine and made our way back to the start.  Didn’t notice anything the next time down the runway, so we assumed that I accidentally pulled the throttle back slightly; not 100% sure.  We stayed ‘closed pattern’, which means I took off, and made 4 left hand turns and landed again.  The last landing was much better, but looking forward to getting a lot more under my belt.

Two issues I had while flying on Saturday:

1.  When pushing the throttle in, I was gripping all morning.  Even just keeping my hand on it during maneuvers I was gripping.  When pushing in, I am supposed to just use my index finger to avoid the gripping.  You grip to pull out.  As we had clouds everywhere, it was a bit turbulent.  Those bumps made me ever-so-slightly pull the throttle back out.  That is also what we thought happened on the aborted takeoff.

2.  On final approach, I flared too soon.  The second landing was a lot better.  My instructor would tell me to stop focusing on the past.  In his words, pilots cannot afford to think about past mistakes.  You have to think in the present, plus 2-3 steps ahead to avoid falling behind.  Makes sense.  It’ll come over time.

As the morning started out the way it did, I only logged 0.8 hours total.  I have another lesson scheduled for next Saturday.  I was also given a ‘Pre Solo Exam’ to complete prior to my next session.  I am well on the way to going up on my own!  Also, no video this time, as I forgot to charge my camera.  It’s probably better that way, seeing how the morning started out.  I would have loved to have had some footage of the clouds, but my instructor took some pics.  Hopefully he’ll post soon.

~ Brian

Hours Logged: 0.8

Total Hours: 17.6


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