Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tehachapi Day 3

Monday started out a bit warmer and less breezy, but throughout the day the conditions were about the same as Sunday. The few thermals were narrow and hard to center. The shear line was working, but not everyone could exploit it enough to get very far from the airport.

In the morning we worked on removing the faulty radio from the front cockpit. Then I flew the Grob with one of our instructors. While I flew, he wanted to try out my PDA-GPS combo. Unfortunately it had some sort of interface problem, and the PDA could not get the GPS data for most of the flight, so that was a bust. (It worked fine on the ground afterward.) Much like Sunday's flight, although there was lift I was not able to work it very well, and was back on the ground in just 16 minutes. Back on the ground hard - I bounced that landing pretty badly (unlike my other flights). I think it has to do with the sight picture from the rear seat of the Grob... it's kind of hard to tell exactly how close you are. Plus I had too much speed after my flare. Something to work on.

Later in the day the same two of us went up again, and he did twice as well as I had done... which is to say, we were down in a little more than a half hour! Narrow, rough lift... circling right on the edge of the stall, with lots of variation in speed trying to work the weak thermals. We tried to head up the valley to work the shear, but couldn't quite find it. For only the second time since I've started flying, I felt like I might get a little airsick. When I'm doing the flying, my visual and balance senses are much more in tune and it's never been a problem even with stalls and spins and hours of circling. But twice when I've been a passenger, it's gotten to me a bit. Hmm... both times with instructors, never with another private pilot. ;-) By consciously keeping my focus out of the cockpit, and trying to get some cool air, I got over it. (It did not help that my radio battery died and I had to look down for a some time while switching to a spare pack.)

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