Saturday, August 15, 2009

Closing in on Commercial

Friday and Saturday I worked on ground school and instructional flights in final preparation to take my Commercial practical test at the end of this month. We also went over the questions I missed on my written Instructor test. My instructor agreed with my disagreement with the only two questions I missed that actually related to gliders.

Some flights included practice teaching maneuvers, and that went really well. Two flights included practicing a left-hand pattern, something we don't usually do at this airport. That means flying in the power aircraft pattern, and crossing over to the glider runway to land. We actually fly our pattern a ways inside the power pattern, so it's not really much of a conflict. It also means monitoring the radio and the sky to make sure we know where all the power planes are. (Usually we're over on the other side of the airport, so except for the base leg, we are totally out of each others' way.) I've done this before, a long time ago, though I see I never blogged about it. Anyway, except for entering the pattern a little higher, using different landmarks, and extending the downwind leg a bit, it's no big deal as long as the power traffic is light. We did choose to delay one of the landings while two CDF tankers took off - not that our landing would have been a conflict with their takeoff.

The only thing that made it - well, interesting - was that both the front and rear airspeed indicators were underreporting by at least 5 to 10 knots. We detected that while on tow. So I flew the entire pattern and landing (both times) with minimal reference to the ASI - relying on wind noise and angle of attack (attitude) to gauge my airspeed. Actually, that's a good thing to practice!

So if all goes as planned, we have one more requirement to complete next weekend, then I'll have my endorsement to take the Commercial test, which I already have scheduled. I need to fill out my application and gather all my endorsements etc. for a review with the DPE next weekend.

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