Saturday, January 31, 2004

Second instructor not convinced :-)

1/31/04 - One checkout flight with a CFI, wherein (after a pretty good but not perfect takeoff) he had the towplane wave us off at 1,000'. I correctly interpreted, adjusted my pattern, and did a good landing into a slight headwind. The only real comments he had were about not going too fast on downwind, not giving up height with spoilers until on base leg, and not rounding out the base-final legs. He gave me the go-ahead for solo.

Next flight: perfect takeoff, nice flight although I keep getting a little slack on tow now and then. Not much lift, but some zero sink and a few turns of 1kt lift. Had I remembered to look under dark clouds, I probably could have found more. Nice turns - well coordinated, need to work a bit on speed control, and I probably didn't bank very steeply. Very fun.

Landing was PERFECT!! Touched down very smoothly just inside the box, remembered to put the stick back, stopped gently in about 200' (!) and angled to the right side. Even CFI said it was excellent! Very exciting and satisfying!!

I won't be flying at home for the next two weeks, as we're going on vacation. I might set up for a lesson in New Orleans.

Saturday, January 24, 2004

SOLO! !! !!!

1/24/04 - SOLO!! It's a gray and cold day, with a front going through and rain forecast for late afternoon. B is the instructor, and I haven't flown with him at all since the dry lake, and was intimidated by him then, so I'm not looking forward to today.

We did three patterns, good takeoffs, good landings. He doesn't have much to suggest, except that I'm not flying the plane all the way through the touchdown and rollout, and I'm not perfectly coordinated in turns. When I critique some landings, he says I'm being too hard on myself.

After three, he says "I think you should do another three." So then on #4, he pulls a rope break at about 400'. No problem, I'm half expecting it anyway. Without saying a word, I nose down and do the 180. I spent a few seconds too many searching for the emergency landing area, so we end up a little high over it, but I decide to hop over the taxiway and land in the regular area. No problem.

Then one more regular pattern. Bill gets out to help push back, and doesn't get in again.

I fly an 800' pattern, good takeoff. I notice the glider floats higher with just one person in it, so I have to nose down quite a bit to stay with the towplane. Other than that, no problem. Great approach, great landing. Touched down a little before the box, stopped straight and well inside the box! Very good flight!!

Later, after A flies, I go up again to 2000' AGL, just below ceiling. Over the airport it's clear, but away from there I have to dodge descending clouds. Actually a lot of fun! Very fun to just fly around without any commentary. I get upwind of the IP with a couple hundred to spare, so turn around a bit and then go in the pattern right at 1000'. No sweat. I remember there's a 10kt wind down the runway, so I adjust position and altitude well. (Still a bit uncoordinated, but OK.) Approach is good, I adjust and float toward the box. I guess I forgot the headwind at that point, because I land a little early and bounce a couple of times. Rollout is not the straightest or smoothest - I drag a wing wheel a little before stopping, but again nicely inside the box. I had adjusted my aiming point back a bit in the last couple of weeks, so now I guess I need to bring it a bit closer to the box. Other than that - awesome!!

Now 58 flights, just under 13 hours. (I forget and write my solo time in the Dual column!!)

Saturday, January 17, 2004

Stick and Rudder

1/17/04 - Reading Stick and Rudder.

Saturday, January 03, 2004

Unhappy landings

1/3/04 - Three 2000' tows with a CFI. Chilly and breezy, the day after a storm, a little bit of CU here and there. Still having trouble with takeoffs - letting a wing drop for too long before correcting. Flying well.

Third flight, we found a thermal, about 100-300' up for a while, stretched a normally 10-minute tow into 17. First landing, I didn't use airbrakes properly, came in fast, bounced a bit, overshot, and then overbraked. Not good!

The next two were better, making better pattern adjustments. I need to not be afraid to put in the airbrakes when very low on final, if my speed is high. CFI won't sign me off for solo until I'm more consistent. In Nov. and Dec., I was able to get in only one weekend each month due to trips, Christmas, instructor vacation... it really hurts my consistency!