Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Pattern/Pre Solo work.

On  Saturday I wrote that I had some "good" and some "ok" landings, about 50/50.  After what I did on Tuesday...they were all crap I think. :P

Tuesday March 13th, Pre solo training and pattern work. 

     Mike had said I was doing good with the landings but wanted to smooth them out.  I wasn't sure how, but I knew I could do it.  The first couple I did I had squeaked the tires and dropped the nose when we touched down.  Unbeknownst to me...I had my toes pressing on the brakes when we were touching down.  NOT a good idea.  An easy fix for that...just keep my heals on the ground.  Yup, no more squeaky landings, and I held the nose up til it settled on its own.  I had a couple other things to work out to get my landings down smooth.

1)  Mike had noticed that I hadn't been using the elevator trim while landing, and I was fighting the controls every step of the way, which made any correction I made unsteady, and sudden.

2)  I was also having a little difficulty judging when to really start my flare.

     The first problem was a mental game of just forcing my self to use the trim....and when I did it made a HUGE difference in my landings, immediately they smoothed out...A LOT!!!!  The second problem was also pretty easy to fix.  Once I'm at flare height Mike said look all the way down the runway and use my peripheral vision to judge how much and when to really pull back on the yoke.  Once again, it helped so much!  The touch downs were getting even smoother AND the last 5 or 6 were almost right on the center line!

     Next we'll do a ground lesson on radio communication and then another flight lesson to put everything I've learned together.  I'll do every thing for the flight with Mike sitting right seat.  Then after solo!

8.3 hours in and all I want to do is fly!

Saturday, March 10, 2012

Pattern work!

March 10th!  It's been i think 19 day's since the last time I flew and the last time I landed.  Way too long. 

     Today's weather was great!  We had relatively calm winds, and not a cloud in the sky.  I did my first radio call today and didn't mess it up.  We stayed in the pattern the whole time and I got some great practice in on my landings.  My landings were about 50% ok and 50% good.  Nothing great nothing too terribly bad.  Well I take that back on my 12th landing I nailed it, it was just about perfect.

     Flying the pattern starts with taking off, today we used runway 22 and stayed in a left hand pattern the whole time.  We climb at least 500 feet before making our turn on to the cross wind leg.  Since the airport is at 900'ASL that means we're turning at around 1400'ASL.  Today, since it was so nice, was a little different.  We had some traffic to deal with so as it turned out we were turning at around 1500' to 1550'.  The pattern altitude for this airport is 1700' ASL so by the time I was at the cross wind turn I was almost at pattern altitude. 

     The biggest thing I learned today was that once we were over the runway and I started to pull the nose up was to let the plane settle on it's own and not to let the nose drop once it was up.  Two very big lessons that I think  I finally got a grasp of by my last two landings. 

     Be smooth and don't jerk the controls.

8.1 hours in!!  Another lesson or two and Mike say's I'll be ready to solo!  We'll work on using the radio and I'll take a pre-solo written test and I'll be good to solo!

(Thanks to Wikipedia for the use of this picture.)