Expect Left Traffic

Flight 31 – Back in the Saddle

Cessna 172 rolling left, thanks Flickr Time in.

That’s right, I’m back up there.  Tuesday I went for my first flight since the surgery.  I was worried that take offs or landings may be hard on my wrist, but the pressures weren’t even uncomfortable.  The only iffy thing is that I can’t pull the yoke fully back and apply full left aileron.  I’m not willing to do any solo work until I’m 100% though so it shouldn’t be a big issue.  My instructor is fully ready to give me a hand, I just have to say “help me out”.  Anyway, Tuesday we went out to the practice area and did some slow flight and some rolls about a heading.  The former went very, very well.  We slowed down to about 45 knots, with 20° flaps and made a whole bunch of turns to headings with the stall horn blaring.  This is always a lot of fun, and zero impact on the hand since in that configuration almost all roll can be handled by the rudder.  Rolls about a heading didn’t go quite as smoothly.  It was obvious to me that I wasn’t very coordinated, and a lot of that was getting used to rolling quickly without putting my thumb on top of the yoke.  I ended up using my index finger and pinky to put pressure on the top and bottom, but this made holding my pitch a little difficult.  I did have my rudder inputs correct, but either I was leading the turns too much or I wasn’t using the right amount of left/right input to keep the nose centered.  Rolling the plane like a pendulum is always fun, but rocking back and forth in your seat not so much.  This is a difficult maneuver to master (so I read) and will vary from plane to plane.  Someday I’d like to get enough practice in a specific plane to master it, even if only in that one bird.  After all the rolling, we turned back to BJC and had time for three touch and goes before a full stop.  There was only one landing that we touched down rather hard and that I got a little help on, which isn’t bad considering I haven’t been up in the skies for almost six weeks.  We had time to get in one more touch and go, but a 10 knot tailwind was present.  BJC is on top of a mesa, which tends to bring updrafts and down drafts following the contour of the land.  For quite awhile after our last take off we had almost a zero climb rate, and decided to call it quits while we were still happy with our performance.  While taxiing back to the school they were changing runways, so we hit our timing just right.  Until I get the thumbs up from my hand surgeon, I’m going to stick to one flight a week.  That should keep me from getting rusty and not tax my healing in any way shape or form.  Now I just have to fight the urge to hop on the Triumph seeing as I can almost fit my brace around the grip and squeeze the clutch at the same time.

July 24th, 2008 Posted by | Flying |

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