Expect Left Traffic

Flight 42 – Dual to Akron

Akron_06 Akron Colorado that is, Ohio is a bit of a ways off for a student flight.  My second cross country went almost exactly as planned.  Winds were right about what was forecast, and I did a much better job of pre-flight planning, so passed my checkpoints as expected.  My instructor and I talked about the route I chose on the way out, checkpoints and the like, and he said he made a point to follow the highway as much as practical.  Even if it takes you a little bit out of the way, it makes navigation that much easier, as that’s exactly what we did on the way back to Metro. 

In Akron we had a decent cross-wind, and I was coming in high for 29, I chose to do a forward slip, and wasn’t really correlating the crosswind (this was before my stint in the trainer) and ended up dipping the wing the wrong way.  Fortunately the wind wasn’t gusting or strong enough to push us off the centerline at a worrying rate, and I smoothly transitioned back in to normal descent without mishap or having to go around.  We touched down about two hundred feet past the numbers, which was about 190 feet past where I would have liked but the long runway worked out just fine.  I didn’t quite slow down fast enough for the sole taxiway (as you can see in the picture, it stops half way up the runway), and had my first experience putting a plane through a U-turn and taxiing back on a runway.  It’s a very weird feeling, and I kept worrying about incoming traffic.  Traffic was again non-existent that day, which was a shame as the weather was beautiful.  Visibility was incredible, and the air was smooth as glass. 

On the the return leg we followed I-76 until we had to worry about Denver’s Class Bravo airspace, and then made a due east cut over to Longmont.  By this time the winds had come up a little, and we had a mild crosswind from the left with about 10 knots worth of gusts.  This last landing was pretty long, and with no flaps it had a very different sight picture than I was used to at the time.  I never did feel like I got ahead of the plane with the gusting and ended up ballooning once before putting the plane down fairly smoothly. 

Unfortunately this was my last flight in 64055, as a few weeks later she was damaged during a training flight at metro.  Fortunately the pilot is alright.  She broke her leg, but is recovering well and will hopefully be flying again early next year.  Next up, my first night flight, and boy was it memorable.

December 22nd, 2008 Posted by | Flying |

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Flights 40 & 41 – Unusual Attitudes


I’m not talking about mouthing off to my instructor, or even anything as drastic as this Pitts Special.  I got in another .4 hours of instrument time about two weeks ago, and recovering from unusual attitudes was part of the time.  My instructor played the part of ATC, and vectored me out north and west, presumably to the practice area.  Next we did two climbing turn recoveries and one diving under the hood.  Recovery is the same as when you can see, but you have to recognize the condition on the artificial horizon after being tossed around a bit by your instructor.  I have to admit, this was the one time that I felt a little queasy since starting all this.  Once I got to open my eyes it quickly went away and I focused on the task at hand.  For a climbing bank, the goal is to increase power while lowering the nose and then leveling the wings.  In the one diving turn we did, you reduce power, level the wings and then pull up.  The idea is to slow the plane down and reduce the wing loading before attempting to pull up.  747bnk Many a plane has lost it’s wings trying to recover from this state while disoriented in the clouds.  These procedures help us prevent get back to straight and level flight so we can then spend some time troubleshooting how we got in this situation in the first place.  Usually that means not paying enough attention to what were doing in the first place.  We must never forget to fly the plane first and foremost, above all other concerns.  If I drop a pen I can always grab another, or search after the plane has been trimmed and I’ve taken a look for traffic and clouds.  After that we tracked an ADF, then intercepted the VOR back to BJC.  When we got the hood off I was amazed at how far out we were, but we were pointing right at the airport.  I called up to get the latest ATIS, and it was business as usual after that.

Flight 41 was some more landing practice.  I’m getting a little better at my soft-field work, though my spot landings aren’t quite bang on.  Or, when they’re spot on they’re a little too bang on as I’ve almost flown the plane right in to the ground.  Hopefully all the slip practice I got last week will help with my comfort level on final approach, and things will start coming together better. 

I still need to put together a post for my cross country to Akron.  Next on the plate is some night flight and a night cross country, probably to Colorado Springs.  I just need to get some scheduling figured out between work, doctors and my instructor.

October 21st, 2008 Posted by | Flying |

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