Thursday, July 28, 2005

Under the Hood

Alright !! clear and sunny !! Hey what is that big shinning thing in the sky ? Ok...enough about being goofy. Pre flight time and I am trying to go through the list and only reference it as a check as I move through the procedures. I think I am getting the hang of this. I am taking fuel samples as One of the "Big Sky" folks pulls up to fuel an adjacent aircraft. Hmmmmmm...that step stool is looking mighty fine so I wouldn't have to look so awkward climbing that right wing with my bad wheel (hip). Well, I manage to get er' done, fuel looks good and hardly any sediment. Ok time to get in and sweat off a few pounds. Dave joins me as I am getting buckled in. Ok I see he has an extra package with him but I can't make it out. I give
Millville FSS a wake up call, "Millville ....Cessna 80121".....we trade questions and answers as I make mental note of wind, speed and Alt setting. Taxi out today is stable , one might "think" I can drive this baby. We pause to let a Pilot in a C-150 doing a cross country move ahead of us for take off ( he got turned around and my signage job didn't help him any)He completed his run up also so he was ready to go. We fell in behind him and did our run up. Mags, check...Carb heat, check....vac, check....last peek at the amp gauge check...instruments set, check and on through the list. Ok "millville 80121 departing 32"...full throttle......slight cross wind pushing me off centerline...rudder rudder.......speed 55 and nose up.......through 70 back pressure and I'm off.....yeah I love that feeling! Ok keeping constant rudder as we climb with Dave reminding me maintain 70 knts and nose up here......we want our best climbing angle and speed. At 1500 I bank left and head to the training area. Today is just beautiful up here. I can see tankers out
in the Delaware Bay and the ground below is so crisp and clear. Well the fun and sights are short lived as My CFI bestows upon me a pair of (as he says) Designer glasses. Hmmmmm...two small peep holes and heavy frosted top and side view. Oh yeah all the rage...but for a good cause. We spend time flying by my gauges and learning the feel of the aircraft. Dave takes control and just wants me to close my eyes and relax.....a midair siesta? Um...NO....Dave banks,climbs, slow speed banks, decent and steep turns all the time noting my response as to what I feel like we are doing. Well I am embarrassed but I didn't do as well as I thought. Dave kicked the rudder which made me feel like we were banking (we were not), I could feel the rpms picking up and
slowing down which I thought would signify climbs and decents (we were not). Ok so the point is well taken....TRUST your instruments. We talked about the JFK,JR crash and some of what went wrong. All the fun of flying I guess can make you loose perspective in that its a full time job and a giant responsibility not only to yourself and your aircraft but to passengers and fellow pilots sharing airspace. Its NO place to become complacent or take for granted a procedure or a communication received. Ok back to the lesson. Dave requests a direction home which is about 024 degrees. After communicating with FSS we learn 32 is the active and I enter the pattern. Ok procedure time as I cross mid runway and spacing good,looking at the left wing strut with the runway about 3/4 the way up I'm in the ballpark. The key now is to find my seat. Carb heat on reducing power to 1500 rpm and add notch of flaps. looking good.....heading good, speed good and altitude a tad low....adding power. Ok "millville 80121 turning base 32"..adding
a notch of flaps... rudder to align "MIllville 80121 turning final" .... rudder...keep that rudder there... "slight bank left" to correct for slight cross wind. rudder...rudder.....over the numbers....getting squared up, left main down...........hanging on .....right main down.....(that felt strange)....bleed off speed....nose up.....stall horn.....and nose gear gently down. Braking to a slow roll and turning to the taxiway. once clear the hold short I notify Millville that 80121 is down and clear. Going through my checklist, flaps up, carb heat off, transponder to standby, WINDOWS OPEN, ok I added that one. I taxi in and perform the final checklists and as 80121 comes to a stop. No need to tie down today, another lucky person is going up. I get my log book squared away, chit chat about the lesson and what's coming up and then head back to Wilmington to meet the bride for dinner.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

Slow Flight & Stalls

Well the cloud cover is not bad at all today but the temps are in the 90's and I can't wait to get in the air and get some positive air flow besides my breathing. My pre flight completed, all looked good. Intercoms working now that I turned up the volume I contact Millville FSS ....."Millville radio.....Cessna 80121", quick response from FSS and I let them know we are ready to taxi..."millville radio..80121 on the ramp at Big Sky and ready to taxi". FSS returns with wx and traffic info and get cleared to go on runway 28. I dial in the info I received and
spin the heading bug to the wind direction for a reference. Good taxi today, I am starting to feel a comfort level as far as control and not looking like a drunk sailor performing midnight arobics for shore patrol. I taxi up to 28 and turn into the wind for my run up. Ok....taking advantage of my hand towel I brought along to wipe the sweat away so I can see with out my eyes burning.....whew I hate to close the windows. Ok ready to go after completing
checklist, "Millville radio....80121 departing runway 28"....."80121 millville radio advise airborne". Ok nice takeoff, remembering to keep more right rudder pressure as we climb out to 1500. Turning out south and climbing to 2500 we discuss topics for review and some things to accomplish. I do a quick review of turns, noting that my altitude is held along with airspeed and heading. We then practice slow flight and stalls. Dave took control and showed examples of slow flight what he was looking for and what I should be looking for and feeling. I got a real kick out of full flaps flying at just 40 knts with a ground speed of 38 mph. Geeezzzz it felt like we were in hover mode, that C172 sure is forgiving and really does make it hard to stall. Ok back to the lesson. I did a number of slow speed stalls in order to learn recovery and the warning signs, what the buffeting feels like and mushy controls and unlike all the movies you don't have to manhandle the yoke back to your belly button in order to pull out, which as I learned would
only cause a secondary stall and more problems. Dave told me that he felt I was doing very well as we headed back to the airport. "Millville radio...80121" ok no traffic and winds are the same so 28 is the ticket "millville radio...80121 entering the downwind for 28" "80121 millville radio...advise down and clear", "advise down and clear 80121" ok turning to downwind from my 45 degree approach, the runway is about 3/4 up the wing strut so my distance/spacing looks good, trying to keep on a heading of 100, ok looking fair, and keeping speed at 70 knt along with a notch of flaps. So far so good, keeping an eye out for traffic, scanning my airspeed and alignment/position to the runway. "Millville...80121 turning base runway 28 millville"....ok under control feeling tense adding flaps..."millville...80121 turning final 28 millville"....and here I go. Remember rudder rudder rudder for alignment, adding flaps, air speed looks good shooting for the numbers, starting to drift Dave makes corrections, nose up ...nose up....looking down the runway.....stall indicator nose up..... mains down, and square...whew...holding
nose up...bleed off speed...and nose gear down. apply light brakes.....and head to taxiway. Passing the hold short, "millville radio...80121 down and clear". As we taxi in Dave says I can release my grip on the yoke and just use fingertips to control. Ok I get it...I had a death grip on the yoke while landing...I'll do better next time. I taxi to our tie down and run through the final checklists. I'm looking forward to Lesson 6 this thursday !

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Climb & Decents

Why is it that every time I'm up to fly the wx turns to crap? Oh well, I guess it helps build character. Pre-flight inspection found no problems. Time to contact FSS at KMIV......"millville radio, Cessna 80121..." Ok, info provided has runway 28 as the active, one aircraft just landed and taxing along with one ready to go on 28. I taxi out and take Bravo to R/W 28 where I am no. 2 in line for departure. Run up completed, Ok I'm up....Departing traffic clear, checking pattern downwind , base and final all clear (never can tell when folks like to drop on in un announced)..."Millville Radio ...80121 departing 28" throttle full (Dave reminds me), feet comfy on rudders heels on the floor, here we go. Take off roll straight, nose up at 55 knts and off we go at 70.....smooth today....although I need to keep that right rudder pressure to compensate for the torque or I'll find myself turning (Dave is so patient). I am instructed to climb out to 1500 and turn to head south to the "designated" practice area. I am slowly learning the terrain...sand pits, marsh and Port Norris out on the coast. Today is review day, medium and steep bank turns, climb and decent procedures and I am introduced to slow flight. Review of the turns went ok, I needed a bit more nose up on my steep turns to hold altitude. I am also finding out I turn better one way then the other including roll outs. Time to head back to Millville. I enter the downwind at a 45 and turn to a heading of 100 as I prepare (checklist) for landing. Carb heat on, throttle down to about 1600 rpm's looking to maintain 65 knts and then add a notch of flaps,
remembering that trim is my friend. turning base so far so good, turning final then adding flaps, maintaining altitude with power speed with pitch....its getting I am about to cross the numbers I make a correction with aileron to align myself, i think its more of a reaction, that need to steer/drive the car mentality. Dave corrects me taking control and emphasizing rudder....align with rudder. My mind is back in the cockpit.....knowing I blew that one but still needing to get on the ground. Ok....rudder pressure to align....looking down the runway
remembering landing square on main gear......nose up.....nose up....bleed off speed....waiting for that stall indicator.....ahhhhhhh gravity is my friend as we slowly drop to touch the nose wheel down. "Millville radio...80121 down and clear 28".....I go through the checklist and taxi back to our tie down location. Dave is so supportive, tells me good job, secure the aircraft and he'll see me inside. I tie 80121 down walking around with my brain still going through that landing. Ok got the numbers on the clipboard, headset in hand back to the office. Dave asked how the lessons were coming along with the DVD's. I'm on target starting lesson 4 this week and I said that's after I REVIEW lesson 3. He smiled and said don't be so hard on yourself your doing fine. I guess so, just thinking of that landing and those wings....geezzz I have a new respect for watching people land.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

"Ride" that Cessna!

Lesson 3 - Today was a bit different, I was traveling to the airport with anxious anticipation. In keeping with the ground school portion of my studies I realized today would be take off and landing day. I pulled the ICOM A-5 out of the flight bag and scrolled through my
pre-set KMIV WX frequency so that I could catch the latest. I like to have the info as my CFI and I walk out to the aircraft. Winds were reported 280 to 310 varying from 6 to 10 knts. What concerned me was the dark clouds rolling in. I completed the pre-flight noting
only that the oil was topped off and giving me new reading on the ol' dip stick. I finally made the seat adjustment to really provide me with a better view.....I now felt at home. Today was also radio day as I was given control of the right side of the panel. I contacted Millville radio
with my ID, location and intentions. Once noting the airport advisory I changed my heading bug to reflect the wind direction for taxing. I taxied out more consistent and controlled (its all in the seat position). Take off roll was smooth but different in my hands as we were off and climbing out to 1500. Turning south for a series of "S" turns my CFI radioed for a wx update and tracking of the storms moving in. Millville FSS again announced "no movement" from those
big dark uglies. I never thought of it before but my horse riding days really paid off today, the Cessna 172 started getting kicked around and tossed sideways, it was a very bumpy ride. I came across the intercom and gave a lil yee...haww now were having fun as my CFI instructed
me to turn to a new heading taking us home. I really was calm and focused on my duties of flying the plane, I didn't really feel it until I was back on the ground and tied down. Runway 10 was my ticket home as I turned to enter the downwind and go through my landing checklist.
Turning base and then final I was a bit wide of center line. I worked to get myself squared away with yoke and throttle in hand, receiving correction from Dave for dropping the nose to gain some air speed. Once over the numbers I kept easing back until I heard that sweet
chirp only to be interrupted by my CFI reminding me "nose up, nose up let the speed bleed off" Yikes he was right.....I needed to keep nose up and let the speed bleed off for a smooth touch down with the nose gear. The taxi back to our tie down spot was fine and with final checklists completed and the aircraft secure, we spent some time discussing the flight along with future lessons and expectations.