Saturday, September 17, 2005

Who needs "stinkin' flaps...

What a crazy day, bright and sunny here in Delaware and overcast and ground fog in Millville NJ. Ok, the bride and I decide since we have time to wait out the weather we will hit the Flight Line to have a bite to eat. Not to busy at 7:45 am, but we do notice Dave (CFI) eating breakfast with his son. Mary and I pull up to a table next to them. After some good eats we head back over to Big Sky and park it in the pilot lounge waiting for the ground fog to burn off. About 9 am it looked promising so I headed out for my pre-flight. Dave soon joined me and we saddled up for some T&G's today. I tried a different position today with my seat a tab farther back then normal, hoping that this would help with my rudder controls. Today runway 10 is the ticket out of town, so I taxi out and complete my run up. There is a slight cross wind from my 3 o' clock so holding the yoke full right and slowly rotating to level as 5219J lifts off. adding right rudder
to keep on heading I climb out to about 600 then turn cross wind. Still climbing, i look back over my shoulder at the runway end about at a 45 so I turn downwind with the focus on giving myself room. I am looking for that same picture every time of the runway at 3/4 up the strut. Downwind looking good staying on heading I add carb heat as I pass by midfield and pull the power back to 1500 rpms as I look for my position for my base turn. Yep, you got it, no flap landings today. I complete my base turn and pull the power back even more to around 1200. Turning final I pull the power all the way out (keeping hand on throttle today) I am making slight corrections looking good. I seem to always line up left of centerline. Looking down the runway holding it off......holding....then I let it down ....GRRrrrrrrr.... Dave reminds me that I don't have to fly it down, bleeding off that airspeed will settle the plane in just fine without the thud. Dave tells me that I must continue to fly the plane all the way until we tie down. I make two more landings no flaps then get back to my regular landings. Dave has me aligning myself right of center line as I come in for the remainder of the day. Strange but I seem to be over the centerline now. I'm beginning to wonder if its my eyes....Dave says it's my perception of driving the car looking over the hood and I am still applying that same thing to looking over the cowling.
I need to adjust my focus and get aligned. Dave seems to think I worked myself past the "rudder plateau" today so that's a good thing now if next lesson I can ace my landings to back that statement up. All in all a fun day. I joked about stressing over last second rudder controls and told dave I was going to kick my shoes off and fly barefoot. He said he knows of a guy that does that. Hmmmmmmm...something to ponder.

Tuesday, September 13, 2005

Feet with the program

A taste of summer returns for my landings today. We saddle up for a round of T&G's in N5219J and head out on Runway 28. Dave spares me the cross wind landings today as we head over to Woodbine 1N4. I fly across mid field and turn right to circle and enter at a 45 for down wind runway 19. I find my self cutting the base on to final short which makes for corrections and set up for landing a bit quicker pace. Round one in the book with better rudder control but a allowing airspeed to drop a bit to much, requiring a touch of power so I don't fall in the tress. Grrrrrrrr.....the feet finally are on board and my airspeed is off. Round 2 - 4 follow pretty much the same with rudder corrections better and airspeed a problem. I'm making a mental note landing with 30 degree flaps. Time flys by as we head back to Millville for a full stop landing. I enter left base for runway 28 after giving myself plenty of room from base to final. Plenty of time to set up for landing, airspeed good (finally) rate of decent good and Alt looking good. I come over the numbers....rudder controls gentle........airspeed to low....power...power....smooth and touchdown. We taxi back to tie down and call it a day. As I clean out my belongings and tie
219J down I feel frustrated with my lack of progress. I'll be back at it Thursday if the weather permits if not saturday. I need to ace this landing stuff. I want to take a great pattern (without creeping in) and just line up and set her down. Maybe I need to stop thinking so much,and just let it happen. I keep asking myself is it me or do other students go through this too? I hope thursday is a better day.

Saturday, September 10, 2005

Special Sightings

Another fantastic day, mid 80's humidity low and a nice breeze. My lovely bride makes the trip with me to Millville for my lesson. Along the way we make a stop in Alloway to stroll through the Antique shops and another stop closer to Bridgeton. We did take the ML320 instead of the Corvette but Mary was easy on me today.

We made a quick stop at the Cornerstone for lunch. After some refreshing Ice Tea and a BLT each I headed back to the ML to grab my headset and log book. Mary walked out to the aircraft with me as I started my pre flight a bit out of order. I checked both tanks for fuel and performed the fuel tests. Everything looked good so I proceeded with my pre flight. Mary did not want to distract me so she headed back into Big Sky to read a magazine she brought along. I finished up the pre flight and saddled up for another fun round of T&G's. As I taxied out Dave and I discussed some of the things for today's lesson and he informed me he met Mrs. Gary.
I laughed and said Mary was excited about watching today but once she took a look inside the 172 she had that look.....the you want me to get in that lil box and fly where look. Dave chuckled and said she would be fine...if she wanted to see a small cockpit we could take her in the hangar and show her (I forget what airplane he rattled off) really small. Ok time for the run up the to taxi to hold short for one ahead of me departing RW 10. Ok, Runway clear I notify Millville traffic that Cessna 50129J is departing RW 10. Not a bad take off, could have used a bit more rudder. We're off and climbing out to 600 then turning cross wind and climbing out to pattern Alt 1000. Turning downwind I am a bit to close and bank out left to give myself some room. I point the nose to a heading of 290 to keep my ground track correct. Abeam the numbers it's carb heat and reduce power to 15-1700 and add a notch of flaps. I turn base to soon and try to correct by turning out and re-aligning myself. This only compounds my mistake by turning final a bit late and now wide of the runway. With some banking and rudder I manage to align myself on centerline but find myself a bit high. With a slight extension and a not so long look down the runway I drop in with a thud and roll out rather quickly. I guess the flapper valve let loose and I come across the intercom with a oh S*#* that was terrible. Dave says taxi to Alpha and call down and clear. I follow his instructions and he take a deep breath regroup and lets give it another go. Dave reminds me gentle corrections fly the pattern and put myself in the right position fly ahead of where your at. The quick turn to base put me behind my thought process and where I should have been physically and mentally. I think we did at least another 4 cycles with me calling one missed that I was to fast and a tad high and then crossed up with over correcting rudder. I rather go around then drop in or chance a side load on the gear that would not be safe or do much for my confidence or learning curve. After the final landing we taxied back and Dave insisted that it will all come together and that maybe I was just thinking to much.
One of the bright moments that I am adding here one day after the fact is my Eagle sighting and taxi companion. That's right As I was climbing out to 1000 and turning downwind for runway 10 I saw a large bird crossing from my 1 o'clock to my 11 o' clock and turning to lead my downwind. I caught a glimpse of sunlight of it's tail and noticed it was white (I'm thinking noway). This bird breaks hard left screams past my 9 o' clock full view Bald Eagle looking magnificent ! WOW! Very cool......made my day! My second bright spot was after my full stop and taxi I held short for a Gulfstream to pass by. As I look to check out its Tail number
(only because it has the same markings as Air Force 1) It carries "N1" . Well Ok then, I'm thinking I guess I can follow that aircraft until I reach my tie down.

Mary still had that look on her face when she met me after I secured the aircraft. One of the guys inside tossed me the keys to N346BS the 2004 Cessna 172 so that MAry could see the spacious newer 172's. She gave it a look ad really like the "modern" look and she seemed to ease her concerns. We headed back into the building and she again reaffirmed that she wants to do the companion course........I felt much better hearing that. All in all a great day with my wife and
I managed to get through another round of T&G's. I SO look forward to finally getting landings down with out any time tiny grasshopper. I'm on the board for tuesday night after work, I can't wait to saddle back up and have at it again!

Tuesday, September 06, 2005

Review time (turns)

A fantastic day today, low 80's, no humidity, blue sky with a few clouds here and there just to give some perception of depth. I preflight 5219J and saddle up for what I think will be another round of T&G's. After listening to the weather and setting appropriate instruments I begin a taxi to R/W 10. Upon completion of my run up with all systems "go" I advise Millville traffic of my intentions. A smooth take off brings a "good job" from my CFI followed by "lets head out
to the practice area for some review". I climb out to 600 and turn out right to the south for some medium and steep banked turns. I seemed to drop about 70 to 100 feet during my first steep bank right 360 degree turn and roll out a bit late. What was that rule....roll out 50% of your bank angle early to hit your heading?? Lets see, 45 degree bank should be 22 or so, lets make it 25 degrees and work with that. After a series of left and right 360's my steep bank turns are back in good form. On to medium bank turns and slow flight work. After so many rounds of T&G's slow flight seems like s l o w m o t i o n. This review lesson also covered approach and departure stalls.

Where did the time go? I take a heading up for Millville which is clear to see at my 11 o' clock and enjoy the flight back. Off to my 10 I see a bright shinney object, thinking it was an aircraft at first I call it out to Dave and ask why theses people don't use radios. Dave makes contact and says we'll track it then gives a lil laugh. He said sure does look like he's not's the sun reflecting causing that bright glare. LOL....well that was a first for me, I've never seen anything like that nor did I expect it that far away. Dave informed me that the Borgota in Atlantic city can get really bad at times causing the same glare.

I report Millville traffic.....Cessna 5219J crossing midfield mid field at 1500 RW 10-28 Millville traffic. I check the wind sock off to my left and its looking like runway 10 is the ticket. I guess it will have to be since my lighting contract just NOTAM'ed 14-32 out for the next 3 weeks. Ok now entering downwind and announcing to millville traffic. checking my position I am squared up nicely (no creeping in) as I am abeam the numbers I reduce power and add a notch of flaps and checking left while announcing position I turn left base. Position looking good, adding flaps to 20 degrees I call out my position as I turn final. Oh lined up nice..... speed good, rate of decent good, power off and then I make the mistake of taking my hand off the power and put it on the yoke. ....catching myself I reach over and confirm with a glance taking my eyes off my point of reference down the runway. Oh but it was just a "quick" look for the control......I look back up and that fast I am off center and now adding back pressure to keep my point of reference in my minds eye from moving all over the windscreen. Adding left rudder (back to the feet of bricks) i over correct and come back with right rudder. "It ain't pretty" as the saying goes but I made the best of it with a tad of side load 5219J rolls out to the first taxiway. I call down and clear then go through and complete the after landing check list. As we begin to taxi to the tie down we review my landing. As I figured mistake number one which caused things to "snowball" was removing my hand from the power, that started it all in motion. And in order to recover I went back to the feet of bricks (my term) Dave is way patient and professional to bust my chops that bad. He explains about following the same procedures looking for the same view, seeing the same picture every time, that consistent makes better. Good news is that I did well on the take home test.

Next lesson is saturday, weather is looking really nice and I am taking my bride with me for a day of breakfast out at the airport, she will watch the T&G's and the rest of the day antique shopping. We are even taking the ol' gal (my 81 corvette) out for the day. This serves a few, to get the car out and put a few miles on it, two, can't fit many antiques in it (lol).

Thursday, September 01, 2005

The "take home" solo written

Finally a nice day !! I can't wait to fly today. I must have checked the METAR at least 20 times. I walk into Big Sky and the aircraft I fly is out on a XC with a student. I decide to wait for a few minutes then decide to fly top of the line 2004 172s, N346BS. Ok new headset in hand (DC 13.4S) clipboard and keys I'm off to preflight. Preflight complete and getting ready to saddle up I see 5219J turning to the apron and maneuvering to a tie down next to me. Dave asks what I would like to fly and I said I preflighted this bird so that's what I am flying, if he was ok with that (of course). He was so we taxi out. Instructions today are to takeoff and maintain runway heading to pattern ALT the turnout South to the practice area to get familiar with 46BS. Ok run up complete, this birds got some pep ! Millville Traffic.....Cessna 346BS departing 28 millville traffic. Full throttle, right rudder we're off. A quick climb out to 1000 MSL followed by a turn out to the South for the practice area. I work on medium bank turns and a few shallow turns. Dave inquires if I am ready for pattern work in BS, well heck yeah !! Ok, I gave him a yes lets have at it but I felt the Hell yes inside! I turn to MIV and set up for a 45 entry to the downwind for 28. I feel loose, I made at least 100 landings in my mind since my last lesson, talking and going through the motions. I am thinking, calm, gentle....don't break the eggs on the rudder controls. Dave takes the radio work so I can concentrate on my landings, I think next week I want to get back to all the radio work too. Ok turning final and looking good.....speed 70 knts, rate of decent 500 and ALT is just falling to 700. Slight wing dip right for the cross wind with a gentle left rudder, cross wind pushing me to center line very nice. Power already off over the numbers now....looking down the runway...holding off.....holding.... right main down......left main down...bleeding off speed....stall horn.......gentle touch down with the nose wheel!!!!! Yeah! that's what I'm talking that felt great. No time to celebrate...flaps up full throttle and off again as I pass through 70 knts.

The remaining 4 touch and go's went very well. NO frustration today. My pattern work is starting to be consistent and alignment for final is looking better. Today I just kept thinking gentle...light grip.....see it my minds eye it was perfect....follow Dave's it really seemed more controlled, more stable It reminds me of riding horses. If you invision yourself taking jumps or working horses into a pen your body seems to take on the correct position and send the correct signals to the horse. I've reached the conclusion that landings take on some of the same rules. If you invision it in your minds eye your body follows what you've learned with out all that thinking. :) Hmmmmm...maybe that light just came on ! I must have done something right, Dave handed me the take home solo written.