Monday, January 16, 2006

Soft and Short Field Takeoffs...

My typical early flight lesson (8am) was a bit nip to say the least. I packed the flight bag just in case we were heading off to a towered airport as previously planned. I was prepared, not to be confused with paranoid, as I packed knee board print outs of RDG, ILG and LNS to also include airport diagrams for taxi instructions.

My lesson today after arriving at N99 was changed to, as the title states, Soft and Short field takeoffs. I nod with approval as I head out to pre flight. Preflight along with pre start and start engine checklists also complete has us saddled up and headed to the run up area. I see we have company today, a Cessna 150 setting up for their run up to the far right of the taxi lane leaving room for my ride to tuck in on his left. With all systems good to go, I give a visual check to the 150 pilot (who is busy in the cockpit with his run up) and move ahead and taxi out to runway 27. Ok, a final check before we go; fuel on, fuel both, trim set, flaps to 10*, mixture full rich, elevator controls for slight tail low and announce Brandywine traffic Cessna 2746C departing 27, to remain in pattern Brandywine and we are off. A nice gentle constant roll with no braking (simulating soft field conditions) checking right for any sneaky traffic on final , all clear, keeping turning into position, heels on the floor and full power. Nose high, looking out the side of the wind screen and side window to keep my alignment with the edge line of the runway followed by mains lifting off. Adjusting for nose down/level flight with the yoke holding there to take advantage of the ground effect and gaining speed to 60-65 kts. Speed good, climbing out and clear obstacles so I take out the 10* of flaps. I am on my way to a typical pattern. Together with my CFI we log six rounds of soft/short field takeoffs. I had one landing where I had the mains down and I put my right hand on the yoke to keep the nose up. Whew.....caught flack for that, with a "where did you learn that, no bad habits that I don't teach you". We discussed that maneuver and I really had no reason, other then I did it. Needless to say I did NOT do that again, that was the first and last time. :)

Next lesson may be another supervised solo and then I should be cut loose, that's if weather is good. If weather is "ok" we may do more tower work at one of the above mentioned locations. If it's really crappy out we will have a ground school lesson for flight planning. I figure either way I can't loose!! I am up again Sunday.

Bill and I discussed my progress and together gave a rough estimate on where I am at in my training. I am always the one to check my budget vs my progress. I have read to many stories about guys that get "that" close and can't finish for months or years. I DO NOT want that to be me. Anyway, ballpark maybe 20-25 hours away. My flying is looking good and navigation is coming along nice. I also have to figure on oral test prep, written test prep and my checkride prep. I am reviewing for my written test and will take that in the next few weeks. It sure would be nice to vacation this summer in Newport News/ Williamsburg and not have to drive there!

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