Saturday August 12, 2006
Yesterday was my second ride in a low wing. This trip however, had me at the controls. I signed up for an intro to Piper 988LA a PA28-161, hoping to get a handle on what may be in store when Mary and I join the "flying club".
The preflight went well, noting differences in the elevator, only three fuel sump locations, and that wing in a really different spot. :) Of course I had to get on my bad knees to check fuel but, you know it has to be done. I think I'll trade the step stool I use for a knee pad, yes, easier on all those scars. I made a few mental notes and will add them to the checklist. Time to climb on in.....not to bad getting up on the wing and folding myself in. I had to take out two notches of flaps so I didn't have to crawl across the handle. I went through the checklists and other then fuel pump status, fuel tank location and no "both" setting I was ok with it all. As we discussed fuel I suggested that I would follow the after hour/before the hour to manage tanks.
As we taxi to the run up and complete the checks I am starting to get a bit anxious. This baby steers better on the ground then the Cessna does but it feels so different. It's an easy look to the pattern for traffic as I announce departure followed by a roll into position. Full power and we are off..........Well...eventually...this baby is a tank and it seems happy plodding along. Ok, 55 and climbing more back pressure and we are finally off. Out to the practice area for some turns , slow flight and approach(power off) stalls. Not to bad and I didn't even let the flap handle get out of control. It's click and release the button, it then moves down to the next notch.
Back to N99 for some landings as I announce my entry to the pattern. I'm feeling pretty good, knowing this baby sinks like a rock, but under control. Hey what do you know, simulated engine out.......great....as I am on the electric trim my CFI says what? did you think we wouldn't work on this. Trim for best glide speed, announce I am going to make Brandywine the flow through my checks. Fuel pump is on turned on with landing lights (seemed like a good habit) I run through the list cycle fuel pump, switch tanks, mixture, throttle, restart if no fan, no switching to 121.5 I'm staying on to announce to N99. I am past the end of 27 and making my left base "abbreviated" turn inbound. Wow this baby is sinking fast, I actually said out loud this does not look good, it's going to be close. I cut my final tight, really tight, actually turning left almost over the numbers to align with the runway and set it down with a long roll out. I think he was happy I didn't quit and worked it for all I could to get there. That was my last landing, number 4 for the day and I was beat. Geezzz it felt like training all over again!
I will schedule more seat time next week. I want to get at least 10 hours in type so that I can make the move to the Archer II. Stayed tuned for the status on joining the club!