Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Frustration sets in..

Another typical lesson overcast, cloudy a bit of rain and of course who could forget the cross wind Gods. The runway of choice today is 14 with only a slight (for the time being) cross wind. After my run up I announce Millville traffic...Cessna 5219J Departing 14 Millville traffic. Ok I am off, dipping the wing into the wind and slowly rotating to level at the point I am taking off 55 knts....looking good lumbering out to 600 MSL and turning cross wind. Pattern work is getting better, I have a better handle on the creeping in. My CFI calls out a lighting strike as I am rolling out into my downwind. It's off to the northwest of the airport, Ummmm......I'm not really liking that but time to keep flying. Ok, I am abeam the numbers so carb heat on, throttle down to about 1700 rpm and I'll add a notch of flaps. I actually find it better to talk myself through the steps and Dave does not seem to mind. Turning base adding flaps to 20 degrees and then final I am right of the centerline but just enough for the cross wind Gods to push me back to center. Ok...adding a bit of rudder, touch of power, looking good, starting to drift Ahhhh.......to much rudder then over correcting, CRAP, holding it off...bleeding off speed......ARGhhh.....not pretty. As this landing was the first of many for what seemed like 2 hours instead of one with not much improvement each go round. After each touch and go we discuss what I need to do to get her home. As I am climbing out I am wanting to beat my head against the door but I don't want to crush my ear in the headset. Ok, deep breath.....relax and have some fun. Flying is fun....why am I starting to stress? It's the anal retentive part of me, I have to do it right.......OK....focus. Dave reminds me to handle the rudder control movements with gentle corrections not short bursts. I am thinking pushing on egg containers......light grip on the yoke...gentle gentle. I turn final and dip the right wing into the wind with gentle rudder.....holding it off.....bleeding off speed......niiiiice......alright got one in the book. No time to celebrate, carb heat off, flaps up and full throttle.......here we go again. On the next landing I again get heavy handed and feet like bricks....(sigh). Dave insists the "feel" will come with time. I
return to the pattern for a few more and then announce a full stop. I know it will come in good time.....but geeezzzz I sure wish it's sooner then later! Is it thursday yet ? I need to get back up and get er' done the right way.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

The puzzle is taking shape..

Well, it has been an interesting day to say the least. Last night during my dinner at the in-laws I got a call (left on answering machine) from work to tell me that the FSS at Millville had a partial roof collapse. Of course I called asap and got the report. Knowing I had a lesson scheduled
I could not wait to see the traffic.

After my pre-flight, start up and taxi out I checked the pattern then advised Millville traffic that Cessna 5219J is departing RW 10. Today was landing and "missed" day. I had a slight crosswind to work with and it still frustrates me at times. Keeping that wing slightly dipped into the wind and rudder corrections......As my CFI says its like patting your head and rubbing your tummy.......Hmmmmm.....great...I am not sure if I can do that on a consistent basis. :) I worked for 1.1 hours today and overall takeoffs were good, except for one where I got a little carried away with rudder. I guess a short brain fart as I seemed to be weaving as if there were cones out there......a tad embarrassing but I got it squared away and got off the ground. I learned today that 30 degrees of flaps is harder (for me) to land with then 20 degrees (my flairs like the added speed). I continue to flair a bit early and seem to loose my airspeed and "drop" on the runway. Although just bleeding off speed above the surface it still makes for a small thud. I want to do better. Trying out the 20 degrees of flap on my next two landings I carry a bit more speed and hold a longer flair and then nose up for a nice touchdown. Ahhhh....I feel a bit better. After another go round or two I land and taxi back to the tie down. I really tried to focus on my pattern work today. I seem to creep in while on downwind with the cross winds.

Today I worked at maintaining my spacing/position in the pattern, looking at the wing strut and keeping aligned. I seemed to hit Everything else on time, abeam the numbers apply carb heat, reduce power, flaps......speed was consistent the whole lesson along with rate of decent so I am making progress. I am off until tuesday and then back at the landings. Time to read over my ground course books and start on practice tests.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

Off to Woodbine 1N4 for T&G's

What a fantastic day today ! Finally got back into the air and what a sweet lesson. Today's lesson started out in a different aircraft. I'm still flying a Cessna 172 just a different bird. Completed my preflight and was ready to taxi out. A quick call to a busy Millville.....Cessna 5219J on the Big Sky ramp and ready to taxi. Ok got the info, ready to roll and off we go. I taxi out to the active runway 28 and take care of my run up. I notice a twin trailing me and performing his run up also. Ok ready to go, checking downwind, base and final......all clear...Millville radio 29J departing 28. Millville request to advise when in the air. Full power.....slight right rudder 55 knots and ease it back......we're off !!It feels great! It also feels like forever since I flew but it still feels good. Nice and smooth climbing and turning out at 600 msl for 1N4, Woodbine airport about 16 miles south east of MIV. Today provides a great view, I can see the coast, the bay and on departure I could see the stacks clear as can be on the delaware river for the nuke power plant. Ok I have woodbine in view and there is a yellow glider landing on 19 so I will slow it down as I turn out away so that I can turn to 1N4 and enter the down wind for 19 on a 45. I thought it looked small as we flew by but that 75 foot width vs the 150 at Millville really looks tiny. Also the landings today will give me a good look at a short(er) field, 3300 vs 6000 at MIV. Ok Woodbine...5219J entering at a 45 for downwind 19.....rate of decent good, speed good and adding flaps to 10 degrees. abeam the numbers carb heat on throttle back to about 1600 rpm's......turning base nice and smooth..looking good....woodbine 5219J on base for 19 woodbine... adding another 10 degrees of flaps.......ok turning final and lined up nice and centered....woodbine 29J on final 19 Woodbine.....adding another 10 degrees of flaps and reducing power......keeping centered.......feeling like slow motion today, that's a first....ease back....holding the nose up....holding ....mains down......holding back....and nose wheel down. WOW !! That felt good !!!!! I made one missed and another landing that was fair then we headed
back to Millville.

The short flight between airports was great, on heading and altitude no problems with time to really enjoy the nice clear day. Everything just seemed to click. Approaching Millville on what looked like a very long final for 32 I could not help but take in all the scenery. I radioed ...Millville radio 5219J 10 miles inbound from the SE for downwind 28. I picked a point to my 11 o'clock and held that heading so I could give myself room to turn right to a heading that would put me on a 45 for the downwind for runway 28. Millville radio updated the traffic advisory and had me looking for traffic on final for 28 also. I extended our downwind and searched for the traffic....Dave had contact but it took me a bit longer to also find my traffic. Dave said it comes with years of flying. Ok traffic at my 9 o'clock on final so I will turn base and add another 10 degrees of flaps. Looking good .....calling Millville radio to announce turning final for 28 and adding flaps along with power to 800 rpm....got er' made as Dave says. Ok holding it off......nose up.....and DANG not long enough.....a slight thud as I touchdown on 28. I turn off first taxiway and report down and clear. I finish up with my checklist.....carb heat off, flaps up, transponder to STBY......and I taxi back to the Big Sky ramp. I finish my checklist and tie the aircraft down and head inside. A real nice day and finished up with a really nice lesson. Looking forward as usual to thursdays flight.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

"no go" days

August 16, 2005
Today was a "no go" day. Rain and ground fog rolled in about the time I was going out to pre-flight. I'm looking forward to Thursday, seems like forever since I've been in the air.

August 18, 2005
Another "no go" day. I worked on emergency deck repairs last night until 1am after working a full day. I was back at work at 7am this morning and felt like I got run over by a truck. I called and canceled my lesson, I just didn t feel alert enough to retain anything I would be learning. I hope Tuesday the 23rd is a better day. Ok off to a mid day nap.....ZZZzzzzz.....

Thursday, August 11, 2005

What did go right ?

Another hot one today, but I have my towel with me. Pre-flight checklist as usual, followed by start up checklist and call to millville radio. Ok, we're ready to go! Todays lesson will be take off and landing cycles, since 10-28 is closed due to my lighting contract I'll be on 14-32. Winds out of 255 - 260 at 5 - 8 knts. After run up I taxi out to 32 and wait for one to clear the runway before my take off roll can start. OK, full aileron to dip that left wing tip into the cross wind slowly rotating to level as I reach 55 knts, slight back pressure nose off and we're off. Weather vane time as I keep on the 320 heading maintaining right rudder in my climb. OK, looking good at 600 feet, clear left, turning cross wind still climbing to 1000. I didn't roll out early enough to correct for the wind, I need to get on track. Ok turning downwind, again not rolling out on time for wind correction, UGHhhhhh..... I am really screwed up here for the first go round in the pattern. Dave requests a right turn out and to regroup and set up for a 45 degree re-entry back to the downwind for runway 32. That sounds like a fine idea to me, a tad frustrated I try to focus on what's at hand. Re-entering at a 45, looking better in my downwind as I pull the carb heat, reduce power and add flaps another aircraft calls in a 3 mile final. Dave takes radio control and acknowledges that we will extend our downwind. Still searching for our contact he radios again 1 mile final. Dave says turn base, which I do and find myself aligned with 32 and just making visual contact with the short final aircraft. OK adding flaps, speed ok 70 knts, decent looking good, cross wind requires that forward slip, I'm hoping I can put it all together. Ok looking good.....about 100 feet I start out of the slip to soon and come off center and do not ease up on right rudder enough, now starting to crab heavy right (which is wrong direction) Dave jumps in makes correction (saves my bacon) we touch down left main....what seems like forever
and finally right main down.....holding off nose.....bleeding speed.....and nose wheel down. Again making correction with aileron to compensate for cross wind and calling down and clear to Millville. Well now I'm thinking I really sucked, as Dave and I review what went right (short list) and what went wrong ( a bit longer list). The lesson continues for a few more rounds with each having better control. My final landing looked good, with all parts of the slip starting to click.
I learned some really good lessons today. No two hands on the yoke during landing, keep that right hand on the throttle. When I felt tense I felt I needed to two hand it to the runway, big no no. That wont fly during the checkride. Also I need to read the whole package, speed, pitch wings level, rudder controls with out getting tense. Dave says he can see when I get overloaded on the cross winds I get that grip on the yoke and slowly eliminate my scan of instruments.
He assures me this will all come in time and that its his job to be hard on me not mine. He's a patient guy, and knows how to break it up and get me back on track.

Thursday, August 04, 2005

"S" Turns and Circles about a point

It's a busy day at work trying to tie up any loose ends and at the same time switch gears to a flying frame of mind. After a quick change into shorts and sneakers I grab my flight bag and I'm ready to go. Landings have been on my mind all day, serving as that filler when your brain takes a break from everyday activities, like between conversations, driving from job to job, or listening to someone that sounds like Charlie Browns mom. My pre flight only discovers that 80121 is a quart low on oil so Dave fills her up and we are ready to climb in. I really mean climb in! Trying to fold my legs into this bird is tight, with minimum clearance between seat and door. Once in I buckle my belts and follow my checklists. Turning on the A/C (opening the windows) Dave and I discus todays lesson and objectives. Today is Circling about a point and "S" turns over a fixed line or roadway. Taxi to runway 28 is smooth and after run up I'm ready to go. Hey didn't miss calibrating my heading indicator or switching the transponder to "ALT". I am working at taking my time and trying to feel more relaxed at the controls, like I belong there.

Climbing out to an ALT of 1000 we make our way to a great reference point to begin a circle. Dave takes control and shows me what he expects and we discuss bank angles and wind direction and how they are related to this exercise. Ok, I'm up.....I pick out my reference points and turning a steep bank since I am with the wind I hold a nice pattern turning a medium bank and then to a shallow bank into the wind and around we go again. Hey this is fun ! I manage to keep my center point at the same location on the wing tip and having "old Glory" as a center ground point also helps with the wind direction. Ok that part complete I am off chasing a roadway that will serve as my base for a series of "S" turns. Again using the same principle with the wind at my tail a steeper bank is required then to a medium and shallow as I am wings level crossing the roadway, no time to celebrate, its now into the wind and a shallow turn then medium to steep as I am with the wind and looking to cross the road again wings level.

Ok time for some landings. I take a heading back to KMIV and notify Millville FSS of our location and intentions. Pattern work went really well today. I felt more at home on final, not holding that death grip and wanting to work the yoke. It felt good, nice approach, good speeds and alignment. On the last landing I turned from base and was right on target, the cross wind Gods had messed with me enough and decided to let me land without needing to slip my way in.
This is feeling good, looking down the runway, nose up I'm in.......I'm in.....I didn't hold long enough nose up...GRRRR....I'm thinking 121 is not a happy girl since I dropped her on the runway with a thud. ok...control...get slowed down....look for my taxiway. I roll clear the hold short and notify Millville I'm down and clear. After going through my checklist we taxi to tie down and review the last landing. Dave informs me that the last landing was all me
and asked what I needed to do to prevent dropping on the runway. I needed to hold that flair longer...listen for the stall indicator and not "fly" it to the ground.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005


Another hot and humid day today with haze. My lesson started out as normal with pre-flight. Once complete I went through my start up check list and brought 80121 to life. Millville was responsive today with a quick answer including airport and traffic advisory. Winds favor 28 today and that's a good thing since my rehab lighting and signage contract has 14/32 NOTAM'ed out. Ok, turning into the wind for my run up I make two errors on my checklist. I forgot to set transponder from STBY to ALT and calibrate my heading indicator with the compass. Dave reminds me of the need to take my time and check off each and every item. A short call to Millville after again checking the traffic pattern to notify MIV that "80121 is departing 28 and heading to the designated training area." Instead of T&G's to start Dave wants to work on forward slips. I climb out to 2000 and once in the training area I pick my visual point, a nice sandy beach. Ok...pull the carb heat on, decrease throttle, bank left and rudder right. All the while spot checking that airspeed to make sure I am at 70 knts. It took me a second go through to get the feel of the rudder required for the forward slip. The airspeed and heading looked great so that was a plus. All the puzzle parts for those landings I'll be working on.

I also worked on medium banked turns left and right and really worked on my roll outs on heading. It was now time to head back to the airport for a few rounds of full stop landings and taxi outs. Ok, approaching the airport, I felt a lil disoriented on my position kind of busy going over what's to come in my head and having no room for common sense. I tell dave I need to get my focus going and pay attention. Dave reminds me that with the runway over the nose its time to turn downwind, so I turn to a heading of 100, maintaining some right rudder for the wind correction. Ok checking left I'm across from the numbers so its carb heat on reduce to 1500 rpm and add notch of flaps. So far so good,airspeed is good rate of decent looks good. Looking back to my left I'm about at a 45 to the runway so I make my turn to base and add a notch of flaps. Looking good so far so I turn final, alignment nice making corrections with rudder and trying keeping wings level. I looked short down the runway and it caused me to want to "fly" the aircraft down to the runway. Dave reminds me ...nose up....nose up......listening for that stall horn. Ok.....back under control nose up, Dave corrects my yoke back movement since I started to pull back with a slight movement banking left. Dave instructed me to be gentle with the yoke and my back pressure must be "straight" without that tendency to bank left. It's a short roll to the taxiway and then back to runway 28 for two more go rounds. Each landing did get better. At least they felt better on approach, more stable and the numbers (gauges) were looking more consistent. Dave advised me that we will work on more slips and T&G's thursday. I noticed today he was pretty quiet, pretty much hands off all the way until I turned out after takeoff and on final for landing. It seemed like he was evaluating my progress more then usual. Back to the book for more study and the DVD's for more flight instruction too. I'm looking forward to Thursday already !!!