Sunday, October 16, 2005

The first day of school....again

Ok! Finally back in the saddle. I arrived at the airport about 30 minutes early. The great Vince Lombardi said if your were not 15 minutes early to his meetings that he considered you late. I guess that always stuck in my mind and so I am early as a rule. Big day today I fly with a new instructor. I walk in the office and introduce myself and Bill is ready to go. We chat for a short time about where I am in training and if I was following the Cessna DVD program. I go through
the paperwork and I'm soon off to the flight line with keys and clipboard in hand. I also took the full flight bag today, not knowing what to expect at a new school. I work my way through the check list and use my new step stool from Sportys. It worked pretty well and Bill seemed to like it. We climbed in and proceeded with the before start up check list through completion. N2746C came to life and we were ready to have at it. I needed to learn my way around this aircraft
it wasn't 219J, she is different. Before I knew it I was taxing out to 27. In the preflight I mentioned that I called 40N for their weather update and numbers. Chester County (13 miles W) AWOS advised winds 280-290 at 9 knts gusting 13 and Alt 29.77. I had my knee board with the AOPA printout for Brandywine so I was ready. I knew about the noise abatement procedures off 27 through to 1200 msl requiring a slight course adjustment. First go rounds were to get the rust off, yes in just a months time I felt rusty. All of a sudden i was worried about taxing like some drunk sailor and not performing like Dave had instructed me. On the following take off and landings I felt a bit more confident. The takeoffs were good, pattern work was tighter as I picked out points of reference along the way. I did get the "My Airplane" one time from Bill my new instructor as we were on short final during the second landing. I was scanning instruments and getting that visual for my landing point when the wind literally stopped then gusted right to left! It really felt like we just got hit hard in the face with a gust or we were suspended for a brief moment. Being at a reduced power stage looking at my touchdown point the plane started to bank left and almost wanted to nose over, I banked right and added right rudder along with power as Bill took control adding more power and bringing us level in an instant. I touched down long but on center and found it a bit difficult sit comfortably, yeah That's right a serious pucker factor. As we taxied back for another round Bill walked me
through each step of what happened. He pointed out what I did right and what I needed to do a bit quicker (power). I was ready for that on the next landing. I went to 20 degrees flaps only on the next approach, a bit more speed made for a smoother landing.

The new flight school seems to be a busy place. There are more instructors then my previous school, and a varied selection of aircraft to train in. I am going to keep with the Cessna 172 for my training. Although the Piper low wing may have a few lessons with my name on them, ok down the road a bit in prep for the Beech Sundowner we want to eventually own. There will be some adjustments for me, runway length 6000 vs 3300 at Brandywine and the hardest to get used to 150' runway width vs 50' at Brandywine. The whole picture in my mind for landing is different. The first few landings reminded me of landing at woodbine, no room for error. I guess I was spoiled! I think the new dimensions will help keep me focused and actually provide me with better training for those cross country flights down the road. All in all a fun day today the feet were not acting like bricks and the cross wind Gods had their fun too. I will be getting back to the twice a week lesson routine and hopefully advancing to finally solo at some point. I'll be back up on the 19th and then on the 22nd. I'm keeping my fingers crossed for continued blue skies!!

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