Monthly Archives: April 2008

Flight School Day 2

Today was a little bit better.  I was able to taxi a lot easier and get to the runway without too much help.  We took off from runway 18 today (36 yesterday) and had to wait for a jet to land.

I think he left me more in control of the takeoff than yesterday as we drifted left of the centerline once we got the tail off the ground and I continued drifting left through the whole takeoff roll once we were in the air.

First we practiced a lot more 45 degree turns and I did a better job looking out the window rather than staring at the instruments.

The main point of today’s lesson was to learn about slow flight and how to control airspeed with pitch and altitude with thrust as well as how to compensate for the yawing motion to the left at slow speeds.

We practiced power off stalls as well.  He performed one first and then I performed one.  Mine had a pretty ridiculously steep recovery but we made it–it was probably more ridiculous than some rollercoaster drops.  He then demonstrated another one for me :-)

He had me maintain 75 knots for the landing and again had me hold the controls while he landed.  The landing seemed pretty good and then I managed to taxi off the runway and back to the tie down spot.

Flight School Day 1

Today was the first day of flight school.  I am flying a Citabria Adventure:

The plane is interesting, the instructor sits in the back seat and the control panel layout is a bit different from what I pictured from seeing so many pictures of Cessna cockpits.  The surface of the plane is some sort of fabric rather than aluminum.

Taxiing was a bit harder than I expected and I don’t think I really every got good with it–you have to get it going a decent clip before its easy to steer and then I feel like I’m going too fast :-)  The whole steer and brake with the pedals was a little tricky as I never quite felt I knew where the cutoff between braking and steering is.

He had me hold the controls and fly with him during the takeoff which was a bit tricky… once we got going we had to push forward on the stick (it has a stick rather than a yoke) to get the tail off the ground and then when we got up to speed we pulled back and flew away… the whole takeoff seemed to take about 5 seconds so I missed the whole thing :-)

He had me fly the initial climbout and level off around 3000 feet.  He had me practice a few 30 degrees turns while attempting to keep the altitude constant and keep the rudder in the correct position.  It was tricky… I got lucky my first turn and kept the altitude within 50 feet the whole way around.  Then he had me practice turning 180s and 360s while climbing or descending 500 feet.  We did a turn while banked 45 degrees while maintaining altitude… I really felt like I was getting stuffed into my seat (it was a 2G turn).

The landing was fun… my instructor had me idle the engine and trim the elevator and hold on the controls while he landed.  I was surprised that we landed with the tailwheel slightly before the main wheels but he said that is allowed in a full stall landing which is what we did.

Actually flying was crazy… you feel every bump in the sky :-)  The instruments don’t stand still like they do on the computer flight simulators… everything is always moving and it seems all you can do to get everything lined up how you want it for one second :-)