Flight School Day 8

I’m writing this a day after flight school day 8.  I had planned on flying today but it was rainy and the clouds were a bit low for flying so I got my flight physical today instead… $125 to check if I’m colorblind, read letters on the wall, and to have a light shined in my eyes and stuff stuck up my ear :-)  Anyone looking for a future profession might want to take that route.  Anyway, when I asked Aaron when I needed to get it done he was extremely relieved that I remembered and said to get it done ASAP.  When I called the place they asked if the 27th would be good and I said the earlier the better, so they said I could come by at 6:30PM in the afternoon–I don’t generally consider that to be the afternoon but I showed up anyway.

Anyway, flying yesterday went great.  We flew around the pattern at the same time an AN-2 (the largest single engine biplane) was flying.  We had to be careful to fly a little higher than it and land and takeoff outside of its wake.  I practiced about 13 landings.  The landings were really starting to work out nicely so Aaron decided to have me try “wheel landings” where you land on the front two landing gear with the tail in the air before slowing down and lowering the tail into the ground.  The method we were using before is known as the “full stall” method where you fly close to the ground and keep pulling up with the engine idled until you can no longer pull up anymore and the wings stall as the airplane touches the ground.  The trick to the new method is once the front landing gear touch, the back end of the airplane keeps falling towards the ground increasing the angle of attack of the airplane (basically automatically pulling the nose back into the air) and makes the airplane want to take off again, so you have to push forward on the stick right after the wheels touch to plant them on the runway and then perform a balancing act on two wheels until the airplane is slow enough to gently put the tail down.  My “wheel landings” all turned into bounces that got recovered as full stall landings.

After we landed, we went and talked to the pilots of the AN-2 biplane and they let us get inside and see what its like.  It was pretty impressive.  There were way more knobs, dials, switches, and instruments in the cockpit than I imagined.

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