Flight School Day 28

Flight school 28 was last Wednesday.

I signed up to fly at 10:00am, but forgot about it because my Thursday flight got reshuffled and I decided to go fix an oven in the morning.  But at 10:30 I decided to check the schedule just in case (thinking the flight was in the afternoon).  Anyway, Aaron was forgiving and I showed up at 11:00am instead.  I took him to Subway for lunch to make up for it.

First we practiced soft field takeoffs.  The idea is that the ground may be mushy or gravely and the wheels might sink in.  So as soon as we make sure there is no traffic and taxi onto the runway we apply just enough power so we make it onto the runway and can turn tracking the centerline without needing any brakes but also without slowing down and allowing the plane to sink in.  As soon as we’re lined up we apply full power and hold the stick all the way back.  Normally we would push the stick forward and get the plane up on the main wheels, but not for a soft-field takeoff.

Soon the airplane will start lifting off (along with the stall warning because the angle of attack is close to a stall).  As soon as the plane is off the ground (and thus not being slowed down by the friction of the soft ground) we push the nose down and keep the airplane floating in ground effect until we’re going fast enough to climb out.

When I tried the takeoff I climbed too high and nosed over too slowly, so he helped get the nose down.

Then we practiced wheel landings and they didn’t turn out as well as I hoped.  It was good doing them with him again though–I’ve been pulling up too early and thus losing too much speed before touching down to actually perform a wheel landing.  He helped me keep the nose down a little longer before the flare and get the plane closer to the runway during the flare.

My other problem is the plane will seem to be floating and losing airspeed so I push forward on the stick–this causes the airplane to touch down a little too hard and bounce off the main wheels.  It seems if I just held the stick without pushing forward it would probably work out perfectly.

In addition, he encouraged me not to fly out so far past the end of the runway on downwind–I’ve been trying to go out just the right distance to glide back to the runway with almost no slipping required.  We practiced going to where the runway is about 45 degrees behind the wing before turning base.  This tends to require quite a bit more of a slip to get the plane down but there is little risk of undershooting the runway if the engine quits.

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