Flight School Day 29

Flight school day 29 was last Friday.

We practiced some more soft-field takeoffs and he was happy with all of them.  Then he showed me short-field takeoff procedure.  For this kind of takeoff, we get the airport to the very beginning of the runway–as close as we can get without the tailwheel going over the edge.  Then we hold the stick for neutral elevators (look out the back to visually verify).  Then we hold full brakes and apply full power.  Once you check all the gauges and everything looks good, let go of the brakes.  Once the airplane starts lifting off, pitch the nose for 60 mph.  This guarantees the most altitude gained in the shortest distance.  Once you have cleared all obstacles pitch for 77mph which guarantees quickest altitude gain.  These takeoffs also went nicely.

After that we practiced short-field landings.  For this he basically picked a spot on the runway that I had to aim for like it was the beginning of a short runway and I had to land a three point landing on that spot.  These landings seemed to work out pretty good and he was really impressed with them.

Then we tried soft-field landings that are basically a three-point landing made as smoothly as possible.  On final we started talking and before I knew it we were low, slow, and crooked.  I managed to straighten out but the touchdown was not very smooth.  We tried again and I was more focused and it worked out so smooth if you were sleeping, it probably wouldn’t wake you.

We also flew out east of the airport to practice some maneuvers.  We started with steep turns to the left and right–I kept the altitude constant and entered and exited the turns right on the correct heading.  Then he had me try a climbing turn to a heading–had I done it perfectly, I would have got to the altitude and completed the turn at the same time.  As it turns out I completed the turn before I was at the right altitude.

Then we tried a stall and it worked out quite nicely.  On my previous stall attempt, my right wing started dropping and I tried to lift it by rolling the airplane left with the ailerons–that only makes it worse.  What happened is the right wing was a little more stalled than the left, so it started dropping–lowering the aileron on the right wing only increases the angle of attack and causes it to fall even quicker… so it’s kindof like your controls get reversed.  I’m not sure what would happen if you just tried to apply opposite commands at that point.  Anyway, the correct method is to keep the airplane level using the rudder pedals because the tail isn’t stalled.

My next reaction last time as soon as the roll started accelerating was to lower the nose and it instantly recovered.  This time I was ready with the rudder pedals and the airplane stalled nice and level and I was able to recover with very little lost altitude.

Aaron seemed really pleased with my performance and said I will need very little preparation for the test.

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