Flight School Day 32

Today was another review for the check ride.  Aaron had me plan a cross-country flight to a local airport and when we got to the second checkpoint he asked me to divert to a different airport to see if I could find it.  The airport was a grass strip that I-65 bends around north of Huntsville at Ardmore.  He said I’m the first person he’s known to find it.

We did a short field landing on the runway which had a nice path down the middle that had been worn in and 2-3 foot grass/weeds on the sides.  So when we took off we practiced a soft field takeoff where you lift the airplane off the ground early and float in ground effect until it’s really going, then you climb out.

I was surprised how close we were to the Saturn V rocket–so close that I was afraid we might be in Huntsville’s airspace, but we were actually quite a way out.

On our way back to Madison County Airport I flew with the view-limiters on so I had to fly only by reference to the instruments.  Aaron put the plane in some unusual attitudes which I was able to recover from successfully.

We practiced short-field landings when we got to the airport.  I had been coming in too low last time–in order to land precisely on a point, you have to aim before the point and float in ground effect until the airplane stalls and touches down where you want.  This means you end up aiming a bit before the actual runway if you want to land right on the numbers.  So in the process, I was probably aiming a bit too far out and coming in low and having to add power to make it to the touchdown point.  This time I was better, but still had to add power a couple times.  Instead of needing to add power at the end I should be needing to slip slightly at the end to lose altitude.

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