In which I do some more stalls and fly near some eagles.
After missing a week because J went on holiday and then two cancelled lessons because of weather, I was finally back at Lilydale, nearly a month after my last lesson. I definitely felt that I didn’t fly as well as usual, probably because of this gap.
When I arrived at the airport today I met J who was just coming out of the flying school. After querying whether he was trying to escape (he wasn’t), I went in and waited while he got our plane out of the shed.
Then I did the preflight for 4964. As usual I didn’t find anything wrong (which hopefully means that the planes are in good condition rather than being a reflection on my preflight skills) and, after some messing around with headsets (can’t wait to get my own) we jumped in.
Recently when I’ve been starting the plane, it doesn’t start on the first try. J explained that, even though the checklist says to have the throttle closed, the engine needs air to start so it should be open about 1/4 of a cm or so. Now I know why it only seems to start after he adjusts something!
Shortly after takeoff I took over control for the climb. This was the first point where I realised that the long break between lessons might be a detriment today. I felt like I had to control the plane a lot more than usual and that it took a lot more strength to keep it on its heading. It settled down a bit the higher we climbed though, so it might also have been something to do with turbulence at lower altitudes.
Today we went over stalls again. After going through the checklist (HASELL), J demonstrated a few stalls so I could revise the recovery procedure. Then it was my turn.
After a 360 degree clearing turn, I did my first stall of the day. I didn’t think it was too bad, considering it was nearly a month since I’d done them previously.
The main issues I had (to varying degrees in each stall) were raising the nose too high after reducing the power and applying the power after the stall. My main problem seems to be that I don’t apply the power quickly and smoothly after the stall. It should take about 3-4 seconds to apply full power but when I do it it usually takes about 4-5 seconds and it isn’t smooth at all, I seem to tend to do it in stages. Even when I’m concentrating on applying it smoothly, I’m still jerky and it’s extremely frustrating, because I know what I should be doing, I’m just not doing it!
The entire lesson was basically stalls, interspersed with clearing turns before each stall.
When we went to join the circuit to head back to base, there was definitely more traffic around that I think I’ve encountered before. There was one of the other Jabs entering the circuit just behind us and it was extremely difficult to see where it was. There was also a few eagles around, which apparantly like to dive at the Jabs! Perhaps we should paint on the top of the wings “warning to birds, the big fan at the front will hurt if you dive into it” – maybe that would make them reconsider!
Seeing the eagle did make me think, though, how lucky I am to be able to fly where eagles soar. It’s pretty amazing to think that we were sharing the sky with something like an eagle.
After we landed I mentioned to J that I was disappointed with my flying today. I really felt that I had just made so many mistakes and flown so much worse than usual. However, apparantly I flew quite well and I’m exactly where I should be at this point in my training, so I guess I just have unrealistic expectations of myself. I can’t expect to fly perfectly, I am still a student!
In other news, I have chosen a headset. I went out to Moorabbin airport last weekend to try on a few different sets. The first one I tried was the Bose Aviation X (which J has) – it was amazing, the ANR made such a difference to the sound! My first reaction was just “WOW”. After using a passive set again today, there’s no way I’d buy a set without ANR. The second set I looked at was the LightSpeed Zulu. It’s quite similar to the Bose but also has Bluetooth and music connection and is about $200 cheaper. I’ve decided on the Zulu since the ANR seemed about the same and you get extra features for a lower price (it retails at $1300 rather than $1500 for the Bose). I was going to buy a headset from overseas but I’ve since discovered that if I do that I will have to pay about $200 in customs fees, which means the headset would only turn out to be about $50-$100 cheaper, which isn’t really worth the effort. However, I think I have found somewhere in Australia where I can get it for $1100, so stay tuned!
Apparantly this was our last lesson on stalls for a while. Next lesson we move into the circuit and start doing exciting things like takeoff and landing. It should be interesting to see how I do. Luckily for me J seems pretty unflappable though, and I don’t really plan on testing that too much if I can help it!