In which I give the impression that I pack lightly enough to go away for the weekend with only a headset bag, discover the Jabiru’s ‘air conditioning’, have another crack at circuits and make a whole set of new mistakes.
Today’s mission was another round of circuits.
When I arrived there were lots of people at the airport, apparantly there was a flyaway to Adelaide for the weekend. These older women saw me and were like ‘Are you coming to Adelaide?’. I’m not sure why they thought that considering all I had with me was my headset bag, how light do they think I pack?
I preflighted 5231, checked the bolt on the wheel was there and had a stab at trying to read the oil dipstick (not entirely sure I was right though). We jumped in, got sorted, and I taxiied us to 36L. There, I found out the plane’s ‘air conditioning’ – basically, there are two little holes/vents, one on each side near your feet, which is basically nothing more than a hole to the outside which lets some fresh air in. It’s not much, but it’s better than nothing! We did the pre-takeoff checks, waited for the planes on base/final to do their touch-and-go’s and I did the takeoff.
For the last few sessions of circuits we used runway 18, so it was strange to be using 36 and doing left-hand circuits. It definitely took a bit of thinking to work out when to turn etc.
Just after we turned crosswind after the takeoff, another plane made a radio call that they were joining crosswind behind us. Soon after he called that he was turning downwind which rather confused me since I was just turning downwind, I was like ‘where the hell is he?!’ and J pointed him out – he was a way ahead of us by then which was good.
My first landing wasn’t particularly successful. J said after that I need to make more positive control inputs as the air becomes more turbulent closer to the ground. I also need to use the rudder more to control where the nose is pointing.
After the second circuit, J took control on base to demonstrate an approach and landing so I could get a better idea of the sight picture I was looking for. It actually helped a lot. I realised that I was looking in the wrong place, I was aiming the nose at the runway rather than having the runway in front of me. It definitely helped a lot.
My next attempt at landing was a bit better, I had a better idea of what sight picture I needed and I was trying to make more positive control inputs. There was an updraft just before the threshold which blew us off a bit though. As I was doing it though, I was swearing softly to myself (without really thinking about it) and completely forgot that it might be picked up by the intercom. J was like ‘Sorry, didn’t hear that’ and I was like ‘Just swearing to myself…it wasn’t my politest one’ (not repeating it here though, this is a polite blog). A minute later I said it again and I could tell he heard it that time because he laughed. 😛
After a couple more circuits and attempts at landing (with varying degrees of success) we did a full stop on 36R.
I still haven’t managed to do an unassisted landing which is getting a bit frustrating. I know that making lots of mistakes now, with J there, is better than making them solo but I feel like everytime I get better at one part I mess up another part. Apparantly I keep missing the third part of the landing, the flying above the runway part. Next lesson I’m going to ask if we can do the ‘flying above the runway instead of landing’ thing which we did a few lessons ago.
During the debrief J suggested that it was time that I ‘bite the bullet’ and start using two cushions. I admitted it was vanity that made me not want to use two cushions and I’m going to try two cushions next lesson. I do admit it would probably help!
Overall I’m not unhappy with the lesson, although I wish my landings were progressing a bit quicker, I’d like to do at least one unassisted landing sometime soon!