In which I do the pre-solo test, suffer through flying 4964 and nearly land off the side of the runway.
Today’s plan was to do more circuits and try and further consolidate what we’ve done so far.
There was a fairly strong northerly wind today which meant that we had to be slightly faster on approach and it was slightly bouncy at times. Normally a flapless approach would be used in these conditions and we did several of these but also did some flapped approaches.
When I arrived I was given the pre-solo air law test to do. This was 10 multiple choice questions and really wasn’t that difficult. A few of the questions were basically common sense and a few you needed to have at least some idea of the law. It took me about 5 minutes or so to complete and I got 10/10 so that’s all good 🙂
I preflighted 4964, we refuelled and taxiied over to 36. Unfortunately, 4964 hasn’t improved at all since the last time I flew it and was an absolute pain to fly. I’ve started thinking of it as the ‘Jabiru from hell’! It didn’t want to climb at all and the stall warning sounded a few times during the mission, which was frustrating.
The first circuit was alright but the approach (flapless) was pretty unstable so we decided to go around. When going around it is a good idea, once the climb is established, to move slightly to the right of the runway so that I can see the runway out of my window on the left in case there are any other planes there etc.
The next two or three circuits were also flapless and definitely more successful than the first. On one of them I made a bit of a hash of the approach by, for some reason, suddenly becoming uncertain whether the green strip of ground or the brown strip next to it was the runway! I’ve no idea why I suddenly couldn’t work it out…but it turned out to be the brown patch.
Unfortunately, this mission my recent success at remembering to turn the carby heat off on approach largely disappeared. However, I did discover that on flapless landings when lowering the flaps for take-off I can do that with my fingers and use my thumb to turn the carby heat off. Interesting thing to remember I guess!
The next few circuits were flapped. All of my landings today were unassisted or mostly unassisted. One thing I was having a few issues with was keeping the wings level when on approach/flare, a couple of times I wasn’t making enough corrective control inputs so needed a bit of help. Apparantly this is partly due to the design of the Jabiru, the controls are far less responsive at low airspeeds – at one point I had the ailerons about 3/4 deflected and it was doing hardly anything. I need to get better at making quicker and more effective control inputs to control the plane’s direction on approach.
On one of these circuits, J pulled an EFATO on me. I had some problems trying to decide where to go because the fields in front and to the left had haybales in them and I wasn’t sure if we’d be able to get over the field in front to land in the one beyond it. Slightly to the left there was a field without haybales in it but the fields surrounding it had haybales, so hopefully we would’ve been able to get into that field and not end up in the next door field. Either way, I decided that we would head towards that field and we powered up and continued the circuit. It definitely wasn’t my calmest response to an EFATO but I guess that’s the reason why we practice them!
Due to the strong notherly winds, we didn’t bother doing any glide approaches this mission because the strong headwind meant that there was no chance we’d make the field if we did try.
The final landing was a flapped full stop on 36L. I think we must have come in slightly fast because we touched down slightly then floated for a fair bit before touching down again. I am getting better at controlling bounces though, which is good.
Apparantly one thing I’ve started doing recently is raising the noise to flare, realising I’ve done it slightly early so lowering it slightly then raising it again at the correct time. I need to stop raising it too early and just doing it the once at the correct time. It is good that I’m realising my mistake and trying to correct it though.
My flying is definitely improving, I’m staying more in control of the plane and managing to often (usually?) put it down unassisted. I actually feel like solo might be getting closer now! I highly doubt it will happen on Saturday (last mission for 2009) but I think it might happen early January hopefully 🙂