Circuits Again

In which I learn about Jabiru’s keep fit program, discover I’m not allowed to attack people with my prop and mess up some landings.

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Today’s mission was yet more circuits (one day my posts will no longer start with that phrase…). We were using 36 for the first time in a while, which made for an interesting change – plus no displaced threshold, yay!

I preflighted 5231 and discovered that all 50 litres of fuel were showing as being in the left wing tank. I asked J about this, because I wasn’t sure if that have a negative effect on the plane. Apparantly Jabs have a dual feed fuel system (I think there was a more technical name than that, but I can’t remember it for the life of me) which means that the fuel tanks are linked and the fuel moves between both – especially when parked on uneven ground like 5231 was. This can be annoying when trying to fill the tanks because you fill one tank and by the time you get the hose around to the other one, half the fuel has drained into the other one – it takes a few trips between them to fill both it seems! Anyway, it wouldn’t affect us because the fuel would move around once we got going.

We jumped in and had to wait for a few children to get out of the way before starting it. Apparantly I’m not allowed to chop up children, they make too much of a mess (according to J) and I’d have to clean it up. I got it started, taxiied us to 36 and did the takeoff.

It was slightly bumpy up there today, with quite a few updrafts and downdrafts. The wind was also a bit gusty and changed direction a bit. Sometimes it was northerly, sometimes it was varying between north-westerly and north-easterly which made approach and landing a bit more challenging today. It’s all good experience flying in different conditions though.

The first approach was flapped. We were about at the road at the threshold of 36 and still at about 400ft and I thought we were too high to make a safe landing. I asked J (-1 for PIC skills, huh) who agreed so we went around. I was pleased I realised that we should go around, but need to get better at making decisions without checking first.

The next circuit was flapless. The landing wasn’t too bad, although it felt like I landed on the right mainwheel first rather than both (not sure if that was the case or not though). Happily, J didn’t make any comment after it so it must have been alright (although on the other hand, there wasn’t any good comment either but oh well :P).

The next few landings were also flapless and somewhat assisted. I wasn’t separating the stages of the landing out enough, I was back to nearly missing the ‘flying above the runway’ stage and trying to touchdown too early and misjudging how high we are above the runway. I’m wondering if I don’t trust the plane enough and I’m trying to force it onto the ground before it’s ready and I should trust it to land when it wants to.

The next few circuits were flapped approaches, with various results.

During one of these circuits, J also pulled an EFATO. I’m getting good at immediately lowering the nose without thinking about it. Today I picked a field pretty quickly, but some missions I lose the plot slightly trying to decide which field to head for. I guess that’s what we practice these for though!

The second last circuit for the mission ended up being a glide approach. I had a feeling it was going to be a glide approach just before J pulled the throttle, I think I could see him plotting 😛 I immediately turned to the left to head towards the threshold of 36 and held the nose up to reduce airspeed. The main problem I’m still having with glide approaches is trying to decide whether or not we’re too high and what method to use to reduce height – turns, sideslip or flaps. We’re going to work on glide approaches more in the next few missions.

The final landing for today was a flapped landing on 36R. Happily, it was unassisted although I bounced it slightly.

During the debrief J said my landings go off a bit when I start to get tired (which seems fair) and, interestingly, when most students get tired they tend to give up a bit whereas when I get tired I tend to get more into it – I think the word he used is ‘antsy’. I need to concentrate on relaxing more instead, because when I do my landings get better again.

Next mission we’re going to try using a third cushion, putting it under me to make me that bit taller. J’s wondering if I can’t see enough of the runway on flare. I thought I was fine, but I guess it’s not like I really know what I should be seeing so I just assume I’m alright. It’ll be interesting to see if the extra cushion helps. I wonder if there’s anything you can take to make you taller? 😛

Overall, my flying today wasn’t too bad although still not as good as I’d like. It’ll be interesting to see how I got next mission with the extra cushion – maybe everything will fall into place! I really need to trust the plane more and let it land when it wants to, rather than trying to land it before it’s ready.

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2 Responses to Circuits Again

  1. Tomo says:

    Hey sounds good… A lot more confidence showing through the script! That’s the way… 🙂

    What time of day are you flying? Try and pick later afternoon, or early morning for the nice times, eg, 7 am, and 5.30 pm… (wait, you have daylight saving hey?) Maybe try 8am and 6.30pm… You will notice a huge difference in the turbulence and wind.

    Keep it up!

  2. Darky says:

    I usually fly at 10am or 11:30am. It usually isn’t too bouncy up there, today was the bounciest it’s been for a while really 🙂

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