In which I do more stalls, revise steep turns and find out what 2Gs feels like when I’m in control.
The plan for today’s mission was to revise stalls and steep turns.
I preflighted 4964, we climbed in and I taxiied us to 36L. For some reason I got slightly confused and tried to line us up on the old runway – so on the strip to the side of the current runway. J pointed it out and I was just like “Not my smoothest moment there!” 😛 We lined up on the actual runway and I did the takeoff.
We climbed (slowly) to 4000ft, it tends to drag its arse in hot weather because the air is thinner so the wings create less lift and there’s less air going through the engine.
First we did a few power-off flapless stalls. I managed to (accidentally) get a slight wing drop in one, I didn’t have the rudder quite balanced properly. A few times it didn’t want to stall, it just descended in an nose high attitude but wouldn’t actually go on and stall.
Next we moved onto stalls in the final approach configuration – so power (2000rpm) and half flaps. The first time I lowered the flaps before reducing the power when I’m meant to reduce the power and then lower the flaps. I did a few of those stalls, with varying degrees of success but didn’t have any more wing drops.
Then we moved on to revise steep turns. The first turn I did was very nice but I was sitting there thinking ‘this seems too easy’. After the turn I found out why, J was like “that was a very nice 30 degree turn” and I was just like “argh I did that last time we did steep turns too!” My ability to calculate bank angles clearly hasn’t improved! I tried again, this time with a lot more bank (it felt like we were close to 90 degrees at times even though we weren’t) and did a few more turns. A few times we got closer to 60 degrees of bank which meant that there was 2Gs of G-force. It was the first time I’d really experienced G-forces while I was in control and it certainly helped with dealing with it, I just keep my mind (and eyes) on holding our attitude and it felt much easier to deal with than dealing with it when not in control. One problem I had was not holding quite enough backpressure during the turn, I had a tendency to let the nose drop slightly so I need to concentrate on keeping the right amount of backpressure.
Overall though, my turns were good (one was apparantly “Perfect” :)) and I was told that when I go solo in the training area I’ll be able to practice them alone which is pretty awesome 🙂
We headed back to the airfield (me momentarily losing the plot as to where the field was after doing a descending turn to lose hieght). J made the inbound radio call but told me that from next mission I’ll be doing them so I need to learn it. The thing I wonder about is how you know if you’re 3 miles or 5 miles away or what – is there a way of calculating it or is it something you just learn? I guess I’ll find out next mission.
For the first time I made the joining circuit call.
Joining crosswind, runway 36
I flew the circuit and lined up for a flapless landing. My final was a bit too low and too slow and my landing, although not terrible, wasn’t exactly smooth. It’s interesting to see how only doing one landing per mission is affecting my landings I guess 😛
During the debrief J mentioned that I’ve started becoming slightly slack about my height in the circuit – I should be at 1250ft (1000ft AGL) but I’ve started letting it wander above/below that and haven’t been correcting it enough, so I need to work on that. It’s interesting (and good!) to notice that since I’ve soloed, he’s started picking me up on smaller things that I need to correct, I’m not just learning to fly now but learning to fly with precision. I’ve noticed that things seem to be moving a lot faster since solo – suddenly I’m progressing through more exercises and I actually feel like I’m slowly getting there. I have a vague hope to be licenced by the Anzac Day weekend (so around 25th April) which gives me another 13 or so missions (although I’m thinking I might book a 3rd mission some weeks and really push to get my licence). I’m trying not to set a definite goal though, because I honestly have no idea how close I am to my licence so this goal is fairly arbitrary, not really based on my progress.
Next mission we’re going to start forced landings. We’ll spend at least 3 missions working on this but it’s fairly weather dependent as the cloud base needs to be 3500ft+.