Stalls & Steep Turns

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.

Lilydale Traffic
Jabiru 4964

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+.


7 Responses to Stalls & Steep Turns

  1. GraemeK says:

    Did the same on 36L on Tuesday ……

    We always used to play in the Southern end of the training area, so returned via Silvan Dam and Lilydale lake. Abeam Silvan dam is 10nm, abeam the lake is 5nm give or take.

    Either that, or the GPS tells you!

  2. Darky says:

    I’m glad it’s not just me getting confused about 36L! 😛

  3. Tomo says:

    For distance, you get to know land marks around your home aerodrome and just remember them, and you do get to know how to guess it after a while, considering your height and distance from it, and working it out. (and hopefully it works out to be reasonably accurate!)

    Great job!

  4. John L says:

    Just a small point and I hope you don’t mind it. But it is better to consider deleting the term “Missions” and instead substitute “trips” or “flights”.

    “Missions” was a term in World War 2 where The American’s flew their B17 Flying Fortresses and other bombers or fighters on “missions” over Germany. Missions as describing a flight in your Jabiru may be regarded as a bit “yukky” in the general aviation world. As an example when a Qantas aircraft flies from Melbourne to Sydney you will never see anywhere that it is a “mission”

    • Darky says:

      Thanks for the suggestion, but I’ll stick with calling them ‘missions’. If you actually heard me say it you’d be able to tell that I wasn’t exactly being serious in my use of the term (I’m hardly using it in a war sense, it’s just good fun). 🙂

      I actually started calling them missions because the guys at the airfield do so it can’t be too ‘yukky’ 😛

      Anyways, my missions are a bit different to Qantas flights, for one thing you have to fly the aircraft 😉

  5. BlackRod says:

    Been enjoying the blog immensely. As I mentioned once before, I’m a few weeks behind you and so very interesting having you blazing the trail for me.

    As for “mission” I think it is a great idea to call each lesson a mission. And I am ex-military. I can’t imagine anyone who understands the real meaning of the word can object.

    Making it a mission is great because it means their is a point to the exercise. You are going into the field (air) to achieves a goal – to acquire a particular skill. And when you get back after the mission there is a debrief. You can evaluate what went well and what could have gone better.

    I wish my training was as well structured.!

    • Darky says:

      Thanks BlackRod 🙂 I hope me discussing my mistakes here is helping you avoid the same ones! 😛

      Totally agree about the mission thing. We go up there with a goal in mind each lesson and debrief after where I find out what I did well and what I need to improve and think about how to work on improving it. If anyone heard me actually say it though, I clearly don’t mean it in a military sense, it’s just fun (actually picked the habit up from the FIs at the airfield so blame them! :P)

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