Lesson 2 – First Trip to Galt

Yesterday was about 40 degrees warmer than Wednesday was. It was a much nicer day to be outside but, again, the visibility wasn’t great. It would be nice to have a horizon to reference one of these days. Still, we did get to fly so it was a good day.

The checklist is getting easier. Tim makes it a point to explain why we do the items on the list rather than just doing them because they’re written down. Taxiing felt better today but, I still kept my hands off the yoke. Next step is to be able to hold the yoke but not try to steer with it. I was also able stay more or less straight while braking this time.

Takeoff went well except that I don’t feel like I’m doing a very good job of holding the runway centerline after liftoff. I also found I was chasing the airspeed needle a little. I have to work on the sight picture and holding attitude by outside reference. I’m sure that will come with more practice so I’m not really worried about it.

We covered a lot in this lesson. The plan was to head over to Galt Airport (10C) where Tim would demo the landing sequence. On the way there, I practiced turns in both directions while Tim pointed out landmarks in the area. I finished the turns with a steep one in each direction. On the first one, I didn’t get the back pressure out soon enough on the roll out so we zoomed up a couple hundred feet and got a little slow. I did better on the second rollout but lost altitude during the turn.

Tim did the landing at Galt then I taxied back and took off. On the way back to Campbell, we did more pilotage training. We flew over an unused private field and decided to use it for some rectangular pattern practice. I flew around and around the field trying to stay a constant distance from the runway. It was a good introduction to ground reference maneuvers. I also learned how to change fuel tanks. Electric fuel pump on, switch tanks and make sure to feel the detent, check the fuel pressure and listen for a smooth engine, turn the fuel pump off while again watching the fuel pressure and listening to the engine.

By now we were almost home. Tim spotted the airport first and I saw it soon after. I was too close to the runway on downwind so the base and final were just one continuous turn – and I still overshot a little. I had just about gotten us lined back up when the wind pushed me sideways. Tim did a good job getting us straightened out and on the runway without a go around. We even made the turnoff to the ramp. Another 1.3 hours in the log book.

It was a good lesson and I learned a lot. I have to work more on multitasking. If I get the bank angle steady and roll out on heading, I probably let the altitude vary. If I concentrate on the altitude, I miss the heading. Also, I haven’t got a good feel for trim yet. Either I forget to trim or I fiddle with it too much. I don’t think any of these are major problems for me though. I just need to keep practicing so it gets more natural.

No lesson next week but, I am scheduled for January 2.

Merry Christmas!

  • John says:

    I really enjoy your blog. I spent my formative years in Northern Illinois and did my first solo at DeKalb Taylor Muni.

    Writing about the learning experience can only help to reinforce your training and make the process more effective. So keep it up!

  • Tom says:

    Hi John. Glad to have you following along. I’ll try to keep the blog as current as I can.


  • Anonymous says:

    While flying over once, I once saw an F-16 in the pattern at Galt. I couldn’t make any sense of it since the plane appeared to be far below me, and I was only at 3K or so. Finally it dawned on me that the local radio controlled flying club was using the airport and flying a 3-foot model around.

    So watch out for that on your next trip to Galt!

    John (pilot@flyingchicago.com)

  • Oblivion/Mark says:

    Nice to see you’ve gotten off the ground a few times, Tom! Sounds like you’re doing well. You’re right – all of that precision will come with ime and practice. I used to chase the trim wheel all the time. Now I never give a thought to trimming – it just happens. It’ll just happen for you one day – no sweat.

    Blue skies!

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