Lesson 52 – Some Hood Time

I was planning on making my first solo cross country flight yesterday but the weather didn’t cooperate. The winds were gusting as high as 30 knots in the area and occasional snow showers were popping up along my route to Janesville. Instead, we decided to make this a dual flight out to the practice area for some hood work and then back into the pattern for a few crosswind landings.

Once outside the Waukegan Class D airspace, Sandy had me put the hood on. I was pretending that I had started on my cross country but had gotten trapped in the clouds. By first response was to turn on the autopilot and set it to turn 180 degrees in an attempt to get back out of the clouds. Sandy told me that didn’t work so my next simulated option was to call for help. Sandy played the part of ATC and gave me headings and altitudes to fly. The autopilot in this airplane does not have altitude control so I would set the heading bug and then climb or descend while the autopilot was turning to the new heading.

Eventually, of course, Sandy had me turn the autopilot off and hand fly the airplane. In this phase, she set up some unusual attitudes and then handed the controls back to me so I could recover. The first one was a steep, turning dive. I pulled the power but not as fast as I should have so we got up close to red line. Another try at that was much better. I have to yank that power out not just ease it back. We also did some climbing turns that I handled fine.

After the unusual attitudes, Sandy gave me vectors back toward the airport. She had me tune in ATIS and tower, then told me to take the hood off and figure out where we were. I recognized the land marks and saw the airport right away so I called the tower to let them know we were inbound.

Back home, we stayed in the pattern for crosswind practice. The winds weren’t as gusty now but were still around 15 knots. I did three OK landings and one go around. My biggest problem this time was getting the airplanes nose to high. I have to maintain the proper nose down attitude all through the pattern and use the throttle to control my descent. I know this but sometimes I don’t do it. I have to concentrate on it more. Sandy complimented me later on the go around. She liked both my decision to do it and the way I handled