Sunday was a cold, gusty day with occasional snow showers so, I couldn’t do a local solo. Instead, it was another dual session fine tuning maneuvers. This time we did the ones we didn’t do on Thursday.
With the airplane thawing out in the hanger, I got to do the preflight in comfort. It had been snowing lightly on and off all day and there were small drifts on the ramp outside the hanger door. The wheels and brakes were packed with snow and ice from being pulled through the snow into the hanger. One of the guys from the office used the engine preheater to blast them with hot air and thaw them out. The wheels picked up a fresh coating of snow when we pushed the airplane back outside but, they were still warm enough to melt it off quickly. After a little grabbing and squealing as we taxied out, the brakes dried enough to work fine.
Once in the practice area, we started with a steep turn in each direction as sort of a warm up and then went into some power off stalls with turns. At about 3000 feet, Sandy pulled the power to simulate an engine failure. I chose a field and headed for it but, she asked me why I didn’t go to Galt? The airport was at least three miles away and, I didn’t think we could make it that far. Sandy told me to go try it anyway and, as it turned out, we made it with no problem. I even ended up high on final. It was a good lesson in just how far we could glide with the engine out. Since I was a little high and the runway was about 50% covered with snow and ice, we pushed in the power and skipped the actual landing.
We located a straight section of road for some S-turns. This is my worst maneuver, mostly because I have only done it a couple times. I did better this time but, I still have trouble crossing the road just as the wings come level in each turn. I will have to spend some solo time working on this one.
We finished off the low work with rectangular patterns around a field. This is probably my best maneuver and it went fine this time too.
I climbed back to 3000 feet where Sandy had me put the hood on. She put me through some unusual attitudes and then played controller to get me into the pattern back at Waukegan. One new thing for me was a constant airspeed descent. In the past I have always done constant rate, usually 500 feet per minute. This time, Sandy had me descend at 90 knots. Once I got the power setting figured out, it was quit easy to do. I took the hood off when we were midfield downwind and made the landing.
We stayed in the pattern for 2 more full stops and one go around. My pattern and approach are good and, my flare is much better than it has been. As Sandy said, we are down to the very picky stuff now.
I will try again to get the long solo cross country done this week. The long range forecast doesn’t look good but, hopefully that will change later in the week.