Lesson 7 – Slow That Airplane Down

I got to fly again yesterday. That makes three lessons in a row without getting weathered out -– amazing. If this keeps up, I will get way more hours in February than in December and January combined.

I did all the radio work for both departing and arriving back at the airport. I only had a couple very minor flubs so, I am happy with how that is going. I think that working with ATC right from the beginning is a definite advantage that will serve me well later in my flying.

The takeoff went much better today. This was the first time that I didn’’t feel like everything was happening at the same time. I was able to see when I was getting off the centerline on climb-out and get back on it. I also held climb speed much better this time.

Once in the practice area, we started out with slow flight. This time I was to hold the speed at 40 knots, which had the stall warning squealing steadily. My turns were better than last time – no over banking -– but I did have some trouble using enough right rudder. I would catch myself with the ball over to the right then yaw sharply as I shoved the rudder pedal forward. We also did climbs and descents while holding 40 knots. I thought slow flight went pretty well, except for that rudder thing, but it takes a lot of concentration and is hard work.

Next we did some steep turns in both directions. The idea was to do a 360 steep turn to the left than immediately roll into a steep 360 to the right. Keeping the nose level through the turn was my biggest problem with these. I need to keep my eyes outside more. If I spent too much time looking at the gauges, I would climb or descend. It was nothing drastic, just not a real smooth, level turn. I also have to remember to get the back pressure out as the wings roll level. I gained some altitude on a couple of the rollouts.

The last maneuver we did was straight ahead, power off stalls. No big problem with these but I wasn’’t getting a sharp break in the stall. I would just sort of wallow along until the nose finally fell on its own. I have to get the nose up quicker but still smoothly. I’’ll get it next time.

We did more pilotage on the way back home. Sandy said that, next time, she will have me start locating myself with the sectional. For this lesson, she had me put the nose on where I thought the airport was (I got it right) and fly us there. She also gave instruction like: ““Descend so that we are at 2000 feet as we cross the toll road.”” It got me relating what I was doing to specific points on the ground. I think I was a little mentally tired after this lesson because, as I made the turns in the pattern, I couldn’’t seem to add the 90 degrees to come up with the right headings. I got us to the runway, but only with Sandy’’s help in feeding me the numbers. I have to remind myself to think ahead and have this stuff worked out before I get into the pattern.

Next lesson is scheduled for Sunday and will be more of the same.

  • Anonymous says:

    When making those 90 degree turns in the pattern, there is a trick I teach my students. Before making the turn look at your heading. Let’s say you are on a downwind heading 270. Instead of doing the math to figure out that the left turn to base should come out to about 180 (no wind), just turn until the 270 is 90 degrees (3-o-clock position) to the right on the heading indicator. This eliminates the math.

    John (pilot@flyingchicago.com)

  • John says:

    Another trick is when turning downwind to base, add 100 degrees to your downwind leg heading. Not only is the math is easier, the extra 10 degrees will give you a rough wind correction angle so you don’t drift away from the runway theshold.

  • Tom says:

    Thanks for the great tips. I will give both ideas a try. I really appreciate both of you sharing your experience. It’s just the kind of insight I need.

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