After a spell of bad days of almost 2 weeks (part of it I was out sick and part of it just plain bad weather), I finally was back up in the open blue skies !! Despite a cold front forecasted to move in the area, the weather was pretty good.
When I reached the airport, my instructor was still up in the air, so I checked out the plane and started my preflight. Surprisingly I finished up the preflight quite fast today (getting used to it I guess). So I belted up and waited for my instructor to arrive. After a few minutes, with the instructor on board, I was doing before start checklist and getting the plane ready to go.
Today I think was a good day. I was more active on the controls and did a better job at taxi (there's a long way on the road to perfection, but I think I am progressing ahead). After a quick engine run up we were cleared for position and hold. Caldwell utilizes intersecting rwys for takeoff and departures when there is traffic, so we waited for an aircraft on final for rwy 22. Once it landed, we were cleared for takeoff rwy 27.
27 departure requires that we climb no more than 800 ft for 2 mi. So, I kept the plane at 800 after takeoff till square lake and then we climbed out northwest of the field. Once into the practice area, we practiced a lot of slow flight manuvers. Bringing the plane almost at stall speed and then doing the manuvers is an interesting thing. You've got to be really active on those controls (which already are quite slushy in response).
I did a better job today and I think part of it had to do with the fact that I had gone over the procedures several times in my head by now. The things I need to keep a watch out for are esp. maintaining the altitude more stricltly and keeping an eye on that ball. After an hour and a half of our practice we turned back towards the airport.
I must say I have no sense of where we were, but I guess I need to learn to fly the plane first and then develop on my positional awareness skills. While heading back though, my instructor asked me to identify several landmarks getting me accustomed to the aiport area and the landmarks around it. I guess I'll refer back to my terminal chart and get the picture clearer in my head.
We got sequenced on the right downwind and were number 2 for arrival. Interestingly there was an aircraft circling just northeast of the field and the tower were trying to ident it. I am not sure if the guy was lost or was just careless.
So with some slow flight training under my belt today, my instructor asked me to set us up for arrival. Pretty similar procedures. For some reason I kept adding power on final fearing that we may go too low. I need to remember that these Cessna's can glide just fine.
Once on the ground, the journey back to the parking ramp was quite uneventful. All in all I was impressed with my radio work and the progress I had made despite the long spell of inactivity. As I write this I am listening to liveatc.net archives, trying to get to my radio comm. so that I can keep it as a souvenier. Next flight is friday. Hope the weather clears up real nice for then. Don't want to end up with another ground school :)
Dual FT: 1.4 hours