Wednesday, October 25, 2006

Review by night...

Wow !! What a day. Today was my review flight. All day long the wind was gusting really strong. I couldn't get much time at work today to check the weather in detail, so I headed out in the evening anyway to the airport. On my way to the airport I got a call from the instructor saying that it was pretty gusty and if I had not started, then perhaps we should postpone, but then it was a bit too late. So I went there anyway :)

Turns out, by the time I reached the airport, the winds had calmed down a bit, so we decided to go on with the review of whatever has been done till now. So off I headed to do the preflight. It was getting dark outside and my flashlight turned out to be handy. It's also started to get a little chilly outside, oh well... time for some warmer clothes. As per the ATIS winds were 330@8, not as strong as during the day 330@12 gustin to 22kts.

With the engines running and plan of action decided, it was taxi time. Seems like I am getting pretty comfortable with taxiing. Very few mistakes while taxiing.

As soon as we took off, the winds started showing their strength. It was quite difficult to keep it climbing at Vy and heading straight at the same time. Today my instructor showed me how to transition through another airspace, alebit another class D airspace. Then we did some VOR tracking again my first. Well actually I've been playing flight sim for over an year now and since its well suited for IFR, I've done a lot of virtual flying with VFR tracking. In real life, the needle seems to be a little bit more sensitive, but otherwise it was pretty easy. Due to the strong headwind, it seemed like forever for us to reach the VOR station. IAS was 95 kts and we had headwind of 34-35 kts.

After doing some simulated IFR, we climbed up to 3500 ft and reviewed slow flight, stalls, etc. I did a fairly good job at it I guess. I was glad that even in strong winds I was able to maintain my altitude, attitude and heading fairly well.

Time just flew by and it was time to head back. Its tough findng your way back at night, so my instructor showed me some neat tricks and signs to locate my whereabouts :) Approach was pretty normal, windy but normal.

The final approach was different today. Given that there was no traffic around the airport, tower asked us to report 2 mi out at left base for rwy 4. While approaching the turn to final I realized that the runways don't show up unless you're almost in line with them. So concerned I made a really steep turn on final and was soon warned by my instructor never to do it again. Point well taken :)

Landing was a bit whizzy with winds trying to blow us one way and me trying to get the airplane the other. But ultimately touch down was ok and I did land on the runway .. :)

So all in all it was a great night of flying and with 31.2 hours under my belt I am another step closer to soloing.

Till then, blue skies

Sunday, October 22, 2006

Landings Continued....

A month !! That's how long its been since my last flight. Probably a bit more. Riding on the bus on my way to the flight school, I was thinking about this and was sure that I would have forgotten a lot of stuff and would be all over the place. So I tried going over all the procedures involved in landing over in my head. For some reason there was an awful lot of traffic on the way and as a result the bus got delayed, but I got my time to go over the procedures.

Once at the airport it was time to preflight. As we approach winter the days are getting shorter and the clouds in the sky didn't help the situation much. As I walked towards the Cessna, a cool breeze was setting in. Approaching the aircraft memories passed by and I remembered the procedures I needed to follow. This gave me some comfort. I had promised myself to keep my cool and was glad it was helping me out. While doing the preflight I didn't have to refer to the printed checklist a lot. I was occassionally cross checking to let the good habit settle in, but I remembered it all at the back of my head. With the preflight done and engine started, it was time to taxi. So far so good.

I started taxiing trying to keep the aircraft centered on the yellow line. Must say I surpassed my expecatations. I guess the calm winds also helped out. Did the engine run up and as we got our clearance to take off, the tower adviced us that there was another cessna turning final. So it was time to get things going fast. The take off roll was smooth and lift off was at about 65 knots.

I wasn't as aggresive on the rudders and that's definitely an area I need to work on. But otherwise things went pretty smooth and had a nice approach. On landing I flared at the right time and had a decent landing, but for some reason I started applying forward pressure on the elevator rather than aft. Bad bad, never do it !!!

Touch and go and up we go. All in all we had 15 landings today which included touch and gos, go arounds, forward slip to land and short approaches. Forward slips are the most fun. When my instructor demonstrated it to me, I was like "what the....???". The aircraft just plummets down. Next time around, it was my time to perform it. Not bad for first time. I do need to get a hang of keeping the plane on the extended centerline. A little less aileron and the plane starts drifting off.

But all in all, it was a great flying experience today. So much to learn and oh so fun :) Even my instructor was surprised that I had not flown for a month and still didn't forget a lot. The next time around we'll go an review all that we have done till now and hopefully soon he'll be comfortable with me soloing. So let's keep fingers crossed. :)

Next flight is wed night. So till then blue skies.

Dual flight time: 1.3 hrs