Thursday, December 19, 2013

N94565 1.4 Alice

N94565 1982 Cessna 152 II at Sundance Flying Club at KPAO (where I anticipate doing all my training).

I am trying to take lessons maybe every 1 or 2 weeks while I bide my time waiting for my Special Issuance Class 3 Medical. Given my current situation, under even the most ideal circumstances, I would be surprised if my Medical were issued before April Fools' Day 2014.

Left Dumbarton to coast, return via Woodside, 2 touch and goes and one landing.

Difficult to maintain attitude, speed, etc. Alice[*] spends a lot of "talk" time discussing various details (how to maintain heading via landmarks, VOR navigation, etc.) which sometimes makes it hard to focus on the fundamentals. I have not yet decided whether this is a good thing, in that I'm just given everything all at once and learn faster, or a detriment to learning for me.

Was able to make at least 1 turn without too much altitude change; I was able to do that when I cleared my head.

Problems maintaining coordination. Alice taught me to look for drift of the nose (if your wings are level and you are not coordinated, your heading will be changing -- duh, after all this reading about airplanes and it never occurred to me!). Hard to see with the nose so high, but I need to learn to look for this.

Landings were not as bad as I feared; the main thing I'm going to have to learn is how not to over-control and the fact that control inputs have "momentum" -- if I'm going towards some setpoint (like the glideslope or a speed or whatever), if I keep doing the same thing, I'll blow through it. I am using the VASI to set my glideslope, and Alice is reinforcing this, but somehow I feel like I should be using ... um ... feel?

I'm having trouble coordinating with the rudder -- I end up using too much while starting the turn. Alice says lead with a little bit of rudder, then use the ailerons. Need to practice this (maybe also do the coordination exercises that I did with another instructor a while ago?).

Another thing may be that we started flying around 11am, by the time everything was good and taken care of, and I was probably already hungry and thirsty. I need to make sure I'm in tip-top shape.

For the future, I'm going to need to work on things one at a time. Alice seems to agree with me and gave me some reading homework for the next flight and plans for more "exercises".

Another thing is that Alice says I should fly "by the numbers": Set certain criteria (e.g. power, trimmed speed, etc.) and get predictable performance. I wonder if this is a personal preference thing. A lot of flight instruction literature keeps talking about developing "feel" for how things happen, then the instructors always spend a whole bunch of time talking about numbers: Set 1700 rpm, climb at 60 kias, maintain heading 110, etc. I guess I would have expected less numbers and more -- well -- feel?

Alice emphasized checklists -- the idea being that it's probably easy to remember to do things in a C152, but as one goes to more complex aircraft, it's going to be more important. I get that. I just don't have an easily accessible physical format for the checklists, and space in the cockpit is already cramped enough. Alice mentioned these but I wonder if there's something better that can be more easily flipped. Maybe the width of each page would be just 1/2 the width of my kneeboard, and I could flip them across without having pages hanging around.

* - I will use pseudonyms for my flight instructors. Alice is the first one I had serious instruction with, today. I'll assign subsequent ones names of Bob, Carol, ... as needed.

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