Sunday, January 26, 2014

N94565 1.3 Bob

Closed pattern work at KPAO. 6 landings, 5 touch and go (instructor assisted with flaps and carb heat for the touch and go). It was very busy so we kept getting extended upwinds and downwinds, and there was a lot of radio chatter.

This was my first time working the radio, and it went pretty well. For next time, remember to read back abbreviated instructions, except where given a clearance (will have the word "cleared") or runway identifiers (will be two digits preceded by the word "runway"). :)

Slow down while taxi-ing; maintain centerline. When landing, slow down to walking pace and then and only then start turning off the runway.

Takeoffs mostly okay; a bit wobbly on the rudder for centerline and when dealing with torque, P factor, etc. Reasonable speed control on climbout.

I need to get better at leveling off accurately (at 800' pattern altitude at KPAO) and setting my power and trim to maintain level flight. I'm doing sort of okay but I end up anywhere from 700-900' very easily.

Towards the end, I started to get the hang of maintaining altitude with power: Stay sharp on the elevator and keep the nose down!

I need to stop under-controlling with power.

I consistently under-estimate the steepness of the approach required for my type of aircraft.

I started one flare too high; others were okay. Need to remember to maintain back elevator pressure after touchdown.

All in all, this is the first time I started to feel comfortable with my "wings" -- feeling like the airplane is my own and that I was really in control.

Saturday, January 4, 2014

N6334M 1.2 Bob

N6344M is another C152 at Sundance Flying Club.

New instructor "Bob" -- more experienced than "Alice", but generally just trying out a different teaching style. Bob does not spend as much time on exact numbers and numerical details of procedures, and is more of a stick-and-rudder teacher. We had extensive discussions over email about landing speeds; how to control glideslope and why; the different recommended techniques (e.g. Stick and Rudder recommends power-off landings; Bob noted we land with power mainly to flatten the approach).

Took off from KPAO, left Dumbarton departure, air work over the coast, did two touch and goes at KHAF, returned by flying to the Crystal Springs reservoir then staying West of Hwy 280 until SLAC, then flying into KPAO, making the usual left pattern with a very extended downwind due to traffic, and landed.

At some point, during stall recovery, I was pulling a couple of g's (probably) and I remember I sort of looked at the instruments and was not able to tell what was going on; I just felt the g's in my stomach. This situation -- having a kinesthetic feeling but not being able to link it to any cues or deliberate action -- is probably what gets people disoriented.

Things I need to work on --
  1. Stop being "power-shy": Use FULL power when appropriate. Especially important for stall recovery, takeoffs, go-arounds.
  2. Develop the habit of controlling slightly then WAITING for the effect. E.g. when adjusting attitude on climbout -- no need to push super hard if slightly below speed.
  3. When no need for power adjustment, LEAVE IT ALONE. I have a tendency to keep my hand on the throttle and creep it back slowly (part of my "power shyness").
  4. Always remember carb heat on/off as appropriate with power changes.
  5. Taxi accuracy needs work. Work to maintain centerline. Turn at low speeds.
  6. Always look straight ahead if possible. Find a point to turn towards off your wing, then look ahead and turn towards it. Always think in terms of, "What do I want to see directly in front of me?"
  7. Do not over-control in stall recoveries. (And again, use FULL power!)
  8. Need to start doing my own radio work.
  9. At some point, I stopped paying attention to attitude and got in a bank near the ground. Partly due to trying to look over my shoulder for the airport. Not good. (See above re looking ahead.)
  10. Checklist use still needs work. Bob emphasizes "flow" over lists, which is cool, but also for some reason my checklist (which I got from Sporty's here) did not make sense in some places -- I should have gone over it before the flight.
  11. Learn to judge bank angles. Once I'm banked, I get a windowful of ground and am like, dude, I'm very banked! But I get the same windowful of ground, more or less, at a whole range of bank angles. Need to either look at the angle of the deck or compare the two wingtips.
Things I did right --
  1. Bob said I did more or less okay in level flight, climbs and descents (and leveling off from those), and level turns.
  2. He said I am more or less okay to work on takeoffs and landings then solo.