Sunday, February 23, 2014

N6334M 1.5 Bob

Right Dumbarton to Sunol and touch and goes at KLVK. Return during twilight to land at KPAO.

Plane didn't have enough gas; was low on oil; dipstick cap hard to get off. Sort of an eventful preflight, but eventually we strapped in and got going.

Generally good with takeoff KPAO Rwy 31 getting to Sunol; no problem with level flight and leveling out. Getting better at speed and altitude control.

I called into KLVK and got back a very slowly, clearly stated reply (they must have sensed I am a student). But still, there was a lot of information there and it took me a while to visualize it. Basically saying enter direct right base runway 7R, except I sort of didn't know what to expect and was trying to make sense of what I had just been told. Anyway, Bob directed me to fly towards the ponds till we saw a runway then turn towards it and attempt to land.

We did many landings. There was one go-around because I really didn't want to land since I was too high and too far down the runway. Otherwise, we managed to make it onto the ground and back off again in one piece. Overall, it feels like I just [barely?] survive my landings. If this is the typical student experience, I guess I'm finding out why N6334M is so bent out of shape that it doesn't quite fly straight....

At some point, we did a full stop landing at KLVK and I was gingerly going towards the hold short lines and Bob was like, cross the lines. I was like, so then what? He was like, just cross the lines. I needed to know, do we turn right or left? Well Bob wanted me to cross the lines, then stop! I was like, ok, so next time please tell me to cross then stop so I don't have to worry about what I'm going to do next.

My main issues with landings are:

1. Judging, as we get closer and closer, whether I'm too high or low. It seems that I am late to realize where I'm at (I most usually come in too low), at which point I throw in a whole bunch of power, but then things go haywire and it's hard to maintain stability.

2. Lining up with the runway centerline. I end up spending a lot of effort wrangling the 'plane left and right to get on the centerline, which of course throws everything off. I'm also at that point not even sure whether or not I'm coordinated since I'm just slapping things left and right. Not good.

3. Keeping my speed consistent. It may be that I'm not paying enough attention to my deck angle. I usually maintain speed by looking at my ASI at this point.

Bob taught me that, in the flare, you use aileron to move side to side along the runway, and rudder to line up in the direction of the runway.

During a few of the takeoffs, I was hesitant to pull and at some point actually ended up sinking back to the runway and bouncing off into the air....

Overall a good lesson and I would like to think I got just a tiny little bit better.

I was getting a bit anxious with Bob calling out my moves all the time: turn crosswind, turn downwind, turn base, .... I guess I have this idea that I "should" be doing all these things myself. But really, I should just relax and let him help me! I have my hands full and I have nothing to prove to anyone.

I think I know what the issue is. Basically, after about 4.5 decades of thinking and dreaming of aviation and learning all I can about it, I sort of expect of myself to be a "natural" flyer, and feel like I'm being boneheaded if I take a "normal" amount of time to learn something. That is (a) not fun; (b) not realistic; but also (c) not really all that safe moving forward. It's an ego thing that I could do without.