Friday, April 25, 2014

N162HG 1.3 Dave

(This flight was actually yesterday.)

Because my medical might end up being a pain in the neck, I've decided to go for a Sport Pilot license in the interim. I chose Advantage Aviation at KPAO, and I'll be flying their C162 Skycatcher. I booked a flight with an experienced C162 CFI to try it out.

Generally a lovely little 'plane. Nice and new inside compared to the old C152 I was flying earlier. Ergonomics are pretty good and visibility is stupendous.

Ground handling was difficult since I'm not used to the differential braking / free castering nosewheel, but I got better at it as time went on. The key is to stay on the throttle.

The rudder has a very strong return spring. That's a bit counter-intuitive and is really my only complaint with the aircraft.

It's hard to get used to the digital instruments -- I need to get accustomed to seeing numbers and imagining overall ranges.

We went out over SLAC and did some air work, then returned for 5 landings. I tried some Dutch roll coordination exercises till I got sick to my stomach! :)

The plane is hard to trim in pitch -- partly due to the rather touchy electric trim.

In general, I think I did okay with the landings. Still tending to raise my nose when I'm not paying attention, and it's hard to maintain speed control on final with that trim and those digital numbers!

Friday, April 18, 2014

N94565 1.5 Carol

Trying a new instructor while Bob is on vacation.

Carol did not help with as much things -- drove me in the car to the aircraft, let me out to preflight, got in for the flight, then got out and got into the car, waited for me to secure the aircraft, and drove me back to the club. So I got the full experience of airplane preparation, pushing the plane back onto the blasted rubber pad that the right main gear has to sit on, and all that.

Carol is much more laid-back about procedures. Pre-landing checklist: you already have everything figured out; just apply carb heat. Carol also let me do my touch and goes myself: Flaps up, carb heat off, throttle full, and go. Not even a re-trimming, which surprised me, but then that was never an issue since I'm not really all that much out of trim when I land, and I watch my speed as I climb.

I called in "Student pilot" and did practically all my radio work. The pattern was pretty quiet. That helped quite a bit. A few times we took off expecting right pattern and were directed to turn left crosswind, which was interesting because the left pattern altitude is 200' higher (Carol quietly reminded me...).

We did -- oh -- 15 landings? After a few, Carol said, I'm just going to let you do the next circuit without saying a word. That was great!! I was able to "anticipate" things and be much calmer and feel much more in control. There was not a lot of critique of my landings so much as just general encouragement and pointing out the things I did wrong in the flare. The last landing, Carol said, "that was awesome!"

Carol is a rudder person. Use rudder with ailerons. Keep them linked in your mind!

Cross-wind takeoff: Ailerons full into the wind, then let out as you pick up speed, then when you take off, you slide a little and then you can level off and you'll be correctly crabbed. Also, look behind me at the runway to see how I'm lined up with the centerline.

One time, on short final, I let my speed drop way down! The stall horn squeaked and Carol said, "More power please!!" Very scary and I'm not going to ever let that happen again!

Tried to focus more on the sight picture and less on the ASI ... I need to practice that more and more still.

What I learned today: Basically to relax, and that I do well when I'm allowed to make my own mistakes (so long as they are not deadly).

Carol said I am "excited and conscientious" about flying!