Friday, November 7, 2014

N162HG 1.3 Solo

Solo closed pattern after a bit of a flying hiatus due to work and family stress.

5 landings in a busy pattern with very little wind and almost no crosswind.

Approaches were passable, and I'm slowly approaching something similar to a flare on landing.

Was asked to do a right 360 on left downwind 31 at some point. Did mostly okay, though I ended up closer to the runway than when I started -- unlikely this was due to crosswind; more likely poor consistency of bank angle and/or speed on my part.

Since pattern was busy and I had to keep scanning for following traffic, got distracted from my target altitude a couple times. I leveled off okay but then failed to trim properly for level flight and/or maintain altitude. To-do next time: be conscious of that.

Controller kept giving sequences without describing following traffic ("2HG number two for the option"). At some point I was following a Citabria on right downwind 31, and was told I was #2. I looked at the runway and there was someone on short final, so I assumed that the Citabria was departing and the short final aircraft was my #1. I then turned base, only to have tower tell me that I was cutting off my traffic -- the Citabria which had just turned final far away. He asked me to continue across and join left downwind.

Nobody ever departs from the 31 right downwind. My brain just trusted the controller. That discrepancy should have made me think and ask for clarification.

Bob said controllers often do this when an aircraft is on very short final, so I need to be alert for this in the future.

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