Saturday, December 20, 2014

N162HG 1.4 Solo

Closed pattern at KPAO with almost no wind and not much traffic, 9 takeoffs and landings. Practicing short takeoffs and landings.


One challenge, which I usually have no problem with, is the transition from letoff, taking my toes off the brakes, then getting my feet positioned quickly on the floor to apply rudder correction using the bottom of the pedals. On my first takeoff, I flubbed that a little and ended up veering left, and took off from the middle of the left side of the runway. On my other takeoffs, I maintained centerline okay.

I am getting better at actually holding my climb speed at ~ 50 kias. I usually pay attention to the nose and ASI, but today I also tried to notice where I hit 200' (which is when I pulled up flaps and accelerated to Vy). I'm no expert, but that seems like pretty awesome climb performance from the little Flycatcher:


These were all safe, but eventful.

The challenge was to choose the proper place at which to start my full-flaps idle descent so I arrived at the right landing spot. I usually came in with too much energy, and would be at risk of floating past my landing spot, and so I'd slip to burn energy, but that would leave me going too fast and overall in a kerfuffle and not in a stabilized position for landing.

One landing was very long, and I ended up barely passing the second taxiway and had to speed back up again to go quickly to the end of the runway and turn off (trying to be courteous to others). On one landing, I bounced my nosewheel gently. It's the first time I think I've experienced this phenomenon in a "pure" form that I could discern. It was very rubber-bandey, almost like the airplane was on a long bungee bouncing up and down on the runway, and there wasn't much I could do about it. I only had a couple bounces; they were gentle; I did not overcontrol; and they damped right out. But it was interesting.

It's hard to characterize what exactly I learned today. I didn't get better or worse, but I certainly got the feel of "floating" in at 50 kias and maintaining speed (speed control was pretty good, actually). For my next practice, I'm going to set up a stable approach and learn to flare properly, and observe where I end up landing. Then I can use that to calibrate my next approaches. I think I'd learn more systematically that way.


Maneuvering and leveling out continues to improve as I get better at holding the airplane in position using nose attitude, and delaying trim until I have time to mess with it.

In the past, I think I've been "afraid" of flying the plane using firm forward pressure for any length of time, feeling like it was going to sort of "pop up" on me. I also did not trust myself to hold consistent firm pressure, and expected that I would gradually release as my arms got tired. Both of these made me trim too early. Now I am learning to look out the window, put the nose where I want it to be, and keep it there, which closes the loop and compensates for all that stuff. This makes me less likely to start trimming too early.

I was within PTS (+/- 100') in all patterns except one, where I ballooned up a bit but "corrected immediately". Still not confident and smooth enough to convince a passenger, but getting there.

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