Wednesday, December 31, 2014

N162HG 1.8 Solo

I did 1.8 and 12 landings today, all but (if I recall correctly) two were on Rwy 13 and the remainder were on Rwy 31. Weather was clear and calm (winds about 4 knots variable) but bumpy, especially with the sun shining brightly over the dark-colored marshes on 13 final approach.

Takeoffs were all pretty good. I'm learning more and more how to control my speed on short takeoffs, and I was off the runway like a bat out of hell. I look forward to seeing how the Flycatcher performs with a few hundred pounds of plump CFI in the right seat. :)

I did okay landings for the most part, with no ridiculously high flares. At some point I landed a bit askew (nothing more than what my CFI and I have practiced before -- still safe) but it reminded me that it's been a while since I've flown with any winds.

The bumpiness and unfamiliarity of the 13 climbout made it a bit harder to level out in the pattern. I was up to 900'-ish at some point. Another time, I got distracted looking for traffic and minding to Tower's constant caterwauling, and ended up diving to 650' just after turning downwind but before getting trimmed out. This is of course something that has happened before; it happens way less often now but I'm not out of the woods yet.

More to the point of what I was trying to do today, precision short-field landings were pretty much not happening. On almost every approach -- even on ones where I had to slip to burn energy -- I had the numbers in my windshield not moving, and came over the fence at very close to my target 50 kias. And I made a safe landing. But where I ended up touching down was anybody's guess. I don't think I really understand yet how to get this right.

I'm accustomed to flaring and patiently waiting for energy to bleed off. The resulting float down the runway, while "short" if I come in at a low enough speed, is nevertheless not precise enough to ensure a repeatable touchdown point.

I ended up having a longer flight than usual mainly because I kept trying and trying to get things right. I was not too fatigued since it was a cool day and I felt relaxed.

I think I really need some dual instruction to get this worked out!

During preflight, I noticed the Pitot tube looked a little bit askance and askew. On the order of 5° from where I am used to seeing it, but nevertheless not quite right. I debated whether to make a Big Deal™of this. Then I realized that the Maintenance Person was just a few yards away in the hangar, and the only thing over which I have 100% control in aviation is whether the NTSB report qualifies me for a Darwin award. So I went and got the dude and asked him if it was airworthy. He replied, "I'm not sure if the whole airplane is airworthy; I never fly anything I'm bigger than." But he sent me off with his blessing.

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