Saturday, March 7, 2015

N162HG 1.3 Solo

My intention this morning was to go out to the practice area South of Half Moon Bay and practice all my non-emergency PTS air work (departure and arrival stalls, slow flight, and steep turns). However, KHAF was reporting a 500 foot ceiling so I assumed most of the coast would be fogged in and decided to go elsewhere instead.

I planned a teeny tiny "cross country" starting at KGO, going to the Sunol golf course, the Del Valle dam, to the Calaveras Reservoir, back to Sunol, then back to KGO. The idea was to get more experience in quick use of charts and pilotage.

I had trouble "leaning to max" per the POH -- max rpm always seemed to be at full rich -- so I just leaned a little bit and hoped for the best. I noticed the TAS display on my G300, which showed me that, at 100 kias, I have been blazing through my XCs so far! The trip involved lots of cruise climbs and descents to avoid the hills below and the Class B above. Overall, I think I did fine, but I kept using only the HSI for my heading and failed to practice the "good habit" of setting the heading, picking a landmark, then looking out the window.

On my return, I arrived at KGO at 2000', which is rather poor planning. I cut to idle and descended rather quickly to TPA of 800' while making clearing S-turns. I am not sure actually whether that was a "good habit" thing to do. I suspect it would have been better to circle while descending, and even better to plan ahead in the first place.

I then did three landings at KPAO, with one go-around because I was too high. I tried to do short landings on all of them, and in all cases did more or less okay. The last one was pretty close to perfect, coming down with a firm but gentle bump within the PTS target area.

I have been losing the "good habit" of looking forwards at the horizon while landing, and glancing down at the landing area and my IAS. I need to remind myself to do that. I think the short landing practice has taught me to fixate on my aiming point at the expense of looking at the horizon and using visual means to maintain my pitch.

On the go-around, I failed to re-trim to takeoff trim as I climbed, so I ended up climbing at higher than Vy.

On my short landings, I failed to ditch flaps and apply brakes.

I think my use of checklists during my "cross country" was okay but could be better. Another "good habit" I need to cultivate.

For the checkride, I will need to remember to do nothing at all while the aircraft is moving during taxi -- not retrim, not open the door because it's hot outside and I'm cooking, nothing, nada.

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