Thursday, March 12, 2015

N162HG 1.5 Solo

When I took the plane, I saw it had 1.7 hours to its 100-hour inspection. A Web search revealed FAR 91.409 which said I could overfly the inspection period by up to 10 hours providing I was on my way to some place to get it inspected. No problem then. I was unlikely to go for 1.7 hours, but I just wanted to make sure.

I did one normal takeoff, one short-field landing, and a whole lot of ground reference maneuvers over Leslie Salt.

In the beginning, for some reason, I was not doing very well. Altitude was off, and I was fighting the plane in a series of zooms and dives all over the place. I started out not being within the +/- 100' the PTS requires in my maneuvers. To complicate things, the wind was not quite in line with either "leg" of my chosen ground pattern, so I sort of had to crab on every leg. On the other hand, it was a stiff 11 knots, which made the drift very clear and easy to see.

Later, for some reason, I started to relax, and stopped fighting the plane. I looked forwards. My altitude stabilized. I was doing fairly well by the end.

I think I have the "theory" down, and I can narrate myself through it pretty well. If someone (say, oh, a DPE in a checkride...) wants to determine whether I understand how to correct for this, I think they will be satisfied that I know how to do that, and that I have some discernment of the effects of the wind.

However, if that selfsame person is looking for gimlet-precise dimensions in my patterns, they will be disappointed.

Hopefully, I can do some flying with Bob soon and see if I'm good enough for PTS standards.

For my short landing, I think I did a decent job of maintaining 50 kias on the approach. I cut to idle over the fence. As I rounded out, I felt like I was a bit low, so I added a tiny bit of power to drag myself in, then let it out and plopped just beyond my landing point. My plop was firm -- I've had softer ones, but I would not say it was terrible.

Once again, I'm rather frustrated to say that I forgot to dump flaps and hit the brakes. I really need to work on this habit. Perhaps in a dedicated closed-pattern practice session soon.

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