Monday, March 30, 2015

N162HG 1.8 Dave Pre-checkride phase check

Today I actually did the flight portion of the pre-checkride phase check with Dave.

Dave asked me to prepare an XC to Chico. I thought he was being very sneaky, since it is barely tempting but not advisable or safe to try to sneak to Chico on the half tanks that the W&B would allow. :) Turns out no, he just picked Chico. Well in any case, it was a challenge precisely because I had to decide to split the trip in two. I planned for a stop at Yolo County. I entered flight plans and got briefings using my account at

The actual Wx was okay for our trip except that KPAO was 15G26KT, blowing down the runway but way out of my solo limitations. I noted that to Dave and we agreed that, in a real checkride, that would be grounds to scrub. He made sure I knew why (in the checkride, the examiner is there as a passenger, not as an instructor, so I need to be within my own solo limitations). Then we agreed to go do the flight together anyway.

My plan was KPAO VPSUN KDWA. I took off and scooted off towards VPSUN, then turned, and in the process got to my target altitude of 4500'. Then Dave asked me to plan a diversion to Hayward.

I circled and plotted our course to Hayward. Dave said my numbers were good, then said ok, let's go do some air work.

We practiced slow flight, stalls, steep turns and a practice emergency approach. Then Dave asked me to go to Livermore.

I puttered around the San Antonio reservoir while I got the ATIS and called in.

We landed at Livermore then taxied back and did several takeoffs and landings.

We were sort of burning through our gas, so Dave said let's go back to KPAO. I asked for a left crosswind departure, found the Sunol golf course, then made for the KGO towers.

Dave gave me a choice of a no-flap landing or power-off short approach for our last landing of the day. I chose the short approach. He cut power on downwind. I tried to learn my lesson from previous such attempts and did a fairly wide turn towards the runway, because the Flycatcher sort of glides and glides. A slip and flaps later, I landed.

Afterwards, Dave made sure I knew about spins and spin recovery.

The following is the debrief of how things went:

Diversion. "Good job"

Approach to Livermore. I fumbled around a bit looking for the airport, but eventually all was good.

Steep turns.  I was very worried about these, but they turned out more or less okay. I guess I was mis-reading the bank indicator on the PFD and doing my turns at 50 degrees -- Dave pointed that out, then said if I'm doing okay at 50 degrees, I'll probably do okay at 45 degrees. :)

Slow flight. Good but lost altitude during the recovery -- remember it ain't over till it's over!

Power on stall. Remember to establish takeoff speed first, then climb, then enter stall.

Emergency landing. Forgot to squawk 7700.

Incorrect taxi. (Fail) I taxied off the runway and onto the parallel taxiway at Livermore. We do this at Palo Alto because the runway exits are very short, but in general, you taxi off till you clear the runway, then wait till told to go any further.

Parallel runway incursion. (Fail) I kept flying excessively tight patterns to Rwy 25L at Livermore and kept encroaching on 25R. On one pattern, I actually lined up for 25R by mistake. Things went better when I learned to fly a larger pattern, but I still need to pay attention to drift on upwind.

Soft field landings. (Fail) I kept flaring too high and so slammed my nosewheel down on my short field landing attempt.

Approach to KPAO. I absent mindedly kept my altitude at 2500' all the way to the KGO towers while inbound. Had my route been different, I could have busted the SFO Class B. Dave noted he reminds his students to be at 2000' over Lake Elizabeth in Fremont so there is no question of getting busy at the last minute.

Power off to landing / short approach. "Good job"

Suggested next steps:

1. Work on soft field landings.

2. Potentially, become more familiar with more area airports?

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