Wednesday, March 4, 2015

N162HG 1.8 Solo

I arrived and got checked out by a club CFI. I took on 3/4 tanks. I noticed my charts were about to expire, so in a panic, I went to the dinky PAO airport shop. (I was told to get a subscription, but failed to follow up.) Annoyingly, the store was closed early, as it often is. Then I realized my charts were valid up to 0901Z on March 5th, which gave me, like, 8 whole hours of validity to spare. Saved.

My first task was to do air work over the Western shoreline South of Half Moon Bay. My intention was to also practice pilotage and diversions using paper charts. I set my MFD page to the engine instruments and left it there for the entire flight.

I took off with a left Dumbarton departure, and plotted a course for OSI. I proceeded to fly very short "cross country legs" between places like Pescadero Point, the Half Moon Bay golf course, etc., practicing the use of a measuring stick I made to determine heading and estimated time, and using the stopwatch built into my transponder. I developed a good rhythm, and was making my waypoints pretty accurately.

I then tried maneuvers, reminding myself to do a 90 degree left-right dogleg clearing turn frequently. I still had questions about how often we are required to do these -- every maneuver? Before beginning a "session" of maneuvering? I probably did mine every couple of "maneuvers". Later, Bob said do them every single maneuver. Wilco!

At 3500' for safety, I tried slow flight, first without flaps, then with flaps. Without flaps was really hard to keep stable. I think I wandered below 3400' the first time, but more or less stayed in that range on my second try. I was able to keep a heading fairly well, by setting my heading bug before doing the maneuver.

I then tried steep turns and was able to stay within PTS with the help of my VSI and altimeter, though they involved more variation than I would have liked -- there were a couple of zooms and dives where I would have preferred to see a smooth maneuver from start to finish.

I then overflew OSI and asked PAO to transition to Leslie Salt for maneuvering. I was asked to cross at or above 1500', so I flew at 2000'. I then told them I was going to remain this frequency while maneuvering.

Winds were 8-9 knots a bit diagonally to the salt flat roads, but I tried to make the best of it. I did a few rectangular patterns and turns around a point. I think I have the technique down, more or less, but I am not completely sure of my accuracy.

It was getting late, so I asked PAO to make inbound for landing and was told to make right traffic. I flew a sort of rounded path that brought me into the correct point on downwind. I made a short landing where I was able to bring the plane down, with a noticeable but not uncomfortable bump, within the PTS 200' beyond the intended point.

This was a long flight by time standards, but given that much of it was spent in XC practice or tootling around from one place to the other, it felt pretty restful.

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