Wednesday, April 1, 2015

N162HG 0.9 Solo

Went out this morning specifically to practice soft-field technique. Early in my training, I had been consistently scraping my tailskid on the soft field takeoffs, so Bob advised me to not practice these solo. As a result, I got lots of experience with short field technique, but not soft field. This was a chance to remedy that.

The wind was nonexistent at the start becoming about 5 knots straight down Rwy 31, but it was very bumpy aloft. After a three-egg breakfast, my stomach was not pleased, but I was okay.

I did 5 takeoffs and landings:
  1. Shaky takeoff where for some reason I applied too much right rudder. Ok landing.
  2. Good takeoff, good landing.
  3. Good takeoff, slight tail scrape on landing (!!) due to excessive up elevator during rollout.
  4. Another shaky takeoff, pitch control in ground effect not as good as I would have liked to see, ok landing.
  5. Good takeoff, smooth landing (finally!).
At this point I was bingo fuel so I terminated.

In general, I think my takeoffs are okay -- they can be improved but I think, based on previous CFI feedback, that they would be a pass on the test.

All my landings involved a soft nosewheel touchdown even though some were harder on the mains than I would have liked to see. I would expect the tail scrape to be a fail, but it was a fluke and I don't think it will happen again.

I discovered what my problem is with these landings, especially given that I'm so accustomed to the short-field technique:
  1. I set up for an approach happily.
  2. Over the fence, I cut power. And I do mean cut. I yank on that knob like I was hookin' some darned old fish!
  3. Knowing that it's not yet time to flare, I adjust to maintain airspeed.
  4. My descent becomes way steeper, since energy is conserved, because physics.
  5. I see the ground rushing up at me and think, "Holy buckets o' buttermilk Grandma! We're about to crash!"
  6. Thusly ground-shy, I start my flare too early.
  7. I apply the "ratchet technique" to correct for my mistake, holding the stick where it is and waiting, then pulling more.
  8. Due to the dynamics of the situation, as well as my overall lack of energy, I end up coming down too hard on the mains.
I think I have developed a sophisticated technique for mitigating this problem:
  1. #srsly, dude, don't do that?
On my last landing, I kept a small amount of power in and flew the plane on a shallow glide path, almost to the ground, and it really helped.


  1. "Holy buckets o' buttermilk Grandma!"? Is that a common expression where you grew up?

    Seriously, what you described is a common scenario.

    1. Glad to see that I am making literally *every* n00b mistake in the book! :)