Sunday, June 7, 2015

N162HG 1.7 Solo

My goal today was (a) to practice some checkride maneuvers solo; and (b) to try to relax and feel proficient in flying, hoping that this carries through into my checkride.

The winds were beyond my solo limits so I waited around the club until about 1800h local when they finally died down, then took on 3/4 tanks and went out. I departed towards VPSUN uneventfully.

My first thing was to descend to 1400' MSL (1000' AGL) and do ground reference maneuvers. There was a significant wind (10-14kt, if I recall correctly). I picked a field that Bob and I had used previously and did more or less okay with the rectangular pattern and turns around a point. I started out a bit too close to the downwind line with the rectangular pattern, but corrected later. I tried to do S-turns but there was not really a good road and anyway I was sort of right at the edge of my 25nm solo radius, so I didn't do much of that.

I climbed back to 3500' MSL, circling to look for traffic. Interestingly, there was traffic passing by -- an aircraft going through the Altamont Pass towards Sunol -- so I'm glad I looked.

I then tried steep turns. All were within PTS altitude maintenance near as I could tell. I don't know how well I kept my bank angle, since I was not glued to the artificial horizon. All involved zooms and dives that had to be corrected; I think this is my weakest maneuver at the moment, even though, frustratingly, if I go back in this very selfsame blog I can find instances months ago where I did them just fine even without looking at instruments. The difference is that, back then, I was doing them near Half Moon Bay where I had a good horizon through most of the turn.

One of the things I've been doing differently in my steep turns is trying to make them coordinated; I didn't bother with that previously. It so turns out that I need consistent inside rudder to do so. As a result, I also need to pull harder than I used to, and I feel more of the g forces in my butt rather than partly in my side. All in all, it's a cleaner maneuver, I think, but I need to get used to it. Anyway -- I think I'm making PTS at this point and I can just hope for good luck when I do it in the checkride.

On a whim, I tried doing left/right bank coordination exercises (commonly but incorrectly referred to as "Dutch rolls"). I got sick to my stomach after just a few of these, but I could tell that I was "out of phase" in my rudder input. I don't know how I can practice these if my stomach won't let me. That all said, for routine everyday turns, I seem to do adequately in coordinating rudder and aileron -- I at least make the effort -- so I should probably just focus on watching the nose carefully during turns in all my future flying and keeping things coordinated that way.

I did slow flight without flaps. Altitude loss/gain was within PTS. For some reason, without the weight of a CFI in the right seat, it was harder to get to stall -- I think I'm accustomed to the speed with CFI on board, and I freak out about reducing further, so my stall horn was sort of warbling between its low and high pitch states rather than solidly in its high pitch. 180 degree turns left and right were uneventful, and I recovered fine. I don't know if I'd pay to watch me in an airshow, but this is not a problem maneuver.

I then did slow flight with flaps, with similar results.

I did a departure stall at 2000 rpm and recovery was uneventful.

A landing configuration stall with flaps in a left bank was also uneventful. I did not note how much altitude I lost, but I was able to recover pretty quickly without secondary stalls. I think part of that may actually be that I tend to "recover" at the first hint of a stall, so in a future flight with Bob I'll have to do at least one stall where I really muscle it in all the way.

I then returned to KPAO and did a normal landing on Rwy 31 with very little to no crosswind. I flared properly for once (!) and was able to turn off at the first taxiway without trouble.

No comments:

Post a Comment