Saturday, June 6, 2015

N162HG 2.1 Bob

KPAO to practice area near KLVK, did some air work (steep turns, slow flight with and without flaps), then proceeded to C83 (Byron) for closed pattern. Brief rectangular ground reference work in the vicinity of C83, then returned to KPAO under the hood while attempting unusual attitude recovery and demonstrating spatial disorientation with eyes closed. Took off the hood just before KPAO pattern entry and landed.

Steep turns were okay; got better when I paid attention to keeping my bank angle accurate throughout the turn, and using my "feel" for the correct amount of g force expected.

Slow flight was also okay; I am a bit slow to add flaps on entry, and slow to remove them on recovery, but within tolerances.

Do not forget: In the checkride, clearing turns on every maneuver. That cannot be emphasized enough!

Diversion to C83 was successful but I need to be more aware of pilotage landmarks -- specifically, Byron is right beside a huge lake, so notice that, look for said lake, and go there.

While entering the C83 pattern, I remembered oh, I should set my heading bug to runway heading. This made me come in a bit too close since I was futzing with my instruments. It is indeed useful to have the heading bug -- just add it to my approach checklist and be done with it early, so I can concentrate on the pattern when I'm in it.

Time in C83 pattern was stressful due to parachute jumper activity (call sign "Elevator"), lots of people coming in and out, and pilots using the CTAF frequency as a CB radio channel to chat with one another about their boats or whatever. I needed to be reminded to call out my pattern legs -- too much time at controlled airports where I don't have to! My patterns were all excessively close-in, which is a consistent problem for me. In the future, I think I will need to practice actually flying a crosswind and noticing landmarks around the airport for flying the pattern.

Today I learned that parachute drop zones are not always at airports. So the C83 drop zone icon on the sectional chart is right where it is relative to the two airport runways. The "Elevator" aircraft kept saying, "Jumpers away! Please do not overfly the airport!" -- that was confusing to me as I was still in the pattern and so presumably overflying said airport. Well it turns out the drop zone is sort of North-West of the two runways, and that's what they wanted us not to overfly. That stuff happens not to be detailed in the A/FD, so ... well ... consider it local knowledge gained.

There was basically no wind, so the rectangular pattern practice was sort of an exercise in nothing. :) The thing I noticed was that I had trouble visualizing where my entry was supposed to be given the prevailing wind. My goal now is to make some simple cardstock cheat sheets for my ground reference maneuvers, which I can hold up and re-orient as needed relative to the terrain to remind me where I need to be.

Returning under the hood, I had a tendency to fishtail around the magenta line -- generally because I did not have an integrated scan to maintain heading and course. Holding altitude and general course was not a problem.

Bob briefed me on unusual attitude recovery:
  • From a dive: (1) throttle idle; (2) level wings; (3) pull up.
  • From a zoom: (1) throttle full; (2) push down; (3) level wings.
He then demonstrated a nose-down unusual attitude and I was able to recover fine.

I then asked to try closing my eyes and demonstrating spatial disorientation. I ended up holding altitude quite well just by "feel" on the stick, but ended up in a 25-ish degree consistent left bank without knowing.

In the process, we also learned a bit more about the Garmin G300, including the ability to hit "Direct" and have it give you a direct course to your next flight plan waypoint.

The air was bumpy, and when landing at KPAO, I came in just a little bit slow and bumped down a little after the flare, but the landing was safe.

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