Friday, July 18, 2008

Lesson 11: Getting close

Plane: Champ
Instructor: Dave
Route: 40I, Local
Weather: Clear with haze, 88 degrees, wind 230 degrees at 5 knots

Another lesson spent in the pattern and another lesson full of improvements in my flying. Today we made six circuits around Stewart Airfield and I had the controls the whole time, aside from an occasional input or two from Dave. Continuing on my pattern of "firsts" from the last few lessons, I'll mark today as the first time I didn't have a single bad takeoff or landing. At least two landings were perfect three-pointers that caused Dave to yell many encouraging and excited things from the back seat. My last landing was awesome, transitioning from a light forward slip into a great flare to bleed off the last little bit of airspeed, touching down with the stick full back ever so softly on the grass. I'll stop patting myself on the back now, but it was the perfect way to end the lesson.

Instead of going through each trip around the pattern individually (since I don't remember one from the other, to be honest with you) I'll just mention a few good points that came out of today's time in the sky. First, since I have often been coming in high and the Champ loves to float Dave suggested I reduce power to almost idle (instead of 1500 RPM) when starting my descent. This helped me maintain a better glide path and not come in too high. Second, I really walked away with a better feeling of how important airspeed is on final. The difference between 55 mph and 65 mph can be rolling an extra 1,000 feet down the runway. Watch your speed and keep it slow - but not too slow - on final! Third, I was using the rudder much better to keep the nose moving properly through my turns. I think this was a factor in keeping the entire approach stabilized, which led to the smooth landings. And on a more random note, the Champ sure climbs like an F-14 in full burner on a hot, humid summer day.

Last but not least, the best news of the day - Dave said that if I'm taking off and landing this good next time, he might have to get on out of the plane and send me back up. That's right, solo time is getting near - yikes!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 0.9 hours
Total Time: 13.1 hours

1 comment:

  1. Yay for Solos! I just had mine July 4. What a thrill!