Sunday, September 7, 2008

Solo Practice 5: Back to the basics

Plane: Champ
Route: 40I, Local
Weather: Mostly cloudy, 74 degrees, wind 270 degrees at 8 knots

So much for the forecast of clear skies today. It ended up being quite cloudy, bumpy, and cool. Not that it kept me out of the air, so no harm done in the grand scheme of things. I decided to do a little sightseeing again in addition to working on most of my basic flight maneuvers. As has become somewhat of my norm for solo flying, I took off and stayed in the pattern to practice a landing before venturing off. The air was somewhat bumpy and was rising quite thoroughly on downwind and base, so the Champ just didn't want to descend even with the throttle at idle. I ended up going into a monster forward slip on final and bringing her down for a total greaser of a landing. Not a bad way to start off the day.

My first trip around the pattern this afternoon

I took back off and headed off to the North past Waynesville and followed Bellbrook Road (which I drive on my way to the airport) up to Bellbrook. There was another plane close by so you can see in the GPS track that I sort of turned around up there a couple times and flew back to the South while I waited for him to clear the area. Then I started in on some S-Turns, going back up Bellbrook Road. They all felt great in the air and the track appears to agree with me. I feel quite confident that I am doing them to Practical Test Standards, maintaining airspeed and altitude very well.

S-Turns (middle) and Turns Around A Point (top left)

After that, I did Turns Around A Point by circling around two different water towers. These felt a little off as I tend to get a little too close to the "point" (i.e. the water towers) on the upwind side of the circle. However, when you look at the GPS track it looks like I'm doing a pretty good job flying an even circle so maybe I'm over-analyzing up in the air. I finished up the day by doing a few Dutch Rolls, eight Steep Turns, and a few more takeoffs and landings. There was still lots of extra lift so I extended my downwind and was able to fly a more stabilized approach. In my opinion, I still have to work on my Turns Around A Point and also at maintaining altitude a little better during my Steep Turns. Just about everything feels very solid up there, but I can always find some room for improvement.

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 1.4 hours
Solo/PIC Time: 6.7 hours
Total Time: 32.5 hours

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