Saturday, October 25, 2008

Lesson 32: Running through everything pre-checkride

Plane: Cessna 150
Instructor: Dave
Route: 40I-MGY-40I
Weather: Broken clouds, 53 degrees, wind 230 degrees at 8 knots gusting to 15

More general practice today, as I've been a lazy ass in getting scheduled to take my written exam. I know I can pass the damn thing and Dave signed me off for it like two months ago. I've just been putting it off because I'm a perfectionist and wanted to read every book I bought on aeronautical knowledge. Now it's the only barrier between me and scheduling the checkride so I've gotta get myself in gear. Hopefully I'll be able to go take care of it on Monday.

We went up and ran through a bunch of things like I did with Joe last weekend. Steep turns, slow flight, power on and off stalls, unusual attitudes, hood work, and every type of takeoff and landing. My power on stalls did not go nearly as smooth as last time and I ended up doing three or four until they felt good. Steep turns went very good and I held my altitude at 3,500 the whole time - I just need to keep the bank angle at 45 degrees, as I tend to let it become shallower. The door randomly popped open when Dave was throwing the plane around during unusual attitudes, but it just means you feel some wind and it gets a little more noisy. I recovered the plane and then shut the door, easy enough.

Landings are still the bane of my existence, and it's frustrating to be able to grease in the Champ and feel like I'm getting worse with the 150. I smacked it in pretty good a couple times at Wright Brothers. The winds were strong and gusty but that's not an excuse, just something I should have handled better. Dave said I should add a few more knots to my approach speed as I'm getting a little too slow on final. Nothing new here, just more for me to go up and smooth out solo before the checkride. My mind's kind of been all over the place this week, so that probably didn't help matters either. Wish me no more procrastination on taking the written!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 1.8 hours
Solo/PIC Time: 20.3 hours
Total Time: 65.6 hours


  1. Good luck on the written test and good luck on the upcoming checkride.

    I don't think power on stalls will ever feel good to me. It's just unnatural to do that with the plane. I understand why we learn them, but I think one would have to be the biggest dumb a$$ in the world to stall a plane like that. I could see stalling while turning onto final but not a power on stall. I know some fool has done it, but it's just hard to imagine.


  2. Leaving a second comment, I feel like some sort of web stalker.

    I opened the kmz file of your flight. I like the grass field you're flying out of. Plenty of room. I looked into training out of a small grass field (48X) but decided not to. For one thing, it was kind of tight. It was wet the day I took a ride with the instructor there, and the soft surface had my legs worn out taxiing back to the hanger. The funny thing is that the CFI had a Cherokee 180 and a Champ he used for instruction.

    I might go back for a tailwheel endorsement when I'm done with my PPL. The Champ looked like a lot of fun to fly.

  3. It does seem like it would be hard to happen, but I have a feeling some of that is due to how they appear in practice. By that I mean we usually apply full power and pitch WAY up to quickly slow and get to the stall. But I can see it happening on climbout where you are a little too steep and your airspeed slowly bleeds off and, if you're not paying attention, you end up stalling. But in general, I agree that the power off on final is a much more likely scenario.

    The grass field is a lot of fun, plus it makes you appreciate smooth pavement more! I'd highly recommend the taildragger endorsement as well. Flying something so basic as a Champ you really do get a better idea of "seat of the pants" flying. Unlike a docile Cessna you can actually experience some serious adverse yaw when you turn and just in general feel the aircraft a lot better. I enjoy the 150 for all its useful XC abilities but the Champ is still way more fun for pure flying.

  4. A suggestion for your written, don't over study for the exam. The Gleim book contains the exact questions and answers for the test, so you don't need to study beyond. Of course, you want to understand everything, but for me, that approach just turned out to be an excuse not to take the test. Get the test out of the way quickly, then spend the rest of your life learning everything.

  5. "Wish me no more procrastination on taking the written!"

    I would if I could but coming from me and my procrastination on the IR written.....well you know the rest.

    Get it done, I'm sure you know the info, it's just that test taking thing we all hate to do.

    Good Luck!!

  6. Thanks again for the encouragement everyone - it went very well tonight.

    And I'm definitely of the life-long learning mentality so I know you'll never stop my quest for knowledge. I've got about 10 unread aviation books on my shelves just waiting for me after I knock out the checkride. Should make for some good winter reading!