Thursday, October 30, 2008

Solo Practice 12: Best. Ground Reference Maneuvers. Ever.

Plane: Cessna 150
Route: 40I-MGY-40I
Weather: Clear, 53 degrees, wind 190 degrees at 4 knots

I'm still trying to figure out what day I will be taking my checkride, so I went up to try and nail down my maneuvers tonight. As you can read in the title of today's post, my ground reference maneuvers all felt pretty kick-ass. Not to get too boastful or anything, but you can see from the GPS track that I flew an awesome circle around a water tower (turns around a point) and the S-Turns looked very consistent as well. I'd put these in the ready-for-the-checkride pile and probably won't practice them much more as I prep for the ride with the examiner.

Now those are some turns around a point if I do say so myself

Steep turns weren't perfect when I was up with Dave last weekend so I did a couple sets of them over top of Caesar Creek Lake. I didn't hold my altitude perfectly but they felt coordinated and generally smooth. I still could do a better job maintaining my bank angle so a little bit more practice is in order here. There was a plane that looked to be 1,000 feet below me doing aerobatics when I was working on the steep turns too, so I was somewhat occupied with watching out to avoid any close surprises.

It was another gorgeous fall day over Caesar Creek Lake

On to my nemisis as of late, landings of every shape and form. Inbound to Wright Brothers another plane was on crosswind so I did a 360 for spacing and then he announced he was doing a 360 and would follow me in. That got me a little off kilter and I (this is something I should not have done) decided to speed and steepen up my approach in for a normal landing. He just extended his downwind so the proper thing to do would have been for me to fly a standard patern and not worry about putzing around in the slow 150 in front of him. All that aside, it was a relatively smooth landing aside from being slightly too flat in my flare when I touched down. I took off again (great short field takeoff) and came back in for a decent soft field landing - still need more practice there too. Finally, I departed with an equally great soft field takeoff and headed back to Stewart as the sun was nearly below the horizon. Landing into a setting sun is never fun and it makes the trees harder to spot, so I came in a little high but set it down for a soft landing.

Overall, things feel really good right now. I can probably use another 1-2 hours in the air to finesse my landings and practice stalls but I definitely feel that I am ready to pass my checkride. Exciting times, folks!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 1.2 hours
Solo/PIC Time: 21.5 hours
Total Time: 66.8 hours


  1. Wow, those are some nice maneuvers! I'm still trying to remember to turn on my GPS at the appropriate time...

  2. I've started turning it on as soon as I get in the plane. Every time I've told myself I'd hit power during my pre-takeoff checks, I end up remembering about 20 minutes into the flight. So I definitely know where you're comin from there...