Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Solo takeoff and landing practice

Plane: Cub, 85 hp
Route: 40I, Local
Weather: Partly cloudy, 81 degrees, wind 170 degrees at 6 knots

As I looked at my logbook when entering tonight's flight I realized that it had been over six months since I last flew solo. While I love taking people flying, I think I was a bit overdue for some old-school practice sans passengers! After my flight with Gina on Sunday I had decided I needed to knock out a series of takeoffs and landings and that's what I set out to do.

Lots of time in the pattern with a short diversion for steep turns and stalls

The wind was relatively calm but picked up at times for a right crosswind of around six or eight knots. It's always good to practice forward slips with the right wing low since that's a slightly more unusual configuration and the crosswind made it a necessity today. I made the first four landings normally and felt a general improvement each time. The next couple I intentionally maintained pattern altitude until the base-to-final turn and then used a massive forward slip to quickly drop down and land just past the threshold.

With the wind pointing down the runway for many of the takeoffs I was able to achieve some remarkably short ground rolls. When I tried for a short/soft field takeoff (holding the brakes while going to full throttle) I was off the ground in the distance between one set of cones marking the runway - about 200 feet. Even on 'normal' takeoffs I doubt it ever took more than 400 feet to get airborne. Nothing like 85 hp with one person aboard in an airplane that weighs under 800 lbs empty!

My final three approaches were made power-off to simulate an engine out. I really enjoy landing the Cub this way since you can have some fun with forward slips in managing airspeed and descent rate while turning back to the runway. For my final landing I went for a power-off 180 accuracy approach and pulled the power when I was abeam the hump in the runway - about 500 feet past the threshold. I put the airplane into a turning left forward slip and had about a 30 degree bank angle in the slip until roughly 20 feet off the ground when I leveled off and touched just past my aiming point.

One great thing about the grass at Stewart is that you can turn off the runway practically anywhere. In just 1.1 hours on the Hobbs I managed nine takeoffs and landings along with leaving the pattern for ten or fifteen minutes to practice steep turns and stalls. Being a simple day of flying I'll keep this post simple as well - it was a great day to go up solo and work on the basics!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File
Today's Flight: 1.1 hours
Total Time: 150.3 hours

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