Saturday, August 5, 2017

Currency, Part 2: Cub time is the best time

Plane: Cub, 65 hp 
Route: 40I, Local 
Weather: Scattered clouds 76 degrees, wind 270 degrees at 8 knots

After running myself through the ringer with takeoffs and landings in the 172, I opted for a bit more fun in the venerable Cub. With time to spare there was no reason to skip some fun in the air. She'd flown earlier so, after pulling the plane out of the hangar and completing my preflight, it only took one pull of the blade to hand-prop the old Continental to life.

I first headed off over the lake for a little practice. My steep turns were better than when I did them with Jamie last month; I think I even caught my wake once. Then I slowed down, pulled on the carb heat, and did a bit of slow flight to see how slow I could move across the ground. It's been too long since I did any stalls solo, so I brought the throttle to idle, pointed the nose higher, and held back on the stick as the nose broke earthward. I was actually a bit surprised how well the stalls went after such a long break; I must've been well-coordinated as the nose didn't roll at all.

You don't need much more than this to have a good time

Feeling comfortably current in my stick and rudder skills, it was time to put them to use attacking everyone's favorite sanitary substrate (old yet requisite disclaimer here). I climbed up to 5,500 feet, slowed down, tossed the roll out the door, and set up to begin my series of passes. At first, I was quite effective and cut the white streamer with ease. Then I somehow completely lost track of it; it took 45-60 seconds and a series of wide turns before I finally spotted it again. I pulled the throttle to idle, pointed the nose down, and clipped it again as my airspeed built up. With the target acquired, I made a couple more passes and caught the shortening streamer once more before I had to call it off due to altitude.

By this point, I'd been flying for about 30 minutes and I wanted to get in some takeoffs and landings before my time with the plane was up. It took roughly 10 minutes to get back into the pattern at Stewart. My plan, as usual, was to make three laps around the pattern to extend my tailwheel currency.

I made five laps.

My first, second, and fifth landings were great. However, I had to add power on the third after I flared too high. The next time around I pulled the stick back a touch too far in the flare and the tailwheel hit the ground before the mains. Neither landing was terrible but I really hate ending a practice flight on a bad note, so I kept going and nailed it on the fifth.

So, for the first time in essentially a year, I'm decently competent at flying both the Cub and the Skyhawk again. One can of course always practice and improve but I think I've removed most of the rust acquired over the past twelve months. Now I've just got to get the little one up for her first airplane ride!

Flight Track: Google Earth KMZ File 
Today's Flight: 1.2 hours
Total Time: 377.6 hours

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