Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Flight 12

Flight 12 wasn't much to write home about. It was my first flight back after being away from reality for the past 2 weeks as I stayed with my daughter in the hospital, and it had been 3 weeks since I was last in the cockpit. 

I am still recovering from the physical and mental fatigue of the hospital stay, but am able to fully function for the most part, so after a quick self-assessment and a last-minute check of the weather, I made the go-call for flying and headed to the airport. I just needed to get up in the air and get focused on something else for a while. 

AWOS reported wind was calm, but the sock was pointed West, so we taxied to Runway 09. Just as I finished my runup checklist, call came over unicom from a Citation inbound on 5 mile left base for 27. We'd be in his way on the taxiway, so per my instructor, I turned around and taxied us down to 27. 

Watching the Citation come in on final was very, very cool. As it proceeded down the runway, I realized it was actually one of my company's planes, so what little frustration I felt for getting preempted by his landing was overshadowed just by getting to see it land. 

Despite storms to the west (the remnants of the system that soaked Arizona, I believe), the air was absolutely the calmest I've experienced so far during a lesson. 

Slow flight went great, instructor said it was spot-on. Power-off stalls were good. Then we worked on power-on stalls. I'd done these before with great success, but for some reason I just could not get them. My instructor kept pushing me, which he later said he did intentionally as he wanted me to feel a little pressure. After 5 unsuccessful attempts by me at recoveries from these, we headed back to practice a few landings. 

Already frustrated from my lack of success with the power-on stalls, I did what I know is the least-safe thing you can do in that situation in an airplane. I let it dominate my thinking, discourage me, and keep me from flying the airplane the way I know I can. 

2 rough touch-and-gos, one of which was very 'bouncy,' and one full-stop landing later, we taxied back, shut down, and talked about the flight before putting the plane away. 

He could tell I was pretty down on myself, kept telling me it wasn't a bad flight. Assured me that every pilot has been where I am, and reminded me that I've only got 14 hours in. Also told me later as we fully debriefed that even though I felt it was a rough flight, he could tell I was getting something out of it, even if I couldn't tell it myself. 

Even texted me this morning to reinforce his encouragement. Glad to have his support, and looking forward to next week's lesson. One item on next week's menu: Falling leaf stalls. 

Current tally:
Hours - ASEL: 14.4
Landings: 45
Touch-and-Go Landings: 33

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