Saturday, November 21, 2015

Doing Some More Work

I've been ill the last couple weeks, so I'm going to include two flights in one quick post.  On 10/20 I went up with my CFI to knock out the .7 hours of hood work, starting with another instrument takeoff.  While in the air we also worked on stalls and slow flight - the first time I had worked on either in a year I believe.  I also got in 2 more night landings, and I exceeded the requirement for simulated instrument, getting an additional 1.1 hours in under the hood.

On 11/3 I got to the field as early as possible, around 16:45 local, and went up to do some solo work, practicing S-turns, rectangular courses and turns around a point.  The weekend prior was the end of daylight savings time, which meant the sun was setting an hour earlier.  I didn't have much sunlight left at all once I got in the air. I quickly climbed out and made for the practice area to find a tree, a road, and then later a field to fly around.

I had a good amount of wind, which forced me to remember the correct points at which to shallow and steepen my turns.  Rectangular courses came easily.  My S-turns really need work though.  I know it had been over a year since I'd practiced them, and it showed.  I didn't spend too much time on them though.  I was running out of daylight and had to get some rectangular course practice in.  I found a field and did 2 laps around in each direction.  I started to do a third to the right, but looked ad the sun just a few degrees above the horizon, the length of the shadows and the houses that in some cases were already completely covered with shadow, and decided to head back to the field.

I made it back just in time, but for safety I went ahead and activated the runway lights.  Not my best landing, but then again at this point that's probably going to be the case for most of them until I get some practice in again.

All in all, I logged another 0.9 solo time, leaving just 1.9 hours of solo flight to complete all of my flight requirements before my checkride.  The plan after this lesson was to do a quick solo cross-country to KCUL on Monday 11/9 to finish that up, followed by 1 or 2 flights with my CFI to polish up maneuvers and precision landings.

Details on that flight, which didn't happen on 11/9, in the next post

Two Victor Uniform, clear of Two-Seven.

Wednesday, November 4, 2015

Workin' on the Night Moves...

10/13/2015     This was a pretty laid-back, no-pressure flight for the most part.  I met my CFI at the airport around 19:30 local.  An hour later than I normally start, I was feeling tired from a hard day at work & couldn't wait to get in the air and engage my flying brain, letting the stress of the day fade into the distance.

I had 2 goals for this flight - fulfill the night cross-country requirement (100nm total distance), and complete the remaining number of night landings required.  CUL was our destination, with plans to get in a few landings there before heading back to HNB.

The flight was fairly calm & straightforward.  I picked up flight following from EVV & transitioned the Charlie airspace en route to our destination.  About 15 miles out of CUL I spotted the beacon & called it out to my CFI, just to let him know I had the field.  About 10 miles out EVV approach released me to the CTAF and VFR squawk.  I thanked them for their services, then tuned to 122.8 and called my position.

I entered the pattern and began working to convince my brain that even though it was night, and I had no visible peripheral references, this was still the same plane, so I needed to fly it exactly the same.  My brain unfortunately didn't agree.  Over the course of the next 20 minutes or so, I struggled through 5 landings with something that hasn't been a problem until now - airspeed.  I struggled to have enough of it on final.  On the last landing he suggested I only use 20 degrees of flaps.  This helped a bit, and the last approach and landing at CUL was much better.

We started back home, and I called EVV approach again, picked up flight following & proceeded back through the Class C.  Back in the pattern at HNB, I again started having this internal conversation with my brain, and determined to make this last landing the best one.  It wasn't bad by any means, but it could have been better, so we did another one.  The last approach and landing was the best one I've done at night, and the perfect landing to end the night.

After this flight, only .7 simulated instrument time and 2.8 solo time stand between me and scheduling my checkride (and a flight or two to polish up maneuvers).  If all goes to plan I'll have my PPL in my hand by the end of the year.

Two Victor Uniform, clear of Two-Seven.