Sunday, August 24, 1997

First Official Lesson (Hopedale)

This was also a good flight, and my first official (non-demo) lesson with Jason. Jason is not exactly Mr. Congeniality – he seemed a bit irritable at first, but I guess he's never one to be too chatty. It's a job, right? In flight is where it counts, of course, and he's very patient and appropriately educational. Today we again focused on the four fundamentals, and I think my over-controlling was a little better (different airplane too, C172 – I wanted to try the C150 but it was out later than expected, and I didn't want to wait again – it's a critical path when they only have one of the aircraft you are learning in, but it's a small, convenient flight school, so c'est la vie – C172 seemed HUGE after flying the 152). I have a couple of new problems (well, let's say more obvious): instrument fixation, and getting flustered on new stuff.

· Preflight seemed to take me a long time – Jason watched and helped when asked, but it was my job to run the checklist (I need to write out and memorize the pre-flight checklists so I can go more smoothly through them). Taxi was still awkward, but less so than before (need smaller inputs on the rudders). Weather looked suspicious but was fine except for a very dramatic looking rainstorm over Worcester (visibility must have been 15+ miles)

· Takeoff was runway 18, to the south, with a right turn (west) departure. I did OK on takeoff except I rotated a bit late (I need to write down and memorize the V-speeds for the C172 and C152, or better yet, get the POH for both). I wish all the planes had either knots or mph and not un peu de tout.

· Problem one: instrument fixation. After a couple of turns, Jason zapped this by plastering black rubber suction-cup disks over all but the tach! No airspeed, attitude, altimeter, or turn and slip! This forces you to look outside the airplane for your flight cues, which is a great idea. I think sims have made me an instrument junky (but everybody probably does this to some degree).

· Steep turns, 45 degree bank, 360 degree turns -- cool

· Stalls - procedure - got flustered, problem two ("don't go bonkers on me now") – stalled once in a turn – Jason thought I was nervous on the stalls (I don't think so, but maybe my switch from light touch to death grip on the yoke says more than I know!). I have to start memorizing some stuff – procedures, RPM's, V-speeds, etc.

· Fluster example: letting nose go down a lot in a turn after stall recovery, then adding lots of power and yanking back on the yoke – nice G-force, but bad form!

· MCA – mushing along indeed – swing the yoke all over for nil effect – cool.

· Altitude control in turns, often good, but inconsistent (inconsistency is probably my problem 3, but it takes practice – I'm only a 3 hour student pilot – Jason even gained 100' in his "blind" 360 degree demonstration turn)

· Fly back home (no joy on 1B6! see satellite pic above, needle in a haystack!) – 120 mph on downwind seemed fast, but Jason said no – 65 mph landing speed (seems fast in a Taurus but slow in an airplane you are riding onto the ground – maybe this is why I like knots, a different unit for the airplane)

· Landing – Jason's plane, but really following through on controls, and talking it down – "Flare-flare-flare-flare-flare-flare-flare-flare-flare!"

· The bottom line: $92.25 (I didn't get a receipt, oddly enough – paid cash)

· Next: more turns, MCA, stalls, starting pattern work, rectangular course (ground reference) – scheduled for September 4 before Germany trip.

Time: Dual 1.0 hrs, TT 3.1 hrs (C172 at 1B6)

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