Thursday, September 04, 1997

Lesson #2 - Not So Hot

This was NOT the greatest flight. Switching airplanes again was part of it, as was waiting 10 days between flights (the first lesson with Jason was just 2 days after I did 2 flights in LA). Also I think that 4 p.m. is not my "peak" time – I was at work at 0730 since I was leaving early, I was tired and tense. Excuses, excuses – I just didn't feel like I knew how to do anything, basically. My turns were sloppy, I didn't scan the instruments, I didn't know where I was, and I still couldn't find the damn airport. But on the "get back on the horse" theory, I scheduled another lesson for tomorrow at 0830, so I don't go to Germany Saturday on a sour note (I hope! I tried to do another lesson last Tuesday but it was too windy with limited visibility). Other points:

· C150 is a wee bit snug for two big guys (Jason is 215, I'm about 205 these days), but it's OK – flimsy little doors on that puppy. Cute l'il airplane, though.

· Starter was on the fritz – Jason finally hand-propped it from behind ("Hold those brakes like you never held them before" – Jason called tonight, tomorrow's lesson is cancelled while they replace the starter, rescheduled to Saturday 1130 just before I go to Germany!)

· Airspeed and altitude control were lousy – flopping all over the place. The C150 doesn't weigh much even with our 400+ lbs on board, and updrafts can really throw off your stability.

· Instrument fixation! (no black disks today)

· Too tense on the controls – overcontrolling, jerky: use pressure and smooth movements!

· Steep turns: sloppy, slippy! More back pressure! Need windshield reference point!

· Stalls: Get this damn procedure down! Control pitch after recovery! Don't push the nose down for recovery, just relax back pressure (I lost 150 feet on one stall)

· Coordination drill: Dutch rolls, crossed controls (bank left but use right rudder to keep the nose on Providence, then reverse turn, holding bank-side rudder briefly before transition to cross-controlling) – fun, but sloppy (surprise!)

· We were short on time since I was so thick on the stalls and steep turns, so at 1725, Jason said, "semi-aerobatic maneuver," and did a cool, really steep descending turn back toward 1B6, almost a wing-over (nope, that's a steep CLIMBING turn, this was more a nose-low slice).

· I do like those plus and minus G forces, slight as they are in this "bug smasher" (as the air force types call these little Cessnas and Pipers – hey, we can't all be fighter pilots, except on our PC's).

· Another minor distraction was my camera – I took it along and shot a few pictures near the airport to try to ID the landmarks (big powerplant southeast of the runway is the landmark for turning to base when 36 is the active, and this powerplant should be easy to spot, though I still don't see the airport until Jason has us in the downwind, ½ mile west of it)

· With all of this, I don't think I've hit any sort of "wall," and it IS pretty damn cool that I'm actually flying an airplane up there at 3000 feet (give or take a few hundred!)

Time: Dual 1.0 hrs, TT 4.1 hrs (C150 at 1B6)

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