Tuesday, July 27, 1999

Steep Turns, Distracted Landings (#12 to #14)

I didn't take any notes on this (I'm writing this on 8/3/99 and I have another lesson tonight) -- it was an abbreviated lesson where we spent most of the time practicing 360° turns at bank angles up to 45° -- working on keeping the nose in the right position on the horizon with proper back pressure. Then I did one landing that I barely remember -- I was really distracted by issues having to do with the house addition we're trying to do. I felt pretty frustrated. The 45° turns were fun -- 1.4G so you feel something, but at first I was shy about applying sufficient back pressure to pull us through the turn, so the nose was dropping (and Kern told me to keep back pressure and proper rudder input so we don't get into a "Kennedy death spiral," a reference to the recent crash that killed JFK Jr and his wife and sister-in-law as he tried to land at Martha's Vineyard on a hazy night, flying his recently acquired Piper Saratoga - he regretted this little joke, but graveyard humor is a strong aviation tradition!).

Tonight we'll try some ground reference maneuvers -- I only really did those on one flight with Bjorn, back in March 1998 I think. Plus a landing or two. I really need to focus on holding the proper nose position in my climbing turns (don't let it drop!) and in my descent for landing (70 kt glide, nose DOWN, and down even more with full flaps). ALSO -- make those turns 90° to the runway! I have a hard time judging this for some reason. THINGS TO REMEMBER

• Watch for traffic in and around the pattern!
• RIGHT RUDDER only (mostly) on takeoff, and ease it off as speed builds up and control authority improves!
• TRIM for hands-off, power-off 70 kt glide for approach, and don't EVER let the nose get up near or ESPECIALLY above the horizon (too fast is better than too slow)
• Keep the nose UP in climbing turn out of takeoff heading
• REFERENCE points for 90° turns!
• Watch out the front for nose position -- GLANCE left and back for turn control

I KNOW I can do better on this stuff -- it's not that hard!

Editor's Note: This was just about the end of the 1999 "phase 2" -- I was in a new relationship and moving and house buying issues (after the house addition plan fell through) were too distracting and too expensive to allow me to continue flight lessons that year. There was an additional lesson with Kern on 8/3/99 (1.1 hours, traffic pattern and landings at Norfolk), plus a single lesson 8/29/99 at Sterling (3B3) with Jim Davitt (fundamentals, stalls, landing, pretty ragged). Total time at end of 1999 was actually 17.1 hours according to my log book.

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