Sunday, July 02, 2000

Rust Never Sleeps (Lesson #18)

Even after flying around the world in economy class, I was ready to once again take the even more cramped left seat of a C152. The 2+ week layoff really hurt me, as did the 2+ hours hanging around the FBO for the flight (1:00 scheduled, but shit happens as usual -- but by the time I flew I was feeling time pressure because I had to pick up J & C and take them places). Not Mario's fault, but it gets annoying sometimes. ANYWAY, it was clear and warm, about 85 F, and with full fuel tanks and close to 400 lbs of adults on board, the C152 was a bit sluggish. We could barely get 400 FPM out of it. Runway was 29, winds 270 at 5 or so. Crosswind picked up as we got back for landings.

Preflight was fine, got ATIS (which expired while I was fumbling through the checklist, Charlie went to Delta) but I made the radio call to ground early, before I had completed the pre-taxi checklist. READ AND FOLLOW CHECKLISTS. That should be so easy, but I get sloppy, in a rush to get going. Bad plan! My radio calls were good, overall. Taxi this time with wind-awareness -- left quartering tail wind -- REVIEW YOKE POSITION FOR TAXI WITH WINDS. Takeoff was pretty good, I tracked the 290 degree departure heading pretty well and trimmed for my 67 knot climb (later slowed to Vx around 60 kts to try to get better climb rate). Straight out departure to the vicinity of Spencer, and I knew where to expect Spencer Airport when Mario asked me, good checkpoint awareness. Bit of turbulance around 3000 feet.

First up (my request) was slow flight, and I was sloppy. Started by NOT doing a real clearing turn. Slowed to approach speed and configuration and did some shallow turns. So-so on these -- poor altitude, heading, and rudder control. We did these for maybe 15 minutes before heading back to ORH for some pattern work, two T&G's and a full-stop. These were VERY sloppy. Pattern was OK, I'm really OK up until the key position, but there I always start to let my speed drift, and I'm not well-trimmed for the speeds I need (75 downwind, 70 base, 65 final). My turns were VERY sloppy and I overshot the turn to final each time, partly due to the wind.

Crosswind was also a pain on final -- trying to slip, bank into wind and straighten ground track with rudder, but VERY sloppy on this. I guess I really don't "get it" as far as real action on the crosswind. Flare was high each time, and I bounced and drifted laterally, with Mario needing to take the airplane on one landing, the others saved by me (adding power at M's prompting). Mario said I did fine, but it didn't feel so great. But tonight I have another lesson at 7 and we will stay in the pattern and I will get this landing thing figured out!

Time: 1.1 hrs, TT 21.3 hrs, C152 at ORH

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