Tuesday, November 29, 2005

Lesson #4 Turns

Well, the weather finally cooperated and I was able to get away from work for a few hours this afternoon to do the lesson that I missed this past weekend.

As always we started with a prebrief to go over what we'd be covering today. With the prebrief out of the way I went out to the hanger and started the preflight, everything looked good. Dave showed up and we pushed "Fern" outside. (Foxtrot Foxtrot Romeo November, Fern for short). I completed the preflight, fired her up and confirmed with Dave what we were doing, training areas and altitudes, etc. I then went quickly over what I was going to say to the tower, Dave said that it sounded good and I made the call. I taxied alpha, charlie and then backtracked on runway 21, did a 180 and then called tower again to inform them that we were "rolling on 21".

Full throttle, some right rudder, weaved a bit, rotated at 60 mph and then did a nice climb-out at 80 mph, my third takeoff was complete. I managed to keep us straight with the centerline of the runway after takeoff by using the sun, which was at my 45, and by maintaining 210 on my heading indicator. I had drifted to the left quite a bit during my first takeoff, alot less the during my last takeoff, and none this time. Once we hit circuit height (1,200 ft) I began a slow right climbing turn to the northwest and called tower to keep them informed.

It was a beautiful day, 8c with a few clouds at 11,000 ft and a little haze, visibility had to be nearly thirty miles or so because I could just make out the Confederation Bridge off to the west.
I've attached a pic to give you an idea of some of the landmarks that we can use here in PEI on clear days. Hard to miss a 9 mile, 16 story bridge even if it is still 25+ miles away... now where the heck is that airport again...

We arrived at our training area and Dave started the lesson off with some gentle turns, (15 degrees of bank) then had me give it a try, no problems. Next we did some medium turns, (30 degrees of bank) both left and right, ending the turn at a fixed geographic landmark. I did the same and I was pretty accurate at ending the turn where I wanted.

Next he had me do some gentle banked turns and then asked me to turn them into a medium turns ending the turn at a fixed heading on the heading indicator. I was pretty good at this as well, but I did finish a couple of turns with about 5 degrees off. I also lost a little altitude as well, but kept within a hundred feet. I swear the altimeter is possessed and it's out to get me.

The turn rule states that you should start levelling out from your turn before you get to your desired heading. If your in a turn with 20 degrees of bank, you should start levelling your wings 10 degrees prior to your desired heading. I'm starting to get a feel for the aircraft and how much back pressure I need to apply to keep us from losing altitude, practically none for a gentle turns and a just little for a medium bank turn.

Dave seemed pretty happy so we moved on to climbing and descending turns. I did some climbing turn at 15 degrees, then trimmed the aircraft. Next I did some descending turns at 15 and 30 degrees of bank, again trimming the aircraft. Next I spent a few minutes taking turn requests from Dave. I kinda felt like a taxi driver with Dave telling me to give him a left or right turn at such and such angle of bank, take us to this heading and level us out at such and such altitude. It kept me busy but it was great practise.

Next Dave wanted to show me some steep turns to finish the lesson up, I'd get to practise them later. Before we did any of these we did what is called a HASEL check. HASEL stands for:

* Height - sufficient to recover safely. 3,000 AGL minimum.
* Area - Not over congested area.
* Security - is everything tied down.
* Engine - temps and pressures correct.
* Lookout - do clearing turns and look for other traffic

The first turn that we did was at 45 degrees of bank, 110 mph. Dave told me that we'd have to add power as we went past 30 degrees of bank to maintain speed and altitude. This was pretty fun and it certainly gets you turned in a hurry.

The next one was a minimum radius turn, it's also called a canyon turn for those of you that have canyons to fly in. This type of turn is done at 80 mph, with the flaps set to 40 degrees. Dave brought her over to 45 degrees of bank and then added power to maintain our speed and altitude. Wow... I thought that we did a tight turn before, but at 80 mph she practically circle the same spot on the ground like a string was tied to her... I've never seen the heading indicator spin so fast... this turn is fun!

The final turn Dave showed me was a collision avoidance turn. This is the type of turn a pilot would use to avoid an imminent midair collision, it is an aggressive manoeuver and the most abrupt maneuver I've experienced to date. Basically it's an immediate and aggressive reduced power dive into a steep right turn all in one. I hope that I never have to perform one outside of training. I would think that this type of turn would scare the crap out of most people who don't fly alot, or are non pilots.

After Dave finished showing me these new turns, I took over and flew us back to the airport and did my second landing. I lined us up with runway 21 for a straight in approach and brought us down without too much drama. Throttle to 1,500 rpm, hold our altitude to reduce our speed, then extend flaps 20 degrees and maintain 80 mph for a nice glide.

About a minute or so out we were a bit low on the glide slope so Dave had me add a some power to bring us back up into a slightly high glide (three white lights on the papi) to the runway. I added a bit of power while pulling back on the yoke to maintain 80 mph. This brought us back up and then I reduced the rpms back down to 1,500.

I managed to bring us all the way down perfectly to the last few feet, then I flared a little early and ballooned a bit. Dave very quickly "assisted me" with the throttle by adding some power for a few seconds. This allowed us to float back down gently a second time and do a really nice landing. Dave helped with the yoke a bit to bring her down onto her back wheels and we rolled down the runway for quite some time with the nose wheel in the air, then the nose wheel gentle descended into the asphalt.

While my first landing was nearly all me, I needed more "hands on assistance" from my instructor during my second one. The important thing is that I learned from his assistance. I wonder if it's too early to spend an hour or so just doing circuits....

Another great lesson in the books...


At 7:31 PM, Blogger Oshawapilot said...

Don't feel bad, I think that the altimeter is out to get me sometimes too, Rob...and I'm at my checkride. Heh.

As for circuits, well..don't worry, you'll get your fair share of them sooner then later...and you'll be sick and tired of them. :-)


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