Thursday, February 16, 2006

Lesson #9 Spirals

Wasn't able to go flying this past weekend and since this weekend wasn't looking good for flying I decided to take a few hours off work and go flying this afternoon.

Went out to the airport at 2:30, Dave was just finishing up with another student. They finished up and we all chatted for a few minutes and then we jumped into the prebrief. The prebrief was standard fair, the difinition of a spiral, safety parameters, the causes and the recovery procedures. With prebrief out of the way I head outside to preflight aircraft which was sitting on the apron near the fuel pumps.

Preflight was a chilly event, as luck would have it she needed oil and surprise... surprise... fuel. There's usually a litre of oil stored in the rear baggage compartment so I grabbed that and poured it in while Dave added a little fuel. Since we'd also be touching on our last lesson - spins, we'd need to keep her light in order to keep us in the utility range.

When I go flying I like to leave my winter jacket in the car and wear a comfortable warm shirt, it's pretty tight inside a 172 and Dave and I are not small lads. By the time I get the outside portion of the preflight done, add oil and help with fuel, I'm pretty well frozen. We get in, Dave takes off his winter jacket and tosses it on the backseat, I quickly finish the preflight, fire her up and a couple of minutes later we have heat! With the wing vents taped up for the winter all our flights are warm.

We start off today's lesson by touching on our last, this means doing some spins. Engine to 1,500 rpm and here we go... the first one I attempt was crap, I released the controls too early. Dave demostrates one and then I give it another try. I bring the throttle back to 1,500 rpm, climb to stall, get the buffeting and then bring the yoke all the way back and kick in full rudder, this time I hold the control inputs much longer and we snap right into it... down we go. This was a pretty decent spin. I bring us out it after maybe a complete revolution or so, man these are a blast!

With the review out of the way it's on to today's lesson, Spiral dives. Spiral dives are basically a steep decending turn, these can happen if you spend too much time looking out the windows and not enough time flying the airplane. They can also happen during spin training, poor steep turns and flying into clouds. Before you know it the nose drops and your airspeed rockets towards Vne. Recovery is fairly simple, bring throttle to idle and then quickly level your wings and pull out of the dive without overstressing the aircraft. It's important not to pull out of the dive while leveling your wings. Dave put us into a few spiral dives to the left and the right and had me recover from each one. Dave comments a couple of times that I need to be more aggresive when leveling the wings.

With today's lesson in the books we started heading towards the airport, which is very easy to spot as we finally got some snow, what a crazy winter we're having. Since we're still about 4,000 feet and circuit height is 1,200 feet we have a bunch of altitude to lose, so it was a perfect time to introduce me to the forward slip. To perform a foward slip, you basically feed in full rudder and then bank the wings the other way to maintain your heading. Dave shows me one by applying full right rudder, the plane yaws to the right, at the same time he adds about 10-15 degrees of left bank. We quickly go from losing 500 feet a minute to around 1,200 feet a minute, with no gain in forward airspeed. I give it a try and find that it's pretty simple to do. I scrub off our excess altitude and make the call to tower, bringing us into the downwind for 03 at circuit height.

I ballooned a little on landing, I quickly added a stab of throttle and a few seconds later we're on the runway. Dave suggests that the next time I balloon I should hold the power on a wee bit longer.

Another great lesson.


At 6:25 PM, Blogger Oshawapilot said...

I can relate to the jacket issue - I used to leave my own bulky winter jacket in the car, and advise my pax to do the same, opting instead for a light jacket.

The 152's make this almost a necessity instead of an option. 72's are downright spacious in comparison. :)

I was reminded however on several occasions that leaving behind ones real winter gear can backfire in the case of a forced landing, so I tend to just throw it in the back now instead of leaving it behind.

Trudging through the bush after a forced approach in a light jacket while it's -20 would really suck.

Additionally, I was warned before my flight test that not wearing proper atire for the weather was considered verboten as far as the examiner was concerned, so keep this in mind when the day comes.

At 5:29 AM, Blogger Rob said...

I've seen a old 152 but I've never sat in one... it must have been tight for you and P.

We're always told to take what you need for worse case scenario. The worse case scenario in PEI is literally walking a few minutes to the nearest house. Obviously I'd take heavier clothing and some additional supplies when and if I fly elsewhere and for our cross country training.

Good to see that your getting up flying... and often too!


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