Wednesday, March 28, 2007

Going solo.

Since Dave wasn't able to keep our booking for my mock flight test on Saturday, I went out on Sunday solo for some review. My flight was uneventful and I was able to practise all the basics.

I find that I still have a habit of coming in high on final during my precautionaries and forced approaches, I'm able to get down but I have to use forty degrees of flaps and a healthy forward slip. It's safe and fun, but probably not what the examiner will be looking for. My slow flight went much better this time, I was able to keep my A/S pegged at 60 mph and maintain my starting altitude without getting on the backside of the power curve.

A couple of things that I realized during my solo flight.

1) Flying alone is boring.

2) I must soon purchase a decent headset. The ones supplied by the school are free which is nice, but sometimes I end up with a crappy set which sucks. The headset that I had on today left me wondering afterwards if I had suffered permanent hearing lose. (The hum eventually went away).

I have rebooked my mock flight test for this upcoming Saturday, Dave's is booked up all week and this is the earliest I could get in.

This last part of my PPL training seems to be taking forever.

Saturday, March 24, 2007

Mock flight test was scrubbed.

Dave called while I was out this morning, my mock flight test was booked for the afternoon.

I called him on his cell, it turned out that he was in Nova Scotia with another student who was doing a commercial flight test. They were going to be late in returning so my mock flight test was scrubbed. I was going to go up anyways for some solo practise but the broken cloud layer was only 2,200 feet, so there really wasn't much I could practise. I guess I could have done some circuits and turns but what I want/need to practise is slow flight and stalls, as well as some forced and precautionary approaches.

Dave said that he'd call me back once he returned and had a chance to check his schedule for Sunday, but he didn't think that it looked good. I didn't hear back from him so I went out to the airport and booked Fern out for tomorrow at 2:30. I'm going to do some solo practise.

I'll keep you posted.

Tuesday, March 20, 2007

Flight Test Review #2

Flight test review #2

This flight went pretty well. We reviewed a bunch of different things and for the most part Dave was happy with my performance. After an "unexpected" spiral dive he asked me how I thought I had done during my recovery. I told him that I thought that I was too slow in hauling the power back and levelled the wings, this was what he wanted to hear. He said that I don't have to be perfect in everything I do, but I have to always be safe. My recovery from the spiral dive was safe, but next time it will be quicker.

All my turns went well and I was able to stay smack dab on my starting altitude each time. During my two steep turns we flew through our own wake which was cool, just a little bump. I got behind the curve during my slow flight exercise and I really had to add alot of power to bring us back up to our starting altitude. It was a slight mistake that I quickly identified and corrected on my own without any input from Dave. We then did some slow flight turns, each time I added just a hint of additional power to maintain altitude and speed, (60-65 mph).

Next we did a power off stall which didn't take long since we were flying so slow. The nose never did drop but I could hear the stall warning buzzer and could see that we were losing altitude so I recovered. Full power, carb heat off. I lost a little more altitude than I thought I should have but Dave seemed happy.

Next came my brain fart of the day, the precautionary landing. Dave "announced" that our oil pressure was getting low and the oil temp was starting to rise.... what do I do know. I quickly found a nice spot to land then I completely forgot about the field inspection. I must have been thinking forced approach because I completely forgot about the high and low level inspection passes. Dave quickly asked me if I was going to inspect the field first and then I realised my omission.

Dave suggested that because my engine was now questionable that I should leave the throttle alone and do a upwind pass at 2,000 feet first to look things over. Everything on the GLOWS list looked good so I extended my upwind leg to give me some time to dump altitude for my low level pass on my downwind leg. I did the downwind field inspection at about 1,000 feet, everything still looked good so I prepared the aircraft for landing on final.

I was high but it was a nice long field and I'd rather be a little high than a little low. I chopped the throttle to idle, dropped 40 degrees of flaps and then went into a full forward slip, we plummeted to the ground like a rock. I called this the "tactical approach", I suspect that most non flying people would not find it fun at all. I finally experienced the slight osculation in the yoke that the POH warns of, slips with full flaps are not recommended but this does not mean that they can't be done, the osculation was very minor and it disappeared when I released the rudder. It's easy to bleed off airspeed in this configuration so I was very careful to keep my speed up by keeping my nose down. I made the field and I was asked to overshoot at a couple hundred feet AGL.

Dave then had me go under the hood and do some "instrument" flying. Fly this course at this speed and altitude... now turn to such and such heading. Give me a 500 feet per minutes descent to this altitude, now give me a rate one turn to this heading, etc. He also threw in an upset recovery for good measure.

I was told to take the foggles off and then asked where we were... I replied, "somewhere over Prince Edward Island", I can see that Dave was impressed. He then asked me how I'd get us back to the airport... I looked around and replied, "I'd make a right turn" which impressed him even further. I was then told to get my map out ... some times he has no sense of humour.

I was successful in finding a way back to the airport, on final we had some gusting winds and the ride was a bit choppy. After we passed the threshold the bottom fell out of it, we went from ten feet in height to one foot in about a second and a half... it was fast. I've never had this happen before. We were in normal landing configuration, nowhere near stall speed, twenty degrees of flaps, no slip, the stall horn remained silent. I immediately pulled the yoke back all the way to try and cushion our landing somewhat, and much to my surprise she responded just as the mains were about to contact the runway. Touchdown was actually nice and gentle, with just a chirp. I balanced her on the mains a little longer than normal to scrub off the excess speed we were still carrying and commented something about it to Dave, I think he replied good recovery or something to that effect. I guess that this is why you carry a little extra speed during gusty conditions.

After shutdown Dave said that I was ready for my mock flight test. So I've spent the last couple of weeks going over emergency procedures and reviewing everything else I can possibly get my hands on.

My mock flight test is booked for this Saturday, if all goes well then it's flight test time !

Wednesday, March 07, 2007

Next flight review flight booked.

I've booked my next review flight for this upcoming Saturday. The weather this past week sucked, right now it's -32C with the wind factored in, which is unusually cold for March. There's hope on the horizone though, +9C by Sunday, spring is a coming!

I've been studying some of the material that Dave gave me in preparation for my flight test. One of the questions asks what color the instrument lights are in a C172... I haven't a clue. I'm not sure if this is something that I actually need to know since I'll be restricted to flying in the day once I finally get my PPL.

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