More landings

Great day for flying, rained into mid afternoon and then it all blew off. Result was a mostly clear sky with light winds. Runway 29 was preferred tonight, this is a short runway with a left hand circuit. We did 5 or 6 curcuits and I did the majority of the work for all but 1 landing and one simulated missed approach. The missed approach actually had us crossing over a Cessna Citation jet just as it was landing on 34. We were about 500' above the jet. The short runway didn't leave a lot of time for the takeoff with the touch and goes, so that part moved pretty quickly. My landings are definitely improving, the key seems to be a good approach which is mostly maintain by keeping an eye on the runway centerline while checking that we are keeping at 65 kts. It all felt pretty good, but looking at the closest end of the runway directly in from of you just before the flare is a bit unnerving. I just need a few hundred more landings so I can gain some confidence. 0.9 h in C-GJSK.

  • Time this flight: 0.9h
  • Time to date: 11.2h
  • Cost this flight: $200.34
  • Cost to date: $3,301.06

A landing we will go

Tonight circuits turned into landings as I did my first 6 landings. Perfect conditions and really good flying. My confidence around the circuit is improving. The turn to base and start of descent still needs some work, but I got all of the approaches lined up fairly well. Timing the landing flare is a bit tricky, but got them all down without too much panic from my instructor. Longest flight so far. 1.2 hr in C-FZRO.

  • Time this flight: 1.2h
  • Time to date: 10.3h
  • Cost this flight: $267.12
  • Cost to date: $3,100.72

Short flight

Short flight tonight, ceiling was too low for much other than circuits, but that was the plan anyways. During our engine start, we had a Cessna Citation business jet call in from 60 miles. By the time we did our run up, we held at the runway waiting for the Citation to land in front of us (only took him 10 minutes to come in from 60 miles). Best vantage point for watching a jet land I've ever had, 200 feet in front of me. I did the first takeoff entirely, had to extend the takeoff roll a few hundred feet to make sure we were clear of the wake turbulance from the jet. It was clear as soon as I was airborne that we had some crosswind to deal with. It was stronger at 100' above the ground than we could tell from the wind sock. Made it a bit tricky to climb out on heading. We did one circuit, wind not much of a problem above 500', crosswind was evident on landing. We did the touch and go and came around for a second circuit and called it a day. Perfectly manageable crosswind, but it made for a poor learning environment.

When we returned to the office, the Citation pilot was in settling up his fuel bill. Glad I didn't have to pay it! $2,300. My bill was only a little more than the GST on his bill. 0.6 h in C-GJSK (15 minutes flight time).

  • Time this flight: 0.6h
  • Time to date: 9.1h
  • Cost this flight: $133.56
  • Cost to date: $2,833.60

This is tough

Got back up for a flight today, or should I say 4 flights. We did circuits, 4 of them, joined by touch and gos. Conditions were great, not much wind, just a bit warm. It is amazing how many things there are to do in a circuit. Let's see if I can make a list, I'll start with plane lined up on the runway and take it all the way around to landing.

  1. Take-off (30 seconds or so)
    1. Advance throttle to full (over 3 seconds)
    2. Use rudder pedals to hold center line
    3. Watch for safe takeoff conditions, no smoke, no fire, airspeed indicator alive (starting to register).
    4. At 55 kts, use a little back pressure to ease the plane up.
    5. Maintain right rudder to compensate for asymetric thrust
  2. Departure leg (about a minute)
    1. Pitch nose to climb attitude at 70 kts
    2. Trim to maintain climb rate
    3. maintain runway heading, mostly with right rudder
    4. Continue climb to 500' AGL (more like 550' here, altitude of 3500')
    5. When passing 300', shoulder check to confirm you are still on runway heading
    6. As approaching 500', scan all directions for traffic and clear turn
    7. At 500', turn (right in this circuit) 90 degrees with 15 degree bank while maintaining climb attitude
  3. Cross wind leg (about a minute)
    1. Come out of turn on crosswind heading
    2. Continue climb to 1000' AGL while maintaining attitude and heading
    3. shoulder check to see runway
    4. As approaching 1000', scan all directions to clear turn
    5. At 1 mile off runway center line (about the same time as you hit 1000'), begin turn 90 degrees (right) with 15 degree bank
    6. As you hit 1000', push nose forward to stop climb
    7. As airspeed climbs, reduce power to 2,200 RPM, happens as you complete the downwind turn
  4. Downwind leg (about 3 minutes)
    1. Trim for level flight and maintain downwind course, speed about 85 kts
    2. As passing mid field, make radio call (Red Deer Radio, zulu romeo oscar, right downwind one six, touch and go)
    3. perform downwind checks, (carb heat on, breakers in switches correct, mags and master on, primer closed, pressure)
    4. Maintain regular scan for other aircraft with right shoulder check looking for 45 degrees back to runway
    5. At 45 degrees back to runway commence level turn right to base, 20 degree bank
  5. Base leg (about 1 minute)
    1. immediately on completion of the turn to base, pull power to 1500 RPM and lower nose to start descent
    2. Set attitude for 65 kts, trim to hold
    3. Set flaps 20 degrees, hold attitude and re trim
    4. Begin watching runway threshold to gauge decent path
    5. as approaching runway center line, check for traffic and clear final turn
    6. at 500' short of runway centerline, commence turn to final, 15 degree bank
  6. Final leg (about 1 minute)
    1. roll out on runway heading, maintain 65 kt glide path
    2. pick aim point on the runway (the numbers) and make sure it doesn't move in your view, adjust descent with power
    3. maintain runway heading, small adjustments
    4. make radio call (Red Deer Radio, zulu romeo oscar, final one six, touch and go
  7. Landing (30 seconds)
    1. when runway is made (you'll get there without power), pull power to idle, maintain attitude
    2. while crossing threshold, raise nose to horizon (flare)
    3. hold the plane off the runway as long as you can and let it settle down, main gear and then nose gear
    4. Let airspeed bleed off
  8. prepare for takeoff
    1. hold runway center line with rudder pedals
    2. retract flaps
    3. carb heat off
    4. advance power to full and repeat from step 1

During all of this, you need to be looking out and compensating for any traffic that ATC may tell you about, you need to maintain visual reference to ground with complete awareness of where you are, and you need to keep an eye on your instruments. This is a really busy workload, more than 40 tasks to do in about 8 minutes. A number of those steps have a bunch of steps to them (turning, leveling out). 4 circuits was nowhere near enough to get all of this figured out. 20 or 30 more would help. I did most of the flying, except the landing itself and a few times where I got in a bit of a mess. Very tiring lesson, but quite worthwhile. 1.1 h in C-GZRO.

  • Time this flight: 1.1 h
  • Time to date: 8.5 h
  • Cost this flight: $244.86
  • Cost to date: $2,700.04

Flying blind

Went up for a flight this afternoon in a bit windier conditions than normal, 8KT gusting 15KT. Purpose of the lesson was to experience the illusions that wind will cause in flight at low altitude. Basically seeing how the plane tracks differently on the ground into and out of the wind as well as in turns. After seeing that at work, we climbed to 4500 feet (1500AGL) from the 500-700AGL we were at. Then I got to fly "under the hood". This is basically an oversized visor that obscures you view outside the plane so you can only see your intruments. That was quite an interesting experience, brief as it was, only 0.2 h. Controlled the plane fairly well in the gusty wind. When the instructor told me to take of the hood, he pointed left and there I was, entering the downwind leg, setup perfectly. The instructor then did a couple of circuits with a touch and go. Quite an enjoyable flight. Back at it tomorrow night weather permitting. 0.9h in C-GTQL.

  • Time this flight: 0.9h
  • Time to date: 7.4h
  • Cost this flight: $200.34
  • Cost to date: $2,455.18

Another flight

Thunderstorm didn't materialize tonight, so got another flight in. More stalls and added a little bit of steep turns. We were in the plane with the higher weight limits, but couldn't get into Utility class - so no spins. 0.9h in C-GJSK.

  • Time this flight: 0.9h
  • Time to date: 6.5h
  • Cost of flight: $200.34
  • Cost to date: $2,254.84

First take off

I broke the "take offs=landings" rule tonight as I performed my first take off. Nice day for flying, a little hot and the horizon was completely obscured by a smokey haze that you couldn't see from the ground. I did my first radio calls, which I didn't quite butcher, but certainly got a bit wrong. After take off, I flew out to the practice area west of Red Deer and we proceeded to work on flight for endurance and entering and exiting slow flight. We then moved onto stalls, first a demo and then I did 2 power off stalls with recoveries. It takes a LOT of back pressure (force) to make the plane stall, getting out of the stall was pretty simple - nose down, as it recovers, add full power. We then did a power on stall, which is very different. The wing drops out on stall so you need correct with opposite rudder.

The flight went quite well, at least that's what the instructor thought. I wasn't quite as pleased with my results, I thought the lack of frequency was apparent. I will say that my throttle and trim confusion is not an issue any more though.

We weren't able to get into the Utility weight class (we were 115 pounds too heavy) that's required to do spins, and that was with minimum allowable fuel. That's going to be an issue over the next few flights as we're supposed to be doing spins and spiral dives which require Utility class. I find it interesting that PPL students in the US don't do any spin or spiral dive training. I would have thought that it's a great thing to learn how to recover from these situations in a safe environment rather than just learning the book procedure.

Booked flights for Wednesday and Friday of this week. We'll see if the weather cooperates, it would be nice to get some hours in. Tonight flight was my longest to date, 1.1 hours in C-GTQL.

  • Time this flight: 1.1h
  • Time to date: 5.6h
  • Cost of flight: $244.86
  • Cost to date: $2,054.50