That was fun

Went in for my weekly flight this morning only to find that they had no planes available when I got there. I took the opportunity to write my PSTAR exam, which I need for my student permit. This is a 50 question multiple choice test with all of the questions taken from a published list of about 200 questions. I'd done practice exams many times, so this wasn't too challenging. Passing mark is 90%, you have 90 minutes to write it. I finished in 15 minutes and scored 96% - the 2 questions I missed were ones I knew I probably missed.

After the exam, we had a plane, but not a lot of time. We went up for a short set of circuits. ATIS winds were light and variable, but this didn't match reality well. We took off from 16, with a definite crosswind from the southeast, probably about 10 kt at about 40 degrees left. Takeoff went well, I had to crab heavily to get a proper ground track. We did the first circuit  and it was clear that the winds were shifting and crossing a lot. I was a little late (1/4 mile maybe) downwind turning base with the wind pushing us along. This made for a fairly long base and final. Managed to track centerline on final very well, despite the heavy crosswind (up to about 15kt now). Although I was tracking well and could have landed it, Mark elected to get me to overshoot and join the R.H circuit for 11. After I joined that circuit, I turned base and found it to be really choppy - getting thrown around a lot. Turned final and found the crosswind to be a lot better, but a lot of gusting. I made continuous adjustments for the wind, tracked a good center line and a decent descent path. Touchdown was very clean, discovered that I'd missed my downwind checks - carb heat wasn't on - mostly because I joined downwind very near the end of it. Takeoff was smooth and my second circuit went quite well. The effect of the wind on my ground track was massive, illusions due to wind. This landing was a full stop as we were out of time. Again base leg was choppy and final was bumpy with the gusty wind adjustments. Had to approach at 70 kts (instead of 65) to account for the gusts. Landing was really smooth again - these were my 2 best landings to date. This flight was one of the most fun ones I've had and we both thought that I'd done very well. First time that I really felt that I could do this on my own. That'll be coming soon enough, hopefully about 3 weeks. 0.7h in C-GWVR.

  • Time this flight: 0.7h
  • Time to date: 19.4h
  • Cost this flight: $155.82
  • Cost to date: $5,096.38

Back to some basics

Winds today were splitting the 2 runways which meant a crosswind component of >7 KTs. We elected to skip the circuits today and went out to the practice area to work on some things that we hadn't done in quite a while. We did some climbs and descents as well as a couple of power off stalls. Then we worked on steep turns, which meant some serious re-learning. My first 2 attempts turned into the beginnings of a spiral dive as I neglected to maintain altitude and was gaining airspeed. This made for a great opportunity to work on spiral dive recovery, which is easy enough - pull the throttle, level the wings, pause and then return the nose to the horizon. We did a handful more 45 degree (steep) turns until I was doing them better - without losing altitude.  We then navigated back to the airport where I promptly forgot how to setup the descent on base, changing the contents of the flight confused me a bit. After I got the approach establish, albeit a little high,  Mark took the landing while I kept my hands on the controls to the feel of the crosswind landing. 1.0h in C-GHYI.

  • Time this flight: 1.0h
  • Time to date: 18.7h
  • Cost this flight: $192.60 (had a coupon today)
  • Cost to date: $4,940.56

Round, round we go

More circuits today at a very busy airport. Radio calls getting stepped on all over the place and a couple of times I couldn't break into the chatter to announce final until I was almost down. A little bit of chop 200-400' AGL on approach with a little bit of right to left crosswind, but only at that altitude. Did a couple of overshoots, once because I turned final too late and the other just because my instructor wanted to - interrupting a great approach. Landings were okay, still need some work to be sure. On the last approach I started to sink a bit from a downdraft, caught it and corrected perfectly, then I flared a little high, ballooned and corrected but then stalled it down pretty hard. First flight in C-GHYI for 1.1 h.

  • Time this flight: 1.1 h
  • Time to date: 17.7h
  • Cost this flight: $244.86
  • Cost to date: $4,747.96

Getting better all the time

Great day for flying could see forever - clear view of the Rockies to the west. Flew it all today, except about 90 seconds that Mark took over just after a takeoff because he wanted to talk about the last landing. Did 6 circuits (I think, it is really hard to keep track of) in decent conditions, air was a little bumpy in the 200-700' range. Circuits went well, control was good for the most part. My approaches went well, I had one that was pretty much perfect. Landings are coming along well too. I did all of the landings, Mark was hands off for all but a few seconds total. Bounced the first one a bit - landed a little flat. My second to last landing was really smooth. Definitely getting the feel for it now. Mark tells me I'll be ready to solo after a couple more flights without a doubt. Still waiting for medical of course. Internist appointment went very well this week, so that part is covered. Just waiting for the stress test on the 31st now. 1.1h in C-GTQL.

  • Time this flight: 1.1h
  • Time to date: 16.6h
  • Cost this flight: $244.86
  • Cost to date: $4,503.10