Wednesday, April 27, 2005


Flying Lesson #17

It has been almost two weeks since my last lesson, so I expected that I'd be a little rusty today. We also had gusty winds and moderate turbulence, which made things extra challenging. So, in short, everything sucked today.

We spent the day practicing stalls, slow flight, and steep turns. We did a touch-and-go and a full-stop landing, both with a 12-gusting-to-20-knot 90-degree crosswind. Like I said, it all sucked.

I was pretty disappointed with myself, but the instructor had some encouraging words after the flight. He said he expected me to do a lot worse. Even with the hiatus and the weather conditions, I am still meeting the school's standards for someone at my level of experience. He pointed out that at my current rate of progress, I could be soloing in about three weeks. So after the debriefing, I didn't feel as bad as I did at the end of the flight.

For today: 1.5 hours dual in N4363D, with two landings. Cost: $285.35.

I think I mentioned this before, but just in case I haven't, please consider buying a copy of Stick and Rudder and reading it carefully -- it will make an enormous difference in your flying. It's also well worth going up with a different instructor from time to time.
I've read Stick and Rudder.
You should have a running total of total flying lesson expenditure in your sidebar, as well as the lesson-by-lesson report. That way you might scare some people off flying, thus protecting them from the aviation disease.
I have considered doing that, but I'm concerned that I'll scare myself off. I think it will be better to add it all up after I'm finished.
If you want to go back and reread Stick and Rudder, the key point that will help with landings (and just about everything else) is the "spot that does not move" concept.

The whole landing and approach comes down to picking a spot a bit before your touchdown point and keeping it absolutely still in your windshield -- not moving left or right, up or down -- while holding the correct indicated airspeed.

If the spot starts moving downwards, then you're too high and have to cut power and/or drop flaps and/or slip and/or zigzag; if the spot starts moving upwards, then you're too low and have to add power (maybe a lot). This method works just as well from 10 miles back as it does on short final -- after a while, it just becomes an instinctive part of your flying (it's also a good way of telling whether you're going to run into other traffic -- if the plane isn't moving on your windshield, you're on a collision course).
I've got the spot-that-does-not-move concept down. My approaches are nice and stable.

The problem comes when I round-out/flare. I do it too early, thinking the nose wheel is just about to hit the ground (it's not), then as the perspective of everything changes, my perception is that we are veering away from the centerline (we're not).
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